Sunday, February 7, 2016


The time the mosquito got trapped in the car on the way back from the Shore, feasting on the kids who were pinned down by the luggage stacked on their laps.
Although this dish looks like something you've tasted before, the combination of Chinese five-spice powder and a garlicky ginger-scallion topping makes it altogether different.
Congee isn't so much a recipe as it is a state of mind. The simple rice porridge, popular by one name or another over most of Asia, is both comfort food and blank canvas, a delivery mechanism for warmth and solace and nutrition all at once. So when chef Tin Vuong opened his second Little Sister restaurant, in downtown Los Angeles, and decided to serve breakfast along with his plates of lemongrass beef and salt cod fried rice, congee went on the menu.
This is fast and easy fish with an exotic flair. Find ground sumac at Mediterranean markets. Serve with rice.
As darkness crept over East Falls on a recent night, Meagan Benz and Shannon Roche arrived at their subleased commissary kitchen and unfolded a sprawling order list: oversize corn muffins, rich brownies, chewy peanut butter cookies, zucchini bread, chip-wiches, and "banana split" cupcakes, made of banana cake topped with frosting, chocolate drizzle, sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry.
As we finish off the first week of 2016, healthy-eating resolutions are starting to formulate faster than you can swing into the drive-through. As statistics show, about 25 percent of resolution-setters won't see their goals survive beyond a mere seven days. Why? Doughnuts are up early offering breakfast. Takeout is calling your name, and a bowl of ice cream wants your attention after dinner. Temptations are everywhere.
Eighteen years ago, I met my future mother-in-law in a Grand Rapids, Mich., hospital room shortly after she had received a diagnosis of celiac sprue, then a little-known autoimmune condition. No one seemed to have heard of celiac, or gluten intolerance, or even gluten, and each time she visited a restaurant, she had to carry a card explaining what she couldn't eat. Even so, she never knew when she would find herself in serious trouble thanks to an undisclosed ingredient.