Grilling Inside; Rice Paper Wrappings; Getting Kids to Eat New Foods

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Recipes and Resources for today's Good Food

At the market this week, shitake and oyster mushrooms plus white asparagus is in season and fragrant sweet pea flowers.

February 22, Il Grano restaurant in West Los Angeles is hosting a prix-fixe dinner, celebrating The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book, recipes from the 15th Century Master chef Maestro Martino of Como. Cost is $75 for general public, $50 UCLA faculty and staff. Call 310-477-7886 for more information.

Will Clower is the author of The Fat Fallacy, and hosts He spoke about getting children to eat healthy foods that they may reject at first.

Ben Schott is the author of Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany, published by Bloomsbury USA.

Mark Bittman talked about chicken thighs.

Pork (or Chicken) Stewed in Coconut Milk
Time: at least 2 hours
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola
  • 2 to 3 lbs boneless pork butt or shoulder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 1 or 2 small chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced, or dried chilies, or to taste
  • 1 inch-long piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 or 3 cans unsweetened coconut milk, or as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce) or soy sauce, or to taste
  • Juice of a lime, or more to taste.
  1. Put oil in a large deep skillet or casserole that can later be covered; turn heat to medium-high. Brown pork on all sides, turning as necessary, and adjusting heat so the meat browns but does not burn. This will take about 20 minutes. Season it with a little salt and pepper.
  2. When the pork is just about browned, add shallots, chilies and ginger; brown a bit, then add about 2 cups coconut milk and the nam pla. Bring to boil, cover, and adjust heat for a steady simmer. Cook, turning occasionally, for at least 90 minutes, or until the pork is tender; add additional coconut milk if mixture dries out.
  3. When the pork is tender, remove to a platter. Stir lime juice into sauce; taste, and adjust seasoning, adding more chili, nam pla or lime juice as necessary. Carve meat, and serve it with sauce.
Variations: For chicken stewed in coconut milk, use 4 chicken leg quarters in place of the pork. Brown in 4 tablespoons oil, on skin side first, then turn over. Cook for a couple of minutes more, then proceed as in Step 2, leaving lid askew so liquid reduces more quickly. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

For chicken (or pork) in milk, use half butter and half olive oil. Substitute garlic for shallots; omit chilies, ginger, nam pla and lime, but add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or sage leaves. Substitute whole or 2 percent milk for coconut milk. Cooking times are about the same.

Indoor! Grilling by Steven Raichlen features recipes for the indoor grill.

Chicken Paillards with "Virgin" Sauce
Starting with a classic Mediterranean leitmotif, tomato, garlic, basil, and olive oil, this recipe builds to a crescendo of flavor. It does this using the most plebian cut of poultry ever to hit the grill, the skinless, boneless chicken breast. To lend it interest (dare I even say chic?), the chicken breast is pounded into a thin sheet known as a paillard. As for the "Virgin" Sauce, the mixture of fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil may be uncomplicated, but the flavors are as bright as the midday sun.
Serves 4

  • 2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts (each 12 to 16 ozs), or 4 half breasts (each half 6 to 8 ozs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, minced, plus 4 basil sprigs for garnish
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • "Virgin" Sauce (recipe follows)
  1. If using whole chicken breasts, divide them in half. Trim any sinews or excess fat off the chicken breasts and discard. Remove the tenders from the breasts and set aside for kebabs or sat--s. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, then drain (don't blot them dry with paper towels; the breasts should be damp). Place a breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound it to a thickness of between 1/4 and 1/8 inch using a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, a rolling pin, or the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Repeat with the remaining breast halves.
  2. Place the garlic and minced basil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl and mash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Stir in the olive oil. Brush each paillard on both sides with the garlic and basil mixture and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the chicken paillards, following the instructions for any of the grills in the box on the previous page, until cooked through. Use the poke test to check for doneness; the chicken should feel firm when pressed. You may need to work in more than one batch; cover the grilled paillards with aluminum foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Transfer the paillards to a platter or plates and spoon "Virgin" Sauce over them. Garnish each with a sprig of basil and serve at once. Note: The only even remotely tricky part of this recipe is pounding the chicken breasts into paillards. You can use small boneless whole breasts or large breast halves; whole breasts are easier to work with as they are thinner to begin with.
"Virgin" Sauce (Fresh Tomato Sauce)
The French call this redolent garlic, basil, and tomato condiment sauce vierge (literally virgin sauce), perhaps because it's not cooked. It lives or dies by the quality of the ingredients: verdant basil leaves (fresh, of course); tomatoes so luscious and ripe they go splat if you drop them; and olive oil of a noticeably green color and with a fragrance and flavor you can only describe as fruity. The olives in the sauce are not strictly traditional, but they add a nice touch.
Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsps salt, or more to taste
  • 1 large ripe red tomato (6 to 8 ounces), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 12 Ni--oise olives, or 6 black olives, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Place the garlic and salt in a nonreactive bowl and mash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Add the tomato, olives, basil, olive oil, and vinegar and stir to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or vinegar as necessary and pepper to taste; the sauce should be highly seasoned.


