Cooks & Chef’s III

Photo on 8-17-16 at 4.44 PM.jpg

It came in the mail yesterday. It’s the Fall 2016 issue, technically #20. Literally, the third installment of the Lucky Peach spotlight on Cooks & Chefs, also dubbed the Fine Dining issue. I still do not have my own kitchen, but stay tuned…there is real potential for p.139, Fried Chicken: Hawaiian Chicken with Spam Fried Rice!

Albany Cafeteria Breakfast

Page 18 – Lucky Peach #17 – The Breakfast Issue

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Something amazing happened. I cooked a Lucky Peach breakfast in my Mom’s kitchen. Yes, I’m still homeless but her guest room has been mighty comfy lately. After a short gig at Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park (my first ever real restaurant experience, and it was lovely, the peeps there are all fantastic), I have taken up copywriting at an ad agency while burning the midnight oil on my own work (forever). Recently, my friend Bobbo visited from Cordova, Alaska where he’s a forest ranger in the Chugash. He interrupted all my shit and so I decided on his way out we’d have some cocktails while I cooked a warm meal for him and a few other friends. So, here are Brooklyn chef Stephen Tanner’s Bologna Cups, aka the Albany Cafeteria Breakfast. From what I gather from his photos in the LP article, we’d get along fine – smoking and southern boys are right up my alley.

AND I hustled my friend/rad photographer Micah Slay to shoot the pics and drink with us.


Don’t let this breakfast fool you, it’s a juggling act and after I got through my first Capt & Coke, I whipped my crew into shape and put them to work. The bologna cups are easy to make, but I recommend you do them at the end actually, since they take seconds to curl up in a hot saute pan and you want to serve them caliente. By the way, I learned that in L.A. it’s not so common to get bologna sliced at the deli. I witnessed it in some shitty part of Massachusetts with an ex-biker boyfriend I had and thought they did it everywhere, but not so much. Oscar Meyer still rules most deli meat aisles (probably ’cause this stuff is nuclear), but there are many varieties to choose from. I chose the pork & chicken combo over the beef, because after all, bologna is really Italian mortadella sausage. It’s actually a much fancier breakfast than you thought.


It’s the hash browns and salsa verde that take real prep and patience. So, just get right into that. Boil the potato for 9 min, grate it, and then form little piles on a griddle. Put 2 T butter (YEP) on top of each pile on med heat, and let the butter melt all the way through that puppy and then flip it. Add cheddar on top and dream. Tanner reveals that this is his infiltration of the Waffle House hash browns, and holy fuck, he’s got that right.


In the meantime, get someone to make you a drink and then get on the salsa verde. It’s nt the season here in L.A. but since there’s so many Mexicans, you can’t sneeze without finding tomatillos and jalapenos in stores still. Boil the jalapeno for 1 min, then add the tomatillos and turn off the flame. Let them cool, then drain.


Add them to a blender with chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, and salt. I say add as much as you like of all those things, taste it and make it exactly how you like, everyone is different on their salsa code.

The real trick is once you have a buzz, make sure someone else wants to do the poached eggs because they take up most of your attention. Tanner gave us a fancy scientific prop instruction involving a cup. The homie Chris was on it, and a 3 min poach was perfect.

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Get that slice of bologna hot and curled into a cup and add the cheddar hash browns first, then the poached egg, and top with your salsa verde.

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That my friend, is da bomb diggity. Super tasty and pairs wonderfully with Capt. Morgan’s and Coke – and a visit from Ranger Bob.

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It’s Lucky Peach, Winter, 2015. Which registers here finally, because it’s 65 degrees in Los Angeles. That’s our winter, folks. Don’t be jealous. Please don’t move here either, we’re maxed out.

This is Lucky Peach No.17 and it’s The Breakfast Issue. I also got new glasses for writing, my first prescription ever. But I can still read street signs a mile away, so take that, old age!


I’m already all over p.80’s “Pimp My Rice,” by EIC, Chris Ying. He goes way into shi fan which is essentially rice porridge with an assortment of crazy toppings – pickles, greens, pork floss, etc.  The Albany Cafeteria Breakfast on p.18 looks hilarious and full of cancer since the WHO announcement about processed red meat, but people still smoke, right? It’s a fried bologna mashed potato egg cup. Yep, America, what’s for breakfast!

I know I’m a broken record, but see you soon with a recipe here. I’ve been dying to make the conpoy fried rice from the Fantasy issue but found large dried Japanese scallops run like $60 for 0.5lb so it will probably be something else…perhaps breakfast.

