Day of the Dead; Zagat's Best; Gourmet Recipes; Pears; French Diets; Heritage Turkeys

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Recipes and information for this week's Good Food, now airing at 11am!

Nancy Zaslovsky is the author of Meatless Mexican and other books on Mexican food and travel. She is taking tours to Oaxaca and other parts of Mexico. To find out about her Day of the Dead trips to Oaxaca, call 310-440-8877 or email her at:

Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Chiles in Walnut Sauce)
Makes 12 stuffed chiles

For the picadillo stuffing:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 lbs lean beef chuck, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, blanched for one minute in boiling water, peeled, pureed and strained
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup candied fruit (barrel cactus if available -- no citrus) or dried mango or papaya from a health food store
  • 1 4-inch canela stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown. Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up lumps, until it is well done.
  2. Stir in the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the nuts, raisins, candied fruit, canela and herbs. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the canela stick and bay leaves. Picadillo may be cooked and refrigerated at this point up to 48 hours.
For the chiles:
  • 12 plump, fresh poblano chiles
  1. Toast the skins of the chiles to black directly over a gas burner , in a broiler, or on a grill.
  2. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with a towel to sweat and loosen their skins.
  3. Cool the chiles enough to handle. Peel carefully as to not tear them. Cut a slit down the side of each, vertically, from the stem end almost to the pointed end. Remove all the seeds and any large veins, leaving the stem attached.
For the walnut sauce:
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, not a paste. Use fresh, not dried, walnuts if possible
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups crema, creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Maggi seasoning sauce
  • 12 grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Mix all the ingredients together until they are well blended. The sauce is served cool. The sauce may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated.

For assembly and garnish:
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 12 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded (reserve the seeds)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted in an ungreased skillet
  1. Reheat the picadillo stuffing if necessary and fill the chiles.
  2. Cover a serving platter with the shredded lettuce and decorate with radish slices. Place the filled chiles on top of the lettuce and radish slices.
  3. Just before serving, cover the chiles with the cool walnut sauce. If you do this step too far in advance, the sauce will liquify on the hot chiles. (This dish may also be served at room temperature.)
  4. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped, toasted walnuts.

Jonathan Gold is a food writer for the LA Weekly and Gourmet magazine. He spoke about Roded Thai at 5623 Hollywood Boulevard, near Western. Their specialties are: ped pau loh (duck stew), pork hock, and fried bananas.

Ruth Reichl is the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. She's editor of The Gourmet Cookbook, published by Houghton Mifflin.

Pecan Currant Sticky Buns
Total time: 45 minutes plus rising and baking time
Servings: 12 buns
Note from The Gourmet Cookbook: Use extra-large muffin tins (muffin cups with a capacity of 1 cup).


  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
  • Two 1/4 -oz packages (5 tsps) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  1. Stir together one-half cup warm milk, yeast and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start with new yeast.)
  2. Put the flour, remaining sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and mix with a dough hook at low speed until combined.
  3. Whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk and the eggs in a small bowl, then add to dry ingredients along with the yeast mixture and mix at medium speed until a very soft dough forms, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and continue beating until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes (dough will be very sticky).
  4. Rinse a large bowl with hot water, then put the dough in the wet bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dried currants
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Combine the one-half cup butter, sugars, corn syrup and heavy cream in a 1-quart saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more to butter muffin cups
  • Syrup
  • Dough
  • Filling
  1. Butter the muffin cups. Spoon 2 tablespoons warm syrup into each muffin cup.
  2. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and dust with flour. Roll out into a 16- by-12-inch rectangle with a floured rolling pin. Turn the dough if necessary so the long side is nearest you. Brush off the excess flour, then spread evenly with the softened butter.
  3. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough. Beginning with the long side near you, roll up the dough to form a 16-inch-long log and press the seam to seal.
  4. Cut the log crosswise into 12 rounds. Arrange the buns cut sides up in the muffin cups. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  5. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the buns until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert the buns onto a rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.

Merril Schindler is the editor of the Zagat Guide. He spoke about the top 5 restaurants in Los Angeles.

