Friday, July 24, 2009

The (Pig) Mayor of LA

Some of the best and worst dishes I've ever had were made with pork. The worst include the common dry, tasteless porkchop, frighteningly undercooked pork loin, and a mu-shu pork dish I once ordered for take-out with my sister where we found a used band-aid hiding out amongst the vegetables.
The best memories include classic BBQ ribs in Chicago, perfect bacon, and the plethora of Korean pork dishes. Just last night, I experienced another pork nirvana locally in Los Angeles. Right around the corner from our office is a brand new Korean bbq restaurant named "Don Dae Gam" owned by the younger brother of baseballer Chan Ho Park. Korean bbq joints are so common in this area that I didn't expect anything different, but boy, was I in for a new experience!
From the adorable logo of the pig's back to the sleek modern stainless steel tables, everything about this place was not typical. "Don Dae Gam" translates into something like "The Pig Mayor". The most unusual aspect of this bbq restaurant is that they use real charcoal for all of their in-table grills and what a huge difference charcoal makes. We ordered the "Special Pork Neck" meat which was completely new to me. The meat is tender, marbled but not fatty, and slightly chewy. Grilled atop charcoal and served with a sea of side dishes and spicy salads, this was pure heaven. Add to that a side dish of their delectable "pa-jun" or Korean green onion pancake, and it becomes a perfect meal. (By the way, their "pa-jun" is the best I've tasted in the US or in Korea.) The best part of the dinner? Their affordable prices. This place is definitely going on my regular list.
Don Dae Gam Pork BBQ
1145 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles 90006
***Check out our own fave pork recipe, BBQ pulled pork in 20 minutes, at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get to the (Blue) Point

Click above to read what Maggie Reed said about Blue Point Pressure Cookers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grilled Zucchini

My friend Angie gave me some huge zucchini she grew in her garden. You don't need a barbecue to grill. I heated up my Fissler Blue Point Presssure skillet to grill slices of zucchini. The inside of the pressure skillet has the same Novogrill honeycombed surface found on the Crispy Steelux pan (the one I used for the cauliflower curry) and the new Fissler Original Pro wok. I could have used the Crispy Steelux pan but the pressure skillet is bigger.
If you want to do this, slice the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal, rub with olive oil and salt. While the slices are marinating heat up the pan till very hot. Lay the slices in, lower the heat a little and let grill. Turn to the other side to finish. After removing from the pan I layered the slices on a platter, sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar and chopped herbs from my terrace garden (oregano, basil and thyme).

Bistro Miyoda has handmade ramen

I was in Gardena the other day and stopped for lunch at one of the many ramen places in this heavily Japanese suburb of LA. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Bistro Miyoda Noodle House makes their own handcut noodles fresh every day. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill ramen. Not much atmosphere here but the ramen is exceptional: 15915 S. Western Ave. Gardena, CA 90247. (310)538-9790.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bangladeshi Cauliflower Curry

I make no claims that this is an authentic Bangladeshi curry but I did get the spice mixture at Deshi Groceries at 3723 W. 3 St., one of about five Bangladeshi shops on 3rd, between Western and Vermont, here in Los Angeles. Most of the grocery stores in this small Bangladeshi enclave north of Koreatown also serve prepared food, like fish curries and unusual vegetables including bitter melon. Similar to but definitely different from Indian food.

So, my curry was cooked up very easily in my Fissler Crispy Steelux frypan. I just sauteed an onion in some coconut oil, added a spoon full of ginger paste (bought that at the Deshi grocery too)and a couple of crushed garlic cloves plus a heaping Tbsp of curry powder. After stirring that around for a minute I added a can of crushed tomatoes, 2/3 cup of water and half a head of cauliflower, broken into pieces. I simmered for twenty minutes and served it up with brown rice and some tofu for protein.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apricot pie for 4th of July!

It’s apricot season in Southern California so an apricot pie seemed in order. I picked the apricots out in Leona Valley, the cherry growing region that’s about an hour and a half northeast of Los Angeles ( There is one small apricot orchard, Stein's Apricot Ranch, amidst the many cherry picking places there. $2 a pound for apricots you pick yourself. You can get sometimes get apricots cheaper at the farmers’ markets but for a modest price you have the pleasure of a day in the country and a better knowledge of where your food comes from.

The pie was easy. Since I was invited to four parties over 4th of July weekend I made four of them. This is a no-bake pie; ideal for summer: easy, healthy and delicious!

For four pies:

1 32 oz container lowfat plain yogurt

1 small package cream cheese

3 cups of water, boiled

3 packets unflavored gelatin

3 cups of pitted apricots

½ cup sucanat

½ cup honey or agave syrup

2 tsps vanilla extract

Graham cracker pie crust

Halved apricots for garnish

Mix gelatin, sucanat and honey or agave in a bowl. Add boiling water. Stir and let gelatin dissolve.

Chop apricots finely in food processor. Beat cream cheese, apricots and vanilla in mixer using flat paddle. Add yogurt and gelatin mixture. Mix until smooth. Divide into four pie crusts and refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours). Garnish with apricot halves.

This can be made with agar (seaweed gel) for a vegetarian pie.