In Southern California, we're spoiled with the incredible local produce. Take the sheer varieties of avocados. We share tips for buying, as well as recipes -- and we're not just talking guacamole.
And while California is known for its Pinot Noir, our neighbor to the north also produces some incredible wine, when the weather is cooperative. We may have forgotten what rain looks like, but weather played a big part in Oregon's 2013 production. Still, there are some good wines to be found.
We've also spotted some fun new books on the market, including two you'll want for the beer geek in your life, as well as a definitive book on sauces for your budding saucier. Finally, we found a cool camera app to make your food -- and beverage -- photos social media-worthy. Because sometimes it seems as though dinner doesn't happen unless you post it on Instagram.
— Noelle Carter
California avocados are in season
Locally grown California avocados typically begin showing up around February, and in addition to the more common Hass and Fuertes varieties, you can now spot creamy Pinkertons, smooth, oval Bacons and mild-flavored and shiny, yellow-green Zutano avocados in your local farmers markets. It's one thing to spot them, but it's a whole other thing to use them. We've pulled six of our favorite avocado recipes from our database, including an excellent roasted carrot and avocado dish from Huckleberry in Santa Monica.
Three 2013 Oregon Pinot Noirs you'll want to try
Rains may have forced critical decisions in the 2013 harvest of Oregon Pinot Noir, and, the state doesn't have the consistent vintages as does California. Still, wine writer Patrick Comisky has found three wines from the 2013 vintage you'll want to try, including Adelsheim Winery Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir, which he describes as "lithe and racy in its raspberry-inflected flavors, but the lasting impression is one of momentum, driven by a lively acidity."
Two books will turn you into the ultimate beer geek
Beer writer John Verive shares two books perfect for any beer lover. "Beer Pairing: the Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros" by craft beer experts Julia Herz and Gwen Conley blend science, practice and inspiration into the perfect guide for marrying food and beer. And you may know Jennifer McLagan for her books tackling perhaps less-glamorous food subjects such as "Fat," "Bones" and "Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal." In her latest book, "Bitter," she explores the assertive flavoring from a number of angles, with recipes. Of course, there is a chapter on bitter drinks, which includes beer. If nothing else, you'll want this book for the beer soup recipe.
Take your sauce game to the next level
Be it a fancy French emulsion or a simple home gravy, sauce is intrinsic to so many cuisines, and integral to so many dishes. Not to mention comforting. In "Mastering Sauces," Susan Volland blends science, tips, techniques and homey prose -- along with more than 150 recipes -- in an excellent and comprehensive volume on sauce-making for both the advanced and beginning cook.
You'll want this app for your food photos
You no longer have be ashamed of your food photos with this app. The appropriately-named "Foodie" app from Line promises to make all of your photographs social media-worthy, complete with filters, special effects and a feature meant to help you choose the best angle. The app is free and is available for both iPhone and Android, Deputy Food editor Jenn Harris reports.
6 great roast chicken recipes
Because you can never have too many good recipes for roast chicken, we've combed through our database for six of our favorites, including J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Peruvian roast chicken, a roast chicken with preserved lemon from Sam and Sam Clark of Moro restaurant in London, and even grilled "brick" chicken to take your cooking outdoors.
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