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Jonathan Gold get our appetites going with The Kitchen.  Evan finds out where the Hollywood A list types go to lunch and why with editor of The Knife, Variety's food blog, Dana Harris.  Salami can be so much more than what's pushed out of a factory.  Paul Bertolli is one of America's few artisan salami-makers who's turning out hand-crafted salumi.  Jennifer McCann has perfected a vegan version of the Twinkie, so rest easy all you vegan children.  How to make a perfect loaf of bread with absolutely no kneading from NY Times writer Mark Bittman.  Cooking without recipes is cooking with improvisation and Sally Schneider can give us tips.  And the black truffle, it's in season and chef Peter McNee tells us about his love of them.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview Market Report - Asparagus and Artichokes 7 MIN

Laura Avery visits with Phil Green, who offers up fresh artichokes and asparagus from his stand at the Farmer’s Market.  While both are available all year, the crops are a little lighter than usual due to cold weather.  Evan Kleiman was at the market and has some suggestions for preparing both vegetables:

Roasting asparagus is simple, quick and delicious -- start by cutting the bottom inch off the stalks, then toss with olive oil and salt. Put the asparagus on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Voila!


Carciofi alla Romana Artichokes, Roman Style
Serves 4

Artichokes, Roman Style are one of the signature dishes that Spring has finally arrived.  Whether made from large globe artichokes, smaller, purplish Italian varieties or baby artichokes, the basic technique of braising the vegetable in nearly equal parts oil and olive oil with herbs is a classic dish used by many Italians.

1 lemon, halved
4 large artichokes with stems (if possible)
Coarse salt to taste
1 cup mixed fresh chopped herbs (mint, basil, Italian parsley)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup olive oil

Use half of the lemon to rub surfaces as you work.  Snap back and pull down the leaves and discard, working around the artichoke until the pale yellow leaves are exposed.  Trim away about 2 inches from the top of the artichokes.  With a paring knife, cut away the dark green around the base.  Cut away the dark green exterior of the stalk until the pale green, tender part is exposed.  With a small spoon, dig into the center of the artichoke and remove the fuzzy choke, scraping against the heart until it is completely clean.  Remove any interior leaves that have prickly tips.  Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of the remaining half lemon. If using baby artichokes, simply trim them and cut them in half. Immerse each finished artichoke in the acidulated water to prevent discoloration.

Drain the artichokes.  Salt the interiors.  Combine the herbs, garlic, and a little of the olive oil in small bowl.  Add salt to taste.  Put the mixture in the center of each artichoke, dividing it equally.  Arrange the artichokes stem-side up in a pot just large enough to contain them.  Lightly salt them and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  Add enough water to come one-third up the artichoke .  Take a large piece of parchment paper or brown paper bag and lay it over the artichokes so that it touches them.  This will cause the steam to be much more effective.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook until tender but firm;  the tip of a knife should slide into the artichoke heart with just the slightest resistance.  The time will vary greatly depending on size.

Remove the artichokes from the pot with a slotted spoon to a platter.  Bring the remaining liquid to a boil and reduce slightly, if necessary.  The liquid should be syupy.  Pour the liquid over the artichokes.  These can be made up to 2 days in advance but are best when served the same day they are cooked.

Guest Interview Restaurant Trends in Los Angeles 7 MIN

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Jon Gold is one of the most knowledgeable restaurant aficionados in town – and in Los Angeles, finding the right restaurant can make all the difference… whether you’re closing a film deal, enticing a hot date, or just making the scene.  Not surprisingly, Hollywood’s eating habits are often based more on the trendiness of the restaurant rather than fabulous food.  Jon reports on his observations of Los Angelenos’ tastebuds.

Guest Interview Dana Harris - The Knife 7 MIN

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Dana Harris is the film editor for Variety, and author of The KnifeVariety’s food blog.  She is perfectly suited for the job, having worn many hats over the years -- from sous chef, restaurant critic and food magazine editor, to filmmaker and entertainment writer.
Dana looks at new restaurants angling for your expense accounts and lets you know if old standbys still make the cut. She’ll tell you if there are unpleasant surprises at the valet stand, if the chairs are comfortable, if you can hear yourself speak, if you can’t get out for under $100, how much they're marking-up the wine, where you can eat halfway between two studios, where there are private rooms and where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead.

Monday through Thursday, The Knife is where to eat and drink in the name of work; Friday is reserved for eating that’s strictly for fun and pleasure.

