11 Commandments for Grilling; Hats of Meat; Last Suppers
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Market Report ()
Laura Avery chats with Paul Thirston of McGrath Family Farm about his fresh beans: cranberry, flagelet, Tongue of Fire, lima and calypso, which have the "markings of a killer whale." Paul says these beens will be around for the next three weeks. His advises that the best way to prepare the beans is to cook them in salted water. Since they’re fresh, they’ll cook up in about 15 minutes. (Because dried beans are, well… dried, they take over an hour to cook, plus soaking time.) Paul likes to make a cold bean salad with bell pepper, corn, and cilantro.
Laura also visits with farmer Mike Cerrone, from Sea Canyon, who has delicious Blenheim apricots. Get them quick because the Blenheim season is short!
My Last Supper ()
Chefs and foodies often play a game where they confess what their final meal on earth would be if they had a choice. In award-winning photographer Melanie Dunea's book, My Last Supper, she compiles the final meal requests of 50 top chefs. Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is one of those celebrated chefs and describes his simple last meal.
Music break: Wonderful Land by the Fireballs
An Eater's Manifesto ()
Celebrated journalist Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, declares his manifesto in his book, In Defense of Food. He discusses the consumption of edible food-like substances, the American Paradox, chronic diseases linked to diet, and how to eat, literally. His creed is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Music break: Couic Ah! by Francois Rolland
The BBQ Manifesto ()
While grilling is a fairly simple process, there is an art behind it and a seemingly endless variety of cooking methods and special recipes. That's where Steven Raichlen comes in. This master griller has 11 commandments for divine grilling straight from his Barbecue Bible.
An award-winning author, journalist, TV host and cooking teacher who runs the Barbecue U at Greenbrier resort, Raichlen's best-selling cookbook series and Barbecue University TV show on PBS have virtually reinvented American barbecue.
Steven Raichlen's 10 Grilling Commandments
- BE ORGANIZED. Have everything you need for grilling -- the food, marinade, basting sauce, seasonings, and equipment -- on hand and at grillside before you start grilling.
- GAUGE YOUR FUEL. There's nothing worse than running out of charcoal or gas in the middle of grilling. When using charcoal, light enough to form a bed of glowing coals 3 inches larger on all sides than the surface area of the food you're planning to cook. (A 22 1/2-inch grill needs one chimney's worth of coals.) When cooking on a gas grill, make sure the tank is at least one-third full.
- PREHEAT THE GRILL TO THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE. Remember: Grilling is a high-heat cooking method. In order to achieve the seared crust, charcoal flavor, and handsome grill marks associated with masterpiece grillmanship, you must cook over a high heat. How high? At least 500°F. Although I detail this elsewhere, it is worth repeating: When using charcoal, let it burn until it is covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate. After 3 seconds, the force of the heat should force you to snatch your hand away. When using a gas grill, preheat to high (at least 500°F); this takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350°F.
- KEEP IT CLEAN. There's nothing less appetizing than grilling on dirty old burnt bits of food stuck to the grate. Besides, the food will stick to a dirty grate. Clean the grate twice: once after you've preheated the grill and again when you've finished cooking. The first cleaning will remove any bits of food you may have missed after your last grilling session. Use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape off large bits of food, a stiff wire brush to finish scrubbing the grate.
- KEEP IT LUBRICATED. Oil the grate just before placing the food on top, if necessary (some foods don't require that the grates be oiled).
- Spray it with oil (away from the flames), use a folded paper towel soaked in oil, or rub it with a piece of fatty bacon, beef fat, or chicken skin.
- TURN, DON'T STAB. The proper way to turn meat on a grill is with tongs or a spatula. Never stab the meat with a carving fork -- unless you want to drain the flavor-rich juices onto the coals.
- KNOW WHEN TO BASTE Oil-and-vinegar-, citrus-, and yogurt-based bastes and marinades can be brushed on the meat throughout the cooking time. (If you baste with a marinade that you used for raw meat or seafood, do not apply it during the last 3 minutes of cooking.) When using a sugar-based barbecue sauce, apply it toward the end of the cooking time. The sugar in these sauces burns easily and should not be exposed to prolonged heat.
