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The (metaphorical) cherry orchard

May 18, 2009

Look what I found this Saturday at the Santa Monica (Pico and Cloverfield) farmers market.  The stalls were loaded with cherries (I saw Brooks and Tartarian); it was like one giant marble festival.  We just ate them in the car, spitting the pits out of the window on the way home (yeah, yeah; it’s fun).  [...]

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Chile peppers from Penzeys

May 15, 2009

Penzeys Spices recently opened a new branch in Santa Monica, which is very handy or very dangerous, depending on how you look at it. When it comes to chile peppers, it can be both. We have a pretty good selection of both dried and fresh chiles in Los Angeles, between the farmers markets [...]

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3 ways of looking at vanilla sugar

May 15, 2009

Vanilla beans are pricey, but they’re well worth it. Especially if you consider what they are: the hand-pollinated, hand-picked, cured, dried and fermented fruit of an orchid.  One of the ways to get the most out of every Mexican, Tahitian or Bourbon-Madagascar bean is to save the pods–after you’ve scraped the seeds from them or [...]

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Turkish coffee & spice grinders

May 11, 2009

These utterly gorgeous contraptions are brass grinders, made for pepper or other spices, or for the grinding of Turkish coffee. They’re both from Turkey: the smaller of the two I bought at the spice bazaar in Istanbul a few years ago; the larger is from Turkish Coffee World, a fantastic online site that sells Turkish [...]

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Preserved Meyer lemons

March 31, 2009

I’m in the midst of moving, so the world has been a labyrinth of cardboard this week. Sadly, I discovered that I’d packed my salt before I’d had my last dinner.  And I mean, ALL of my salt: Maldon, sea, kosher, Hawaiian, Morton’s, whatever. I had not, however, packed my jar of preserved Meyer [...]

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My favorite pan

March 27, 2009

I had a wok in college, one of those big ones that sat on a separate base and was impossibly round; it was like trying to stir-fry with a bowl. Okay, maybe I just didn’t get the technique down, but still.  Not fun.  So a few years ago Vicki Fan (of Beacon in Culver City) [...]

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Penzey’s in Santa Monica

March 4, 2009

Yay, no more schlepping to Torrance for Aleppo pepper, Telicherry peppercorns and Pakistani dried chiles. A new branch of Penzey’s Spices, the Wisconsin-based spice company, is now open in Santa Monica. It’s the third store in California (Torrance, Menlo Park) and the 41st nationwide. Look at the replica of a 50’s era kitchen, complete with [...]

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