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FROM THIS EPISODE

While writer Rebecca Mead serves up North Korean barbecue diplomacy, journalist Dan Koeppel examines the possible extinction of the banana and Padma Lakshmi prepares some tangy and tart dishes. Chef Eric Gower cooks silken tofu, Mark Bittman cooks everything vegetarian and David Kamp explores our fascination with celebrities and exotic foods . Writer Sarah Murray follows the journey of food from farm to fork, and Laura Avery has a fresh Market Report.

 

One Good Dish

David Tanis

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

Guest Interview Silken Tofu 7 MIN

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Breakaway Cook Eric Gower shares a tofu recipe that's a quick, tasty, and nutritious way to start a meal, and is one of his favorite ways to serve tofu. The top stays crispy, yet the rest absorbs the pungent citrus sauce.

If you can find organic silken tofu, so much the better, though you can use regular tofu. Excellent with a chilled, bone-dry sake like a daiginjo (and, even better, one from Niigata Prefecture, Japan, where it tends to be citrusy and clean-tasting). It's equally good with a glass of well-chilled champagne.

Crispy Tangy Tofu
Makes 4 servings

  • Zest of one large lemon (Meyer lemon is even better, if you can find one)
  • Juice of one large lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh carrot juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 scant Tablespoons rice flakes (you can substitute fine breadcrumbs if you can't easily find rice flakes, but they are well worth seeking out)
  • Pinch of kosher or other salt
  • Pinch of freshly crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 block silken tofu, drained then wrapped in paper towels
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp chopped chives, chopped (optional)

Zest the lemon and orange and set aside. Squeeze the lemon and orange juices into a small saucepan, add the carrot juice, honey, soy sauce, and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat while you prepare the tofu.

Add the rice flakes (or breadcrumbs), salt, and pepper to a spice grinder and pulse a few times. Be sure that the paper towels have absorbed as much water as possible from the tofu, then slice the tofu along its "equator," creating 2 large flat-ish halves. Cut each of those in half, giving you 4 flat pieces. Spoon the egg yolk on one side of each piece, and evenly spread the rice-flake crust over them.

Heat the butter in a small, nonstick fry pan over medium heat and sauté the tofu, crust-side down, for about 5 minutes, until it browns nicely. Carefully flip the pieces over with a spatula, and briefly cook the other side, about 2 minutes. Pour some of the reduced sauce into a warm plate or shallow bowl, and slide the tofu into the center of the sauce, crispy side up, and top with the orange zest and lemon zest, and the optional chives.

Music break: Black Night by Hugo Strasser

Guest Interview Bye-Bye Bananas? 7 MIN

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America's favorite fruit is in danger of going extinct. Panama Disease has wiped out many banana plantations and there isn't a cure. Inspired by a Popular Science article about the banana paradox, writer-journalist Dan Koeppel examined the banana trade and its consequences, globalization, geopolitics, and genetic fragility in a new book.

Dan will be discussing and signing copies of his book, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, at Vroman's Bookstore (695 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena) on Thursday, January 10 at 7pm.

Music break: Tambuku by Robert Drasnin

Banana

Dan Koeppel

Guest Interview How to Love Vegetables 7 MIN

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Mark Bittman shows us how to love vegetables in his book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  A food writer for the New York Times, Bittman has meatless meal ideas for omnivores looking for a healthier and planet-friendly diet.

Braised and Glazed Radishes, Turnips or Other Root Vegetable
Makes 4 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb radishes, trimmed, or daikon radish, turnips, or rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup or more vegetable stock, white wine or water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • Chopped parsley leaves for garnish


1. Combine the butter, radishes and stock in a saucepan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cook until the radishes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, checking once or twice and adding additional liquid as needed.

2. Uncover and raise the heat to boil off almost all the liquid, so that the vegetable becomes glazed in the combination of butter and pan juices; this will take 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust  the seasoning, add a little lemon juice if you like, garnish, and serve.


Carrot Salad with Cumin
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 ½ lbs carrots
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste


Use the julienne cutter of a food processor to cut the carrots into fine shreds, or cut into 1/8" thick slices. Blend the citrus juices, oil, salt and pepper, and cumin and pour the dressing over the carrots. Toss and serve.

Recipes courtesy of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Music break: La Mer by James Last

Guest Interview North Korean Barbecue Diplomacy 7 MIN

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New Yorker magazine writer Rebecca Mead explains how an ordinary roofing contractor became and unofficial ambassador for North Korea. Robert Egan, who owns Cubby's BBQ in Hackensack, New Jersey, became involved in international diplomacy in the 1990's when Vietnamese officials recommended Egan to North Korean officials looking to build better relations with the United States. Mead's written at length about Egan's "barbeque diplomacy" for the New Yorker.

