Pork- Slow, Fast, & Easy; First Celebrity Chef; Carolina Rice; French Diet; Zagat LA; Melody Dorsch

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Laura Avery speaks with restaurateur Jean Fran-ois M-teigner about the butternut squash in the market. His La Cachette is often touted as being one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. La Cachette offers vegetarian menus, cooking classes, picnics to go, and special event menus. M-teigner shares this recipe from his book Cuisine Naturelle.

Butternut Squash and Corn Soup
Serves 8

  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed, canola, or light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, coarsely chopped and thoroughly rinsed in a colander
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (see Tip below)
  • 3 cups corn kernels (from 5 to 6 ears of corn)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tablespoon finely snipped chives, for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and leek and saut- for 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the squash and corn, and saut- for 10 minutes more. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, uncovered, until completely tender.
  2. Let the soup stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Remove about one-third of the stock with a ladle, and reserve. Puree the stock in a blender in batches, filling the container only halfway and holding the top on securely with a folded towel. (Always start blending hot mixtures at the lowest speed and increase the speed gradually). Strain through a medium conical sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing hard to extract all the flavor, leaving the corn skins behind. Taste for seasoning and adjust the consistency by returning a little of the reserved stock to the soup, if desired (any stock you do not use for the soup may be frozen for future soups and sauces).
  3. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with a few chives and a turn or two of the pepper-mill.
Tip: The skin on butternut squash is very tough and very thick; use a sharp vegetable peeler and peel each squash twice to be sure you remove every last scrap of skin.
- Jean Fran-ois M-teigner, 2003

Laura Avery also spoke with James Birch from Flora Bella Farms about curing green olives.

Middle East Old Tradition Curing for Green Olives
Soak olives in water for 2 or 3 days. Prepare the brine by adding rock salt to clean water until a raw egg floats and then add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to the brine (per two liter brine). Cut olives on two sides (wound) with sharp knife and put into clean two liter jars bit by bit while placing a slice of fresh lemon on the jar side as you fill the jar. When nearly full add the brine until covered and put a couple of bay leaves on top with a slice of lemon. Top the lot with some olive oil and seal the jar. The jar is placed aside in a cool dark place and may be used as soon as a few months or even the next year.

Oil Cured Greek Style Olives (Dark Red to Black Olives)
This is one of several recipes from U.C. Davis publication 2758, Home Pickling of Olives.
It is usually best to prepare Greek-style olives from mature olives that are dark-red to black. Mission olives are commonly used, but any variety will do. Use smaller olives because larger ones get soft. The olives will become shriveled since they are salt cured. These olives are salty and slightly bitter, and you may have to acquire a taste for them.
How to Prepare

  1. Cover the bottom of a wooden box with burlap. Weigh out 1 pound of salt for each 2 pounds of olives. Mix the salt and olives well in the box to prevent mold from developing. Pour a layer of salt over the olives to a depth of 1 inch. CAUTION Place the box outdoors so that the brine formed will not ruin the floor.
  2. After 1 week, pour olives and salt into another box, then back into the first box to mix them. Repeat this mixing process once every 3 days until the olives are cured and edible. This usually takes about 30 to 35 days.
  3. Sift out most of the salt through a screen. Dip the olives momentarily in boiling water. Drain. Let them dry overnight.
  4. Add 1 pound of salt to each 10 pounds of olives. Mix and put the olives in a cool place. Use within 1 month, or store in a refrigerator or home freezer until used. Just before using, coat the olives with olive oil. Do not use oil if you plan to use the olives for cooking. To coat with oil, put them in a large pan or box and sprinkle a little olive oil over them. Work the olives with your hands to coat them with oil. This type of olive is useful for flavoring stews, tamale pie, spaghetti, and as a relish eaten out-of-hand.

Upcoming Events:

  • Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead): Saturday, October 29, 1-3pm
    South Central Farmers Market: 41st and Alameda, Downtown
  • Truffle and Wine Dinner from Umbria: Thursday, November 3
    Angeli Caffe hosts two young (handsome) Italian chefs to ply diners with a special Truffle dinner featuring the food and wine of Umbria, the region sometimes called the -green heart- of Italy). Appetizers and wine at 7pm Appetizers, dinner at 7:30 Dinner ($65) For reservations call 323-936-9086.
  • Little India Tour: Saturday, November 5, 11am-3pm
    The Los Angeles Mumbai Sister City Affiliation conducts a tour of Little India (Artesia) that includes a savory traditional South Indian Vegetarian Brunch and un-traditional Chai Mumbai complete with exotic Indian ice creams. Learn about traditional Indian wedding jewelry; special occasion saris; contemporary Indian music; ceremonial henna tattoos; and delicious Indian spices. $30/person. Space limited. (Checks must be received by Friday, Oct. 28. Payable to: LA Mumbai Sister City Affiliation, 2283 West 21st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Enclose name and contact phone, email and street address for all participants. You will be contacted with the meeting location. For further information, contact m.advani@att.net

Bruce Aidells has written an impressive array of cookbooks and continues to produce articles for prominent food magazines such as Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. He is a frequent guest on TV cooking shows and a commentator and chef on Bay Area television and radio. Today, he shared some of his favorite recipes from his new book, Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork.

