Pumpkin Shortage; Chocolate as Medicine; Gin; Sunchokes
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If you've been to a Southern California farmers market lately, you probably saw the netting draped over certain produce. It's because of a Mediterranean fruit fly. Fruit expert David Karp explains what that is and why it's a problem. Jonathan Gold takes us to Rosemead for some JTYH noodles. The Shameless Carnivore, Scott Gold is back to tell us about a spleen sandwich he had recently. Vivianna Acosta Padial is leading volunteers to her native Puerto Rico to help improve the food system. She explains what's wrong and what she hopes her Culinary Corps can do. And what's going on with all the pumpkin? Supermarket guru Phil Lempert gives us the scoop on the pumpkin shortage. A new study says that chocolate can help prolong the lives of heart attack survivors. Dr. Ken Mukamal shares the results. Gin was once used as medicine. David Wondrich dives into the history of this distilled spirit. Robert Wemischner elevates food presentation to an art form. He describes the concept of dessert architecture. And, Gustavo Arellano is here with a Bolivian restaurant recommendation in Tustin. C.J. Jacobsen shares a recipe for a persimmon caprese and farmer Alex Weiser explains just what a sunchoke is.
Market Report ()
C.J. Jacobsen is the Executive Chef at The Yard in Santa Monica (119 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310-395-6037). He is making a seasonal caprese salad using chocolate persimmons, burrata cheese and smoked almonds. He removes the seeds and slices the persimmons lengthwise. He then layers the slices with burrata cheese. The salad is topped with almonds smoked with mesquite and then crushed. Top with basil and balsamic vinegar.
Weiser Family Farms has sunchokes right now, also called Jerusalem Artichokes. This tuber is from the sunflower family and can be eaten raw, sauteed or even mashed like potatoes. Farmer Alex Weiser doesn't like to peel them, but chefs frequently do it when mashing.
Mashed Potatoes with Jerusalem Artichokes
2 Tablespoons. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 lbs Jerusalem Artichokes
3 lbs yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup crème fresh or sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
6 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Fill large pot half full with cold water, add lemon juice. Peel sunchokes, if you like, cut into 1-inch pieces and add to pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and boil sunchokes until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Return artichokes to pot. Add potatoes, salt, and enough water to cover vegetables: bring to boil. Cover and boil until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain. Return vegetables to pot and set over low heat. Add crème fresh and butter. Mash until mixture is almost smooth. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Re-warm over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Stir in chives.
Medfly Quarantine ()
David Karp is a pomologist and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He recently wrote about the "Medfly," or Mediterranean fruit fly, quarantine affecting local farmers markets. This map outlines the affected area.
Farmers are under strict guidance by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which is trying to erradicate the fruit fly. Vendors must cover their goods with mosquito netting to ward off the insects.
Potential fruit fly targets include most fruit, with the exception of strawberries, blackberries and rasberries, and a few vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Consumers are asked not to compost these items while the quarantine is in effect.
Music Break: Ended With The Night by Caravan Palace
JTYH with JG ()Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly. This week he reviews JTYH, a noodle shop in Rosemead. Jonathan likes the moo shu noodles, the pan-fried bao and pan cake with beef.
9425 Valley Blvd.
See all of Jonathan Gold's restaurant suggestions on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
Music Break: Fever Comin' Home Baby by Ernie Freeman Combo
Spleen Sandwich ()
Photo Courtesy: Scott Gold, The Faster Times
Scott Gold is the author of The Shameless Carnivore. Recently he wrote about the Sicilian sandwich called vastedda which is made with calf spleen. He had the sandwich at Ferdinando's Focacceria in Brooklyn, NY (151 Union Street, Brooklyn).
Pumpkin Shortage ()
Drought in the west and heavy rains in the midwest caused a shortage in this year's pumpkin crop, says Phil Lempert, also known as the Supermarket Guru. This has caused an increase in prices. This year's crop has been more successful so he doesn't expect a shortage next year. However, he does argue that continued drought and bad weather will cause food prices to rise overall.
Libby's, owned by Nestle, has 85% of the pumpkin market.
Music Break: The Girl From Ipanema Meditation by Denny McLain
Culinary Corps ()
Traveling from San Juan to Vieques
Pork and Rice
Viviana Acosta-Padial is a Puerto Rico-native and an active participant in Culinary Corps. In February, she is leading a group of volunteers to Puerto Rico to help strengthen the food culture of the island Commonwealth. They hope to preserve traditional cooking techniques and promote sustainable agriculture as Puerto Rico's population depends mostly on food imports.
Culinary Corps is a non-profit group that leads culinary professionals into under-served communities to help support their cultural heritage through food. Until this Puerto Rico trip, their focus has primarily been in New Orleans.
David Wondrich is the co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. Gin is a distilled spirit flavored with botanicals. Gin, and it's relative, Genever, is frequently flavored with juniper berries. Orris root, anise, coriander and cassia bark are also used.
The French 75
From Vintage Spirits and Forgotton Cocktails by Ted Haigh
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
2 tsps sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker.
Pour the gin, lemon juice, and sugar into a tall glass (a collins glass, a zombie glass, or a champagne flute will do).
Top with champagne. Stir gently and garnish with a long, thing lemon spiral and a cocktail sherry.
Classic Dry Martini
In a shaker combine:
2 oz Gin
1/8 to 1/4 oz dry white vermouth (to taste)
Ice to fill
Shake and strain and into a Martini glass, or a short glass. Garnish with an olive.
