Hollywood Helper

Make dead celeb's dishes the life of your Oscar party

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, February 23, 2012

Liberace’s sticky buns. That’s Frank DeCaro’s favorite recipe in his freshly published Dead Celebrity Cookbook (HCI Books, $19.95), and the reason has nothing to do with taste—although DeCaro says the packaged crescent rolls doused in rum, butter and enough seasoning to spice a pumpkin pie are dangerously delicious. “It just kills me,” says the Sirius Radio talk show host and former “Daily Show” film critic, “but only if he’s in on the joke. If he’s not in on the joke, it’s just sad.”

This is a theme throughout The Dead Celebrity Cookbook, which features obscure recipes from more than 145 stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It should be noted that a number of the nuggets are actually delicious: Harriet Nelson’s “favorite chicken,” for example, is bathed in entire cans of cream of chicken, mushroom and celery soup and “should come with a defibrillator,” says DeCaro. The recipes, however, weren’t chosen because they’re tasty. They also weren’t chosen for their oddity, even though there are certainly some strange ones in the mix (Don Ho’s pig foot soup, here’s looking at you). Rather, they were all chosen out of love.

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A Recipe for Love

Albuquerque's best chefs share a five-star dinner at home

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, February 9, 2012

All right, sweethearts, here’s the deal. Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, which means restaurants are booked solid or filling up fast. If you haven’t already made a reservation, you could be gambling with your love life. But there’s no need to panic.

We called upon superlative chefs to divulge the secrets of their favorite Valentine’s dishes. They kept it relatively simple for us, so that not-so-confident cooks can follow along, too. Create an impressive four-course meal with the following appetizer, side, main dish and dessert. Or mix and match what you make to suit your desires—that is, after all, the key word of the day.

 

Appetizer: Seared Artichoke With Cara Cara Buerre Blanc

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, Chef Jonathan Perno

Two halves split from a whole. It’s a lovely metaphor to start your Valentine’s feast. While just about all butter lovers like a good artichoke to get a meal going, Chef Jonathan Perno’s version of the appetizer elevates the dish from classic to exceptional. Not content to merely steam the flower and serve it with some lemon, Perno douses it in white wine, orange juice and just the right amount of spice. Butter won’t be the only thing that melts.

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Milestones

Two restaurants reach the decade mark

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, January 26, 2012

 

Worldly Vegetarian

Yashoda Naidoo has a photographic memory. That’s the reason she was able to open Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café only 18 months after she started teaching herself to cook.

For Naidoo, the exercise came out of necessity. As a strict vegetarian who won’t eat nightshade plants like eggplant or tomato and who’s allergic to American wheat, she found her gastronomic options limited when she moved to Albuquerque in 2000. Because there were no vegetarian restaurants in town at the time, Naidoo decided she’d have to provide her own sustenance. “I didn’t know how to cook,” she says, so she learned by trial and error.

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Top Ten Restaurant Dishes of 2011

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, December 2011

Food, like all other forms of art and beauty, should be judged by the beholder. What piques and pleases one person’s palate may not resemble what tickles the taste buds of another. And so declaring what individual dishes make up the best of what Albuquerque’s restaurants have to offer seems impossible, and maybe a little bit implausible, too. The truth is that there are countless stunning culinary creations in the Duke City, from gourmet, seasonal standouts to the comfort food you always want to warm up to. So while this list is far from comprehensive and subject to the whims of my own collection of cravings, I believe it still shows scope of the city’s offerings, and the talent of its cadre of chefs.

 

Moules Piquantes

P’tit Louis Bistro

I’m just going to come right out and admit it: P’tit Louis is my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque. I knew when cobbling together this list that the Parisian bistro would have a bright, shiny place on it. The only trouble came in deciding which dish to feature, because there are so many I could have chosen, from the delightfully lush mousse au chocolat to the béchamel-endowed croque monsieur. Perhaps I always knew the moules piquantes would win out. Steamed in white wine, these fantastically fresh mussels come with a twist that will win the heat-seeking hearts of many New Mexicans: chili peppers and jalapeños. The savory, fiery broth makes the ideal dip for P’tit Louis’ crisp yet tender fries, which are served next to the moules in a mile-high mound.

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Persian Delight

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, November 2011

Pars Cuisine is a sort of culinary Persian and Mediterranean mecca, an oasis of lamb-laced moussaka and spiced falafel in the middle of the American Southwest. Although it’s unassuming from the street, sitting snuggly at the end of a strip mall, a walk through its front doors is a revelation. Emerald-green, satiny striped curtains sift light from a wall of windows onto high-backed, ornately carved wooden chairs and crisp, white tablecloths. In the center of the dining room, cushioned floor seating surrounds a tall, murmuring fountain. Giant swathes of fabric drape from the ceiling and gather in the center, aiding in the sense that one is encompassed at all times by soft, nearly ethereal textiles. Go at the right time and find belly dancers undulating in the aisles. Wander onto the outdoor patio and partake in fruit-, molasses- or honey-imbued tobacco from towering hookahs.

Like any journey of self-discovery, though, Pars didn’t start out knowing exactly what it was. In fact, when Pars opened 27 years ago, it didn’t offer any Persian or Mediterranean dishes. Instead, it served Mexican.

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