Russ Parsons: The California Cook

Russ Parsons: The California Cook

Grain salad convert sings the praises of quinoa, farro and couscous

The California Cook: A grain salad convert spreads the news on dishes made with quinoa, farro, barley and couscous. Some tips and ideas.

Thomas Keller's French Laundry marks 20 years of chasing perfection

As the French Laundry in Napa Valley turns 20, a look at chef Thomas Keller's life-changing perfectionism.

How to cruise a farmers market like a pro

The California Cook: For those of you who are only occasional visitors to farmers markets, here's a primer on how to get the most out of them. And even those of you who are already regulars might pick up a tip or two.

The unappreciated glories of rice salad

Rice salads are light and full of interesting flavors and textures. And they're almost infinitely flexible. Given a little thought, you can probably make something delicious from whatever ingredients you have on hand right now.

Gardening skill doesn't live up to cooking talent

gardening cook

Hard-boiled eggs: OK, we tried it your way. But my way wins again.

The California Cook: The perfect hard-boiled egg should have firm but creamy whites, a set and orange yolk, and no green ring.

Farmers market favorite arrested in stolen fish case

Farmers market favorite arrested in stolen fish case

Shopping for sustainable food in the L.A. area

Community Seafood, Grist & Toll, Good Eggs and Belcampo offer ways to get sustainable food.

Mystery is the spice of life, or is it vice versa?

The California Cook: A weekend weeding through shelves of salts, peppers and countless herbs in tins and pouches raises a question: Where did all this stuff come from?

Inspired by an affection for asparagus

The California Cook: Zuckerman's Farms jumbo asparagus spears are best, but with so many ways to prepare the spring vegetable, there's no reason to set limits.

The canned catch of the day: Sardines

The California Cook: What's more delicious than a good canned sardine? Try them on toast with chermoula or in a simple pasta.

Broccoli, cauliflower deserve the soft touch

California Cook: Defy convention and cook broccoli and cauliflower a little longer for a surprising difference in flavor.

Seven steps to becoming a better cook

The California Cook: Seven steps that will make you a better cook. Step 1: Pay attention.

You say chilaquiles, I say migas. Either way, it's a tradition

Breakfast cooking: He calls them migas, his daughter thinks they're chilaquiles. Either way, this egg dish is good year-round.

Homemade charcuterie made easy with rillettes and terrines

The California Cook: Spiced pork terrine is an easy step into homemade charcuterie, and it's great to have on hand for holiday season guests.

Lasagna: A delicious project for a Sunday afternoon

The California Cook: Lasagna is a delicious project for a Sunday afternoon. And there are so many ways to make it your own.

Despite its looks, don't chintz on the quince

The California Cook: With quince, appearances can be deceiving. With a little attention, the fall fruit can add its sweet, spicy flavor to many dishes.

What to do when zucchini gets away from you

The California Cook: When zucchini grow to monster proportions, tame them by stuffing and baking.

Creamy burrata embraces the season's fresh flavors


Granita is a laid-back, chill treat

Granita is easy to make. Here's how to make granita with flavors including coffee and peach.

Jam session with Jessica Koslow of Sqirl

Jam session with Jessica Koslow of Sqirl starts with a batch of Blenheim apricots

Deviled eggs: Easy to make and fun to experiment with

California Cook: Deviled eggs are showing up more on restaurant menus in L.A. and beyond. They're easy to make, and a basic recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes.

Beat the summer heat with a refreshing cold soup

From gazpacho to a tart dairy soup, few dishes are more satisfying on a hot summer's day. Serve as an appetizer or a light dinner.

The California Cook: Training day with the Lakers' Gary Vitti

Lakers trainer Gary Vitti moves like a pro in his indoor-outdoor kitchen

The California Cook: A school of anchovies

A tray of fresh anchovies brings out ideas on salting and recipes

The California Cook: Glazing, what good vegetables deserve

The essential skill of glazing vegetables

The California Cook: From dregs to delicious

Italian broth from Parmesan rinds is an example of how a good cook can turn even refrigerator dregs into something delicious.