Guest Interview Hand-crafted Salami 7 MIN


Paul Bertolli is the founder and curemaster of Fra'Mani Handcrafted Salumi in Berkeley, California. His artisan salumi (the Italian word for salted, cured cuts of meat or sausages -- including salame and prosciutto) focuses on the complex nature of cured pork; the balance of fat, lean and salt, the coarseness of the grind, and how the variables of natural fermentation give each salame its distinct flavor.

He is known for his tenure as Chef of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California and Chef of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland, California.

For the past 13 years Paul has been working to deepen his knowledge and skill in the production of traditional Italian cured meats through frequent sojourns to the production facilities of artisan producers in the Parma and Modena area of Italy.  He recently completed a series of courses in Meat Science and relevant aspects of cured meat production at Iowa State’s Meat Science Laboratory.

Guest Interview Vegan Twinkies 7 MIN

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Jennifer McCann is the author of a new cookbook called The Vegan Lunchbox, which is based on her award-winning blog, VeganLunchBox.com.  In her cookbook, she provides well-balanced vegan menus that are easy, quick and irresistible to kids.  She also offers tips on the fruits and veggies that the pickiest kids will eat, product recommendations (to order the bento-style lunchboxes Jennifer mentions in this show, go to LaptopLunches.com), and an allergen-free index to suit any family’s dietary needs.

Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom who lives, cooks, and eats in Washington State. She enjoys hiking, reading, knitting, sewing, homeschooling her 8-year-old son, and spending time with her adorable neices. She also founded and coordinates the group Tri-Cities Vegetarians and Friends, which celebrates vegetarian cuisine in the Mid-Columbia region of eastern Washington, where she lives.

Vegan Twinkies
Makes 16 Twinkies

For this recipe, you’ll need the Hostess Twinkies Bake Set, complete with baking pan, icing injector, spatula, and cowboy-style Twinkies container. If you can't find an actual Hostess set, do a Google search for "cream canoe baking set" and you'll find many brands to choose from.

Preheat oven to 350º and make the batter:

1 T apple cider vinegar
1 ½ scant cups plain soymilk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
½ cup oil
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. coconut extract

Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and coconut extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spray the baking pan with nonstick spray and fill the cups just under halfway full (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out (running a thin plastic spatula along the sides helps release the cakes) and set them on a wire rack. Let them cool completely before filling.

Make the cream filling:

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T barley malt powder (gives the filling a sweet, marshmallowy taste; not to be confused with malted milk powder)

Beat together the shortening and margarine with a handheld beater or stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fill the icing injector and poke and squeeze out about one tablespoon into three locations in the underside of each cake.

This will make about 16 Vegan Twinkies with cream filling, but do us adults a favor and fill some with puréed organic strawberry jam instead. Or dip them in chocolate icing and make Australian Lamingtons.

Guest Interview No Knead Bread 7 MIN

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Best-selling cookbook author Mark BIttman is the creator and author of the popular New York Times weekly column, "The Minimalist," and one of the country's best-known and widely admired food writers. His flagship book, How to Cook Everything, is currently in its fourteenth printing and has, in its various formats, sold over a million copies.

Mark is also a regular guest on the “Today” show and NPR's “All Things Considered” and has also appeared on countless national and local radio and television shows. He has been profiled in this country's leading newspapers, including the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

No Knead Bread – Original Recipe
Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf

Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

No Knead Bread – Optional Recipes

WEIGHT VS. VOLUME - The original recipe contained volume measures, but for those who prefer to use weight, here are the measurements: 430 grams of flour, 345 grams of water, 1 gram of yeast and 8 grams of salt. With experience, many people will stop measuring altogether and add just enough water to make the dough almost too wet to handle.

SALT - Many people, me included, felt Mr. Lahey’s bread was not salty enough. Yes, you can use more salt and it won’t significantly affect the rising time. I’ve settled at just under a tablespoon.

YEAST - Instant yeast, called for in the recipe, is also called rapid-rise yeast. But you can use whatever yeast you like. Active dry yeast can be used without proofing (soaking it to make sure it’s active).

TIMING - About 18 hours is the preferred initial rising time. Some readers have cut this to as little as eight hours and reported little difference. I have not had much luck with shorter times, but I have gone nearly 24 hours without a problem. Room temperature will affect the rising time, and so will the temperature of the water you add (I start with tepid). Like many other people, I’m eager to see what effect warmer weather will have. But to those who have moved the rising dough around the room trying to find the 70-degree sweet spot: please stop. Any normal room temperature is fine. Just wait until you see bubbles and well-developed gluten — the long strands that cling to the sides of the bowl when you tilt it — before proceeding.

THE SECOND RISE - Mr. Lahey originally suggested one to two hours, but two to three is more like it, in my experience. (Ambient temperatures in the summer will probably knock this time down some.) Some readers almost entirely skipped this rise, shaping the dough after the first rise and letting it rest while the pot and oven preheat; this is worth trying, of course.

