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Childhood memory about food/cooking...

Growing up on a farm, as young as 5 or 6 years old I recall during planting & harvest season the men would cook over wood fire & propane stoves lunch for the workers; usually pork or beef or chicken in a brown gray, always served with a heeling portion of Rice (we are rice growers).

Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world...

Breakfast - Waffle House

Casual - Beef O'Bradys

Dinner - Lone Horn Steak House

Cultural Chain - Papadeaux's Seafood Restaurant

Favorite thing to cook at home or favorite thing to order in?

Catfish Coubion

INGREDIENTS:

1 (3-5 pound) catfish

1 cup oil

1 cup flour

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped fish pieces

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1/2 cup tomato sauce

3 quarts fish stock

juice of one lemon

3 bay leaves

pinch of thyme

pinch of dill

1 cup chopped green onions

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Fillet the catfish and cut into two inch square cubes. Place the bones and head in a pot with one gallon of water, one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 30 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface. Strain and reserve 3 quarts for the courtbouillon. In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and using a wire whip stir constantly until dark brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add fish, tomatoes, tomato sauce and continue to sauté until fish is cooked into the roux mixture. Add fish stock, one ladle at a time, until all is incorporated. Add lemon juice, bay leaves, thyme and dill. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer. Allow to cook approximately 30 minutes. Add green onions and season to taste using salt and pepper. Drop cubed catfish fillets into the sauce, allow to cook 3 minutes then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve over steamed white rice.

Favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning...

1st-Boudin!

2nd- Fiesta Omelet, grits & bacon.

What is your favorite food related scene from a movie or TV show?

Lucille Ball - attempting new recipes for dinner.

What is the one food item you cannot live without?

Rice (medium grain white). I must have it in at least 1 meal a day, breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

What Else?

Growing up I learned Cajun Culture is centered around Faith, food, family & friends. Cajuns believe in breaking bread at any & every gathering from birth of a child, receiving sacraments, wedding, holidays, achievements, and, yes, funerals. So if you were invited to come over and visit, you were expected to stay for a meal... The sharing of a meal has proven to soften the setting and conducive to productive meetings; to the extent that talks of the next meal would begin shortly after a meal was concluded, give it a try!

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Phil Vanderhider is a native of south Louisiana – Mamou! Brought up on Cajun Customs & Rich Savory Cooking Traditions in a rural farming community.

Along with his team, he recently launched Cajun, In a Truck, a Louisiana inspired Food Truck in Hernando County, FL, serving Lunch & dinner at various locations. The menu includes Jambalaya, Crawfish & Corn Bisque, Red Beans & Rice, Shrimp, Catfish & Chicken Po’ Boys; Specialty items are Boudin Balls & Ettouffee Pockets; for the lighter side, garden salad, add grilled shrimp or chicken; kids meals mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese. Coffee & Cajun Beignets for dessert!

The Team is equipped & experienced in onsite catering, 30 to 300 meals per setting with everything from table scape, linens, silverware & chaffing setups for business meetings & trainings, open house, company or family picnics, company holidays & celebration parties, political events, wedding rehearsal dinners, school sports events, homecoming, fundraisers, private or public gatherings.

They are booking Catering events and would like the opportunity to work with you.

Cajun, In A Truck

1-855-855-9211

Phil@inatruck.com

www.facebook.com/inafoodtruck

Twitter & Instagram: @inatruck

www.inatruck.com

As a trainer food is a very important aspect of my profession. But it goes even deeper. My parents owned a restaurant for over 20 years back in good ole Texas. Yes, I'm a rare Asian from West Texas. And my parents ran a rare Chinese restaurant that went from being able to seat 30 people to a few years and remodels later to seating over 400. As a good friend from childhood put it... "I can't describe it but it was not only a Chinese restaurant but the best restaurant in town, known for the best Chinese food, steaks, desserts, cocktails, ugh, it's hard to explain."

My parents had said the reason why they got into the business was they were immigrants and didn't have many choices so they did what they knew. But in my mind after watching my parents day in and day out try new recipes over and over again at home, even throwing away perfectly good food that they labeled as not “perfectly cooked”, I knew they just LOVED cooking and entertaining people! It was not uncommon for my mother to cook the best Asian food, American food/French food/Italian food/pastries etc, that I'd ever had. And I'm telling this from my experience of eating at Michelin star restaurants. At age 7, I enjoyed foie gras and raw oysters because my parents did not give me an option to not try new things (unlike many of the kids these days). And I was not shocked when watching my mother cook live octopus and other random things in the kitchen.

Luckily I can say I've always had a healthy relationship with food. Because I had everything available to me. I've never seen food as an escape because my parents never told me I couldn't have certain foods. So I rarely crave crap foods... as long as we are erasing my college-partying days.

