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For food lovers, a trip to Vietnam is the apex of culinary travel. This week on Good Food, author Kim Fay takes us on a journey to Vietnam.  Jonathan Gold satisfies the ramen freaks with this new spot in Studio City.  Gustavo Arellano argues that two taco trucks are sometimes better than one.  Want to grow food on a wall?  Try a woolly pocket, says Miguel NelsonAndrea Cavaliere of Cecconi's is trying to change how our kids eat.  He has help from Michelle Obama.  Jennifer Evans Gardener's cooking camp for kids showcases their love for pie.  Christine Schwartz Hartley reveals the recipes of celebrities and socialites from a bygone era.  Plus Kevin Sinnott teaches us how to make the perfect cup of coffee.  And Chef DJ Olsen finds perfection in a medly of summer vegetables.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview Market Report 6 MIN, 57 SEC


Scott Peacock of Peacock farms sells various types of eggplants at the farmers market.


DJ Olsen is the chef at Lou Wine Bar.  He takes corn, zucchini, tomatoes and green beens, cooks them slightly and then tosses them together.  He serves this summer succotash over salmon with a salsa verde.

Sweet Corn Succotash with Slow-roasted Wild Salmon, Salsa Verde
8 servings

4 ears sweet corn (yellow, white, bi-color, etc.)
1 small sweet onion (Bermuda, Maui, etc.), small dice
1/3 lb stringless green beans (Blue Lake, haricot verts. etc.)
1/3 lb baby zucchini
1/3 lb cherry tomatoes (Sungolds, Sweet 100s, Purple Cherokees, etc.) 
1/4 cup pitted, niçoise olives
Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Filtered water
3 Tablespoons unsalted, high butterfat butter (Plugra, Challenge, etc.)
Fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons (per serving) salsa verde (recipe follows)

1. Remove corn kernels from cobs; reserve

2. Snap stem ends from beans; slice crosswise into 1/4” pieces (kernel of corn-sized); reserve

3. Slice baby zucchini lengthwise into quarters; cut each quarter, crosswise, into 1/4” quarter moons; reserve

4. Remove stems from cherry tomatoes; from the stem end, cut each tomato in half; reserve

5. In sauté pan large enough to hold all vegetables, heat 2T extra virgin olive oil (med. high-heat) 

6. Add shallots, corn, pinch of salt; heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until shallots begin to sizzle

7. Add beans, zucchinis, tomatoes, olives; toss vegetables in pan to coat with oil; increase heat to high 

8. When pan is sizzling hot, add a few tablespoons water, enough to begin steaming the vegetables 

9. Lightly steam vegetables, constantly tossing them in the pan (1-2 minutes)

10. Once the water has reduced slightly and the vegetables have begun to release their juices, add butter,  one tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan with each addition, until butter has entirely melted and emulsified with vegetable juices. 

11. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, good squeeze of lime

Although the succotash is best if served immediately, it can be held at this point for several hours in the pan, off the heat and at room temperature (do not refrigerate). To refresh, lightly heat the vegetables in the same pan, swirling them, adding small amounts of water until the sauce has loosened and everything has warmed. 

Salsa Verde
yield: 1-1/2 cups

Basil, 1 small bunch, leaves only
Tarragon, 1 small bunch, leaves only
Parsley, 1 small bunch, leaves only
Chives, 1 small bunch, cut into 1” batons
1 large clove garlic
Small lemon, peel grated with a micro plane
A few good pinches salt
1-1/2 cups good quality extra virgin olive oil

1. Place basil, tarragon, parsley, chives, grated lemon peel, in work bowl of a food processor

2. Peel garlic clove; using the flat side of a chef’s knife and a pinch of salt, mash garlic into a fine pulp

3. Add garlic pulp to herbs, along with another good pinch of salt

4. Lightly moisten all ingredients with olive oil

5. Pulse ingredients until finely chopped

6. Scrape down side of work bowl; with motor running, drizzle in enough olive oil to make a relatively thin sauce of oil and herbs; reserve in a plastic squeeze bottle

Salsa verde is best made the day it will be used. However, it will keep up to 4 days, with diminishing quality each day. Generally, the herbs will darken, the flavors flatten with each passing day. 

Slow-roasted Wild Salmon
8 servings

3-1/2 lbs wild salmon filet, skin on
Fleur de sel
1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon

Prepare the oven: place the first oven rack in its lowest position; place the second oven rack above it, in the middle of the oven; set oven temp. to 250°; 30 minutes before roasting the fish, place a large, shallow baking dish, half-filled with warm water, on the bottom rack of the oven.

