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Meet our new cooks

Meet our new cooks
LOS ANGELES, CA-March 28, 2019: Los Angeles Times cooking columnists Genevieve Ko and Ben Mims on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times) (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

We’re the new cooking team at the L.A. Times, and we want to be your go-to resource for craveable recipes that work. Inspired by the great products here — the best produce in the country and the widest range of ingredients from around the world — we’re going to give you everything you need to make delicious meals at home.

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Our cooking will echo our dining coverage, bringing fresh meal ideas into your kitchen from the most exciting food city in America. The dishes will celebrate the diversity of Angelenos and highlight fresh whole ingredients in recipes that we test until foolproof for any home cook.

Here’s a preview of some of what’s to come:

Home for Dinner: simple and seasonal weeknight dinners for your family from Mims

Kitchen Comforts: fresh, easy takes on classics from all cultures from Ko

Chicken: new meals for an old favorite from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen

Five or Fewer: quick recipes with a maximum of five ingredients

Master Class: technique lessons from renowned chefs with recipes adapted for home kitchens

Off the Shelf: highlighting pantry ingredients with a recipe that shows it off

Entertaining: full menus for holiday feasts and parties with recipes, shopping lists and planners

Culinary S.O.S: reader-requested recipes from local chefs and restaurants

TL;DR: tips and hacks to make cooking easier

Tool Time: recommendations for kitchen appliances and tools

Recipes

We’ve made a few changes to how we’re going to present recipes to reflect our cooking philosophy and to make them work for you:

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1. Nutritional information: We realize that, for some readers, the numbers can be useful. But we believe that cooking delicious from-scratch meals with whole ingredients at home (versus calorie counting) is a way to wellness. Cooking is a joyous experience, a stress release and a way to make friends, family and ourselves happy. We want cooking to be that for you too, and treating meals as numbers to process is antithetical to the type of food culture we want to celebrate.

2. Times and yields: We want you to take these as suggestions. The time it takes to make a recipe varies: One person chops an onion in a minute, another in 10. We stopwatch from the kitchen counter with all ingredients, pots and pans within arm’s reach and without the distractions of a crying child, a buzzing phone or Amazon at the door. But we know life happens, so use the time as an estimate and know it might take you longer.

3. Ingredients: We treat ingredient lists as grocery lists to make shopping easier and meal prep quicker. So, not 2 cups chopped onions, but 2 medium onions, chopped. We will call for meat by weight and use amounts typically found in packages so you don’t have odd amounts left over. We don’t want you to have to buy a whole other 1-pound pack of ground beef just for 8 ounces. For baking, we’re going to offer the weight equivalents of volume measurements online, along with additional details we can’t fit on the printed page.

The only marker of success for us will be if you, the L.A. home cook, actually make the recipes. We will give substitutions where applicable, streamline steps and eliminate extra dishes to wash whenever possible. We want to save you time and money and maximize the pleasure of cooking and eating.

LOS ANGELES, CA-March 28, 2019: Los Angeles Times cooking columnists Genevieve Ko and Ben Mims on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
LOS ANGELES, CA-March 28, 2019: Los Angeles Times cooking columnists Genevieve Ko and Ben Mims on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times) (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Food Fight

We agree on all of the above. But, as professional cooking nerds, we’ve been battling on a few fronts. Let us know where you stand on the topics below. Here are our hot takes:

Weights: Metric vs. imperial

Genevieve: Grams all the way. Especially for baking. They’re more precise and easier to calculate. Why would you want the cumbersome 1 pound 4 ounces over the tidy 566 grams? If you have a scale, you have the metric option. Use it.

Ben: While I agree that metric weights are more precise, we are still a country where the dominant form of measurement is imperial. Everyone has an idea what an 8-ounce steak or 1 pound of butter looks and feels like. Until we as a society move en masse toward metric, it’s more helpful to use measurements people are most familiar with.

Serving suggestions: Include in ingredient list vs. not in ingredient list

Ben: To me, recipe ingredient lists are grocery lists, so while foods for serving with a dish might not be essential, I want you to see them with the other ingredients, so you can purchase them while you’re out shopping. It then makes it easier, at the end of the recipe, to refer to an ingredient by one word only since I’ve already stated its preparation — sliced, chopped, torn — in the ingredient list.

Genevieve: Anything in an ingredient list looks like an essential element, but serving suggestions are just that — suggestions. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to serve something over rice or with chopped herbs or a dollop of yogurt. Putting those ideas in headnotes makes it clear they’ll make a dish better but aren’t necessary. I’m a mom, so my real life of feeding humans is all about compromise. If a dish is good enough without the extras, it’s what for dinner.

When you make our recipes, hashtag them #latcooking on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you liked them or how you made them your own. You also can share your kitchen thoughts and ideas with us at cooking@latimes.com.

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