Journeys, Near and Far

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Jonathan Gold is the restaurant writer for Gourmet magazine and a food columnist for the LA Weekly.

He spoke about Can-Coon Thai Restaurant, 9887 E Alondra Blvd in Bellflower. 562-925-0993

Corby Kummer is the author of The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes, published by Chronicle Books.

Julia della Croce is the author of Umbria: Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy, published by Chronicle Books.

Prenuptial Meat Patties
Polpettini di carne prenuziali
Serves 8

  • 1 cup cubed stale white bread, crusts removed, about 2 ounces with crust
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated on the large oval holes of box grater
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or corn oil for frying
  • Unbleached flour for dredging
Put the bread cubes in a small bowl and add the milk or broth. When the bread is softened thoroughly, squeeze it dry, discarding the liquid, and place the cubes in a bowl. Add the pork, veal, chicken, prosciutto, onion, marjoram, lemon zest, egg and salt, and season with pepper to taste. Using your hands, blend the mixture well. Scoop up 2 rounded teaspoons for each patty and form into an egg shape.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large, wide skillet, and place over medium heat. Meanwhile, lightly dredge in flour only as many patties as you will fry in the first batch. When the oil is hot enough to make the patties sizzle upon contact, slip them into the pan, one at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until nicely browned all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Using tongs or slotted spoon, transfer onto a paper towel to drain, then place on a platter and keep warm. Taste a patty for salt and, if necessary, sprinkle salt sparingly over the patties. Serve hot or warm, with quick-cooked tomato sauce (see below).

Quick-Cooked Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh or canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to cook over a lively flame until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir the salt, pepper, to taste, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil into the sauce, then pour the sauce over the meatballs.

Victoria Riccardi is the author of Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto, published by Broadway Books.

Zen Temple Tofu

  • 1 cup hulled white sesame seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons crumbled kudzu (a Japanese starch, found in Asian markets)
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 12 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Wasabi paste for garnish
Place 2 1/2 cups water and the sesame seeds in a blender. Cover and whip for 5 minutes to render the mixture as smooth as possible. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a medium saucepan, pushing on the sieve with the back of a spoon, and then squeeze the cheesecloth into a ball, pressing the ball until you have nothing more than a damp paste in the cheesecloth. You have about 2 1/2 cups of "sesame milk.-

Whisk the kudzu and salt in to the sesame milk until the kudzu is completely dissolved. Whisk the mixture constantly over low heat for 10 minutes. It will thicken and bubble. Remove from the heat and pour into 6 small ramekins that have been rinsed with cold water (this will prevent the custard from sticking.) Let them rest until firm, then cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold.

To serve, gently shake the ramekins, or run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen the -tofu.- Turn out onto small dishes (square if possible, since the Japanese like contrasting shapes). Spoon 2 teaspoons of soy sauce around the bottom of each tofu circle and top with a little squirt of wasabi.

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Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing
Makes 4 servings.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 cups assorted fruit (berries, sliced apple, melon, peaches, plums, quartered kiwi, etc.)
In a blender or food processor, combine honey, juice and nutmeg; blend until smooth. In a medium bowl, toss fruit with dressing and chill until ready to serve.

Honeyade with Orange
Makes eight 8 ounce servings.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 5-1/2 cups water
Combine ingredients in pitcher. Using lukewarm water will aid in dissolving honey. Chill.

* Variation: Substitute 2 cups of water with 2 cups club soda for a fizzy twist.

Honey-Almond Scrub
Makes enough for 1 scrub.

  • 8 whole unblanched almonds, ground (2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons yogurt
Process the almonds and oats in a blender until they are finely ground. In a small bowl, mix the ground almonds and oats, honey and yogurt until blended. Pat the scrub on face, neck and upper chest; leave it on for up to 10 minutes for extra softening. Wet your hands and massage gently to exfoliate. Rinse off and pat dry.