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Kane’s Cuisine: Pulled chicken with chipotle over creamy polenta

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – I have made David Tanis’s chicken tacos with chipotle at least a half dozen times, including for guests, and they are always a huge hit: Spicy, tangy, and impossibly juicy, the recipe will challenge and upend your expectations for poached chicken. 

Smoky, spicy canned chilis in adobo sauce is doing a lot of the work, here. I’m going to experiment with this ingredient elsewhere, because the 7-ounce can is punching way above its weight in the flavor department. 

The chicken is heavenly when topped with fresh, light, tangy, acidic garnishes (raw onion, queso fresco, crème fraîche, cilantro, oregano, lime wedges) and wrapped in a warm corn tortilla, but I decided to take the dish in a different direction this week. 

Creamy parmesan polenta balances the chicken perfectly, here – and brings it into wintertime, perfect for the cold December nights we’ve having here in Washington.

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe adapted from David Tanis, New York Times Cooking: 

  1. Put four large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in a large saucepan or small stockpot and cover with three cups of water. Add six scallions, torn in half crosswise, one bay leaf, a few branches of thyme, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, an allspice berry, and two cloves
  2. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and allow to cool before shredding (discard skin and bones.) Strain broth and reserve. 
  3. Add three tablespoons olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, seasoning with salt and pepper and cooking until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add three garlic cloves, crushed and peeled, along with a half teaspoon ground cumin. Cook for another minute. 
  4. Add two to four chopped peppers from the canned chipotles, along with about three tablespoons of their adobo sauce, from the can, stirring to combine. Add your shredded chicken and then your chicken broth, stirring to combine and simmering until thickened to your liking. Salt to taste. 
  5. Make your polenta
  6. Bring four cups salted water to boil in a large saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup polenta while whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. 
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking, until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so. Use a wooden spoon when the polenta becomes too thick for the whisk. 
  8. Once the individual grains are tender and the texture is creamy, turn off the heat and stir in three tablespoons unsalted butter and a half cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano 

Serve chicken over bed of polenta and garnish with cilantro

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Tacos de carnitas with charred corn-scallion salad

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – We’re having company tonight. So, unfortunately, I did not have time to write an introduction for this week’s column. Or maybe y’all are relieved to see the recipes without having to scroll past paragraphs of text with lengthy anecdotes and digressions galore. If this is you, please don’t tell me – I am laboring under the impression (delusion?) that these columns are considered an entertaining read. 

The taco recipe comes courtesy of Tara Duggan & Kim Severson via New York Times Cooking, with minor adjustments. The corn salad is Alison Roman’s, with minor changes in the methods for charring as explained below. You should make both dishes. Even when I skimp on the introductions to these columns, as I have this time, I am always giving you 100% effort in the kitchen. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Tacos: 

  1. Cut 3 pounds pork shoulder into one to two-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large pot
  2. Add enough water – or, as I did, a mixture of water and chicken stock – until the meat is covered by two inches. Add seven strips orange zest, five cloves minced garlic, one large onion, diced, 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes, one cinnamon stick, two bay leaves, 1.5 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, one teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 90 minutes. Skim and discard scum from the surface. Add more salt if needed and continue simmering for 30 minutes and then allow the meat to fry a bit
  4. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Spoon carnitas onto corn tortillas 

Garnish with cilantro, raw diced onion, and queso fresco.

Corn salad:

  1. Shuck 6 ears of corn. Coat them with olive oil and season with salt before cooking them on a grill – or, as I did, with a blowtorch – until at least half the kernels are blackened
  2. Grill or use a blowtorch to char a bunch of scallions
  3. Roughly chop the scallions. Once corn is cool enough to handle, strip the kernels off the cob. There are many ways to do this, but in my opinion the easiest method is with a large, sharp chef’s knife and a large cutting board, using a bench scraper to collect the kernels and transfer them to a large mixing bowl, along with the scallions
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Add two tablespoons olive oil and mix well. Add one cup chopped cilantro, six coarsely chopped pepperoncini peppers, ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, and ½ cup chopped corn nuts or sunflower seeds

Top with queso fresco 

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Kane’s Cuisine: Thai-inspired pork meatball soup

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – By and large, while I am prone to periods of hyper-fixation when it comes to cooking and baking (Mexican oregano and deep frying are two recent obsessions) I do not believe in “secret ingredients” or taking shortcuts in the kitchen. Exceptions, however, apply. 

