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edibleLA SPRING 2019

Issue No. 9

Sharing the Story of Local Food, Season by Season





Real food. For your dog. Delivered.

Get 50% off your trial at THEFARMERSDOG.COM/EDIBLEL A





features 17



We walk you through creating natural dyes from food waste—perfect for Easter eggs!







Lauri Kranz, founder of Edible Gardens LA, tells us what she’s planting right now.


Meet Jonathan Broida, owner of Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills.



The League of Kitchens offers a way for cooks to share their culture with a small group of students.



in every issue

departments 34


Local bartenders share cocktail recipes to pair beautifully with plant-based dishes.

16 16 16 17 17 21 22 22 36 37 38 38


16 @EdibleLAMag



editor's note

NO. 9



As I write this, the hills surrounding Los Angeles are still blanketed by green with the many colors of wildflowers popping through. Soon enough, the heat will turn everything back to its normal brown, but I am certainly basking in the loveliness of the outdoors at the moment. It feels like a renewal— especially after the fires—and a time when inspiration runs wild. For this annual ‘meatless’ issue, I decided to turn my focus away from restaurant kitchens. When I first heard about The League of Kitchens, I thought it was such an awesome story—individuals from different backgrounds offering authentic cooking classes in their homes, and of course they offer vegetarian classes and tours, like the vegetarian Indian class our contributor, Lisa, took and absolutely loved. We also met with Jonathan Broida, the knife whisperer and owner of Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills, who echoes my thought that the most important kitchen tool is a sharp knife. I’ve always felt that being comfortable with a knife and, especially in meatless cooking where the focus is always on produce, learning how to confidently process food is one of the most under-appreciated skills, especially in a home kitchen. I urge you to become more comfortable with your kitchen knives by taking a basic knife skills class or even just learning how to properly maintain and sharpen your knives—you may be surprised how much faster and easier food preparation becomes. Be sure to keep up with us on Instagram @ediblelamag, where we’ll be giving away a few of our favorite cookbooks of the season. Trust me, you won’t want to miss them!

EDITOR IN CHIEF Shauna Burke CONTRIBUTORS Lisa Alexander Kristine Bocchino Shauna Burke Ryan Caveywoolpert Madeline Crozier Carolina Korman Jill Lightner Caryn Scheving Heather Schrock

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Happy Spring,


Reach out to me: edit@ediblela.com Instagram: @shaunaburrrke

Winner of James Beard Foundation Award 2011 Publication of the Year

COVER: Spring bounty from the farmers’ market; © Carolina Korman

Every effort is made to avoid errors and misspellings. If you see an error, please notify us. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ©2019 Pulp & Branch LLC. All rights reserved.

Premium, Gourmet Plant-Based Cheese Non-Dairy Soy-Free Gluten-Free At Lassens, Erewhon or see full list of stores online. We ship!

Made in Ventura, CA

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our contributors Our contributors share their

FAVORITE MEATLESS EXPERIENCES IN LA Share your thoughts with us on Instagram @EdibleLAMag #FeastOnLA and we’ll repost our favorites!

"Whenever I find myself in Beverly Hills, I feel an almost gravitational pull to Hasiba on Pico,” says contributing writer LISA ALEXANDER (There’s

“Equelecuá Cuban Cafe in Inglewood can be a trek for me, but I go out of my way when I need a good comfort food fix,” says contributing writer

fancy place, mostly take-out, but their falafel is insanely light, messy, and delicious. And because the Lodge guys are behind it, I know their puffy pita is made with heritage grains.”

sandwich hits the spot, but most everything I’ve seen come out of that kitchens looks insanely delicious.”

No Taste Like Home, p.26; The Knife Whisperer, p.32). “It’s not a

Photo ©istockphoto/a-lesa

“I’ve always been a sucker for Plant Food & Wine on Abbot Kinney in Venice because they continue to do things a little bit differently and it’s one of the few places in LA where I really have faith that I’m fueling my body with healthy food,” says our editor-in-chief and contributing writer SHAUNA BURKE (Last Bite, p. 40). “Everyone talks about the dreamy back patio— and that’s certainly a draw, too. ”

RYAN CAVEYWOOLPERT (What’s in Season, p.8). “Their vegan Cuban

“The food at Gratitude Kitchen + Bar in Beverly Hills is delicious,” says contributing writer KRISTINE BOCCHINO (Sip on This, p. 36). “and it’s one of the only LA spots that I go out of my way to visit. I’m such a huge fan of cheese, but really trying to eat less dairy and Brazil Nut Parmesan and Cashew Feta at Gratitude are unbelievable,” she says.




what’s in season

SPEARS ARE HERE Spring has truly sprung when I spot these bright green bunches pop up at the farmers’ markets. I love to thinly slice asparagus to use in spring pastas with peas and other seasonal vegetables or, when I’m cooking for a crowd, simply toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them until golden brown but still slightly firm. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving. BY RYAN CAVEYWOOLPERT 8



What’s in Season Now SPRING & EARLY SUMMER

DID YOU KNOW? White asparagus is just green asparagus that has never seen light! It’s usually grown under soil or a covering to block out the sun, which keeps chlorophyll from developing.

Left: ©Dobránska Renáta/Stocksy United; Right: Photo ©istockphoto/AntiMartina








reading corner



THE GREEK VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK A MODERN GUIDE FOR EVERYONE Heather Thomas (Phaidon) Fresh vegetables are an integral part of Greek cuisine, and The Greek Vegetarian Cookbook showcases an array of delicious meatless breakfasts, soups, salads, vegetables, grains, and desserts. Drawing inspiration from all over Greece, the book simplifies this hugely popular cuisine with easily achievable, nourishing recipes so satisfying and tasty that they appeal to vegetarians and meateaters alike.

