Chestnuts; Casseroles; Asian Condiments; Cost-conscious Shoppers
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Phil Lempert discusses how the economic crisis is affecting the grocery industry, while Lesley Bargar highlights savory Asian condiments and candies. Russ Parsons samples chewy chestnuts, Kathy Farrell-Kingsley whips up homemade dairy products and Octavio Becerra and Steve Goldun make magic with food and fine. Plus, Piero Selvaggio dishes up tasty prosciutto, Emily Farris is crazy for casseroles and Evan Kleiman finds what’s fresh in the Market Report.
The Market Report ()
Evan Kleiman does the shopping this week, while Laura Avery is vacationing in France. Evan's excited to find tiny Lady Christmas apples that she found at Windrose Farms. She recommends making apple dumplings. With these tiny apples, you don't even need to peel them.
Old-Fashioned Apple Raisin Dumplings
Courtesy of Gourmet (February, 2001 issue)
Makes 6 (dessert) servings
2 small tart apples such as Granny Smith (1/2 lb), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1/2 Tablespoon for sprinkling
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/2 cup whole milk plus 1/2 Tablespoon for brushing
1 1/2 cups unfiltered apple cider
1 cup packed light brown sugar
Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream
Make filling: Toss together all filling ingredients.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar into a bowl. Blend in butter and shortening with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir with a fork just until mixture is moistened.
Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead 7 to 8 times, or until a soft dough forms (do not overwork dough, or dumplings will be tough). Roll out dough on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a rough 16" by 11" rectangle (about 3/4" thick). Trim to a 15" by 10" rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise, then cut crosswise in thirds (to form 6 squares).
Divide filling among centers of squares. Bring all 4 corners together over filling and pinch together to seal. Transfer dumplings to a well-buttered 13" by 9" by 2" ceramic or glass baking dish and arrange about 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1/2 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Make syrup and bake dumplings:
Bring cider and brown sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Pour syrup around dumplings, then bake dumplings until golden brown and syrup is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Now is the time to find fresh, uncured olives. James Birch of Flora Bella Farm in Three Rivers, California is bringing them in for the next two weeks. Fresh olives must be cured to eat and James is putting his in burlap sacks and dropping them into the river for a month. You can accomplish the same thing at home by submerging the olives in water and changing the water each day for about 30 days. Other recipes direct you to cure them in salt and also salt brines with spices.
Music break: Bayou by Deadly Avenger Presents
Cost-Conscious Shoppers ()
Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert explains how the current economic crisis is affecting the grocery store industry. The food marketing expert and journalist is the author of Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise: The Shoppers Guide for Today's Supermarket.
Music break: Big Apple Boogie by Herbie Man
Asian Condiments and Candies ()
Los Angeles Magazine dining editor Lesley Bargar highlights savory Asian sweets and condiments. The current issue, currently available on newsstands, features the Asian Food Lovers' Guide to LA and includes the best of Asian noodles, dumplings, condiments, candies, markets and more.
Botan Rice Candy: sweet flavor; thin rice paper wrapper that melts in your mouth
Black Sesame: smoky chews from China
Kasugai Grape Gummies: heart-shaped gummies from Korea
Men's Pocky: bittersweet chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks
Kewpie mayonnaise - Kewpie doll jar with mayonnaise inside
Gochujang - Korean fermented red pepper paste
Music break: The Way I Want To Be by the Village Green
Los Angeles Times food writer Russ Parsons samples tasty, chewy chestnuts and shares some dishes. Parsons, author of How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table, recently wrote about the return of the American chestnut in a Times.
Brussels sprouts braised with bacon and chestnuts
Note: Quartering the Brussels sprouts after they're cooked ensures that their centers stay slightly crisp.
Servings: 4 to 6
1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped chestnuts (about 1/2 lb nuts in their shell)
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut an X in the stem end of each Brussels sprout and remove any outer leaves that are discolored or loose. In a covered pot, steam the sprouts over rapidly boiling water until they are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each sprout into lengthwise quarters and set aside. (The Brussels sprouts can be prepared up to this point 8 hours in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.)
2. Render the bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until it softens and releases its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the minced shallot and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chestnuts and chicken broth to the pan, cover and simmer until the chestnuts are quite tender and sweet, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar and Brussels sprouts and cook, letting the flavors marry, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little more vinegar, if necessary, to brighten the flavors.
Chestnut-celery root purée
Servings: 6 to 8
3 cups peeled and coarsely chopped chestnuts (about 1 1/2 lbs nuts in their shells)
1/2 lb celery root, peeled and cut in 1/2" dice
1 shallot, sliced
1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1. Combine the chestnuts, celery root and shallot in a large saucepan. Add the chicken broth and 1 1/4 cups water. There should be enough liquid to just cover the chestnuts and celery root, but if necessary add a little more water. Stir in the salt.
2. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the chestnuts and celery root are tender enough to crush against the side of the pan, about 20 minutes.
3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked chestnuts and celery root to a food processor and purée. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl, add the butter and purée until smooth. Serve immediately. This makes about 3 cups purée.
Music break: Blue by Euphoria
The Home Creamery ()
Kathy Farrell-Kingsley whips up homemade dairy products. She shares how-to make them, including which types of milk to use, needed equipment, kefir and soft cheeses in her book, The Home Creamery.
Makes 1 pound
Fresh goat cheese (chevre in French) ranges in texture from creamy to semi-firm. The flavor works especially well with acidic accompaniments, such as tomatoes or strawberries.