Chief among them might be fish sauce. In fact, I searched for “fish sauce” on the Los Angeles Blade and found many of my food columns, including a range of soups (a puréed and curried butternut squash, brothy pho, Korean Tteokguk); beef-based stews (chili, Vietnamese bò kho); Asian-American classics (cashew chicken, ramen); Italian pastas (rigatoni pomodoro, lasagna, amatriciana); and even a celery salad. 

You could make most of these dishes without fish sauce, though I warn they would not be as tasty. In this Thai-inspired pork meatball soup, however, consider the ingredient mandatory

Pick up a bottle of my preferred brand, Red Boat, which is made in Vietnam and contains just two ingredients, black anchovies and sea salt. You can find it in most grocery stores and on Amazon. 

Today’s dish is inspired by a chicken meatball soup by Ali Slagle that was recently featured in New York Times cooking and was itself inspired by tom kha gai. A fabulous Thai soup generally consisting of chicken and mushrooms that are cooked in a broth made of chicken stock and coconut milk, tom kha gai is flavored with galangal root, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, Thai chilis, palm sugar, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and, of course, fish sauce. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Galangal is difficult to find, even in Asian grocery stores. When I get my hands on all the ingredients, though, I will be making tom kha gai for a future column. 

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grate a 4” piece of peeled ginger root, 6 cloves garlic, and 1 jalapeno. Add one whole bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, torn or toughly chopped. Add 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon MSG (optional), and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on high for a couple minutes and transfer to a large bowl
  2. Add 2 pounds ground pork (or a mixture of ground pork and ground beef). Use your hands to combine but do not overmix. Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to make 2” meatballs 
  3. Set broiler to high. When oven is preheated, transfer meatballs to a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook until well browned, about 7-10 minutes. Remove and set aside
  4. In a cast iron pan or Dutch oven, add 2 cups homemade chicken broth and 14 ounces coconut milk, along with ½ teaspoon granulated white sugar and 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and continue simmering for another 3-5 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 3-5 ounces baby spinach and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Garnish with cilantro, lime wedges, and thinly sliced jalapeno. Serve with jasmine rice

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Kane’s Cuisine: Buttermilk biscuits with cherry preserves

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – Good evening, friends. I could have shared recipes for gametime snacks and hors d’oeuvres but instead I am continuing my yearly tradition of ignoring the Super Bowl. 

Somebody call me if Taylor Swift gives a subliminal message endorsing President Biden, whatever that might look like, when the cameras are trained on her. 

Instead of the football, I will be watching Martha Cooks – Martha Stewart’s four-season series that I recently just discovered is steaming on Freevee. A few highlights from the episodes I have seen so far: 

Eleven Madison Park owner Daniel Humm tried mansplaining morel mushrooms to Martha. Daniel, darling, she has been growing them on her property in Bedford for years. I knew this before she even said so. 

When visiting a fish purveyor in New York City for an episode about bagels and bagel toppings, Martha took my breath away by starting a sentence with: “When I was at my lawyer’s son’s bris…” as though it were the most normal thing in the world. 

And during an episode in Season 1, longtime Stewart aide Sarah Carey made a cataclysmic mistake by bringing Martha a lemon that was far too large for the lemon juicer and instead required the more capacious orange juicer. Dee-saster. 

If this doesn’t sound more enthralling than the Super Bowl…well, I don’t know what to tell you. 

What I love most about Martha is her expertise. Her adroitness. Her perfectionism. She is always in search of a better way to juice a lemon or peel garlic cloves or truss a chicken or decorate a cake. 

