Chillin’ With Red Wines; The FDA & Chocolate; Cheddarvision
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Jonathan Gold finds authentic Mexican food at El Huarache Azteca #1; Mark Schatzker journeys through northern France and England; Stacie Hunt chills-out with red wines; Dom Lane makes cheese the star with Cheddarvision TV; David Graulich devours the tasty history of the hamburger; Molly O’Neill reviews the passion and history of food writing; Cybele May petitions the FDA about chocolate standards; and Laura Avery gets a nectarine crisp recipe in the Market Report.
The Market Report ()
Laura Avery talks beans with James Birch of Flora Bella Farm, which is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills community of Three Rivers. He has green garbanzo beans on the stalk. They come in giant bunches because they are too labor-intensive to pick off individually. In India, these large stalks are placed on a grill and sold as a snack. These beans are tender and full of flavor.
Laura also catches up with Amelia Saltsman, author of the upcoming Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook, who provides a recipe for a springtime nectarine crisp. Amelia also recommends cutting stone fruit in half (like nectarines, peaches and apricots) and placing them in a hot skillet with a small amount of butter. This seals and caramelizes the sugar in the fruits -- delicious and so simple.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for nectarines
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 cups sliced ripe yellow nectarines, about 3 pounds
1 1/2 tablespoons instant tapioca
Heavy cream or plain whole milk yogurt to serve, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.
Place the nectarines in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the tapioca and with 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice to taste and stir gently. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake until the nectarines are bubbly, about 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 400 degrees and bake until the topping is a rich golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a pour of cream or yogurt.
Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman.
Music Break -- Lollypop -- Fausto Papetti
El Huarche Azteca #1 ()
When in Highland Park, do as the locals do… Jonathan Gold visits El Huarache Azteca #1. This friendly, neighborhood Mexican restaurant is known for its huaraches – a massive slab of fried masa, piled high with beans and thin pieces of grilled steak or marinated pork, a second layer of shredded lettuce and topped with cheese and Mexican-style sour cream.
El Huarache Azteca #1
5225 York Blvd.
Music Break -- Win Loose or Draw-- Lou Donaldson
Culinary Travels in Western Europe ()
Mark Schatzker accepted the challenge to travel around the world in 80 days – a seemingly simple task until you consider that this is “slow travel,” where land and sea are the only acceptable forms of transportation. Mark is a self-professed omnivore and the unhurried journey has permitted him to try every imaginable cuisine and to explore each country’s culture and people. Mark is now on the home stretch – he checks-in on day 70 of his travels, after trekking through Monaco; visiting vineyards, eating escargot and Charolais steak in France’s Burgundy and Normandy regions (as well as finding fine wines and cheese in a local gas station along the way!); and finally winding up in England. Pictures and a full travelogue are available on Mark’s blog.
Where it all starts: Burgundian dirt, or "terroir."
Another famous export from Northern France - Charolais steak.
Music Break -- il Protagoniste -- Gianni Mazza
Chillin' With Red Wines ()
One of the largely accepted rules about wine is that whites are chilled and reds are served at room temperature. Stacie Hunt is the director of Italian wines at Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood and she explains that certain red wines are surprisingly delicious chilled – becoming more lively from their young age and fruit forward nature. The more fruity tones a red wine has, the more it will freshen up when cooled below normal temperatures. According to Stacie, the cooling eliminates some of the heaviness of these wines, keeping the flavors balanced for summer sipping.
The best red grape varieties for chilling are: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandels, Dolcetto, Syrahs, Grenache (and other Rhone varietals), and youthful Tempranillo and Sangiovese. The most important trait for chilling wines is that it be young -- older wines can be damaged by extremes in temperature.
When chilling red wines, a little goes a long way -- ice cold works for Rose wines, but will only leave the taste of tannins in reds. The Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenach wines can take about two hours in the refrigerator (or 15 minutes in an ice bucket). The Italian and Spanish wines prefer to be at about the same temperature as white wines, about 55 degrees. With Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc a little less chill is best.
Here are some of Stacie’s suggestions for summer chillin’:
• All of the Cru Beaujolais wines are perfect. And, the prices are easy on the wallet, at $11.00-$20.00.
• Cote de Brouilly
• Louis Tete
• Bouchard Pinot Noir – a $13.00 gem
• The light bodied Pinot Noir and wildly aromatic Cabernet Franc are terrific choices, at around $16.00-$20.00.
• Chinon (She-non)
• Bourgueil (Bor-gay)
• Sancerre Rouge
• Sorin Rouge - A spicy, fruity beauty at $10.99
• Young, ('04 vintage) Sangiovese comes in at under $10.00
• The cherry bright, Dolcetto Diano d'Alba at $13.99
• Lan Crianza at $11.99 - the Rioja region is known for its bold and spice-driven Tempranillo grapes -- the young "Crianza" (which means crib), is perfect for chilling.
• Wolf Trap Rhone Blend (Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignane) at $11.99
• Tierra Zinfandel at $14.99
• Bucklin Zinfandel at $34.99
Du Vin Wine & Spirits
540 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Music Break -- Whodunnit -- Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band
In England’s Somerset County, the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers have been causing a stir with their “Cheddarvision TV” – a website that features live images of a 44- pound cheddar round that is maturing in the Westcombe Dairy. A recent New York Times article highlighted the dairy, citing Cheddarvision TV’s 900,000 viewings and the 15 minutes of fame received by the ripening cheddar itself, which receives everything from holiday cards to poems and wedding invitations. The cheese now even has it’s own MySpace page.
Dom Lane is a spokesman for the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers – he gives a brief history of Cheddarvision, discusses the fascination behind it and even gives a few tips about food and drink pairings with cheddar cheese.
Music Break -- Invito a Cena -- Gianni Mazza
Hamburger Heaven ()
As summer arrives, backyard barbecues get fired up for one of America’s most quintessential foods: the hamburger. Dave Graulich, author of The Hamburger Companion: All About The Foods We Love To Eat--With A Side Of Guilt, is an expert on some of our guiltiest pleasures, including the beloved hamburger. He cooks up some hamburger history, chronicling the rise of its popularity in our country, his thoughts about gourmet burgers and the heavy hitters in Los Angeles, from In ‘N Out to Tommy’s.
Music Break -- Manhattan Stroll -- Michel Legrand
American Food Writing ()
Molly O’Neill is the editor of American Food Writing: An Anthology: With Classic Recipes. Her comprehensive book is a collection of essays, stories and recipes that celebrates 300 years of American food writing – from Meriwether Lewis’ hunts during his journey across the continent to modern-day foodies. Molly, former host of the PBS series Great Food, shares some of her favorites from the anthology.
Music Break -- Lungo la Costa -- Scoen
The FDA & Chocolate ()
Chocolate is surprisingly big business – whether it’s a common chocolate bar bought at the grocery store or a highly-specialized gourmet version made from rare cocoa beans picked by hand. The average American eats approximately 12 pounds of chocolate per year, totaling about $18 billion annually. The FDA is considering a “citizens petition” from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, which will allow chocolate manufacturers to use the name "chocolate" for products made with less-expensive vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter. Cybele May wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times against this change and she clarifies the reasons behind the petition and how the chocolate market and consumers would be affected. Chocolate purists take note: The FDA is allowing comments on the petition until May 25th.
Cybele May is the author of a blog devoted to sweets and confections, called CandyBlog.net.
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GOOD FOOD THANKS ITS UNDERWRITERS:
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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