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Om curry with dill from LAcha Somtum in Thai Town.

I attended a highly educational and also highly entertaining Zocalo Public Square lecture about food fads on Monday, with journalist David Sax of The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue, and it got me thinking about foods that could easily become trendy. My fellow home-cook brother and I exchanged a few emails about it, and here’s my list.

My brother and I are both a little obsessed. Miso, MSG, and fish sauce have all had their moments in the food media spotlight as ways to add flavor, umami, and saltiness to food, so, we wondered, why not one of the most ubiquitous of Korean condiments? Among foodies, it’s not for lack of trying. Gochujang — also known as hot pepper paste or red chili paste or some combination thereof — is a thick, sticky paste of red chilis, sweet rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It’s been in (near constant) use in Korea for about 500 years, since trade routes opened up in the far east, and it is traditionally fermented in the sun. To me, it’s equal parts sweet, salty, and spicy, felt in that order. Some ascribe a fermented stink to it, but I don’t get it. It’s no kimchee. Read the rest of this entry »


Of all of the reasons why I was excited to move to Los Angeles this summer, my boyfriend was at the top of the list.

Getting to cook, finally, was just below him, followed by having someone to cook for.

Below that, being able to drive my convertible around again, ie to discount specialty, and specialty, grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

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Deviled egg at Red Hook’s Fort Defiance

Informed by friends, the New Yorker, Manhattan Users Guide, Off Manhattan, the Times, and the Voice, and attracted by its calmness, eccentricity, and affordability, I spend a lot of weekends in Brooklyn. This walking tour is composed of three consecutive Saturdays in spring, one with my mom, and I hope you enjoy.

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