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Despite the swine flu outbreak, it's okay to eat pork.  Russ Parsons loves to cook pork shoulder and schnitzel -- delicious and economical. Listener Suzanne Roady-Ross explains why pig is pork but chicken is chicken.  Jonathan Gold takes us to Bottega Louie.  Chip Ransler tells us how his company is turning rice husks into electricity in India. Are we fat because we eat too much or because we're fed high caloric foods?  Hank Cardello has some words for food producers.  George Cossette tells us about Georgian wines.  Pastry Chef David Lebovitz loves to cook with white chocolate.  And Mark Olive shares his passion for Australian bush tucker.  Plus, Laura Avery shows us what's in season at the farmers market.

Cooking Up a Storm

Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker

Guest Interview Market Report 7 MIN, 51 SEC

Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb are the owners of Rustic Canyon restaurant on Wilshire near 11th Street and the newly opened bakery/cafe, Huckleberry.  ZoeRadishes and Josh recently got married and instead of gifts they asked for donations to their garden fund. With that money they hired Jimmy Williams of Hayground Organics in Los Angeles. Jimmy ripped out the front yard and planted an orchard of fruit trees. In the backyard Zoe and Josh have blueberries, strawberries, corn, lettuces, peppers and many other things in their small area.  Right now Zoe is looking for radishes to make a simple butter and radish sandwich. She uses a baguette and butters it with Plugra butter. The radishes are sliced thinly, placed on the bread and topped with fluer de sel salt.



Summer squash is just cropping up in the markets this week. Look for the regular green zucchini or the pale green Lebanese zucchini, patty pan or any of the other varieties.  Cliff Wright is a cookbook author. His most recent book is Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook.  Here is his recipe for stuffed zucchini:

Stuffed Zucchini
Makes 5 servings

In the Arab world, the stuffing of vegetables has its roots in the cookery of the early Islamic empire of the Abbasids in Baghdad, possibly learned from the Persians.  Ottoman chefs perfected the stuffing of vegetables, and today nearly everything that can be stuffed is stuffed from artichokes to zucchini.  This version of stuffed zucchini, called kūsā maḥshī is one way they do it in the Levant.  Sometimes the stuffing is made only with rice.  Another variation made with stuffed zucchini is to poach them in yogurt.

6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lbs ground lamb
1 Tablespoon bahārāt (see Note)
1 tsp freshly ground allspice berries
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed well or soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes and drained
1/2 cup very finely chopped onions
3 Tablespoons very finely chopped fresh parsley
6 Tablespoons very finely chopped fresh mint
Juice from 1 small lemon
10 small zucchini (about 2 1/2 pounds), ends trimmed

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the ground lamb, stirring occasionally, with the bahārāt, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the drained rice, onions, parsley, 3 tablespoons of the mint, and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and season with salt.
2. Hollow out the zucchini using a zucchini corer, making sure you do so carefully so as not to puncture the skin.  (Save the zucchini pulp, if desired, for making zucchini fritters).  Stuff the zucchini, but not too tightly as the rice will expand while cooking.
3. Cover the bottom of a 10-inch stew pot with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil and pack the stuffed zucchini tightly and neatly in the stew pot in layers.  Sprinkle each layer with some of the remaining mint and lemon juice, salt, and a light drizzle of olive oil.  Finish the top layer with the olive oil, mint, and lemon juice and dash of salt.  Invert a heavy plate on top of the zucchini to press them down. 
4. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until the stuffed zucchini are tender, 2 to 3 hours.  Test for doneness after 2 hours by tasting one of the ends of the zucchini.  If the rice is cooked, it is done, otherwise continue cooking.

Note: The Arabic spice mix called bahārāt is found, with that name, in the spice sections of some supermarkets.  You can make your own by grinding and blending together ¼ cup black peppercorns, ¼ cup allspice berries, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and pinches to ¼ teaspoon additions of any of the following: paprika, coriander seeds, cassia bark, sumac, nutmeg, cumin seeds, or cardamom seeds.

© Clifford A. Wright


Music Break: Pig Foots by John Patton

Bake Until Bubbly

Clifford Wright

Guest Interview Eating Pork 8 MIN, 49 SEC

Pork Schnitzel

Photo: Gary Friedman/LA Times

Russ Parsons is a food writer for the L.A. Times.  Find his recipe for Pork Schnitzel here.  Russ also likes pork shoulder as it's delicious and economical.  Use leftovers for sandwiches. 

Roast Pork Shoulder
1 8-lb leg of pork

1. Pat the roast dry with a paper towel and carefully score the skin into diamond shapes. This is most easily done with a small sharp knife.

2. Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt, about 2 1/2 tablespoons. Place the roast upright on a plate, with the shank pointing straight up. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours to overnight.

3. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the roast from the refrigerator; pat dry. Arrange on a rack in a roasting pan, skin-side up and place in the oven. Roast to an internal temperature of 150 degrees, about 2 3/4 to 3 hours.

4. When the meat is done, raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees for 15 minutes to crisp the skin. Remove the roast from the oven and let stand at least 20 minutes to 1 hour.

