The conflict between the L.A. Film School and the Hollywood Farmers Market is now in negotiations. L.A. Weekly's Squid Ink has a comprehensive overview of what the kerfuffle is all about. Long story short, the market cuts off access to a portion of the school's parking lot, and limits its ability to hold events on Sundays. For clarification, the school is not asking for the market to be shut down, but for that its "footprint be modified."
President Obama is expected to sign a bill on Monday aimed toward making healthful food more available in public schools. Highlights of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act include expanding after-school meals for at-risk children, increasing access to free meals in high-poverty areas, and adding 6 cents per meal in federal reimbursement to help schools provide more healthful options.
This Week in Food TV
Not all This Week in Food TVs will be about Top Chef All-Stars, but right now it's just so...gripping. My money was on Jen Carroll, but even if she hadn't been ousted this week, there were some serious WTF moments in her commentary and bats**t crazy giggles. For my next pick, I'm going with the surprisingly mellow Tiffani Faison. However, I've always been intrigued by Jamie Lauren, who recently moved south from San Francisco to run the kitchen at Beechwood in Venice/Marina del Rey.
Film buffs and food fans can gather in Santa Barbara January 27 - February 6. During the 11-day Santa Barbara International Film Festival 30 area restaurants will offer a "Film Feast " prix fixe menu featuring two, three and four-course options. Click here for a list of participating restaurants.
Resource of the Week
My biggest gripe with food trucks is that I'm never in the right place—both physically and emotionally—for the food trucks I encounter at random. On an average working day, it's hard to psych myself up for a cuisine that may or may not show up. The best resource I've found for tracking food truck wanderings in the San Fernando Valley is Valley Food Truck, which faithfully retweets locations from Burbank to Woodland Hills.
If you've been to an L.A. food event and encountered bountiful platters of beautiful cheeses, chances are there's a spritely lady clad in a gold-sequined vest standing behind the table. That's Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario, whose mission is to expose the hungry public to the more mind-blowing qualities of great cheese.
So rather than showing up to your next holiday party with a wedge of Alouette and a sleeve of water crackers, take these tips for planning your next cheese-y display:
Woolwich Dairy Inc. produces a Triple Crème Brie that's actually made with fresh goat's milk, rather than cow. All you need to do with this indulgent find is to serve on a French baguette or a brioche. ($8.99 for 6.5 ounces, www.woolwichdairy.com)
Sartori Foods has two cow's-milk cheese to take note of this holiday season: Raspberry BellaVitano is a creamy, nutty wedge that's been soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale. After all, cheese and beer are a natural pairing, so this little number makes perfect sense when you think about it. ($8/67 for 7 ounces at mmm.sartorireserve.com)
The other Sartori cheese is an Asiago rubbed with rosemary and olive oil. Take it to the next level by drizzling it with a touch of Italian olive oil. ($8.67 for 7 ounces at mmm.sartorireserve.com)
One of the great dividers in the cheese world is Limberger. If your guests shrink away from aromatic washed-rind cheese, just give it a little sponge bath with a paper towel. Serve that on a dark or rye bread and they'll be avid fans of stinky cheese forever. (Try as I might, I couldn't track down the good stuff from Wisconsin's Chalet Cheese Co-Op, but Pavilions on Vine carries Honey Creek at $5.29 for 6 ounces, and The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills has a brand called Bio-Kaserei Zurwies at $15 for 7 ounces.)
- Always leave cheese out of the fridge for at least an hour. It wakes up the microbes and improves the consistency. And, like a white wine, if it's served too cold you're simply not going to taste the full flavors.
- If you're serving roasted nuts with the cheese, go with the unsalted variety.
- Although the classic baked brie involves sweet jam, think outside of the box. Get some peppers from the market and cook up a savory pepper jelly http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pepper-jelly-recipe/index..... Spread that over the cheese, wrap it up in puff pastry or even dinner roll dough, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- 'Tis season for beautiful figs, whether it's Black Mission or golden Calimyrnas. Just cut them in half and serve them with a touch of brie (although any kind of cheese works) drizzled with honey. It's hard to mess up, easy to serve and even easier to clean up.
- A fig leaf can make a perfect little disposable plate.
- When estimating quantities, think about what type of party it is. If it's pre-dinner cocktails, three cheeses are plenty. If there is no meal to follow, five is a reasonable number. Estimate one ounce of each type of cheese per person.
- If there are leftovers, simply wrap it in wax paper—not too tightly—and lightly wrap it in tinfoil. Then write the name of the cheese and the date and plan to eat it within a couple of days. But really, should there ever be such a thing as "leftover cheese?"