The Devil Is in the Details

They’re one of the all-time cliché potluck contributions — deviled eggs. But the convergence of a party invitation from our neighbors Chris & Glennis’  with a surplus of eggs from our 20-some-odd chickens proved to be more of a temptation than I could resist. You could say the devil possessed me.

Catalan deviled eggs

Catalan deviled eggs

The first time I’d done something like this was for one of my fancy XX-course New Year’s Eve dinners — a version a few years back with a Spanish theme. I created a deviled egg of sorts, the hard-boiled yolk blended not with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard but rather with those pillars of Spanish cooking: lots of olive oil, garlic and pimentón. More

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In the Burger Lab

I like entering contests of skill. I won a big Le Creuset dutch oven recently in a contest where I had to write a semi-autobiographical essay about my childhood memories and how Le Creuset fit warmly into them. (There must’ve been one somewhere in my childhood, right? Anyway…) A recent item caught my eye in the Los Angeles Times food section: Best Burger Contest.

My entry in the Best Burger Contest — the Chorizo burger with Manchego, caramelized fennel and spicy sweet pimenton aioli

My go-to burger is sort of a knock-off of the now-famous burger from my old neighborhood dive bar, Father’s Office: thick medium-rare burgers, blue cheese, caramelized onions, bacon and arugula. I figured two thirds of the recipes submitted to the contest were going to be some variation on that theme, so I decided to enter the Burger Lab (my kitchen) and get to work on coming up with something utterly original, and unbeatably delicious. More

Paella

There are a few things you must know about paella:

• It originates from the region of Valencia in Spain, and traditional versions were made in the field by hunters and contained not seafood but rabbit and snails.

• The pan is called a paella, and the dish is named for the pan. While you can cook a reasonable paella without the pan, it won’t have the same theater (see the video below). Besides, it’ll only set you back around $20 for a 15″ pan from Spain. (www.surlatable.com)

• Paellas were traditionally cooked outdoors over an open fire. This is still the best way to cook paella. Although you can achieve just as good an effect on the barbecue. When our kitchen was being remodeled, I cooked outdoor on the barbecue for two months. We ate a lot of paella. More