1 gallon whole goat's milk
1 cup cider vinegar
1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and gradually heat over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 175-180°F. Be sure to heat the milk gradually and to stir it frequently to prevent scorching (and a slightly burnt taste).
2. Hold the temperature at 175-180°F about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, if necessary. (Once milk reaches high temperatures, it can gain heat surprisingly quickly.) Slowly stir in the vinegar, until the milk acidifies and curds form.
3. Remove the pot from heat. Pour or ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the corners of the cloth into a knot, forming a bag from which to drain off th. Slide a long-handled spoon beneath the knot and transfer the bag to hang inside the empty milk pot to drain. For 2 to5 hours, or until desired consistency.
4. Unmold the cheese and use right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
Herbed Goat’s Cheese
Makes about 1/2 pound
This cheese is made with a combination of goat and cow's milk. The practice of blending cow and goat's milk is common, especially in France and Greece. After the cheese has been unmolded, it can be rolled in coarsely cracked peppercorns, if desired.
2 cups goat's milk
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water
1. Pour the milk and cream into a large pot. Stir in the yogurt, thyme, parsley and basil and place over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the mixture through a strainer; discard the herbs, and return the milk mixture to the pot. Bring the mixture to 100°F, using a thermometer to check the temperature.
3. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the cold water. Add this mixture to the milk, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for 2 more hours to form curds.
4. Cut the curd into 1" cubes, and gently stir. Carefully pour or spoon the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a large bowl and let drain about 1 hour. Turn the cheese out into a medium bowl and stir in the salt.
5. Line cheese molds, about 1 cup capacity, with cheesecloth. Fill molds with cheese, fold cloth over top and place a weight on top (about 2 pounds) and refrigerate under the weight overnight, or up to 2 days.
6. To serve, unmold cheese and remove cheesecloth. Cheese will keep up to week airtight in the refrigerator.
Goat’s Milk Feta Cheese
Makes about 1 pound
Feta is best known for its salty, tangy flavor and versatility. Once you have tasted freshly made feta, you might want to have it on hand all the time to add to salads and other Greek-style dishes. Use the cheese right away or store in salted water to cover in the refrigerator up to 4 seeks.
1 gallon goat's milk
1/4 cup cheese culture or buttermilk
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water
1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot bring to 88°F, using a thermometer to check the temperature. Stir in the culture or buttermilk. Cover and let stand for 1 hour to ripen. Remove the pot from the heat.
2. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the cold water. Add this mixture to the milk, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 1 more hour to coagulate.
3. Using a knife, cut the curd into 1-inch cubes. Stir gently for 15 minutes, keeping the curds at 86°F.
4. Carefully pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag and hang to drain for four to six hours.
5. Slice the cheese ball in half and lay the slabs of cheese in a dish that can be covered. Sprinkle all the surfaces with coarse salt, cover and allow to set at room temperature for 24 hours.
6. After 24 hours, salt all the surfaces again and let it rest for two hours.
7. Place the cheese in a covered dish and refrigerate for five to seven days. Use within two weeks or freeze for future use.
Goat’s Milk Legends
Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in it to keep her skin silky smooth. Pharaohs had goat's milk and cheese placed in their burial chambers for the afterlife. Today, the slightly sweet, sometimes lightly salted flavor of goat's milk is enjoyed worldwide.
Music break: Bohemian Rag by Tony Marcus
Food and Wine Pairings ()
Chef-owner Octavio Becerra and wine director Steve Goldun make magic with food and wine at Palate Food + Wine in Glendale. Their wine-focused restaurant and store also offers a tasting bar and lounge, cheese cellar and gastronomic library.
Palate Food + Wine
933 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, Ca 91204
Music break: Boogie Band by Kool and the Gang
Selvaggio's Prosciutto ()
Piero Selvaggio, owner of Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica, dishes up delicious prosciutto, Italian ham. Right now Piero is in Napa at the Culinary Institute of America's 11th Annual Worlds of Flavor International Conference talking about Sicilian food.
Valentino Santa Monica
3115 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Prosciutto, Figs, and Ricotta Salata
Recipe courtesy of Viana La Place & Evan Kleiman's Cucina Fresca.
12 fresh ripe figs, cut in half lengthwise
1 lb ricotta salata or feta cheese (see note) cut into 3/4" dice
12 slices prosciutto
Fresh mint sprigs
Arrange the figs, ricotta salata, and prosciutto on a platter. Garnish with the mint sprigs. Pass a pepper mill.
NOTE: Ricotta salata is a firm, salted cheese made from sheep's milk, similar in texture to feta. It's available in most Italian specialty food shops.
Music break: Borne Free by Les Baxter
Casserole Crazy ()
Emily Farris goes crazy for casseroles in her book, Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven! She is holding her 4th annual Casserole Competition in Brooklyn on November 10. Visit her blog to read more about her passion for original casserole recipes.
Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole
File Under: Not So Bad For You
12 ounces of uncooked egg noodles
1 (12 ounce can) cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 (6 ounce) cans white albacore tuna, drained
1 (16 ounce) package frozen sweet peas
1 (13.75 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Par boil the noodles just under al dente and drain.
In a large mixing bowl combine the noodles, the soup, 1 cup of the cheese, tuna, peas, artichoke hearts, onion, salt and pepper. Transfer to a 2 ½ to 3-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until bubbling. Remove, top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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