The Brass Sisters; Zen Baking; The Food Snob's Dictionary
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The Brass Sisters cook up the past using abandoned recipes of long ago, while Saveur editor James Oseland shares Asian-inspired Thanksgiving ideas and Zen priest and chef Edward Espe Brown bakes with a Zen state of mind. Former line cooks Alex Brown and Evan George don’t cook meat, however, writer Laurel Fantauzzo goes on a quest to find succulent pork sandwiches. Plus, authors David Kamp and Marion Rosenfeld deconstruct "the food snob" and birth mother of authentic Chinese cuisine Cecilia Chiang remembers her culinary journey by way of The Mandarin. And as always, Laura Avery serves up a fresh Market Report.
The Market Report ()
Laura Avery speaks with the Fruit Detective David Karp about the avocado season in Southern California. Right now, the only avocados in season are the Mexicola variety, which is a root stock that not many people grow. It's very thin purple-black skin can be eaten when the fruit is soft. The taste is slightly watery with an anise note.
Laura also speaks with Jean Francois Meteigner, who's going crazy for Sugar Baby pumpkins. The chef-owner of La Cachette roasts the pumpkins whole, removes the top and seeds, scoops out the flesh and purees it in a Cuisinart. He hangs the puree in the refrigerator in a strainer or cheese cloth for two days to get all the water out. (Save the water and you can reduce it into a pumpkin honey.) The puree is great to use in a quiche or pumpkin pie with no white sugar, only honey as a sweetener.
La Cachette’s Recipe for Pumpkin Quiche
- 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree (not fresh out of the can!)
- 2 cups of half and half
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 whole eggs
- 4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Mix pumpkin puree with half and half, cayenne pepper, salt and all the eggs. Pre-cook Pate Brisee (see recipe below) half way and add quiche mix inside. Cook for 30 minutes at 350°F in a convection oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and cook another 15 minutes.
La Cachette’s Recipe for Pate Brisee
- 9 ozs all purpose flour (about 1 ¾ cup)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 1/2 ozs (1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup cold water
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the plastic or metal blade. Pulse to mix, and then add the butter and pulse on and off very quickly 4 or 5 times, just until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Remove the cover and drizzle the water evenly over the mixture then pulse again until the dough forms a rough shaggy mass on the center stem. Do not overwork. Bring the dough together into a ball on a lightly floured surface, then wrap well with plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out.
The dough will keep, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months. If frozen, let the dough stand at room temperature for about 3 hours before rolling out. Use as directed in recipe.
For vegans, substitute organic margarine for butter.
Last week we talked about how to make a garlic confit with 50 raw garlic cloves. One of our listeners wrote to us with a warning about garlic infused oil and it's link to potentially fatal botulism. Some precautions to take in order to avoid botulism in oil infusions are:
- Wash all soil-contaminated produce before adding it to an oil infusion
- Add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil
- Keep oil infusions refrigerated in order to retard the growth of any microbes
- Discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop
- When in doubt, throw it out
Music break: A Swinging Doll by Buck Clayton
The Brass Sisters ()
Food historians Marilynn and Sheila Brass cook up the past by using abandoned recipes of long ago in their book, Heirloom Baking. The Brass Sisters have amassed a collection of heirloom recipes that transcend the ingredients to become living histories of the people who created them.
Lannie's Lord Have Mercy Sweet Potato Pie (1920's)
The recipe for this outstanding Sweet Potato Pie comes from Yvette Gooding. It is the pie her maternal grandmother, Lannie Waters Edmondson, made for special family gatherings. Mrs. Edmondson, a native of Kinston, North Carolina, taught Yvette how to bake when she was just seven years old. The late Mrs. Edmondson is remembered for having a saying for every occasion and a wonderful sense of humor too.
Makes 2 pies, 8 – 10 slices per pie
- 2 unbaked pie shells
- 2 1/2 lb raw sweet potatoes
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp salt
1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place prepared sweet potatoes in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With mixer running on low, add butter. Add brown sugar and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add heavy cream and vanilla. Do not overbeat. Add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt.
3. Pour batter into pie shells. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into pie comes out clean. The center of the pie should wiggle a bit. Cool 2 to 3 hours on a rack. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store covered with a paper towel and plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes for Pie
- Preparing the sweet potatoes for Mrs. Edmondson's pie is worth the effort. Select large sweet potatoes, prick them with a fork, and place them on a foiled-covered (shiny-side up) metal baking pan that has been coated with vegetable spray. Bake in a 400°F oven for 1 hour.
Place the baking pan on a cooling rack. Carefully cut the hot sweet potatoes in half lengthwise so that they will cool more quickly. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides (discard the skins) and place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Weigh the sweet potato pulp after scooping it, since the size and weight are hard to discern with your eyes alone. Process until the potatoes are soft and fluffy.
For two pies, you will need 2 ½ lb. or 40 oz. raw sweet potatoes to make 22 oz of processed cooked sweet potato--approximately four large potatoes to start. Do not use canned sweet potatoes because freshly baked potatoes still retain some of their fiber.
Grandma's Secret Warm Banana Meringue Pudding (1950's)
Yvette Gooding learned to make this pudding when baking in the kitchen with her grandmother Lannie. Marilyn and Sheila doubled the recipe, and were rewarded with a dessert that tastes—and looks—spectacular! Guess the secret is out!
