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Monday, July 22, 2013

AltaMed's 8th Annual East LA Meets Napa & Beyond (Union Station) - Los Angeles

AltaMed's 8th Annual East LA Meets Napa & Beyond (Union Station) - Los Angeles 1

It's that time of year again for my favorite food and wine event, AltaMed's 8th Annual East LA Meets Napa & Beyond. The "Beyond" is a new addition to the title since the event now encompasses more than just East LA and Napa, but the focus has always been on Latino food and wineries. I wasn't able to make the previous year's event, but did attend the media preview for AltaMed's 7th Annual East LA Meets Napa. The highlight for me was when Chef John Sedlar took small groups of people on the roof of Playa Restaurant to check out his garden.

You can see previous posts of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa events since offerings vary each year. With 60+ restaurants and wineries, all included in the ticket price, there is always so much to try. I noticed a lot more wineries this year too.

Dessert first! I couldn't resist the gorgeous display and had to check out Flantastic. I can't remember all the flavors I tried, but they truly were "flantastic"!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Corned Beef Pot Roast in Red Wine with Potatoes, Carrots, and Cabbage

Corned Beef Pot Roast in Red Wine with Potatoes, Carrots, and Cabbage 1

I like corned beef well enough, but will choose pastrami over it any day. Smoked or roast meats trump boiled meat says I. Of course, I'm not Irish, so there's no nostalgia factor in a boiled corned beef and cabbage meal for me. And even better is after St. Patrick's Day, when corned beef gets marked down to 99 cents per pound.

So, I bought a few briskets and boiled one per the directions on the package. The other I roasted low and slow, until the meat was fall-apart tender, with a cup of red wine to maximize the flavor of the gravy. I tossed in some potatoes from the garden, some carrots and cabbage, and enjoyed a wonderful corned beef and cabbage pot roast meal.

It couldn't be easier, especially since most corned beef comes with its own seasonings. You just have to be patient. I roasted the beef for about 3 hours in a Dutch oven so the meat would be moist and tender, adding in the vegetables about 45 minutes before the meat roast was ready.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 1

I think there's a misperception that Chinese dishes that are popular in the United States aren't "authentic." Or maybe the misperception is that they aren't tasty? I have to admit, the overly battered and goopy dishes can be a bit much, but a light touch with the batter and the sauce and you can get an "authentic" and tasty dish. I think "authenticity" is debateable anyway.

Even though it is very popular, Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken is an authentic Chinese dish. It's best eaten fresh, of course, when the sauce isn't so heavy that it makes the crispy fried chicken pieces soggy. The "sweet" is achieved with fresh pineapples and orange or pineapple juice and ketchup in the sauce; the "sour" is through the use of vinegar. A bit of soy and Worchestershire sauces round out the flavors.

I marinated the chicken pieces before dipping them into the batter and deep-frying so there is flavor throughout the dish, and not because of the sauce. While you can certainly skip the batter and deep-fry and make this a sweet and sour chicken stir-fry, it's the crunchy sweet sour chicken that's the whole point, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Red (Lingonberry), White (Brie), and Blue(berry) Puff Pastry Tarts

Red (Lingonberry), White (Brie), and Blue(berry) Puff Pastry Tarts 1

My patriotic dessert for America's birthday were these red, white, and blue puff pastry tarts. The red was lingonberry jam, although strawberry or raspberry jams would work too, white brie, and fresh blueberries.

I was inspired by the apricot brie bites I saw on Old Town Home, but wanted to use fresh puff pastry and Independence Day seemed like the perfect time to get a little creative.

The sweetness of the fruit paired perfectly with the salty cheese, and who doesn't love anything baked in puff pastry?