A Kitchen To Call My Own


It’s been a long hot endless summer on the road of life. Partly due to a heatwave, but also because I’ve had no real place to call my own since July. I had to leave my cool vintage apartment in Silver Lake before it fell down, literally and emotionally. The building is known for a famous murder in the 1930’s and sweethearts Kurt & Courtney lived there once, so you can just imagine the pain in the walls of that laundry room (plus the electrical pre-dated grunge by decades). I fortunately left somewhat unscathed and found places to dream at night while day-writing: Mom’s spare room, back of my Subaru, hotel rooms, friend’s couches, etc etc…but a home is on the horizon! Which means, you guessed it, a kitchen to call my own. A tiled cook’s dream. A place to cry over onions. A room to cut myself slicing habaneros with no gloves on and then rub my eyes. A space to fulfill one of my destinies (you can have more than one): TO COOK EVERY RECIPE IN LUCKY PEACH!

Thank you for waiting.

photo credit: “Hitchhiker I” by Sleep Weasel



Shame on me. It’s been a spell since my last post and I can explain! I worked on two book projects (rent don’t pay for itself!) and I had to move over the summer, which was an ordeal and has created a geographic between me and my neighbors Sharon, Stu, and Ollie who are obviously my token Lucky Peach recipe tasters. Don’t fret, I’ll arrange cameo appearances at the new pad and we’ll all get through this together. Also, I know there is a media issue going on and some photos are not appearing, I’m getting that fixed proper asap!

But here we are, on THE FANTASY ISSUE, Issue #16. It’s a gorgeous magazine, as usual, and highlights include the short story “Will Whore for Food,” in which writer Scott Hocker shares how he prostituted to pay for his culinary education, the Lucky Peach Atlas, a quick discussion on recommended Italian fantasy meals in Mlian and Chicago, and of course, rad recipes for dishes like Aloo Bhaji Hash Browns and three variations on fish stew by Nick Balla & Cortney Burn, Eric Ripert, and David Chang. I promise I will post a recipe demo blog very soon. I fucking PROMISE! Happy Labor Day!

Strawberry Shake with Aperol and Saba

Page 59 – Lucky Peach #12 – The Seashore

The latest issue has been in my hot hands for like a week or so and I’ve been salivating at some of the recipes. The Seashore theme is exactly what you might imagine – snapper breakfast, Balinese prawns, beach reading, anchovies in Italy, a guide to knowing 8 great clams, and a tribute to the movie Goonies.

So, I’m 40. I’m just going to come out and say it. But you know what that means, to my generation (fuck you, we don’t need a name), Goonies is OUR TIME. Chris Ying wrote a great intro to this section that explores food in coastal Oregon, pointing out the edibles plentiful on the shoreline. And if you venture inland, the edibles become more and more green, if you know what I mean (I lived in Eugene in the mid ’90’s). Next year is the 30th anniversary of the epic adventure comedy and LP went all out featuring recipes inspired by the film – they even rented the Fratelli’s Jeep Cherokee and shot photos on the same beach the getaway was filmed. I know, so cool!

Back here in Los Angeles, things are a normal 90 degrees for August, and the only way I think we’ll fight the gentrification on the eastside is by drinking boozey shakes. In homage to Chunk’s amazing scene in the bowling alley window where he smashes his pizza and strawberry milkshake in awe of the infamous opening sequence car chase, they created some new recipes for their photo re-enactment.

Really cool. So we’re making their Strawberry shake with Aperol and Saba because it’s hot here and we need a pick me up.

Though I can drink, I didn’t know what Aperol was. I also didn’t know what saba syrup was, so I did some research, called around and went shopping. The bottle of Aperol ran me $27.99 at Gelson’s, the saba syrup $21.99 at Oaks Gourmet Market. I bought a pint of some killer sweet cream ice cream that ran $7.50 and the strawberries were about $3.50. You know how much that totals? About $61!! More facial expressions on that to come.


Chop up the strawberries and throw it all in the blender. I borrowed Sharon and Stu’s Vitamix, because it’s kinda awesome and I need a new blender.


That’s my ‘you know how much this was, best be good, biytach’ face.



Yes, I want to shank that expensive gourmet product. But, we tasted the saba because we were intrigued. Though costly, I know I will use it again, perhaps when roasting veggies or grilling meat. It’s a fancy vinegar and I have a feeling we’ll become good friends, hopefully it won’t get jealous of the red wine vinegar I brew at home.




It tastes rich. Like a thick walk in the park. ? Okay, next add over-priced ice cream and blend – add a few generous pinches of salt too.


And then you have to try it to check the consistency. Some like it thick, some like it more liquidy. I’m the former.IMG_8876 IMG_8877  IMG_8879

I told you I can drink. That shake is the bomb!!!! So good. It blended well and was a little less thick than I wanted, so we put it in the freezer for like 15 minutes and that did the trick.