Makes 16 generous servings
For the Custard
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 10 ounces vanilla wafers
- 6 to 8 ripe bananas, sliced crosswise
For the Meringue
- 8 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch ovenproof glass baking dish with vegetable spray.
2. To make the custard: Sift sugar, flour, and salt into a large heavy pan. Add milk and heavy cream and mix thoroughly. Add egg yolks one at a time, blending well after each. Cook mixture over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and strain through sieve. Add vanilla to cooked custard.
3. Spread a small amount of custard on bottom of baking dish. Swirl to cover evenly. Cover with half of vanilla wafers. Cover wafers with half of bananas and press down gently with your palm.
4. Pour a generous layer of custard on top of wafers. Add remaining wafers and bananas in two layers. Pour remaining custard on top, smoothing with spatula so that all wafers and bananas are covered. Press down again gently with the palm of your hand. Bake pudding in oven for 10 minutes.
5. To make the meringue: Add egg whites and cream of tartar to bowl of standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on low speed. Gradually increase speed to medium until soft peaks form. Add sugar in thirds while increasing speed of mixer to high. Beat until stiff peaks are formed. Meringue should not be dry.
6. Remove pudding from oven and mound meringue on top, spreading until entire surface is covered. (Be sure to seal edges.) Return pudding to oven for about 20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes to be sure it does not burn. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool. Serve when slightly warm. Store leftover pudding in the refrigerator.
Both recipes courtesy of Heirloom Baking with The Brass Sisters
Music break: Raunchy by Ernie Freeman
Asian-Themed Thanksgiving ()
Saveur magazine's editor-in-chief James Oseland shares Asian-inspired Thanksgiving ideas. He suggests creating a turkey marinade by combining black soy sauce (soy sauce that's been brewed a bit longer than the regular kind, giving it a more molasses-like consistency), Worcestershire sauce, whole-star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, black pepper and small Asian shallots. Marinate the turkey at room temperature for a few hours before roasting.
Some of Oselands other ideas include:
-add a pinch of candied ginger, julienned into fine slivers. Take care not add too much because a little ginger goes a long way.
-visit your local Asian market and buy long beans. Substitute them in a green bean casserole.
-try red rice pudding as a delicious dessert alternative to pumpkin pie. Boil rice until it gets soft and glutenous, add sugar and a pinch of salt. Before serving, drizzle the rice with a bit of thick coconut milk.
Music break: Siss Boom Bah! by Mocean Worker
How To Cook Your Life ()
Edward Espe Brown believes that cooking can be a meditative experience. A Zen priest and chef, he prepares food according to the principles of Zen Buddhism. Practitioners find that this attention to detail and precise hand movements allows the brain to let go and experience true meditation, thereby reaching enlightenment. Brown's teachings inspired the film, How To Cook Your Life, which opens November 16 at Laemmle's Sunset 5. Brown, who holds meditation and cooking classes around the world--including at the Tassajara Zen Center in northern California, is the author of The Tassajara Bread Book.
Music break: Fat Poppadaddy by Quincy Jones
Hot Knives ()
Rather than cook with meat, the bloggers known as Hot Knives use their sharp knives to spread the hearty joys of vegetarianism. Alex Brown and Evan George are former line cooks who met while working in their college mess hall. Evan challenged Alex to become a vegetarian for a week and Alex never looked back. You can videocast them as well.
Music break: Son of Sanford by Mocean Worker
Pork Sandwiches ()
New York-based freelance writer Laurel Fantauzzo goes on a personal quest to find the best succulent pork sandwiches. Filling, inexpensive and delicious, these sandwiches range in variation from the Cuban (made with roast pork, Swiss cheese, ham slices and pickles on Cuban bread), the croque monsieur (served with Gruyère cheese, buttered bread and ham), and Vietnamese banh mi (shredded roast pork, pate, pickled daikon and carrots and cilantro). Some Los Angeles area restaurants that serve pork sandwiches are:
For Cuban sandwiches:
2900 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
315 N Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91203
For croque monsieur:
11330 Weddington St
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Le Petit Beaujolais
1661 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
For Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches:
8702 E Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
1289 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
Music break: Rugla by Amina
The Food Snob's Dictionary ()
There are foodies and then there are food snobs. David Kamp and Marion Rosenfeld deconstruct this food-obsessed creature in The Food Snob's Dictionary.
Whether you're a food snob or just a foodie, you'll enjoy an intriguing food and wine festival taking place this weekend. The Art of Food and Wine Palm Desert features art, food and wine education. Chefs like David Rosegarten, Gale Gand and Rick Tramonto will be there.
The Art of Food and Wine Palm Desert
November 10 and November 11, 11am-5pm
Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa
74855 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Music break: Patricia by Perez Prado
The Seventh Daughter ()
With the assistance of co-author Lisa Weiss, Cecilia Chiang recounts her culinary journey from Beijing to San Francisco in The Seventh Daughter. The 'birth mother' of authentic Chinese cuisine and founder of The Mandarin, Chiang continues to consult for popular Bay Area restaurants. Her son, Philip, is co-founder of the popular restaurant chain, P.F. Chiang's.
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