The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Cooking with Orange Marmalade

Orange marmalade makes a great ingredient; here are some ways to use it in cooking.

It’s a great base for a basting sauce or glaze. Thin it with orange juice to baste chicken or pork, or with Grand Marnier to glaze duck. Mix it with Dijon mustard and use it to coat chicken pieces before baking. scrapcatb melts orange marmalade in a saucepan with soy sauce, freshly grated ginger, and a bit of sesame oil, and glazes broiled salmon or scallops with the mixture.

coll likes to add orange marmalade to butternut squash soup.

scrapcatb makes fresh cranberry relish with orange marmalade: grind 12 oz. cranberries in a food processor or with a food grinder, and mix with 1/2 cup each marmalade and sugar.

For sweets, try adding marmalade to bread pudding, or mixing it with farmers cheese to use as a stuffing for blintzes or crepes. Warmed marmalade with orange segments over thick, creamy yogurt makes a delicious dessert, says huruta. Kagey recommends a simple Nigella Lawson recipe for chocolate orange cake made with marmalade.

Board Links

what to do with marmalade?

Craving Cheese Curds?

Cheese curds…you’ve gotta love them. They’re an integral part of that Quebec speciality called Poutine–french fries and cheese curds smothered with gravy.

Before cheddar cheese is pressed into molds, the fresh cheese is in the form of curds. The irregular shapes are sweet and creamy and give a little squeak when you bite into them. They’re also good deep fried. You can satisfy a craving for them by ordering online. They’re from cheese curd country: Wisconsin.

Board Links

Gravy on French Fries

Fry Sauce on the March

The Associated Press is breaking the news that fry sauce—invented, as its own story discloses halfway down the page, in 1948—is starting to spread from its home base in Utah to other Western states.

The sauce, which is nothing more than a mixture of mayo and ketchup, is intrinsic to the Mormon State’s identity.

‘I think we have fry sauce specifically in Utah. People really correlate that with Salt Lake City,’ [restaurant owner Gary] Roberts said. ‘Jell-O is sold in every state in the nation. You can’t say green Jell-O is synonymous with Utah.’

Nor can you say that green Jell-O is synonymous with making french fries taste totally delicious. The brilliance of fry sauce is that you get the nice spikey tomato sweetness of ketchup, but slightly mellowed out by the full, fatty, lipidtastic goodness of mayonnaise.

A little secret for people living outside of Utah: All you need to do is mix ketchup into a little side dish of mayo until things are tasting awesome, et voilà—homemade fry sauce.

Food Blog Awards

In case you missed it, the Well Fed Network announced the winners of its 2006 Food Blog Awards yesterday. Many of the winners are established food bloggers with loyal followings and indisputably smart, engaging content, like David Lebovitz, Becks & Posh, The Amateur Gourmet, and Leite’s Culinaria (though the latter is technically not a blog, and won the “best non-blogging” category). But a few of the awardees were new to me—the mouth-watering Sydney-based restaurant-review site Grab Your Fork, for one, and the mesmerizing Farmgirl Fare—and will definitely become part of my regular reading list. (Full disclosure: The Grinder was nominated for an award in the group blog category but didn’t win—the always-fantastic Slashfood did.)

In other recent blog-world news, Orangette, winner in the best-writing category, also recently joined the ranks of food bloggers with book deals. I’m psyched to read it, though I wonder how long the “narrative cookbook” wave will last. Do you have any favorites in this genre that you cook from regularly? Or are they basically coffee-table titles for you?

When Restaurant Critics Screw Up

Food writer Ryan Tate, on his blog Covers, catches Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel in a big boo-boo.

The article in question, titled “A $3,000 Taste of Vegas,” is a fairly obnoxious recounting of how Vettel has $3,000 to spend on four days of dining in Las Vegas (“I suffer for my art,” he says, making me want to smack him). According to Phil, this translates to “about $2,000 for chefs Robuchon and Savoy, and $1,000 for everybody else.”

