Hams, Hams, Hams; Plus Killer Fat and Heavenly Apple Pie

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David Rosengarten is the editor-in-chief of The Rosengarten Report, a newsletter covering the most exciting, undiscovered food products, restaurants, wines and travel destinations in the world. The Rosengarten Report received the James Beard Award in 2003 as the best food and wine newsletter in the country. David spoke about Easter Hams. To order his favorite from the 100-ham taste test, go to his webpage on Easter Hams before March 14, 2005.

Kim Severson spoke about -America-s Oil Change: Losing Trans Fats; Fat Substitute, Once Praised, Is Pushed Out of the Kitchen,- an article she co-wrote for the New York Times that appeared in its February 13 edition. Kim is also the author of The Trans Fat Solution, published by Ten Speed Press.

John T. Edge is director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. He spoke about pie. His book is Apple Pie: An American Story, published by Putnam Press.

Marlborough Pie

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 large apples, peeled
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dry Sherry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
Basic Crust
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons cold water
To make crust:
With a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the shortening and salt into the flour until the mix is pebbly. Add the water and stir with a fork until the dough becomes somewhat sticky. Form dough into a ball, and then cut the ball in half, handling the dough as little as possible. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, preferably for at least an hour.

To make filling:
Squeeze the lemon into a large bowl. Grate the lemon peel into the same bowl, taking care to avoid the white pith. Grate the peeled apples coarsely and toss in as well. Pour in the Sherry and stir in the sugar. Mix well. Beat the eggs until light. Cream the butter until soft and add the eggs, blending well. Stir the butter and egg mixture into the sweetened fruit.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough into two circles that are 2-3 inches wider in diameter than your pie shell or plate. Place one crust in the pie plate. Save the other crust for another use in the refrigerator. Lay the crust into the pie plate. Prick all over with a fork, and spoon in the pudding. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving it warm.

Cindy Deal-s Red Hot Apple Pie

  • 5 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (Lodis or Jonathans are ideal)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 dozen or so Red Hots, known generically as cinnamon imperials
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, beaten Basic Crust (see above)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with the flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Roll the dough into two circles that are 2-3 inches wider in diameter than your pie shell or plate. Line the pie pan or plate with the bottom crust. Fill halfway with apples. Drizzle on half of the honey. Sprinkle on half of the sugar mixture. Mound the remaining apples, and then drizzle on the remainder of the honey sprinkle on the remainder of the sugar mixture.
  3. Space the Red Hots evenly throughout the filling. Cut the butter into bits and dot the entire filling with them. Cut slits in the top crust and place it over the filling, crimping the edges as you go. Paint the egg on the crust and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes or until brown.

Cheese-Straw Apple Pie

  • 5 large, tart apples
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, cut into six parts
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 or 2 tsp(s) Cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/3 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons ice water
  1. In making crust, frigidity is all-important. Place butter and shortening in freezer for at least an hour before mixing. Pulse flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in food processor. Remove the lid and tuck the butter and shortening into the mixture. Pulse the machine 4 times to cut in the butter. Add 1 1/3 cups of cheese and pulse 4 more times. Sprinkle half of the water over the flour mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times until the pasty looks like very coarse crumbs.
  2. Move mixture to a chilled bowl and work until dough is formed. Round into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each dough ball in two layers of plastic wrap and press them into disks. Chill at least three hours.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice apples. In a bowl, mix the apples, lemon juice, dark brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg with your hands. Set aside and retrieve the piecrusts from the refrigerator.
  4. Roll the dough into two circles that are 2-3 inches wider in diameter than your pie shell or plate. Press the bottom crust into the pie plate and mound apples until they fill the crust and dome slightly. Scatter the butter over the mound. Cut a center vent the size of a dime into the top crust. Sprinkle the remaining cup of shredded cheese onto the crust. With a rolling pin, roll lightly to press the cheese into the dough. Roll the crust onto the rolling pin so that the rolling pin resembles the sausage in a pig-in-a-blanket. Unroll the crust, cheese-side down, on top of the apples.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes longer. Crimp the edges of the crusts.
- John T. Edge, Apple Pie, Putnam-s Sons, 2004.

Julie Powell was a self described -government drone by day, renegade foodie by night-, who decided to tackle the enormous feat of cooking every recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Julia Child. Google the Julie Julia Project to read her blog. Julie talked about how surprisingly good baked cucumbers can be.

