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Pasta with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

Apr 07, 2011
thedragonlady in Recipes

Coconut Lopez Cake

Thank you for the links, Grey! The label on the cake that I was served said "Coconut" but when I went to do a search, I found many "Coco" Lopez titles amongst the Coconut ones. Thanks again for clearing that up for me, maybe now I'll have better luck with my search.

Coconut Lopez Cake

Strange scenario: I scored Los Angeles Dodgers Luxury Suite passes for a game last Friday. One of the many delicious amenities was a dessert cart that stopped by every suite which offered a rich selection of cakes and cookies. Passing on the S'mores cake, carrot cake etc , I decided to go with a luscious never heard of before Coconut Lopez Cake. I was so happy with my selection and now I can't get the damn thing out of my head. This cake in particular had an incredibly moist yellow cake base (soaked Tres Leches-style with Coconut Lopez cream of coconut), a dense (not too sweet) coconut filling, a thin layer of pineapple and of course frosted in coconut frosting and coconut flakes. I'm not a coconut fanatic, nor is cake a regular dessert choice of mine, but this was one cake that surprised me and I'd love to find out where to find it. I should have asked the suite attendants where Dodger stadium orders them from...but since I didn't, does anyone know where in Los Angeles makes the best Coconut Lopez Cake? I've perused the internet for information, but all I seem to find are recipes. Someday when I become a better (or rather more patient) baker, I'll brave the recipe. Until then...any thoughts?

Explain why Senor Fish doesn't get more love here.

Yes, we haven't personally tested the BYOB thing since just before they got their license and now that we don't live in the Eagle Rock area anymore, gone are the days of our summer afternoon Senor Fish tradition. But that's what was so great about Senor Fish in the first place. We thought the food was pretty good...maybe not awesome...but when you're able to show up with a decent amount of good beer, you could almost say that a nice buzz has the ability to buffer the palate. (The same goes with The Kitchen, now that I think about it.) Maybe the expense of acquiring a beer and wine license took away from the quality in other areas? If so, that's a shame.

Explain why Senor Fish doesn't get more love here.

I haven't been to Senor Fish in many, many moons. I used to order the seafood enchiladas or the fish taco plate (sometimes the sampler plate depending on the selection). We used to love the BYOB aspect tied into the outdoor dining thing (Eagle Rock location, specifically), but could anyone comment on the BYOB rules since they've since acquired their own beer/wine license? Is it just like going to The Kitchen (Silverlake) where you'd often get a whiff of their disapproval when you bust out your own bottle of Cab? Senor Fish's food tastes much MUCH better with a store-bought sixer of Pacifico. I'm just sayin'..

Need a sure thing celebrity spotting restaurant

I work at a hair salon near 3rd and Crescent Heights (just between The Grove and Beverly Center.) I always have star sightings at "Little Next Door" (a charcuterie/ boulangerie/patisserie/restaurant) whenever I walk to my car. They serve fresh and organic Mediterranean-French faire, and is a much lighter choice than their sister restaurant "Little Door" which is right next to them (but is only open for dinner). Over the course of the year I've spotted John Mayer with his belle du jour, Denzel Washington and most recently Kate Bosworth. It's a much toned down spot than Ivy because it's located on LA's up and coming 3rd street so the ambiance is less, how should I say...anticipatory? I think most people (celebrities included) go to Ivy because they know people like to see and be seen. Little Next Door is the spot where people can actually eat something without tons of paparazzi and oglers hovering over their table. When you're done, take a walk to Joan's On Third (just blocks away) and you'll spot another celebrity lunching crowd. Both places have great food (Joan's might be better menu-wise), but the ambiance of Little Next Door and it's beautiful blue patio under a halo of Christmas lights has that quintessential upscale French thing going on. Both places are open in the evening, but most celebs are easier to spot during daylight...or under the glow of a well-lit patio:)

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

So THAT'S where that came from! My mom was known for her legendary Bacardi Rum cakes and she eventually passed on (unloaded is more like it) the tradition of making a few every Christmas to me. Now I'm the one who makes them all the time for friends during the holidays, I can make them in my sleep. I've always known how delicious Bacardi Rum cakes are, but after baking them for so many years I don't get that excited about them anymore.

Oct 08, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

You guys are right about some of these kitschy foods being from the 60's more so than the 70's or 80's, but those were some of the things I remember being on the table at the time. I guess my mom and her friends were just trying to keep their favorite party foods alive...but they sure bring back some delicious (far be it from sophisticated) memories!

