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Chef Mark Peel has easy ideas on preparing eggplant, while roaster Doug Zell samples coffee like fine wine. Bill Anderson grows over 10,000 tomatoes in his home garden and Pam Dorr advocates access to clean water and water meters for Hale County, Alabama. Shane Connor shares food tips when preparing for a disaster. Nancy Zaslavsky serves up a frozen margarita dessert and writer Ruben Martinez finds his Salvadoran culinary roots via the pupusa. Plus, two angry moms Susan Rubin and Amy Kalafa sit in on the school lunch revolution and Laura Avery has a fresh Market Report.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview The Market Report 7 MIN


The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market welcomes a new vender. Mud Creek Ranch from Santa Paula has begun growing quince, which looks a bit like an apple but is much harder. Although you can eat it raw, it’s much better cooked. Cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds and bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Quince’s high pectin content makes it a great fruit for making jelly.


Laura Avery also talks with Amelia Saltsman, who has some recipes for pumpkin or winter squash. Amelia's latest book is The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook.

Winter Squash Puree with Shaved Parmesan
Think of this as a master recipe: serve it with bruschetta as an appetizer; double the recipe for a great side dish with roast chicken, turkey, or pork; add beef or vegetable stock to turn the puree into an autumn soup; or use it as a flavor base for risotto.

Makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large clove garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 dried árbol chile or pinch of red pepper flakes
Kosher or sea salt
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups roasted winter squash (see below)
1/2 cup vegetable or beef stock, approximately
2 to 4 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Winchester sharp Gouda cheese, plus cheese for shaving
1 Tablespoon pumpkin-seed or extra-virgin olive oil

In a skillet, sauté the onion, whole garlic clove, sage, chile and a little salt in the olive oil over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the squash, a little more salt and 1/4 cup of the stock. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook to a thick puree, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently and adding stock as needed to keep the mixture smooth and prevent sticking. If the mixture seems too wet, uncover during the last few minutes of cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat, discard the chile, and mash the garlic clove into the squash. Stir in the grated cheese and salt to taste along with the pumpkin-seed oil. The puree can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Top with cheese shavings and serve at room temperature with bruschette.

How to roast winter squash or pumpkins: Preheat oven to 375°. Pierce the squash in a few places with a knife or meat fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the squash is browned, shiny, beginning to lose its shape and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour for a 5-lb squash. When cool enough to handle, cut in half crosswise and scoop out and discard the seeds and strings (or save seeds for another purpose). Scoop the pulp from the “shell.” A 5-lb squash yields about 6 cups cooked pulp. Use as is, or puree or mash with a food processor or a fork and freeze in 2-cup containers for convenient use throughout the season.

Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007)

Farmers’ Market Risotto
Makes 4 servings

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups braised vegetables or vegetable puree or sauce, such as Winter Squash Puree
1 cup Arborio or other Italian rice
6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock diluted to half strength, at a gentle simmer
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the braised vegetables and add the rice. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains whiten but do not brown and are coated with the onion-vegetable mixture.

Add 1 ladleful of the simmering stock, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 ladleful at a time, always cooking and stirring until completely absorbed before adding more, until the rice is tender but still a bit firm at the center of each grain and creamy, about 20 minutes total. You may not need all of the stock. Or, if you see that you will need more liquid as you near the end of the stock, add a little boiling water to the stock remaining in the pan. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007)

Musical break: Guitar Rhumbo by Guitar Gable

Guest Interview Eggplant Ideas 7 MIN


Eggplant, with is lustrously smooth purple skin and pendulous shape, is one of those beautiful vegetables whose preparation is an enigma to many cooks. However, Mark Peel of Campanile's comes to the rescue with some simple recipes, including one for Baba Ghanoush. Mark cautions that eggplant should NEVER be al dente (it's unsavory and spongy that way) and should always be cooked thoroughly. One of the easiest preparations is simply to toast sliced eggplant in a toaster oven. The slices will be slightly charred and crunchy, and make a fabulous filling for a savory sandwich.

Baba Ghanoush

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium unblemished eggplant (about 1.5 lbs)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup olive oil
¾ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp minced fresh thyme

1. Place a cast iron skillet large enough for the eggplant to fit comfortably over high heat and put the eggplant in it. Cook for about 1 hour, carefully turning the eggplant every 15 minutes as the skin becomes black and charred. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle (but still hot inside, about 5 minutes).