Meantime, with a very sharp knife, remove skin from the fish; carefully remove any discoloration on the skin side, slicing until the flesh is a uniform red color.

Tilting your knife at 45°, cut across the width of the filet to make eight, equal-sized portions (5-6 oz).

Season each portion (both sides), with fleur de sel; rub each portion with extra virgin olive oil.

Add a little olive oil to the inside bottom of a shallow baking dish large enough to hold all portions.

Lay fish portions in the baking dish, placing them end to end to re-form the original filet shape.

Place that baking dish on middle rack of the oven, directly above dish filled with warm water 

Roast fish until small beads of white fat begin appearing around the base of each portion (6-8 min.). At this point the fish will be thoroughly cooked through, yet still retain its original reddish color. The texture will be soft and unctuous. If you prefer more well done fish, return the baking dish to the oven and continue roasting. As the fish roasts further, white dots will begin appearing on the surface of each portion. The longer the fish cooks, the more white dots will appear. 

To serve, preheat individual pasta bowls. Spoon a good serving of the warmed succotash into the base of each bowl. Lay a portion of roasted salmon over the succotash. Squeeze fresh lemon over the fish. Garnish both succotash and fish with a few tablespoons (squeezes) of salsa verde. 

Guest Interview How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee 10 MIN, 17 SEC

Art and Craft of Coffee

Kevin Sinnott is the Author of CoffeeCompanion.com and The Art and Craft of Coffee.  He says that one-cup drip devices make the most even cup of coffee. A common problem is that people don't use enough coffee when brewing at home.  He says 2 Tablespoons per 6 ounces is the perfect amount.


Music Break: All I Want (Right Now) by The New Mastersounds

Guest Interview Little Feet Love Pie 2 MIN, 33 SEC


Jennifer Evans Gardener runs Little Feet in the Kitchen cooking camp for children.  They made a pie for Good Food's Pie-a-Day project on the Good Food blog.


Music Break: Baby Bouncer by The New Mastersounds

Guest Interview Specialites de la Maison 4 MIN, 8 SEC

Specialites de la Maison

Christine Schwartz Hartley discovered Specialites de la Maison.  It includes over 200 recipes collected from 1940-1949.  Contributors include Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dali, Katherine Hepburn, William Randolf Hearst, Cole Porter, Eleanor Roosevelt , Igor Stravinsky and many more.  It was a fundraiser for American Friends of France - a now defunct war relief organization.

Guest Interview Traveling to Vietnam 7 MIN, 42 SEC

Kim Fay's book is Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam.  Her sister took the photographs.  

Kim buys traditional Vietnamese ingredients from the following Southern California locations:

Bangkok Market – 4757 Melrose Ave

Bangluk Market – 5170 Hollywood Boulevard

Chef Huong’s Dalat Ragu

Because the key to this recipe is fresh vegetables, you can play around with it, substituting different kinds of beans and mushrooms, or perhaps adding white pearl onions, depending on what is in season. The one ingredient that is essential is tomatoes. You must get the freshest, best tomatoes you can find. It is the liquefied tomatoes combined with the fish sauce that creates the buttery flavor of this dish.

1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 lb. carrots, cubed

1/4 lb. potato, cubed

1/4 lb. taro, cubed

1/4 lb. fresh beans (cranberry, fava/broad, lima/butter)

1/4 lb. fresh straw mushroom (button or crimini can be substituted)

1 small shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2/3 lb. fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned and thoroughly seeded, chopped. I blanch the tomatoes for easy peeling. Don’t overdo it with the tomatoes or the sauce will be sour.

1 French bay leaf

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

6 cups vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon + 1 tsp fish sauce

Loaf of crusty French bread for dipping

1.     Cut pork into cubes, and marinate with 1 Tablespoon fish sauce and pepper for 30 minutes. Do not marinate in the fridge.

2.     In a medium frying pan, brown pork in 1 Tablespoon oil. Salt to taste.

3.     In a separate medium frying pan, sauté shallot in 1 Tablespoon oil, and then add garlic.

4.     Add tomatoes to shallot/garlic, and sauté on low heat, reducing until it is almost liquid. Reduce thoroughly to remove sourness. There should be no trace of tomato flesh left in the pan.

5.     While tomatoes are simmering, remove pork from the pan with a slotted spoon (to keep as much grease in the pan as possible), and put in a bowl.

