Punch Party; Tejocote; Fighting the Flu; Oysters
Listen to/Watch entire show:
Punch parties date back to the Founding Fathers. Wyatt Peabody wants to bring punch back into fashion. To make a Mexican Christmas punch, you'll need the tejocote. David Karp tells the incredible story of this hard-to-find fruit. Party hoppers should hear Helena Echlin's advice for navigating holiday fiestas. She's got some ideas for foolproof cocktail recipes as well.
E. Coli contamination continues to plague our food supply. The latest proposal wants cows vaccinated against the bacteria. Marion Nestle weighs in on this debate. Just as controversial in the world of food politics is the issue of genetically modified foods. Per Pinstrup-Anderson believes that GMO's can help combat global hunger.
Veteran cookbook author Paula Wolfert shares the wonders of clay pot cooking. Robert Sietsema gives us some dining ideas for New York City. Plus, K.C. Compton is waging a fight against the flu with garlic and herbs. And Amelia Saltsman gives us a recipe for easy applesauce.
Market Report ()
Amelia Saltsman celebrates Hannukah with the simplest applesauce recipe ever. Cut apples in half from top to bottom. Core out the seeds and core. No need to peel. Place face down on baking sheet or Pyrex dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Scrape out apple flesh from skins. Discard skins. Mush the apple with a fork. That's it! You can add some water, lemon juice of Calvados if you want but it's not necessary. Amelia uses tart apples mixed with Golden Delicious. Fuji apples are okay but don't breakdown easily in baking.
3 lbs (8 or 9) tart apples such as Winesap or Pink Lady
A few sprigs thyme (optional)
2 to 3 Tablespoons water, fresh lemon juice, Calvados, hard cider, or dessert wine
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples in half vertically and core them. Place the halves, cut side down, in 1 or more large shallow baking pans, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart. Scatter thyme among apples. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake apples until tender, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip fruits from their skins back into pan, scraping any pulp from peels. Discard skins and thyme. Mash apples with a fork, stirring in a bit of water, lemon juice, or Calvados to help scrape up any brown bits in the pan and to lighten the texture of the applesauce. Season to taste with cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007).
Carlsbad Aquafarm raises oysters in addition to mussels, clams and abalone. They use a Japanese tray culture technique to keep the oysters off the ocean floor. There unique water filtration system keeps the oysters clean and bacteria free. They sell at the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sundays as well as Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday and on Saturdays.
Vaccines for Cows ()
Marion Nestle is a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. She writes the blog Food Politics. She has written numerous books including What to Eat and Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine.
Tests are being done on a vaccine to immunize cows against a dangerous strain of E. Coli bacteria.
Making the Case for GMO's ()
Per Pinstrup-Andersen is a professor of food, nutrition and public policy at Cornell University. He was the 2001 World Food Prize Laureate. Professor Pinstrup-Andersen believes that combating world hunger must include the use of genetically modified foods. The UN has said that about 1 billion people are currently hungry. Growing GMO crops has been banned in some European countries.
Music Break: Hot Tequila Brown by Jamiroquai
Punch Party ()
Photo: Brian Leatart (LA Times)
Wyatt Peabody is a writer for the Los Angeles Times. He recently wrote about a resurgence in punch in bars around L.A. His family drinks ponche navideño during the Christmas holiday. It's a typically Mexican drink made with tejocote.
20 tejocotes (when available)
10 guayaba (Mexican guava)
2 1/2 lbs sugar cane
1 1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 lb ciruela pasa (prunes)
1 1/2 tamarindo (tamarind)
3 sticks cinnamon
½ cup whole cloves
2 cups piloncillo (brown sugar)
1 cup Del Maguey Minero Mezcal
2 cup Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
2 gallons water
Bring water to boil. Add fruit, which has been chopped into medium-sized chunks. Add additional ingredients and reduce to medium heat (approximately 30-40 minutes). Let simmer for several hours, stir and adjust batch for spice and sweetness.
