Categoria: Restaurants Food and Drink

Free Ice Cream At Dairy Queen, Rita’s Italian Ice To Celebrate The First Day Of Spring

Do we all scream for ice cream on the first day of spring?

If the ice cream is free, then maybe so. Dairy Queen and Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard are giving away cold treats Monday to welcome spring and, theoretically, warmer temperatures.

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Say goodbye to winter and hello to GETTING A FREE SMALL CONE TODAY!!! Grab your free cone only at participating DQ locations

— Dairy Queen (@DairyQueen) March 20, 2023

Dairy Queen fans can make their way to any non-mall location in the U.S. for a free small vanilla soft-serve cone. The celebration lasts all day but is limited to one cone per person while supplies last, and may not be available on delivery or mobile orders.

Everyone’s favorite First Day of Spring FREE Ice Giveaway is back, today only! (No app needed.) Plus, enter for a chance to win FREE ICE FOR A YEAR when you download the Rita’s Ice mobile app and enter promo code SPRING23 🌷🍦🌿

Official rules:

— Rita’s Italian Ice (@RitasItalianIce) March 20, 2023

Rita’s is offering a free Italian ice to all customers who visit one of their more than 550 locations across the country Monday. Customers can choose any flavor, including Rita’s newest offering – Gummy Bear Ice. Rita’s, which has locations in Apple Valley and Eagan, says they expect to give away about 1 million cups of Italian ice.

Recipes: Here Are 3 Dishes You Can Make With Quinoa

The only thing difficult about quinoa is its pronunciation. Quinoa, KEEN-wah, cooks up fast and easy. Boil it in water or broth; times vary, but recipes generally suggest about 10 to 18 minutes. Then let it rest, covered off heat, 4 minutes for crunchy. Or about 7 to 10 minutes to bring the tasty seeds to a softer state; this longer heating makes the seeds fluffier but still pleasingly chewy.

It’s often referred to as a grain, but it’s the fruit of a broadleaf plant, so it is a seed. Completely gluten-free, these itty-bitty orbs are a good source of non-animal protein, an important component for those on vegetarian and vegan diets.

Nutrient density is great news. Generous amounts of vitamins and minerals are only part of the story; if it doesn’t taste good, I turn the page. Many years ago, Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend made me a believer. This tasty concoction combines red quinoa with Israeli couscous, orzo, and baby garbanzo beans. I loved the crunch the little red seeds brought and started wolfing down quinoa in a wide variety of other dishes. Not just the red-hued beauties, but the white variety and black ones, too, often choosing a tri-colored mix.

The taste is neutral with a smidge of nuttiness, making quinoa appropriate for both sweet and savory dishes. I often cook more than I need for a dish and chill the leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge for up to one week. It is delicious in everything from scrambled eggs and smoothies to burritos and tabbouleh.

Here are three vegetarian dishes that showcase quinoa. There’s nothing bland or boring about these flavor marriages.

Toasted Quinoa, Corn, and Avocado Salad can work as either a vegetarian main dish or as a side. (Photo by Curt Norris) Toasted Quinoa, Corn, and Avocado Salad Cookbook author Marie Simmons taught me the value of pan-toasting quinoa before cooking it off in broth or water. It gives it a welcome nuttiness and irresistible crunch to the seeds. Her main-dish salad is a hearty entrée tossed with a jalapeño-spiked dressing. It showcases the toasting method.

Yield: 4 servings as a main dish or 8 as a side dish

INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 cups white quinoa; see cook’s notes

1 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil

Jalapeño Dressing:

2 teaspoons ground cumin

5 tablespoons mild-flavored olive oil or other vegetable oil

1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño chili, plus more to taste

1 garlic clove, grated

1 teaspoon coarse salt


1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 ears or defrosted frozen)

1 cup diced (1/2 inch) firm, ripe Roma tomatoes

1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) green onions (white and green parts)

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced (1/2 inch)

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

Cook’s notes: Most quinoa that is sold in packages has been “pre-rinsed,” which means the off-tasting saponins have been removed and rinsing isn’t necessary. If the quinoa you used is pre-rinsed, start with step 2.

