Food Travels, Tortilla Art; Australian Bushfood
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Mark Schatzker takes a gastronomic trip around the world, traveling only by land and sea. This week, he travels by car from New York to Los Angeles, eating local food made by local hands. From kangaroo to witchetty grubs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie take us Down Under to learn about Australian "bushfood." Pig farmer Jennifer Small lauds the benefits of pig lard; Joe Bravo turns everyday tortillas into works of art; Davia Nelson, co-producer of NPR's Hidden Kitchens, reveals out-of-sight places, events and traditions that celebrate food; Cary Fowler protects our country's agricultural resources by managing the seed vault; Kim Stewart exposes what food labels really mean; and Laura Avery has the Market Report.
The Market Report ()
Laura Avery talks with Odille of Fairview Gardens Farm about white asparagus and the delicious, unusual geometric green fruit, the cherimoya. Josiah Citrin, Chef-owner of Melisse restaurant and part-owner of Lemon Moon gives us two fava bean recipes -- black bass with fresh fava bean puree topped with chorizo, and fava bean soup for spring!
Music Break -- It Was a Very Good Year -- The 3 Sounds
Food Travels ()
This month, Mark Schatzker will embark on a trip around the world. The catch? He can only travel by land and sea, and he must complete his trip within 80 days. Mark will soak-up the culture and community of each destination, including the roadside food, restaurant chains and fine dining along the way. During his first week, Mark departs from Brooklyn, New York by car and drives through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and three of California’s most beloved tourist spots – Napa Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Mark will be sending regular reports on his adventures and delectable experiences – to see where he is now, you can go to his blog on Concierge.com.
Mark Schatzker is a freelance magazine writer. His humor, travel, adventure, and food stories have appeared in many publications including Conde Naste Traveler, Slate.com, Toronto Life, Saturday Night and Cottage Life. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Laura.
Music Break -- Verve - Antonio & Ciro Dammicco
Australian Bushfood ()
“Bushfood,” which is also known as “bush tucker,” is the native plant and animal foods of Australia that have been eaten by the Australian Aborigines for an estimated 60,000 years. As Australia became colonized, the settlers often supplemented their paltry food supplies with bushfood, but it was always considered inferior by the English. It’s only been since the 1980s that the native ingredients have been utilized in restaurants and in contemporary recipes.
Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie are the co-hosts of an Australian cooking show called Dining Downunder, which uses bushfood ingredients. Bushfood includes the familiar animals of the Outback (kangaroo, emu, and crocodile), but also incorporate lesser-known fruits and vegetables (warrigal greens, riberry fruit and the Australian desert raisin) and the downright adventurous (witchetty grubs -- a large, white, wood feeding larvae). There are even native spice plants like the lemon myrtle, mountain pepper and aniseed myrtle.
Vic Cherikoff’s products are available from Surfas, the gourmet kitchen and food supply store in Culver City.
Music Break -- My Family's Role in the World Revolution -- Beirut
Flying Pigs Farm ()
What do you think of when you hear the word “lard?” Perhaps a fat- and calorie-laden cooking fat, which is just a heart attack waiting to happen?
In this age of trans fat-awareness, saturated vs. unsaturated fats and the almighty olive oil, it’s hard to be believe that lard – that’s right, lard – is making a comeback. Some facts: Lard contains 40 percent saturated fat (compared with almost 60 percent for butter); and its level of monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat) is 45 percent (compared with 23 percent for butter). The enhanced flavor it provides in cooking and the benefits it affords bakers are making it a popular alternative to butter and vegetable shortening.
Jennifer Small and her husband, Michael Yezzi, operate the Flying Pigs Farm (Shushan, New York) where they raise three rare heritage breeds of pigs: Gloucestershire Old Spots, Large Blacks, and Tamworths.
Jennifer outlines of the history of lard – its importance and how its use fell out of favor, techniques to render it, and which parts of the pig make the best fat for cooking and baking.
The high-quality leaf lard commonly used for baking is available on the Flying Pigs Farm website.
Muic Break -- Ko-Ko -- Bill Doggett
Tortilla Art ()
When Chicano artist Joe Bravo ran out of money to buy canvas in the 1970s, he found a remedy in his kitchen: corn tortillas. As he moved forward in his career as a graphic designer, he resurrected and refined the technique, creating artistic celebrations of his home, family and Mexican heritage. The dried and cooked tortillas take on a life of their own, with the burn marks inspiring Bravo’s designs. His Aztec symbols, iconography and spiritual images have become popular with folk and fine art aficianadoes alike.
Joe Bravo is on exhibit indefinitely at Los Angeles’ Mexican Cultural Institute and he was nominated for a 2007 Food Network Award in the “Play With Your Food: Artwork With an Edible Twist” category.
Music Break -- Moving On - Blue Monty Orchestra
Hidden Kitchens ()
Sometimes the best food with the richest history comes out of the most unexpected places – not necessarily the latest trendy restaurant or the stove of a renowned chef. Davia Nelson, co-producer of the NPR series Hidden Kitchens, reveals Los Angeles’ out-of-sight places that celebrate food.
The Hidden Kitchens program features powerful stories that explore the world of food behind-the-scenes – how each community honors their food traditions, whether it’s in a grandmother’s kitchen, a homeless shelter or an event that brings the community together.
Davia and her Hidden Kitchens co-producer, Nikki Silva will appear at the Hammer Museum in Westwood on Thursday, March 29th. More information is available on the Hammer Museum website.
Music Break -- Dat Dere - Bobby Timmons
Arctic Seed Vault ()
Cary Fowler is the executive director of the Arctic Seed Vault, also known as the Doomsday Seed Vault, an internationally-organized effort to protect one of the planet’s greatest resources – the regionally diverse crops that are planted worldwide. The vault is being dug into a mountainside near the village of Longyearbyen, Svalbard – a remote group of Norwegian islands that are reachable only by plane and boat. The vault’s contents will be protected by a natural, thick layer of rock and permafrost, which will keep the seeds frozen even if electricity is lost.
The idea for the seed vault dates back to the 1980s and became a reality through the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources. Cary Fowler talks about crop diversity, the disasters that threaten our resources and how the seed vault will be managed.
Music Break -- Soul Motion - Cal Tjader
Understanding Food Labels ()
Have you read a food label lately? Even if you know what all of the ingredients are, food labels can be misleading. With the marketing of popular food trends, food labels with phrases like “organic,” “low-carb,” “trans-fat free” can make consumers feel like they’re making healthy food choices. Kimberly Lord Stewart is the author of Eating Between the Lines: The Supermarket Shopper's Guide to the Truth Behind Food Labels. She uncovers the facts behind some common misconceptions about food labels.
Food label examples: A 12 oz. can of soda has 9 ¾ teaspoons of sugar. However, it’s labeled in grams because most people don’t know how to compute grams and it appears to have less sugar. Did you know that orange pekoe tea is a leaf grade, not a type of tea? The leaves must be handpicked from solely the youngest flower bud and the next two leaves. Some teas are implied to be orange pekoe because they are labeled as “tips” – a blend of cut or crushed lower leaves with plucked top leaves.
Along with her book, Kimberly Lord Stewart is also editor-in-chief of Dining Out Magazine and regularly contributes to numerous publications such as Alternative Health, Better Nutrition, Eating Well and Vegetarian Times.
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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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