Newsletter: In the Kitchen: Cool evenings, hot grills, chilled wine

Grilling a steak

Good meat, salt, pepper and a live fire is what makes a great steak.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Fellow live-fire fans,

This is the sweetest time of summer. Near the ocean, the mornings are cool and overcast; the sun breaks through around 11 a.m. and burns clear and bright. It gets hot — not hot enough to be miserable, but just hot enough that when the cool evening breezes begin to stir you can almost feel the world exhale in relief. 

We practically live outdoors these days, and that goes for cooking, too. Throw something on the grill — meat, veggies, whatever — sit back and sip a glass of chilled rose. Hotter days are coming, but for now, Golden State, indeed.

— Russ Parsons

The myth of the marinade

Of all the many rituals associated with the art of grilling meat, there may be none so deeply held as the vital importance of the marinade. It’s almost an article of faith that a good marinade is essential to flavorful, tender meat. The truth is that much of what we believe about marinades is myth. In most cases you can do just as well, if not better, with smartly applied salt and pepper.

Veggies on fire

But why focus all of our grill love on meat? Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter has come up with six terrific ways to grill vegetables and fruits. Grilled eggplant with anchovies, garlic and rosemary? Grilled figs in a goat cheese salad? Why yes, I believe I will.

Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times

Re-inventing lunch

Jessica Koslow at Sqirl didn’t know she was starting a revolution when she started serving the brown rice bowls that have become one of her signature dishes. She just wanted a lunchtime alternative to the sandwich. Watch her assemble one of her bowls in this video, and then follow along yourself with this recipe.

Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

Spacey lettuce

Will there be salad bars on Mars? That’s still unclear, but astronauts have succeeded in growing lettuce in space. Taking the backyard vegetable-growing craze to new heights, they snacked on homegrown (well, International Space Station-grown) red romaine lettuce this week. Tasted like arugula, one astronaut said.

NASA / YouTube

Just give me one great cookie

Deathbed desserts? You can keep your elaborate constructions. For me it would probably be a really good chocolate chip cookie. Noelle Carter writes that she’s found the perfect recipe. It was hiding in plain sight — on the bag of chocolate chips.

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Straight outta Ottawa

The best cheese in America? It comes from Canada, says the American Cheese Society. Celtic Blue Reserve from Glengarry Fine Cheese in Ontario was named Best of Show from a field of almost 1,800 entries at this year’s competition. Our own Karoun Dairies in Hollywood did really well, too.

Misa Me Photography

What we’re reading:

There has been much wringing of hands over the state of the cheffing profession. But nobody’s had a funnier take than Richie Nakano writing on the blog First We Feast. Nakano, who describes himself as “the former chef/founder of Hapa Ramen, and also that dude you probably unfollowed on Twitter last year,” breaks down the life cycle of the modern professional into 10 stages.

For a more serious look at the situation, Kristin Hunt in Thrillist talks to eight former chefs about what they loved about their jobs and why they finally had to leave. 

Check out the thousands of recipes on our Recipe Database


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