School Lunch Undercover; Moby; Roman Holiday; Mac n Cheese
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All year, Mrs. Q has been eating the same lunch that her students eat. This week on Good Food, this anonymous teacher shares her thoughts on school lunch in the U.S. The potato is a simple food, yet it has had profound implications on many different cultures. John Reader knows the significance of the potato. DJ and songwriter Moby is a longtime vegan. He's here to talk the ethics of eating. Elizabeth Minchilli takes us on a Roman holiday. We'll eat mac and cheese with Jonathan Gold. Russ Parsons shares an easy way to make polenta that doesn't involving arm-numbing stirring. Plus, Kevin Porter explains how solar ovens are possibly the future of cooking. And, DJ Olsen of Lou wine bar is making Spanish tortillas with ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Market Report ()
DJ Olsen is the chef at Lou Wine Bar. He's currently serving Spanish-style tortillas with fava tendrils. He uses a small 8" sauté pan and 4 eggs. After the eggs set over the stovetop, finish the tortilla in a 500 degree oven. The eggs should soufflé.
Tortilla with Fava Bean Tendrils, Green Garlic, Piquillo Peppers
Serves 4, Keeps 1 day
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large farmer’s market eggs, thoroughly whisked together
1 oz fava bean or pea tendrils (a good handful)
1 piquillo pepper (canned), drained, finely chopped
1 Tablespoons chopped green garlic, white part only
1/2 Hass avocado, peeled, sliced lengthwise into four pieces
Rustic tomato sauce (recipe follows)
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Finishing quality extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 500°, or preheat broiler on oven.
1. Heat olive oil in an 6 or 8” sauté pan until hot--oil will be hot enough when it appears to ripple
2. Add tendrils, green garlic to pan; season with salt; quickly sauté, tossing pan until tendrils wilt slightly (30 sec.)
3. Pour whisked eggs over tendrils; immediately place pan in oven (or under broiler, placed at least 4" away from heating source)
5. Bake eggs 6-8min. until they’ve risen up, set, top has turned golden brown
6. Using a rubber spatula, remove tortilla from pan, slice into quarters
7. Garnish with avocado slices, drizzle of tomato sauce, finishing oil; season with salt, freshly ground pepper
Tortillas can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Once made they are best consumed within one day. They lend themselves well to almost any ingredients, asparagus, potatoes, sweet or pickled onions, scallions, shrimp, bacon, chorizo, to name but a few.
Keeps 10 days
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarse chopped
Good pinches of kosher salt
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced in 1/4” circles
1 medium bulb fennel, cleaned, rough chopped
1 large leek, white part only, cut into 1/4” circles
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
5 bay leaves
Tied in a bundle:
1 small bunch fresh oregano
1 small bunch , fresh thyme
1 small bunch, fresh basil
Pinch of red chile flakes, or one chile de arbol
(1) bottle dry white wine
(2) 28 oz cans Italian tomatoes, crushed
(1) small btl, Italian tomato purée
Salt/pepper to taste
1. Sauté, hi-heat, onion, carrots, fennel in Extra-Virgin olive oil with salt until veg. begins to caramelize (3-4min.)
2. Reduce heat; sweat leek, garlic until softened (1-2min)
3. Add bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, chilies, wine; increase heat; reduce to almost dry
4. Add tomatoes, purée and enough water to make it look “saucy” (3-4qt.)
5. Raise heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer two hours
6. Remove from heat; remove chilies, herb bundle, bay leaves
7. Food mill everything to make a sauce (small hole on food mill)
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate until needed
Fitz Kelly grows stone fruits just south of Fresno. He sells seasonally at the farmers market and is making his debut this week. He has yellow peaches, called Debutantes, nectarines and apriums, which are an apricot/plum hybrid.
Fed Up With School Lunch ()
Mrs. Q is an anonymous school teacher and blogger who has been eating the same lunch that her students eat every day this year. She chooses to stay anonymous as she worries that revealing her identity affect her job security. The lunches at her school come pre-packaged. Mrs. Q's blog is Fed Up With Lunch.
The Potato ()
John Reader is the author of Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent.
Mediterranean Potato Salad
From Cucina Fresca
1 1/2 lbs boiling potatoes, all about the same size
2 medium firm ripe tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, peeled
1/4 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon capers
1 small garlic clove, peeled adn minced fine
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1/4 cup imported good quality white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water in a medium pot until tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the potatoes. Drain. Return the potatoes to the pot and toss over high heat to evaporate any remaining moisture. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel with a paring knife, removing any bruised or discolored areas. Cut into roughly 1-inch dice, keeping them irregular in size. Core the tomatoes and cut into chunks about the same size as the potatoes. Cut the red onion into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Combine the potatoes, tomatoes, red onion, olives, capers and garlic in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently to mix. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
Music Break: Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte by Billy Strange
Mac and Cheeza ()
Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly. Each week on Good Food he shares restaurant reviews on Good Food. This week he visits Mac and Cheeza in Downtown L.A.
Mac and Cheeza
223 West 8th Street
All of Jonathan's suggestions are on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
View Good Food Restaurant Map in a larger map
Roman Holiday ()
Elizabeth Minchilli is an author living in Rome. Her latests book is Italian Rustic.
3 scallions (only white part)
1 1/2 cups shelled peas
2 cups shelled fave
2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
Heat oil and gently soften onions, without letting them brown. Add artichokes, which have been cleaned and sliced (sorry, no ‘how to’ here.) Stir a bit, then add fave. Stir. Add salt and pepper, and about 3 cups of water. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, adding water if necessary (you want it to be somewhere between soup and stew). Add peas and lettuce and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Taste and correct for salt.
Depending on how I’m feeling I sometimes add chopped guanciale or pancetta at the beginning, with the onions. Another option is to add mint, parseley or mentuccia at the very end. If I’m feeling particularly daring, I add some grated lemon zest at the very end.
Music Break: I Ain't Lyin' by Travis Wammack
Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times
Russ Parsons is the food editor at The Los Angeles Times. He likes to make polenta in the oven. Traditionally, polenta is made by stirring frequently over a stovetop. Instead, Russ bakes his polenta. His favorite variety of polenta is Golden Pheasant.
Perfect Baked Polenta
8 cups water
1 tsp salt=
2 cups polenta=
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 3- to 4-quart oven-proof pot, combine the water, salt, polenta and butter. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Stir polenta and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the grated cheese. Set aside 5 minutes to rest before serving.
2. To serve, spoon the polenta into each of 6 warmed shallow pasta bowls. Serve immediately.
Solar Cooking ()
Kevin Porter is the Education Resources Director at Solar Cookers International, a group whose mission is to spread knowledge of solar cooking and solar ovens world wide. Solar cookers provide an alternative to fuel and wood powered ovens. Fuel is expensive and gathering wood can often be dangerous, especially in some areas of East Africa, a region in which SCI has brought a lot of products.
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