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FROM THIS EPISODE

Foodie Sasha Davies travels across the country searching for America’s handcrafted cheeses, while Jonathan Gold feels the buzz of Sichuan cuisine. Robin Goldstein exposes the wine world’s awards selection process, chef Mark Peel serves up the history of the cocktail and Saveur magazine’s James Oseland celebrates breakfast from around the globe. Plus, the Hot Knives create a delicious fall vegan soup, Sara Roahen finds her place in New Orleans through gumbo and Laura Avery has a fresh Market Report.

Flatbreads & Flavors

Jeffrey Alford

Producers:
Bob Carlson
Jennifer Ferro
Thea Chaloner
Candace Moyer
Connie Alvarez
Holly Tarson

Guest Interview Szechwan Best 6 MIN, 37 SEC

 

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LA Weekly food writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold gets buzzed on the Sichuan cuisine that's found at Szechwan Best in Alhambra. He recommends the cold appetizers, green-onion pancake, steamed spareribs with sweet potato, boiled fish in hot sauce and spicy fried-fish filet.

Szechwan Best
621 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
626-289-9200

Music break: Career Girl by The Ravens Rock Group

Guest Interview Vegan Soup 6 MIN, 19 SEC

 

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Hot Knives bloggers Evan George and Alex Brown warm up to Fall by creating a flavorful vegan soup that highlights Kabocha, a Japanese winter squash. The two former line cooks, who just happen to cook without meat, also have a video cooking series.

Braised Kabocha Puree
1 Kabocha squash
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon vegetarian bouillon
¼ cup sherry
2 Tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus extra

1. Split the Kabocha in two using a heavier knife and much care. When you cleave it in twain, use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and snot that usually appear in the center of pumpkin like things. If you're feeling industrious, scrub all the snot from the seeds and save them for roasting.

2. Set your oven at 400°. Place the squash face down in a roasting pan and add the water, bouillon, sherry and vinegar. Cover the whole shebang with aluminum foil and place in the oven. After about 30 minutes, check the squash by stabbing it with a fork. If the utensil penetrates the thick skin with ease, then the squash is done.

3. Remove both halves of the squash from the roasting pan, and carefully remove the skin. It's best to keep the squash face down on a cutting board and slice the skin away as if you were skinning a melon.

4. Place the meat of the squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher. Slowly mix in three-fourths of the remaining braising liquid until the mixture is more liquid than solid.

5. Transfer the squash to a blender, a food processor, or grab your immersion blender. Add one cup of water and puree the squash until it is nice and smooth. Salt to taste and add another splash of sherry vinegar and a good many grinds of fresh pepper. Transfer the finished puree to a pot, and keep warm on a low heat until ready. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Music break: Creation by James Taylor Quartet

Guest Interview The Market Report 6 MIN, 44 SEC


Rustic Canyon Wine Bar's pastry chef Zoe Nathan and owner Josh Loeb talk to Laura Avery about combining  fresh quince and goat cheese into a savory but sweet tart.  It's a timely recipe as this is the last week for quince, the fuzzy apple-like fruit that needs to be cooked to be eaten.

Quince and Goat Cheese Crostata

For the Dough

  • 4 ozs butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butter, pulse until pea size, add water and pulse until the dough just barely comes together.  Wrap dough in plastic, flatten and put in refrigerator for around 2 hours.

Filling

  • 6 quince
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 12 ozs Redwood Hill Fresh Chevre, or another mild soft goat cheese


Bring 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to a boil in a medium-sized pot, then lower to a simmer.  Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds out into simmering mixture and throw the bean pod in as well.  Place the whole quince in the vanilla bean syrup and poach until quince are tender, about 25-35 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quince cool in the syrup.  (Note. At this point you can prepare the quince up to 2 days in advance and store in the fridge immersed in the vanilla syrup).

Roll out dough to about 12 inch by 12 inch.  Put the goat cheese in the center of the dough and spread out until about 1/2 inch thick, leaving a 3-inch perimeter around the edge. Brush egg wash (1 beaten egg) over the edges of the dough. Slice the quince flesh off the core in whatever shape or size you like, and lay over the goat cheese. Fold the sides of the dough over the filling, leaving a small opening in the middle . Place the formed crostata in the freezer and cool for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the crostata from the freezer and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from oven and pour a half-cup of poaching syrup over the entire crostata. Return to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes until it becomes a shiny brown. 

Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee or a higher acid dessert wine from the Loire Valley.
 

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Alex Weiser with his carrots

Farmer Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms grows many different kinds of carrots. Check out his purple, orange and white carrots. Parsnips are also in season. They look like a white carrot and can be roasted along with the carrots for a delicious side dish.

Music break: Bullfight by Jeff Rowena Group

Guest Interview Cheese by Hand Project 7 MIN, 26 SEC

 

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Cheese connoisseur Sasha Davies co-created the Cheese by Hand Project as a way to discover America's artisanal cheeses. During her four-month road trip across the United States Davies interviewed over 40 cheese makers and visited their farms. Sasha posted blogs about the cheeses and interviews on her website.

Music break: Caravan by The Checkmates

Guest Interview Ode to Breakfast 6 MIN, 51 SEC

 

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Saveur magazine's editor-in-chief James Oseland celebrates delicious breakfast dishes from around the world.

Cornflake-Crusted Brioche French Toast
The recipe for this crunchy french toast is based on the one used at the Lafayette restaurant in the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C.
Serves 4

  • 1 loaf brioche bread (about 1 lb)
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Maple syrup


1. Slice brioche loaf into eight 1-inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Using a 3" round cookie cutter, cut each slice into a circle and set aside. (Reserve bread scraps for bread crumbs.)