The article is fairly vapid, doing little to deepen anyone’s knowledge or appreciation of the dining scene in Las Vegas (the takeaway: In Las Vegas, high-end dining is expensive—oh, and food critics are lucky and obnoxious). But as Tate points out, Vettel really puts his foot in his mouth when he writes that “brothers Thomas and Hubert Keller have Sin City outposts.”

That would be (American) Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se, and (French) Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys. Brothers? Amazing!

It’s hard to imagine a professional restaurant critic making such a mistake (come on, Phil. They don’t even look alike).

Perhaps he should have spent a small fraction of that $3,000 on a decent fact-checker.

Toss Your Measuring Cups

Toss Your Measuring Cups

A scale is a must-have tool for precise, consistent cooking. CHOW reviews the best. READ MORE

North Hollywood’s World of Bakeries

North Hollywood has a surprising variety of ethnic bakeries, and Das Ubergeek is your self-appointed guide:

For bolillos, you need to go to Panaderia Las Americas.

For Cuban bread and fantastic pastries, go to Porto’s.

For chorny khleb (Russian-style sour rye black bread) go to Blackjack Market.

For lavash and pita, go to Karabagh Market.

For sourdough, go to Tallyrand Restaurant, but don’t sit in any of the seats if you have clean trousers on…get the sourdough to go.

For standard pastries, go to Belwood Bakery.

For Portuguese pastries, go to Nata’s Pastries.

For Chinese-made cakes, go to Hing Lung Bakery.

For Filipino baked goods (pandesal, etc.) go to Good-Ha or the Seafood City bakery one block north of there.

For baguettes, croissants and wonderful mini-pies, go to La Spaghettata at the Studio City Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings.

If you can make it to Eagle Rock, Eagle Rock Italian Bakery is worth it.

Finally, a bit out of the way but so, so worth it is Berolina Bakery, a Swedish bakery with very, very good pastries and prinsesstarta and outstanding bread.

And for a classic kosher bakery, adds GVDub, go to Continental, where they make wonderful rye (especially onion rye) and pumpernickel as well as excellent rugelach, cookies, strudel, and even some Israeli desserts. Their chocolate babka is fab, adds Das Ubergeek, but for regular babka (non-kosher) go to Olive Marketplace; and for challah, cross the street for Sam’s.


Panaderia Las Americas [East San Fernando Valley]
15047 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City
818-893-2747
Map

Porto’s Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
3614 W. Magnolia, Hollywood Way, Burbank
818-846-9100
Map

Blackjack Market [East San Fernando Valley]
12643 Sherman Way # G, North Hollywood
818-759-7818
Map

Karabagh Market [East San Fernando Valley]
13747 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys
818-781-4411
Map

Tallyrand Restaurant [East San Fernando Valley]
1700 W. Olive Ave., Reese Place, Burbank
818-846-9904
Map

Belwood Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12634 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
818-755-8853
Map

Nata’s Pastries [East San Fernando Valley]
13317 Ventura Blvd. #D, Sherman Oaks
818-788-8050
Map

Hing Lung Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12634 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
818-755-8853
Map

Manila Good-Ha Fast Food [East San Fernando Valley]
8205 Woodman Ave. # 101, Van Nuys
818-787-1882
Map

Seafood City [East San Fernando Valley]
8231 Woodman Ave., Panorama City
818-988-872
Map

La Spaghettata [East San Fernando Valley]
at the Studio City Farmers’ Market
12001 Ventura Pl., Studio City
818-655-7744
Map

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery [Eagle Rock]
1726 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles
323-255-8224
Map

Berolina Bakery & Pastry Shop [East San Fernando Valley]
3421 Ocean View Blvd., Glendale
818-249-6506
Map

Continental Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12419 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood
818-762-5005
Map

Olive Fresh Garden Marketplace [East San Fernando Valley]
12521 Oxnard St., North Hollywood
818-985-2662
Map

Sam’s Kosher Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
12450 Burbank Blvd. # H, North Hollywood
818-769-8352
Map

Board Links

North Hollywood bakeries

Tamale Taste-Off

When a few hounds got together recently for a taste-off of tamales from across L.A., best in show was Mama’s Hot Tamales’ black mole tamale. With rich and complex black mole and moist and flavorful masa, it’s a real tamale role model.

