Whatever, Martha

Last week, Martha Stewart caused something of an uproar in the blogger community when she said, in an interview with Bloomberg TV: “Who are these bloggers? They’re not editors at Vogue magazine…I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts.”

She’s since backtracked; a wise move considering that her empire includes an entire network of bloggers with MARTHA STEWART plastered prominently on their pages. At first I was offended by her off-the-cuff remarks, now I’m mostly amused. This was a telling, unguarded moment for Martha and one that reflects the vintage, bespoke bubble she’s living in with her dogs in Connecticut.

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Al Di La’s Chocolate and Pear Cake


There are people in this world who can read the same book over and over again. That’s hard for me because I view my time on this earth much like Dorothy views the red sand in the Wicked Witch’s hourglass, constantly sifting downward until there’s nothing left. I almost never read the same book twice (though I did recently re-read Cooking For Mr. Latte but that’s only because I’d just finished reading We Need To Talk About Kevin and, after that, I needed something that made the world not seem like a festering black hole of misery and despair; though I do recommend that book, I do).

Anyway, I’m saying all this because I have a similar attitude about desserts. Almond Cake notwithstanding, why make the same dessert again and again when there are so many desserts out there for you to try? In case you haven’t noticed, I make a different dessert for almost every dinner party. Well, did. See everything’s changed now because I just discovered the recipe for Al Di La’s Chocolate and Pear Cake on Smitten Kitchen and it may be my new favorite go-to fall dessert. I’ve already made it twice.

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Soup of Cannellini Beans with Pasta and Rosemary


Well if the banner says it’s autumn, it’s autumn. So let’s make soup.

Soup really tests your cooking prowess because there’s always a way to make it taste better. Even if you’re not crazy about the results, you can fix them. For example: when Gina DePalma taught me how to make her lentil soup (which Smitten Kitchen featured on her blog) the key step was sizzling garlic in olive oil and stirring it in at the end. That’s the ultimate soup fixer-upper. Today’s soup comes to us from Chez Panisse Cooking and there’s a lot of flavor introduced up front so it doesn’t need much fixing at the end.

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It’s Autumn After All

At least my new banner thinks so! After my last post where I made a summery dish in October, it’s time for a seasonal intervention and what better way to do that than with an autumnal banner image by the brilliant Lindy Groening. It’s been a while since we rotated the banner–over a year, in fact–but the time has come to shake things up again. Thanks, Lindy, for doing such an awesome job. If any of you don’t see it yet, try clearing your cookies or opening the site in a different browser; don’t worry, it’ll kick in eventually. [See Lindy’s previous work here.]

Spaghetti with Sun Gold Tomato Sauce


Look, I can’t pretend it’s autumn here in L.A. To be blunt: it’s as summery as it was in July, though the mornings and evenings are cooler. The telltale sign is what I’m seeing at the farmer’s market: sure, there’s kabocha squash–and I made a very excellent risotto out of it–but, way more present still are heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, basil and all of those sum sum summertime ingredients. If I were a disingenuous food blogger, I could pretend I was crunching through falling leaves, sipping cider and humming the theme from “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Instead, I’m going to share this amazing recipe from last week’s trip to the farmer’s market despite its unavoidable summeryness.

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Your Perth and Sydney Recs

[image via Wexas Travel]

You guys: I just had a moment where I glanced at my calendar and saw that two weeks from tomorrow, I’m flying to Australia. I mentioned this to you before but the trip seemed so far away when I wrote that; and now the trip is right there on the horizon and I can hardly believe it. Which is why I’m posting this post now: I want your Australia recs! Almost always when I travel I ask my readers for places to go and eat, and almost always your suggestions are the best. So have at it, readers: I’ll be in Perth for a week (much of that trip is already planned, but I should have some down time) and then I have three days in Sydney. What should I do? Where should I go? And, of course, most importantly: what should I eat? Thanks, and if you’re Australian and you’re reading this…say hi if you see me on the street in TWO WEEKS!

The Clean Plate Club, Episode #12: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Tien Nguyen

You have to be pretty charming to convince David Sedaris to let you turn one of his stories into a movie. But that’s precisely the quality that allowed filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez to adapt the short story C.O.G. into a terrific film starring Jonathan Groff. Kyle’s our guest this week along with L.A. Weekly food writer Tien Nguyen, who not only helps compose the annual Best of L.A. issue but also just co-authored a cookbook with celebrated chef Roy Choi. Here’s a picture of everyone at the table with their artichokes.

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