Hot Toddies; Holiday Giving; New Year’s Eve Ideas; Turning Fat into Fuel
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Consider giving the gift of livestock this season. Elizabeth Bintliff of Heifer International explains what exactly that entails.
The history of humanity is intrinsically linked with food, says Tom Standage. In this week’s show, how agriculture and trade changed the world. Tyson chicken is trying to change our future by converting chicken fat into fuel. It’s a new kind of renewable energy source. Jeff Webster has the details.
Lesley Bargar of Los Angeles magazine has some suggestions for where you should ring in the new year. And Jonathan Gold explains what a “drowned sandwich” is.
How about giving a cake as a gift this Christmas? Rose Levy Beranbaum has some ideas for your holiday baking. Wine is another great gift idea. Pam Boring of the California Wine Club walks us through the do’s and don’ts of gifting wine. What are the holidays without a little egg nog and hot buttered rum? Dr. Cocktail, Ted Haigh, shares the stories behind these winter cocktails.
Market Report ()
Sal Marino of La Bottega Marino (Beverly Hills, Larchmont and West LA) loves to use rapini this time of year. This bitter herb with a broccoli flavor is sometimes known as broccoli rabe.
Some varieties have broccoli type florets on the top. Others, like what's pictured here, are just the greens. Sal is from Naples, Italy and there they cook this green in a simple saute -- sauteed with garlic and olive oil and chile flakes. Rapini soup is a delicious treatment of this vegetable too. Saute the rapini in garlic and olive oil. Add this mixture to either vegetable or chicken stock. After about 15 minutes, blend the soup, adding olive oil as you blend to give it some fullness. If necessary, strain it. Otherwise, enjoy.
Laura Ramirez of JJ's Lone Daughter Ranch brings in pink pomegranates. These are similar in taste to the Wonderful variety that are most popular. The seeds inside the pink pomegranate won't stain your hands or clothes and the pit inside each seed is softer and easier to chew.
The Gift of Livestock ()
Elizabeth Bintliff is the West Africa Coordinator for Heifer International. Food insecurity is a pressing issue for the people of West Africa. The nearest grocery store is often a 4-hour walk away so people usually just eat what they grow. These crops are mostly starches. Heifer International works to provide donations of livestock to communities in need, which gives them a source of protein and income. Donations can include anything from a flock of chickens, to rabbits or goats. Their "Pass on the Gift" program encourages families who have received donations to in turn donate offspring to others in need.
The Drowning Sandwich ()
Jonathan Gold writes the Counter Intelligence column for the LA Weekly. On a recent trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, he discovered the torta ahogada, or drowned sandwich. It's a crusty roll, spread with black beans and filled with roast pork. It's then covered with a thin tomato sauce and chile sauce. He recommends several places in Los Angeles to get this messy and delicious sandwich.
Tortas Ahogadas Las Originales
11541 Laurel Canyon Blvd., San Fernando. (818) 361-7793.
Tortas Ahogadas Beto
209 N. Chatsworth Drive, San Fernando. (818) 837-3177
La Chiva Loca
7952 Firestone Blvd., Downey. (562) 622-2729
Tortas Ahogadas GDL
6810 S. Eastern Ave., Bell Gardens. (323) 771-1924
6426 Whittier Blvd., East L.A. (323) 838-5943
Find all of Jonthan Gold's recommendations on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
Where to Ring in the New Year ()
Lesley Bargar is the Dining Editor at Los Angeles Magazine. Lots of restaurants are having New Year's Eve specials. She's picked out a few of her favorites:
Melisse - 1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, (310) 395-0881
$250 per person for a six-course prix fixe.
Wilshire - 2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, (310) 586-1707
No prix fixe. Instead they are offering a $50 open bar from 10 pm-2 am.
Akasha - 9543 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, (310) 845-1700
$60 per person ($75 for late seating) for a Southern-Style New Year's Eve dinner and Zydeco band.
Rivera - 1050 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, (213) 749-1460
$110 per person for an eight-course prix fixe. Features complimentary champagne.
