Labor Day Grilling; Homemade Cakes; Wok 101; English Picnics; Cheap Wine; Swordfish

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Laura Avery speaks with Susan Beckman of the Santa Barbara Pistachio Company about their ten different flavors of pistachios. Susan shares a few recipes with us.

Pistachio Pesto

Traditionally, a mortar and pestle were used to pound a summer crop of basil leaves, the finest garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese into a lush pesto sauce. Today, thanks to the food processor, the task has become much quicker, which has made pesto useful for more than just saucing pasta. Add a spoonful of this pistachio pesto sauce in salad dressings, on coarse breads, focaccia, and crackers and enjoy this pesto with a twist!

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Santa Barbara Pistachio kernels
  • - cup olive oil
  • - cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 grind black pepper
To make 1 cup of pesto, place about 2 cups of basil leaves, 2 garlic cloves, and 1 cup of Santa Barbara pistachio kernels in a food processor. Process until smooth, leaving just a bit of texture. With the motor running, slowly sprinkle in 1/2 cup olive oil through the feed tube. Add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a grind of black pepper. Process to combine and serve. Pesto will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Helpful Tip from Santa Barbara Pistachio Co.

To store Pistachio Pesto for a later date or upcoming party, transfer pesto to an ice cube tray. Cover the tray and freeze. When frozen, pop the cubes into a freezer-safe bag, and store in freezer until ready for use. Thaw in refrigerator the night before use.

Pistachio-Encrusted Salmon
Serves 4

  • Salmon fillet
  • Japanese Breadcrumbs (panko)
  • 1 cup Santa Barbara Pistachio kernels
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat over to 350-400F.

Combine flour with dash of salt and pepper in medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine egg with 1/4 cup water in medium mixing bowl. Combine equal parts chopped pistachio kernels and Panko in bowl. Take salmon, skinned, rinsed and dried, into flour mixture, then into egg mixture and finally into nut mixture. Pan sear both sides of salmon in an oil-less pan (pistachio nuts provide natural oils) and then bake for 15-20 minutes.

Laura Avery also speaks with Mike Cirrone of See Canyon Ranch about his apples and pears. He has Macintosh, Jonalicious, Golden Supremes, Honey Crisp, Empire, and the rare Cox Orange Pippin culinary apples. He also has Akane, Seckel, D'anjou, Comice, and Bosc pears.

Steven Raichlen, author of several books, including The Barbecue Bible, offers some tips for barbecuing ribs and shares his recipe for a barbecue rub. For more recipes and information visit his website at

Basic Barbecue Rub
Here's the great granddaddy of barbecue rubs, but don't let its simplicity fool you. There's a heap of flavor in this simple rub--the sweetness of the brown sugar, the heat of the black pepper, the mellow earthiness of the paprika, and the slow burn of the cayenne. Use this basic formula as a springboard for your own creativity. To make a New England rub, for example, substitute maple sugar for the brown sugar. For a Santa Fe-style rub, add chili powder (I'd use chipotle chili powder) and cumin. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Makes 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir or whisk to mix. Transfer to a jar, cover, and store away from heat and light. The rub will keep for several months.
- 2005, Steven Raichlen

Pastry chef and baking instructor Cindy Mushet reminds us about the simple goodness of homemade cakes,a nd gives us some pointers on how to make them.

Jet Tila reviews the six commandments of wok cooking. Jet recommends using a flat-bottomed carbon-steel wok. To season the wok heat it well, add kosher salt, rub the interior with the salt until the salt turns a bit brown, clean with soapy water, and dry completely. Jet also suggests you stay "country specific." In other words, if you're making Chinese food, use Chinese soy sauce.

The Six Commandments of Wok Cooking

  1. Knife Cuts: Make them consistent. -If you can pick it up with a chopstick, it's the right size.-
  2. Mise en place: -Be completely prepped out.- Have all your components completely set up. You don't want to be scrambling at the last minute.
  3. Heat the wok to 400F: When you see white smoke, it's time to cook.
  4. Sauce: Double the amount you need and use half to start and add more as you need it.
  5. Clean the wok immediately afterward.
  6. Use salt to scour the wok, as needed.
For information on his cooking classes or about his Thai specialty market, Bangkok Market, visit his website at

Ben Schott, author of Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany, paints the following unglamorous picture of English picnicking. -Apart from the festivals at Glyndebourne, picnics should be left to Yogi and Boo Boo.-

Harry Orlove is a musician whose love of wine and limited budget inspired him to explore the wines of the world and glean out the affordable keepers. Harry also does traveling wine tasting parties. He'll come to your house with a bunch of wine for you and your friends. You-ll find more information on these parties as well as a list of recommended affordable wines on his website,

Linda Greenlaw is a writer and swordboat captain from Illahoe Island in Maine. She has a new book written with her mom, Martha. It's called Recipes from a Very Small Island.