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Dianna Guerrero Robertson celebrates Day of the Dead, while Helena Echlin dishes advice about eating with your fingers. Dr. Buddhima Lokuge talks about the strategies for feeding hungry children, chef Jeff Henderson recounts how time spent in a prison kitchen changed his life and Joe Girard launches an online cooking school. John Willoughby talks about iceberg harvesters and Thanksgiving recipes, Betty Fussell reveals the human side of the American beef industry and Laura Avery finds what is in season in the Market Report.

Simply Organic

Jesse Ziff Cool

Guest Interview The Market Report 6 MIN, 50 SEC


Laura Avery chats with Jason Travi, chef-owner of Fraiche restaurant in Culver City. He is just opening Riva restaurant on Wilshire Blvd in between 3rd and 4th Street in Santa Monica.  Winter squash soup is really popular this time of year at Fraiche. Travi tops his with cardamom-flavored marshmallows.

Winter Squash Soup
(adapted from a recipe by Evan Kleiman)

Roast whole squash in the oven at 375° to 400°F. With a knife, poke holes in the skin of the pumpkin/squash.  Bake until flesh is soft (when pricked with a knife, the knife should slide easily through the skin and flesh.) 

Remove pumpkin. Cut in half and scoop out seeds. Then scoop out flesh and use in below soup recipe.

½ cup butter, browned in a gently warmed pan (careful not to burn the butter)
2 onions, peeled and diced
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
3 lbs winter squash peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (any variety except spaghetti squash)
Mushroom broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in the browned butter until they starts to collapse and become soft. Add to a large stockpot.  Pour enough broth to cover one-third of the pot's contents.  Add spices and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer. 

Keep the pot covered and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. When the squash softens, it will have given up some of its water and you can see how much additional liquid to add, if any. Once everything is soft, mash the mixture with a potato masher or sturdy whisk. If it is very thick, add enough additional liquid to make a pleasing texture.  Evan likes to put the soup through the coarse disk of a food mill. For a more elegant texture, puree the ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Adjust the seasoning to your palate, and garnish the soup with cardamom marshmallows.

Cardamom Marshmallows
Recipe courtesy of Brownie Points blog

2 gelatin envelopes
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Rice flour
Confectioners sugar

Line a 9" x 13" (8" x 8") pan and a loaf pan with parchment paper. Coat the paper with vegetable oil or non-stick spray.

Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixer bowl combine the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon of water with 1 teaspoon ground cardamom. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid to bloom (soften).   Add the sugar, salt, corn syrup, and remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon to a heavy saucepan.

Bring to a boil with the lid on and without stirring. When this mixture is at a boil, remove the lid and continue to cook without stirring until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234°-240°F).

With the mixer at medium speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl into the awaiting gelatin mixture. Be careful as the syrup is very liquid and very hot and some may splash out of the bowl. (Use a splashguard if you have one.) When all of the syrup is added, bring the mixer up to full speed.

Whip until the mixture is very fluffy and stiff, about 8-10 minutes. Pour marshmallow into the parchment-lined pans and smooth with an oiled offset spatula if necessary. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.

Mix equal parts rice flour and confectioners sugar and sift generously over the rested marshmallow slab. Turn the slab out onto a cutting board, peel off paper and dust with more sugar/starch mixture. Slice with a pizza cutter into desired shapes. Dip all cut edges in sugar/starch mixture and shake off excess powder.

Marshmallows will keep several weeks at room temp in an air-tight container.


Squash, squash and more squash. It's the season for it. Luckily there are many varieties at the farmers markets. Look for Delicata, a variety that Jerry Rutiz grows. Because the skin is so thin he likes to slice the squash into thin slices (skin on), scrapes off the seeds, and bakes or sautees in a layer of olive oil. When browned, the squash turns crunchy sweet, almost like an onion ring.

Music break: All Good by Zeroleen

Guest Interview Day of the Dead 6 MIN, 47 SEC


The observance of the Mexican holiday know as El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is observed on November 1 and November 2 and celebrates the lives of deceased friends and family. Olvera Street's Dianna Guerrero Robertson says Angelenos celebrate the holiday through preparing food and by creating altars for loved ones. Some foods left at graves or for the altars are pan de muerto (bread of the dead,) sugar skulls, atole (a hot, thick corn drink) as well as the deceased's favorite food.

Olvera Street's Día de los Muertos Celebration
November 1-2, 11am - 9pm
7pm - Blessing of the altars
El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Park
845 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Music break: Agony Wagon by Th' Legendary Shack Shakers

Guest Interview Eating with Your Fingers 6 MIN, 18 SEC



Chow.com's etiquette maven Helena Echlin dishes advice about using fingers as utensils. Find out which foods can be eaten with your fingers and whether it's appropriate to lick them.

