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The LA Opera  is performing Wagner's Ring Cycle.  This week, we'll visit the orchestra musicians backstage and find out what they eat when playing over 17 hours of opera over 4 days.  Jonathan Gold takes us to Roy Choi's new restaurant, Chego.  Sun Chips recently unveiled a compostable bag.  Brand manager Jennifer Saenz explains what it's made of and what to do with it.  Karen Higgins of the LA Department of Sanitation weighs in on what bin the bag should go in.  Ernie Whalley is a professional wine writer who sometimes tastes more than 150 wines in one sitting.  He tells us how its done.  What's the etiquette behind bringing your own food to the movie theater?  Helena Echlin of Chow.com sorts our the dos and don'ts of eating at the movies.  Allison Costa has some great restaurant suggestions for Ventura County.  Plus, host Evan Kleiman tastes specialty vinegars with Phil Brooks of We Olive.  And Sauce on Hampton's Sassan Rostamian shows off Pakistani mulberries.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview Market Report 7 MIN

Pakistani Mulberry

Sassan Rostamian is the chef/owner at Sauce on Hampton in Venice.  He loves Pakistani mulberries and uses them as a topping for ice cream.  Trim the top of the fruit and poach in a pan with butter.  


David West of Clearwater Farms brings mushrooms to the farmers market.  This week he has porcini mushrooms, which are in season only through June and part of July.  Use the green spore underneath the dome of the mushroom as it has intense flavor.

Gorgonzola Polenta with Fresh Porcini

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 lb fresh porcini* or white mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, preferably soft, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about ¾ cup) 

For 1 recipe basic polenta, kept warm:
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup cornmeal or instant polenta 

Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

In a skillet heat butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and brown mushrooms with salt to taste, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add water and simmer, covered, 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Remove lid and simmer mixture 3 minutes, or until liquid reduces slightly. Stir in parsley and lemon juice and keep warm.

Stir 1/2 cup Gorgonzola into warm polenta until smooth. Divide polenta among 4 plates and spoon mushroom mixture on top. Tear remaining Gorgonzola into small pieces and sprinkle over each serving.

Garnish polenta with parsley.

To make basic polenta:
In a heavy saucepan bring water and salt to a boil and gradually whisk in cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook polenta over moderately low heat (it should be barely boiling), stirring constantly, until very thick and pulls away from side of pan, about 40 minutes for cornmeal and about 15 minutes for instant polenta. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm. Stir polenta just before using. Polenta will keep warm, covered, about 20 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.


Guest Interview Compostable Disposables 11 MIN

Sun Chips

Jennifer Saenz is a brand manager with Sun Chips, part of Frito Lay.  Sun Chips unveiled a new compostable bag made from polylactic acid, a polymer made from plants.  The package can be composted, but not through the city of Los Angeles.

Garbage Bins

Karen Higgins is the manager of LA City Facilities Recycling Program for the Bureau of Sanitation.  According to Karen, the Sun Chips bags shouldn't go in the green bin and it can't be composted through the city program.  The city is currently researching and testing how to handle these bio plastics.  

The following items can go into the green bin:

Weeds (remove dirt)
Tree branches
Fruit & vegetables
Clean wood (free of nails, paint, & other treatment)

More info on what goes in each bin here.


Music Break: Tired Of Fighting by Menahan Street Band

Guest Interview Notes from a Professional Wine Taster 8 MIN

semillon.jpgErnie Whalley is a wine, food and travel writer living in Dublin.  His blog is Fork n' Cork.  He writes a column for The Sunday Independent and The Evening Herald.  

Ernie currently likes Semillon.  He writes that Semillon "doesn't have the anaemic quality of Pinot Grigio, nor the acid-in-your-face attack of Sauvignon Blanc. It's delicate yet it has loads of flavour - lime, lemon, apple, a hint of white peach." He likes Mount Horrocks Semillon from Clare Valley.

He also likes the Austrian 'signature', Gruner Veltliner, which "makes beautiful wine with a substantial 'mouthfeel', absolutely the perfect match for Asian food. He's drinking wines from young Austrian winemaker, Birgit Eichinger.

Portugal also excites Ernie for their reds.  He likes Luis Pato's wine, specifically the "Baga" variety.

Guest Interview Beyond Kogi 6 MIN

Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly.  This week he reviews Chego, Roy Choi's new brick-and-mortar restaurant.  Roy is the food-truck maestro behind Kogi, the Korean taco food truck.  Jonathan likes the Ooey Gooey Fries, Hot Buttered Kimchi Chow and rhubarb pie.

All of Jonathan Gold's restaurant suggestions are on the Good Food Restaurant Map.


Music Break: Too Late To Turn Back by El Michel's Affair

Guest Interview Backstage at the LA Opera 7 MIN

The Ring Music

Orchestra Pit

The Orchestra Pit

Evan, Kazi and Flo

Flo, Kazi and Evan

Snack Table

Flo oversees the snack table

Flo's Spanikopita

Flo's Spanikopita

Kazi's Snack

Kazi's Snack

Kazi Pitelka is a violist with the LA Opera Orchestra.  They are currently performing Wagner's Ring Cycle.  The opera is over 17 hours long, performed over 4 nights.  The musicians prepare by bringing snacks for the intermissions. 

Flo's Cookies

Flo Titmus' Melomakarona Cookies (Honey Walnut Stuffed Cookies)

First you must make a delicious Spicey Honey Syrup
1 cup honey 2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup sugar 3 whole clove
1 1/2 cup water Orange zest - more like big strips

In a small saucepan bring all ingreidiants to a boil and cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 350

The next step is making the stuffing:

1 to 1 1/2 cup walnut bits 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla paste
2 Tablespoons honey 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put ingredients in food processor and grind until it has a fine texture.

Cookie dough:

4 1/2 to 5 cups flour 2 tsp gr. cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

sift these ingredients together into a large bowl

1 1/2 cup good quality LIGHT olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of one large orange
1 tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup cognac or grand marnier

Beat oil and sugar together for 10 minutes until you get a creamy texture. Add orange juice, zest and cognac and beat for another 5 or 6 minutes. Add flour mixture into liquid slowly and mix together until a soft dough forms. Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is soft but not stiff.

Now for the fun part:

Shape Dough 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp dough into a large round in the palm of your hand, put a tsp of the walnut stuffing and wrap dough around it.

Shape into a round cylinder and place on greased cookie sheet.

I like to add a walnut half for decoration on top, press down.

Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Remove from Oven and cool on a rack.

Guest Interview Movie Theater Snacks 45 MIN

Helena Echlin writes the Table Manners column for Chow.com.  She sometimes brings her own food into movie theaters, but argues that it's important to pay attention to the noise and aromas.  Too much of both can turn off the audience.


Music Break: Trains & Boats & Planes by Billy Strange

Guest Interview Road Trip to Ventura 9 MIN

Allison Costa is a food blogger and restaurant critic for the Ventura County Reporter.  She recommends the following:

Tomato Soup at Main Course CA, Ventura
Gourmet grilled Cheese sandwiches at the Sidecar, Ventura
Tuna Pocket and ceviche at Spencer Mackenzie's, Ventura
Quiche and sweets at Knead Baking Company, Ojai
Bison Burger at Tierra Sur, Oxnard

Guest Interview We Olive Vinegars 58 MIN

Debby and Phil Brooks own We Olive in Long Beach.  They sell olive oil, vinegar and other specialty products.  Phil did a vinegar tasting with Evan and they sampled the following:

Sparrow Lane D'Anjou Pear Vinegar

Cabernet Vinegar

Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar

BR Cohn White Balsamic

Modena Aged Balsamic Vinegar

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