Easter Show: Ukrainian Eggs, Jelly Beans, Communion Wafers
Listen to/Watch entire show:
Will Clower gives a nutritional "thumbs-up" to eggs; Sofika Zielyk stimulates our creativity with the pysanky, art of Ukrainian egg painting; Mark Schatzker has an update on his worldwide travelogue; Sister Lynn D’Souza explains why she developed gluten-free Communion wafers; Steve Riboli tells us how altar wines are made; Cybele May explores the sticky, sweet world of marshmallow Peeps; Lisa Brasher goes gourmet with jelly beans; and Abby Dodge brings traditional Easter breads to our tables.
The Market Report ()
Laura Avery gets the first taste of summer when she and David Karp meet to talk about fraises du bois -- wild strawberries. Currently, two farmers have them at the Farmers Market: Edgar Jaime of Jaime Farms and Jerry Rutiz of Rutiz Farms.
Personal chef, Dave Rubell, gives suggestions on preparing and cooking baby artichokes.
Carciofi alla Romana
Artichokes, Roman Style
Artichokes, Roman Style are one of the signature dishes that spring has finally arrived. Whether made from large globe artichokes, smaller, purplish Italian varieties or baby artichokes the basic technique of braising the vegetable in nearly equal parts oil and olive oil with herbs is a classic dish used by many Italians whether celebrating Easter or Passover.
1 lemon, halved
4 large artichokes with stems (if possible)
Coarse salt to taste
1 cup mixed fresh chopped herbs (mint, basil, Italian parsley)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup olive oil
Use half of the lemon to rub surfaces as you work. Snap back and pull down the leaves and discard, working around the artichoke until the pale yellow leaves are exposed. Trim away about 2 inches from the top of the artichokes. With a paring knife, cut away the dark green around the base. Cut away the dark green exterior of the stalk until the pale green, tender part is exposed. With a small spoon, dig into the center of the artichoke and remove the fuzzy choke, scraping against the heart until it is completely clean. Remove any interior leaves that have prickly tips. Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of the remaining half lemon. If using baby artichokes, simply trim them and cut them in half. Immerse each finished artichoke in the acidulated water to prevent discoloration.
Drain the artichokes. Salt the interiors. Combine the herbs, garlic, and a little of the olive oil in small bowl. Add salt to taste. Put the mixture in the center of each artichoke, dividing it equally. Arrange the artichokes stem-side up in a pot just large enough to contain them. Lightly salt them and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Add enough water to come one-third up the artichoke. Take a large piece of parchment paper or brown paper bag and lay it over the artichokes so that it touches them. This will cause the steam to be much more effective. Bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook until tender but firm; the tip of a knife should slide into the artichoke heart with just the slightest resistance. The time will vary greatly depending on size.
Remove the artichokes from the pot with a slotted spoon to a platter. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil and reduce slightly, if necessary. The liquid should be syrupy. Pour the liquid over the artichokes. These can be made up to 2 days in advance but are best when served the same day they are cooked.
Music Break -- Bass Man Jive -- Ocie Stockard & His Wanderers
Still Incredible and Quite Edible Egg ()
It just isn’t Easter without a house full of hard-boiled eggs. But what do you do with the leftovers when the egg hunts are done and the last Easter basket filled? Eat them, of course! While the popularity of eggs has waned in recent years -- from cholesterol concerns to fears about salmonella poisoning -- there is some good nutritional news about eggs. Will Clower, author of The Fat Fallacy and The French Don’t Diet, clears their bad reputation and shares his recipe for Angelic Deviled Eggs.
•Its lecithin is associated with improved memory and cognitive function.
•Its protein is the most compatible form of protein available to humans.
•The egg happens to be the most nutrient dense of foods.
Angelic Deviled Eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Garlic salt, pepper, paprika
Cayenne (a pinch)
Half-n-half (a petite splash)
Relish (a touch)
Set the eggs in a pan of cold water, and then bring the water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, set the timer. The time to boil eggs is 13 minutes flat. Of course, if you're at a higher altitude, you'll have a longer boil time.
When the timer goes off, run cold water into the pan to cool the eggs. After about 2-3 minutes, take them out and peel the shells.
Getting the yolks out of the egg without destroying the white takes just a bit of care. First cut them lengthwise before gently separating the yellow around the edges.
Now press gingerly on the underside of the egg half and turn it over to pop the yolk out. Put all yolks into a small bowl and add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper.
You can make these a bit more "devilish," by throwing in a conservative sprinkle of cayenne.
The thing that really makes them silky and "angelic" is by adding one tablespoon of half-n-half to the mix. Another suggestion is to throw in one tablespoon relish.
Taste and correct the seasonings with each addition. Take a small spatula and refill the tiny cups in the egg whites, one at a time.
Finally sprinkle it over with just a bit of paprika and top it with a slice of olive.
Music Break -- Big Mama Cass - Don Sebesky & The Jazz Rock
Ukrainian Egg Decorating ()
Effervescent color tablets aren’t the only way to dye Easter eggs. The Ukrainian art of egg decorating, pysanky, dates back more than 1,000 years. The intricate designs have symbolic meanings – varying from region to region – which are delicately painted onto hollowed-out, raw eggs. Some of the most common symbols include the star (which represents the Sun God), flowers (representing happiness), and birds (representing fertility).