Music break: Adios by Al Caiola

Guest Interview Feeding Starving Children 8 MIN, 51 SEC


Dr. Buddhima Lokuge discusses several strategies that are being implemented to feed starving children around the world, including no-cook food aids. One of them, Plumpy'nut, is a peanut-based paste that is used in famine relief and to combat malnutrition in the developing world.

Dr. Lokuge is the manager of Medecins Sans Frontierers' Access to Essential Medicines Campaign.  The group, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, is sponsoring the traveling exhibit "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" which makes a stop in Santa Monica this weekend. Admission is free to the public.

A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City
October 31 - November 2, 9:00am - 5:30 pm
Parking Lot 1 North, Santa Monica Pier

Music break: About to Set Sail by Vivid Low Sky

Guest Interview Chef Jeff 7 MIN, 37 SEC


Chef Jeff Henderson reveals how his stint in a prison kitchen transformed his life. He now shares his joy of cooking to help troubled young people. Henderson's autobiography is Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove.  Henderson's also the author of Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America's Inspirational New Culinary Star. His reality show, The Chef Jeff Project airs Sundays on the Food Network. 

Chocolate S'more Bread Pudding
Serves 6 to 8

3 large eggs
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup small marshmallows
1/2 cup small bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10 slices pecan - raisin bread
Vanilla bean ice cream

1.  Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Add all the other ingredients except the bread and ice cream and stir to combine.
2.  Cut the bread into small cubes and fold the bread into the egg mixture.  Let stand for 1 hour, making sure the bread is immersed in the liquid.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
4.  Scrape the bread mixture into a 13"x9" baking dish.  Bake until the center is set, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split down the middle
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1.  Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat for a low simmer.
2.  Place the vanilla bean in the simmering milk and let steep for about 25 minutes.
2.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixer bowl until thick.
3.  Carefully remove the vanilla bean from the milk and scrape the seeds into the milk.
5.  Pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture and stir.  Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until thickened.  Do not bring to a boil or it will curdle.  When you can see a film form on the back of your spoon, it's time to remove the saucepan from the heat.  Let cool.
6.  When the custard is cool, stir in the cream.
7. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and churn until semifrozen.
8.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the soft ice cream into a container and freeze for 24 hours.

Marbled Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Serves 6 to 8
Walnut Graham Cracker Crust
Sweet Potato Pie Filling
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1.  Make the graham cracker crust and sweet potato pie filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
3.  Beat the cream cheese in a mixer bowl until smooth.  Gradually beat in the eggs and sugar and continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes.
4.  Turn the mixer off and scrape the bowl.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat for 1 to 2 minutes more.
5.  To assemble the cheesecake, pour the cream cheese mixture in layers into the crust while adding spoonfuls of the sweet potato pie filling.  Take a wooden skewer and crisscross the cake to create a marbled effect.  Place the cheesecake in the oven.  On the wire rack under the cheesecake, place a pan filled three-quarters full of water so the cheesecake crust does not double bake.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes.

Walnut Graham Crack Crust
Yield one 9 - inch crust
1 1/2 cups crushed honey graham crackers
1/2 cup sugar
1/2/ cup finely chopped walnuts
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Mix the cracker crumbs, sugar, walnuts, and butter on low to medium speed in a mixer bowl.
3.  Using your hands, pack the crust firmly over the bottom of a 9 - inch springform pan.  Bake until the crust starts to bubble up, 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Sweet Potato Pie Filling
Yields approximately 2 cups
2 large sweet potatoes or garnet yams, baked or boiled until soft (or one 8-inch can sweet potatoes)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2/ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4/ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk

1.  Peel the sweet potatoes if necessary.  Place them in a mixer bowl.  Add the eggs, both sugars, the butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Using the paddle on medium - low speed, beat for 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn the mixer off and scrape the bowl.
2.  On medium-low speed, gradually add the milk; continue to beat until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside until ready to bake.

Music break: Already Gone by Whitsundays


Jeff Henderson

Guest Interview Rouxbe Online Cooking School 6 MIN, 51 SEC


Co-founder Joe Girard introduces us to the Rouxbe Online Cooking School, which is based in Vancouver, Canada. He explains technique versus following recipes when learning how to cook. His site also includes how-to videos.

Music break: Asthmatic by Windmill

Guest Interview Iceberg Harvesters and Thanksgiving 6 MIN, 46 SEC


John "Doc" Willoughby, editor of Gourmet magazine, talks about iceberg harvesters and shares some Thanksgiving recipes. Gourmet's special Thanksgiving issue is on newsstands now.

