The Breathable Gin and Tonic; Pie Crust; How to Annoy Your Waiter
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Drinking is so last century. Sam Bompas and Harry Parr describe how to in breathe in your next cocktail. Steve Dublanica, also known as Waiter X, tells us how to be better customers and reveals the truth behind angry waiter retaliations. Hiking the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail left journalist Dan White hot, tired and most of all, hungry. Freudian psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson analyzes the psychology of eating meat. Arnold Van Huis offers eating bugs as an alternative to meat. Pastry chef Cindy Mushet chimes in on the Pie-a-Day conversation with an assessment of flours. Plus, what kind of life does a swordfish lead before it ends up on our plate? Yonat Swimmer explains. And, Laura Avery has Michael McCarty’s recipe for heirloom tomato, arugula and burrata salad.
The Market Report ()
Michael's restaurant has been a mainstay in Santa Monica for 30 years. That makes chef/owner Michael McCarty a legend. He was at the market shopping for heirloom tomatoes which he pairs with Coleman Farms arugula, sweet white onion and fresh Gioia burrata. Drizzle the salad with a vinagrette made from equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinager.
Robin Smith of Mud Creek Ranch in Santa Paula has quince. Use if for stews, pies and to make jelly (it has a high amount of naturally-occurring pectin).
4 medium quinces (about 2 lbs total)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 1-quart terrine.
Scrub quinces and pat dry. In a small roasting pan bake quinces, covered with foil, in middle of oven until tender, about 2 hours, and transfer pan to a rack. When quinces are cool enough to handle, with a sharp knife peel, quarter, and core them.
In a food processor puree pulp with 1/4 cup water until smooth (if mixture is too thick, add remaining 1/4 cup water a little at a time, as needed). Force puree through a large fine sieve into a liquid cup measure and measure amount of puree. Transfer puree to a 3-quart heavy saucepan and add an equivalent amount of sugar.
Cook quince puree over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and begins to pull away from side of pan, about 25 minutes. Pour puree into terrine, smoothing top with an offset spatula, and cool. Chill puree, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until set, about 4 hours.
Run a thin knife around sides of terrine and invert quince paste onto a platter. (Quince paste keeps, wrapped well in wax paper and then plastic wrap and chilled, 3 months.)
Slice paste and serve with cheese and crackers.
The Breathable Cocktail ()
Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are Bompas & Parr, based in London. One of their latest projects is "Alcoholic Architecture." Participants walked into a thick fog of gin and tonic. Sam and Harry worked with doctors and engineers to measure the exact amount of cocktail that would be absorbed. Viewers left the exhibit feeling as though they drank an actual gin and tonic.
Bompas and Parr also make fine English jellies, called Jello in the U.S. The jellies are molded into scaled architectural structures.
Up next, the duo is partnering with A Razor, A Shiny Knife and Fiona Leahy Design for the Black Banquet.
Waiter Rant ()
Waiter Steve Dublanica talks about the many ways that diners annoy wait-staff, offers suggestions for becoming a better customer and reveals angry waiter retaliations in his Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Dublanica writes the popular blog, Waiter Rant.
The Psychology of Eating Meat ()
Jeffrey Masson is a trained Freudian psychoanalyst whose latest book is The Face on Your Plate. He studies the emotional side of animals and the psychology behind humans who eat meat. Jeffrey is a vegan.
Bugs as Meat ()
Researcher Arnold van Huis, a Professor of Tropical Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, advocates eating insects as an alternative to consuming meat. He says there are some 1,400 - 2,000 species of edible bugs which can be used as a source of protein.
The Cactus Eater ()
Journalist Dan White eats his way across a 2,600-mile hike that stretches from Mexico to Canada in his book, The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind-and Almost Found Myself-on the Pacific Crest Trail. Read more on Dan's blog.
It's All About the Flour ()
Cake flour has the lowest amount of protein which means that it helps makes a very tender crumb. You won't get the same soft crumb with all-purpose flour. Bread flour is a high protein flour, which means that it has a high gluten content. Cindy likes to use bread flour to roll out dough; use it as a dusting flour. It's low starch content doesn't stick to the dough.
Cindy's book is The Art and Soul of Baking. Her new book, Baking Kids Love
comes out in September.
Flaky Pie Dough
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 to 4 Tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpos flour
1 1/2 tsps sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1) Place the butter pieces in a bowl or on a plate and freeze for at leas 20 minutes. Refrigerate the water in a small measuring cup until needed.
2) Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the food processor. Process for 10 seconds to blend the ingredients. Add the frozen butter pieces and pulse 6 to 10 times (in 1-second bursts), until the butter and flour mixture looks like crushed crackers and peas.
3) Immediately transfer the butter-flour mixture to the large bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the cold water over the mixture and "fluff" it in, then add another, and another, until 3 tablespoons have been added. Continue to fluff and stir 10 or 12 times It will not be a cohesive dough at the his point but a bowl of shaggy crumbs and clumps of dough. Before bringing the dough together, you need to test it for the correct moisture content. Take a handful of the mixture and squeeze firmly. Open your hand. If the clump falls apart and looks dry, remove and large, moist clumps from the bowl then add more water, one teaspoon at a time, sprinkling it over the top of the mixture and immediately stirring or mixing it in. Test again before adding any more water. Repeat, if needed. The dough is done with it holds together (even if a few small pieces fall off). If the butter feels of and squishy, refrigerate before continuing, If the butter is still cold and firm, continue to the next step).
4) Turn the dough onto a word surface and knead gently 3 to 6 times. If it won't come together and looks very dry, return it to the bowl and add another teaspoon or two of water (one at a time), mixing in as above, and try again. Flatten the dough into a 6 or 7-inch disk, wrap in plastic or parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This allows time for the dough to hydrate fully and for the butter to firm up again.
5) If the dough has been refrigerated for more than 30 minutes, it may be very firm and hard and will crack if you try to roll it. Let it sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes until it is malleable but still cold. Dust your work surface generously with flour and set the disk on the flour. Dust the top with flour. Roll, turning the dough, until you've got a 14 to 15 inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. If at any point the dough becomes warm and sticky, gently fold it into quarters, unfold it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until the butter if firm again.
6) If a crack or hole forms while rolling, brush andy flour away and patch the area.
7) Fold the dough circle into quarters, brushing off and excess flour as you fold. Put the point of the folded dough in the center of the pie pan, tart pan, or baking sheet and unfold the dough, lifting it slightly as necessary to east it into the crevices of the pan. Do not stretch or pull the dough, which can cause thin spots, holes and/or shrinkage during baking.
8) Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough so it overhangs the edge of the pan by 1 inch. Fold the overhanging dough under itself around the pan edge, then crimp or form a decorative border. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.
The Life of a Swordfish ()
Yonat Swimmer talks about the life of big fish, such as swordfish and tuna, before their lives get interrupted by the fishing line. She is a research fisheries biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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