SALT & STRAW ICE CREAM COOKBOOK Tyler Malek and JJ Goode (Clarkson Potter) The founders of Salt & Straw turned to their friends for advice: chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds, and what came out is a super-simple base that takes five minutes to make, and an ice cream company that sees new flavors and inspiration everywhere they look. Using that base (really, you can make it in about the time it takes you to decide on a scoop in their shop), here are dozens of Salt & Straw’s most beloved, innovative, (and a couple of their most controversial) flavors, like Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, and Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. @EdibleLAMag



‘U PA N’ CUOTT’ (recipe on page 16)





HIZIKI CAVIAR (recipe on page 16)


Avocado Hummus (recipe on page 16)

EAT COOK L.A. Aleksandra Crapanzano (Ten Speed Press)





Homemade Cashew Nut Cheese Spread (recipe on page 20)

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before unmolding, about 30 minutes. To unmold, run a heatproof spatula around the edges and underneath the frittata and slide it onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature, sliced into wedges and garnished with additional flowers. Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC”

serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS 1 pound day-old durum wheat bread (I like Matera-style;), torn into bite-size pieces 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 7 ounces provolone cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 teaspoon peperoni cruschi powder or sweet paprika 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon peperoncino or red pepper flakes ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt

Hiziki Caviar with Tofu Sour Cream CHEF INSTRUCTOR JILL BURNS is our sea vegetable guru. Over fifteen years ago she wrote Vegetables from the Sea with the intention of bringing these“gifts from the sea” to the mainstream, because seaweed is among the most nutrient- and mineral-rich foods on the planet. There are many different varieties of sea vegetables, and we incorporate them often into our meals. Hiziki (known in Japan as hijiki), with its dark color and briny quality, lends a sea flavor reminiscent of caviar to this appetizer.


serves 6

1. Preheat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the center position. 2. Place the bread in a colander, rinse with warm water, and set aside to soften. The bread should be moistened but not sopping wet. 3. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, provolone, peperoni cruschi, garlic, oregano, peperoncino, and ¼ cup of the olive oil. Season with salt. 4. When the bread crusts have softened, squeeze out any excess liquid and add the bread to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Stir to combine. 5. Grease a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, pour in the tomato mixture, and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on top. Bake until the top is heavily browned and the provolone has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SOUR CREAM 7 ounces soft tofu (half a standard package) 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill FOR THE CAVIAR

Serves 4 to 6 as a starter or 2 to 4 as a main

3 tablespoons sesame oil or another neutral oil ½ cup loosely packed hiziki (about ½ ounce), soaked for 10 minutes, drained, rinsed, and minced 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 small shallot, minced 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about ½ lemon) 2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice from about a 6-inch piece Fine sea salt to taste Cucumber rounds, crostini, or crackers, for serving



8 eggs Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup fiori di sambuco (elderflower blossoms), plus more for garnish ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Make the sour cream: In a food processor, combine the tofu, lemon juice, oil, salt, and 1 tablespoon of water, and purée until smooth. Add the dill and purée to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill for 20 minutes or overnight. 2. Meanwhile, make the caviar: Heat a medium skillet over medium- high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, and heat until it just starts to shimmer. Add the minced hiziki and cook until it’s well coated with the oil, about 3 minutes. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shoyu, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until all the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Transfer the hiziki to a small bowl and wipe out the skillet. 3. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until it just starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are browned, 2 to 3 minutes. 4. Add the shallot-garlic mixture to the hiziki and stir to combine. Season to taste with the lemon and ginger juices. Season with sea salt, if needed. 5. To serve, place the caviar on cucumber rounds, crostini, or


INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in the flowers. 3. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir a few times, moving from the outside of the pan toward the center. When the eggs begin to set around the edges, turn off the heat and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake the frittata for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges start to come away from the sides of the pan and the center starts to rise. 4. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the frittata to cool 16



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crackers, and top with a small dollop of the tofu sour cream. Reprinted with permission from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by the Natural Gourmet Center, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Christina Holmes. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

Avocado Hummus with Fresh Za’atar Salad This is, to me, the taste of Los Angeles today: homegrown avocados spun into a luscious green hummus and topped with a fresh za’atar salad. Serve with toasted or grilled pita. From Ted Hopson of The Bellwether, Studio City serves 6 as an appetizer INGREDIENTS HUMMUS 1 cup cooked chickpeas 2 tablespoons tahini ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ¼ cup olive oil, plus a bit more as needed 3 garlic cloves, chopped ½ teaspoon kosher salt 4 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted ZA’ATAR SALAD 4 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves a few stems of thyme, leaves picked 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted 2 teaspoons sumac 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice salt and pepper maldon sea salt, for serving warmed, grilled, or toasted pita, for serving INSTRUCTIONS 1. To make the hummus, combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food proces- sor and process until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the avocados and process again until smooth. 2. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the processor with a rubber spatula, give the processor another quick spin, and taste the hummus for seasoning. 3. To make the za’atar salad, toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. It should be fairly dry, not overdressed. Season to taste. To serve, top the hummus with the za’atar salad. Sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt and serve with pita the hummus for seasoning. 4. To make the za’atar salad, toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. It should be fairly dry, not overdressed. Season to taste. 5. To serve, top the hummus with the za’atar salad. Reprinted with permission from Eat. Cook. L.A. by Aleksandra Crapanzano, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Ray Kachatorian. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.