Use caution when working with fresh chilies; upon completion wash hands and work surface thoroughly and do NOT touch eyes or face.

DIRECTIONS 1. If you aren’t sure if quinoa is pre-rinsed (see cook’s notes), rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.

2. Heat oil in large skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is a light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed, and the quinoa is translucent, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered off heat, 10 minutes.

3. To make dressing: Sprinkle cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat, until fragrant and a shade darker in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk to blend.

4. Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes, and green onions to the dressing and toss to blend. Spoon the salad onto a large platter and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top.

Source: “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” by Marie Simmons (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.95)

This quinoa bowl features sweet potatoes, black beans and avocado, topped with yogurt dressing. (Photo by Cathy Thomas) Quinoa Bowls with Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Yogurt Dressing These generous quinoa bowls make great luncheon fare, or with a green salad on the side, a dinner meal. Roasting small chunks of oil-coated sweet potatoes, gives the spuds an irresistible taste and texture. I’m such a fan, I often add an additional sweet potato or use two large sweet potatoes.

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups tri-colored quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

Kosher salt

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, see cook’s notes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

One (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 large avocado, seeded, peeled, diced

1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas or coarsely chopped roasted and salted pistachios

Yogurt Dressing: 3/4 cup plain yogurt (not Greek-style), 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 finely grated small garlic clove, kosher salt and pepper to taste

I prefer light-skinned, light-yellow fleshed sweet potatoes in this recipe, but if you prefer, use the red-skinned, orange-fleshed variety.

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium saucepan place quinoa and water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Keep covered off heat for 10 minutes. Add a little salt and toss.

2. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with oil, coriander, and salt to taste. Bake until tender and browned in some spots (this will primarily be on the bottom portion), about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Add beans, soy sauce and hot sauce; toss to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. In separate bowl, combine yogurt dressing ingredients and stir to combine.

3. Spoon quinoa into bowls and top with sweet potato mixture. Top with avocado and either pepitas or pistachios. Top each with a heaping spoonful of yogurt sauce and serve.

Source: Adapted from Valerie Bertinelli,

This breakfast bowl tops strawberries and kiwis with a crunch quinoa topping. (Photo by Curt Norris) Breakfast Bowls with Toasted Quinoa, Kiwi, and Strawberries This recipe makes more of the crunchy quinoa topping than is used in the dish. The mixture can be thoroughly cooled and stored airtight up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Use it atop rice, green salads, baked apples, or sliced fruit of choice.

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups white quinoa

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave syrup, divided use

1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

1 cup sliced ripe strawberries

2 kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into crosswise slices

4 cups plain or vanilla Greek-style yogurt

DIRECTIONS 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place quinoa on rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1 tablespoon agave syrup and oil on top; mix with rubber spatula or clean hands to combine. Spread the quinoa into a single layer as much as possible. Bake until crisp, stirring occasionally and keeping an eye on it, about 10 to 11 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly.

3. In medium bowl, toss strawberries and kiwis with the remaining 1 teaspoon agave syrup.

4. Divide yogurt between 6 bowls. Top each with fruit mixture and about 2 tablespoons of crunchy quinoa. Serve.

Source: “50 Best Plants on the Planet” by Cathy Thomas (Chronicle, $29.95)

Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at

Recipe: How To Do ‘quick’ Corned Beef For St. Patrick’s Day

It can be argued that corned beef cookery isn’t an appropriate subject to feature in a quick-to-prepare recipe column. The point is well taken. But I defend its placement by presenting two justifications.

One, the recipe can be divided into two parts on subsequent days. Day one, the beef is cooked in the oven with chopped vegetables, liquid, and spices. Covered with aluminum foil, it slow-cooks unsupervised for several hours. It’s then refrigerated, the meat separated from all but one cup of liquid and chilled separately. Day two, the meat is sliced and reheated, while the vegetables are cooked on the stovetop.

The second reason for its inclusion is more obvious. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, a day (in this country anyway) when the concoction marks the celebration.

This recipe was developed by Cook’s Country, a division of America’s Test Kitchen. Their version contends that the spice packets enclosed in many corned beef packets are stale. They suggest using fresh peppercorns, allspice, bay leaf and thyme.


