The Green Fairy; Portuguese Cuisine; Kitchen Re-Do's; Bountiful Trees
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Don't let the recession hurt your plans to remodel your kitchen. Architect Sarah Susanka has some ideas for how to fall in love with your kitchen again. And Mark Bittman of the New York Times shares stories from his tiny kitchen.
Southern California fruit trees are plentiful. But so much of their bounty falls to the ground, unpicked. Two men in Southern California are putting that otherwise wasted food to good use. Rick Nahmias leads big and little picks around Los Angeles. And Jim Roehrig harvests fruits and vegetables from his neighbors in Santa Barbara. All proceeds are donated to area food banks.
Pastry chef and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan extols the virtues of pie. Jonathan Gold takes us to a wine bar. Absinthe is back. Mixologist Steve Livigni introduces us to "The Green Fairy." David Leite spotlights Portuguese cuisine. Eddie Lin eats brains. And Laura Avery shows off what's fresh at the Santa Monica Farmers Market this week.
Market Report ()
DJ Olsen is the chef at Lou Wine Bar, 724 Vine St, LA (323) 962-6369. He is shopping for quince, a hard apple-like and fuzzy-skinned fruit that can only be eaten when cooked. Quince are just coming into season now.
Quince Tart with Roasted Grapes, Almonds and Crème Brulée Ice Cream
1 lb commercial, all butter puff pastry (Dufour’s, available at Surfas, is a 14 oz package.)
All-Purpose flour for rolling out puff pastry
1 small egg and a dash of water to create an egg wash
1 1/2 lb fresh quince
1 quart acidulated water (water with a lemon squeezed into it)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup good quality fresh apple cider
Tiny pinch kosher salt
Roasted grapes (recipe follows)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Crème brulée ice cream (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Thaw puff pastry (1 sheet) in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before needed. Unfold the thawed sheet and divide it into four equal-sized rectangles. As you’ll only need one of these rectangles for the tart (roughly a 1/4 lb), the other three can be wrapped separately in plastic and refrozen for later use.
3. Generously dust a work surface with All-Purpose flour. Roll the puff pastry to an 8 x 10 rectangle.
4. Using a paring knife, score a 1/2 inch border around the perimeter of the rectangle, being careful not to cut entirely through the pastry.
5. Paint this border with egg wash.
6. Place the puff pastry on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze.
7. Meantime, peel the quince, subsequently placing peeled quince in acidulated water to prevent discoloration.
8. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the quince in half, lengthwise; cut the halves into quarters, quarters into eighths.
9. Cut away the core and seeds of each wedge. Cut each wedge into three thin slices, placing cut slices back into acidulated water.
10. Drain quince slices; toss slices in sugar.
11. Melt butter in large saucepan over med. hi heat.
12. Add sugared quince slices, cider, pinch salt; sauté until slices have softened and are sweet.
13. Remove slices from pan; increase heat; reduce juices until they’ve thickened into a syrup. Cool and reserve.
14. Remove puff pastry from freezer; arrange quince slices in overlapping rows, within the egg washed border; dust the quince with sugar.
15. Bake tart until border has raised and turned golden brown (12-15 minutes). Remove tart from the oven; carefully lift one side to check that the bottom has turned golden brown as well. If not, return to the oven for a few additional minutes of baking.
To serve, cut the tart into six portions, each slice roughly 1-1/4” in width. Garnish one end of each slice with roasted grapes, topping the grapes with toasted almonds, and the other end with a scoop of crème brulée ice cream. Drizzle the reserved, reduced pan juices over the tart and around the plate.
1 lb mixed red and purple, seedless table grapes (Red Flame, Autumn Royal, Black Corinth, etc.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch kosher salt
Use a 425F convection oven, or 450F still oven
1. Stem and wash all grapes; drain
2. Toss grapes with sugar and salt
3. Place grapes in a med. sized gratin pan, or flat baking dish large enough to allow the grapes to lay in a single layer.
4. Roast in the oven until grapes begin to collapse and release their juices, and the the sugars have begun to caramelize. Some of the grapes will blacken, some will collapse entirely, some will remain whole. The goal is to cook them until there is a variety of shapes and textures, and a nice caramelization has begun (10-15 min.).