Homemade Cashew Nut Cheese Spread makes 10-15 balls INGREDIENTS 2 cups (11oz/300g) cashew nuts powder from 3 probiotic capsules 4 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus extra for oiling 2 tablespoons nutrional yeast flakes 1 1/2 teaspoons organic apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon salt For mix 1 3 tablespoons pistachios 3 tablespoons cranberries 2 tablespoons minced red onion 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes pinch black pepper For mix 2 3 tablespoons wasabi sesame seeds 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds INSTRUCTIONS 1. Put the cashew nuts into a bowl, pour in enough water to cover, and soak for at least 2 hours. Drain and discard the soaking water. 2. Put the cashew nuts into a blender with all the remaining ingredients and blend well. You may need to stop a few times and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you can use a food processor. You will need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides. The mixture should resemble extra thick mashed potatoes and be free from any lumps. 3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (clingfilm), and chill in the refrigerator for about 5 hours, or overnight. 4. Before making the balls, lightly oil your hands. This will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands while you roll. Choose a mix, spread it out in a shallow bowl, then, using your hands, divide the cashew nut mixture into 15 small or 10 large balls and roll them in the mix until coated. The balls can be stored in an airtight container for 7-10 days. Reprinted with permission from Raw: Recipes for a Modern Vegetarian Lifestyle © 2019. Published by Phaidon; Photography: Simon Bajada.

The Pursuit of Something More What Robert Mondavi saw was not just a place of exquisite beauty in To Kalon Vineyard, but the birthplace of an idea for what wine from Napa Valley could and should be. Robert Mondavi Winery is the culmination of one man’s pursuit of something more. Come experience his inspiration and embrace his call to live beautifully every day with our Signature Tour & Tasting. Reserve your place at RobertMondaviWinery.com/Tasting-Options.

Schedule a Tour, Tasting, or Program by February 28, 2019, and receive a gift at Le Marche. While supplies last. No wine purchase required. Must be of legal drinking age and present to receive gift. Enter GIFT when you sign up. Please enjoy our wines responsibly. Š2018 Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, CA.

reading corner

Stale Bread is a Staple by Jill Lightner

Making use of stale bread is easy—people have been developing ways to do this for centuries—but it can get a little boring if all that occurs to you is bread pudding or French toast. If you have a food processor, one of the easiest things to do is make bread crumbs. While the bread is still only slightly stale, tear or cut it into pieces about the size of an apricot or (if it’s sliced) a piece of beef jerky. Keep it on the counter in a paper bag for few more days until it’s completely dry, then Obatzda whirl up the pieces in a food processor until they’re no larger than one-quarter inch; some might be as small as a grain of sand. If you don’t have a food processor, place the bread in a plastic bag and crush it with a rolling pin; the crumbs will be a little more coarse but still usable interchangeably in recipes. Freeze these crumbs in labeled freezer bags where they will keep seemingly forever and use in recipes like cassoulet or meatballs, or sprinkle them on soups or salads in place of croutons.

Savory French Toast with Fried Eggs


Originally, French toast was one of the best-known ways to use up yesterday’s scraps in a whole new meal. Since the mid-1990s, it has slowly turned into dessert for breakfast using soft, enriched breads like challah or brioche and fillings that combine jam and cream cheese, all specially purchased for a specific recipe. This may be delicious, but buying all these ingredients won’t help reduce the stale bread and odds and ends you might already have on hand, as French toast was created to do. Not everyone wants a sweet breakfast—plus, stale rye bread needs to be used up just like stale brioche. Any type of thick-cut rye or crust whole-wheat bread will work here. For that matter, sourdough or, yes, challah will also be delicious. If you have cooked vegetables on hand, or even some pasta sauce, you could add that as a topping, too. Makes 2 servings (continued on next page) @EdibleLAMag



INGREDIENTS 4 large eggs, divided 1 cup whole milk 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 (1-inch-thick) slices day-old bread, crusts removed 3 to 4 teaspoons butter or olive oil, for frying Salad greens, for serving (optional) Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional) INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a 9-by 13-inch pan, whisk together 2 eggs, milk, mustard, paprika, pepper, and salt until no streaks of yolk or white remain. Dip one side of each piece of bread in the egg mixture, then flip the bread, leaving it in the pan. Put the pan in the refrigerator and leave the bread in the mixture to soak for at least 30 minutes. 2. Remove the bread from the fridge and preheat a large skillet set over medium heat. Put a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. 3. Add about 1 teaspoon butter to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add as many slices of bread as can fit comfortably in the pan without overcrowding. Cook for 4 minutes, until they are deep golden brown, flip, and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until the exterior is crisp. Move the finished toast to the warm baking sheet in the oven while you finish toasting the bread. 4. Once all the bread has been toasted, add another teaspoon of butter to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Gently crack the remaining 2 eggs into the skillet and fry without stirring for 1 minute, until the edges of the whites are opaque and set. Cover the pan and cook for an additional 3 to 6 minutes, depending on whether you prefer a runny yolk, a medium yolk, or a firm yolk. While the eggs are cooking, remove the warm toast from the oven and divide between two plates. Place salad greens on top of the toast if you want them crisp; place under toast to soften them more. Top with a fried egg, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Brown Betty

2. In a small bowl, combine the butter and bread crumbs, stirring to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle on the sugar and stir briefly. Sprinkle 1 cup of the bread-crumb mixture on the bottom of the baking pan. 3. In a medium bowl, toss the fruit with the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread half of the mixture on top of the bread crumbs in the baking pan, then sprinkle another cup of crumbs on top. Spread the remaining fruit on top of this layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup crumbs. Gently press down on the layers. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes, until the top layer of crumbs is crisp and deep golden brown. Serve warm. Brown Betty is best eaten the same day it’s made, but it can be reheated (uncovered) in a 300 degrees F oven until hot through.