Corned Beef and Vegetables Yield: 6 servings

1 (4- to 5-pound) flat-cut corned beef brisket roast, rinsed, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 cups water

12 carrots, peeled (3 chopped, 9 halved crosswise)

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 onion, peeled, quartered

3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon whole allspice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes

1 head green cabbage (2 pounds), cut into 8 (2-inch) wedges; see cook’s notes


Cook’s notes: Cook’s Country suggests using a flat-cut corned beef brisket, not point-cut; it’s more uniform in shape and thus will cook more evenly. When slicing the cabbage, leave the core intact or the cabbage will fall apart during cooking.

To make ahead: Prepare corned beef through step 2. Refrigerate moistened beef and cooking liquid separately for up to 24 hours. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer meat to carving board and slice against grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place in baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until meat is heated through, about 25 minutes. While meat is heating, proceed with step 3.

DIRECTIONS 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine corned beef, broth, water, chopped carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, and allspice in Dutch oven. Cover and bake until fork slips easily in and out of meat, 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

2. Transfer meat to 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, discard solids, and skim fat from liquid. Pour 1 cup cooking liquid over meat. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, return remaining cooking liquid to Dutch oven, add butter, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and simmer until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add carrot halves and cabbage, cover, and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables to serving platter and season with pepper to taste. Transfer beef to carving board and slice against grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with vegetables.


Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at

Panda Express Is Giving Away Mini Woks In Los Angeles On Thursday, March 9

Panda Express will be giving away cast iron mini woks in four Los Angeles restaurants between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, according to a news release from the Rosemead-based restaurant chain.

The giveaway is promoting a new menu item, Sizzling Shrimp, which Panda Express describes as a mixture of seafood and fresh vegetables wok-tossed in a tangy sauce. It will be available for a limited time.

The wok is worth $30, according to Panda Express. Customers must make an in-store purchase of Sizzling Shrimp to qualify, and there are other terms and conditions on the chain’s website.

The woks will be offered while supplies last at these restaurants, according to the news release:

4947 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles

2619 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles

2919 Los Feliz Blvd., No. Los Angeles

2011 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles


Fielding Buck | Reporter Fielding Buck has reported throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. His beats have included, business, dining, entertainment, and Southern California theme parks. He’s also been a section editor and copy editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs. He has a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University.

Where To Get A Free Oreo Bundlet This Monday, March 6

To celebrate Oreo’s 111th birthday, bakery chain Nothing Bundt Cakes will be giving away a free Oreo Cookies and Cream Bundlets to the first 111 customers in line on Monday, March 6 at 1:11 p.m.

The chain unveiled the limited-time Oreo Cookies and Cream Bundlet on Feb. 6. It will continue to be available through March 26, but Monday is an opportunity to try it for free. All Nothing Bundt Cakes locations are participating.

The cake has a Nothing Bundt Cakes classic white cake baked with Oreo cookie pieces and the chain’s signature cream cheese frosting on top.

Customers can purchase the cake in all sizes, but Monday’s giveaway will be individually packaged miniature cakes.

Caitlin Antonios | Reporter Caitlin Antonios is a California native and has spent most of her life living in Orange County. After graduating from the University of California, Irvine with a literary journalism and English degree, she attended Columbia University for the Toni Stabile Investigative Journalism program. She spent a year freelancing investigative stories covering education, health and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amar Santana Returns As Contestant On Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ World All-Stars

Southern California chef Amar Santana will return to compete in Bravo’s “Top Chef” World All-Stars series premiering Thursday, March 9 on Bravo.

The Emmy- and James Beard Award-winning show will enter its 20th season this year going entirely abroad for the first time and pitting 16 chefs from “Top Chef” iterations around the globe.

The series was filmed throughout London, with some episodes taking place at iconic locations such as Highclere Castle and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, last fall with the season finale set in Paris to name the World All-Stars champion.

Santana first came to Southern California from New York in 2008 and went on to open Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and Michelin Guide-recognized Vaca, part of the South Coast Plaza restaurant collection, in Costa Mesa with partner Ahmed Labbate.

