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Food

Readers’ favorite Jonathan Gold-approved recipes from our archives

Brown Sugar Kitchen’s cornmeal waffles
Jonathan Gold’s favorite waffles were the super-light cornmeal versions served at Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Jonathan Gold, known most for his restaurant criticism, was an avid home cook as well. During his years at the L.A. Times, he published several recipes on our site, and these are some of our readers’ favorites from him, with excerpts of his musings on each one.

Classic Potato Latkes
Potato latkes, traditionally served with sour cream and applesauce.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Classic Potato Latkes
“You can always tell the cook at a Hanukkah party. Because he or she will be the one whose oniony fragrance can make your tear ducts swell, whose knuckles are scraped raw from the box grater and whose eyes have the glazed look of one who has spent the last two hours hunched over pans of bubbling oil, jiggling spheres of loose batter that threaten at any moment to explode into disfiguring sprays of hot grease. You are eating hot latkes. ... We, the cooks, are probably in the kitchen, grumbling through the 13th batch of latkes, but in our way, we are happy too. We don’t want you to starve.” — Jonathan Gold

Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day
Jonathan Gold grew up in Los Angeles, but he still likes the Southern staple hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
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Hoppin’ John
“While I am an Angeleno born and bred, for some reason New Year’s Day at my house always means hoppin’ John, the starchy stew of black-eyed peas and rice that is the New Year’s dish across most of the South, as well as vast pots of collard greens, goose-fat red beans, and the seafood gumbo my friend Jervey makes at my stove. New Year’s Day leans Southern. Hoppin’ John is the perfect dish for a lazy, gracious open house. It tastes good with either bourbon or Champagne.” — JG

Barbacoa de Pollo
A classic Oaxacan Christmas meal at the Los Angeles home of Bricia Lopez centers around barbacoa de pollo.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Barbacoa de Pollo
“How do you know it’s Christmas at Bricia Lopez’s house? ... The fragrance of spices, mezcal and burnt things, roasting chiles and simmering poultry is intoxicating — pure Oaxacan Christmas. In the open kitchen — the house seems all kitchen — the Lopezes steep spices and fruit for punch, whiz peeled poblanos in a blender with Mexican crema to sauce a bowl of spaghetti, and oven-braise a huge pan of chicken barbacoa.” — JG

Pork apple sausage stuffing
This stuffing, made with pork and apple sausage, was a staple of Jonathan’s Thanksgiving feasts.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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Pork Apple Sausage Stuffing
“You simmer the chestnuts in a bit of turkey broth — you have made your turkey broth, haven’t you? — you tear a loaf of bread into rough cubes and toast it on a sheet pan in your oven, and you mix the steaming-hot chestnuts into the bread with your hands. Meanwhile, you’ve been sautéing great heaps of onions, celery and crumbled apple sausage — not the kind made with chicken but the loose, sagey, sweetly spiced pork apple sausage. ... Then you fold that mixture into the bread and chestnuts, moisten with a little broth, and smooth it into a gratin pan, dot with butter, and bake. You can stuff it into the bird too, if you are of that persuasion, but the turkey cooks more evenly when you don’t, and the crispy buttery bits that you get when you cook the stuffing separately are always the best part.” — JG

Brown Sugar Kitchen’s cornmeal waffles
Proclaimed by Jonathan to be the best, these cornmeal waffles, served at Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland, are drizzled with syrup made from reduced apple cider vinegar.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Cornmeal Waffles With Apple Cider Syrup
“The best waffles commercially available, I am prepared to state, come from Brown Sugar Kitchen, a small, fragrant breakfast diner on Mandela Parkway in West Oakland. You mix the batter the night before, chill it in your refrigerator while you sleep, and stir in a bit of baking soda just before you pour it into your hot iron. (Remember to grease the iron well, or your first waffle will tear into delicious waffly shards when you attempt to lever it out onto a plate.) At the restaurant, chef Tanya Holland, cookbook author and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen, serves it with a sticky syrup made from boiled-down cider, but I always end up using Grade B maple syrup instead, because I am lazy and I am a barbarian.” — JG


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