Spaghetti with Crumbs The inspiration for this dish comes via Sicily, where something similar was traditionally made for San Giuseppe’s Day; the crumbs are meant to represent sawdust from the ancient carpenter’s workshop. While cooking with sawdust seems almost too appropriate when talking about food waste, the seasoned, buttertoasted bread crumbs bear only the vaguest visual resemblance to wood shavings. You can customize this dish easily to taste using different cheeses or green vegetables. Roasted leftover asparagus or Broccolini are excellent choices. If you like anchovies, add one with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Makes 2 servings INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs Salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 ounces spaghetti 2 to 4 handfuls baby spinach, arugula, mizuna, or other tender greens 2 tablespoons butter Red pepper flakes Grated Parmesan or other cheese, for serving

INGREDIENTS 1/3 cup butter, melted, plus more for the pan 3 cups bread crumbs 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 3 cups bite-sized fruit pieces 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca starch 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground ginger

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Once it’s warm, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until it is pale gold. Stir in the bread crumbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toast the crumbs, stirring regularly, until they are evenly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. 2. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions (usually 8 to 10 minutes). While the spaghetti cooks, put the spinach in a colander and set the colander in the sink. When the spaghetti is cooked, pour it into the colander to drain; the greens should wilt instantly. 3. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Once it sizzles and begins to brown, stir in the spaghetti and greens. Toss with tongs to coat the spaghetti in the butter and season to taste with red pepper flakes and additional black pepper. Divide the pasta and greens between two pasta bowls and top each with the seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan. Serve hot.

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.

Excerpted with permission from Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home (Skipstone, October 2018) by Jill Lightner. ◆

This old-fashioned baked dessert uses up a lot of bread crumbs, but it’s fine to mix and match types of bread. You can even use sweet breads, like cinnamon raisin or Hawaiian, to make these crumbs. For the fruit, this is an anything-goes sort of recipe, like crisp or trifle. Whatever you choose, core, pit, and peel it and dice it into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using frozen fruit, don’t thaw it before baking. Makes 6 to 9 servings




reading corner

Spaghetti with Crumbs




Creating natural dyes from food waste words: Madeline Crozier | photography: Heather Schrock | layout: Caryn Scheving In food as in nature, color abounds. Natural dyes, made from food scraps that would otherwise go composted or unused, suddenly inspire creative opportunities that reduce food waste. They can replace synthetic chemical colorings in foods like frostings, icings and batters. They can also dye fiber such as yarn or fabric for clothing and pillowcases. And they can add color to DIY projects from paper crafts to homemade paints to Easter eggs. Creating natural food dyes requires a willingness to experiment with ingredients to see what colors emerge. Here are some common food scraps and the colors they evoke. Visit EdibleLA.com for a “How To” guide when dyeing at home including safety tips and our favorite books on natural dyes.


LEMONS Chopped lemon peels produce a soft lemonade-yellow color. When using natural dyes to color frostings or icings, add the dye little by little to achieve the desired shade. A small amount of flavor often remains from the original food, so taste as you go.




Save beet trimmings, peelings and tops to produce a rich, reddish-pink dye. The color produced from beets often fades over time in fabrics but serves well in short-term uses such as coloring Easter eggs, frostings or batters.

ONIONS Onion skins contain their own tannins, no fixative is required to dye fabric (see web story for details). There’s no need to treat the fabric ahead of time. Yellow onion skins produce a yellow-orange color, while red onion skins produce a pale orange with pink undertones.

AVOCADOS Instead of tossing out avocado skins and seeds, store them in the freezer. Five or six avocados will create enough dye for smaller projects, but more scraps will encourage deeper color tones. Boiling the avocado skins and seeds draws out colors from warm peach to light pink.

RED CABBAGE When boiled into dye, red cabbage leaves create a deep purple shade. Dye made from red cabbage leaves is generally difficult to fix to fabric, but the fixative will help for short-term projects (see web story for details). This dye is ideal for coloring frostings or batters.

SPINACH Wilted spinach can span a range of shades from deep green to soft celery. Increasing the amount of spinach deepens the color. Natural ingredients from artichokes to herb leaves to grass can create green tones. To develop your own natural green dye, experiment with different combinations.

BLUEBERRIES If you’ve picked more blueberries than you can eat, they can make a light blue or purplish dye, depending on the concentration of fruit. Experimentation is key.