Peel away the complications of the perfect hard-boiled egg

How to make a hard-boiled egg easier to peel. A well-boiled egg can be hard to peel. But we've cracked the case.

The California Cook: Citrus in salads, while you wait for tomatoes

Citrus can sub in salads when tomatoes aren't in season

The California Cook: Let artichoke possibilities flower

Artichokes can be so much more than big, steamed hubcaps

The California Cook: Easier polenta, inspired weekends

With an easier polenta technique, weekend creativity takes off.

The California Cook: Elevating the lowly lentil

Consider the rich possibilities of the lowly lentil: The California Cook

The California Cook: Basic dishes a couple can build on

California Cook Russ Parsons is asked by a young couple about cooking. Focusing on basic structure rather than recipes, there's room for them to improvise.

The California Cook: Dungeness crab purist gives grilling it a go

A Dungeness crab purist gives grilling it a go after tasting grilled Dungeness crab at Russell Moore's Camino restaurant in Oakland.

The California Cook: There's oatmeal, and then there's oatmeal

Rolled oats are fine for cookies and granola, but for hot cereal, steel-cut oats are best. Times Food Editor Russ Parsons shares his technique, with room for options.

The California Cook: Curious about Mom's Epicurious recipe

Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons tries to track down the origin of his mother's famous cranberry recipe. It's a sweet, tart memory journey.

The California Cook: After 30 years, basic training in rice

Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons finds, with the help of cookbook writer Yotam Ottolenghi, that the way he'd been making rice for 30 years was just so wrong.

The California Cook: Green chile enchantment

Green chile roasts bring a bit of New Mexico fall tradition to Southern California.

The California Cook: Zucchini is a versatile star of summer

Zucchini can be used in a variety of tasty summertime dishes. Here are some quick ideas.

Melons play more than sweet melodies

Melons can be more than a sweet dish for summer. Combining watermelon with feta makes a refreshing salad, and cantaloupe with smoked chicken is delicious with a dose of ground pepper.

'The Art of Cooking With Vegetables' by Alain Passard is a keeper

Alain Passard's' 'The Art of Cooking With Vegetables' shows how simple techniques and ingredients can yield wonderful results: The California Cook.

The California Cook: Cracking the code of panna cotta

Panna cotta perfection comes down to three factors: the jiggle, the cream and the sweetness.

The California Cook: Two cookies that go well with fruit

Two favorite cookie recipes, almond macaroons and snickerdoodles, can turn a luscious fresh fruit into a memorable dessert course.

Cooking hard-boiled eggs, the right way

It seems everyone's method of cooking a hard-boiled egg is the best way. But here's one that really is.

The California Cook: Getting creative with citrus

Now that citrus trees are raining down bushels in Southern California, it's time to peel, slice, squeeze and experiment.

The California Cook: Kale in a salad? Yes

To make raw kale perfect for salads, give it a good rubdown.

California Cook: Pancakes made from ground oatmeal, wild rice

A Minnesota restaurant spurs the columnist to tweak a favorite pancake recipe.

The California Cook: Cookbooks that bring comfort

Rare, signed or well-used cookbooks are as much a part of his kitchen as pots and pans.

California Cook: Finally — it's bean season

With fall in the air, at least one chef's thoughts turn to a warm and satisfying meal of this low-fat, high-fiber food. And he's got a soaking tip too.

The California Cook: Chapter and verse on better cooking

Two new books can assist people with kitchen aspirations, from a solid steeping in the basics ('How to Boil Water') to next-level practitioners ('Ruhlman's Twenty').

The California Cook: A bruschetta bar: bread, toppings, eat

A bruschetta bar can liven your next dinner party with a little work and a lot of combinations. Offer some bread, cheese, herbs and vegetables, and your guests will have a lot to keep them busy and satisfied.

Grain salad? Simply grand — really

[seo_description] Whole grain salads — with barley, bulgur, quinoa and other grains — can be just about the perfect flavorful summer side dish, or even a main course. Believe it.