5. Remove grapes from pan with their juices; store at room temperature until needed for tart.
Roasted grapes can be stored, tightly covered , refrigerated for up to four days. After that they begin to ferment. They are excellent in salads, as a layer in a sandwich, as garnish for ice cream, with chocolate, etc. They are especially good with roasted figs and smokey bleu cheese.
Crème Brulée Ice Cream (recipe doubles well)
2 cups good quality whole milk
2 cups good quality whipping or manufacturing cream
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup bruléed brown sugar (recipe follows)
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split and scraped
1. Place milk, cream, scraped vanilla bean and its seeds over med. heat; heat until small bubbles begin to form around the perimeter of the saucepan; remove from heat an allow mixture to steep while preparing other ingredients.
2. Place egg yolks in bowl of a standmixer fitted with a whisk. Whip at med. slo speed just enough to break and slightly mix them; rain in brulée sugar and mix until thoroughly blended.
3. With motor running (medium-slow) add a few tablespoons of hot milk/cream liquid to temper the eggs. Gradually add more and more of the hot liquid until well-blended. This is the custard base.
4. Place the custard base back into the saucepan and cook over med. heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until the mixture has thickened and coats well, the spatula (6-8 minutes)
5. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the vanilla bean pod and any curdled egg bits.
6. Pour the mixture into a shallow metal pan and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, preferably overnight.
7. Pour chilled mixture into an ice cream maker; proceed as directed by the ice cream maker instructions.
8. Once ice cream has formed, remove to a plastic container and freeze an additional two hours minimum.
Once the ice cream is made and thoroughly frozen, it can seem very hard to scoop. This can be remedied by a quick shot in the microwave, no more than 30 seconds at low power, or left for a few minutes on the counter at room temperature.
1/2 lb (or more) dark brown sugar
Use a 425F convection, or 450F still oven
1. Spread the sugar in a very thin, even layer atop a parchment lined sheet pan.
2. Bake the sugar until its starts to caramelize, is beginning to melt into a mass; do not allow it to smoke.
3. Remove from the oven; let cool to room temperature.
4. Place in a food processor and pulse until the sugar has reverted to a granular state.
Bruléed sugar keeps six months. It’s an excellent topping for ice cream, custards, or fruits, a wonderful sweetener for coffee and tea.
Backyard Bounty ()
Good Food listener Jim Roehrig started Backyard Bounty in Santa Barbara. He and his neighbors harvest fruits and vegetables from private properties in the area. The proceeds are donated to Santa Barbara-area food banks. So far the program has picked over 98,000 pounds of produce.
More and info on how to get involved here.
The Big Pick ()
Rick Nahmias runs Food Forward, an organization that gleans fruit trees on private property in Los Angeles. The produce is then donated to LA-area food assistance organizations like SOVA.
Food Forward is currently looking for trees to harvest. Call 818-530-4125 if you have a tree that needs to be gleaned.
Music Break: Gnu Bossa Nova by Baja Marimba Band
A Pie Tutorial ()
Dorie Greenspan is a pastry chef and cookbook author who divides her time between New York, Paris and Connecticut.
Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie (or Tart)
Serves 6-8 Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 9-inch single crust made with Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough (see recipe below), partially baked and cooled, or one 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough, partially baked and cooled
2 cups (canned) unsweetened pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons dark rum
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and put the pie plate (or tart pan) on it.
Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a mixing bowl. Rap either the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crust.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer (20 to 25 minutes for a tart), or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean. (If you don't want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn't jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it's done.) Transfer the pie (or tart) to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Pumpkin pie and whipped cream are naturals and, if you've tested the pie's doneness with a knife, you might want to serve the whipped cream as a cover-up. I like this pie chilled, but others are fans of it at room temperature - decide for yourself.
Like most pies, this one is best served the day it is made. However, you can make the pie early in the day and keep it refrigerated until needed.
Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
Makes enough for a 9-inch single crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 Tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening (non-trans fat), cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water
Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface.
Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. (If the ingredients were very cold and you worked very quickly, you might be able to roll the dough immediately—you'll know: the dough will be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.) The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
Once the dough is fitted into the pie plate, refrigerate it again. If you don't have time for a longish chill, just keep the pie plate in the fridge while you preheat the oven.
To Partially Bake a Single Crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil), fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down with the side of a spoon (or lightly prick the crust). Return the pie to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.
From Dorie Greenspan on Serious Eats.
Music Break: I changed My Mind: Lyrics Born / Quannum Spectrum
Bittman's Tiny Kitchen ()
Photo: Kelly Doe / The New York Times
Mark Bittman writes the Minimalist column for The New York Times. He famously has a tiny New York City apartment kitchen in which he cooks for his column. His kitchen is about 7 feet wide and 8 feet long. Mark says that the most important items in the kitchen are the refrigerator (not too big), the sink and the stove. Good pots and pans are important but there are far too many gadgets out there
Mark is the author of How to Cook Everything.
Kitchen Re-do's ()
Architect Susan Susanka specializes in small-scale remodeling projects. Her philosophy is "Not So Big," which emphasizes quality not quantity.
The role of kitchens has changed in Americans' lives. It was once a room relegated to the back of the house - out of sight. It's now a focal point of the family's social life. Sarah recommends opening up the house so that you can always see another living space from the kitchen. Since kitchens are now the heart of the home, we need to be able to interact with the rest of the house.
Music Break: Positively by Joey Altruda
Jonathan Gold Goes Noir ()
Pulitzer Prize-winner Jonathan Gold writes the Counter Intelligence column for the LA Weekly. In this week's show, he reviews Noir, a new Pasadena wine-bar. According to Jonathan, chef Claude Beltran's gumbo and the chile verde with boar shoulder is excellent. The restaurant also featured one of Jonathan's favorite desserts: a peach served with a "descreet spot of cream."
See all of Jonathan Gold's suggestions on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
Music Break: Pot Likker by Washboard Bill with Mickey Baker and King
The Green Fairy is Back ()
The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva (1861-1928)
Steve Livigni is a bartender at The Doheny, a members-only cocktail bar in Downtown Los Angeles. Many mixologists are now serving absinthe in mixed drinks.
Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit made from wormwood. Absinthe was once thought to be a highly addictive liquor that can cause hallucinations. In reality, it has a very high alcohol content. Traditional absinthe is 120-150 proof. Le Tourment Vert brand absinthe is 100 proof and is better suited for mixed drinks.
Red Hot and Bothered
1 oz Le Tourment Vert Absinthe
1 oz Hangar One Chipotle Vodka
3 Muddled Stawberries
3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice
Bar spoon of ginger agave nectar
Topped with 2 oz ginger beer
Serve on the Rocks
Music Break: Puff (The Magic Dragon) by Baja Marimba Band
Portuguese Food in the Age of Discovery ()
David Leite is a Portuguese chef and the author of The New Portuguese Table. He is also the editor of Leite's Culinaria.
Portuguese Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Cookies
Makes about 15 wafers
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mild oil-cured black olives, rinsed quickly if particularly salty, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and crank up the heat to 375F.
2. Stir together the flour, olives, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the oil and egg, pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix with your hands until the dough no longer looks dry and holds together when squeezed, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Fill a small bowl with sugar and set nearby. Pinch off 1 rounded tablespoon (about 1 ounce) of dough, roll it into a ball, and coat it well with sugar. Place it in one corner of a sheet of parchment cut to fit your baking sheet, place another piece of parchment on top, and using a rolling pin, roll the ball into a 3 1/2- to 4-inch circle, a scant 1/16 inch thick. The edges will be ragged; that’s how they should be. Repeat with 5 more wafers on the same sheet. Lift off the top sheet and slip the parchment with the cookies onto the baking sheet.
4. Bake until the lemon-olive cookies are edged with brown and pebbled on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Slide the parchment onto a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once cooled, the cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days, but I doubt they’ll stick around that long.
Brains for Dinner ()
Engage & Discuss
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