Chinese Islamic; Guts 3 Ways; Some Like it Hot; Cheese Curds; Salmon; Summer Desserts

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What to do with all those heirloom tomatoes? Here's Evan's suggestion!


  • 6 Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes, stem end removed, cut into quarters
  • 1 to 2 cups olive oil, depending on how brave you are
  • 1 green bell pepper, cleaned and cut coarsely
  • 1 peeled cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 3 peeled garlic cloves or to taste
  • Two slices of good country bread that you-ve got soaking in nice champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste
Place tomatoes and one cup of the oil in blender and blend. Add the green pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic and blend again. Lift bread out of the vinegar and squeeze dry. Add to blender and puree adding salt to taste and additional oil to taste. The additional oil will give the soup more body and flavor. Chill. Serve cold in individual bowls garnished with avocado and croutons if you wish.

Laura Avery speaks with Josh Gerhardt, a Southern California representative of the Organic Pastures Dairy Company. This raw organic milk distributor is new to the farm, which offers milk, cream, butter, colostrum and cheese. Raw milk is reputed to be effective in fighting many conditions including asthma, diabetes, eczema, arthritis, and raw butter has been used effectively to assist Autistic children. People who are lactose-intolerant can eat raw milk because lactase-producing bacteria are present. You can find more information about raw milk and order delivery of OPDC's products (which will soon be offered in smaller sizes and packaged in a corn-based plastic) on their website. You can also visit their farm in Fresno. Call 1-877-RAW-MILK to schedule a tour.

Better Butter

  • 1/2 cup Organic Pastures Raw Organic Butter
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed or hempseed oil
  • 1/4 tsp. fine Celtic sea salt
Allow butter and coconut oil to soften at room temperature and combine with flaxseed or hempseed oil and add salt. Refrigerate and use as a spread. Laura also visits with Mike Cirone of See Canyon Ranch about his early apples and early pears.

Gustavo Arellano takes us to Lotus Chinese Eatery (714-848-4940; 16883 Beach Blvd) in Huntington Beach for Chinese Islamic cuisine. Gustavo recommends chilled ox tripe, sesame bread, honey-walnut shrimp.

Eddie Lin is a food blogger whose work is going to be in the Best Food Writing 2005 edition out this fall. Eddie talked about his blog, Deep End Dining, and his experiences with live octopus tentacles, pork brain and pig uterus.

Acclaimed food author Clifford Wright, whose latest book is Some Like it Hot: Spicy Flavors from the World's Hot Zones, is now running a tour to Southern Italy for a week-long cooking lesson. He tells us about Sichuan cooking and offers hints about tools and ingredient sources. Below are sources the sources for Sichuan Peppercorns and recipes that Cliff shared:

  • TheMCCompany
  • Adriana's Caravan
  • The Oriental Pantry
  • Sichuan-style Steamed Littleneck Clams
    This dish is not a traditional Sichuan dish because clams aren't to be found in the mountain-ringed Sichuan province, but because clams can be found by the hundred in in Los Angeles County and San Francisco, Sichuanese chefs can make this dish--and they do.
    Makes 4 servings.

    • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/2-inch cube fresh ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 scallion, finely chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon red chile flakes
    • 2 Tablespoons rice wine (Mirin) or dry Sherry
    • 1/4 cup chile oil (see below)
    • 2 tsps sesame oil
    • 64 Littleneck clams, washed well
    In a bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, scallion, red chile flakes, rice wine, chile oil, and sesame oil. Place the clams in a large saucepan and pour the sauce over them. Place the cover on the pan and turn the heat to high and steam the clams until they all open, 4 to 8 minutes. Discard any clams that remain firmly shut. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

    Chile Oil
    Makes 1 quart
    It's certainly easy enough to buy chile oil in the supermarket, but it is also very easy to make at home. The best way is with a large bag of bright red dried de arbol chiles sold through a purveyor such as >Penzeys Spices. Be very careful when putting the chiles into the oil -- I learned the hard way through carelessness -- becuase when they hit the oil at such a high temperature they release their pungent, irritating fumes. If you're facing the oil, it will hit you smack in the eyes and nose, which is note fun. Turn the exhaust fan to high, and look and lean away from the oil as you do it. This oil is used in Sichuan and Thai cooking, but it's great for anything.

    • 4 cups peanut oil
    • 1 - cups red pepper flakes
    In a wok, heat the peanut oil over high heat. Once it starts to smoke add the chile flakes and turn the heat off. Turn your head away, and do not lean over the wok or try to smell anything at this point. Let cool completely in the wok and then cover and leave standing for 2 days. Strain the oil into a clean and dry storage bottle through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and discard the flakes. Store in a dark, cool place as you would other oils.

    Ants Climbing a Tree
    Makes 4 servings.