Gin & Tonic
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add:
1 1/2 oz Gin
Tonic water to fill
Garnish with a lime slice.
Music Break: El Cumbanchero by Don Swan
Bolivian in Tustin ()
Gustavo Arellano is the food editor and a columnist for the OC Weekly. He loves the saltena's at Rollie's Bakery in Tustin. The Bolivian restaurant also serves Mexican food and pan dulce, or sweets.
14071 Newport Avenue
Tustin, California 92780
Find all of Gustavo's restaurant Recommendations on the Good Food Restaurant Map. His picks are marked in green.
Music Break: Happening In White by Peter Thomas
Chocolate as Medicine ()
(Photo Courtesy: Zeke Mandel)
Dr. Ken Mukamal is a researcher with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He recently worked on a study that reveals the potential health benefits of chocolate. According to the study, heart attack patients who ate two or more servings of chocolate per week, were more likely to avoid death.
It's important to note that the study was conducted in Sweden, with European chocolate, which has a higher cocoa content. Milk chocolate will not have the same results. The anti-oxidants in cocoa are the reason why they've seen these results with dark chocolate.The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Dessert Architecture ()
Ros Malai, Indian Creamy Curds, with Cardamom Milk Sauce, Pistachios, Served in an Edible Nutted Florentine Cookie Bowl
Yield: 24 –36 quenelles, depending on size, enough for twelve servings,
2 to 3 pieces for each serving
7.68 kg (2 gals) Whole milk
6 oz Fresh lemon juice, sieved
36 Whole square sugar cubes, each weighing 2 grams
In a large deep saucepan, bring the milk and lemon juice to the boil and cook for several minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the curds rise to the top of the pot. Using a ladle, scoop the curds into a cheesecloth-lined sieve, set over a bowl. Squeeze cheesecloth to remove excess liquid. (The resulting liquid is called whey, which may be used as an enrichment in yeast breads, fruit smoothies or discarded, as desired.) Knead the compressed cheese briefly on a clean surface and form into quenelle shaped ovals, each weighing approximately 1 ounce. Pinch off pieces of the cheese, each weighing approximately ¾ ounce to 1-1/4 ounce, and wrap the cheese around a sugar cube, making sure that the cheese covers the sugar completely. Set aside, refrigerated, and lightly covered until ready to poach in the sugar syrup below.
Spiced Sugar syrup
2 Bay leaf
6 Cardamom pods
7 oz Granulated sugar
32 oz Water
In a large saucepan, place the spices, sugar and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and carefully lower the paneer quenelles into the syrup and simmer for about 5 minutes. Allow the quenelles to cool in the syrup, and then using a slotted spoon, carefully remove to a sheet pan lined with absorbent paper. Discard the syrup after poaching the cheese. Store the cheese, refrigerated and covered, on a Silpat lined sheetpan.
Yield: approximately 16 ounces, twelve servings, 1-1/3 ounces each
32 oz Whole milk
5 Whole pale green skinned cardamom pods
Tip: Taste the sauce to be sure that it tastes clearly of the cardamom. If not, continue cooking and/or add a few more cardamom pods, tasting to confirm that the flavor of the spice comes through.In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk to the boil with the cardamom pods. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the liquid to reduce by half, stirring constantly and thoroughly with a flat edged wooden spoon, scraping the sides and the bottom of the pan frequently to be sure that the mixture is not burning. When satisfied that the flavor of the cardamom comes through clearly, remove the pods from the liquid. When chilled, the mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it is too thin, simply return the mixture to the heavy saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it reduces slightly. Set the mixture over an ice water bath, stirring to cool. Check for thickness when cold.
Pistachio florentine “bowls”
Yield: twelve bowls, each weighing approximately 2-3/4 ounces each, varying slightly from cookie to cookie, depending on how thickly the batter is spread
8 oz Unsalted Butter
4 oz Granulated sugar
4 oz Honey
8 Egg whites, from large eggs
4 oz Pistachios, ground
4 oz All-Purpose Flour
For garnish on top of the florentines:
2 oz Pistachios, ground
In the bowl of an electric mixer, outfitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and honey until blended. Add the egg whites and mix until incorporated. Add the first quantity of ground pistachios and flour and mix only until incorporated.Using a flat metal spatula, spread the batter for four cookies at a time onto a Silpat lined sheet pans, in a thin, but not translucent, layer shaped in a circle, measuring approximately 4 inches in diameter (approximately 2-3/4 ozs. of batter is used for each cookie).Tip: Alternatively you may use a tuile template with a round cutout measuring approximately 4 inches in diameter. Place the template on the back of a Silpat-lined sheet pan and spread the batter through it in a thin but not translucent layer, removing the template and then repeating the process. It’s best to bake only a few of these at a time as they need to be warm to be shaped into the bowls that will contain the ros malai mixture.Sprinkle ground pistachios on each cookie. Bake one sheet of the cookies at a time in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for approximately 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately, while still pliable, form each cookie over the bottom outside curve of a small bowl, measuring approximately 3 inches in diameter. You may need to reheat the florentines to soften them enough to curve. Continue baking and shaping until you have made twelve perfectly shaped florentine bowls.
12 Pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
12 Whole or chopped cashews
Plating and Assembly:
For each serving, place a pistachio florentine “bowl” on a dessert plate. Pour approximately 1 1/2 ounces of the milk sauce into each florentine bowl. Then place 2 or 3 quenelles of paneer into the sauce. Garnish with pistachios and cashews. Serve immediately with a spoon, knife and fork for each serving.
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