WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUPPER CLUB: Irish Potluck Edition

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Exciting news: not only is today the birthday of Kathy Ireland, but it’s also the launch date of a new feature on this blog: Wednesday Night Supper Club. One part Adventures in Domesticity and one part Things I Ate, the Wednesday Night Supper Club will detail the latest meals of my Wednesday night dining crew, also known as — you guessed it — the Wednesday Night Supper Club.

A little bit of backstory: Continue reading

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THINGS I ATE: Pizza, Cannoli, and Other Decadent Things at DeSano Pizza Bakery

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With the Super Bowl marking the end of football season two weeks ago, I made a pledge to eat healthy for a month and forgo all those carby, fatty meals that had littered my January and February. Dare I say it — I even declared that I would try paleo. Yes, paleo: that utterly annoying eat-like-a-caveman diet that everyone seems to do and love/hate. This was going to be the newer, Stone Age-ier Ben, and with any luck, I might even develop the early tracings of an ab or two.

Naturally, none of this happened.

That’s probably a good thing because otherwise I would have had to have declined the invitation for a media-comped lunch at the newly opened DeSano Pizza Bakery in East Hollywood. With pizza, calzones, gelato, and cannoli on the menu, I can assure you that this burgeoning eatery is not the destination for dieters hoping to embrace their inner Australopithecus. (And whoa, “Australopithecus” wasn’t flagged by spell check. But cannoli was. I don’t understand this world).

After the jump, check out pics of lunch at DeSano Pizza Bakery.

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THINGS I ATE: A Whole Bunch of Good Stuff

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Over the past several months, I’ve been snapping pictures of food with the intention of writing about it on this blog. Now it’s December 31st, and I have a small backlog of meals to share. Rather than generate a post for each one, I’m just going to dump the photos here.

Long story short: all this food was good, and if you find yourself in LA, be sure to try these restaurants out. Continue reading

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Food & Wine Edition

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I’ve become a bit of a cookbook hoarder over the past few months, which is not always a great thing as I feel perpetually guilty for not actually cooking from a majority of my new purchases. Making matters worse is that I now have a subscription to Food & Wine magazine, which adds another heap of recipes to my wish list every month. Clearly this is a dire situation. Perhaps the most dire situation known to man.

Anyway, not too long ago I decided to actually put my Food & Wine to the test and try out two recipes: Chicken Salad with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing and White Anchovy and Grilled Radicchio Bread Salad. Pictures after the jump:

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“Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles” Is The Best

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I don’t often review things for Amazon, but I felt compelled to write up something about my friend Cathy Chaplin‘s new book, Food Lovers’ Guide To Los Angeles because I loved it so much (and I’m not just saying that because Cathy is a friend). Anyway, I figured rather than write a whole new entry here on the blog, I might as well just share my review.

After the jump, check out my thoughts on Cathy’s book. Spoiler alert: I approve.

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grilled Chicken Salad Edition

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Most of my Adventures in Domesticity this year have been focused on Rick Bayless’s recipes from Mexican Everyday, which has surprisingly become my go-to cookbook for weeknight dinners. This is particularly surprising, given that as a child the only thing I would eat at Mexican restaurants was cheese-and-bean dip (hold the beans). Two thumbs up for personal growth.

Nevertheless, I keep returning to Mexican Everyday because not only are the recipes easy, but relatively healthy too. And did I mention tasty? (Actually, I didn’t — as evidenced by my choice in adjectives in the previous sentence) Anyway, I’ve delved into several of the book’s recipes by now, even ones that appear to be mundane, like Bayless’s grilled chicken salad. His version involves guacamole, which already puts it way ahead of most other salads out there in the world.

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: When Bad Things Happen To Good Peppers

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Not all my Adventures in Domesticity are winners. Take, for example, this very simple stuffed pepper recipe from Martha Stewart’s website. It calls for bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, basil, ground pepper, and olive oil. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

A few pics after the jump… Continue reading

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Broccoli with Rice Noodles

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Thai food can be a thing of beauty. Ugh, what a pretentious opening line. But it’s true. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, thanks in part to the bold, zingy flavors that often include lime juice, fish sauce, and a billion other spices mashed together into a curry paste. I already have two cookbooks (famously documented here) that do a great job of translating Thai food to the home kitchen. One would think I wouldn’t need to venture any further for a decent homemade curry. However, I noticed a curious recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: purple sprouting broccoli with rice noodles.

The “method” called for a Thai-influenced spice paste, which would then be added to coconut milk and used to form a curry. I was highly intrigued by it all, but also hesitant: Ottolengh, after all, is an Israeli-born chef currently residing in Britain. The pedigree doesn’t exactly scream Thai authority. But who knows? Maybe it should.

After the jump, check out my pics of this grand experiment…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grape Leaf, Herb, and Yogurt Pie Edition

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In general, I try to cook healthy these days. Long gone are my weekly experimentations with ice cream recipes and chocolate cake indulgences. I’m not saying those things won’t come back, but after seeing some pics of me toward the end of 2012, I realized I needed to do a few more healthy things for myself. One helpful strategy has been cutting down on desserts (at least making them — I still find myself trotting out to the local frozen yogurt shop more often than I’d like to admit). Another helpful approach has been incorporating a few more vegetarian meals into the mix. Now, I’m still a through and through meat eater, but the occasional vegetable-based entrée can really go a long way.

Of course, not all vegetarian recipes are automatically healthy, and that’s probably the case with the Grape leaf, herb and yogurt pie I made from Yotam Ottolenghi’s famous vegetarian book, Plenty. This savory, Turkish-inspired dish is chock full of yogurt, but a little dairy never killed anyone, right? Right?

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Chard Frittata Edition

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This blog has been pretty quiet since the end of Big Brother season, and that’s mainly due to my need to focus on some other writing projects. As much as I love blogging, it’s a beast that is never satisfied — much like Candy Crush Saga. And like that beguiling iPhone game, I’ve found that at times the only way for me to be productive in my life is to shut it down altogether. However, while I’ve been on a blogging hiatus, I haven’t stopped cooking. In fact, I’ve been cooking heaps of dishes, thanks to this new compulsion I have to buy cookbooks ALL THE TIME. I’ve acquired over ten such books over the past six months, and yet I’m still not fulfilled. So basically what we’re learning in this opening paragraph is that I clearly have some sort of addictive personality disorder, which takes the form of blogging, Candy Crush, and cookbook wanting.

Fine. I’m okay with that. It’s not like I’m on heroin. (OR AM I?) The point is that I have a lot of new cookbooks to play with, not to mention a bunch of old ones that have yet to be fully explored. This recipe actually hails from the latter category — a simple frittata from the brain of minimalist cook, Mark Bittman. It’s basically chard, eggs, and cheese. But is it delicious? Check out the pics after the jump…

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