2. In a shallow dish, whisk together half and half, sugar, cinnamon, salt, orange zest, and eggs. Put cornflakes into another shallow dish. Working with 1 circle of brioche at a time, dip in the egg mixture, allowing brioche to soak for 10 seconds on each side, then coat in the cornflakes. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with waxed paper.

3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a 10" nonstick skillet over medium heat until just foaming. Transfer four slices of brioche to the pan and cook, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Divide the French toast between two serving plates. Wipe out skillet, add remaining butter, and repeat process. Dust the French toast with confectioners' sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve with berries and sliced fruit, if you like.


Muesli
This muesli is a flavorful take on the original raw-cereal mixture developed in Switzerland by Maximilian Bircher-Benner in the early 20th century.
Serves 6 - 8

  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 halved vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup toasted, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 3 Tablespoons wheat bran
  • 2 Tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 15 pitted prunes, roughly chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and grated
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and roughly chopped


1. Combine oats, half and half, and vanilla in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine orange juice and raisins. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight to let oats and raisins soften.

2. Put pecans and almonds into a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely. Transfer nuts to a large bowl along with 6 tablespoons of the coconut, the sunflower seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran, flaxseed and salt. Add the oat mixture along with the orange juice and raisins and stir in the yogurt, honey, prunes, apples, and kiwis until combined. Divide the muesli between bowls and garnish with the remaining coconut.

Fava Bean Stew (Ful Medames)
The recipe for this popular Egyptian morning dish is based on one that appears in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Serves 4 - 6

  • 2 cups small brown Egyptian fava beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste


1. In a large bowl, cover the fava beans with 6 cups water and refrigerate overnight.

2. Drain fava beans and transfer to a 2-quart saucepan along with the garlic, cumin, chile flakes, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft and the liquid has thickened, about 2 1/2 hours.

3. Mash about one-third of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to help thicken the stew. Season with salt. Drizzle extra water into stew if it becomes too thick.

4. Divide the stew between 4–6 bowls. Garnish each with some of the cilantro, parsley, scallions, tomatoes, and lemons. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with flatbread, if you like.

Prairie Oyster
This old-school cocktail is meant to be slugged back in a single gulp and was long believed to be a cure-all for everything from hangovers to stomach aches. This version is based on one that appears in the Standard Bartender's Guide.
Serves 1

1 oz brandy
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1 egg

1. Combine brandy, vinegar, worcestershire and tabasco in an old-fashioned or rocks glass. Stir to combine; carefully crack an egg into the center of glass.

Music break: Coisa No1 by Badem Powell with Jimmy Pratt

Guest Interview Faux Wine Award 7 MIN, 25 SEC

 

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Wine critic Robin Goldstein exposes the wine world's awards selection process. He also talks about conducting brown-bag blind wine tasting to reveal the true taste difference between an expensive bottle of wine and a cheap one.

Goldstein, founder and editor-in-chief of the Fearless Critic series, is also the co-author of The Wine Trials: 100 Everyday Wines Under $15 that Beat $50 to $150 Wines in Brown-Bag Blind Tastings. For do-it-yourself blind-tasting forms, visit www.TheWineTrials.com. You can also find the menu and wine list for the faux restaurant, Osteria L'Intrepido, that won the Wine Spectator award. The story about Goldstein and his faux wine award recently appeared in a Los Angeles Times article.

Music break: Cerveza by Bert Kaempfert

The Wine Trials

Robin Goldstein

Guest Interview History of the Cocktail 8 MIN, 47 SEC

 

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Campanile restaurant's chef-owner Mark Peel explains the difference between a cocktail and punch and recounts the cocktail's history. He also shares some of his tasty libations.

Philadelphia Fishhouse Punch
Serves 5

1 sweet, ripe peach- washed pitted and sliced
2.5 oz sugar
2 oz lemon juice
2.5 oz brandy
2.5 oz apricot brandy
5 oz Mount Gay Rum

1. Mix together peaches, sugar, and lemon juice. Crush and cover, let rest at room temperature for 4 hours

2. Add the spirits to the fruit mixture, reseal and rest overnight

3. Just before serving, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a punch bowl. Stir in 5 oz mineral water, a thinly sliced lemon and orange and one large ice cube (4 oz)

4. Serve with punch cups and ice.

Pancho Victoria
.5 oz lime
.25 oz oro blanco grapefruit
10 kefir lime, ginger syrup
2 oz reposada tequila
½ tsp single malt scotch (smokey) on top

1. Combine first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass

2. Gently drizzle the ½ tsp single malt scotch on top of the cocktail

3. Drink

Lord Nelson
2/3 Tablespoon white Lillet
2/3 Tablespoon red Lillet
2 dashes of Regan's orange bitters
2 oz Plymouth gin
1 flamed orange peel in glass, leave peel in

Stir
1. Muddle Regan's orange bitters (in same glass that the peel was flamed in) with one piece of orange zest ½" x 2" with no pith

2. Add both Lillets and the gin, stir with ice for 20 seconds

3. Strain into a cocktail glass that has been flamed with an orange zest

4. To flame: hold a small wooden match in one hand and a thick piece or orange between your thumb and fingers of the other hand. Squeeze the zest through the flame into the glass.

Music break: Dennis Boogie by Dennis Volk

Guest Interview Gumbo Tales 7 MIN, 21 SEC

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Oral historian Sara Roahen pays tribute to New Orleans' food through gumbo and talks about post-Hurricane Katrina in Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table. She is also a writer whose work usually involves food, cooking, memory or place.

Gumbo Tales

Sara Roahen

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