2. Trim off the stem end of the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape out the insides with a spoon, discarding the charred skin. Some of the pulp will have darkened; this gives the eggplant a smoky flavor. Mash the pulp in a bowl with a fork, breaking up any large pieces. Stir in the garlic, olive oil, salt , pepper, and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature for several hours or refrigerate overnight.

Musical break: Dirt by the Penguin Café Orchestra

Guest Interview Intelligentsia Coffee 7 MIN

Doug Zell.jpg

Doug Zell of Intelligentsia Coffee in Silver Lake believes that coffee is as nuanced as fine wine. Explaining that his plan begins at the point of purchasing coffee beans, Doug explains how different sales impact the grower. His direct-trade purchase provides the grower maximum benefit and, he believes, yields the highest quality bean. By marketing beans by quality, rather than quantity, retailers could stagger the price of both beans and brew, selling higher caliber coffee at a premium and affording coffee drinkers a wider palate from which to choose.

Musical break: Spunky by Johnny Jenkins

Guest Interview Tomato Obsession 7 MIN


Gardener Bill Anderson is so obsessed with tomatoes that he's grown 10,850 tomatoes so far this season at his home garden. He recently got married and there was even a tomato theme at the wedding.


From the vine


in a garden full of tomatoes


to the table,


and the stove!

Musical break: Rosasolis by the Penguin Café Orchestra

Guest Interview Buy a Water Meter 7 MIN


In some small, rural parts of the U.S. people are without access to clean water. In Alabama, one-quarter of Hale County residents aren't even connected to the municipal water supply. Others have access but can't afford the set-up or monthly fees, get their water from contaminated shallow wells.

Pam Dorr is director of the Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization, or HERO, which is dedicated to helping impoverished families in Hale County. She's currently working on a project to purchase water meters for needy families. You can learn more and donate to the project at Buy a Meter.

Musical break: Bakara by Chris Joss

Guest Interview Disaster Food Preparedness 7 MIN

Shane Connor shares ideas on what types of foods to have on hand when a disaster strikes, whether it's an earthquake or even a nuclear attack. Connor's disaster preparedness business is KI4U. For building your own earthquake kit, visit the American Red Cross, California Office of Emergency Services, Major Surplus and Amazon websites.

Musical break: Clutch Cargo Cult by Don Tiki

Guest Interview Frozen Margarita Ice Pops 4 MIN


Author and regional Mexican food expert Nancy Zaslavsky serves up frozen margarita ice pops using fresh limes and tequila. Nancy offers culinary tours to Mexico throughout the year.

Nancy Z’s Fast, Fun & Easy Margarita Ice Pops
(Courtesy of Nancy Zaslavsky)
Makes 6 servings

6 frozen, packaged, natural flavor and color lime ice pops (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)
1/4 cup 100% agave tequila, any brand or type
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup kosher or medium-coarse sea salt, spread out in a small plate

1. Unwrap the ice pops and place, sticks up, in a deep bowl just wide and deep enough to hold them all.

2. Sprinkle the tequila and fresh lime juice over the ice pops.

To serve:

First, pass out napkins. Then pass the bowl around, followed immediately by the plate of salt. Each person selects an ice pop, then dips one edge into the salt (not too much.)

Cook’s treat: The lime-flavored tequila in the bottom of the bowl is delectable!

Musical break: Tarnation by Max Avery Lichtenstein

Guest Interview Salvadoran Culinary Roots 6 MIN

Journalist and author Rubén Martínez believes that for many immigrants, food is a crucial link to home. For him and other Salvadorans, that link is the pupusa. Not quite as well known as the taco, the pupusa is the national dish of El Salvador. Made out of corn masa, it’s stuffed with cheese, beans, chicharon (pork rind) or loroco (flower bud) and is garnished with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot mixture) and a red tomato sauce.

El Buen Gusto Restaurant
3140 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

El Nuevo Rincon
1811 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Mi Querido Pulgarcito
2500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

El Nuevo Rincon Salvadoreno (formerly known as Pupuseria La Fe)
3827 W Sunset Blvd (near Hyperion in Silver Lake)
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Musical break: Someday by RJD2

Guest Interview Two Angry Moms 6 MIN


Surprised by the lunch menu at their children’s schools, Susan Rubin and Amy Kalafa decided to take matters into their own hands. First, they even made a documentary, Two Angry Moms, about their efforts to fight juvenile obesity and get fries, frozen nuggets and fruit roll-ups out of school. You too can participate in the school lunch revolution, which runs October 15 – 17, via the National School Lunch-In campaign. Have lunch with your kids and see what they’re eating!

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