The Incredible Beauty of Beauty

I spent the afternoon in Los Angeles with my friend Kathy Delgado yesterday and was reminded of just how exciting (not to mention happy making) it is to be with a friend who spends her life in pursuit of beauty. In the hour that we sat at the ever-inspiring Joan's on Third, we plotted my next book, Kathy's first book, and, naturally, the absolute beauty of a cheese board, which got me thinking about these roasted grapes. (Beautiful, right!?) The recipe, in a nutshell, is this: Put however many bunches of whatever kind of grapes (red, green, muscat, champagne) you want to roast on a baking sheet and stick them in a 350°F oven for anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes, until they are a third to halfway along their journey to becoming raisins. (The recipe is revised from Mozza at Home, which I wrote for the great Nancy Silverton, queen master maker of food that is equal parts delicious and beautiful.) Remove the raisin-ized grapes from the oven and lay them lovingly on a board with some of y ...

Read More
Plain and Perfect Guacamole

Over the 10 years since I perfected my guacamole recipe and won a Los Angeles-based Guac-Off, it has become nothing short of a legend in my own mind. My guacamole has been talked about (mostly by me), written about (mostly here), and copied, even by people who normally don't go around copying things. My guacamole inspired the one the trend-setting chef Nancy Silverton serves for her Mozza restaurant staff parties. But the one thing my guacamole hasn't done during that time is change. Because it's perfect in the way that only simple things can be. I learned it from my step-grandmother, a Oaxaca native living in Mexico City, who casually mashes up a molcajete of guacamole the way you or I might whisk an egg. Like: No. Big. Deal. The key word here being MASHED. The word guacamole comes from the word "molir," which means "to grind" or "to mash." It does not mean "to mince." Minced onion-and-tomoato guacamole is more like avocado pico de gallo. Where this (if I do say so myself) perfect gua ...

Read More