Apple and Cornbread-Stuffed Pork Loin with Roasted Apple Gravy
Serves 8
Cornbread and Apple Stuffing

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped smoked ham or diced smoke sausage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced (1/4-inch) peeled apple
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled and dried homemade cornbread or dried cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1/4 cup apple juice, or more
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 boneless pork loin (4 lbs)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup Calvados or apple brandy
  • 1 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. For stuffing, heat butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat; add ham or sausage and cook 3 minutes. Add onion, celery and a pinch each of salt and pepper; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in diced apple and cook 1 minute. Transfer apple mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle with sage and stir in cornbread crumbs, apple juice and egg. The mixture should be moist but not wet. Add more apple juice if the mixture seems dry. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. To double butterfly the pork loin, lay the meat, fat-side down, on a work surface and make a horizontal lengthwise cut two-thirds of the way into the depth of the loin and about 1 inch from the long edge nearest you, taking care not to cut all the way through. Flip the loin over so that the cut you just made is opposite you. Make another lengthwise cut, again 1 inch from the edge. Open up the two cuts so you have a large rectangle of meat whose diameter is roughly 3 times the thickness of the meat. Place fat-side down and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a cleaver or a meat pounder, gently flatten the meat to an even thickness.
  3. Remove plastic wrap and spread apple stuffing evenly over the meat, leaving a generous 3/4-inch border. Roll up meat jelly-roll style so that stuffing is in a spiral pattern. Tie rolled roast at 2-inch intervals with butcher's twine.
  4. Combine 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and remaining sage and sprinkle over roast. Lay the sliced apples on the bottom of a roasting pan just a bit larger than the roast and set the roast, fat-side up, on the apples. Put roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and roast for 45 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the roast with an instant-read thermometer: The roast is done when it reaches 140 degrees to 145 degrees. If it is not ready, continue to roast, checking the temperature every 10 minutes. When the roast is done, transfer it to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apples in the roasting pan to a bowl and keep warm. Pour off any fat from the roasting pan, leaving the meat juices on the bottom. Put pan over medium-high heat, add Calvados and deglaze pan allowing the alcohol to burn off, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a small saucepan and add stock, apple juice and cream. Increase heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Simmer, stirring, until reduced by half. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm while you carve the pork roast.
  6. Remove twine from the roast and cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. (If you cut the slices too thin, they will fall apart.) Arrange the pork on a serving platter. Spoon the sliced apples around the meat and pour the sauce over all.

Andouille Stuffed Pork Chops With Maple Bourbon Sauce
Serves 6

Pork Chops

  • 6 pork chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick (3 to 4 lbs total)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Andouille Stuffing
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 stock celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 links Aidells's Cajun Style Andouille Sausage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Maple Bourbon Sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut a large pocket into each chop and season the meat with salt and pepper. Set the chops aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Add the celery and onion and cook, covered, until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the celery and onion to a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs, sausage, white wine and egg. Knead and squeeze the stuffing until all the ingredients are blended. Divide it into 6 equal amounts and stuff into each chop, molding the stuffing with your hands against the side.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until the oil begins to haze. Brown the chops 3 at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside while you assemble the sauce.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan and add the onion. Cook for 3 minutes, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the stock, bourbon, vinegar, syrup and spices, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes, return the chops to the pan, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the chops 5 minutes per side. The chops are ready when the internal temperature reads 150-. Transfer the chops to a warm platter and cover with foil.
  5. Degrease sauce and reduce until syrupy. Whisk in the cold butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, pour over chops and serve.

Ruth Brandon, author of The People's Chef: Alexis Soyer, a Life in Seven Courses tells the fascinating history of Alexis Soyer, the first celebrity chef in the first half of the 19th century.

Ari Weinzweig, of Zingerman's Deli and author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, gives us a primer on rice from the low country. Zingerman's has a great website with many of their specialties available for mail order. You can also subscribe to its popular newsletter.

Here are two links where you can find Carolina Gold Rice:

  • www.CarolinaGoldRice.com
  • www.CarolinaGoldRiceFoundation.org

  • Or for Really Wild wild rice:
  • Grey Owl Foods (800)527-0172

  • Neuroscientist Will Clower talked about the French Diet. Author of The Fat Fallacy, his websit contains information on a diet and lifestyle program called The Path.

    Tim Zagat joined us to discuss the 2006 Zagat Guide to Los Angeles/Southern California Restaurants .

    Melody Heinemann Dosch of Artisan Cheese Gallery (818-505-0207, 12023 Ventura Blvd in Studio City) lauded small cheese producers and the fabulous new products they're offering. She mentioned Constant Bliss and Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farms . She also spoke about cheese from Sally Jackson's Guernsey cows.