Stu, Sharon’s husband, is like me. We both fiend for ice cream and really like The Stooges. He came over with Oli to partake – oh, wait. You haven’t met Oli have you? Oliver Keaton Jenkins is their lovely boy, who was in Sharon’s tummy for a few of these recipes. So, you could say he’s been here awhile, but today, you formally meet through photography.


Why yes, he is also Chewbacca’s stand-in.

Oh, and the shake! It is fantastic – like dynomite! The Aperol is subtle, but with a respectable kick, and the saba compliments the sweet cream, making it a very complex yumminess. We got 3 pints easy out of it, so that’s like a $20 shake! So much for gentrification. I advocate rent control in my neighborhood, but if you’ve been to Silver Lake you know how hard to find that really is!

And we drink. We all drink.

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We’re currently making Oli do the Truffle Shuffle for milk.

Salt-Rising Bread

Page 18 – Lucky Peach #11 – All You Can Eat

IMG_7933That’s right, I made a quite a comeback. Not only was I dying to get up on a recipe, but I decided to probably do one of the weirdest LP has printed thus far. It’s not the first time I’ve made bread from scratch, but this kind of bread is odd. It’s made with a starter that has cornmeal and boiling milk. That’s not normal, people. The deal with bread is that it’s fermented (in case you’re new). Usually you want some good old fashioned bacteria to get up in your starter and then you use that to make your dough, it rises, you bake it, yadda yadda yadda. Well, in this case, the welcome pathogen is Clostridium perfringens, and as our science-loving-foodie-writer Harold McGee explains, “Its cells can divide every ten minutes, a handful turning into trillions of hydrogen makers overnight. The hydrogen gas can leaven dough just as yeast-generated carbon dioxide does. The result is something known as ‘salt-rising bread.'” As far as the All You Can Eat umbrella goes, he attributes this recipe to “the far shores of edibility.” The situation here is that the bacteria produces acetic, lactic, propionic, and butyric acids. That last one contributes a sharp smell of aged cheese, and the one right before it is typical of Emmental-style swiss. Yeah, trippy, more on that later.

It took me much longer to make this bread then it should’ve, but I attribute that to the fact that the key to the whole deal is the temperature. From the get go, the starter needs boiling hot milk, then the starter and sponge need to kick it at like 100 – 110 degrees, while the dough also needs to rise in a warm environment. The recipe suggests a warm oven (mine doesn’t go that low) or a water bath. I said, ‘Fuck You,’ politely and used my dehydrator (the ol’ Excalibur). To be honest, I don’t really know if it worked, but a day and hours later, I made the bread, so there. Ironically, it was like 90 outside here in Silver Lake when I was doing this, so at one point I actually put the sponge outside because I swear the dehydrator didn’t seem warm enough (yes, it has a temperature gage, but shit…).

I followed the recipe to the tee and then went off-roading (not literally). I made my starter, let it sit in my dehydrator for 10 hours, took it out and it didn’t seem as fermenty or what I like to call “hooch-like,” but I just kept at it. I added the necessary ingredients to the starter to make the sponge, let that sit for 4 hours in the dehydrator, but it never looked as bubbly as I hoped, so that’s when I put it outside for a few hours, then finally caved and brought it in and made the dough. It looked and acted like bread dough at that point though, so bombs away, I spread it in the loaf pans and left it to rise (again, in the dehydrator, which usually is a really good place to proof shit). 6 hours later it didn’t look good, nothing Easter Jesus like about this bread dough. I went out, tried to forget about it, came back by midnight and it had risen! Amen!

Of course, it was now midnight and I really didn’t want to bake the bread, but I did.  After about 27 minutes, it looked pretty brown on the outside, but wasn’t done on the inside. I let it go the full 45 minutes and pulled it. The outside was really crusty and I knew it would be hard, I don’t know if it was the cornmeal, but it was just a bit rough around the edges, if you know what I mean. But the insides were perfect. Here’s how it went down in a much quicker time span than the trauma I went through.

The bread has a curious taste. When I took it out of the oven, my house smelled like a funky cheese. Since we don’t hang out that often, you don’t know that I hate funky cheese, meaning blue or anything veiny or gorgonzolaesque. Fuck that shit. I do love feta, gouda, munster, swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, and even brie – but no blue cheese, YUCK. But the smell was mild, and it was cheesy, which made me believe I did something right since it obviously had that lovely blend of acids I mentioned earlier. The bread does kinda taste cheesy too. I can’t put my finger on an exact way to describe it really. It’s like a thick, creamy tasting bread. It’s rich but not actually that salty to me. It tastes like cheese bread, but there’s no cheese! Sharon, my trusty neighbor really couldn’t wrap her head around it either, but we both ate it up. I actually think it was even better like 2 days later, when I had it with my breakfast. 

