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As we continue to look for alternative sources of energy, turning manure into electricity seems like a no-brainer.  Farmers have a lot of it and the technology has been in place for decades. This week on Good Food, PJ Huffstutter of the Los Angeles Times explains why it's not as easy a task as it seems.  Sarah Rose tells the tale of the 19th Century explorer who brought tea out of China and shared it with the rest of the world.  Forget drinking tea, Robert Wemischner shares his favorite ways to cook with tea.  Just what do they eat in Pyongyang, North Korea?  Curtis Melvin uncovers some of the mysteries of this closed state.  Antoinette Bruno tells us who some of the rising star chefs are in Southern California.  Lesley Balla knows where to get popovers and monkey bread in L.A.  Why does organic wine cost less than conventional?  Magali Delmas has the answer.  Plus, Hot Knives Alex Brown and Evan George have a homemade "Knyquil" recipe.  And Laura Avery has the fresh scoop from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Guest Interview Market Report 7 MIN

Green Garlic

Ray Garcia is the Executive Chef at Fig, located at the Sheraton Miramar in Santa Monica (101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica).  He is sauteing green garlic with sugar snap peas, English peas and pea tendrils.  He likes to include garlic scapes as well. When using green garlic, use the base and trim off the outer edge.  Blanch the peas before sauteing to allow for some carmelization.  Add mint and fresh parsley at the end.


Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farms grows leeks and green garlic.  Her green garlic is small, the size of a scallion.  Her leeks are long and small as well.  This technique is unique to Windrose Farms.  They plant smaller heads as a bulb and the green garlic grows as a clump.  They will be selling green garlic for another two weeks.  They are also selling a small, round Parisian carrot, which are small and sweet. 

Parisian Carrots

Guest Interview Turning Manure into Electricity 8 MIN

Manure Processing

Photo: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

P.J. Huffstutter is a staff writer for The Los Angeles Times covering food and agriculture issues.  She recently wrote about how some Central California farmers have been prevented from turning manure into electricity.  The practice involves using a digester to turn the manure into methane, which is then used as a fuel source.  A problem occurs when the energy produced fuels a generator, which creates nitrous oxide or smog.


Music Break: Maria Elena by Billy Strange

Guest Interview For All the Tea in China 6 MIN

Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune

Sarah Rose is the author of For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History.  Her book tells the story of Robert Fortune, a 19th Century British botanist who traveled to China for the British East India Company.  Fortune brought back tea plants that were then cultivated in India.  

Guest Interview Cooking with Tea 5 MIN

Robert Wemischner is a pastry chef and culinary instructor.  He frequently uses tea in recipes.  

Assam Cake

Milk Chocolate Torte with Assam Tea Ganache

8 oz dark milk chocolate
4 Tablespoons Tippy Assam tea leaves 
1/2 cup water
4 oz sweet butter
4 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted twice
2 tsp malted milk powder 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform or regular cake pan with non-flavored aerosolized spray.  Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  

In a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate.  In separate small saucepan, bring the tea leaves, water and butter to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir to melt the butter, allowing the tea leaves to infuse in the water-butter mixture for about 3 minutes.  Pass through a fine sieve into the chocolate.  Stir to blend.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a perfectly clean, fat-free bowl of an electric mixer and the yolks into the chocolate mixture.  Beat whites until soft peaks form.  Sift flour and malted milk powder together and then fold in egg whites.  Fold this flour-malted milk powder mixture gently but thoroughly into the chocolate base. Pour into a prepared cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake appears firm but not dry.  This cake is very moos inside and will fall as it cools.  Make the ganache.

Assam Ganache

7 oz heavy cream
2 Tablespoons Tippy Assam tea leaves
7 oz dark milk chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon unsalted sweet butter 

In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, bring the cream and tea leaves to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to infuse further for 3 minutes.  Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Slowly add the chocolate and gently stir to blend, without aerating.  Add the butter and stir until completely melted.  Set aside.  