I find these qualities admirable. Especially these days. 

We are in the golden age of what I recently heard someone call bowl-eries. Restaurants are serving poke bowls. Harissa avocado bowls with chicken. Any combination of grains, veggies, and a protein. And then when it comes to trends in home cooking, we are in the golden age of crock pot meals and Instant Pot dishes and one-pot this and five-ingredient low-carb that. 

No, thanks. Instead, I am going to attempt Martha’s orange almond cake with Italian buttercream. It looks really difficult to pull off but also delicious. 

Anyway, to make a long story long, she is my inspiration behind this week’s dish: Perfect buttermilk biscuits with cherry preserves. Biscuit recipe courtesy of Melissa Clark/New York Times Cooking. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Heat oven to 425° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 230 grams all-purpose flour, 50 grams cake flour, 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar, and 1.25 teaspoon salt
  3. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in 8 tablespoons chilled and cubed unsalted butter. Make a well in the center and pour in 1 cup chilled buttermilk. Stir together until dough begins to form, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 2 or 3 times and pat into a three-fourths inch thick round
  4. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut the biscuits. Cut straight down without twisting the cutter. Dust the cutter with flour in between each biscuit to prevent sticking. Pat together scraps and cut into rounds. Transfer biscuits to baking sheet
  5. Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter and brush overtop the biscuits. Bake for 15-20 minutes 

Serve with cherry preserves: Pit and roughly chop 1 pound cherries. Cook in a nonstick skillet with ½ cup water, 6 tablespoons granulated white sugar, and the juice and zest of half a lemon for 20 minutes or so until thickened to your liking.

Photo by Dan Balinovic

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Kane’s Cuisine: Chicken pot pie

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – Chicken pot pie was one of the first dishes I attempted to make as an adult. Memorably, I used Paula Deen’s recipe. This was before we knew about her casual use of the n-word. It contained approximately a quart of heavy cream and four sticks of butter. 

All these years later, when I show my friends photos of the food I am now making, they remind me of the time I made and served them what became known, in our group, as the “colon blow” chicken pot pie. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but for like three weeks none of us were doing butt stuff because our butts were otherwise occupied.

Now that I’ve made everyone hungry, let’s talk about this week’s dish: A deeply savory version of the old classic, full of fresh herbs and topped with puff pastry. Rather than using precooked chicken (picked from a rotisserie, for instance), we are using raw bone-in, skin-on thighs. Why? 

Because the fat renders into the skillet, making for a very chicken-y roux. And the dark meat is almost impossible to overcook. (No shade, but you’re not after the dry, tough cubes of chicken breast that you will find in a Marie Callender’s microwavable frozen pot pie.)

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F
  2. Season 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with salt and pepper
  3. Heat a 12” cast iron or oven safe, high sided skillet on medium. Add butter and chicken fat (if you have it) and cook the thighs skin side down until well browned, about 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 10 minutes. Transfer to the oven for 10 more minutes, remove and set aside
  4. Add more butter or oil if needed and cook 2 cups chopped shallot and 6 cloves minced garlic for about 3 minutes. Add 5 stalks celery, chopped on a bias and halved lengthwise if they’re large. Season with salt, pepper, and MSG (if you have it) and cook for another 8-ish minutes
  5. Add ½ cup dry white wine and cook for a minute. Add ¼ cup flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Slowly add 3 cups homemade chicken stock, stirring to incorporate after each addition. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat. Add heavy cream (as much or as little as you like) and stir to incorporate
  6. Remove bones and cartilage from the chicken thighs and shred the meat and skin with your hands. Add them to the skillet along with ½ cup finely chopped parsley and ¼ cup chives. Add ½ cup each of frozen peas and carrots
  7. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if needed

Roll out puff pastry and place it atop your skillet. Brush with an egg wash and cook for 30-40 minutes

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Kane’s Cuisine: Pumptinis & goat cheese balls for #PumpRules

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – I am so Vanderpumped for the return, on Tuesday, of everyone’s favorite EMMY NOMINATED unscripted reality show, where we will find our heroes reeling from the #Scandoval that rocked their relationships and captivated the nation.

