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One of the best things about Fall is that it’s PUMPKIN season! I adore pumpkin. Pretty much anything that has pumpkin in it, I’ll try (except if it has licorice or coconut in it). I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that most of the pumpkin products from Trader Joe’s were discontinued after Thanksgiving. […]

Last night was one of my “First Saturday” monthly potluck dinners in Manhattan Beach. It’s hosted by my friends, Diane and Paul Basile. They’re wonderfully generous, holding this fantastic dinner. Paul is the gourmet cook, choosing the main course. We happily suggest side dishes, appetizers, salads and desserts for him to choose for us to […]

What the HECK are FODMAPs?! The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. (Aren’t you glad you asked?) These short-chain carbohydrates are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria. These sugars also exert an osmotic effect, increasing fluid movement into the large bowel. The fermentation […]

This past weekend was the Small Appliances Event at the Culver City Best Buy . My food buddy and blogger Cathy Arkle went down to cover the event and to meet the pastry chefs behind the great fonuts we made in last week’s blog. Not only did these girls bake like demons, they had a […]

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us. They have vitamins and minerals, fiber and not a lot of calories. But there are some little details about these super foods that might surprise you. Here are a few examples: Carrots: I see so many people, parents, especially, do the grab-and-go with the mini […]

When you eat starchy carbs and refined sugar, are you aware of what happens inside your body? These foods enter the bloodstream quickly, causing a sugar spike. Your body then produces the hormone insulin to drive that sugar from your bloodstream into cells. But over time, high levels of insulin can make your muscle cells […]

I’ve really been getting into vegetarian dishes lately. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my proteins. But because there are SO many different vegetables and fruits out there-so many more than types of animal protein-the creative possibilities are endless. I’ve eaten this combination before, but when I made it this time, I added the […]

Many people look upon massage as an indulgence that is simply not necessary, I have to admit that I enjoy getting a massage every few weeks and I feel it when I don’t. Most massage styles have miraculous healing powers and a good massage can have a plethora of benefits for the body-relaxation not withstanding. […]

There are two ways I know summer here: There’s more gloomy clouds in LA more than any other time of year and tomatoes start to be seen at the farmer’s markets. Gorgeous, juicy, sweet tomatoes. Granted, we don’t have those mealy hot house tomatoes like they sell in the East Coast supermarkets, but to have […]

I’ve had my share of crab cakes in my life. I really love them. They’re versatile. You can get them as an appetizer or main course. Some of the best I’ve had were in Maryland. These were succulent because they were mostly crab meat with very little filling and they had that legendary taste of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle The last day, the last test. Everyone in class was nervous. We were told that there would be no recipes this week. It all had to be from memory. My classmates and I emailed each other all week long trying to guess what would be on the test. “It would have […]

After almost 6 months of learning all aspects of cooking and baking, it was time for us to see if anything actually sunk in. We were nervous wrecks for the last few weeks. There were so many techniques and possible course combinations, we didn’t know what to expect. According to May, the first week of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle This is the last week of learning for my Pro Chef Level 1 course and appropriately enough, like finishing a fine meal, we made desserts of all kinds. Dessert sauces can take a basic cake to a higher level. We learned all the main types of sauces that are used. They’re […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle In this second week of baking, we learned about making pastry dough and various quick breads. All pastry dough and batters have similar ingredients, but it’s the proportions that change per recipe. Quick breads have no yeast. Here, baking powder and soda are used. Baking powder is actually a combination of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle For the next three weeks, I’m learning how to bake. It might seem easy to many of you, but I grew up in a household where breads and pastries were always bought at the local bakery. My Mom knew the head baker by his first name and felt comfortable enough to […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Back fat. I don’t want it on me; I don’t want it in my food. Unfortunately, this week, we didn’t have much choice. We were learning about Charcuterie or prepared and cooked meats primarily from swine including sausage, pate and terrines. What makes all these dishes taste the […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Like my lessons for cooking poultry, last week and this week were all about how to prepare with dry and wet techniques. This week was all about braising meat and the best cuts to do that. This week’s class was a little different because of the time it […]

Chef Class Week 13 Photos by Cathy Arkle Tonight started 2 weeks of ‘Meat’-beef, pork, lamb and veal. I had a picture in my head of Tim Allen grunting like a caveman while grilling a 72 oz. Porterhouse steak when I walked into class. Men do tend to love their red meat. I do, too, […]

As I sit here watching the Giant/San Francisco game munching on my homemade football snacks, I’m so happy I had time to try the sauce recipe that goes with my turkey meatballs. Between clients and chef school homework, it’s been hard for me to invent or rework any other recipes. I’ve had a version of […]

Photos by Cathy Arkle My alternate title for this week’s article was “Fry Me To The Moon,” as this week my in-class recipe was fried chicken and gravy, but I didn’t want to scare anyone off, so I went with this one. (Props to The Trashmen of 1963). Chicken is the most popular main course […]

Roasted Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup It was 80 degrees in Los Angeles for the holidays and New Year’s. Do you know how disconcerting that is for a New Yorker?! So I, of course, had to rebel and make some soup. It IS winter back East, after all. I’ve also been in the middle of […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Who doesn’t love starchy carbs like rice, pasta and grains? My hips and thighs aren’t always so happy with them, but my mouth LOVES them! As a rule, I don’t eat them a lot to keep my weight down, but every so often, a big plate of pasta […]

Chef Class Week 7 By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Last week we worked with mostly raw ingredients in the fruits and vegetable category. This week, we took those ingredients a step further. Like tasting the same brand of wine from different years, the same vegetable can have a very different taste depending on […]

By Rona Lewis Photos by Cathy Arkle Now this week’s focus was my kind of food! With last week’s arterial clutter finally out of my veins (dairy and eggs), I was really excited for these next two weeks of class time. Fruits, vegetables and herbs! Being a large portion of my daily diet, I was […]