He first appeared on season 13 “Top Chef: California” as a contestant and finalist seven years ago before returning as one of the rotating guest judges on ‘Top Chef: Portland’ a few years later.

“I remember after judging season 18 of ‘Top Chef’ how I enjoyed it so much, being on the other side instead of running around,” Santana said. “When I was in Portland I told everyone I’m done competing, I’m too old for this.”

But the call to compete was too tempting to pass up and when the time came for Santana to be a competitor on one of the biggest seasons in the show’s history, he had to say yes.

Local chef Amar Santana will be a contestant on the new season of ‘Top Chef’ World All-Stars premiering March 9, 2023. (Photo by: Stephanie Diani/Bravo)

Local chef Amar Santana will be a contestant on the new season of ‘Top Chef’ World All-Stars premiering March 9, 2023. Pictured: (l-r) Tom Goetter, Samuel Albert, Buddha Lo, Sylwia Stachyra, Ali Al Ghzawi, Dawn Burrell, Amar Santana, Charbel Hayek, Victoire Gouloubi, Nicole Gomez — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Local chef Amar Santana will be a contestant on the new season of ‘Top Chef’ World All-Stars premiering March 9, 2023. Pictured: (l-r) Amar Santana, Ali Al Ghzawi — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

“I said you know what, let me just give it a shot and see how the old man is gonna pair up against chefs from around the world,” Santana said.

Only four chefs were chosen from the United States and Santana is the only contestant from California. The other contestants from the U.S. include Chef Sara Bradley from Kentucky, Chef Dawn Burrell from Houston and Chef Buddha Lo from New York. Chefs from Lebanon, Jordan, Brazil, France, Germany, Thailand and more will also be competing.

“I always doubt myself, I always think I’m not good enough to compete,” Santana said. “I always put myself down like that, but it gives me the fire to do even better. I was honored they chose me from California.”

For Santana, the opportunity wasn’t just to see how he would hold up against the chefs at his “old” age, but also a chance to learn from chefs with different cultural perspectives on food. And the level of competition made this season particularly hard.

“It’s probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life when it comes to my cooking career,” Santana said. “Getting to meet all these chefs from all around their world, their culture, their cuisine, their style of cooking … so it was not only fun competing but also learning from them.”

Host Padma Lakshmi returns with judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and rotating guest judges from international versions of the show. Episodes will air every Thursday at 9 p.m. and be available the next day on Peacock.

‘Top Chef’ When: Premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 9

Channel: Bravo

Caitlin Antonios | Reporter Caitlin Antonios is a California native and has spent most of her life living in Orange County. After graduating from the University of California, Irvine with a literary journalism and English degree, she attended Columbia University for the Toni Stabile Investigative Journalism program. She spent a year freelancing investigative stories covering education, health and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipes: Make Both Sweet And Savory Treats For Purim

The holiday of Purim, which begins on Monday evening, March 6, commemorates the saving of the Jews of Persia from being killed.

The story is recounted in the Book of Esther, which is chanted in synagogues on Purim. It relates how Queen Esther, who was Jewish, foiled the scheme of the king’s evil advisor Haman to destroy the Jewish community. During the reading, every time the name Haman is mentioned, the children make plenty of noise with special noisemakers.

Since Queen Esther was said to be a vegetarian, many people include nuts, beans and seeds in their Purim menus. We’re preparing sesame-topped greens, soup with beans, potatoes with tahini (which is made from sesame seeds), and orange cake with nuts.

The best-loved Purim food custom is preparing, exchanging and enjoying holiday sweet treats, especially three-cornered filled cookies called hamantaschen, which in Yiddish means Haman’s pockets; in Hebrew they’re called Oznei Haman, meaning Haman’s ears.

This year we are making hamantaschen a different way. Instead of using a rolling pin, we shape the cookie dough in balls, fill them with guava paste and form them in triangles.

Guava hamantaschen are easy-to-make three-cornered cookies filled with guava paste. (Photo by Yakir Levy) Guava Hamantaschen These three-cornered hamantaschen, which are filled with guava paste, are easy to make. The pliable cookie dough is shaped without a rolling pin. With the same dough you can also make round cookies with the filling enclosed, or flat cookies with a filling cube on top.

