FROM THIS EPISODE
Lolis Eric Elie is, as he puts it, a food writer from New Orleans who fell into television writing. Elie was the story editor for the HBO series Treme, in which New Orleanian food may as well have been a main character, and has written a cookbook of 100 recipes that weave the lives of fictional characters from Treme with the lives of real-life chefs. "I'm not certain that I had enough different and new to say about New Orleans food for an entire cookbook. But with this sort of fictional architecture on which to place my own ideas and place them in the mouths of these characters, I hoped to create a book that would be compelling: one of the best cookbooks about New Orleans." His book is Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.”
For the first segment in our month-long Food on the Screen series, Elie shares tips for how to transport a television audience into a New Orleans kitchen and weighs in on how portrayals of food being prepared on TV are changing the way we view food. There are some great recipes in the book too -- start with the Paper-Skin Chicken with Rice Flour Waffles and the Pound Cake Paul Trevigne — and meticulously researched essays explaining how the po' boy was born and the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Music: "Black and Blue" by Kermit Ruffins
Lolis Eric Elie
It's not so unusual to watch food being prepared and eaten on-screen. But what about everything behind-the scenes involved in getting our food to the table? The new film Lupe Under the Sun shows us this side of the story, fixing the lens on the Mexican migrant workers who pick peaches this time of year in California's Central Valley. Our supervising producer Abbie Fentress Swanson talked to the director of the film, Rodrigo Reyes, ahead of its world premiere at the LA Film Festival this Sunday. Reyes based Lupe Under the Sun on his grandfather, a migrant worker from Mexico who worked in fields in and around Merced. Buy tickets for Lupe Under the Sun here.
Music: "La Tomba" by M.A.K.U. Sound System
Salmon is one of the most popular fish in North America and it is back in season now. As with any fish in demand, there are concerns about sustainability and supply. Then there's the labeling issue, the threat posed to salmon by marijuana growers and the differences between wild and farmed salmon, organic and conventional fish and Atlantic and Pacific species. The list goes on.
Lucky for us, Diane Morgan has a new book out that is chock full of facts and figures about the pink fish. Salmon: Everything You Need to Know and 45 Recipes includes so many different ways to prepare salmon we are aching to try, from raw and lightly preserved to sous-vide. Find a recipe for her Thai green curry salmon, which is tasty, quick and pretty on the plate, on the Good Food blog.
Music: "Via Caliente" by William Orbit
Sometimes a fruit simply should not be missed. That's the case with the Golden Sweet, an apricot variety that's tantalizingly sweet and tart at the same time. You can find it at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market for two beautiful weeks and we suggest you hop to it. Find them at the Frog Hollow Farm stand. In Brentwood up in northern California, Frog Hollow has been certified organic since 1989, using seaweed, fish, limestone and compost to help cherry, peach and apricot trees thrive.
At her bakeries, coffee and tea shops in LA, pastry chef Valerie Gordon is plating apricots with toasted almonds, fresh basil, honey, olive oil and crème fraîche. Let the love affair begin. Find her recipe on the Good Food blog.
Music: "Cosmic Square Dance" by Chet Atkins
I know we've been talking a lot about pork chops on the show lately, but here's another chop to try, this time of the Viennese-Japanese persuasion. Tonkatsu is a fillet or cutlet of pork dipped in a panko batter and then fried until it crisps to a beautiful golden crackly texture. There are altogether four locations owned by the Teishokuya of Tokyo restaurant group, but Jonathan Gold recommends going to Kagura in Torrance, where you can choose from four different kinds of tonkatsu on the menu. Start with the loin or their signature mille-feuille tonkatsu. Or, if you're off the pork diet this week, you can try other items like the hockey puck-sized potato croquettes stuffed with melted cheese, the sea urchin spaghetti and the fried banana "tonkatsu" for dessert. Read Jonathan's LA Times review of Kagura and see how these chops look on the plate on the Good Food blog.
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Music: "Dias y Flores" by Silvio Rodriguez
Some kitchen stories are complicated — full of mystery and missing pieces — the truth hidden by time. No photographs to capture them, little historical record to go on. "Black Chefs, White House: African-American Cooks in the President's Kitchen” from The Kitchen Sisters is one such story. It takes us to the President's kitchen, where we learn about some of the first cooks who fed the Founding Fathers: the enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The piece is part of The Kitchen Sisters' Hidden Kitchens series.
Music: "Johnny (Too) Bad" by The Slickers