TASTEABLE: California takes viewers on a weekly tour of California food and wine creators and destinations.

This episode includes a visit to the foodie boutique Vegan Picnic, the Andaz Hollywood and its (RED) Suite, and a recipe for duck breast.


Produced by TasteTV, www.TasteTV.com

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Homefree creates tasty allergy-free mini-cookies

A lot of kids and many adults have food allergies, and that makes picking the right snack a chore.

Top 6 Gourmet Olive Oils from California

The best gourmet olive oil is as collectible as the best artisan wine. That’s why we have a list of some of California’s best.

Cookbook Review: The Kosher Baker

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The Kosher Baker cookbook is a delightful discovery for the home baker, published by Brandeis University Press.

The Kosher Baker Book CoverThere may be a lot of cookbooks out there that are dairy free, but none showed up on our doorstep right about the time 30% of our tasters declared they were now vegetarian and/or vegan.

Not to mention said book has over 160 recipes from traditional to trendy.

Author Paula Shoyer has divided the book into interesting and practical categories, which are based on how complicated the recipes are.

For example, Section 1 is “Quick and Elegant Desserts: 15 minutes preparation time.” Section 2 is “Two-Step Desserts, 15 to 30 minutes preparation time.” The concept continues throughout the book.

The 160 recipes include cookies, tarts, cakes, breads, cupcakes, cobbler, Key lime pie, and even fruit soups. Essentially any recipe that you may want to make but usually add milk or cheese you can probably find a version here without those ingredients.

We recommend this as a must-have cookbook for any home chef or baker, because you never know when you’re going to go vegetarian, vegan, or even all the way Kosher.

The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy
By Paula Shoyer
348 pages
Hardcover, $35.00
View on Amazon


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The Kosher Baker Book Cover Marble Chocolate Matzoh-1

Quick Homemade Pickles

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One day you may be like us, and just wake up and decide you’re going to pickle something.

You’ve never done it before, but you have seen enough cookbooks in the stores on the topic, and have heard enough experts on food radio to inspire you.

On the other hand, you don’t have weeks to get the project done, and you certainly don’t want food poisoning.

Fortunately, there are quick pickle recipes which bring satisfaction within a few hours. These are what we tried, much to our glee.

Since we didn’t want to invest too much money in this possibly failing endeavor, we used what was already available and in stock. This means essentially some cucumbers, some carrots, and some green peppers. Plus, some ginger and some onions.

The biggest choices we had to make came down to what to store the pickles in, and which flavor of vinegar to use.

For containers we had choices between small mason jars and Tupperware. Being fairly ambivalent, and not knowing which would be better, we used both.

For vinegar we had a choice between regular and apple. Again, we chose both.

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We can say immediately that there is a difference between apple and regular vinegar when it comes to pickles. From this experience it appears that the apple vinegar is much more subtle and slightly sweeter. That may sound appealing to some, but if you want that really sour or tart pickle experience then you should probably go with the regular vinegar.

Some recipes also say you should blanche or pre-cook the carrots. We did not. They are as crunchy and hard as regular carrots. Except these are full of pickle flavor.

Some recipes also may try to get you to remove the seeds from the cucumbers for pickling. Not us! That soft interior in the pickle is fantastic and full of flavor.

Some morsels of ginger in the mix do add a little spicy kick — which is fun — and it is not a bad idea to go overboard with this ingredient.

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Please keep in mind, this is a recommended recipe, but you can change it based on your own taste preferences

2/3 Cup of Vinegar (white, apple or rice wine)
1/3 cup of water
1 Tbs of Sugar
1 Tbs of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Optional spices (literally, a dash): Mint, mustard seed, peppercorn, dill

How many vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, etc.)? It’s up to you, but to start you should keep it small, like around 5-8, basically whatever is going to fit in your jar. Slice them or dice them.

  1. Add ingredients together in bowl and stir. No need to heat up.
  2. Add vegetables to a mason jar (any size)
  3. Add liquid until jar almost filled (make sure to cover all the vegetable)
  4. You may also add 3-4 morsels of sliced ginger or garlic (peeled) to the mix to add some kick.
  5. Seal jar, and shake it to mix well.
  6. Place in refrigerator
  7. Let sit for 3-12 hours, the longer the better.
  8. Keeps for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, if they last that long.By the way, Bon Appetit Magazine says you can avoid these 7 mistakes and your quick pickles will be awesome.