2007-07-12 13:00:47.0 Administrator2: Hello! Welcome to the chat with our Food writer Russ Parsons. Russ is here to answer your questions about cooking so dish 'em up!
Rinchen: What are the most under appreciated fruits and veggies?
Russ Parsons: Hiya Rinchen, that's a tough question to start with! There are so many fruits and vegetables that wedon't pay enough attention to, once you get past the obvious favorites like tomatoes and corn and strawberries. At this timeof year, I might suggest cucumbers, summer squash and eggplants for vegetables (i know, they're all technically fruits), and probably plums for fruit. There are so great old varieties out there.
Russ Parsons: What are the ones you think are under appreciated?
Administrator2: What are your favorite recipes (simple!) for zucchinis? My vegetable garden is starting to go and I'm drowning in them. no zuke bread please...
Rinchen: Definitely eggplant and probably okra. It gets a bad rap. For fruits, I would say pummelos. It needs a great publicist.
Russ Parsons: My favorite way to cook zucchini--and i do this all the time at home--is braising it: put the zucchini in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of water. Season with salt and minced garlic, cover and cook over moderate heat until the zucchini just begins to become tender. Then remove the lid and increase the heat to high. The zucchini juices and olive oil will make a great sauce once the water evaporates. Couldn't be simpler or more delicious.
Russ Parsons: I love okra, too. i'm from the south. My wife isn't and won't let me cook it unless i fry it. Pummelos are terrific in the winter and we're getting so many great varieties now. i really love oroblancos.
Administrator2: Russ, what is your favorite go-to cookbook at the moment?
Russ Parsons: Heh-heh, probably "How to Eat a Peach" by, uhm, me. Seriously, I always find good things to cook by going back to the classics, like Richard Olney. I tend to follow certain authors as well. Faith Willinger has a new book out and she's really good. Paul Johnson from Monterey Seafood in the Bay Area has a terrific fish book that just came out.
Administrator2: What should I be looking for in terms of fish in the market right now?
Russ Parsons: I like to go to Japanese markets for my fish because there's such a greater variety. I really love sardines, mackerel, squid ... those oily little fish are always great on the grill. Of course, we're right in the middle of salmon season and this year there should be more wild California salmon thanbefore. Also, halibut is great. And one of my all-time favorite West Coast fish: rex sole or sanddabs.
karma: What are the three most outstanding restaurants in LA?
Russ Parsons: That's probably a question more for our restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila. I don't eat out that often and I tend to go to places like Shin-Sen-Gumi, my favorite yakitori place in Gardena, or Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, my coffee shop in Long Beach. For abig deal meal? I don't think anybody's doing better food right now than Michael Cimarusti at Providence. And of course, there's Gino Angelini at La Terza. I always like what Nancy Silverton cooks, and Evan Kleiman. And I'd never pass up a meal at Valentino, especially now that Angelo is back.
Administrator: Sorry, I got booted there!
Paul: Regarding fish, what are some of the better places to buy fresh fish in L.A. for grilling. I live in Los Feliz, so any good fresh seafood stores near that area that you are aware of?
Russ Parsons: And I just thought of another great fish for summer, one that's terribly underappreciated--white sea bass. That's an amazing fish, very moist with anice almost herbal flavor.
Rinchen: What is your muse? Do you read any food blogs?