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Vending Machine Magic; Yard Food; LA Steakhouses and Fading Hamburer Stands; Homemade Chocolate Cand

Azucena Maldonado is a former Federal inmate. She talked about recipes made from vending machine items.


Tony Kienitz is the author of the self-published book The Year I Ate My Yard. This can be purchased on Amazon.com. Tony also runs a landscape business called Vegetare. You can reach him at 626-791-4047 or vegetare@earthlink.net.


Patrick Kuh is the restaurant writer for Los Angeles Magazine. He spoke about steakhouses:

Mastro's Steakhouse (310-888-8782) at 246 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills
Jar Restaurant (323-655-6566) at 8225 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
The Lodge 14 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Taylor's Prime Steaks -- the real deal -- (213-382-8449) at 3361 West 8th St, Los Angeles


Gerald Panter is a photographer chronicling LA's dying hamburger stand history. You can see his images at www.GMPanter.com


Jonathan Gold is the Counter Intelligence columnist for the LA Weekly. and food writer for Gourmet magazine. He spoke about Mongolian hot pots and Monland Hop Pot City (626-289-4889) at 251 W Bencamp Street in San Gabriel.


Carole Bloom is the author of Truffles, Candies and Confections: Techniques and Recipes for Candymaking, published by Ten Speed Press.

Chocolate Nut Bark
10 to 14 pieces

  • 8 ozs chocolate (bittersweet, milk or white) finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia, pecans or pistachios), toasted, at room temperature
Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Melt and temper the chocolate (see following recipe). Stir the nuts into the chocolate, coating them completely. Turn the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread it with an offset spatula to an appropriate thickness of 1/4 inch, depending on the size of the nuts. Refrigerate to set the chocolate (15 to 20 minutes) then let the bark sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Hold the bark with parchment or waxed paper and break it into pieces. This will prevent finger marks on the bark.

Between layers of parchment or waxed paper in a tightly covered container, the bark will keep for 1 week at room temperature; if the container is wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil, the bark will keep for 1 month in the frig. The bark is best served at room temperature.

Tempering:
Chocolate needs to be chopped into very small pieces so it can melt evenly. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Make sure that the top of the doble boiler fits tightly over the bottom of the pan so that water cannot enter the top pan. The water in the bottom should be no more than an inch deep and should not touch the top pan or bowl. Keep the heat under the double boiler very low, and the water should not be heated more than lukewarm. Use a plastic or rubber spatula and stir frequently as it-s melting.

Quick tempering method:
Chop 1 pound of chocolate into very small pieces and set aside one-third of them. Melt the remaining two-thirds in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. The chocolate should not exceed 120 degrees. Remove the double boiler from the heat, then remove the top pan of the double boiler and wipe it dry. Stir in the remaining chocolate in three batches, making sure that each batch is completely melted before adding the next. When all the chocolate has been added, test the chocolate by placing a dab of chocolate just below your lower lip. If this is comfortable - not too hot or too cold, the temp is correct. If the chocolate is too warm, add more finely chopped chocolate, if available, or continue to stir and test again until the temperature is right. If the temp is too cool, warm the chocolate over hot water just until it reaches the correct temp.

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