20140725_110359*Note: Do NOT eat the raw dough or lick the spoon while preparing this recipe – the microbes in this bacteria are actually associated with food poisoning – told you this was weird – but none of the strains actually produce toxins (thanks to the baking process bacteria and toxins are inactivated).

**One more note: The recipe also appears on Popular Science.

All You Can Eat & Street Food

I have to apologize again. I’ve been traveling a lot on RATDOG tour this year and though it’s involved some fantastic eating adventures (try Jack Stark BBQ in Kansas City, MO or the Blue Ribbon fried chicken at the Brooklyn Bowl) in between the shredding Americana mind blowing psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll of Bob Weir and company, that’s not what I’m here to write about. I’m here to confess I haven’t cooked anything out of the last three issues…but I’m back for a month to patch my bones so I will be featuring a few recipes soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with these great covers from the past two issues, Winter 2014 Issue #10, STREET FOOD and Spring 2014 Issue #11, ALL YOU CAN EAT. They’re both rad and though I love a good drunken trip to the buffet in Vegas at 5am, I think I love Street Food more. Here in Los Angeles, the last, say, 7 years, I have seen the food truck trend start, soar, and overwhelm the Angelenos. My fave is still the Kogi truck but the Sushi Pirates live on my block, so I’ll give them a shout out too. There’s some fascinating stuff in the Street Food issue, lots of tips for real intrepid travelers who might be into some crazy Thai hot dog specialities. I’m gonna attempt the wiener blossoms fo sho.

On August 19th, Issue #12 comes out, and word on the summer streets is it will feature barbecued hagfish, Portuguese clams, oysters blended into mayo, and more. So, be on the lookout!!  I’ll be back. Keep in touch.


Page 80  – Lucky Peach #8 – The Gender Issue

RROCK StickersThat’s my friend Roger’s slogan – I felt it was a fitting message to Peter Meehan, since I made his Mom’s meatloaf. He gave us the recipe in LP Issue #8, so you can do it too, and I recommend it – it tastes damn good!

IMG_4869You’ll need the following ingredients:

IMG_4765Preheat the oven to 350. Now, let’s do this dairy bit! In a bowl, beat the egg, then add the milk, and finally, the oats. Peter specified “the stuff from the guy with the funny hat.”

IMG_4769This little mixture is gonna soak while we get to the other prep.

IMG_4775Chop up the celery, green bell pepper, and onion (the latter two came from my garden). Grate the carrot.

IMG_4772Add the olive oil to a hot pan, and cook those goods up with a mad pinch of salt, stirring regularly, for about 10 min. It just needs that golden delicious look.

IMG_4784Here’s what we’re about to gang up on our raw meat. I keep my own stash of bread crumbs. Seriously, I make toast, put it in a ziploc bag and smash it up to use later. This recipe called for a lot of Heinz products but I never buy that shit, so I splurged on the Heinz 57 to see what that was all about, but kept loyal to my stuck up ass organic ketchup. Thyme from my garden, suckas!

IMG_4793Organic ground beef. Probably from New Zealand, because Trader Joe’s hardly sells American made in their produce and meat/fish sections. I can discuss the whole eco-footprint thing here, but won’t. It was my fault I didn’t get to my local hipster butcher for this.

IMG_4805First, always season with salt and pepper! Then add the everything else (except the glaze, that’s for later): the thyme, the bottled sauces, the dairy-oatmeal gook, the veggies, and breadcrumbs last. He actually said mix with a fork, then get in with your hands, but I think using the fork is just a waste of time – use your hands, get tough! If it’s too dry, don’t be scared to add a little more ketchup or Peter even suggests “a splash of milk if the situation is truly arid.” Mine was perfect consistency.

IMG_4811Sculpt the meat into a beautiful loaf on a baking sheet that’s been lined with aluminum foil.

IMG_4820IMG_4824Put that pup in the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes. Now to the glaze.

IMG_4852IMG_4833Mix it up in a bowl, and taste it. I did.

IMG_4828After the timer rings, take that meatloaf out and cover it with that glaze. Pour the whole bowl right over it! Back in the oven with this slimy beast for another 40 minutes.

IMG_4843It’s ready when that glaze has like made it’s own layer on top. Touch it gently and if your finger doesn’t go right through it, that baby is ready.

IMG_4846Slice it up!

IMG_4862IMG_4865IMG_4866And, this is actually my “holy fucking shit” face, which means it’s really really good.IMG_4867