Concombres Au Beurre (Baked Cucumbers)
If the natural moisture content is not withdrawn beforehand, cucumbers exude so much water as they are heated that you usually end up with a tasteless mush and swear never to attempt cooked cucumbers again. Blanching for 5 minutes before cooking will remove unwanted water, but also most of the cucumber flavor. A preliminary sojourn in salt draws out the water and also the bitterness, if they are of the bitter European type, yet leaves the flavor, which a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar accentuates. We have found the following method delicious, and suggest it for all cooked cucumber recipes. Baked cucumbers go with roast, broiled, or saut-ed chicken, roast veal, veal chops or scallops, and saut-ed brains or sweetbreads.

  • 6 cucumbers about 8 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp dill or basil
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 3/8 inch wide. Cut the strips into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Toss the cucumbers in a 2 1/2 -quart porcelain or stainless steel bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or for several hours. Drain. Pat dry in a towel.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. A baking dish 12 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep, toss the cucumbers with the butter, herbs, onions, and pepper. Set uncovered in middle level of the preheated oven for about 1 hour, tossing 2 or 3 times, until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during the cooking.
See Mastering the Art of French Cooking for variations such as Parslied Cucumbers, Creamed Cucumbers, Creamed Cucumbers with Mushrooms, and Cucumbers with Cheese Sauce

-1961 Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Alfred A. Knopf.

Peter Elliot hosts six daily weekday spots on Bloomberg Radio covering food, wine and restaurants, in addition to his weekly review. His radio program explores food-related issues ranging from food safety and dining etiquette to the best airline food to cookbooks worth buying. He's also written Sirio:The Story of My Life and Le Cirque, published by Wiley. Peter spoke about Irish food. He mentioned a recipe for Grown-up Oatmeal Souffles from Patrick O- Connell-s Refined American Cuisine. O-Connell is the celebrated chef of The Inn at Little Washington.

Grown-up Oatmeal Souffl-s
For the Souffl- Molds:

  • 3 Tablespoons soft butter
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
Sweetened-Oatmeal Bottom Layer:
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 3/4 cups instant oats
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
Souffl- Layer:
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sweetened oatmeal (reserved from previous recipe)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 12 egg whites
  • Maple syrup
  • Currants soaked in dark rum (optional)
To prepare the souffl- molds and sweetened-oatmeal bottom layer:
  1. Butter the insides of 8 eight-ounce ramekins and sprinkle them with sugar.
  2. In a stainless steel saucepan, bring the heavy cream and milk to a boil. Stir in the oats and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and maple syrup.
  3. Remove from heat and pour 1/4 cup of the sweetened oatmeal into each ramekin. Reserve the remaining sweetened oatmeal (you should have about 3/4 cup left) for the souffl- layer
To prepare the souffl- layer:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a spice grinder or small food processor, grind the oats until they resemble coarse meal.
  3. In a 4-quart stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the ground oats and flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture and bring to a boil. Add the reserved sweetened oatmeal and stir until combined. Turn heat to low. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, the maple syrup, and the rum.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the egg yolks and add to the saucepan. Whisk constantly and remove from heat just before the mixture comes to a boil. Let cool slightly.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, begin whisking the egg whites on low speed until they become frothy. Increase the speed to high and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in a steady stream. Continue whipping until the egg whites form medium-stiff peaks.
  7. Stir a small portion of the egg whites into the cooled oatmeal mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the souffl- mixture on top of the sweetened-oatmeal bottom layer in the ramekins.
  8. Place the filled ramekins on a baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the souffl-s are just set and light golden brown.
As soon as the souffl-s come out of the oven, serve them with maple syrup and rum-soaked currants on the side.

- Patrick O-Connell, Refined American Cuisine, Bulfinch Press, 2004.

Jet Tila is a private chef and cooking teacher. He spoke about Bua Siam Restaurant (818-765-8395) at 12924 Sherman Way in North Hollywood. (Closed Thursdays)

Jonathan Gold is a food writer for the LA Weekly and Gourmet magazine. He spoke about the deep dish pizzas at Zelo Gourmet Pizzeria (626-358-8298) at 328 East Foothill Boulevard in Arcadia. Recommended dishes include four-cheese pizza, Greek pizza, beet salad, and zucotto.