Recipe: Salt Crust Snapper with Mandarin-Fennel Salad

August 21, 2012

I don’t require much to be happy. A new book by my favorite author, this awesome lamp from IKEA, and—above all—an elegant meal for one made my weekend nearly perfect. This is why I think everyone should take up cooking as a hobby. There’s nothing more satisfying than using your imagination, culinary knowledge, and artistic skill to create something that pleases all of your senses. Learning to cook is practical, healthful, and a great conversation starter—who doesn’t like to talk about food?

But I imagine I’m preaching to the choir writing about the joys of cooking on a food blog. I also can’t imagine that everyone would be able to enjoy grocery shopping—the prerequisite to cooking—as much as I do.

Last week was stressful and emotionally exhausting, so on Saturday I braved the heat and walked to a nearby Korean market to peruse the fish counter and let my imagination run wild. After an hour of exploration to the soundtrack of this song on repeat, I left the store with a whole red snapper, a bag of fresh mandarin oranges, a bunch of watercress, two pounds of sea salt, a few perilla leaves, some taro root, radish sprouts, and a significantly better a state of mind (except for a slight headache from that horrible Korean pop song). Continue reading

Recipe: Grilled Octopus with Charred Tomato Sauce

June 1, 2012

Guess the first Google hit for the search terms “Jose Andres octopus.” The menu at Jaleo, you say? Or a recipe from Andres’s TV show, “Made in Spain”?

Both are wrong. The first result Google returns for the seemingly culinary combination of the Spanish celebrity chef and this popular Mediterranean ingredient is an article from The Washington Post titled “Spain’s celebrity chef Jose Andres celebrates World Cup win, honors psychic octopus.” Psychic… what??

Let’s take a step back and review the chain of events that brought me to this discovery. While most normal people celebrated Memorial Day with a barbeque or an afternoon lounging on the beach, the highlight of my day was browsing the shelves of an Asian market in Little Tokyo. Dried shrimp, giant vessels of kimchi, ten different kinds of soba noodles, gorgeous Japanese eggplant, meaty short ribs…

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Recipe: Veggie-Packed Tuna Melts

January 16, 2012

There are two recurring problems in my life: bears and ovens. I just can’t seem to avoid undesirable run-ins with the former and operational issues with the latter. Moving to L.A. has so far solved one of those problems—obviously, the bear encounters.

The first time I saw a bear, at 10 or 11 years old, I was camping in Canada with my family. Walking on the path to the “toilette,” I heard a noise and turned to see, less than three feet away, a small black bear. He looked about as happy to see me as I did him.

Years of lectures from my wilderness expert father and his friend had prepared me for this moment. Don’t panic. Wait for the bear to leave. Whatever you do, DO NOT RUN…

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