Showing posts from 2011

Chocolates! Chocolates! Chocolates!

I am obsessed with chocolates. Milk chocolate. Bitter sweet chocolate. White chocolate. Ok, maybe not white chocolate. So versatile.  Chocolate goes well with nuts. I've been experimenting with raw and caramelized almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. 
Chocolate with a bit of heat is delicious as well. A touch of cayenne or a  bit of crystallized ginger. Dried fruit and chocolate are great too. Dried apricots with dark chocolate are a favorite.

What's most fun about making chocolates is I can customize them. A friend tried my milk and dark chocolate mini-bar with caramelized almonds and said, "I'd like to try them with just dark chocolate," so that's what he ordered. Another friend wanted the almonds toasted but not caramelized. 
My wife said, "Use peanut butter" and those have become a big seller.
Email me at and tell me what you would like and order as many as you want (with a three dozen minim…

10 Delicious Holiday Recipes

I'm happy to say I published my first cookbook, 10 Delicious Holiday Recipes.
I wanted to create a cookbook with ten easy-to-make recipes perfect for the holidays. I'd like to hear what you think about the recipes and I would certainly like it if you would buy the book. For $2.99 you get a great collection of cocktails, appetizers, salads, sides, entrees and a couple of dynamite desserts.

I used Amazon and Kindle, but if you don't own a Kindle, no problem. You can download the Kindle App that works for your smart phone, computer or iPad. It's free and downloads easily.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.  Have a great holiday!

Chocolate Mini-Candy Bars Make the Best Holiday Gifts

For the holidays I'm serving chocolate mini-candy bars at home and giving them as gifts. They're a lot of fun to make. They taste great and look so cool. For everyone who doesn't have the time, I'm selling the mini-candy bars with almonds or hazelnuts and peanut butter chocolates. If you don't live in the LA area, I can mail them to you.  You can email me at You can customize your chocolates, making them exactly the way you like.

If you want to try your hand at being a chocolatier, I wrote an article for Zesterdaily with easy-to-follow directions.

Milo & Olive, Santa Monica's Newest Restaurant

Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery and Rustic Canyon touched a foodie sweet spot with locals in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. Husband and wife co-owners, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan proved again and again that they understood what the upscale community wanted: farmers market fresh food served in casually artful settings.
Mid-range pricing means they can afford to use high quality ingredients and indulge their flair for visually engaging food. Walk past Huckleberry's bakery display and you'll be hard pressed not to take a photograph. The scones and muffins are gorgeous.

Their forte is creating exceptionally well-prepared comfort food.
That is definitely the focus of their newest restaurant and bakery, Milo & Olive(310/453-6776) located at 2723 Wilshire Blvd. at Harvard on the border of Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. The bakery is open from 7am-11am. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7am-11pm.

Beginning on December 1st, the restaurant opened for lunch…

The Best Post-Thanksgiving Comfort Food: Turkey Dumpling Stew

Usually on Thanksgiving between 20-25 people come over for dinner. This year we had a smaller group. With 15, we had time to talk and there wasn't quite as much work getting the meal ready. Out of habit, though, we bought the same size turkey we always buy, a 25 pounder. So we assumed we'd have a lot of food left over, enough for several days of sandwiches.
When we looked in the refrigerator on Friday, we were surprised that we had very little cranberry sauce, almost no stuffing, and only enough white meat for a couple of sandwiches. But, happily, we did have a lot of dark meat and almost a gallon of turkey stock we'd made Thanksgiving night.
For our day after Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I wanted a good comfort meal. Dumplings with anything is always great, but with richly flavored turkey stew, there's nothing more satisfying.
Turkey Stew with Dumplings and Vegetables
Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: 45 minutes
4 c…

Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes: Turkey, Stuffing, Appetizers, Side Dishes & Dessert

For Thanksgiving we keep it simple. We don't brine our turkey or do anything exotic with seasonings.