A group of people posing for a photo

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The author, ThurVERYgood Marshall, LVP (Photo by Chris Kane)

During the White House Correspondents Association dinner last year, my date (& spiritual rabbi, baking muse, supporter of shenanigans) and I were rushing to reach our seats before the President took the stage as we ran into the queen herself, Lisa Vanderpump, who was gracious enough to let us take a photo. 

Ariana, we’d have loved a photo with you too, girl, but we were among the last of the people who were still standing in the ballroom of the Hinckley Hilton by that point and there simply was not time. 

Vanderpump does not get enough credit for her business acumen. She and Todd built a restaurant empire with dozens of successful spots on both sides of the Atlantic, a feat that does not happen without some real talent (and considerable work ethic). 

Such was my internal monologue after biting into this fried goat cheese ball with mango sauce – a recreation of perhaps the most famous menu item at SUR, Vanderpump’s West Hollywood restaurant (and, we all know, the stage for #Pumprules). 

The restauranteur was kind enough to share the recipe on her and daughter Pandora’s blog, Very Vanderpump. She also told Today how to make SUR’s signature cocktail, the Pumptini. Today, I present both as an homage and tribute timed for the start of Season 11. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Goat cheese balls

  • Divide 8-10 oz goat cheese into evenly sized pieces and form each into a small ball. Season with salt and pepper
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks 
  • In another medium bowl, add 1.5 cups dry panko breadcrumbs 
  • Coat each cheese ball with egg, cover evenly with breadcrumbs, reapply egg mixture, and roll again in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate 
  • Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours (or freeze for 30 minutes)
  • Add neutral oil to a large saucepan to a depth of 3-4 inches. Heat on medium until it reaches 350° F. Fry, at once or in batches depending on the size of your pan, for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined drying rack

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Mango sauce 

  • Blend: ¾ cup mango, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt

PumptiniMuddle 3 raspberries with ¾ ounce simple syrup. Add ¾ ounce orange liqueur, ¾ ounce grapefruitjuice, ¾ ounce limejuice, 2 ounces vodka, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and/or limes

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Kane’s Cuisine: Snowy, cold & icy? Lets go to Mexico! Chilaquiles

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – For the uninitiated, chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast dish with a base of fried tortillas that are softened a bit with green or red salsa or a tomato sauce. From there, you can add a protein, from pulled chicken to a fried egg, and garnishes galore. 

My first experience with chilaquiles was nothing short of sublime. I was in Oaxaca City, a place teeming with world-class eats, having breakfast with some of my best friends at the restaurant in their beautiful boutique hotel. 

Ken and Erick, thank you again for getting married in such a magical place. Take me back! (Look at these cuties.) 


Y’all…these chilaquiles are almost as good as the ones I had in Mexico. You should make them. They taste even better than they look. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Cut 6-8 ounces corn tortillas into tortilla chip-shaped wedges
  2. Fill a wok or high-sided skillet with 2 inches of neutral oil and heat to 375° F
  3. Fry tortilla wedges a handful at a time for 45 seconds to one minute, stirring constantly. Use a skimmer to transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack. Season with salt
  4. Blend a 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with one shallot, roughly chopped, and a 7-ounce can of chilis in adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper and MSG (optional but encouraged)
  5. Thinly slice a large onion into rings. Put half in a bowl and cover with freshly squeezed lime juice. Put the other half in a large cast iron or high-sided skillet with 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed, and 4 tablespoons neutral oil. Season salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes
  6. Add blended tomatoes and chilis and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add a cup of water and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until your sauce is thickened. Taste and add more salt if needed
  7. Add your fried tortilla chips and toss to coat evenly. Simmer briefly and then remove from heat 
  8. Heat another tablespoon neutral oil in a cast iron or nonstick skillet. Fry 3-4 eggs until the edges are crispy but the yolks remain bright orange and runny. Transfer them to your other skillet with the tortilla chips and sauce. 
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Serve garnished with the onions you pickled in lime juice along with any or all of the following: lime wedges, crème fraiche, queso fresco, pulled chicken, cilantro, sliced avocado, and sliced fresh or pickled jalapeño