Yield: About 24 cookies

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), room temperature, cut in pieces

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

4 ounces guava paste

DIRECTIONS 1. In a mixer beat butter until softened. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add vanilla.

2. Add flour and salt. Stir until mixture it holds together as a dough.

3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until easy to handle.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (300 degrees if using an air fryer toaster oven). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil; or butter cookie sheet.

5. Cut guava paste into 1/2-inch cubes.

6. Using a measuring tablespoon, shape dough in 1-inch balls. Roll them between your hands until smooth. Press balls to flatten about half way. Indent centers with a measuring spoon to make room for filling. Place guava paste cube in center of each one. Pull dough over filling, forming a triangular cookie by folding dough over filling in three arcs, leaving a little filling showing in center. If you prefer, completely enclose filling and make round cookies. (Or bake them as flat cookies with the filling cube on top; filling will be drier this way.)

7. Place cookies on prepared pan about 2 inches apart. In a standard oven, bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes; in an air fryer toaster oven bake at 300 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until dough is very pale golden.

8. Cool on a wire rack.

Blood orange cake with macadamia nuts is made with a macadamia nut crust and an orange-coconut topping. (Photo by Yakir Levy) Blood Orange Cake with Macadamia Nuts This cake has a macadamia nut crust and an orange-coconut topping made with sweet-tangy blood oranges; you can substitute navel oranges. It is based on a recipe from Melissa’s Produce.

Yield: 12 servings


1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons grated blood orange zest

1/2 cup cold butter (4 ounces), cut in cubes


4 large eggs

1 1/4  cups sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup blood orange juice

1 tablespoon grated blood orange zest

3/4 cup flaked coconut

Powdered sugar and half slices blood orange (optional, for garnish)


1. Toast macadamia nuts on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for 5 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a plate; let cool completely. Grind finely in a food processor.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using an air fryer toaster oven). Lightly oil a square 9-inch pan. Line pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over pan sides. Oil paper.

3. In a medium bowl mix ground macadamia nuts, flour, powdered sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter and grated orange zest. Crumble mixture between your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan in an even layer.

4. Bake crust for 12 to 20 minutes, or until light golden.

5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees (300 in an air fryer toaster oven).


6. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sugar. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Stir in juice, grated zest and coconut. Pour mixture over prepared crust. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until filling is completely set and golden brown.

7. Let cake cool completely in pan. Lift it carefully from pan using parchment paper. With cake still on paper, cut it in 12 squares. Remove each one carefully from paper.

8. Serve dusted with powdered sugar if desired, and garnished with half slices of orange.

Gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli, is stir-fried with garlic, gingeroot and either vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom oyster sauce and topped with sesame seeds. (Photo by Yakir Levy) Stir-Fry of Gai Lan with Sesame Seeds Gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli, is delicious with a few Asian flavorings. It cooks quickly; first we cook the sliced stems, and then we finish cooking them with the leaves and the tiny florets.

To make our kosher version of this traditional dish, we use vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom oyster sauce, which do not contain oyster extract. You can substitute hoisin sauce mixed with a touch of soy sauce.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings

INGREDIENTS 1 pound gai lan

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water (for slurry) and more for cooking

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves, smashed

2 to 3 teaspoons minced gingerroot

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom oyster sauce, and more for drizzling

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

About 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (for sprinkling)

DIRECTIONS 1. Slice gai lan stems diagonally about 1/4 inch thick. Roughly chop leaves. Keep stems and leaves separate.

2. To make a slurry, spoon cornstarch into a small cup and stir in 2 tablespoons water.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and fry just until garlic is golden; this happens quickly. Remove garlic; reserve.

4. Add ginger to pan and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add gai lan stems and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vegetarian oyster sauce and 1/4 cup water. Stir fry about 3 minutes, adding more water by tablespoons if pan becomes dry.

5. Add chopped leaves and cook, tossing, for 30 seconds or until tender.

6. Stir slurry and mix it into greens. Add fried garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add sesame oil, salt and pepper.

7. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds. Drizzle with vegetarian oyster sauce if desired.