Oct 06, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Iced coffee

I love coffee both hot and cold, depending on time of day and/or time of year. I've been making iced coffee the "normal" way, which is with my coffee maker and a large pitcher to store it in inside the fridge. I also pour what's left from my morning's pot into this vessel and at the end of the week, I'll have a stash of iced coffee when it's not convenient to make a fresh pot of hot. I figured this is how everyone made iced coffee until I read an interesting article in either Bon Appetit or Gourmet Magazine which highlighted Portland, Oregon's well-known Stumptown Coffee (which I've been to and LOVED) about how to make the perfect batch of iced coffee with not HOT water, but with COLD water and a French press. I don't recall the measurements, although I assume it's the same as if you were brewing hot (1-2 Tbsp grounds to 6 oz water), and all you do is combine freshly ground beans and your cold water in the French press and give it a stir (grounds will not dissolve or turn water into coffee right away). After letting it sit out at room temperature for at least 12 hours, give it another stir, insert the press and slowly push down to discover that in those 12 or so hours, the grounds have steeped and produced a fine batch of cold brewed coffee. The article also stated that cold brewing eliminates that noticeable acidity that certain beans sometimes give off (and possibly the acidity that you despise in the hot version) and you're left with a smooth and velvety concoction ready to be poured over ice. I hope this helps!

Oct 06, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

Awesome ideas, everyone!!! Thank you! We're going to have so much fun with this menu. The glutton inside of me is almost prompted to invite MORE people just to increase the variety of dishes. I also have a feeling that you Chowhounds are enjoying this trip down memory lane. Thanks to ALL of you and keep 'em coming!

Oct 05, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

GREAT link! Thank you, Greygarious.

Oct 05, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

*gasp* I've had that before! I never knew it had a name...but the version I had contained a can of fruit cocktail instead of the pineapple. It seemed odd, but the pastel green pistachio pudding really set it off. Looks godawful, but it was super yummy.

Oct 05, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Flashback: Menu ideas for 70's/80's potluck. Tupperware optional.

I'm helping to plan a friend's Birthday party and we're having it themed around the types of party foods we grew up with at our own parent's dinner parties. Fondue, meatballs in ketchup and grape jelly, vienna sausages, pigs in a blanket, jello-molds and deviled eggs are the only things that come to mind right now. I'm drawing a blank and I refuse to make rumaki. Keep in mind we'll have a couple of vegetarian friends and I'd like for them to eat more than Chex-mix and french onion dip. Any suggestions would be great!

Oct 05, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Lovely Wedding Spot in Wine Country

I went my cousin's wedding in Sonoma last year. They rented out a beautiful space at a place called Conerstone Gardens. It's in the middle of all the vineyards, but is not an actual vineyard. It was absolutely amazing and the staff was wonderful. Everyone had a great time, nothing went wrong (except for a few distasteful DJ selections on the dancefloor) and entire the garden itself was really beautful. My cousin was married outside on the lawn and after everyone enjoyed cocktails and appetizers (passed tray) in the garden. Dinner was served under a huge spectacular tent (and being that the bride was Japanese, she had 1,000 oragami paper cranes dangling from the ceiling...so amazing) and dancing commenced afterward in the barn. You could tell it was a magical night for both bride and groom. Cornerstone Gardens has their own website, but their photos don't really do it justice. Check out the link that I found below or google them and see what you find. Good luck and congratulations!

http://www.projectwedding.com/vendor/...

Spicy Sesame Mayo

I've made something like this before after having a sushi restaurant's version of a Dynomite Roll. They topped spicy tuna with a spicy mayo and put it under the broiler for a few seconds to "melt" it. Although it was simple, it was also pretty amazing and it inspired me to think of other foods to use the spicy mayo with. My version uses Japanese mayo (even though regular may works just the same) a little sesame oil, sriracha and (after visually studying the orange specs in the restaurant's version of their spicy mayo) a generous teaspoon or so of "Shichimi Togarashi" (Japanese chili powder that you find on the table at most Japanese restaurants). I found that the powder adds a little spicy 'brightness' to the mayo because the Shichimi contains roasted orange peel in addition to 2 or 3 different chili powders. Make a little extra and use it for any kind of sandwich, dip steamed asparagus in it or top it on fish before you stick it under the broiler. YUM.

