Toasted Garlic Edamame Hummus

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Recipe Edamame Hummus

School keeps starting earlier and earlier each year, but I still think of Labor Day as the official back-to-school kickoff. That’s why I’m dedicating this week to school-worthy (make ahead and transportable) kid-friendly recipes that are healthy and (mostly) vegetarian. I cooked these recipes today for a family-friendly picnic at the Los Angeles-based food fest, The Taste and while they’re fab eaten together, they’re also great on their own.
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Ten Memorable Meals


Between eating my way across the Southwest, final recipe testing for my cookbook, and divulging my favorite places in San Francisco’s Mission district, I’ve had a lot of food these last few months. So much so that even my loose jeans aren’t quite as comfortable as they once were. But it was worth it. Ten meals in particular were total package experiences with attentive service, inspired food, and a welcoming ambiance. By no means the newest kids on the block, but by all means noteworthy, here are the ten meals worth a bookmark.

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Bread Winner: Buttered Soft Pretzels

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Recipe Buttered Soft Pretzel

I have an extra large weak spot for good bread. In my utopia, I could nibble at baguettes, throw back crusty pizzas, and chomp down on chewy pretzels with abandon. But, of all breads, pretzels are my absolute favorite for snacking. I’m not a particularly choosy pretzel snacker as I crave soft buttered, hard sourdough, honey wheat sticks, and small twists equally.

So, when the crew at Eat Real Los Angeles asked which bread I’d like to do for a hands-on cooking session, it was soft pretzels. I first developed my pretzel recipe a few years ago when I dreamed up a pretzel grilled cheese. Since then, I’ve finagled, fussed, and refined that recipe to this one that’s soft in the middle, chewy, malty, and a deep browned exterior. The perfect homemade soft pretzels if I say so myself.
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Trial By Fire: Pizza-Oven Breadsticks


Every few feet or so I catch a whiff — it’s a campfire-esque smokiness that lingers about my head like the cloud of dirt surrounding Charlie Brown’s friend, Pig-Pen. Though I’ve washed my hair multiple times, it persists, but I guess that’s the price I pay for baking at a wood-burning pizza oven for hours on end. I spent the weekend teaching hands-on bread classes — on breadsticks and pretzels to be precise — at Eat Real Los Angeles and I logged in my fair share of oven hours.

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