Tahini, lemon and garlic give these mashed potatoes an Eastern Mediterranean flair. (Photo by Yakir Levy) Tahini Mashed Potatoes Tahini, lemon and garlic give mashed potatoes Eastern Mediterranean flair. This recipe is from Faith Kramer’s book, 52 Shabbats. Faith leaves the potato peels on for texture; you can peel them if you prefer.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more if desired

6 tablespoons very cold water, more if needed

3/4 cup tahini paste, stirred before measuring

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Mashed potatoes:

2 pounds whole baby potatoes

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pinch of pepper

About 1 cup Tahini Sauce

Paprika and chopped Italian parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS 1. Tahini Sauce: In a medium-large bowl, stir garlic with lemon juice and 6 tablespoons water. Stir in tahini paste with a fork. Mixture may thicken and seize; keep stirring until it is smooth and thick but pourable. Add more cold water if needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency. Add salt to taste and more lemon juice if needed.

2. Mashed potatoes: In a large pot combine potatoes with water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and can easily be pierced with a fork. (Timing varies with potato size.) Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Drain potatoes; discard remaining liquid.

3. Cut potatoes in half; remove any potato skins that come off easily. Put potatoes in a large bowl.

4. While potatoes are hot, add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 6 tablespoons potato cooking liquid . Mash with a potato masher until combined and somewhat smooth.

5. Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup tahini sauce; mash until blended in. If potatoes are not smooth enough, add more cooking liquid by tablespoons; be careful not to make the potatoes watery. Taste and adjust seasoning.

6. Keep warm or reheat when ready to serve. Serve hot, drizzled with 2 or 3 more tablespoons tahini sauce and garnished with paprika and parsley.

Black Eyed Pea and Pasta Soup makes use of red pepper in two ways. (Photo by Yakir Levy) Black Eyed Pea and Pasta Soup with Red Pepper This hearty, flavorful soup is inspired by an Italian recipe from the StrazzantiCucina YouTube Channel. It makes use of a sweet red pepper two ways — half of it diced and sautéed in olive oil with other vegetables, and the rest pureed with vegetable broth.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings

INGREDIENTS 1 large sweet red pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, diced small

2 celery ribs, diced small

3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable broth

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

1 small dried chile, mild or hot

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup ditalini (short tubes) or other small pasta

An 11-ounce package cooked black eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Hot pepper olive oil (optional)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS 1. Dice half the red pepper. Heat olive oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and diced pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut rest of pepper in pieces. Puree in a food processor with 1/2 cup vegetable broth.

3. Add 3 cups broth to vegetables in pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Add garlic clove, dried chile, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Return to a boil. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

4. Add pureed red pepper mixture and return to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

5. Remove and discard chile and garlic clove.

6. Add pasta to pan, return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked black eyed peas and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is just cooked. If soup is too thick, add more broth and heat through.

7. Taste and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, stir in chopped parsley. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and with hot pepper oil and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Faye Levy is the author of 1,000 Jewish Recipes.

Tiyya Foundation Expands Culinary Program To Help Young Immigrant Mothers Begin Careers

Born in an Ethiopian refugee camp in Somalia, Meymuna Hussein-Cattan and her mother, Owliya Dima, had to acclimate to a new life in Southern California all on their own.

As their own family resettled in the early 1980s, Dima volunteered tirelessly to help others navigate the process as well, inspiring Cattan’s decision to start the nonprofit Tiyya Foundation to continue her mother’s mission to help immigrants and refugees. The word “tiyya” is an Oromo term of endearment, meaning “my dear” or “my love.”

Since 2010, more than 1,000 families have been helped by the foundation with basic needs, education and career placement resources and more as they resettle in the Orange County and the general Southern California region.

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Part of that is through the foundation’s culinary program which includes two branches — Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant Flavors from Afar nestled in L.A.’s Little Ethiopia community and the foundation’s new education workshops and consultations.

The foundation, based in Santa Ana, opened the restaurant, which it describes as a “social enterprise,” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The concept began in 2018 after Cattan started a small catering company to financially support the foundation’s mission, but the opportunity to become brick-and-mortar came after a partnership with Christian Davis in 2020.

