Things You Can Do With A Big Pot of Beans (Or: My Take on the Mediterranean Diet)

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The New York Times recently published an article with a powerful first sentence: “About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.”

I like this news because it’s not like it’s saying “all delicious things are bad for you!” It’s saying: “Hey, you can eat really delicious things, just not In-N-Out burgers and milkshakes, ok?” And though I don’t imagine I’ll be giving those up any time soon, it’s good to know that I can maintain a mostly Mediterranean diet by doing the following: pouring a bag of dried beans into a bowl of cold water before starting my day.

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The 10 Best Things That I Cooked in 2012

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You’ve gotta admit, I cooked some really good things this year. So many, in fact, that narrowing this list down to ten took some work. But I’m confident that these ten dishes are the dishes that dazzled the most, the ones that made me pat myself on the back most vigorously, praising my myself in a British accent: “Well done, my lad, well done!” So join me for a gay romp through a year of cooking in my new L.A. kitchen.

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The Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl

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The other night, I cooked (well, chopped) for the first time in the apartment where I’m staying on the Upper East Side. Since I was cooking for just myself, I figured a salad was the right move. There was a cucumber, there was a box of cherry heirloom tomatoes, half of a red onion (sliced thin), a red pepper and a yellow pepper. The dressing had balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. At the end, I crumbled blue cheese over everything. It was a good salad.

Only, while I was making it, I found it frustrating that the garbage can was a tiny one under the sink. I didn’t want to have to swivel and pull out the can to make the top go up ever time I wanted to throw away an onion peel or red pepper seeds. Which is when I recalled the famous Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl.

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How To Cook Fish For A Crowd

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Our friend Emily (who also happens to be Craig’s awesome manager; she’s in the apron on the right) had us over for dinner the other night and she pulled off something I would never be brave enough to attempt at a dinner party: she cooked us fish.

Fish is so tricky and temperamental, I’m nervous just to cook it for myself, let alone a crowd of people. I’ve seared fish in a pan, I’ve broiled fish in the oven. These techniques work fine for one or two, but for four? Five? Six? What do you do? Emily had the perfect solution. And it was such a smart solution, I plan to steal this idea for my own fish dinner parties in the future. Not only that: the results were so good I may use her technique for cooking fish just for Craig and myself. And that technique is…

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How To Prep A Dinner Party A Day Ahead

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When I first started cooking, I resented the idea of making food ahead for a dinner party. I wanted my food to be fresh! Cooked in the moment! Assembled minutes before the guests arrive!

It’s only recently, though, that I’ve started to see the virtue in prepping the food ahead. One: if you’re making a soup or a stew or a chili, that’ll only taste better after spending a night in the fridge. And two: you’ll be way less harried when your guests arrive. So here’s how to prep a dinner party a day ahead (with two dinner party examples).

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A Trip To The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market

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To get to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market from where I live, you have two choices: you can take highways (the 101 to the 110 to the 10 West) or you can take streets. If you do take streets, there are probably many speedy options; streets that take you far west with minimal traffic. Of all the streets that you can take to Santa Monica, the slowest is probably Santa Monica itself–it moves at a crawl–and that’s something I learned the hard way (even though I’d be warned!) as I chose that as my primary route last Wednesday to the farmer’s market most frequented by chefs and food lovers here in L.A.

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The Secret To Killer Pork Chops at Home

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There’s a psychological phenomenon–and I’m not a psychologist, so cut me some slack here–by which, even though we know what’s good for us, we don’t do the thing that’s good for us. So, for example, let’s say we’re an aspiring journalist and there’s a convention downstairs, in our building, for working journalists who are looking to hire interns. And let’s say we want to be an intern–it’s a crucial step in our professional trajectory–but, on TV, is a marathon showing of The Real Housewives of New York City and it’s the episode where Jill Zarin shows up, uninvited, to the Caribbean. Even though all we have to do is turn off the TV, splash some water on our face and walk downstairs, we don’t. That’s a real phenomenon (perhaps it’s called self-sabotage?) and I’d like to talk to you about it today in the context of pork chops.

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