    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 tsps sesame oil
    • 2 tsps chile oil
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 lb ground pork
    • 1/4 lb bean thread noodles (2 bunches)
    • 1/4 cup peanut oil
    • 8 dried red de arbol chiles, seeded and cut in half
    • 2 tsps finely chopped fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp red chile flakes
    • 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
    • 1/4 cup water
    In a medium-size bowl, stir together the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, the chile oil, and sugar. Add the ground pork and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Soak the noodles in hot water until they are pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain well, then cut them with kitchen scissors into shorter lengths.

    In a wok, heat the peanut oil over high heat, then cook the chiles and ginger for 15 seconds. Add the pork and stir-fry constantly, breaking it up, until it has lost its pinkness, about 1 minute. Add the chile flakes and scallions and stir, and then add the noodles, stirring all the time. Add the water and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil on top and toss. Serve immediately.

    Mario Ventura, Jr. of Mars Cheese Castle is the king of Wisconsin cheese curds. Mario explains what cheese curds actually are and why they're a special squeaky treat. You can order the curds for overnight delivery by visiting the website or calling 1-800-655-6147.

    Cullen Davis is the master hydrometer of the Maltose Falcons, a home brewing club. Its hundreds of members have social gatherings, share information and help each other through the challenges of home brewing.

    Diane Morgan's new book is Salmon: A Cookbook, in which she reports on salmon farming across the country and provides recipes and techniques for preparing these highly prized fish. The following recipes come from this book

    With the addition of blackened salmon, this recipe is a twist on the classic Andalusian gazpacho, making it a delightful, lip-buzzing pairing perfect for summer entertaining, either lunch or dinner. True to traditional gazpacho recipes, this soup requires the reddest, vine-ripened tomatoes you can find. Wait until tomatoes are at their peak of flavor in late summer. Lots of garlic, sherry vinegar, and, preferably, a fruity Spanish extra-virgin olive oil give this soup its full-bodied flavor.

    Serve this soup in large, shallow soup bowls or wide-rimmed pasta bowls. This way, the square of blackened salmon sticks out, appearing to float in the center of the bowl, giving a lovely contrast between the tomato-red soup and rich, dark spice coating. The cucumber and bell pepper garnishes add a flourish of color.

    Bell Pepper and Vine-Ripened Tomato Gazpacho with Blackened Salmon
    Serves 6 as a first course

    • 1 (4-inch-long) piece baguette, crust removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 2 large cloves garlic
    • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsps Kosher or sea salt
    • 2 tsps sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
    • 3 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 salmon fillet (12 ounces), skin and pin bones removed, cut into 6 equal portions, each about 2 inches square
    • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Blackening Spice (recipe follows)
    • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
    1. Put the bread in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak the bread for 1 minute and then drain the water. Squeeze the bread dry and set aside.
    2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the garlic, cumin, salt, and sugar until finely chopped. Add the bread and process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides once. Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. Add half of the tomatoes and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining tomatoes and process until pur-ed. (Process in 2 batches, if necessary.) With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until the soup is completely pur-ed, about 1 minute.
    3. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl large enough to hold the soup. Working in batches, force the soup through the sieve using the back of a large spoon, pressing firmly on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Taste the soup and add more salt and vinegar, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (At this point the soup can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
    4. One hour before serving, coat both sides of the salmon fillets with some of the blackening spice. Set aside at room temperature. Twenty minutes before serving, heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until a bead of water sprinkled in the pan sizzles and evaporates immediately. Turn your exhaust fan on high. Add the oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and carefully place the salmon fillets in the pan without crowding. (Blacken the salmon fillets in 2 batches, if necessary.) Cook the salmon undisturbed until it blackens on the first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the heat if the salmon is blackening too quickly. Turn the salmon and cook the other side until blackened and almost opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the salmon to a plate and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
    5. To serve the gazpacho, ladle a little less than 1 cup into each of 6 large shallow soup or pasta bowls. Carefully place a piece of salmon in the center of each bowl. Scatter some of the cucumber and green and yellow pepper over the soup. Serve immediately.
    Blackening Spice
    This recipe makes more than you'll need for the above dish, but it is a boon to the cook's pantry. Use it on other seafood such as red snapper, swordfish, catfish, shrimp, and scallops. This mixture is also good when rubbed into burgers, flank steak, and pork tenderloin. In addition to the blackening method described above, use this rub when grilling.
    Makes about 2/3 cup
    • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 Tablespoons paprika
    • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
    Combine the salt, sugar, pepper, cayenne, paprika, thyme, and oregano in a bowl. Stir well to blend. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
    -Diane Morgan, Chronicle Books 2005

    Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Salmon, Rice Noodles, Pea Shoots, and Hoisin Think of these as a salad you can hold in your hand. Flavorful, healthful, and beautiful to look at, these salad rolls make perfect ,i>hors d'oeuvres, a first course to the start of an Asian meal, or as picnic fare for a summer outing. Even though the ingredient list is long, these are quick to put together and easy to assemble. My teenage daughter, Molly, makes these when I have leftover grilled salmon in the refrigerator. She uses whatever interesting greens I have on hand-watercress, mesclun, a little mint-and then pulls some bottled peanut sauce from the pantry shelf. Make this dipping sauce-it's terrific-but if you are in a hurry, bottled peanut sauce will work, too.
    Makes 8 salad rolls; serves 8 as an appetizer

    Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce

    • 2 Tablespoons chunky natural peanut butter, warmed slightly to soften
    • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 Tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
    • 3/4 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tsps peeled and minced fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 salmon fillet (12 ozs), skin and pin bones removed
    • 1 package (2 ozs) rice vermicelli (bean threads)***
    • 8 (8- to 9-inch) round rice paper wrappers***
    • 2 ozs pea shoots***
    • 4 green onions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and then cut into 4-inch lengths
    • 16 sprigs fresh cilantro
    1. To make the dipping sauce, combine the peanut butter, hoisin, water, fish sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Stir until well blended. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and honey. Place the salmon in a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over top. Turn the salmon several times until it is well coated with the marinade and then set aside for 20 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, soak the rice vermicelli in a medium bowl of warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside covered with a damp paper towel.
    4. Set an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler. Drain the marinade. Broil the salmon, skin side up, until bronzed, 3 minutes. Turn the salmon and broil until it is bronzed and flakes slightly when nudged with a fork, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the salmon into 8 long, thin strips.
    5. To assemble the salad rolls, have ready a large bowl of warm water and a clean,dry linen towel. Working with one rice paper wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper in the water for 5 seconds, turning to wet both sides. Arrange on the towel. As you assemble the rolls, use one-eighth of the ingredients for each roll: Lay a small portion of pea shoots, horizontally, on the bottom third of the wrapper. Top with a small mound of noodles, spreading them horizontally. Place a piece of salmon, 2 pieces green onion, and 2 sprigs cilantro horizontally on top. Roll the wrapper over the filling, creating a cylinder. Roll it halfway over again and then fold in the sides of the cylinder, envelope style. Continue rolling the wrapper into a finished cylinder. Place on a platter and continue rolling the rest of the salad rolls. Cover with a damp paper towel and then cover with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
    6. The salad rolls can be made up to 2 hours ahead. When ready to serve, cut each salad roll in half on the diagonal. Arrange on a platter or on individual small plates and serve with little bowls of dipping sauce.
    ***Cook's Notes*** Rice vermicelli, also called bean threads or cellophane noodles, are translucent threads made from the starch of mung beans. They have a wonderful texture once softened. Typically, bean threads come in 2-ounce cellophane bags, usually bundled in packages of 6 or 8 and wrapped in neon pink or plastic mesh bags. Look for them in well-stocked supermarkets or in Asian grocery stores.

    Rice paper wrappers (banh trang) are sometimes labeled spring roll wrappers. These are thin, translucent, dried sheets made from rice, water, and salt. They come in various sizes and are either round or square. They are softened in warm water and used fresh, or they can be stuffed, rolled, and deep-fried. Rice paper wrappers are sold primarily in Asian grocery stores, but many well-stocked supermarkets also have them.

    Pea shoots (dau miu) are delicate and crisp vines and tender leaves of the green pea plant. Pea shoots taste like a cross between peas and spinach with a hint of spicy watercress. Look for peas shoots in the produce section of Asian markets or natural foods stores. -Diane Morgan, Chronicle Books 2005

    Abigail Johnson Dodge is an editor-at-large at Fine Cooking magazine. She is also the author of The Weekend Baker: Irresistible Recipes, Simple Techniques, and Stress Free Strategies for Busy People, published by Norton & Company. Check out the book's companion website, too!

    Warm Cinnamon Spiced Blueberry Cake
    The blueberry topping here is added partway through baking so that some of it can sink into the cake to provide a moist filling. If you're a blueberry nut, add another - cup.
    Makes 8 to 10 servings

    • 1 1/3 cups (6 ozs) all purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp table salt
    • 6 Tablespoons (3 ozs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup (8 ozs) granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    For the topping
    • 3/4 cup (4 ozs) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
    • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1. Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x2-inch round cake pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until blended. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer) until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed until just blended. Add the vanilla along with the second egg. Using a wide rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternately into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes.
    3. After you put the cake in the oven, make the topping. Combine the blueberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a table fork, mix the ingredients together lightly crushing the blueberries. After the cake has baked for 10 minutes, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of the cake. Continue baking until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about another 30 minutes.
    4. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Using a dry dishtowel to protect your hands, place a large flat plate on top of the cake pan and, holding onto both pan and plate, invert the cake. Lift the pan up from the cake. Place a flat serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake one more time so that the blueberries are on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Storage: Cover the baked and cooled cake in plastic wrap and stow at room temperature for up to 5 days.