Runners-up included:

La Indiana’s chile and cheese tamale, astounding with good rajas and a ton of gooey cheese, plus great onion and tomato flavor. It blows their dry, dull chicken tamales out of the water. (russkar claims that their best tamales are actually red pork.)

Guatemalteca’s chuchito is a Guatemalan tamale with well-seasoned chicken filling and a startling tomato sauce that seems like it should be on spaghetti, but complements the flavors really well.

La Fiesta Market’s beef tamale is chock-full of meat, and studded with peas and garbanzo beans–probably a regional variation, but hard to say whose.

La Flor de Yucatan’s colado, or Yucatecan tamale, is kind of divisive–the jello-like texture of its strained masa puts some people off, while others love the taste of the fresh tomato and epazote topping.

And Debbie W reports having a chocolate tamale at Babita–the chocolate apparently being mixed into the masa before steaming. Great stuff, says she.


Mama’s Hot Tamales Café [Downtown]
2124 W. 7th St., Los Angeles
213-487-7474
Map

La Indiana Tamales [East LA-ish]
1142 S. Indiana St., Los Angeles
323-262-4682
Map

Guatemalteca Bakery [Koreatown]
4032 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
213-382-9451
Map

La Fiesta Meat Market [South LA]
15020 Hawthorne Blvd., Lawndale
310-263-0463
Map

La Flor De Yucatan Bakery [Downtown]
1800 S. Hoover St., at Washington, Los Angeles
213-748-6090
Map

Babita [San Gabriel Valley]
1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd, South of Valley, San Gabriel
626-288-7265
Map

Board Links

The great tamale taste-off

Akbar Mashti: Easy Iranian-American Ice Cream (without an Ice Cream Maker)

rose water’s mother passed on this recipe for her “semi-homemade” version of akbar mashti, an Iranian ice cream flavored with saffron and rose water. Rose water can be an acquired taste, as it reminds some of soap, but avowed rose water-haters have scarfed this up with abandon.

The recipe:

heavy cream
grated orange zest (optional)
saffron threads
hot water
1 half gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
2 tsp. rose water

fresh pistachio slivers

Pour a 1-cm. layer of cream in a small (approx. 4×4-inch) container, stirring in a pinch of orange zest if desired, and freeze until solid. When frozen, cut into 1/2-cm. squares. Grind a large pinch of saffron to a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add 1/4 tsp. saffron to 1/4 cup hot water; the water should be a deep orange color. In a large mixing bowl, combine a few cups of ice cream, the rose water, the frozen cream chunks and some of the saffron water; stir until the color is uniform. Add more saffron water until the ice cream is sunflower yellow. Add more ice cream, more saffron water; stir. Continue until you’ve incorporated all the ice cream (combine more saffron powder and hot water if necessary to maintain the color of the ice cream). Scrape the mixture into a container and place in the freezer until it’s refrozen. Top servings with pistachio slivers.

Board Links

My Mom’s Iranian American Ice Cream

Saffron 685

rworange is excited about newly-opened Saffron 685, which serves stupendous tasties like Moroccan spiced hot cocoa (with cardamom) and french fries with saffron or balsamic aioli, as well as regular things like falafel, hummus, kebabs, etc. (lamb shawerma’s good stuff, says Benny Choi).

One of the standout items is the locally-made Turkish delight, especially the intoxicating cardamom flavor. And the house-made kanofa, a sort of shredded orange pastry full of cheese and orange blossom water and topped with pretty green chopped pistachios, is killer, even reheated in the microwave. Definitely worth checking out.


Saffron 865 [Design District]
685 Townsend St., San Francisco
415-863-2285
Map

Board Links

SF–(Townsend)–Home-made Turkish delight is delightful and so is Saffron 685