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Mark Bittman shares the secret to making delicious burgers. Author Fred Plotkin guides gourmet travelers through Italy. Fatima Marques bakes old-world Portuguese pastries. Scholar Ken Albala feasts on medieval banquets. Gary Allen presents the vast world of herbs. Ian Jackman details 1001 things to eat before dieting. Food anthropologist Jessica Harris discusses how slavery affected the foods of the South and the US. As always, Laura Avery has what's in season this week at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview The Market Report 7 MIN


Laura Avery talks with Amelia Saltsman, author of The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, who shares these tasty ideas for white cannellini beans and beets.

Tangy White Beans (Makes 8 servings)
6 cups drained, cooked fresh cannellini beans, see below ***
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
Kosher or sea salt

In a serving bowl, stir together the beans, garlic, parsley, oil, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt. Make at least one hour ahead (or up to 1 day ahead) and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and vinegar before serving.

***How To Cook Fresh Shell Beans. Shell the beans and place in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer until beans are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 40 minutes. Add salt to taste, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the beans cool. Refrigerate the beans in their liquid. Drain before using and reserve the liquid for enriching soups and stews. Fresh beans do not expand much in cooking. Plan on about 1 cup cooked beans from 1/2 pound beans in the pod.

Pomegranate and Orange-Glazed Beets (Makes 6 servings)
24 small beets, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, or 3 lbs larger beets, quartered
1-2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2-3 Tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios, optional

Preheat oven to 400°. If you haven't already, cut off the beet greens, leaving 1 inch of stem attached to beets, and reserve for another use. In a large baking dish, toss the beets with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan and roast beets until almost tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking time. Uncover, shake the beets again and roast uncovered until tender, about 15 minutes more. When cool, peel the beets using a paring knife (skins should come off easily). The beets may be prepared one day ahead and refrigerated. Return them to room temperature to finish the dish.

Pour orange and pomegranate juices into a large skillet set over medium-high heat and cook until juices are reduced by half and slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add beets and a little salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the beets, frequently spooning the juices over them, until the juices become a very thick syrup, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tablespoon of butter, reduce the heat as needed to keep the glaze from browning, and stir constantly 1 to 2 minutes until the beets are richly coated and the juices are a thick glaze. Add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the pistachios.

Adapted from Saltsman's The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook

Music Break -- The Kangaroo Rat - Beastie Boys

Guest Interview Grinding Your Own Hamburger Meat 7 MIN


New York Times Minimalist columnist Mark Bittman shows us how to make delicious hamburgers. The author of the popular How To Cook Everything cookbook series  recommends buying your own cut of meat and grinding your own patties.

The Real Burger
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 to 2 lbs not-too-lean sirloin, in chunks
1/2 white onion, peeled and in chunks, optional
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill. Or, on stove top, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.

2. Put meat and onion in a food processor, in batches if necessary, and pulse until coarsely ground: finer than chopped, but not much. Put it in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste, then add more seasoning if necessary. (If desired, cook a teaspoon of meat in a pan before tasting.) Handling meat as little as possible to avoid compressing it, shape it lightly into 4 or more burgers.

3. Fire is hot enough when you can barely stand to hold your hand 3 or 4 inches over rack for a few seconds. Grill burgers about 3 minutes a side for very rare, and another minute a side for each increasing stage of doneness, but no more than 10 minutes total unless you like hockey pucks. (Timing on stove top is the same.)

4. Serve on buns, toast or hard rolls, garnished as you like.

Music Break -- En Mi Soledad - Bajofondo Tango Club

Guest Interview Italy for the Gourmet Traveler 7 MIN


Gourmand Fred Plotkin has spent over 30 years living, traveling, working, studying and eating throughout Italy. His Italy for the Gourmet Traveler explores campanilismo and how visitors benefit from this food rivalry. He also explains his rules of Italian dining and guidelines for eating pizza.

Music Break -- Kids with Guns - Gorillaz

Guest Interview Portuguese Pastries 7 MIN


One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is its numerous ethnic food enclaves. Most people aren't familiar with Portuguese cuisine (characterized by its use of fresh seafood and produce), including its baked goods. Neither do they realize that there's a Portuguese community in Artesia. Now, Angelinos have another culinary destination. At Natas Pastries, owner Fatima Marques prepares some of Portugal's finest old-world baked goods, including pasteis de nata, a crème brulee custard in a crunchy, bird nest-like pastry.

Natas Pastries
13317 Ventura Blvd. # D (at Fulton Ave)
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423





Music Break -- Bruma - Bajofondo Tango Club

Guest Interview The Banquet 7 MIN


Scholar Ken Albala feasts on the great court banquets of the Renaissance. In The Banquet, he describes this lavish, medieval dining event as a multi-media experience. The scalco (banquet manager), spenditore (buyer), dispensiero (the man in charge of keeping provisions under lock and key) and trinciante (carver) played major roles in preparing the banquets.

Music Break -- Rugla - Amina

Guest Interview The Herbalist in the Kitchen 7 MIN


There's more to life than cooking with oregano. Sometimes you just have to spice it up with other aromatic herbs. Food writer and professor Gary Allen introduces us to the world of herbs in his book, The Herbalist in the Kitchen.

Music Break -- Whatever's Fair - Mark Holder

Guest Interview Eat This!: 1001 Things to Eat Before You Diet 7 MIN


People are always looking for reasons to shed some excess pounds. Maybe your pants are a bit tight or you'd like to get into that sexy, little black dress. Before you decide to forego your favorite guilty pleasures, Ian Jackman suggests 1001 things to eat before dieting in his book, Eat This!.

Ian recommends ordering the Memphis ribs at Corky's Ribs & BBQ and the frozen custard at Kopp's. He also mentions Il Laboratorio del Gelato, a gelato place in New York with some very interesting flavors. Kokkari Estiatorio, a Greek restaurant in San Francisco, serves Ian's favorite lamb chops.

What are some of your favorite foods you'd miss if you had to restrict your calories? Let us know at GoodFood@kcrw.com

Music Break -- Ese cielo azul - Bajofondo Tango Club
Guest Interview History of African-American Food 7 MIN


Food anthropologist Jessica Harris discusses the history of African-American food -- from slavery, sharecropping, chuck wagon chefs into the West and Buffalo Soldiers, to sodbusters, the Northern Migration and soul food. Harris is the co-founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of numerous books on African-American food, including her latest, Martha's Vineyard Table.

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