  • To seed a tomato, cut it in half crosswise. Working over a bowl, hold a tomato half cut side down and squeeze it between your fingers to wring out the seeds. If necessary, use the tip of a butter knife to help scrape them out.
  • To sliver basil leaves, roll them lengthwise into a tight cylinder, then, using a chef's knife, cut them crosswise into paper-thin slices. Tease the resulting slices apart and you'll have the thin slivers of herb that the French call chiffonade.

Pound Cake S'mores
Here's what would happen if you crossed pound cake with a s'more. Indoor grills do a great job of melting the chocolate and marshmallow, and you can customize the recipe in an almost infinite number of ways, adding mint leaves or guava paste, for example, or a thick smear of Nutella or caramel sauce (you'll find a recipe on page 394). Create your favorite variation and post your recipe on the Barbecue Board ( I originally conceived this recipe for a contact grill, but in fact these s'mores can be made in a grill pan or on other indoor grills. For a high-tech "cookout," place a contact grill or a freestanding grill in the center of the table. Then, have everyone assemble and cook their s'mores to order.
Makes 8 s'mores
Serves 4 to 8

  • 8 to 10 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate in thin bars
  • 8 marshmallows (see Notes)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 16 slices pound cake (each 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 bunch lemon verbena (see Notes) or mint, rinsed, dried, stemmed, and thinly slivered, or 3 tablespoons thinly slivered candied ginger (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. If necessary, break the chocolate bars into 8 rectangles; each should be about the size of a slice of pound cake.
  2. Using a slender knife, cut the marshmallows crosswise into 1/4-inch slices; dust the knife with confectioners' sugar first to keep the marshmallow from sticking.
  3. Arrange 8 slices of the pound cake on a platter and top each with a piece of chocolate, some marshmallow slices, and some lemon verbena and/or candied ginger, if using, in that order. Top with the remaining slices of pound cake. The s'mores can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage. Keep covered with plastic wrap until ready to cook.
  4. When ready to cook, brush the pound cake s'mores on both sides with the butter. Cook the s'mores, following the instructions for any of the grills in the box on the previous page, until they are toasted and golden brown and the chocolate and marshmallows have melted. If cooking in a grill pan or on a built-in, freestanding, or fireplace grill, use a spatula to turn the s'mores. Serve at once.
Buy the largest marshmallows you can find.

Lemon verbena is a green leafy herb with a lemony flavor.

Variation: Make chocolate caramel s'mores by substituting chocolate cake for the pound cake and dulce de leche for the chocolate bars. Dulce de leche is a milk caramel. It's available canned and in jars. You'll find it in Latino markets and specialty food stores. These s'mores will definitely be gooey and amazing!

Artichokes on a Spit
Push the envelope and think out of the box--these are two of the mottos I try to cook by and live by, and they certainly hold for indoor grilling. Even artichoke leaves (normally tough except at their base) acquire a singed, smoky, wafer-like crispness, so you can munch on them whole, thanks to the steady radiant heat and slow rotation of a rotisserie. All with little more effort than the push of a button.
Serves 2 to 4

  • 2 large globe artichokes (11/2 to 2 lbs total)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into matchstick slivers
  • 4 to 6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • Saffron Aioli (optional; recipe follows)
  1. Using kitchen shears, cut off and discard the spiny tips of the artichoke leaves. Cut the bottom 1/4 inch off each stem but leave the rest of the stem intact. Using a sharp knife, cut each artichoke lengthwise in quarters. Using a grapefruit spoon or melon baller, scrape out the fibrous part in the center of each artichoke. Rub all of the cut parts of the artichokes with lemon juice to prevent discoloring.
  2. Place 3 or 4 slivers of garlic between the leaves of each artichoke quarter, then generously brush the artichokes with olive oil, dabbing it between the leaves. Season the artichokes very liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange the artichoke quarters in a flat rotisserie basket so that the stem ends are on the inside and will be perpendicular to the spit. Close the basket tightly.
  3. When ready to cook, place the drip pan in the rotisserie. Attach the basket to the rotisserie spit, then attach the spit to the rotisserie and turn on the motor. If your rotisserie has a temperature control, set it to 400F.
  4. Cook the artichokes until they are a deep golden brown on the outside and tender inside, 50 minutes to 1 hour. To test for doneness, insert a skewer in an artichoke; it should pierce the heart easily. Transfer the artichokes to a platter or plates and serve at once with the Saffron A--oli, if desired.
Saffron A--oli
Garlic mayonnaise--a--oli--is the great condiment of Provence. Here it's perfumed with another evocative Mediterranean flavoring: saffron. Buy saffron threads rather than powder; they're more likely to be pure saffron.
Makes about 1 cup
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tsps hot water
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann's)
  • Tiny pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground white pepper
Crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into a small mixing bowl. Add the water and let soak for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mayonnaise, and cayenne and whisk to mix. Season with white pepper to taste. The Aioli can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.