- KEEP IT COVERED. When cooking larger cuts of meat and poultry, such as a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or prime rib, use the indirect method of grilling or barbecuing. Keep the grill tightly covered and resist the temptation to peek. Every time you lift the lid, you add 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
- GIVE IT A REST. Beef, steak, chicken -- almost anything you grill-will taste better if you let it stand on the cutting board for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat juices, which have been driven to the center of a roast or steak by the searing heat, to return to the surface. The result is a juicier, tastier piece of meat.
- NEVER DESERT YOUR POST. Grilling is an easy cooking method, but it demands constant attention. Once you put something on the grill (especially when using the direct method), stay with it until it's cooked. This is not the time to answer the phone, make the salad dressing, or mix up a batch of your famous mojitos. Above all, have fun. Remember that grilling isn't brain surgery. And that's the gospel!
BBQ U Huli Huli Pineapple
Method: spit roasting
- 1 large ripe pineapple
Note: When buying pineapple, look for a yellow rind and a musky, fruity aroma. These are the signs of ripe, sweet
For the glaze:
- 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 pint blackberry or blueberry ice cream or sorbet for serving (optional)
You'll also need a rotisserie and 8 martini glasses (optional)
1. Cut the rind off the pineapple, leaving the leafy crown intact. A serrated knife works best. Even after you've removed the rind, you'll notice some diagonal rows of "eyes" (brown spots)-cut these out, making long diagonal V-shaped cuts to give the pineapple a rippled spiral effect.
2. Make the glaze. Combine the butter, brown sugar, rum, cream, lime juice, cinnamon and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick and syrupy, 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Set up your grill for spit-roasting and preheat to high.
4. Using a long slender knife, make starter holes in the crown end and base of the pineapple, pushing the knife lengthwise through the center to facilitate inserting the spit. Working gently but firmly, insert the rotisserie spit through the pineapple. (Be sure to have the first set of prongs on already.) Tighten the prongs. Loosely cover the pineapple leaves with foil. Place the end of the spit in the rotisserie motor socket and turn on the motor.
5. Spit-roast the pineapple until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, basting with glaze every 15 minutes. You should have about half the glaze leftover for serving.
6. To serve, remove the pineapple from the spit and unwrap the leaves. Show it off whole-talk about way cool. Then cut it crosswise into slices for serving. Drizzle each slice with leftover glaze.
7. For the ultimate gilding of the lily, cut the pineapple slices in quarters and serve over blackberry ice cream in martini glasses. Spoon the glaze on top and garnish each glass with a pineapple leaf.
You can get more tips and recipes from his Raichlen's website, BarbecueBible.com.
Music Break: Jaqanada Sleeps by Mad Finder
In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Bands ()
While touring on the road, a common lament for band members is "I'm tired and I'm hungry and I can't wait to go home." When truck stops and roadside diners no longer fit the bill for traveling musicians, their creativity can be channeled towards inventing their own tour-bus meals.
Kara Zuaro has compiled on-the-road recipes in her new book, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Bands.With contributions from indie music faves like Belle & Sebastian, Calexico, Death Cab for Cutie and the Violent Femmes, Kara outlines the culinary life of musicians, from their favorite drink to the best hangover remedy.
Music Break: Snack Attack by C-mon and Kypski
How to Read a Wine Label ()
Stacie Hunt, of DuVin Wine and Spirits in West Hollywood, explains the best method for reading a wine label and finding the perfect wine. Each wine is an individual. It shows its individuality from its background, just like us: where it was born, raised, educated, with whom we hung out and where we hung out; and of course, how we were handled by others. All of this influences the grape and the resulting wine. All this is reflected on the label.
The French, have coined a word that represents this "background check." Terroir, which means "dirt," tells all that could possibly happen to those grapes: the type of soil (or foundation of their home), indicating the richness (not necessarily the best for grapes) or the poorness (a struggle makes for character); the weather (are they delicate or hardy); the amount of sunny days and which way they tilted their leaves to the sun.