5. To serve, use a carving knife to slice away the cracklings, keeping them in a single sheet as much as possible. Place on a separate plate. Slice away any thick pieces of fat that may remain. Slice the meat from the bone in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces. This is most easily done by slicing parallel to the main leg bone, working your way around the leg. Arrange the sliced meat on a platter and place the cracklings on top.

From the L.A. Times.


Music Break: Peanut Vendor by Jack Costanzo

How to Pick a Peach

Russ Parsons

Guest Interview Bottega Louie 8 MIN, 30 SEC

Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer-prize winning food writer for the L.A. Weekly.  Bottega Louie is a large marketplace and restaurant in Downtown L.A.  Jonathan liked the wood-fired margherita pizza and the chicken parmesan.  Read his review here.

For our trip to New York, Jonathan Gold recommends Porchetta in the East Village. 

On May 4, join Evan for drinks at The Spotted Pig in the West Village at 6 pm. 

Bottega Louie

700 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 802-1470

110 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 777-2151

The Spotted Pig
314 W 11th Street #1
New York, NY 10014
(212) 620-0393


Music Break: Raincoat Song by The Decemberists

Guest Interview White Chocolate 6 MIN, 10 SEC

David Lebovitz is an ex-pat living in Paris.  He is the former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and the author of The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing  - Cities.

David likes to use white chocolate in ice cream and in sherbert.   For bars of white chocolate, David loves Askinosie's.

White Chocolate Ice CreamWhite Chocolate And Fresh Ginger Ice Cream with Nectarine and Cherry Compote
4-6 Servings

3-inch piece (2 to 2 1/2 oz) fresh ginger, unpeeled

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup whole milk

1 cup plus 1 cup heavy cream

8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

5 large egg yolks

1. Slice the ginger thinly, cover it with water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain away the water but return the blanched ginger to the pan. Add the sugar, the milk and 1 cup of heavy cream to the saucepan and re-warm the mixture.

Cover and steep for at least an hour, or until you are satisfied with the ginger flavor.

2. Put the chopped white chocolate in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the ginger-infused cream mixture, whisking constantly as you pour in the warm cream. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the white chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Discard the ginger. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and chill thoroughly. You can set the bowl over an ice bath to speed it up.

5. Chill mixture thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Nectarine and Cherry Compote

4-6 Servings

4 nectarines

1 lb fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4 to 6 Tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rum or kirsch (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Split the nectarines in half and pluck out the pits. Put them in a 2-quart baking dish with the cherries. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the fruit.

2. Mix in the sugar and rum or kirsch, if using.  Turn the nectarines so they're cut side down, arranging them in an even layer with the cherries and tuck the vanilla bean underneath.

3. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, opening the oven door twice during baking so you can jostle the baking dish to encourage the juices to flow. The fruit is done when a sharp paring knife easily pierces the nectarines.

4. Remove from oven and serve warm, or at room temperature with a nice scoop of the White Chocolate and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream.


Music Break: Record Year by The Decemberists

The Sweet Life in Paris

David Lebovitz

Guest Interview Husk Power 5 MIN, 59 SEC

Charles "Chip" Ransler is the Chief Strategy Officer for Husk Power Systems, which provides electricity to rural India through the use of rice husks.  The husks are a waste product of rice milling.  Their technology provides "mini power plants" to small villages, supplying households with enough electricity for 8-10 hours a day.


Music Break: Ruff Percussion by One Cut

Guest Interview Who Is Making Us Fat? 7 MIN, 48 SEC

StuffedFor more than 20 years, Hank Cardello was an executive at Coca Cola, General Mills and Michelob.  He currently chairs the Global Obesity Business Forum at UNC Chapel Hill.  He is the author of Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's Really Making Us Fat.





Music Break: Seven Years of Holidays (For Stretch) by The Walkmen


Hank Cardello

Guest Interview Georgian Wines 6 MIN, 33 SEC

Georgian Winery

Winery in Georgia with Amphorae / Photo Courtesy Chris Terrell, Terrell Wines

George Cossette is the co-owner of Silverlake Wine (2395 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA).  Wines in Georgia are made in ancient amphorae, or ceramic casks.

George recommends these Georgian wines:

Tsolikouri  Teliani Valley "Tsolikouri" 2005 - White, not made in amphora 
Kisi  Vinoterra "Kisi" 2006 - White, amphora
Saparavi  Vinoterra Saperavi 2003 - Red, amphora

Music Break: Shake by Dave Baby Cortez

Guest Interview Bush Tucker 6 MIN, 50 SEC

Mark Olive

Mark Olive is one of Australia's premier Aboriginal chefs.  He is from the Bundjalung tribe and grew up in the Wollongong region of Australia.  Mark stars in the show The Outback Cafe on the Lifestyle Channel in Australia.

Some native Australian spices Mark mentions include wattle seed, lemon myrtle, and rivermint.  He also likes to use kutjera, or bush tomato.  Mark makes a lasagna infused with kutjera and lemon myrtle.

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