Simples Tonics




local heroes

THERE’S NO TASTE LIKE HOME. How One Cooking School Shares the Immigrant Experience BY LISA ALEXANDER


’ve always thought it would be pretty eye-opening to be invited into the home of someone who is from another country, another culture, and has another way of cooking and gathering around their kitchen table. Imagine not only being welcomed into someone’s home and learning about their country’s cuisine, but getting to join in on cooking, too. That’s exactly what I had the opportunity to do through The League of Kitchens—a passion project by Lisa Gross, an artist and social entrepreneur who has long been fascinated by the ways food brings people together. Lisa is the daughter of both a Korean immigrant and a Jewish New Yorker so, food-wise, she was raised somewhere between denjang-guk and matzoh ball soup. While still in school, she started the Boston Tree Party, an activist project that encouraged 70-plus communities to plant heirloom apple trees. After she graduated, she realized that she’d never learned how to make traditional meals from her

Korean-American grandmother, who’d since passed away. Wouldn’t it be great to have a network of women from different communities who could teach you the important dishes, the ones full of memories, those wonderful, filledwith-love home-cooked meals? The League of Kitchens has branches in New York and Los Angeles. Its instructors range from Rego Park, Queens to Borough Park, Brooklyn to Palms and Glendale in Los Angeles. In LA alone, you can take an immersion workshop in Armenian/Georgian food as well as a one in Indian cuisine. It’s a unique way to step into the immigrant experience via the universal language of food, taste, cooking, and breaking bread. Intimate, emotional, experiential, and regional, it’s also community-building and super fun. On a recent Saturday, our instructor is Smitha from Hubli, the second largest city in Karnataka, a state @EdibleLAMag



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A snack served to students before they dive into their vegetarian Indian class with Smitha through The League of Kitchens

in southwestern India. The cuisine there is different from any other vegetarian Indian food I’ve tasted. During the afternoon, I ate things I’d truly never had before—all unexpected and delicious. So, how does it work? From their website, you can scroll through their class schedule—we’re doing a vegetarian Indian class—then you and five other people are sent the class location, which felt a little bit like getting the secret address to a supper club or a speakeasy. Smitha’s apartment is in Palms, a highly diverse neighborhood on LA’s westside, where you can hear Hindi, Urdu, and Gujarati on the streets and in the stores. On Saturday afternoon, the workshop participants are all women who are interested in food with varying degrees of expertise. There’s a lot of talk about gardens and cooking and people like me, who try to follow a recipe, but can’t resist the urge to improvise. After giving us a chance to introduce ourselves, Smitha, a lovely young woman with a sleek bob and a traditional cream-colored kurta, tells us about the delicious snack on the table in front of us. It’s a typical breakfast meal. There’s a bowl of

pressed rice redolent of chilies and cilantro and peanuts, a green cilantro chutney and adorable silver-dollar-sized pancakes that seem amazingly light. Before long, there’s a lot of dipping and happy nibbling going on; you can sense right away that we all relax because we know we’re in capable hands. Karnataka cuisine, like many regional cuisines, uses spices to spark the flavors of the original ingredient. It’s all about complementing and intensifying rather than smothering with a heavy sauce. There’s no curry per se, but a very individual mixture of spices that changes according to what’s being made. We’re also talking a lot of pulses and beans, often soaked, and grains and dry chutneys made up of ground peanuts and sesame seeds. Smitha, a software engineer, tells us that she went through an involved audition process before she was selected (only one cook is picked to represent each region). She was trained in how to handle and focus a group (like the chatty group of us). Someone also worked with her to help translate her instinctive cooking style into recipes as well as a very thorough shopping guide of the area’s stores. “And the workshop’s very interactive,” she says, @EdibleLAMag



leading us to the kitchen table before handing knives over to us. First up is junka, a chickpea flour curry. “Mushy and mashy,” Smitha says, which doesn’t come close to describing its unusual, nuanced deliciousness. Smitha first learned to make it in university and, depending on her mood, she’ll freely change up the proportions and heat level. After chopping ginger, chilies, onion, scallions, and garlic, we take turns adding them to the pot after scenting the oil with black mustard and cumin seeds. I’m especially wowed by Smitha’s little steel box where round spice cups are arranged in a flower pattern. “Every Indian woman has one of these,” she explains, even as she puts a pinch of turmeric in our junka, and then another of cumin. “You can make the same ingredients taste completely different depending on when you temper the ingredient with the oil, at what stage you add the spice, and for how long you let it cook,” she tells us. Smitha also has a nifty vertical rack that fits neatly next to the fridge when not in use. She pulls it out regularly during the class, unscrewing a jar and taking out fenugreek or white toasted sesame seeds. The racks also contain even more unusual things like moth beans (“they look like little moths”) and a jar of translucent pressed rice. Smitha has an arsenal of spices and ingredients constantly at her fingertips to flavor her dishes in all sorts of different ways. It’s all so much more intuitive, personal, and creative than just following a recipe from a book or a website. I also learn that tasting everything is half the fun. Before we fold in the chickpea flour, we feast on jaggery, a delicious caramel-tasting raw sugar, as well as umamirich tamarind paste. Then, while the junka is steaming, we turn to the salad portion of our meal—this one consists of soaked moong dal beans, cucumber, onion, cilantro, and a sprinkling of grated fresh coconut. Smitha tells us that this kind of salad is often eaten with spicy dishes to balance the heat. Our lunch would definitely not be complete without chapatti and roti, so we learn how to mix the flatbread dough from special sharbati wheat flour, rolling it out with some difficulty. It’s much harder than it seems, at least to us. Smitha is a pro at this, of course; just watch her flip her chapati one-handed and try not to feel like a total klutz. Her mother and all her aunts were there when she first made them at age thirteen. As she says, making flatbread in India is a reflection of how someone is raised and it’s very important to get it just right. To finish off our lunch, Smitha shows us how to a flavor a savory lassi drink. Made from finger millet and buttermilk, it’s spiced with chilies and fresh curry leaves. She tells us that it’s a popular beverage in Karnataka and is meant to help keep everyone cool during those blazing summer months. When everything is finally cooked—and the kitchen smells amazing, by the way—Smitha looks happy, content. Together 30



