The Subversion of Quinoa

The occasion was the Commitment Dinner for my daughter, Imogen’s kindergarten class. Our friends, Casey and Simone were hosting at their home.

The purpose of the commitment dinner is for the class parents to get together, sign up to volunteer for certain responsibilities in the class, hear the pitch for money from our version of a PTA parent, and then drink profusely and eat potluck.

My quinoa salad

My quinoa salad

As you might guess, it is the “eating potluck” part of the equation that, every year around this time, sows fear in my soul. And, this being Topanga Canyon, there is one word in particular I expect to see a lot of in the emails leading up to the event: quinoa. More

Advertisements

The Great Camps & the Vermont Problem — a Northeast Roadtrip Postscript

I’m always intrigued when I travel by the different names people in the different regions use for the same things. In Ireland, for example, they call gravel along the road “loose chippings”.

In the Northeast, we discovered that the bumpy line in the middle of the road is called a “rumblestrip”, what appears for all practical purposes to the Californian eye to be a lake is actually called a “pond,” and a small structure for camping is called a “lean to.”

Sagamore

Sagamore

All the large lakeside houses in the Adirondacks are called “camps”. We arrived at Big Wolf and followed the big directional sign pointing the way to the thirty or so camps on the lake. Pulling into the Buck Summerhill Camp, we were still puzzled. It looked to us a like a house.

“Why is it called a ‘camp’?” we asked. More

Tropical Thai in the Dusty Desert

Our last Cub Scout camp out ever — and I wanted to make something special for the Saturday group dinner.

Already being in the cultural mash-up mode, I opted for traditional Thai — a tropical cuisine whose flavors might adapt nicely to the particular leisurely pace of a desert camp out.

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

We got to our friends Greg and Mary Ann’s private property, Camp Nylen in the Joshua Tree desert around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the first ones to arrive. After opening camp and getting settled in, I began simple dinner preparations for the three families that would be there that evening. I had made a pesto pasta and brought a couple steaks. Greg arrived with his son Gram, pal Vic and his sons Miles and Logan got there with five different kinds of Aidells sausages, and we got ready to throw some red oak logs on the Santa Maria grill. More

Raising Fun and Funds

Last year around this time, I was asked to cook at the silent auction fundraiser for my kids’ elementary school. The event, a 1970s-themed soiree at a local venue, the 1909, was a huge success and the food — including pizzas and huge paleolithic ribeye steaks emerging from a wood-fired oven — was the star.

So when it came around time for the 2015 fundraiser — with an 80s theme — I was again asked. Again, I accepted.

Don Schneider as Hef, plating cod and cous cous

Don Schneider as Hef, plating cod and cous cous

The party would take place this year at Froggy’s, a local restaurant that had been shuttered and put up for sale — which I briefly considered buying before regaining my common sense — and then, upon failing to find a buyer, reopened. More

The Nobufication of Malibu

We live next to Malibu, and between my son’s involvement in Malibu Little League, going to the beach and visiting various friends, we spend a fair amount of time there.

Flynn scores!

Flynn scores!

It used to be you couldn’t get anything decent to eat in the town, which was strange given its demographics. And then, 15 or 20 years ago, Nobu Matsuhisa moved in with his second restaurant after his flagship “Matsuhisa” on La Cienega. More

Previous Older Entries