In the Kitchen: Noelle shows you how to rock lobster

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Hello fellow cooks,

In this week’s newsletter, we’ll solve three of your most pressing problems, turn you on to a couple of good flicks, teach you how to treat a lobster and get you started on the path to a perfect spaghetti carbonara.

— Russ Parsons

Finding a great spaghetti

I’ll bet if you surveyed the cupboards in most kitchens in Southern California, one of the foods you’d find most often would be dried spaghetti. Given a good noodle, a great weeknight dinner is 90% guaranteed. But which noodle? We did a taste test to determine which of the supermarket brands of spaghetti were best. The results were interesting, and we even found a gluten-free version that worked quite well.

What do you fix once you’ve caught your perfect spaghetti? Carbonara, of course. All you need is eggs, cheese and some kind of pork product — guanciale, pancetta or even bacon. And, of course, that perfect cook’s touch so the sauce comes out creamy, not curdled or raw. Here’s how you do it.

Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Rotisserie chicken to the rescue

Still stumped for a weeknight dinner? Pick up one of those rotisserie chickens at the supermarket. They’re usually not quite good enough to serve on their own, but they’re perfectly fine to be used as an ingredient in a dish. We’ve got 25 ideas to get you started.

2015’s best cookbooks

Another problem many cooks share is that we just don’t have enough cookbooks on our shelves. Well, maybe we do, but there’s always room for more, if they're the right ones. We can help with that too. The James Beard Foundation cookbook awards were announced this weekend, so it’s time to find out what you’re missing and go on a shopping spree. 

Bret Hartman / Los Angeles Times

Are you ready for lobster time?

Lobster used to be one of the hallmarks of luxury. But over the last few years, the prices from the East Coast have been falling dramatically. So with summer’s lobster season right around the corner, Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter is here with a video of some tips on how to handle them.

Jim Choi

Fact flicks feature fabulous fruit folks

Two of our all-time favorite fruit people — Frieda Caplan and Mas Masumoto — are featured in a pair of documentaries that are screening this week. Caplan is the 90-something who introduced America to the kiwi fruit (among many others). Masumoto is a legendary peach farmer. 

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Cheer the un-humble spud

Finally, most people aren’t going to get too excited about potatoes. That’s their mistake, particularly when we’re talking about the ones that have recently come out of the ground this spring. Here are a dozen recipes to convince you that the spud deserves a starring role. 


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