Last week, I headed over to the Studio City Farmers Market to pick up some organic produce for a video shoot I was doing at my friends’ house as part of an oral history project for the Chinese American Museum‘s newest exhibit, “L.A. Heat: Taste-Changing Condiments“, which focuses on art inspired by Sriracha and Tapatio, two divine hot sauces made right here in Los Angeles. (I’m honored to be on the advisory board for this exhibit, which runs now through July 12!)
The videographers asked if there was somewhere we could go that inspired me, and I immediately suggested we head to the farmers market. Walking in with no real idea of what I was going to make—other than knowing I’d be using Sriracha in my recipe—I was struck by the beauty of these purple Brussels sprouts. I’d never tasted them before, let alone seen them! The kind woman at the produce stand told me they were similar in taste to regular Brussels sprouts, but with a slightly sweet note. With that, I couldn’t wait to try them!
Another week, another successful trip to the Downtown Glendale Farmers Market! Not only did I find plenty of inspiration in the fresh, local, organic produce on display, I also discovered some varieties of produce I’d never seen before, like Shunkyo semi-long radishes, AND I found a grower with organic passionfruit, macadamia nuts, and cherimoya!
But what really called to me this week was the fat stems of asparagus I saw standing regally in shallow pans of water. I grabbed a small bunch, scooped up a leek, and a big handful of handsome sunchokes in the hopes that I could make an interesting soup. But once I got home, I wanted to be a little more adventurous than that. I don’t play with sunchokes too much; I usually just throw a raw one into my green juices, but I’ve been wanting to roast some for a while now. They get a wonderfully hearty flavor redolent of artichokes, which is why you may also find them labeled as Jerusalem artichokes at the market. (more…)
It’s no secret that I’m super into food and cooking, but not too many people know that I’ve got a very deep love for music as well. Cooking gets me thinking, but music… music gets me feeling. I’ve gotten in a rut recently. Not an emotional one, mind you, but a creative one. I’d been making a lot of my favorite dishes over and over again, and playing all my usual playlists ad nauseam. But, I gotta give a monster shout-out to the app Spotify for introducing me to all kinds of songs and artists I’ve never heard—or often even heard of—through its “Radio” and “Discover” features, not to mention the countless recommendations friends have sent to me via a collaborative playlist or through the in-app messaging system. And now, I’ve discovered another really cool tool within Spotify that’s not only gotten me even more excited about finding new music… it’s also gotten me excited about cooking new dishes.
It’s called Geotunes, and its purpose is to help people “locate and listen to songs written about cities, landmarks, events and more using a giant interactive map as your musical playground.” My buddy Tim Herscovitch is actually the one who introduced me to it; he’s been working as the Interactive Content Lead on it and suggested I could use it to put together themed playlists for when I’m cooking a dish from a particular region for friends. After Tim gave me a quick little tour of the Geotunes app within Spotify—all of which is free to use by the way—I felt inspired to start listening to music from some of the countries with my favorite foods. I clicked on India and set it on shuffle for a while and got to dreaming about what I wanted to make.
Sure, I could pop in some Ravi Shankar while whipping up some chana masala, but I like that Geotunes doesn’t just find music from your selected city/region/country, it finds songs that are about your chosen location. Sure, they aren’t all going to be to your liking since it spans all genres, but you’re able to isolate the songs you like on your own playlist and skip those you don’t enjoy. And every so often, you come across a little stylized “g” (the Geotunes icon: ) next to a track, which lets you know there’s some bonus information about it and how it ties into your place of interest.
Now then, about India. I’ve got my Spotify account and I’ve downloaded Geotunes on my desktop… so what food do I want to make now? Here are a few of my favorite Indian recipes that I think would be GREAT to cook alongside the Geotunes India playlist on shuffle:
This recipe is straight out of Anupy Singla’s celebrated cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker. It uses quite a little list of different spices, but that tends to be the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with Indian cuisine. Seriously, this just screams comfort food to me. Bonus that it’s vegan and gluten-free! (Photo & recipe via The Perfect Pantry)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Pindia”, by Tøyen
My good friend Melissa, the mastermind behind one of my favorite blogs, has been on a roll lately with her delicious ayurvedic-inspired recipes and this latest one of hers looks no different. Chock full of mung dal (split mung beans), beets, beet greens, and basmati rice, I’m getting hungry all over again just looking at her beautiful picture.
This kitchari recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by using coconut oil in place of the ghee (clarified butter) that’s called for. Bonus that it’s also gluten-free!
(Photo & recipe via Vegenista)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “Hunting Tigers Out In India”, by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
I love Heidi Swanson’s original recipes and her wonderful cookbooks, but I really love when she tweaks other people’s dishes. Here, she transforms chef Suzanne Goin’s potato-tomato gratin simply—by using curry in place of thyme.
