Almond Cake with Plums

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“Take a risk or play it safe?” That was the question I asked myself the day before Besha Rodell and Rachel Shukert came over for dinner last week. Rachel I wasn’t nervous about. Even though I’d never met her before, I knew we’d click because we’re both musical theater geeks. The food would be secondary. I also knew I’d click with Besha, who I had met before (at Proof Bakery last year) but that’s not what made me nervous. What made me nervous is that Besha is a food critic. A food critic! Can you imagine cooking for a food critic? I was kind of freaking out.

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The Clean Plate Club, Episode #1: Besha Rodell & Rachel Shukert

Hey there! So guess what? A few weeks ago I had an idea for a podcast: what if I host a dinner party where I invite one food world guest and one non-food world guest over for dinner with me and Craig and I record the conversation? Wouldn’t that be fun to listen to? Well, after a trip to the Apple Store (where I procured a large, round microphone called a Snowball) I decided to put my plan into action. The result is what you see/hear below: The Clean Plate Club, a brand-spanking-new podcast that may become a regular feature here on the blog.

Our debut episode features two EXTRAORDINARY guests. The first is the celebrated food critic from L.A. Weekly, who stepped into Jonathan Gold’s shoes when he moved to the L.A. Times: Besha Rodell. The other guest is a hilarious author and playwright who took the world by storm with her brilliant Smash-recaps for New York Magazine’s Vulture site: Rachel Shukert. Her Kindle single about that experience is climbing up the Amazon charts.

So sit back, relax, click play and join us as fellow members of The Clean Plate Club. Then let me know what you think in the comments!

P.S. If you want recipes for the meal that I cooked for a famous food critic and a famous Smash critic, here’s my Caesar salad and here’s my chicken with cous cous and salsa verde. The plum cake is coming later this week.