The story of the $20 Hot Dog. And sauerkraut.

A friend and I visited a new-ish hipster sausage place in downtown LA a few months back. 2 dogs and 2 beers later, we were $40 in the hole and the price tag definitely left a bad taste in our mouths (not to mention the snobby guy at the counter who took our money in the first place).
As he asked me what toppings I wanted in his slurred, I-don’t-give-a-shit because-I-probably-play-in-a-band-and-shop-at-Goodwill-even-though-I can-sorta-afford-not—-ok, ok I’m not bitter!—-but as he slurred “peppersonionssauerkrautalrightwithyou?” and looked at me blankly, annoyed that I wouldn’t just say yes, I was pressured into saying, well, “Yes.”
Automatically I regretted my decision, because I knew I didn’t like sauerkraut. Never have, never really gave it a chance, but I mean come on, it’s pickled cabbage. How many people give it a chance? Anyhow, no turning back at this point. Off to find a table in the crowded dining area and await our meal.
The food finally came; fries were tolerable, the beers were alright; now it was time for the main course. The sausage. The SAUERKRAUT. The stare down. The, “Wanna try some on yours?” to my mate who opted out of the dreaded topping even with cashier guy’s evil stares. And then, out of the blue, it happened….
“Heyyy…I actually like this stuff, this sauerkraut…”
“Hey, me too actually…weird…I never thought I’d like it!”
And so began our new-found liking of sauerkraut.
Although it felt like highway robbery to pay $40 for (in it’s most basic form) hot dogs and beer, we had discovered this thing, this pickled cabbage that was sour-ish and tangy and delightful served with overpriced meat in tube form.
Today I purchased my very first big glass jar of Kruegermann Sauerkraut. Now it’s on to the next step, which is creating the $20 hot dog at home. You’ll see posts about this in the future.
I guess we have snobby cashier guy to thank in part for this discovery. Something good did come out of his pretentious attitude, which is a lesson I’ve learned over and over again in LA. Oh LA.


Green Onions

Are they the same as chives? I don’t know. But we planted these over the summer too. They’re actually really easy to grow and take care of. I made some potato salad and tossed some in; they’re great in salsa, orange chicken, etc. etc. If you ever need any green onions, you know who to call. We’ve got 2 planters full of thick, long stems of ’em.


We planted a bunch of basil in the backyard this summer, and it’s still going strong. Is that normal? It’s December and there were bees buzzing all around, pollenating the little basil flowers.
I like to pick it and put it in tomato soup, stir fry, spaghetti sauce, anything. It really brightens things up. I highly recommend planting some, and if you don’t have a backyard places like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot sell them in little self contained pots so you can keep one in the kitchen. They’re really easy to take care of and smell great too. Do it!

The joy of cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. On a cold, dreary weekend, it’s nice to spend some time in the kitchen with these. I favor more crisp on the edges/soft in the middle chocolate chip cookies, but these are run-of-the-mill classics. Soft and light and satisfying out of the oven.
The recipe is from “The Joy of Cooking”, which contains a recipe for just about anything you can imagine. It’s 1132 pages long! I have to admit it doesn’t have the best recipes in the world, but it’s concise and a really good reference for when you’re playing around with things in the kitchen.
My only adjustment to the recipe was that I let the dough sit in the fridge overnight. I find this makes the flavor of the cookie even better. Brian says because it gives the flour time to absorb the somethingsomethingscience-ysoundingreasonIdon’tknow. Anyhow, if you can wait, definitely do it. And I also like to bake half and save half the dough in the freezer so you can have cookie dough ready for whenever you want. It’s real convenient and sometimes it’s just a bad idea to have a ton of cookies sitting in the kitchen, waiting to be devoured all at once. Danger!
Here’s the recipe. Oh and I added a few revisions of my own. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Joy of Cooking

Preheat the oven to 375.

1 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour (I used cake flour bc I couldn’t find all purpose in the house)
1/2 tsp baking soda

Beat in a large bowl until well-blended:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (you can make this faster by microwaving 15 seconds, but DO NOT melt!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Add and beat until well combined:
1 large egg (also at room temp, which you can make faster by submerging in warm water)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
(I added chopped pecans, you can add anything you like or nothing at all.)

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are just slightly colored on top and the edges are brown, about 8 – 10 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

Makes about 36 cookies.

CSA’s in LA, SF, and OC

For those of you who haven’t heard of a CSA, it stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”. Usually what these programs provide are weekly or bi-weekly boxes of local, seasonal, organic produce, sometimes delivered to your home or sometimes prepared to be picked up at a central location.
My first experience with a CSA was in Orange County. I can’t remember how but I found South Coast Farms‘ CSA. Every other week I’d pick up my enormous basket of fresh local produce; it was like opening a present each time. Sometimes there’d be little pea blossoms they threw as extra. Sometimes there’d be vegetables I’d never even recognized, let alone knew how to prepare. But it was an awesome organization and the best CSA I’ve joined to date. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who is interested and in the OC area.
(Here’s Peanut and our South Coast farms bounty)
A few months ago I moved back to Los Angeles and had trouble finding a CSA in the area. I read bulletins and webposts and recommendations, but I had trouble finding one that worked for me.
I’m currently part of Paradise Organics produce program. It’s not really a CSA persay because I know most of the produce is not from local farms. It is, however, organic and very high quality, and the prices aren’t bad considering how impossible it would be for me to shop for produce at the local Whole Foods. Plus, they deliver to your doorstep. So for now, it’ll do. But I’d really like to find one as great as South Coast or Capay Farms here in LA. Hopefully soon I will. Do you know of any or have any great experiences with your CSA?

“Diary of a Foodie”

Most of my Saturday afternoon was spent writing papers and doing final projects for school, but during my break I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and while the dough was chilling in the fridge I flipped channels and found this show.
“Diary of a Foodie” is a great program from Gourmet magazine (which most recently went under because of financial problems). I’ve always enjoyed Gourmet magazine for it’s beautiful editorials and impeccable style. This show was a direct reflection of all of that and more, offering viewers a cultural and culinary insight into different regional cuisines.
I browsed through the episode guide and all of the episode titles got me excited. Some of them include “Anatomy of a Meal with José Andrés”, “Hidden Hong Kong”, and “North Carolina: BBQ and Beyond”. A really diverse mix of countries and cultures that will be exciting to experience through this series. Hopefully Gourmet will continue to exist as a website, and if you’ve never gotten a chance to experience Gourmet magazine, definitely visit the website and take a look at the images and recipes. Lovely.

All “Diary of a Foodie” video podcasts and episodes can be found on here.


**updated on June 30, 2011

hi everyone. well, here is a food blog i started two summers ago, didn’t tell anyone about, and never got around to keeping up with.

i think i’m going to give it another go.

so hi, and thanks for reading!

(below is my first entry from two years ago. oh how time flies.)

i’m jasmine.
let’s keep this informal. no caps! but proper punctuation (to the best of my ability at least).
i’m 25 years old— soon to be 26 on february 10th.
i’ve always been bad at intros, so i guess i’ll leave it up to you to get to know me better through this so-called food blog.
as i’m rounding the bend into quarter life crisis mode, i have concluded that one of the only things i am sure about right now is that i want and need to do something for myself. this can be interpreted in many ways, from doing my own freelance work instead of clocking in at a 9 to 5, or starting a small business from scratch, or, well, this here food blog.
so this is one thing i am doing, on my own, and sharing with all of you.