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This week on Good Food, Eddie Lin gets a lesson in urban foraging from naturalist Joel Robinson.  Ham adorns many Easter tables.  Mark Scarbrough explains the many varieties of this delicious cut of meat.  Amy Scherber is here with another Easter favorite, hot cross buns.  Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times talks waffles and waffle irons.  Dan Shumski never met a waffle he didn't like -- he calls himself the wafflizer and he can turn any food into a waffle.  Gustavo Arellano shares place for birria, or Mexican goat stew, in Orange County.  Dr. Marion Nestle explains why agave isn't much better than high fructose corn syrup.  A sneak peak at the new season of Bravo's Top Chef Masters with Susan Feniger.  And Laura Avery tells us what's fresh at the Santa Monica Farmers Market this week.

Guest Interview Market Report 8 MIN, 21 SEC

Jerry's Berries

Mark Gold is the chef at Eva restaurant (7458 Beverly Blvd.).  He's buying strawberries from Rutiz Farms.  Mark makes a strawberry compote and pours it over a foie gras terrine and adds some sprigs of burnt rosemary.  He serves the dish with brioche.  The berries are delicate, thin-skinned strawberries.  

Persian Cucumber

Squash Blossoms

Edgar Jaime of Jaime farms grows zucchini squash and sells the blossoms.  The female version grows attached to the zucchini.  The male version grows as just the blossom.  Jaime farms also sells Persian cucumbers.  The are about four inches, seedless and have a thinned skin.  They grown them in a greenhouse so they grow year-round.  

Guest Interview Hot Cross Buns 4 MIN, 13 SEC

Hot Cross Buns

Amy Scherber owns Amy's Bread in New York City.  Her latest book is Amy's Bread.

Amy's Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 18 small buns

Be careful not to over bake these, or their delicate flavor will be lost.

1/2 cup very warm water (105º to 115ºF)
1 Tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm milk (90F)
2/3 cup dried currants
1 large egg white, for egg wash
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place the very warm water and yeast in a large bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Allow to stand for 3 minutes. 

2. Whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir the eggs, oil, sugar, and warm milk into the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until a shaggy mass forms and all of the flour is moistened.

3. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until it is silky-smooth and elastic. The dough is wet and sticky at first, but it becomes easier to work with as the gluten forms to make it springy and give it strength. Keep your hands and the table very lightly floured, using a dough scraper to lift the dough as needed. Shape the dough into a loose ball, cover it with oiled plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20 minutes to relax the gluten strands.

4. Flatten the dough and stretch it gently with your fingers to form a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Spread the dried currants evenly over the rectangle. Fold the dough into an envelope and knead gently for 2 to 3 minutes, until the currants are well distributed. The dough should be soft, smooth, and springy. If it resists, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue kneading it.

5. Shape the dough into a loose ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat the dough with oil, and cover the bowl tightly with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature (75F to 77F) for 11/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume. A finger pressed into the dough should leave an indentation that won’t spring back.

6. Line two 17 x 12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the dough onto the floured work surface. Flour your hands lightly and divide the dough into 18 equal pieces weighing about 57 grams/2 ounces each. Shape into rolls and place 9 buns on each prepared baking sheet, leaving several inches between them so they won’t grow together as they rise. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let them rise about 1 hour or until almost doubled in volume. A finger pressed lightly into the dough will leave a slight indentation.

7. Whisk the egg white with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

8. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400F, and prepare the oven by placing a cast-iron skillet and a smaller pan (a mini loaf pan) on the floor of the oven or on the lowest possible rack in an electric oven. Place one oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Fill a plastic water sprayer with water. Fill a teakettle with water to be boiled later, and have a metal 1-cup measure with a straight handle available near the kettle.

9. Five to 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake, turn the water on to boil, and carefully place two or three ice cubes in the small loaf pan in the bottom of the oven. This helps to create moisture in the oven prior to baking.

10. When the buns are ready, a pair of kitchen scissors to cut a shal­low cross on the top of each one. Lightly brush them with the egg wash. (Reserve the remaining egg wash.) Place the pans in the oven. Pour 1 cup of boiling water into the skillet and immediately shut the oven door. After 2 minutes, quickly pour another 1/2 cup of boiling water into the skillet, then shut the oven door.

11. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375F and rotate the pans to ensure even browning. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the buns have turned a nice golden brown and the surface feels slightly firm but not hard when you press it lightly. These rolls should have a thin soft covering, not a hard, crunchy crust. Transfer the rolls to a rack and let them cool for 10 minutes.

12. To make the frosting: in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the reserved egg wash and the vanilla, and whisk to mix well. While the rolls are still warm, use a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip, or a teaspoon, to make an X of frosting over the cross on each bun. The frosting will harden somewhat as the buns cool. These are best eaten the same day they are baked.

Amy's Bread

Amy Scherber

Guest Interview Hamming it up 7 MIN


Mark Scarbrough is the author of Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter with Bruce Weinstein.  There are four common varieties of ham:

Fresh Ham - This is roasted fresh.  

Dry Cured in the Old World style - Similar to Prosciutto Crudo or Jamon Iberico.  

New World Dry Cured - Also called "Country Ham."  

Wet Cured - This is the traditional ham typically served on Easter.  


Music Break: Beige Turtleneck by Peter Thomas


Mark Scarbrough

Guest Interview Waffles are Dad Food 6 MIN, 43 SEC


(Photo: Stephen Osman, Los Angeles Times)

Russ Parsons is the food editor for the Los Angeles Times.  

Yeast-raised waffles
Makes 16 waffles
Adapted from Marion Cunningham's recipe in "Modern California Cooking"

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp baking soda

1. Place one-half cup warm water in a large mixing bowl (the batter will double in volume) and sprinkle in the yeast. When dissolved, stir in the milk, butter, salt, sugar, flour and eggs and beat until smooth and blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the baking soda. The batter will deflate and become about as thin as soft yogurt. Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's instructions for your waffle maker.

Guest Interview The Waffleizer 4 MIN, 17 SEC

Waffle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dan Shumski writes the blog Waffleizer.  

Waffled chocolate chip cookies

Makes about 20 cookies 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla, whisking to incorporate.

Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the oats and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray.

Using a spoon or small scoop, place the dough onto each waffle section. Close the machine and cook until the cookies are set and beginning to brown. This won't take very long — probably two or three minutes, depending on the heat of your waffle iron. (They will be soft when you remove them and will firm up as they cool.)

Transfer the cooked cookies to a wire rack.


Music Break: Bernie's Tune by Billy Strange

Guest Interview Urban Foraging 10 MIN, 7 SEC

Eddie and Joel

Eddie Lin writes the blog DeepEndDining.com.  Joel Robinson is the Executive Director for the non-profit organization Naturalist For You.  They offer guided foraging tours.  

Fox Tail Barley

Foxtail Barley (Hordeum Murinum)

Storks Bill

Yellow flower is Crete Weed (Hedypnois Cretica) mixed with Filaree/Stork's Bill

Eddie with Wild Radish

Eddie holds a Wild Radish (Raphanus Sativus)


Carob (Ceratonia Siliqua)

Sow Thistle

Common Sow Thistle (Sonchus Oleraceus)


Cheeseweed/Mallow (Malva Parviflora)

Santiago Nature Reserve

Santiago Park Nature Reserve, Santa Ana

Guest Interview Goat! 5 MIN, 1 SEC

Gustavo Arellano is the food editor for the OC Weekly.  He also writes the Ask a Mexican Column.  This week Gustavo reviews the birria at El Cabrito in Santa Ana.

El Cabrito
1604 W. First St.
Santa Ana
(714) 543-8461

Find all of Gustavo's restaurant suggestions on the Good Food Restaurant Map.


Music Break: Bienvenido by Josh Rouse

Guest Interview Agave 7 MIN, 17 SEC

Marion Nestle is a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.  Agave is an extract from the agave plant and is higher in fructose than honey or table sugar.  It is less processed than high fructose corn syrup but has just as much fructose.

What to Eat

Marion Nestle

Guest Interview Top Chef Feniger 5 MIN, 31 SEC

Top Chef Masters Billboard

Susan Feniger is the owner of Street and the co-owner with Mary Sue Milliken of The Border Grill and Ciudad.  Susan will be a contestant on Season 2 of Bravo's Top Chef Masters which premiers April 7.  Info about the Street viewing party is here.

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