Patriotic Food; Blenheim Apricots; American Cheese; Whoopie Pies
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We are celebrating the Fourth of July here at Good Food and that means we are getting patriotic. Sandy Oliver reveals what our Founding Fathers ate during the Colonial era. It's certainly different from what we're eating today, says Michael Pollan. He describes the paradox of the American diet. American cheese is more than just orange slices wrapped in plastic. Liz Thorpe of Murray's Cheese showcases a new artisanal cheese community in the U.S. Jonathan Gold joins the Good Food Pie-a-Day madness by recommending the best pies in Los Angeles. Chris Kimball of America's Test Kitchen shares a few treasured lost recipes. Scott Gold thinks whiskey should be considered an American treasure. Whoopie pies are certainly a uniquely American treat. Amy Bouchard describes this fluffy, creamy dessert. And Blenheim apricots have arrived at Southern California farmers markets. Roxana Jullapat shares a few recipes for this local fruit.
Market Report ()
Mike Cirone of See Canyon Farms is now back at the farmer's market. He has the very seasonal and popular Blenheim apricots.
Roxana Jullapat is the pastry chef at Ammo Cafe in Hollywood. She is roasting Blenheims with orange blossom honey.
At Ammo they like to roast these apricots in the wood-burning oven, which typically runs between 650 to 800ºF. At home, pre heat the oven at 450ºF and don't be afraid of letting the apricots roast until almost charred.
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white wine (we favor sweeter varietals such as Riesling)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
12 ripen apricots, halved
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and pre heat the oven to 450ºF.
Combine the orange juice, white wine, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick and cloves in a non-reactive pot and bring up to a boil over medium to high heat. Reduce the heat and let it reduce for 3 minutes.
Arrange the apricot halves in a non-reactive baking dish flesh side up, close to one another. Pour the hot orange juice mixture over then.
Roast the apricots for 8 to 10 minutes, remove from the oven, baste them with the liquid and roast for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the apricots cook till very soft and start to "char" on top.
Let the apricots cool for at least 10 minutes and remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Serve cold or warm over ice cream, spooning a bit of the roasting liquid all over.
Notes: Make a quick apricot jam for the "Frozen Apricot Terrine" by puréeing the honey-roasted apricots.
Frozen Apricot Terrine
The great advantage of this dessert is that it can be prepared days in advance. The puckery apricots are well suited for this creamy concoction. Slice while still frozen and serve it right away or just let it temper a bit and serve it as a velvety mousse.
Serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup apricot purée (look at the "Honey Roasted Apricots" recipe)
Line a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic film, leaving extra plastic hanging from the sides of the pan to cover the terrine once it's finished.
Whisk together the crème fraîche and cream by hand or in the electric mixer until medium peaks form.
In the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the whites and the sugar until firm.
Gently fold the apricot jam and the whipped cream into the whites.
Fill the prepared loaf pan with the mixture, tap on the table to remove bubbles, wrap with the excess plastic film and let it set in the freezer overnight. Before serving, invert the loaf pan onto a cutting board and pull the plastic until the terrine comes out. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and serve.
Optional: Fold crushed amaretti into the creamy mixture just before filling the loaf pan for a dessert with crunchy texture.
Noyau Ice Cream
"Noyau" (or the plural "noyaux") refers to the kernel inside the pits of apricots and is regarded for its subtle almond-like flavor. To extract the noyaux, roast the pits for 10 minutes at 350ºF and crack them open with a mallet or nutcracker. The noyaux must be heated to deteriorate an enzyme that turns toxic when it comes in contact with water. To be completely safe, cook the noyaux in the cream and milk mixture until it comes to a full boil.
Makes 2 quarts
3 cups whole
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup noyaux
12 egg yolks
Combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar, honey and noyaux in a non-reactive pot and bring up to a full boil.
While the liquids are on the stove, place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and whisk for a minute.
Temper the egg yolks with the hot mixture by adding a cup at a time while whisking vigorously, until all the mixture has been added.
Strain the mixture into a separate container using a fine mesh sieve. Chill the mixture over a bowl of ice.
Run the mixture in your ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions.
Notes: If you would like to accentuate the almond flavor in the ice cream, add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the ice cream base.
Pie Love ()
Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly. He once wooed his wife with his mother's peach pie. He recommends the following pie spots in L.A.:
Johnny Rebs - pies in the Southern Tradition
4663 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 423-7327
La Brea Bakery - pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving
624 S La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 939-6813
Euro Pane - pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving
950 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 577-1828
Jar - Banana Cream Pie
8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 655-6566
Chili John's - Pineapple Cream Pie
2018 W Burbank Blvd - Burbank, (818) 846-3611
Pie 'n Burger - Strawberry Pie
913 E California Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 795-1123
Huckleberry - Banana Cream Pie
1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-2311
Music Break: Detroit Twice by El Michel's Affair
American Whiskey ()
Scott Gold is the author of The Shameless Carnivore. He occasionally tends bar at Char No. 4in Brooklyn, NY, a restaurant serving over 150 American whiskeys. Find Scott's list of affordable spirits here.
