Flew out to southern California last week to be with one of Donna’s oldest and dearest, almost entirely beaching it, but found time for one great restaurant meal and one day exploring little Saigon south of LA with the extraordinary White On Rice Couple, Todd Porter and Diane Cu. Diane, born in Vietnam two years before the family fled in 1975, and Todd, a native of Oregon, are photographers, videographers, writers, cooks and gardeners.  I met them in Ixtapa last January and was immediately impressed with their energy and work, but I didn’t quite appreciate how fine these two souls were until they invited me and Donna and the kids into their home, gave us a tour of their truly remarkable garden, then took us on a culinary tour of Little Saigon, including a bahn Read On »

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You’ll never guess what was included in our CSA haul this week.  Zucchini!  That’s right, amazing as it may sound, there they were, three big fatties at the bottom of the bag. Seriously, it’s not that I have a problem with zucchini, itself (though I did publicly disparage the zucchini a while back on Iron Chef America, which had a few zucchini lovers up in arms).  I like zucchini.  Julienned and sauteed in butter it’s a simple summer side dish.  Add some nuts, herbs and a vinaigrette to zucchini you’ve salted for ten minutes and it’s a revelation (raw zucchini salad). There are indeed all kinds of things you can do to zucchini.  I guess my problem is how much of it is grown.  Why do people grow so much zucchini? Just because we can Read On »

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Butter-Braised Radishes with Snow Peas, photo by Donna This was a last minute dish on Saturday to follow the fritters.  We had radishes, we had snow peas.  I had some mint in the garden.  Why not?  Crunchy, refreshing, satisfying, a fine vegetable dish.  You see, I don’t ALWAYS have to throw cured pork products in (though, come to thing of it, this would be delicious with some bacon or pancetta thrown in!).  When you get your CSA goods, remember that it would be hard to combine them in ways that do not go together.  I wouldn’t serve blueberries and chard but for the most part all this stuff goes well side by side. Butter Braised Radishes with Snow Peas a few tablespoons of butter Radishes, as needed, trimmed and quartered Snow peas, as needed, picked Read On »

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So Joe and I got to playing with the video camera early this spring, just to have some fun. (Please excuse awkward editing moment.) Also, it’s a bit on the longish side (6:30) so if you want to cut to the chase, the point of this thing happens between 2:30 and 3:10 minutes. I love deviled eggs, but after making this video I realized that there was no reason you even have to go through the rigmarole of mixing the yolks and mayo and mustard and piping all that into halved whites.  For a last minute deviled egg, just top it with the same ingredients. Last minute Deviled Eggs 6 ounces mayonnaise (see video above for technique) 1 tablespoon minced shallot macerated for 10 minutes in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then strained 2 teaspoons Dijon Read On »

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OK, things are starting to roll a little faster here.  Delighted this week to see peas in our CSA haul!  Still a helluva lot of lettuce (which, truth be told, my belly needs a little a more of).  We were a little disappointed in week three, when some of the lettuces had rotty ends, suggesting they’d been picked many days before.  Be critical and tell your CSA farmers if you’re not happy with the product.  Remember that just because they’re local farmers, doesn’t mean they’re perfect.  As with any craft, there is a range of quality of finished product, depending on how it’s grown and, critically, how it’s handled after it’s picked.  (A friend asked me recently what CSA stands for, so it bears repeating: community supported agriculture.) Usually the farmers are happy to try Read On »

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