Smitha, our instructor, preparing spices.

we set the table and sit down, ready to tuck into a delicious feast with lively conversation among a small group of new friends. Smitha has shared her culture, we’ve all enjoyed a unique experience and definitely acquired valuable tools to take home to our own kitchens. Mission accomplished. As one fellow participant shares, “I was a little unsure about going into someone else’s [home] kitchen— would it feel too intimate? —but I felt blown away by how good it felt. And Smitha was really generous and warm. I thought they couldn’t have made a better choice in her.” Don’t take my word for it—head to leagueofkitchens. com to sign up for your own experience. We did a vegetarian class, but there are many others to choose from. Smitha also leads a shopping trip for out-of-the-way and completely unique ingredients in Little India, Artesia. ◆

Smitha rolling out and grilling dough.

local heroes

The Knife Whisperer I spent a day soaking up tips from LA’s legendary knife guru—and aficionado of all things Japanese. BY LISA ALEXANDER


nyone who’s into cooking has most likely experienced the almost mystical bond between chefs and their tools. A sharp knife is a chef ’s best friend and proper knife skills can create a line in the sand between professionals and amateurs. Chefs have to quite literally earn their chops—just like a ballet dancer doesn’t get to go on pointe until she’s skilled enough, a brand-new cook with a fancy-pants knife won’t do it justice and might even wreck the blade—or worse, a few fingers. On a drizzly Tuesday, knife whisperer Jonathan Broida and I sit together in his capacious shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. I notice the glinting metal of what seems like endless Japanese knives all around, almost as if we’re protected in our own little Samurai cave. His official title could probably be something along the lines of aficionado of all things Japanese, and it’s pretty easy to imagine him carefully curating this collection that surrounds us. He tells me his wife’s parents live in a village in Northern Japan—‘in the woods with a kiln’—where they’re consummate ceramicists. Their beautifully glazed matcha pots are all over the shop as well, not to mention other beautiful tools like fish scalers, mandolines, graters, scissors, and more. Jon met Sara, his wife, when he was working in kitchens and she was getting her masters in journalism. He 32 ediblela.com @EdibleLAMag

quickly became frustrated that the only time they could manage to see each other was “between 3 and 5 a.m.,” he tells me. Something had to give. Leaving the kitchen was hard, but harder still was figuring out which one of his many passions would win out to become his future. Both of their families helped, reminding him that, after all, he’d always been a “Japanese knife dork.” Luckily Sara was onboard with the idea. To get started, they “reached out to all the companies that I’d been using when I was cooking, and tried to start doing business with the ones I really liked,” he tells me. They quickly found that many places wouldn’t even talk to them unless they physically showed up, so the couple headed straight for Japan where they began to learn all the ins and outs. Before long, they started having custom orders made for their shop. “We’d say, ‘I wish it were a little bit more like this for folks from the U.S.,’ and they’d make it for us. We started putting that out and slowly the business grew,” Jon explains. Since then, Japanese Knife Imports has become a hangout for chefs as they wait on Jon’s superior sharpening skills. With sake, tea, an awesome cookbook library, and a serious sound system, the Beverly Hills shop is the place to congregate, schmooze, and talk shop if you work in one of LA’s many kitchens. And just in case you’re looking for a lateral or vertical move, there’s

Jonathan Broida, owner of Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills

All photographs by Japanese Knife Imports @EdibleLAMag



also an impressive job list penned on a white board in the front of the shop. I glance over to see some of my favorite spots are looking for a line cook or a pastry chef. “The board’s worked out amazingly well,” Jon says. “People only come in here if they want to do something better, so that filters out a lot of people right there.” But back to the knives. The most important thing to know, Jon tells me, is the difference between Japanese and German. German knives tend to be curved. They’re usually a bit on the thicker side, with softer steel, usually between 56 to 58 on the Rockwell scale, while Japanese knives can go all the way up to 62. A Japanese knife is thin and (hopefully) really sharp. It’s great for precise work, while a German knife may be the best choice for tougher chores. Japanese knives are usually lighter, too, which is something I notice right away as I easily lift a gorgeous one that immediately feels like an extension of my arm. Jon tells me he often fits the blade to the customer. And, with the more expensive ones, Jon feels obliged to train the customer in proper maintenance and care. He admits that if he doesn’t feel they’ll go for that, it might not be a fit and he’ll perhaps cancel the order or suggest something else. It sounds a little like adopting a kitten; you have to show that you’re going to be a good knife parent. Because of their comparative thinness, Japanese knives are also more delicate than their German counterparts. “Japanese knives don’t work well for rocking [back and forth] in the same way that German knives do,” he explains. Jon demonstrates with a series of lightning fast cuts on a board, lifting the knife off the wood with every thrust. It all boils down to structure. As the steel gets harder and can be stretched longer, it will be capable of 34