The wine label can tell what the grape is, where it came from and how much of a specific grape is in the bottle. This detail can range from a general location, "California," to a more detail reference -- where in California, what region, what vineyard location and literally which row and vine number within that vineyard. (Think of a vineyard as a neighborhood, within a state, region or country.)
Decoding a wine label can make us more savvy and multiply our pleasure with the wines we select.
Origin: Every bottle of wine has an Appellation of Origin. This tells where the vineyard is located in the world.
In France: AOC - Apellation Controlee
In Italy: DOC - Denominazione della Origine
In Spain: DO - Denominacion de Origin
In USA: AVA - American Viticultural Area
Most global regulations require 75% of the grapes to come from that "area" and up to 15% from other areas.
Name of the Wine: This could be the grape varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon); or a fanciful or proprietary name like "Vin Cigare," for fun or creativity purposes. It could also be the name of a virtual winery or even a retail or hotel or restaurant name, in which case the estabishment has contracted with a vineyard or winery to create a "branded" wine.
Vintage: This is the year the grapes were harvested, not bottled. For some wines, they may be harvested this year and bottled years later, depending on their style. White wines generally should be young in vintage, no more than four years old. The exception comes in French and German wines, which are noted for their longevity.
Grape Variety: This tells us the specific grape (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon) that the wine is made from. The exception is in French, Spanish and Italian wines, where the varietal may not be listed, since each of these countries have enacted laws for which grapes can be included in which wines, based on their region. So, it helps to bone up on the regions and which grapes are prevalent there.
Ripe and Ready: This applies mainly to Germany and Austria, where they rank wines by a ripeness or sweetness quotient. In Germany, the lowest ripeness is called Kabinett. The highest (and most expensive) is called QmP. The label of a dry German wine will say "trocken." Other wines will say halbtrocken (semi-dry) to spatlese, meaning late harvested -- the richest, ripest and sweetest. If you see eiswein (ice wine) on the label, you can assume this is rich, syrupy tasting and an amazing dessert wine.
Bottling: "Estate bottled" indicates that the grapes and resulting wine were grown, harvested and made at the location of the vineyard. If a bottle doesn't say that, the grapes or grape juice could have come from another location to a bottling facility. In that case, it will say "bottled at" or "produced and bottled" Most quality wines are "estate bottled."
Other Information: A French wine may list the location status of the vineyard or region with the words "Grand Cru" (the highest) or "1er Cru," meaning "Premier Cru" (second highest) or "Cru Bourgeois," the local or village wine.
Italy may list IGT here, which means that the wine is not made according to the old regulations of grape content, but is made from grapes grown in this area.
The Back Label: This is the area where various warnings are posted (such as the Surgeon General's warning on American-made wines); the alcohol content is here; information on sulphites (if there are more than 10 parts per million); the bottle size as well as the importer's name.
Increasingly, the back label has become the creative space for a few words from the winemaker, discussing the effort and passion that went into the wine and even what it will pair best with in terms of foods. Some winemakers will also use the back label to list the blends and percentages, as well as the name of the different grape varietals.
Music Break: Devil's Haircut by Dr. Lonnie Smith & David "Fathead"
Hats of Meat ()
A man of many hats, Steve Bean Levy loves meat. His Hats of Meat is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to fashionable headpieces. Some of his meat hats are the cow-boy hat (see above), brisket yarmulke, porkpie, base-bull cap and the Canadian.
The Brisket Yarmulke
To see more of these carnivorously creative caps, check out the Hats of Meat website!
Music Break: Tarnation by Max Avery Lichtenstein
Tasting Food Professionally ()
Sensory Spectrum's Gail Vance Civille and Judy Heylmun taste food professionally. They teach courses called "Identifying the Flavor Spectrum" and "Psychophysical Principals and Sensory Evaluation."
Getting trained to be a professional taster is no small task. Sensory Spectrum uses the latest sensory research technology to provide education, scientific results and technical solutions to guide decision-makers in the fields of foods, beverages, oral health, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, fabrics, paper, household products, fragrances, and environmental odor control.
Music break: I Am the Walrus by Adam Rodgers and David Gilmore
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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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