Cloned Beef; Honeybees in Crisis; Eat, Pray, Love
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Feed your brain and your soul with a little science and spirituality. Alexei Barrionuevo has the surprising facts on the massive die-off that's affecting our nation's honeybee population; Denise Caruso challenges the FDA's recent declaration that cloned beef is safe for human consumption; and Dun Gifford tests our tastebuds with his Condiment Challenge. We explore Italy through Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love; talk to Caleb Zigas from the La Cocina Community Kitchen in San Francisco; and trace the history of vegetarianism with Tristram Stuart. Jonathan Gold offers up a spicy new Mexican restaurant review, and Laura Avery gives us the Market Report.
Market Report ()
Ever wonder how fruits become seedless? Laura Avery talks to David Karp about tangerines and the different processes that create the seedless version of this favorite citrus fruit. According to David, there are two methods used in eliminating the seeds: they can either be bred to grow without seeds (a longer, more drawn out process); or the budwood of the trees can be irradiated, which renders the fruit seedless. These irradiated trees are licensed by the University of California and cannot be propagated by individuals. David's favorite tangerine in the market right now is the Algerian Clementine, which can be found at Bob Polito's farm stand from Northern San Diego County.
We also visit with Amelia Saltsman, is a local cookbook writer and cooking show host. She found some golden rutabagas and shares her recipe for a delicious puree.
Golden Puree of Rutabagas with Their Greens
Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, August 1, 2007)
4 bunches small rutabagas with tops (about 3 pounds total)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-inch thick coins
2 large leeks, white part only, chopped (save green tops for stock)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, diluted to half-strength
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted and chopped
Trim leafy tops from the rutabagas and reserve. Peel the rutabagas and cut into 1/4-inch-thick coins. In a wide pot, sauté the rutabagas and a little salt in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat until partly tender and golden, about 15 minutes, covering the pot and turning the heat to low halfway through the cooking time. (If your rutabagas are on the old side, add a little water when you cover the pot to help them cook more quickly.)
Using a slotted spoon, remove the rutabagas from the pot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and sauté the carrot and leeks until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the rutabagas to the pot, season with more salt and some pepper, and add 4 cups of the stock. Cover partially and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the rutabaga tops. Discard any yellowed leaves and chop the remainder coarsely. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, being careful not to let it brown. Add the greens and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and sauté until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes, covering the pan halfway through cooking time and adding a little water if they begin to stick. When the greens are tender, chop finely (or use a food processor) and set aside.
Puree the soup with an immersion or stand blender. Add the remaining 2 cups stock as needed to achieve the consistency of heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a spoonful of the greens and a sprinkling of pistachios.
© 2007, Amelia Saltsman
Music Break -- Chariot -- Rhet Stoller
Some Like It Hot ()
Jonathan Gold turns up the heat with a visit to Chichen Itza – a downtown Los Angeles restaurant that specializes in the habanero-infused cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatan region. Chichen Itza is known for its habanero salsas, which may vary in potency but are all citrusy, flavorful complements to the restaurant’s sumptuous dishes.
So what’s on the menu? Jonathan recommends the tostada-like panuchos; the delectable fried patties of ground beef and bulgur wheat called kibi; the cochinita pibil, a rich cut of pork that is rubbed with chiles and spices and steam-cooked; and the tikin-xic, a deliciously seasoned sole fillet.
2501 W. Sixth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Music Break -- Piece of Mind - Baker Brothers
Honeybees in Crisis ()
We may rarely think about it, but one group of insects are responsible for pollinating billions of dollars worth of seeds and crops nationally every year: the tiny and hardworking honeybee. What would happen if the honeybees went away? It’s a very real threat, as a new syndrome researchers call “colony collapse disorder” is affecting the once thriving hives of beekeepers. The condition is responsible for a massive honeybee die-off – with beekeepers losing 30-60 percent of their honeybees on the west coast and up to 70 percent on the east coast. California, one of the largest agricultural areas in the country, could be hit particularly hard – especially the state’s almond growers, who rely on the bees to keep their trees productive. Scientists are moving quickly to determine what the causes are, which could be anything from stress to pesticides to mite infestation.
Alexei Barrionuevo is a writer for the New York Times and he wrote an article about the bee die-off. He gives us an update on how the problem is being tackled, what we know about the syndrome and whether or not it is an international problem.