Vegans: Feel free to use coconut oil instead of butter and unsweetened coconut milk for the cream. (Photo & recipe via 101 Cookbooks)
Sample track I liked from the “Geotunes: India” playlist — “India Sleeping”, by Mars
I’ll be putting some more of these cooking and music posts up in the coming weeks, since I think it’s kind of a neat idea. Any cuisines in particular you’d like to see? Leave a note in the comments section or hit me on Twitter: @RandyClemensEsq. Hope you’ve gotten inspired too!
For months now, I’ve been talking about going to the farmers market to buy some local, seasonal, organic vegetables and coming up with a spontaneous recipe that utilized my haul. But I’ve been procrastinating big time, and one of my excuses was that the my nearest farmers market didn’t have ANY organic farmers present. So here I am walking to Whole Foods Market instead and I see a poster announcing that the Downtown Glendale Market had just moved to a new location with a whole bunch of organic growers! (Bonus points that Carole Gallegos is the new market manager; I used to love chatting with her and shopping at the Studio City Farmers Market when she was there.) (more…)
Yes, it’s true! I’m putting together a Sriracha Festival in downtown Los Angeles with my good friend Joshua Lurie from FoodGPS.com!
The 1st Annual L.A. Sriracha Festival is taking place on Sunday, October 27, from 3 pm to 6 pm at LOT 613 in the downtown L.A. Arts District. This chef-driven, all-inclusive, 21+ event spotlights the world’s most iconic hot sauce in a casual industrial setting. Multiple stations allow guests to enjoy a variety of Sriracha themed dishes, including desserts, at their own pace. Local craft beer, cocktails, and sodas help tame the heat while a live DJ set helps create a fun and unforgettable food and drink experience.
Some of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants participating in this year’s event include:
- Wesley Avila— Guerrilla Tacos — “Best Tacos in LA Under $10”, Time Out LA (2013)
- Nadav Bashan — Bashan — “Most Underrated Restaurant in LA”, Eater
- Neal Fraser — BLD, Fritzi Dog, ICDC, Redbird at Vibiana, The Strand House —Top Chef: Masters (Season 5)
- Gabe Gordon — Beachwood BBQ & Brewing — “Best Brewpub in Southern California”, RateBeer.com (2013)
- Eric Greenspan — The Foundry on Melrose, Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, The Roof on Wilshire — Iron Chef: America, The Next Iron Chef
- Tai Kim — Scoops — ”10 Best Ice Cream & Gelato Shops” (#8), LA Weekly (2011)
- Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso — Mexicali Taco & Co. — “The Best Tacos in Los Angeles”, laist (2013)
- Christian Page — Short Order — “5 Reasons to Get Out and Explore LA”, Bon Appetit (2012)
- Tui Sungkamee & Jazz Singsanong — Jitlada — Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants (#9), LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants (2013)
- Chloe Tran & John Vu Cao — East Borough — “One Perfect Day in Costa Mesa,” Sunset Magazine, opening restaurant in Culver City
- Ernesto Uchimura —Plan Check Kitchen + Bar — “Chef of the Year”, Los Angeles Magazine (2012) — also featuring a cocktail from Matthew Biancaniello
To drink, Eagle Rock Brewery, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will be pouring craft beers throughout the event. Inventive bartenders Josh Goldman (Soigné Group) and Matthew Biancaniello are serving creative cocktails in the main festival area and at the Plan Check Bar booth, respectively. Los Angeles Ale Works has created artisan ginger ale (with or without Sriracha!), Pure Water of Los Angeles is providing beyond-green purified water from their water systems.
Huy Fong Foods, Inc. has generously come on board as a presenting sponsor. David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods and mastermind behind their Sriracha, will be making a rare, special appearance at the event. Uber is offering festival guests a free ride valued at up to $20 for first time users, and Ten Speed Press is giving a copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook to all VIP guests.
A portion of proceeds from the L.A. Sriracha Festival will directly benefit Food Forward; a North Hollywood-based charity whose mission is to rescue and donate fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Over 1.6 million pounds of food has been gleaned since 2009, which goes to local food pantries, helping feed over 40,000 hungry Southern Californians each month.
General Admission tickets are $49 per person in advance, and $59 per person at the door, if still available. Tickets are all-inclusive, and enable attendees to sample freely from all food and drink vendors as they please. Tickets are only available for people 21+.
VIP Tickets for the event are $80 in advance, and $90 per person at the door, if available. They include reserved seating, one-hour early admission from 2 pm to 3 pm, and a signed copy of The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. Tickets are only available for people 21+ and are for sale exclusively at LAsrirachafestival.nightout.com.
Valet parking is available at nearby 619 Imperial Street for $10 per car, and free street parking is also an option.
LOT 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90021,www.lot613.com
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About The Sriracha Cookbook: Randy Clemens released The Sriracha Cookbook in January 2011, incorporating his favorite hot sauce in 50 unique recipes. The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook recently launched in July 2013 with an additional 50 recipes, all plant-based in nature.
About Food GPS: Josh Lurie founded Food GPS in 2005. Since then, his Los Angeles-based website has remained dedicated to pinpointing the highest quality, best-tasting food and drink, regardless of price or cuisine, and sharing stories of people behind the flavor. Food GPS, Inc. also produces unique culinary events.
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