Sofika Zielyk is an artist who specializes in this fantastic art form. She regales us with the history of these incredible eggs – the legend behind them, what the symbols mean and just how long it takes to craft each egg. Additional images of Sofika’s pysanky and information about the craft are available on her website.
Symbol of the Sun God -- Eight Pointed Star
Symbol of the Sun God -- Cross With Equal Sides
Pysanky photos courtesy of Sofika Zielyk; photo credit: L. Zielyk
On a Slow Boat to China ()
We first talked to Mark Schatzker, a writer and self-described omnivore, two weeks ago when he began his journey around the world by way of land and sea. He had just driven from New York to Los Angeles and was still well within the comfort zone of the U.S. He gives an update from China, halfway around the world in his hotel room.
In China, Mark is experiencing everything from public transportation to the Great Wall of China. While in Beijing, he dined in a restaurant specializing in unusual Chinese fair, where they feature the Chinese equivalent of tripe, gizzards and pig's feet (which are, as Mark notes, “the Western equivalent of hamburgers and pork chops in China”). Mark is making regular entries into his travelogue, which can be followed on his blog.
Music Break -- Black Dove - Cougar
Miraculous, Gluten-Free Communion Wafers ()
We eat to live and live to eat. Food transcends mere nutrition when it takes on symbolism in the rituals of our cultures. But what happens when, due to illness or dietary restriction, one can’t consume the very food that is woven into the fabric of one’s faith?
Taking Communion caused such a problem for those who couldn’t eat the gluten commonly used in communion wafers. While it sounds simple to eliminate the gluten, the Catholic Church requires that the wafers be made with wheat, including the naturally-occurring gluten.
Two nuns took this task upon themselves and set out to solve the problem. After much experimentation, Sister Lynn D’Souza created a communion wafer with the tiniest amount of gluten. So small, that most people with sensitivity to wheat gluten can still eat it; and just enough that it satisfied the requirements of the church. A miracle? Perhaps.People in need of gluten-free wafers can contact the Altar Breads office at 800-223-2772 or use the website.
Music Break -- Blind Man, Blind Man - Herbie Hancock
Altar Wines ()
The San Antonio Winery was one of the first and now the last winery in Los Angeles. Established in the early 1900s, the family winery has survived for four generations – even through the Prohibition, when they received permission from the Catholic Church to make sacramental wines. The altar wines produced by the San Antonio Winery are still the backbone of the company, which endures in its original location on Lamar Street in downtown Los Angeles. Steve Riboli, the nephew of winery founder Santo Cambianica, explains the process of making sacramental wines, the different religions they service and the types of altar wines they produce.
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Music Break -- G.Crockett-Jazz Cat -- D. Glover
For the Love of Peeps ()
Cybele May is the author of a blog devoted to sweets and confections, CandyBlog.net, and is the perfect resource to tell us everything we ever wanted to know about Peeps -- the sweet, marshmallow chicks and bunnies that make their way to our Easter baskets every year (and for some, they end up blowing up in the microwave, garnishing a martini or topping a pizza!). Peeps are made in the Just Born factory out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and they have no shortage of fans. Cybele shares a few Peep Haikus and a rundown of the obsessive dedication to the fluffy, edible chicks -- fan sites, a photo trilogy called Lord of the Peeps, recipes, photos and even fashions.
•The amount of Peeps chicks and bunnies eaten at Easter could more than circle Earth’s circumference twice.
•There more than 200 unofficial Peeps web sites – Peeps fans eat their Peeps fresh, stale, frozen and even on pizza.
•Peeps have been the best selling non-chocolate Easter candy for the last decade.
•In the early 1950’s, it took 27 hours to make one Peeps chick. Today it takes six minutes.
•Peeps chicks and bunnies come in 5 colors. Yellow chicks are the most popular, followed by pink, lavender, blue, and green.•Each Peeps chick has 32 calories and 0 grams of fat.
Music Break -- IZation Hunky Dory -- Rob Franken Organ
Gourmet Jelly Beans ()
The Jelly Belly Candy Company was the first company to popularize the gourmet jelly bean – bringing unusual flavors like popcorn and peanut butter to the taste buds of America in the 1980s (thanks to exposure from then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, who raved about them).
The world of jelly beans hasn’t been the same since – and Lisa Brasher, a vice president at the company, spills the beans on the history of jelly beans, how all those outrageous flavors are created and what’s new.
Lisa Brasher is a vice president of Jelly Belly Candy Company, the fifth generation of the candy making family. Her great-great-grandfather Gustav Goelitz came to America from Germany and became the first to make a candy in 1869. Lisa is the daughter of the chairman of the board, Herm Rowland, who was the mastermind behind the creation of Jelly Belly jelly beans.