Nowadays, I try to be more conscientious of the nutritious value of foods I choose. Current keywords are grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised, sustainable, wild. It's not to be trendy but I'm a big believer of what Thomas Edison said: "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." Because unfortunately I watched my parents pass away from cancer and also watched the not so fun results of chemo and radiation. Even my own health has fluctuated with the foods I put in my body and the older I get, the more I am aware of what "feels" good with the cells in my body and what doesn't. And I don't believe it's one size fits all. We all vary in our genetic makeup, environment, stress levels, active/non-active lifestyle, goals, so we all require different nutrition. And I don't believe in the food pyramid we were taught is good for us, nor the counting calories diets... But my rant on nutrition and food quality for a different article.

Childhood memory with food...

My mother cooking at 4am almost every morning. Sometimes it was typical breakfast. Sometimes perfecting a recipe for French pastries, making dough, making homemade ice cream, pizza, the newest dish for the restaurant, or even her knife cutting skills. She could throw that giant butcher knife over her head and slam it through a chicken without looking at it and it would land in the same spot every single time! All while also watching golf on television, we were also a very golf-obsessed family.

Favorite dish my mother made...

It's quite simple, her boiled chicken with sauce on the side. The sauce was a sautee of oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, soy sauce, and white pepper. That with watercress and pork soup. Mmmm, home. The only sweet thing I really craved was her flourless chocolate cake which she sifted melting dark chocolate with fresh coffee grounds (Kona, Amaretto, and Hazelnut).

Favorite dish my father made...

My mom was the queen of the kitchen but my dad could sweeten up any fish. Black bean sauteed fish with tomatoes... any fish.

Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world?

I don't have one favorite. Just depends on what my mood wants. But to just name a few in mostly Los Angeles...

For Health: True Foods or Sauce on Hampton. The serve yummy organic, locally grown veggies and grass-fed meats.

Sushi: I love SugarFish, it's just classic, no fancy rolls but the cuts are to perfection and the rice is the perfect consistency and temperature.

Seafood: Blue Plate Oysterette, I just love the ambiance and the oysters with a nice Sauv Blanc.

Dare I say Pizza... Stella Barra, perfect crust, great ambiance and drinks.

Beach side: Venice Ale House, great people watching and great grass-fed burger!

Vegas: Eiffel Tower, a Michelin star restaurant and the fact that you start with a blue cheese butter spoon for your bread... say what?!

Cheap Chinese food: Hop Li on Santa Monica Blvd (in West L.A.), tasty food, terrible service that grows on you.

Salad: Greens Up! Yes with an exclamation point! Organic and they make their own dressings.

Cold-Pressed Juice: Rejuice and Clover Juice. Love my green juice! My body refuels and keeps my immune system up to par!

Shabu Shabu: Mizu 212 on Sawtelle... Organic and Grass-fed qualities and the cook that knows me best, myself. ;)

Favorite thing to cook at home?

My "go to" is a bolognese I make with grass-fed beef, red wine, rosemary, onions, garlic, curry spices, cayenne, Himalayan sea salt, and store bought Marinara (cause I'm too damn lazy to also make sauce). Usually over spinach or rice or angel hair... depending on how clean I want to eat. Bikini season also makes an impact on that decision.

What is you favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning?

Every morning I try to enjoy pasture-raised eggs flash-cooked with grass-fed butter... cooked juuuuuust enough and served in a bucket glass. And I drink a half bottle of cold-pressed green juice and a spoonful of almond butter. Totally not normal, I know, but it's what makes me feel good and I love the taste! But when I go out for brunch with friends I can't resist a good eggs benedict and extra spicy bloody mary.

Favorite food related scene from a movie or TV show?

The entire movie of Julie and Julia… just classic! And in the movie Honey I Shrunk The Kids, where they are eating the giant cookie, I want to cannonball into that cookie! Also gotta say I'm always cracked up how people in movies/TV eat the smallest bites.

What is the one food item you cannot live without?

Pasture raised eggs... they're the perfect food. Does whiskey count?

Anything else you want to add?

I kinda wish we lived in a hunter gatherer world cause crops are being over used and livestock are mistreated and not fed properly. There is way too much abundance and it's getting harder and harder to find good quality food. Fortunately I live in one of the most health-conscious cities but that's not the case for many people. If more people refused to buy the easy to come by foods, the big chains would be forced to create higher quality for the populations. And I wish the FDA would have higher standards for food quality as well. We are what we eat.

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Venus Lau is a personal trainer, golf fitness coach and a writer/actress in Los Angeles.

Her fitness website: www.VenusFit.com or www.facebook.com/Venusfit.

Her comedy troupe website is www.SoBad-ItsGood.com.

To check it out on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SoBadItsGoodComedy

Douglas Stockley is a realtor who lives in Los Feliz with his wife Rowena and their son Andrew. Their daughter Dakota lives and works in Vancouver.

Share a childhood memory about food/cooking.

