In the kitchen: Blood oranges, foie gras and our California Cookbook

Dear Readers:

Starting today, every Wednesday we will bring you tips and ideas about how to cook at your home, including my recommendations on using the best seasonal produce. After all, each fruit, each vegetable has a ripe time of year. Together with my colleagues, we plan to give you an inside look at what's coming out of our Test Kitchen. We hope that will inspire the dishes you make in your kitchen. Then, on Saturdays, Jonathan Gold and the Food staff will share our report on the Southern California dining scene.

Russ Parsons

A fruit the color of rubies

Looking for a little drama on your dinner plate? Blood oranges, with their vivid crimson color are almost impossibly beautiful. And they’ve got terrific flavor too. Here’s one quick idea: Serve them in a salad tossed with shaved fennel and black olives and just a little olive oil. It’s a classic. And we’ve got dozens more.

Learning to cook foie gras pop tarts 

Is it possible to eat too much foie gras? Not with restaurant portions, probably, but if you’re cooking it yourself, Jenn Harris finds, you can get pretty full pretty fast. She took a cooking class in foie gras with the redoubtable Eric Greenspan (Greenspan's Grilled Cheese) and Rose Lawrence (Red Bread). Four hours and four courses (including a foie gras pop tart) later, she cried uncle.

Remember: Some farmers markets are a lifeline 

We tend to think of farmers markets today as places where famous chefs shop for rare ingredients, but for many of Los Angeles’ small to mid-sized markets, it’s another clientele entirely that keeps them going. Customers paying with hunger benefits — food stamps — make up more than half the revenue at some markets.

Got cooking questions? We've got answers

Whom do you turn to when you need advice about cooking questions? Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter, of course. What’s the best way to store chocolate? She’s got the answer (and a great recipe).

On the other hand, maybe you’re wondering about the best way to get that deeply embedded grit out of leeks. Let her show you how in this video

Or maybe you just feel like making doughnuts (and who doesn’t?). She’s got a half-dozen recipes for great ones. Buttermilk doughnuts with chocolate glaze anyone?

Easy dinner recipe of the week

Best tuna sandwich ever? Make it and let us know: La Grande Orange's tuna salad sandwich

California Cookbook

Here's a look at the three top-rated recipes among the thousands in our recipes database:

1) Smoked Gouda mac 'n' cheese  

2) Madonna Inn's carrot cake     

3) Shaker lemon pie


Let us know what you're looking for to help you become a better cook. Email me at