Music Break -- Lollypop -- Fausto Papetti
Easter Breads ()
Abby Dodge is a food author, contributing editor and teacher. She has been a passionate baker since she was a young girl, cooking with her mother in her home in Brooklyn, New York and Southport, Connecticut. Upon graduating college, she studied in Paris at La Varenne and later worked under renowned chefs Michel Guerard and Guy Savoy, where she specialized in pastry. Currently, she is the contributing editor for Fine Cooking, whose test kitchen she helped create and develop. In addition to regular TV and radio appearances, she also teaches at culinary schools throughout the country.
Overnight Brioche Braid
Makes 1 loaf: 10 to 12 servings.
Brioche is one of the softest and richest breads in the yeast category — it almost melts in your mouth. The secret? It’s loaded with eggs and butter, making the dough silky smooth and the baked interior a gorgeous shade of yellow. Traditionally, brioche is baked is a high-sided, fluted and flared mold with a small round of dough centered on the top of dough. Once risen and baked, it looks like a crown. While this presentation is beautiful and classic, I prefer to simply braid the dough — still gorgeous and very easy to slice.
As with my other yeast bread recipes, I’ve included a hand mixing method. It’s important to note that this dough is very sticky and requires a different hand-kneading technique along with some perseverance and faith. I learned this hand method when I was studying at La Varenne Cooking School in Paris. Not only it is fun, it’s come in handy on many occasions — especially during my time as head baker at Hay Day Market in Greenwich, Connecticut. One busy Friday the power went out, with gallons and gallons of brioche dough awaiting its butter addition - a crucial step. Without an electric mixer at the ready, everyone thought the entire batch was lost. The bakery crew looked on with amazement as I worked the dough by hand (in smaller batches) from a messy, super-sticky dough to the satiny, supple dough that makes for great brioche. I was a magician that day but there’s nothing supernatural about it – just good technique and some old-fashioned elbow grease. When you have the time, I’d encourage you to mix this dough by hand – it’s very rewarding.
-Prepare the dough through step #5, cover and let rise until about 1 1/2 times its original size, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the dough for up to 12 hours before proceeding with the recipe. It will continue to rise slowly in the fridge.
- Prepare the dough through step #6, cover the braid and let rise until about 1 1/2 times its original size, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate the braid for up to 12 hours before proceeding with the recipe. Remove the braid from the fridge and set it on the counter while heating the oven.
- Prepare the brioche through step #8 and let cool completely. Freeze in a heavy-duty freezer bag for up to 2 months.
3 1⁄2 cups (15 3⁄4 ounces) all purpose flour
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet/ 1⁄4 ounces) instant yeast (Rapid Rise)
1 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
3⁄4 cup warm whole milk (between 115 and 125 degrees)
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 8 pieces
For the egg glaze:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To mix by hand:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt with a wooden spoon until blended.
2. Check the milk temperature. It should register about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (In order for the yeast to grow, the liquid needs to be between 115 and 125 degrees.) Drizzle the milk over the flour and add the eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.
3. Keep the dough in the bowl or scrape it onto an unfloured work surface (my preference) and knead it with one hand, using a slapping motion. It will be sticky at first, but resist the urge to add more flour. First, gather the dough in one hand. Next, lift the dough up (it will continue to stick to the bowl) and slap it back down onto itself. With your clean hand, give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat (if kneading on a work surface, use a bench scraper in your clean hand to help pick up and turn the dough). Keep slap-kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to release from the bowl or the counter and is no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Spread out the dough and smear the softened butter over the top. Fold the dough up and over itself to cover the butter. Continue kneading as before (it will get sticky and messy again) until it forms a smooth and satiny dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl or counter. Shape the dough into a ball.
4. Proceed as directed in step #5.
To mix in a stand mixer:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. Check that the milk temperature registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (In order for the yeast to grow, the liquid needs to be between 115 and 125 degrees.)
3. With an electric mixer fit with a dough hook, begin mixing on medium-low speed. Slowly pour the milk into the flour and add the eggs. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough begins to pull away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Don’t venture too far away while it’s mixing as the mixer might dance around on the counter. With the mixer running, gradually drop the softened butter by the tablespoon into the bowl. Continue mixing until the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth and satiny.
4. Proceed as directed in step #5.
Let the dough rise:
5. Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl and pop the dough, rounded side up, back into the bowl. Cover the top securely with plastic wrap. (I like to use a large rubber band to hold the plastic in place.) Let the covered dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
6. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (there’s no need to flour—the dough is soft but not sticky) and press to deflate it. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 20-inch-long rope. Position the 3 ropes side by side on the prepared cookie sheet. Pinch the ropes together at one end and braid the ropes together loosely by alternating lifting the far right rope over the middle rope and the far left rope over the idle rope. Repeat the process until you reach the end. Pinch the bottom ends together and tuck both ends under the braid. Lightly grease the braid and cover loosely but completely with plastic.
7. Let the braid rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
8. When ready to bake, position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, make the glaze. Stir the egg and water with a fork until blended. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat the top and sides of the braid. Bake until the braid is well browned and has a hollow sound when tapped, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and slide the braid onto the rack to let cool.
Recipe reprinted courtesy of Abby Dodge’s book, The Weekend Baker.
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