Music Break -- Calypso Joe -- Robert Farnon
Cloned Beef ()
Genetically modified foods have always been surrounded by controversy – and the recent declaration by the FDA that cloned beef is safe to eat is no exception. Cloning a cow involves taking a nucleus from a donor cow’s cell and inserting it into an egg with its nucleus removed, thereby copying the donor cow’s genetic material. This process is being used to develop a superior breed of cattle, whose offspring will be slaughtered for consumption. Denise Caruso recently wrote an op-ed regarding cloning practices for the San Jose Mercury News. She challenges the FDA’s claims, reporting that their risk-assessment methods are outdated and flawed. She explains the cloning process and the potential risks for animals and humans.
Denise Caruso is Founder and Executive Director of The Hybrid Vigor Institute, a non-profit think tank dedicated to collaborative problem solving in the areas of infectious disease, environmental issues and the risks of science and technology breakthroughs. She is also the author of INTERVENTION: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet.
Music Break -- La Tanya -- Jay Abbott
The Bloodless Revolution ()
While the word “vegetarian” wasn’t coined until the 1840s, the modern vegetarian movement came out of 17th-century England as a result of the adoption of cultures between England and India. Some of history’s most well known figures were vegetarians, from Benjamin Franklin and Mahatma Gandhi to Adolf Hitler -- and whether for socio-political, religious or health reasons, the movement is alive and well today.
Tristram Stuart is the author of a comprehensive book called, The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times. He shares some of his research, including the debate about whether or not humans are herbivores or carnivores; the cultural clashes that impacted vegetarianism; and history’s notable vegetarians… He even addresses how he is still a meat eater.
Not ready to give up meat completely? Here are a few resources about where to find grass-fed and free-range meats:
Wise Food Ways
Tristram Stuart graduated from Cambridge University in 1999, having won numerous academic prizes. Since then he has been a freelance writer for a number of Indian newspapers. The Bloodless Revolution is his first book. He lives in London.
Music Break -- Sweet Nothing Serenade -- Ben Harper
Whole Grains ()
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with whole grains. Thanks to food marketers who use it on food labels and advertising, we are bombarded with information about whole grains being beneficial to us. However, they also have a reputation of being flavorless and hard to cook, not to mention unfamiliar (care for a bowl of millet or quinoa?).
According to the Whole Grains Council, whole grains are defined as grains that contain “all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.”
Dun Gifford takes some of the mystery out of whole grains, explaining their health benefits and giving us a few ideas on how to incorporate them into our favorite meals for a healthy boost. Did you know that corn is a whole grain? Eating corn on the cob is a great way to get some whole grains – also, adding whole grains to soups and salads can add a wonderful, nutty flavor and hearty texture. Here is a list of the most well-known whole grains:
• Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
• Oats, including oatmeal
• Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
• Sorghum (also called milo)
• Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
• Wild rice
Dun Gifford is the founder of the Oldways Preservation Trust -- a non-profit think tank that develops and carries out education programs to help consumers make wise choices about their food lifestyles. The Trust’s recent book, The Oldways Table, is part cookbook and part dietary guide, as well as an homage to the world's great food traditions.
Music Break -- Rhythm Maker -- Johnny Hawsworth
La Cocina Community Kitchen ()
San Francisco is a city of gustatory delights – a mélange of cuisines, multicultural influences and world-class chefs all coming together in a food lover’s dream. While it seems an ideal place to develop a food-related business -- whether it’s a restaurant, catering business or producing specialty foods -- finding the financial and educational resources to do it can be completely off-limits to low-income and minority food entrepreneurs.
That’s where La Cocina Community Kitchen comes in.
La Cocina is a non-profit, shared-use professional kitchen that provides training, business support and technical assistance to members of the community who don’t have access to business resources. The organization’s program director, Caleb Zigas, shares his passion for La Cocina – telling us how the program works and celebrating a few of their success stories.
A list of the businesses supported by La Cocina Community Kitchen are available on their website.
Music Break -- Southbound Special -- Lloyd Glenn & His Band
Eat Pray Love ()
Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling novel, Eat Pray Love is a memoir of a healing journey she embarked upon after a life-changing divorce. Through adventures in Italy, Mumbai and Bali, she fed her soul by reducing her life to simple fundamental elements -- food, spirituality and balance.
To indulge in the sensuality of food, Elizabeth traveled to Rome, where she spoiled herself with sumptuously rich Italian food. Her breakfasts became known as the “Italian Speedball,” a chocolate pastry with a double cappuccino – a far cry from the organic goat’s milk and wheat germ breakfasts from back home. She found that by finding joy in food, she became present in her life, taking pleasure in small moments, meal by meal.
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Du Vin Wine & Spirits: In business for more than two decades at San Vicente in West Hollywood, Du Vin offers more than 10,000 bottles of hand-picked wine, with staff specialists in the wines of France, Italy, Latin America and California.
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