The California Cook: Salmon make a welcome return

After an enforced three-year hiatus, California's salmon are back, and here are two recipes that showcase the fish.

The California Cook: Breaking the vegetable rut

Russ Parsons, in his California Cook column, tries vegetable recipes from Skye Gyngell's 'A Year in My Kitchen' and Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty.'

The California Cook: Mighty, mighty bread crumbs

Bread crumbs: Make bread crumbs from fresh bread and you'll be surprised at their mighty flavor.

The California Cook: Stuffed leg of lamb — it's worth the effort

This Easter dinner dish with its bold stuffing of bitter greens, salty feta and green olive sauce is really not that complicated, and it will be a hit with your guests.

The California Cook: Scrambled eggs: the sunny side of dinner

Scrambled eggs for dinner is not a mistake or a desperate move when the fridge is empty. Just add a few extra ingredients and they become a delicious and sophisticated light main course.

The California Cook: Seasonal vegetable stew is easy, delicious

The simplest, seasonal ingredients create a heavenly stew.

The California Cook: The recipe for a great cioppino? Your imagination.

When cooking cioppino, a classic California dish, follow your heart and your instincts.

The California Cook: Gougères, ready in a flash

The savory French cream puff dough can be made ahead of time, frozen and popped in the oven at the last minute. They taste as good as freshly made.

The California Cook: Our best turkey tweak yet

Going a step beyond our tried-and-true brining technique, grilling that Thanksgiving bird is an easy and delicious option. And it leaves the oven free for other duties.

The California Cook: Homemade ricotta -- it's easier, and better, than you think

Just a few simple ingredients and a few minutes cooking and resting time, and you've got a wonderful appetizer, dessert or pasta filling.

The California Cook: Fuss-free frittatas

A favorite dish for quick and delicious dinners just got even easier thanks to a chance glance at a cookbook.

California Cook: Making jam in small batches (with big pleasure)

Times food editor Russ Parsons on quick and creative ways to make your own jam.

The California Cook: An author's instructive fishing expedition

In 'Four Fish,' Paul Greenberg examines the creatures as food source and part of the ecosystem.

The California Cook: How to grill the perfect steak

Here's the key to grilling the perfect steak. And how about some roasted corn, potato salad and homemade ice cream too?

Breakfast as holiday, and Dad's in charge

Food Editor Russ Parsons loves spending a weekend morning with a mixing bowl and a classic copy of 'Joy of Cooking.'

The California Cook: Quick and delicious quesadillas

On a busy weekday evening, try tortillas filled with melted cheese and grilled mushrooms or braised greens.

California Cook: Seasonal fruit desserts that are ripe for creativity

An old friend's new cookbook, Deborah Madison's "Seasonal Fruit Desserts," shows how a skilled chef approaches sweets.

The California Cook: For small farmers, thinking outside the markets

The farmers market revolution may have been born in farmers markets, but if it is to continue, there will have to be other paths for farmers as well.

Asparagus is a rite of spring

The seasonal vegetable is so tasty that a chef doesn’t have to do much to become a dinner table hero.

In SoCal restaurants, a new passion for the whole pig

The California Cook: In L.A. restaurants, a new passion for cooking and eating the whole pig

Easy polenta that doesn't skimp on flavor

Rise of the modern romaine empire

The facts about food and farming

Vegetables, the overlooked pleasures of a Christmas feast

Suggestions for the cook on your Christmas list

A more flavorful dry-brined turkey

Stop and smell the ragu

New Mexico's green chile, the real deal

30 days of ripe tomatoes

Delicious, easy desserts from summer fruit

Julie, Julia and me: Now it can be told

'Organic' debate goes on, naturally

Sheer elegance in a frozen soufflé

'Organic' label doesn't guarantee quality or taste

Smart steak cuts for lean times

Chef memoirs: What hath Anthony Bourdain wrought?

A short path to shortcake nirvana

Schnitzel's delicious simplicity

A quick fix makes greens in spring soup sing