Whiskey is distilled from grain and is aged in barrels. Bourbon is made with a combination of grains. By law, bourbon must consist of no less than 51% corn and nor more than 79%. It also contains rye, wheat, malted barley.
Some American whiskeys that Scott recommends include:
Makers Mark - 6 year old wheated bourbon
Basil Hayden's - 80 proof bourbon
Buffalo Trace George T. Stag - 143 proof bourbon
Char No. 4
196 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
American Cheese ()
Kraft introduced American cheese "Singles" in 1947. Their American cheese slices contain the following: Ingredients: Milk, Whey, Milkfat, Milk Protein Concentrate, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid as a preservative, Apocarotenal (color), Annatto (color), Enzymes, Vitamin D3, Cheese Culture.
The Cheese Lady ()
Artist Sarah Kaufmann is affectionately known as The Cheese Lady. A commercial artist by trade, she makes magic with blocks of cheese, turning them into whimsical sculptures. Kaufmann explains why she chose her medium, the challenge of working with different cheeses and, of course, her favorite cheese to eat.
Lost Recipes ()
Chris Kimball, founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated and host of PBS' America's Test Kitchen, finds over 150 unforgettable heirloom recipes in America's Best Lost Recipes. In a nationwide contest, people submitted over 2,800 recipe entries that told a narrative, chronicled an immigrant family and served as a connection to another cook of long ago. The result is 300 classic American recipes inspired by convenience, great names or family recipes.
Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed (Spiced Crullers)
(Courtesy of the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine, America’s Best Lost Recipes)
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1¼ cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 quarts vegetable oil
Bring the potato and water to cover to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potato, then mash until smooth. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Transfer ½ cup mashed potato to a medium bowl (discard the remaining potato) and beat in the egg, milk, ½ cup of the sugar, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the potato mixture. Stir to form a moist and sticky dough.
Working on a heavily floured work surface, roll the dough into an 18 by 14-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1½ -inch wide strips; make a slit in each strip, and twist to shape the dough to resemble crossed legs. Transfer the crullers to a floured baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fry. (The crullers may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350°F. Carefully lower 6 crullers into the hot oil and fry, maintaining a temperature between 325°F and 350°F, until crisp and deep brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crullers to a plate lined with paper towels and drain for 3 minutes. Toss the crullers in a bowl with the remaining sugar and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining crullers, regulating the oil temperature as necessary. Serve.
Blueberry Boy Bait
(Courtesy of the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine, America's Best Lost Recipes)
2 cups plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen blueberries, do not let them thaw, as they will turn the batter a blue-green color.)
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (see above)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the flour mixture and the milk alternately in two batches until incorporated. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blueberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
For the topping: Scatter the blueberries over the top of the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (The cake can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days.)
Music Break: Double Infidelite (Instrumental) by Cyrz
Whoopie Pies ()
Whoopie pies are one of Maine’s best-loved and most traditional comfort foods – a soft-cookie sandwich with a fluffy sweet cream filling. Amy Bouchard is the proprietor of Wicked Whoopies, a booming whoopie pie business in Gardiner, Maine that Bouchard started in her own kitchen. In the beginning, Wicked Whoopies was born from Bouchard’s passion for baking and a need for additional income for her family. At a pace of twelve whoopie pies per hour, her business expanded quickly – burning out four mixers in just one week. When the kitchen became filled with baking trays stacked as tall as her 10-year old son and the dining room doubled as a shipping center, she decided to move to a commercial bakery. The rest, as they say, is whoopie-pie history.
Music Break: Chaparall by Orchestra dalle Haensch
Federalist Foods ()
Sandy Oliver captures our country’s Federalist and Colonial food traditions in her book, Food in Colonial and Federal America. She documents how American cooking practices changed very little from the early 1600’s to the mid-1700s. The majority of Colonial settlers still cooked on an open fire with kettles and Dutch ovens, although the elite had more well-equipped kitchens. Meals were heavy on meats, but it’s during this period that the outline of the meat, vegetable, and starch model started to develop in the American meal. There was breakfast, the main meal at noon, and tea or a supper that consisted on leftovers from the main meal. The Federalist and Colonial periods were also when the uniquely American style of fast cooking and fast eating started to take hold. Chemical leavenings made cooking faster, which was particularly popular in kitchens that didn’t have servants. Sandy explores how everyday food customs were interpreted by the colonists – from appetizers to desserts and even party foods, she provides a sampling of early American life through the history of food.
Sandy Oliver began working in food history in 1971 when she founded the fireplace cooking program at Mystic Seaport Museum. Since then, she has researched historic food customs and practices – providing training programs for museums and acting as a consultant and speaker on the cultural history of food. She is the editor and publisher of Food History News in Islesboro, Maine.
The American Paradox ()
Celebrated journalist Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, declares his manifesto in his book, In Defense of Food. He discusses the consumption of edible food-like substances, the American Paradox, chronic diseases linked to diet, and how to eat, literally. His creed: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
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