The restaurant rotates its menu monthly to highlight a different international cuisine, using the recipes and experience of the refugees and immigrants the foundation has partnered with.

Kenna Copes is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and program instructor and head chef of the restaurant. She works with every refugee to make their dishes ready for service and also helps prepare Flavors’ staff for careers in the culinary industry.

“A refugee chef will come in for a day and curate the menu for the next month with Kenna [Copes],” Tiyya’s Career Placement Specialist Mira Tarabeine said.

Forty percent of the restaurant’s proceeds go directly to supporting the foundation’s programming and the month’s resident chef receives 5 percent of gross sales.

Chef Fary Niang at Flavors from Afar in Los Angeles (Courtesy of Jesse Hsu/Tiyya Foundation) The restaurant’s food caught the eye of the Michelin Guide after being in business for only two years for its affordability and culinary reach. An anonymous Michelin inspector wrote “this is authentic homestyle cooking in the best of ways” when the awards were previewed last November.

“The recipes are inspired by these different experiences,” Tarabeine said. “But you’re not just giving your money away as a donation when you eat there, you’re investing in Michelin food.”

For those not in L.A., the restaurant offers corporate catering and is willing to send staff to cook onsite if a customer is looking for a specific cuisine that isn’t currently on the restaurant’s menu for that month.

Tarabeine, an immigrant herself from Syria, oversees the other branch of the foundation’s culinary program, which seeks to expand culinary industry training beyond just the ability to work at the restaurant.

“We wanted to build out the program,” Tarabeine said. “One chef per month at the restaurant means only 12 chefs a year and our program touches so many more families.”

The workshops offered to Tiyya’s network will go over how to set up an at-home catering business, help immigrants receive food-handling certifications, and go through a step-by-step guidance on how to attain proper licenses for those who want to start their own restaurants.

For those who don’t want to set up their own business, the foundation partners with Shef, an online platform that allows a chef (with the proper certifications) to cook meals at home, deliver them to Shef headquarters, which then distributes the food to customers.

Meena Chand and Subhadra Devi Sami at Flavors from Afar in Los Angeles (Courtesy of Jesse Hsu/Tiyya Foundation) “We’re mainly focusing on women with young children,” Tarabeine said. “This gives them the opportunity to work, be flexible to where they’re at and be accessible.”

Many of the women in the Tiyya community don’t necessarily trust certified child care workers when first arriving in a new area, instead choosing to keep their children home and connect them with their culture as much as possible during the resettlement process.

“We understand the frustration of people coming to this country having managed hundreds of employees back home or have experience in the kitchen and want to open a restaurant here,” Tarabein said. “It’s great, but we have to go step by step.”

In addition to the workshops planned every one to two months, the foundation will offer one-on-one business consultations as well. Ideally, the foundation will be able to connect their community members with culinary professionals around the area and begin a more personal mentorship program as well.

“We’re currently looking for kitchen space to host these workshops in Orange County,” Tarabeine said.

The workshops, which start next month, will be open to the Tiyya Foundation community. To become a member, information can be found on the foundation’s website. For those who want to support the foundation’s efforts or attend their public gatherings and fundraisers, information can also be found on the website.

Why Pizza Hut’s Red Roofs And McDonald’s Play Places Have Disappeared

By Nathaniel Meyersohn

For decades, bright, playful and oddly-shaped fast-food restaurants dotted the roadside along America’s highways.

You’d drive by Howard Johnson’s with its orange roofs and then pass Pizza Hut’s red-topped huts. A few more miles and there was the roadside White Castle with its turrets. Arby’s roof was shaped like a wagon and Denny’s resembled a boomerang. And then McDonald’s, with its neon golden arches towering above its restaurants.

These quirky designs were an early form of brand advertising, gimmicks meant to grab drivers’ attention and get them to stop in.

As fast-food chains spread across the US after World War II, new roadside restaurant brands needed to stand out. Television was new media not yet beamed into every single home, newspapers were still ascendant and social media unimaginable.

So restaurant chains turned to architecture as a key tool to promote their brand and help create their corporate identity.