Sushi Nozawa, 11288 Ventura Blvd at Main St, Studio City; 818-508-7017
Matsuhisa, 129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills; 310-659-9639
Water Grill, 544 S Grand, downtown LA; 213-891-0900
Melisse, 1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica; 310-395-0881
Saddle Peak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas; 818-222-3888
Honorable mention:
Blue Pacific, 201 Hermosa Ave at 2nd St, Hermosa Beach. Pan-Asian food, moderately priced.
Sushi Sasabune, 11300 Nebraska Ave at Sawtelle, West LA; 310-268-8380. Closed weekends.

Russ Parsons, food writer for the LA Times, spoke about pears. He also mentioned Anatomy of Dessert by Edward Bunyard. Russ also recommends eating fresh pears with Parmesan or Blue Cheese and walnuts.

Pear Clafouti with Pistachios
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 6

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1/3 cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine one-fourth cup sugar, the eggs, cream, milk and vanilla and blend until smooth. Sift the flour over the mixture and pulse just to mix. Set the batter aside to stand 10 minutes.
  3. While the batter is resting, peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the core and the stem line with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works best). Cut each half in crosswise slices one-fourth to one-half-inch thick; do not separate the slices.
  4. Arrange the sliced pear halves in a 9-inch pie plate with the stem ends pointing toward the center and a little space between each. Depending on the size of the pears, you may be able to use only 5 of the 6 halves. Pour the batter over the top and sprinkle with the pistachios. Depending on how sweet the pears are, sprinkle an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar over the pears that peek out from under the batter.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet to catch any spills. Bake until the clafouti is puffed and brown in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Pear Frangipane Tart
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 8
Pastry for 9-inch tart pan

  • 1/2 lb blanched almonds
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 tsps grated orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Oloroso or other sweet Sherry
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 (1/2-pound) Bartlett pears, firm but ripe
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  1. Prepare the pastry and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 20 minutes. Prick the shell with a fork and bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on a low rack.
  3. In a food processor, grind the almonds. Add 2/3 cup sugar, the eggs, vanilla, orange zest, Sherry and salt, and process to make a smooth, sticky paste. With the motor running, drop in the butter through the feed hole, piece by piece, and process until smooth.
  4. Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and with a spoon remove the vein for the stem and the seed pit. As you finish each pear half, slip it into a work bowl filled with a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover all of the pears.
  5. Spread the almond mixture in the base of the tart, using the back of a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible.
  6. Pat each pear half dry and carefully cut it into thin crosswise slices, about 1/8 inch, keeping the pear in its original form. As you finish each pear half, lift it, using the flat of the knife as a spatula, and carefully place it in the tart pan, with the narrow stem end toward the center. Gently press down into the frangipane. Place each subsequent pear half next to the previous one in a spoke pattern until the tart is filled. Brush the pears with the melted butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon sugar.
  7. Place the tart pan on the baking sheet and bake until the almond mixture is puffed and golden and the pears are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Dr. Will Clower is the author of The Fat Fallacy, a book exploring the paradox of the French way of eating. He's got a website, where you can learn, step-by-step, how to live a healthy and long life.

Bill Mattos is the chairman of the California Poultry Federation.

Heritage Turkeys:
Slow Food USA started the Heritage Turkey project in 2000 to protect and revive traditional native breeds of turkey which were in danger of extinction. By partnering with small farmers across the country, the Heritage Turkey Project has saved seven breeds of turkey which were on the verge of completely disappearing.

Supermarket turkeys are a breed called Broad-breasted White. We all know how boring they can be. Heritage Turkeys are a completely different eating experience. Rich with flavor and texture, never dry or mealy, the Heritage Turkeys make Thanksgiving an exciting food event.

This year, as we did a couple years ago, our turkeys are offered by our good friend and fabulous farmer, Peter Schaner.

  • Thanksgiving is November 25, 2004
  • Our flock is both Standard Bronze and Bourbon Red
  • There will be two pickup dates and locations
    1. Sunday, November 21 at the Hollywood Farmers' Market
    2. Wednesday, November 24 at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market
We have a very limited number of birds (as usual), so if you---re interested please respond soon! Email