Friends and family contribute desserts. Cousin Leslie makes a pumpkin pie. Cousin Ron (hopefully) will make homemade ice cream. Our friends Clay and Lesli are having dinner with another friend this year so we'll miss her mixed berry fruit salad.
I've been making miniature chocolate bars, which I think are very cool, so I'll make those as an addition to the dessert table.

We'll straighten up around the house. I'll finally throw out those stacks of newspapers I wanted to go through.

If we have time, we'd like to find a new tablecloth for the dining room table. But if we can't find one, the old one will do since there will be so many platters of food, plates, glasses and silverware on the table you'll be hard pressed to see the tablecloth anyway.

We'll cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil so clean up after the meal is easier. Cleaning out…

Planning Thanksgiving So You Don't Make Yourself Crazy

If you are hosting the meal, Thanksgiving is the best of times and the worst of times.

For my mother, Thanksgiving was the best holiday of the year and I agree with her whole heartedly.
Thanksgiving gives us time to pause and enjoy our family and friends.

But hosting the meal can seem daunting. So many details to take care of, so much food to get on the table and so much to clean up.

How do restaurants and caterers deal with the stress of putting on big events?

They plan out every detail so there are no surprises.

The Guest List

Start with the guest list. Most importantly you'll need to know how many people are coming. That will tell you how many chairs you'll need and how big the dinning room table has to be.

These days, many people have dietary restrictions, so it is good to know that as well. Along with the invitation, ask if there are ingredients or foods your guests need to avoid.

If you expect a lot of children, decide where you want them to play and organize that space …

Mushroom and Garlic Turkey Liver Pâté

With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, my wife and I have started talking about the menu. Mostly we want to enjoy favorite dishes. One of those is a turkey liver pate I adapted from a chopped liver recipe my mom made when I was a kid.
I wrote the recipe for Zester Daily. The pate is easy-to-make, savory, delicious and surprisingly light.

Corn Soup for the End of Summer and Start of Fall

This is my second corn recipe in as many posts. Knowing that corn is about to go out of season makes me want it all the more.  The recipe for corn soup I wrote for Zester Daily has been picked up by Yahoo's food site, Shine. I'm very happy the word is getting out about a soup I think is easy to make and delicious.

Corn on the Cob Gets Dressed Up For Dinner

We celebrate summer with grilled meats and boiled corn, the golden ears arriving at the table, resting in silky pools of melted butter, ready for a dusting of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Many people hunger so much for corn they eat it every chance they can to such an extent that, sooner or later, familiarity breeds disinterest and even a little disdain. 
Where it seemed so celebratory at the beginning of summer, by August they turn away when a platter of corn is placed on the table. 
That's pretty much the way it's been for me.

On my last trip to our local farmers market, I hadn't planned on buying corn until I noticed that very few farmers were selling corn and those that were had very little to sell. Arriving late, the corn was almost sold out. 
Talking with a farmer, I learned that local corn will disappear from the market in a couple of weeks. After that, no more corn until the spring.
I bought half a dozen ears, deciding we should have a farewell to cor…

For an Armenian Feast, Try Adana Restaurant in Glendale

One of my favorite restaurants isn't close to where we live.
Adana is forty-five minutes away in Glendale. The light and airy dining room suggests a banquet hall in an elegant European boutique hotel. There are white tablecloths on all the tables, pastel landscape murals on the walls and delicate wrought iron framing the windows facing busy San Fernando Road. 
I would enjoy the food at Adana at any price, but with large entrees costing from $10.50 to $17.95, there's a special pleasure in being served an affordable, well-prepared meal.  Even though there are 15 kababs on the menu, I mostly stick with the dark meat chicken kabob, the lamb chops and baby back ribs. A friend who joins me on the trek likes the lamb chops kabob. They are all delicious. Waiting for our entrees, we have an Armenian coffee, share a large plate of tabouli and catch up about family, work and movies. Serge, the waiter, or Edward Khechemyan, the owner and chef, brings a basket of lavash or pita (I prefer lavash)…