Assembly: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Place the cake on a cooling rack then place the rack on the cookie sheet.  Pour the ganache over the cake using a spatula to spread the ganache evenly as needed.  Allow to set.  Scrape u any ganache that drips off the cake and pour to cover the cake a second time.  Reheat slightly over a pot of simmering water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.  Cool at room temperature.  Makes 1 torte that serves 6 to 8.


Music Break: May Day by UNKLE

Cooking with Tea

Robert Wemischner

Guest Interview Eating Inside North Korea 8 MIN

North Korea Pin

Curtis Melvin is an economist who writes the blog North Korean Economy Watch.  He's traveled to North Korea on two separate occasions (see pictures from his trip here).  Using Google Earth, he has mapped many commercial and economic centers in North Korea, including markets and restaurants.  

Guest Interview Knyquil 3 MIN


Alex Brown and Evan George are the Hot Knives.  They've made an organic version on NyQuil (they call it KniQuil) using Pastis, roasted green chile, Southern Comfort and more.

Organic KniQuil

2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
1 cup agave nectar (sugar, honey work)
1 small ginger bulb
1 lemon
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoons roasted green chile
2 shots Pastis
2 shots Southern Comfort


1. Start off making a mint simple syrup. Pluck 35-40 mint leaves off their stems, this should yield about 2 cups of mint. Roughly chop half the mint (set half aside for later use) and add to a saucepot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the leaves out. Put just the mint tea back on a medium heat and wait until back to a full boil. Add agave nectar, mixing, and let cook 1 minute before removing. Set aside to cool.

2. Ready your other veggies for the blender. First peel the ginger and slice into matchsticks. Next, zest your lemon, place the zest into a small dish and cover with 1 tsp. of good quality olive oil.

3. Toss the ginger, green chile and remaining cup of fresh mint to the blender. Add lemon juice. Finally add half the mint syrup, setting the rest aside for garnish. Pulse thoroughly for up to a minute. (Note: If you do not have the luxury of having authentic green chile, try subbing in a roasted jalapeño. Remove the seeds and use half in place of green chile.)

4. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Use a spoon to slush it around, allowing it to pass through the sieve or fine mesh strainer. Now you have the fresh juice part of your elixer! Taste it with a spoon, if it seems too tart or spicy, add more mint syrup one teaspoon at a time.

5. Mix. The basic proportion is one-part juice to one-part pastis to one-part whiskey. For a single dose: measure out a tablespoon of each into a cocktail shaker. Add a teaspoon of lemon zest oil. Complete with 3 ice cubes and shake fervently. Pour into a shot glass or desert wine snifter.


Music Break: Memphis by Billy Strange

Guest Interview The Organic Wine Paradox 7 MIN

Magali Delmas is an associate professor of management at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  She researched over 13,000 wines and found that organically labeled wines cost less than those without that label.  Many wines are organic but choose not to label them as such.  They can make more money off of wine without the organic label.  

Guest Interview StarChefs 7 MIN

Antoinette Bruno is the CEO and Editor of StarChefs.com.  They recently released their rundown of Los Angeles and San Diego rising star chefs.

William Bradley at the Addison in San Diego (5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA)

Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook at Animal (435 N Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA)

Rory Herrman of Bouchon Bistro (235 N Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA)

Diana Stavaridis at BLD (7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA)

Walter Manzke at Church & State (1850 Industrial St. Los Angeles, CA)

Michael Voltaggio at The Dining Room at the Langham (1401 South Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena,, CA 91106)

Ken Takayama at Melisse (1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA)

Jason Knibb at Nine-Ten in San Diego (910 Prospect St., La Jolla, CA)

Zachary Pollack and Stephan Samson of Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa (650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA)

Kuniko Yagi at Sona (401 North La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA)

Guest Interview Monkey Bread and Popovers 7 MIN

Lesley Balla is the Los Angeles editor of Tasting Table, a daily email newsletter.

Monkey Bread

Thee's Pastries at the Farmer's Market (6333 West 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA)

Tavern (11648 West San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles)

Euro Pane (950 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA)

Bottega Louie (700 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA)


Neiman Marcus (9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA)

BLT Steak (8720 West Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA)

Mercantile (6600 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA)

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