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Kane’s Cuisine: Birthday cake 

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – For my husband’s birthday, I made one of his favorite desserts, chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. This year, I added a twist – flavors of cara cara oranges carried throughout. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F and prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds on the bottom and cooking spray 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups granulated white sugar, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt
  3. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon orange extract, 2 tablespoons orange zest, and 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. Mix until well combined 
  5. Divide batter evenly between your three pans and bake for 30-35 minutes 
  6. Cool completely
  7. In a stand mixer, mix 560 grams unsalted room temperature butter, 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, and 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder until smooth and well combined 
  8. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons orange extract, 1 tablespoons orange zest, and a third cup freshly squeezed orange juice, mixing until smooth 
  9. Add 4 cups confectioner’s sugar and ½ teaspoon salt, mixing until well combined
  10. Ice your cakes and decorate with orange slices

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Kane’s Cuisine: Best of 2022 – 2023

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Christopher Kane (Photo credit: Dan Balinovic)

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent looks back through the past two year’s worth of delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – As a journalist, I am always looking forward with a focus on the future. I never take time to reflect on my work, except to the extent that it may inform or be relevant to what I am currently working on.

You may have noticed, for example, that I made an apple pie twice (here on June 4 and again on December 3). Well, I hadn’t; at least, not until I began the project of revisiting my food for this…can I call it a retrospective?

I make no secret of the fact that I have no formal training in cooking or baking. My goal with this project is and has always been to share new dishes and techniques as I learn them. Like you, I have a day job and often find myself rushing to get something on the table.

My higher ambitions in the kitchen began when the world shut down in the spring of 2020. I have since learned how important it is to have something just for me, to nourish the soul — something beyond my work and relationships.

I have occasionally premade and prewritten these posts. In other cases, I have meticulously planned special meals, sometimes weeks in advance. More often, though, I am struggling to coax my husband into photographing our dinner or throwing a cocktail together because the Sunday night deadline snuck up on me.

I have enjoyed the feedback and reception this column has earned more than I could ever hope to tell you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

And a special thank-you to my husband, Dan Balinovic, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Here are some of my favorites, a “Top 20” in reverse chronological order:

  1. Fall vegetable ratatouille & cranberry upside down cake | November 26, 2023
  2. Curried butternut squash soup | November 12, 2023
  3. Saffron ginger pears | October 22, 2023
  4. Buttermilk brined roast chicken | October 15, 2023
  5. Bolognese with homemade pasta | September 10, 2023
  6. Frozen tequila collins | August 6, 2023
  7. Gazpacho with microgreens | July 23, 2023
  8. Watermelon sherbet & strawberry cake | June 18, 2023
  9. Seedy breakfast cake | April 30, 2023
  10. Salted chocolate shortbread cookies | April 23, 2023′
  11. Chicken teriyaki | February 5, 2023
  12. Pelmini | January 22, 2023
  13. Vietnamese beef stew & summer rolls | January 15, 2023
  14. Coq au vin | December 18, 2022
  15. Orange creamsicle cheesecake | October 9, 2022
  16. Rigatoni all’Amatriciana | September 25, 2022
  17. Fried chicken and potato salad | September 18, 2022
  18. Pho | August 21, 2022
  19. Chicken Milanese | May 15, 2022
  20. Country loaf with homemade starter | May 1, 2022
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Kane’s Cuisine: Saturday, December 23 & Merry Christmas

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Forgive me for keeping it brief this week; we’ve been busy entertaining friends and family, including my favorite aunt and uncle who are visiting from London. Here’s what we ate and drank on Saturday night: 