Spit-Roasted Onions with Balsamic Honey Glaze
The more I use the rotisserie, the more I marvel at its ability to bring out the richness and sweetness of vegetables, especially roots and tubers. Case in point--spit-roasted onions. Roasting onions in their skin adds color and flavor. So does the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey marinade, which gets boiled down into a thick, syrupy sauce. I don't mean to be immodest, but these may be the best onions you've ever tasted.
Serves 4 (unless you're really hungry)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large onions
  1. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a large nonreactive mixing bowl and whisk until well mixed. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Cut each onion lengthwise into quarters, leaving the skin on and the root end intact. Add the onions to the marinade and stir to coat evenly. Let the onions marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Gently stir the onions from time to time so that they marinate evenly. You can also marinate the onions in a resealable plastic bag.
  3. Drain the marinade off the onions into a heavy nonreactive saucepan and set aside. Place the onion quarters in a flat rotisserie basket and close it tightly.
  4. When ready to cook, place the drip pan in the bottom of the rotisserie. Attach the basket to the rotisserie spit, then attach the spit to the rotisserie and turn on the motor. If your rotisserie has a temperature control, set it to 400F. Cook the onions until they are dark brown and very tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Use a skewer to test for doneness; it should pierce an onion easily.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat and let boil until thick, syrupy, and reduced by about a third, 8 to 12 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary.
  6. Transfer the onions to a serving dish, spoon the balsamic vinegar sauce over them, and serve at once.
My Mother's "Pittsburgh Rare" T-Bone Steaks
Impetuous. Bold. Extreme. These may be odd words to use to describe a steak, but they certainly describe my mother, who was a ballet dancer. Whatever she did, she did boldly, even recklessly. Whether executing a complicated dance routine or grilling a steak, she did it with grand gestures and a blithe disregard for convention. No handsome crosshatch of grill marks. No carefully monitored cooking times or instant-read meat thermometers. She'd throw the meat on the grill, char it until the outside was only a little paler than the color of coal and the inside was just shy of still mooing, and slap it onto a plate. The name for this style of steak in the 1950s was Pittsburgh rare: The black outside evoked the smoke or perhaps coal of the Pittsburgh steel mills. If you love the sanguine flavor of beef, there's no better way to grill it--carcinogens be damned. My mother used nothing more than salt and pepper for seasoning, but I think she would have approved of the brash Roquefort butter I've added.
Serves 2
  • 1 oz Roquefort cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 T-bone steaks (each 1 to 1 1/4 inch thick and 10 to 12 ozs)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked black peppercorns
  1. Place the Roquefort in a bowl and mash it to a paste with the back of a fork. Add the butter and stir to mix. Set the Roquefort butter aside.
  2. Very generously season the steaks on both sides with salt and peppercorns. Cook the steaks, following the instructions for any of the grills in the box on the facing page, until darkly browned, even charred black on the outside but still very rare in the center. To test for doneness, use the poke method; when cooked to rare the meat should be soft.
  3. Transfer the steaks to a platter or plates and let rest for 2 minutes. Place a dollop of Roquefort butter

Jet Tila is a private chef and cooking teacher. You can find him at

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

  • 4 oz rice vermicelli noodles
  • 8 ozs cooked, peeled shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese basil
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 medium carrot, finely julienned
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
  1. Prepare sauce according to recipe below and reserve. Cook the rice vermicelli in boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until al dente. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
  2. Peel carrots and cut into fine julienne. Combine the reserved, noodles, carrots and lettuce to make the filling.
  3. Soak rice paper in hot water until it softens and then place it on a work surface. Place one or two tablespoons vegetable filling in the center of the wrapper and top it with, basil, cilantro, and two shrimp pieces.
  4. Press the filling down to flatten it a little. Fold in 2 sides, and then roll up the parcel. Lay seam side down on a serving plate.
  5. Serve with Nuoc Cham Sauce.
Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
  • -- cup lime Juice
  • -- cup fish Sauce
  • -- cup water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 1 Thai chile, fine chopped
  • Shredded carrots (optional)
Combine all ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar completely.