My love of cooking came from my Mom. She loved baking and would always have cookies, cakes or some type of cookie bar on hand. She made everything from scratch and that homemade taste set the standard for the foods I would seek out to make. At 13 my Mom was diagnosed with cancer so I innately took on more of the dinners at the house. My passion for cooking grew from my childhood days in the kitchen with my mom. It was this incredible time when we were together and I'm still reminded of her to this day when the ovens on and the smell of something amazing is wafting through the house.

Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world.

I'm a big proponent of hole in the wall restaurants with excellent inexpensive food. Some of my favorites in no particular order.....

1. Little Dom's
2. Silverlake Ramen
3. Speranza
4. Mozza Pizzeria
5. Tomato Pie
6. Hugo's Tacos
7. Guisado's
8. Lotteria at the Farmers Market
9. Izaka-Ya Katsu-Ya on 3rd
10. Pho Cafe
11. BLD
12. Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Favorite thing to cook at home or favorite thing to order in?

I love grilling fresh fish and serving with steamed baby broccoli tossed with garlic and olive oil.

Ordering in is never my first choice. Part of my love of food comes from the way your home smells when something's cooking. It's part of the whole experience which is lost on take out or food that's delivered.

I also love making a hearty dish like chili or white beans with sausage, kale and tomatoes.

What is you favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning?

Green Juice (recipe included).

What is your favorite food related scene from a movie or tv show?

Lucy and Ethel working the conveyor belt in the chocolate factory.

Watch the scene

What is the one food item you cannot live without?

Green Juice. Once your body grows accustomed to being properly hydrated and nourished its hard to go a day without it. It cuts my cravings for sweets and keeps me balanced throughout the day with no midday dips in energy. We were in Europe twice this past year and by the 4th day without green juice I was grabbing for food all day but never really feeling satiated.

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The mighty eggplant is the most underrated vegetable in the market, hands down. Especially when you consider it's always available, cheap, versatile and absolutely delicious. For centuries it was considered poisonous an inedible and was even thought to cause leprosy and cancer. Now we know very well that all that is totally false and can enjoy this marvelous ingredient in various ways. Same with most ingredients, those who are self-proclaimed eggplant “haters” have most likely yet to encounter a properly treated eggplant.

Let's find the perfect eggplant!

What To Look For:

The skin has to be shiny and smooth, with no blemishes or scrapes. The green top should look vibrant, young and not brownish, bruised or dry. Size does not matter here too much, There is little correlation between size and taste. Go for medium if there's a choice.

What To Feel For:

The flesh of the eggplant should be hard and firm when you press it. Soft flesh will indicate old age, and therefore bitter taste once you cook it. Look for an eggplant that is heavier than it looks.

How to Care For:

Eggplants don't store well and are generally sensitive to cold. Therefore they don't refrigerate well. It is best to use it as soon within a day or two.

To reduce bitterness, eggplants should be salted before cooking. Slice it and salt generously. Set aside for 30 minutes. Use a paper towel to wipe down the moisture that surfaced.

Cook it!

Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Score the flesh about 1/2" deep in diamond shape lines. Brush heavily with olive oil, season with salt. Place in a pan lined with parchment paper and roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until flesh thre flesh is soft and charred. Place on a serving platter, top with goat's milk yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and chopped mint. Optional: chopped red chile pepper. Serve with warm bread.

For more cooking suggestions and fun tips, check out the recipes page, or message me here.

Eggplant's Best Friends:

Tomatoes.

Garlic.

Lamb.

Sheep/goat milk feta/yogurt.

Leafy herbs (basil, mint, parsley).

Lemon juice.

Happy cooking!!

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Share a childhood memory about food/cooking.

I remember my Italian grandmother making pizza from scratch in our kitchen growing up. I used to watch her kneed the dough and spread it out on the floured surface of our wooden kitchen table. When she was done we'd fry the left over pizza dough and cover it in powered sugar together. I was not a thin child, but I was very happy.

Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world.

This is hard… Farmstead in Napa. Fang in SF. Nobu in Malibu. New favorite: Crossroads in West Hollywood.

Favorite thing to cook at home or favorite thing to order in?

Favorite thing to order in currently is thai food from Galanga Thai in LA. Favorite thing to cook would have to be… omelettes with fun cheeses in them.

What is you favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning?

An omelette with lox, cream cheese, dill and capers.

What is your favorite food related scene from a movie or TV show?

When Harry Met Sally… "too much pepper in my Paprikash." I still have no idea what Paprikash is, but the scene is hilarious.

Watch the scene

What is the one food item you cannot live without?

Avocado!

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Erin Cardillo is an actress, writer and acting teacher. She has appeared in leading and supporting roles in feature films and in guest starring, recurring and regular roles on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and more. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, spent a year in London studying Shakespeare and a summer at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab in NYC. She is currently the Master Instructor and the Executive Director of the highly reputable Warner Loughlin Studios in Hollywood. Erin's most recent original pilot, We’re Not Your Parents, co-written by Richard Keith, was the winner of the FOX/comedy pilot competition at the 2013 NYTVF, which landed her a development deal with FOX. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband.

FIND MORE AT www.erincardillo.com

         

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