(Photos: David Karp)
David Karp is a pomologist and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He recently wrote about tejocote, a Mexican fruit grown in the highlands. While the crop is abundant in Mexico, it cannot be imported into the United States for fear of pests. The fruit is popular during the Christmas holidays because of ponche navideño, a festive drink (see Wyatt Peabody segment in this show). Tejocotes are also used for jams, jellies and even necklaces.
The fruit is now grown in San Diego County by farmer Jaime Serrato.
Music Break: Incense And Peppermints A Beautiful by Martin Denny
Fighting the Flu with Food ()
KC Compton is the editor-in-chief of The Herb Companion. She recommends lots of garlic and mushrooms to help ward off the flu. Elderberry is also effective.
Mushroom Chicken Soup
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 cups of shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and/or thyme or 1 tsp dried
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced (more if you can stand it)
Melt butter and oil in a big pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and herbs; sauté until mushrooms start to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle flour over contents of pot and stir quickly to mix it in well. Add a broth slowly, stirring constantly. Bring soup to boil. Add garlic and stir. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if you like.
It will smell so good you’ll be feeling better before you even ladle it into your soup mug. If you want a little more substance, you also can stir in some egg noodles after you’ve added the broth and just cook al dente.
I’ve prepared it with a little white wine stirred in as well, but if we’re going for strictly medicinal, maybe we should leave that out.
Music Break: Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by Joe Fingers Carr, 80 Drums Around The World
Holiday Party Etiquette ()
Helena Echlin writes the Table Manners column for Chow.com. She writes that alcohol is essential to most holiday parties. If your host is running low, be ready to pitch in to help. She has a few simple formulas to make cocktails out of anything:
Fruity drink = clear liquor (gin, vodka) + fruit + acid (lemon, or a few drops of vinegar)
Milky drink = liquor (clear or dark) + milk + egg (white or yolk)
Music Break: It Must Be True by John Buzon Trio
Clay Pot Cooking ()
Tunisian Egg and Parsley Tagine
1/4 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight
8 oz lean boneless lamb shoulder, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tsps tomato paste
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 packed cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
3 oz Gruyere cheese, cubed (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp Tunisian bharat (dried rosebuds rubbed through a sieve and mixed with ground cinnamon)
6 large eggs
6 lemon wedges
1. Drain the beans, cover with fresh water, and cook until they are half tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the lamb into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 1/4 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch skillet. Cook the onion until translucent, add the meat, and saute for 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat until the meat gives off its moisture and reabsorbs it. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lamb cubes are well coated. Add cayenne, the beans, and about 1 cup of the bean cooking liquid. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes longer, or until the meat and beans are fully cooked and the juices are thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (Up to this point the dish can be made 1 day in advance. Return to room temperature before proceeding.)
3. Place the oven rack in the second highest position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the contents of the skillet, the parsley, 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, and cubed Gruyere, mixing well. Season highly with salt, pepper, and sieved bharat. Beat the eggs to a froth and add to the mixture.
5. Use the remaining oil to coat the bottom and sides of a 5- or 6-cup baking dish, or an attractive 9-inch well-seasoned oven proof skillet. Place the prepared mixture in the dish, sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs and set in the oven to bake for 12 minutes. Raise the oven heat to the highest setting, remove the tagine from the oven, tilt the dish so that the oil collects in one place, then brush this oil over the surface of the tagine. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature from the dish.
NYC Restaurant Ideas ()
Robert Sietsema is the restaurant critic for the Village Voice in New York. He recommends the following places in the Big Apple":
- M & T (44-09 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens, 718-539-4100) in Flushing specializes in food from Qingdao in Northeast, China. They are known for their dumplings and food made with corn.
- Golden Palace (140-09 Cherry Ave., Flushing, NY 11355, 718-886-4383) serves food from the four provinces of Northeastern China.
- Brooklyn has a number of restaurants that serve farm-to-table dinners. Marlow & Sons (81 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211, 718-384-1441) is one of these restaurants. Saltie is a spinoff of Marlow and Sons. It's a sandwich restaurant with a nautical theme.
Engage & Discuss
BROUGHT TO YOU BY