Corn-Bread and Chorizo Stuffing
Serves 8
Active time: 20 min   Start to finish: 2 1/4 hr

What started as an arepa recipe evolved into a play on traditional American corn-bread stuffing. Chorizo takes the place of fresh sausage, and garlic adds punch to a buttery base. Imagine all of the classic textures with Latino flavors - it's that good.

Skillet corn bread
1/4 lb Spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage), casing removed and sausage chopped
2  Tablespoons vegetable oil
2  medium onions, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
4  celery ribs, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
2  Tablespoons chopped garlic
1  tsp dried oregano
1  cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1  large egg

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Butter a  shallow 3-quart baking dish.

Crumble corn bread into 1/2-inch pieces, spreading out in 1 layer in 2 large  4-sided sheet pans. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dry, about 20 minutes. Cool completely and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook chorizo in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic, oregano, and 1 1/4 tsp salt and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add to corn bread.

Whisk together broth and egg, then pour over stuffing and toss well. Transfer to baking dish and cover tightly with buttered foil. Bake in upper third of oven 1 hour. Remove foil and bake until top is golden, about 15 minutes more.

Cooks’ notes:  Stuffing, without broth mixture, can be prepared 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Toss with broth and egg before baking.

Skillet Corn Bread
Serves 8
Active time:10 min  Start to finish:30 min

Corn bread made from scratch is the secret to a corn-bread stuffing, especially when the bread is this delicious. As moist as cake beneath its golden crust, this crumbly treat is also wonderful on its own.

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups cups well-shaken buttermilk (do not use powdered)
1/2 stick unsalted butter

Special Equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch skillet

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Heat skillet in oven 10 minutes.

Meanwhile stir together dry ingredients in small bowl. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl.

Remove hot skillet from oven (handle will be very hot) and add butter, swirling skillet to coat bottom and side (butter may brown). Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture just until evenly moistened but still lumpy.

Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool.

Cooks' note: Corn bread for stuffing can be baked two days ahead and kept in a sealable bag at room temperature.

Poblano Potato Gratin
Serves 8 (side dish)
Active time: 45 min   Start to finish: 2 ½ hr

In Mexican cuisine, rajas refers to thin strips of roasted chiles. Although they commonly spice up everything from stews to tamales, rajas are best when adding a kick to creamy dishes. Here, forest-green poblanos lend a mild, almost fruity heat to a potato gratin.

1 1/2 lb fresh poblano chiles (about 5)
1  lb onions, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1  Tablespoon vegetable oil
3  lb large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4  cup whole milk

Equipment:  an adjustable-blade slicer

Roast chiles and make rajas: Lay chiles on a gas burner over high heat or in a broiler, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered tightly, 10 minutes.

When are cool enough to handle, peel or rub off the skin, slit chiles lengthwise. Stem, seed and de-vein. Cut lengthwise into thin strips.

Cook onions with 1 teaspoon salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in chiles and remove rajas from heat. Reserve  1/2 cup rajas for topping.

Make gratin:  Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 3-qt shallow baking dish.

Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/16-inch-thick slices with slicer. Transfer to a small heavy pot. Add cream, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (liquid will thicken). Stir in rajas, and pour mixture evenly into baking dish. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup rajas on top.

Bake until potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note: Rajas can be made 3 days ahead and chilled; gratin can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature and reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven (about 30 minutes).

Roasted Potatoes and Shallots
Serves 6
Active time: 15 min   Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

Yukon Golds go creamy and crusty at the same time when roasted with caramelized shallots. Although salt and pepper are all this dish needs, a spoonful of gravy on top is certainly welcome.

6  large shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
3  Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in lowest position.

Toss shallots with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 13- by 9-inch baking pan, spreading evenly.

Roast, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden, about 30 minutes.

Toss potatoes with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then add to shallots.

Roast, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender and potatoes are crusty, 40 to 
50 minutes.

Cook's note:  Shallots (but not potatoes) can be roasted (for 30 minutes only) one day ahead and chilled.

Music break: The Way I Do by T.H. White

Guest Interview American Beef 7 MIN, 19 SEC


Food historian Betty Fussell reveals the human side of the American beef industry in Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef. She discusses the origin of American, grass-fed and corn-fed beef, as well as ranching and the future of American beef.

Cendrillon's Beef Tapa
2 lbs flank steak
For the marinade:
1/2/cup soy sauce
1/2/cup mirin (sweetened rice wine)
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Slice the steak thinly, in 1/8-inch slices, across the grain.  Combine remaining ingredients and marinate the beef at least an hour overnight.  Remove slices and lay them flat on wire racks on pans.  Air-dry the slices using an electric fan, for about an hour.  Cover a large skillet with a film of oil and fry the slices over medium heat until they crisp.  Serve with garlic-fried rice and fried eggs.

Raising Steaks

Betty Fussell

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