Cubby's BBQ Restaurant
249 South River Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201-488-9389

Music break: Chemical Calisthenics by Blackalicious

Guest Interview Padma Lakshmi 7 MIN

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Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo's Top Chef, is a former model whose work allowed her to travel the world. She's fascinated by Mediterranean and Asian food, which she says share an amazing similarity, despite their coming from opposite sides of the globe. Now she's created a world of recipes for every day in her book, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet. Padma shares the following recipe, which combines the tastes of hot and sweet in the same bite. She's named it after her good friend.

Francesco Clemente's Amazing Hot Sauce (Chipotle & Date Chutney)
(Courtesy of Padma Lakshmi's Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet)
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 cups

10 fresh or dried dates, pitted, cut into chunks
4 plum tomatoes, seeded, with the juice squeezed from them
13 ozs pickled Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp coarse sea salt

In a blender or processor, combine all the ingredients and blend until they make a thick paste.  Pour into a deep saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, adding 1/4 cup water halfway through and stirring.  Cool and then store in an airtight glass jar.

Music break: Wise Guy Cha Cha by West One UK Library

Guest Interview The United States of Arugula 7 MIN

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Writer and humorist David Kamp samples gourmet eating in his book, The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. He examines America's obsession with celebrity chefs, exotic ingredients and destination restaurants. Kamp is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and GQ.

Music break: Sundialing by Caribou

Guest Interview Market Report 7 MIN

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Laura Avery talks with the Fruit Detective, David Karp, about his favorite citrus. David recommends Clementine Algerian mandarins (tangerines) sold by Bob Polito.  Also great right now are cocktail grapefruit sold by North San Diego County growers Armando Garcia and Peter Shaner.

Kathy and Ken Lindner of Lindner Bison explain how being sustainable is not limited only to producers. Consumers also need to eat more than just prime cuts of animals so that these creatures aren't wasted. There is much, much more to an animal than steaks and fillet mignon. Here are a couple of their recipes for products from bison that you wouldn't normally use.

Ken's Grass-fed Bison Biscuits
made with grass-fed bison kidney tallow

This recipe has been in the Linder family for over 35 years. During this time, they've made it using vegetable shortening, butter and even margarine. Without a doubt, grass-fed bison kidney tallow results in rich, light biscuit.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup rendered grass-fed bison kidney tallow (at room temperature or warmer)
  • 3/4 cup half & half


1. Measure flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix well.
2. Cut in the bison tallow thoroughly, using the tines of a fork, until the mixture looks like meal.
3. Stir in almost all the half & half. If the dough is not pliable, add just enough half & half to make a soft, puffy, easy-to-work dough.
4. Round up the dough on a lightly floured board. Knead lightly about 1/4 minute. DO NOT OVERWORK!
5. Roll the dough out about 3/4" thick. Cut into 2" by 2" squares, or use a cookie cutter to make similarly shaped rounds.
6. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, in a pre-heated oven at 400ºF. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until just golden brown on top.


Rendering grassfed bison kidney fat into tallow (for use as a wonderful natural shortening in all of your favorite recipes)

  • 1-2 lbs. grassfed bison kidney fat, ground or cut into small chunks


Tools
oven-proof casserole dish
screen for straining (we use a fry pan spatter-proof screen)
dish for setting the rendered kidney fat (tallow)
 
1.  Preheat oven to 250°F.

2.  Put fat into oven-proof dish.

3.  Place into oven, uncovered for about 40 minutes or until the fat has melted. ( The fat will be a clear yellow and separate from other meat residue, called "cracklings".)

4. Remove from oven and separate fat from cracklings by straining through a screen or strainer.

5. Allow fat to set at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

6.  Break apart, place in plastic bag to store.

7.  Place in freezer until ready to use.

IMPORTANT
When rendering the fat, do not allow it to actually cook.  It should be just hot enough for the fat to melt in order to separate it from the 'crackling
s.'

Music break: Tea For Two by George Barnes & Carl Kress

Guest Interview Moveable Feasts 7 MIN

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Writer Sarah Murray traces the globe-trotting journeys of food from farm to fork in her book, Moveable Feasts. She explores the "eat local" movement, carbon footprints, food miles, and the role food plays in politics around the world. Murray is a contributor for the Financial Times.

Moveable Feasts

Sarah Murray

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