Rather than mixing and serving individual cocktails or asking my guests to make their own drinks, I found a happy middle ground: A big batch of French 75s. Shout out to my Dutch oven for doubling as a punch bowl and my square cake pan for doubling as a giant ice cube mold. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. In a loaf pan or cake pan or large ice mold, freeze water along with wheels of orange or lemon
  2. In a large container, stir together 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup simple syrup, and 1 cup cold water. Refrigerate until chilled
  3. Add 2 cups cold gin and mix well 
  4. Transfer the mixture along with your block of ice into a punch bowl. Invite your guests to ladle the cocktail into glasses and top with prosecco 

I find that holiday meals are incomplete without a generously portioned, expensive cut of meat. So, I picked up skirt steaks from my favorite butcher, Canales Quality Meats in Eastern Market. Instead of a pan sauce, I made chimichurri to brighten up the dish without overpowering or detracting from the beef.

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Season the steaks with salt and pepper 2 hours before cooking
  2. Meanwhile, make the chimichurri by finely chopping 2 bunches basil, 2 bunches cilantro, one bunch parsley, and combining the herbs in a bowl with a few tablespoons of good olive oil. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Squeeze the juice of one lime and mix well
  3. Heat a couple tablespoons neutral oil in a cast iron skillet until it begins to smoke. Sear the meat on one side for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and set aside
  4. When ready to serve, slice the steaks against the grain

While I was at Eastern Market, I bought some arugula, goat cheese, and cranberries to make a simple little side salad. Recipe below for the Balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar, 1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise, ½ tablespoon maple syrup, and salt & pepper to taste 

Not unlike Thanksgiving, I feel like Christmas is a time for side dishes that shine. And not unlike Thanksgiving, I want to give the people options. So, I made white rice, creamy polenta, and leeks that were braised in white wine and showered in Parmesan before being finished under the broiler. Recipe below for the latter. 

  1. Remove and discard the green parts from 6 leeks. Halve them lengthwise and clean them thoroughly
  2. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high and brown the leeks on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, starting cut side-down. Season them with salt and pepper
  3. Pour in ½ cup dry white wine and enough water or stock to nearly cover the leeks. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes. Make sure they’re not sticking and scorching to the bottom of your skillet 
  4. Preheat your broiler. Use tongs to turn leeks cut side-up. Sprinkle a third cup of freshly grated parmesan over top, transfer skillet to the oven, and continue to cook until cheese is melted

And finally, if it ain’t broke…

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Listen, the Alice Waters cranberry upside down cake is out-of-this-world good. So, I made it again. Check out my Thanksgiving column to see the recipe.

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Kane’s Cuisine: A cocktail but it’s ‘half-caf,’ if that makes sense?

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Friends, I have spent too many of the last 72 hours discussing the twink who filmed himself getting railed in the Hart Senate Office Building, particularly now that I am fielding questions from the straights who by this point are at least partially up to speed on the whole saga. 

Not to make this about me, but if I have to tell one more person that, no, it did not occur in “the Senate Hearing Room” as if there’s just one…(nor did it happen on “the Senate floor,” by the way)… 

Anyway, a few hours ago I happened upon David Tanis’s recipe for “tangerine ice” and instantly recognized its genius. Here we have all the makings of a killer cocktail – freshly squeezed tangerine juice and lime juice to balance the sweetness – but it doesn’t get drowned in booze. 

Instead, there’s just a soupcon of orange liqueur (I used Grand Mariner). Not enough to make you intoxicated, but enough that you would miss its absence. I am choosing to think of the drink as a “half-caf” cocktail. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe courtesy of David Tanis, New York Times Cooking

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 3 cups freshly squeezed and strained tangerine juice, from about 3 pounds of tangerines, together with ½ cup white granulated sugar 
  2. Stir in the juice of 2 large limes, strained, and 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or kirsch Champagne
  3. Pour into a storage container to a depth of 1-inch and freeze for at least 4 hours

Use metal spatula or other instrument to chop up the mixture and spoon into glasses to serve. Garnish with mint leaves

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