But the fast-food architecture of today has lost its quirky charm and distinctive features. Shifts in the restaurant industry, advertising and technology have made fast-food exteriors bland and spiritless, critics say.

Goodbye bright colors and unusual shapes. Today, the design is minimal and sleek. Most fast-food restaurants are built to maximize efficiency, not catch motorists’ attention. Many are shaped like boxes, decorated with fake wooden paneling, imitation stone or brick exteriors, and flat roofs. One critic has called this trend “faux five-star restaurants” intended to make customers forget they are eating greasy fries and burgers.

The chains now sport nearly identical looks. Call it the gentrification of fast-food design.

“They’re soulless little boxes,” said Glen Coben, an architect who has designed boutique hotels, restaurants and stores. “They’re like Monopoly homes.”

The signage outside a historic McDonald’s restaurant is seen in Downey, California, in February 2015.(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters) Googie architecture Fast-food restaurants developed and expanded in the mid-twentieth century with the explosion of car culture and the development of interstate highways.

Large companies came to dominate highway restaurants through a strategy known as “place-product-packaging” — the coordination of building design, decor, menu, service and pricing, according to John Jakle, the author of “Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age.”

Fast-food chains’ buildings were designed to catch the eye of potential customers driving by at high speeds and get them to slow down.

“The buildings had to be visually strong and bold,” said Alan Hess, an architecture critic and historian. “That included neon signs and the shape of the building.”

A leading example: McDonald’s design, with its two golden arches sloping over the roof of its restaurant, a style known as Googie.

Introduced in California in 1953, McDonald’s design was influenced by ultra-modern coffee shops and roadside stands of Southern California, then the heart of budding fast-food chains.

The two 25-foot bright yellow sheet-metal arches that rose through the McDonald’s buildings were tall enough to attract drivers amid the clutter of other roadside buildings, their neon trim gleaming day and night. McDonald’s design set off a wave of similar Googie-style architecture at fast-food chains nationwide.

Well into the 1970s, the designs were a prominent fixture of the American roadside, “imprinting the image of fast-food drive-in architecture in the popular consciousness,” Hess wrote in a journal article.

Opposition grew to garish structures like this Jack in the Box in 1970.(David F. Smith/AP) ‘Visual pollution’ But there was a backlash to this aesthetic. As the environmental movement developed in the 1960s, opposition to the conspicuous Googie style grew. Critics called it “visual pollution.”

“Critics hated this populist, roadside commercial California architecture,” Hess said. Googie style fell out of fashion in the 1970s as fast-food style favored dark colors, brick and mansard roofs.

McDonald’s new prototype became a low-profile mansard roof and brick design with shingle texture. Its arches moved from atop the building to signposts and became McDonald’s corporate logo.

“McDonald’s and Jack in the Box unfurled their neon and Day Glo banners and architectural containers against the endless sky,” the New York Times said in 1978. They have been “toned down with the changing taste of the 60’s and 70’s.” And with the growth of mass communications advertising campaigns, brands no longer relied on architectural features to stand out –they could simply flood the television airwaves.

Fast-food goes upscale In the 1980s and 1990s, companies began introducing children’s play areas and party rooms to draw families — additions to existing “brown” structures, Hess said.

The rise of mobile ordering and cost concerns since then altered modern fast-food design.

With fewer people sitting down for full meals at fast-food restaurants, companies didn’t need elaborate dining areas. So today they’re expanding drive-thru lanes, increasing the number of pickup windows and adding digital kiosks in stores.

“We have a lot of red-roof restaurants” that “clearly need to go away,” a Pizza Hut executive said in 2018 of its classic design. The company’s new prototype, “Hut Lanes,” helps to speed up wait times at drive-thru locations.

The new fast-food box designs with their flat roofs are more efficient to heat and cool than older structures, said John Gordon, a restaurant consultant. Kitchens have been reconfigured to speed up food preparation. They’re also cheaper to build, maintain and staff a smaller store.

But in the effort to modernize, some say fast-food design has became homogenized and lost its creative purpose.

“I don’t know if you’d be able to identify what they were if they had a different name on the front,” said Addison Del Mastro, an urbanist writer who documents the history of commercial landscapes. “There’s nothing to engage the wandering imagination.”