Drago Centro - 525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, (213) 228-8998
$85 per person for a five-course tasting menu.
Turning Fat into Fuel ()
In October 2008, Tyson Foods partnered with Syntroleum Corporation to produce renewable diesel. They will start producing in 2010, with a total capacity of 75 million gallons per year. The project primarily will use non-food grade animal fats produced or procured by Tyson, such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and cooking grease. Jeff Webster oversees renewable products division at Tyson.
Human History and Food ()
Holiday Baking ()
Golden Lemon Almond Cake
Serves 12 to 14
2/3 cup blanched sliced almonds
1 1/4 cups, divided turbinado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup, divided sour cream
1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
3/8 tsp pure lemon oil, preferably Boyajian
2 cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off) plus 3 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons, loosely packed Lemon zest, finely grated
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter (65 to 75F/19 to 23C)
Preheat the Oven: Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C (325°F/160°C if using a dark pan).
Toast and Grind the Almonds: Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Cool completely. In a food processor, process until fairly fine. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and process until very fine.
Mix the Liquid Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, ¼ cup of the sour cream, the vanilla, and lemon oil just until lightly combined.
Make the Batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the ground almonds, the remaining sugar, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 ½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.
Bake the Cake: Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the center should read 200 to 205F/93 to 96C.
Make the syrup shortly before the cake is finished baking
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Make the Lemon Syrup: In a 1-cup or larger microwavable glass measure (or a small saucepan over medium heat), heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often until the sugar is almost completely dissolved. Do not boil. A few un-dissolved grains form a sparkly, crackly finish to the crust. Cover it tightly to prevent evaporation.
Apply the Syrup and Cool and Unmold the Cake: As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer, and brush it with about one-third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a 10-inch cardboard round or serving plate. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap airtight.
Holiday Cheer ()
Ted Haigh is the co-founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. He is the author, most recently, of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. He traces the history of holiday cocktails back to Europe in the Middle Ages.
Caudle: Anglo-Saxon. 1300s through the 15th century. The Caudle contained wine (and later ale), raisins, sugar or honey, bread crumbs, egg yolk, grated almonds, and spices like saffron, salt, and ginger. From the word derived the term "coddle" (to comfort).
Posset: British. First made in the late 1400s. The posset was the first drink perceived as a holiday drink. Milk was heated to a boil, then mixed with wine or ale, which curdled it, egg was added, and the mixture was spiced. It was perceived as good for a cold, and general chills.
Toddy: 1700s. The Hot toddy was originally Scotch, boiling water, sugar, and fruit (apple, lemon, or orange slice pierced with cloves.) Like the Posset, the toddy was believed to help cure the cold and flu in damp, clammy, cold weather and it’s still served for that today.
Eggnog: British. As with Caudle, and Posset, Eggnog was a drink of the rich. City dwellers rarely saw milk or eggs. There was no refrigeration yet, and the farms with cows and hens belonged to the landed elite. Eggnog was mixed much as today with brandy, London Dock rum, Madeira or sherry and cream (or milk, or both), sugar, nutmeg, and eggs.
Tom & Jerry Serving Bowl
Tom & Jerry: Recipe in 2 parts:
Batter and drink.
Batter: 12 eggs, about 4 oz of dark Jamaican rum, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and to enough sugar make it a batter (about 1 lb).
For the drink: 1 Tablespoon batter, 2 to 4 oz of brandy, fill cup with boiling water, grate some nutmeg on top and serve.
Hot Buttered Rum. Pre-Prohibition version: Strong and very basic: 1 3/4 oz dark rum, 1 lump of sugar, a splash of hot water, and a “lump of butter the size of a walnut.”
Modern-day crock pot version: 2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, a pinch of salt, 2 quarts of hot water, 3 cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cloves, 2 cups of dark rum, 1 cup whipped cream, ground nutmeg to taste.
Giving Wine ()
Pam Boring is the co-founder of The California Wine Club. She recommends giving dessert wine, chardonnay or champagne as a gift during the holiday season.
Engage & Discuss
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