deftly working angles instead of bending or deforming. This very hard steel also moves through food more easily. Along with this comes a sort of brittleness. Japanese knives can chip and sustain considerable damage when subjected to heavy hitting and lateral force. “When you exert pressure directly at the edge, there’s a lot of material behind it and so it’s structurally stable,” he shows me. Working across the edge however is hitting the knife where it’s thinnest and weakest. A Japanese knife is not good for a rocking motion where the chef drags the tip across the board in between cuts— in other words, for one of the most basic Western cutting techniques. And strokes need to be extra smooth and straight too. “So when you mince herbs, you want to roll them up, chiffonade them finely, and then rotate 90 degrees and go through it again,” he explains. It’s also helpful to avoid smashing really hard things like frozen foods, seeds, nuts, and that famously dangerous wound-causer, avocado pits. It’s possible to cut tall, dense foods with Japanese knives, but be careful not to “get a running start and swing your knife like a battle ax,” he says. Think ‘thrust and cut’, not ‘rotate and twist’. I ask Jon about the particularly pretty knives, the ones with cloud-like scroll work on the blades and the look of hammered steel. He tells me it’s Damascus steel and it’s really a softer sheath around a much harder core; in other words, the designs are mostly for show. The iron ore is put in a huge pot with pine charcoal and cooked for an extended time. The carbon and the iron bond together and sink while the impurities rise. After the bad stuff is discarded, the rest is picked through for the softest, brightest bits, many varying in carbon content, and then sorted.

sneakers or a tennis racket. It’s all so deeply meaningful and individual. Before I go, I have to pick his brain for some of his favorite Japanese spots around LA, especially for vegetables. Jon loves Aburiya Raku in West Hollywood where he orders the eggplant cooked directly on the yakitori grill. He also tells me to ask for the off-menu kamameshi —“crazy delicious rice cooked in a clay pot,” he says. Downtown, Hayato is a Japanese kaiseki restaurant at The Row DTLA where Jon says to splurge on their omakase menu at dinner. You can also pre-order bento boxes for lunch. He also recommends Yakitoriya on Sawtelle, but as he tells me, “this is a chicken place, but they do great veggies too.” Ultimately, chefs come here to learn, gather, and be among like minds. It feels unique and intentional, not like anywhere else in the city. ◆

The shop’s interior, filled with knives, cookbooks, tools, and more.




Photo © Brett Donar / Stocksy United

When these pieces get pounded and folded together, you get carbon banding which creates the distinctive swirl-like pattern of a Damascus knife. “They make people think of swords,” Jon tells me. And the best knife for a novice cook? That’s easy. Jon designed the Gesshin Stainless 210mm Wa-Gyuto from sketch all the through to the finished knife. “It’s thin, but not the thinnest, so it moves through food easily,” he says. “The steel is decently hard but not crazy to sharpen. It also has a nice flat section near the heel so it works well for cutting and it’s super light. And at $130, it fits into that sweet spot for a great first knife.” Then I ask about sharpening at home, something I’d almost rather just leave up to the professionals. Jon tells me I’ll need a sharpening stone, preferably medium grit, and something to hold it in place and to keep it flat between sharpening. He walks me through the process of forming a burr, making sure the blade is sharpened evenly on both sides, and how to end up with a stable, clean, sharp edge by using a finishing stone. After we’ve finished our tea, I feel like I just completed a crash course in Japanese knives and can honestly feel Jon’s enthusiasm as he talks about his passion—explaining the sharpening process with the utmost patience, which he must have to do all the time. At the end of the day, picking one knife seems to be a deeply personal thing. And only by practice will I learn if I like heavy or light, hard or soft, carbon or stainless, German or Japanese, or even a Damascus blade. Which sort of explains why chefs love their knives so much—it can become a side-passion, an obsession, the same way an athlete might pick out a pair of

sip on this

PLANT-BASED & BOOZY With so many Angelenos living the plant-based lifestyle, I began to wonder what some of LA’s finest mixologists might serve up at a brunch cocktail party featuring an exclusively vegan menu—maybe a way to allow the more delicate flavors of local plants shine through. These four local cocktail masters embraced the challenge and found creative and delicious ways to incorporate flowers, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and spices to give these recipes a bit of the umami effect that pairs perfectly with plant-based cuisine.


note: all recipes make one cocktail



Jake Larrowe, head bartender at Birds & Bees in Downtown LA, offered this thoughtful multi-dimensional libation brilliantly incorporating a homemade tincture, syrup, and even an umamirich fermented mushroom juice.

INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp blood orange rooibos tea 8 oz hot water (190°) 8 oz granulated sugar

INGREDIENTS 2 oz Gin Mare ½ oz blood orange rooibos syrup ½ oz Amontillado sherry ¾ oz fresh lemon juice 2 spritzes fermented mushroom juice (recipe follows) 6 drops peppercorn tincture (recipe follows) ¼ oz olive brine Mediterranean olives, for garnish

METHOD Steep tea in hot water for about ten minutes, then strain the tea and stir in sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool, then transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

METHOD Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake until well chilled, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a selection of Mediterranean olives 36 ediblela.com @EdibleLAMag

WHITE PEPPERCORN TINCTURE METHOD Depending on how much you’d like to make, measure (by weight) whole white peppercorns and a grain alcohol or neutral spirit, such as Everclear, in a ratio of 1-to-4. Add peppercorns and alcohol to a sealed glass container and allow to sit for one to two weeks, shaking daily. Strain the peppercorns and store in a clean sealed container.

Red Lola cocktail by @barmax

sip on this

Kusanagi cocktail by Cameron Masden

FERMENTED MUSHROOM JUICE INGREDIENTS 200g (about 7 oz) portobello mushrooms 200g (about 7 oz) cremini mushrooms 8g (about 0.28 ounces) salt, separated 100-proof whiskey, such as Rittenhouse METHOD Toss mushrooms in 4 grams of salt and vacuum seal. Allow to sit for three days, then strain out mushrooms and add ½ ounce of whiskey per 6 ounces of mushroom juice. Repeat with cremini mushrooms, then mix cremini juice and portobello juice together in equal parts.