6.     Pan-fry carrots in pork grease for flavor. Remove, and add to pork bowl.

7.     Pan-fry potatoes in pork grease for flavor. Remove, and set aside.

8.     Pan-fry taro in pork grease for flavor. Remove, and set aside.

9.     Pan-fry mushrooms in pork oil with a little salt, for flavor. Remove, and set aside. (As you fry the vegetables, you may need to add a little oil and even a tad of fish sauce. You can also add the juices draining from the pork in the bowl.)

10.  While simmering tomatoes and pan-frying vegetables, blanch beans to remove acid from the skin. You should use fresh beans. If using dried beans, let them soak overnight. If you must use canned beans, don’t stress over it. This dish will still be terrific.

11.  While the last of the veggies are frying, pour tomato liquid in a large soup pot, and add pork, beans, and carrots. Stir in 1 tsp of fish sauce.

12.  Add stock and bay leaf. Cook for 1 hour on low heat, covered, until meat is tender.

13.  Add potato and taro, and simmer, covered, for 20 more minutes.

14.  Add mushrooms, and simmer, covered, for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on the taro/potatoes to make sure they don’t get too soft.

15.  Serve hot with a fresh, crusty French bread.


Serving: 4 as a main dish.


Julie’s Banana Flower Salad

Using recipes from our cooking classes at the Metropole in Hanoi and the Cargo Club Cooking School in Hoi An as a base, Julie perfected this salad. Highlighted by the hot-tart play of chili and lime off the crisp rings of the banana flower, it is a refreshing dish that is perfect for a hot summer day. If banana flowers are unavailable, a good substitute is peeled and shredded green papaya.



2 banana flowers, thinly sliced (see directions)

2 Tablespoons peanut oil

Scant 1/4 cup shallot, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, coarsely chopped

3 Tablespoons lime juice + 1 lime for the bowl of water

Large bowl of room temperature water


3 Tablespoons lime juice

2 tsp brown sugar

1 red Thai chili, chopped

2 tsp fish sauce

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1.     Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet. Sauté the shallots until golden brown. Leave them in the oil, and set aside to cool.

2.     Squeeze fresh lime juice into the bowl of water. This will be used to prevent the banana flower slices from turning brown.

3.     Peel back the dark purple layers of the banana flower until you reach layers with just a hint of purple. Using a mandoline, slice the banana flower into thin rings, beginning at the point and slicing about three-quarters of the way down. The rings will look similar to onion rings. Immediately soak the rings in the lime water until ready to use. Set aside.

4.     Once the oil is cool, mix in half of the mint leaves and half of the Thai basil with the sautéed shallots.

5.     Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. Heat lovers will want to add more chili.

6.     When you slice the banana flower, you will end up with small bits from the center of the flower. Strain these out using a spoon. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of them. Remove the banana flower from the water, and combine with the shallot/mint/basil mixture, chopped peanuts, and remainder of the fresh mint and basil.

7.     Toss in the dressing, and serve.

Serving: 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish.

Music Break: Barrio Bueno by The Cabildos


Kim Fay

Guest Interview Two Taco Trucks in the OC 8 MIN, 23 SEC

Gustavo Arellano is the food editor for the OC Weekly, where he also writes the Ask a Mexican column.  This week he reviews two taco trucks in Santa Ana: Chivas Tortas and El Rincon del Sabor. 

El Rincon del Sabor
Mortimer St. & Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana

Chivas Tortas
Fourth and Mortimer Sts., Santa Ana

Guest Interview Jinya Ramen 9 MIN, 1 SEC

Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly.  This week he reviews Jinya Ramen in Studio City. He likes the gyoza, the tonkatsu ramen and the house ramen.

All of Jonathan's restaurant suggestions are on the Good Food restaurant map.

Music Break: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! by Les Miserables Brass Band
Guest Interview Chefs Move to Schools 3 MIN, 36 SEC

Andrea Cavaliere is the Executive Chef at Cecconi's in West Hollywood.  He's a part of the White House's Let's Move initiative to fight childhood obesity.  As part of the Chefs Move to School Program, Andrea will choose a school in the LA area to help initiate change.

Guest Interview Woolly Pockets 6 MIN, 26 SEC

Woolly Pockets

Miguel Nelson and his brother sell Woolly Pockets, felted pockets that allow you to grow plants indoors, against a wall.  The material is made from recycled plastic bottles.  They have also created a kit for schools.

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