Sep 26, 2009
thedragonlady in Recipes

best bran muffin recipe

I, too, am ISO of a great bran muffin recipe. I just found La Brea Bakery's recipe (adapted from Nancy Silverton's "Pastries from La Brea Bakery" cookbook) and plan on testing it out this week. Anyone have any experience with this recipe? I'll let you know how it goes. The worse thing that could happen is that they're boring and we eat them all anyway.

********************************************************************************************************
Bran Muffins
Makes 12
Adapted from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton

2 cup (125g) wheat bran
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup (190g total) dark raisins
1 cup, plus 1/2 (370ml total) cup water
1/2 cup (120g) buttermilk or plain low- or non-fat yogurt
a few swipes of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
1/2 cup (105g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (65g) flour
1/4 cup (35g) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin (with 1/2-cup indentations) with paper liners.
2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.
3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1/2 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, buttermilk or yogurt, 1 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar.
5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.
6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup (55g) raisins.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.

Sep 21, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Quintessential Peruvian food

My first delicious experience with Peruvian food occurred at a place called Natalie Peruvian (next to my favorite spot Yai) in Thai Town. I immediately fell in love with the familiarity of it's Asian and South/Central American influences. There's a complexity in it's flavor combination without any heaviness and the meal made such an impression on me. Does anyone have any information about Peru's culinary origins and other restaurants in LA worth visiting? I'd also love to recreate some of the dishes at home...is there a specific direction I should take in regards my pantry? Thanks!

Sep 16, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Ginger-Infused Vodka

Sounds so delicious! Any tips on what to mix with other than sodawater?

Sep 16, 2009
thedragonlady in Recipes

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

My mom and her sisters have this recipe called "Pretzel Jell-o." Have you heard of it? It's a layered dessert made up of pretzels, creamed cheese and (you guessed it) Jell-o. As a kid I loved this dessert (still do!) because my job was to break up 3 cups of pretzel sticks into small pieces. Then you spread the pretzels in a 9x13" pan, pour melted butter over it and bake for 20 minutes. That was the crust. Then you mix sugar and creamed cheese and carefully spread it over the cooled crust. The last layer was strawberry jello dissolved in pineapple juice and 2 boxes of defrosted strawberries. You then pour it over the well-chilled creamed cheese layer. After you let it set overnight, you're left with a sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy Jell-o dessert my mom and her sisters loved making for family gatherings. When I first described it to people, they looked at me like I was crazy! But after I made it for them...they quickly changed their opinion. Now I don't even tell people what it is, I just make them eat it before they make up their minds! Sometimes the best things are made up of the oddest combination of ingredients:)

Sep 15, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

Like all of my older cousins, I spent a good chunk of my childhood at my Filipino grandparents afterschool. My grandma "Lula" (who passed just last year) used to make a dish she called "Torta," (only she pronounced it "thort-tah," so maybe I have the spelling wrong?) It was this simple and homey concoction of ground beef, diced potatoes, diced onions and a half tomato (for moistness) and she'd cook it all together, seasoned with soy sauce and maybe a little patis (Filipino fish sauce). Then she'd set it aside and in another pan she'd make a huge omelette and somehow invert the dish so that the egg sat on top of the ground beef mixture like a casserole. To serve it, she'd scoop out a wedge of Torta and place it right on top of steamed rice. I've asked other Filipino friends about this dish and it's definitely not high on the register like Lumpia or Pancit, so I'm led to believe that she just used whatever was in her pantry to feed us kids. I love making Torta in my own home and I think of my Lula every time I do. I've impressed friends with the delicious simplicity of it's ingredients. Now that I'm a pescatarian, I've substituted the ground beef with Yves ground soy meat and it's just as good as when I was a kid. Even my boyfriend doesn't know that it's not real meat. There's another version where Lula omits the egg part but adds water to the ground beef mixture to make a gravy, thickes with cornstarch and adds a litlte more soy sauce. Serve it over rice with the extra gravy and you've got my heart. Thanks, Lula.

Sep 14, 2009
thedragonlady in Home Cooking

Very Blueberry Muffins

I made these this past weekend. Wanted to use up my expired (but definitely NOT spoiled) buttermilk so I doubled the recipe. Didn't have butter so I subbed a cup of oil instead and eyeballed the salt to about 1 tsp. Muffins came out cakey and flavorful! I even think they improved the next day! I'm keeping them in a large tupperware in the fridge, perfect for splitting open and popping in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Lemon or orange zest might find it's way into the next batch. Delicious.

Sep 14, 2009
thedragonlady in Recipes