FEISTY RABBIT On any given night, stop by the beautiful bar at the Montage 38



Beverly Hills and you’ll likely have the pleasure of meeting lead bartender Jason Sorge. This cocktail may as well have been born and raised in the garden, bursting with vegetal notes and a healthy kick a fresh ginger, which is rounded out by a refreshing, slightly sudsy ginger beer float. This recipe is unique in that it allows you to choose your preferred spirits. Mezcal is a great choice, but vodka or tequila work just as well. Note: adjust the amount of ginger juice accordingly to your palate—the full half-ounce pour offers a great kick! INGREDIENTS 2 oz spirit, such as mezcal, tequila, or vodka 1 oz carrot juice 1 oz orange juice ¼ oz fresh lemon juice ¼ oz fresh lime juice ¼ oz - ½ oz ginger juice dash of turmeric

ginger beer, to top lime wheel, for garnish sprig of fresh parsley, for garnish METHOD Add the spirit and juices to a shaker tin and give a quick shake. Strain into a copper cup filled with fresh ice. Top with a bit of ginger beer and garnish with a lime wheel and sprig of parsley.

2 anise pods 4 cups dried hibiscus flowers METHOD Bring the first four ingredients to a simmer, then add the cinnamon and anise. Turn up heat and bring to a boil. Add the hibiscus and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and store in an airtight container. ◆

RED LOLA Local social media cocktail guru Max, aka @barmaxla, passionately creates cocktails that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. German-born and now living in Los Angeles, Max draws inspiriration from the wealth of yearround produce available at our local farmers markets and this recipe effortlessly boasts a perfect balance of bitter, sweet, spicy, and tart.

Feisty Rabbit cocktail by Jason Sorge

INGREDIENTS 1½ oz Uncle Val’s botanical gin 1½ oz Dolin Génépy des Alpes liqueur 1 oz D’arbo black elderberry syrup 1 small grapefruit 2 red chard leaves 1 small red beet 1/2 lime 3-4 sprigs Italian parsley thin slice of habanero chili For garnish: a red chard leaf, plus a vegetable skewer with a mix of caper berries, black olives, habanero chilis, and lime METHOD Juice the grapefruit, chard leaves, beet, lime, and parsley, and habanero chile. Shake all ingredients with ice, then doublestrain over fresh ice into a highball glass.

KUSANAGI For head barman Cameron Masden of the Raymond 1886, collaborating with bartender Nathan Baker yields delicious results. Floral and nuanced hibiscus flowers are used to make a delicious syrup for this cocktail—perfect to counter the heat of the spicy bitters along with the nuttiness of a quality orgeat syrup. INGREDIENTS 2 oz Haku vodka ¾ oz fresh orange juice ½ oz hibiscus syrup ¼ oz orgeat syrup Bittermens Hellfire bitters Orchid flower, for garnish METHOD Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, then strain and serve up in a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a fresh orchid. HIBISCUS SYRUP INGREDIENTS 5 cups granulated sugar 5 cups filtered water 2 pieces cinnamon @EdibleLAMag



Photos Š Yoshihiro Makino for A Garden Can Be Anywhere (Abrams, 2019)


A Garden Can Be Anywhere


Edible Gardens LA founder, Lauri Kranz, tells us what she’s planting right now.


he feeling I get when I pull up to someone’s home for the first time and see an edible garden at work—it’s as if I just know I’m about to share my time with a like mind—and that warm feeling was nearly tactile as I flipped through the pages of Lauri Kranz’s new book. She’s the founder of Edible Gardens LA, a company that helps chefs, families, businesses, or just about anyone who’s interested in creating and growing a lush garden filled with organic vegetables. In her new book, A Garden Can Be Anywhere: A Guide to Growing Bountiful, Beautiful, Edible Gardens, Lauri shows us all just how satisfying it can be to take charge of our food source while creating a simply stunning outdoor space at the same time. Filled with gorgeous visual inspiration, great advice, and expert gardening tips, this is a lovely reference for anyone who might want to dive into creating an edible garden, no matter how new you might be to the idea or how small an area you have to work with. One of the best takeaways from Lauri is discovering that a backyard does not need to look any one particular way in order to successfully feed a family—it’s all about your individual space and how to most efficiently and organically design a garden that will yield gorgeous produce. On the next page, Lauri shares which seeds she is planting in her garden now. @EdibleLAMag







Winter Squash


Summer Squash





Dragon’s Tongue, Haricot Vert, Rosso di Lucca, Borlotto

Blue Jade, Who Gets Kissed

Green Finger, Lemon, Japanese, Armenian

Fairy Tale, Black Beauty, Rosa Bianca, PIng Tung Long

Charentais, Sakata Sweet, Haogen


Burgundy, Clemson

Little Bells, Jimmy Nardello, Shishito, Jalapeno, Serrano, Habanada, Aji Charapita

Honeynut, Kabocha, New England Pie Pumpkin

Ronde de Nice, Center Cut Squash, Zucchini

Purple, Green

Aunt Ginny’s, Sun Gold, Black Krim, Ananas Noire, Copia, Black Cherry, Stupice and more!


Illustration © iStockPhoto/Nastasic

Moon and Stars, Blacktail Mountain










Profile for Edible LA

Edible LA | No 9  

Edible LA | No 9  

Profile for ediblela