OTHER FLOURS - Up to 30 percent whole-grain flour works consistently and well, and 50 percent whole-wheat is also excellent. At least one reader used 100 percent whole-wheat and reported “great crust but somewhat inferior crumb,” which sounds promising. I’ve kept rye, which is delicious but notoriously impossible to get to rise, to about 20 percent. There is room to experiment.

FLAVORINGS -The best time to add caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins or whatever other traditional bread flavorings you like is after you’ve mixed the dough. But it’s not the only time; you can fold in ingredients before the second rising.

OTHER SHAPES - Baguettes in fish steamers, rolls in muffin tins or classic loaves in loaf pans: if you can imagine it, and stay roughly within the pattern, it will work.

COVERING BETWEEN RISES - A Silpat mat under the dough is a clever idea (not mine). Plastic wrap can be used as a top layer in place of a second towel.

THE POT - The size matters, but not much. I have settled on a smaller pot than Mr. Lahey has, about three or four quarts. This produces a higher loaf, which many people prefer — again, me included. I’m using cast iron. Readers have reported success with just about every available material. Note that the lid handles on Le Creuset pots can only withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees. So avoid using them, or remove the handle first.

BAKING - You can increase the initial temperature to 500 degrees for more rapid browning, but be careful; I scorched a loaf containing whole-wheat flour by doing this. Yes, you can reduce the length of time the pot is covered to 20 minutes from 30, and then increase the time the loaf bakes uncovered. Most people have had a good experience baking for an additional 30 minutes once the pot is uncovered.
As these answers demonstrate, almost everything about Mr. Lahey’s bread is flexible, within limits. As we experiment, we will have failures. (Like the time I stopped adding flour because the phone rang, and didn’t realize it until 18 hours later. Even this, however, was reparable). This method is going to have people experimenting, and largely succeeding, until something better comes along. It may be quite a while.

Guest Interview The Improvisational Cook 7 MIN

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In her latest cookbook,The Improvisational Cook, Sally Schneider offers advice on how to cook in a fun and spontaneous way, use the existing ingredients in your kitchen without (gasp!) a recipe.
Sally is also the author of the award-winning cookbook A New Way to Cook. A former chef, Sally is a regular contributor to radio's "The Splendid Table," and writes a syndicated newspaper column for Universal Press Syndicate called "The Improvisational Cook." Sally has written for numerous publications, including Food & Wine, Saveur, Real Simple, Self, and Metropolitan Home. She lives in New York City.

More information about Sally’s cookbooks, tips and recipes are available from her website.

Sugar Snaps with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Shaved Parmigiano
Serves 4

4 cups sugar snap peas (about 12 ounces)
Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing
1 garlic clove, bruised, then cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
One 2-inch strip lemon zest, cut into thin slivers
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 ounces Parmigiano in 1 piece

Slice the vegetables. With a chef’s knife, cut the sugar snap peas on an extreme diagonal into thirds or halves, discarding any tough stem ends. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the dressing. Rub the cut side of one of the garlic halves over the inside of a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Spear both garlic halves with a dinner fork. Using this as a whisk, drizzle in the olive oil until the sauce has formed a thin emulsion with a subtle garlic flavor; discard the garlic.

Dress the vegetables. Up to 1/2 hour before serving, add the sugar snap peas and lemon zest and toss to coat; season with pepper to taste.

Garnish with the cheese. Just before serving, using a mandoline or Benriner or a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmigiano into paper-thin shavings. Scatter over the peas and toss gently.

Guest Interview Peter McNee - Truffles 7 MIN

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A rising star on the west coast culinary scene, Peter McNee – who possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics – honed his skills in some of the Bay Area’s top restaurants. Before cultivating his fondness for Italian cooking in Tuscany, the young chef ‘s culinary trajectory took flight at the famed San Francisco restaurant Stars, where he cooked while attending the California Culinary Academy in 1999. There, he moved up the ranks – garnering extensive knowledge of local produce along the way, knowledge he would refine in a subsequent role as Sous Chef at Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena. While at Tra Vigne, Peter’s interest in Italian cuisine peaked, inspiring him to self-sponsor a yearlong culinary pilgrimage to Italy in 2003. While cooking and wine pairing in the acclaimed regions of Toscana and Lombardia, Peter began turning his burgeoning passion into a quest for mastery in the art of Italian cooking.

Upon returning from Italy, Peter joined Poggio in the position of Sous Chef and helped launch the enormously successful opening that established Poggio as one of the Bay Area’s top restaurants. Peter then left briefly to gain chef experience in the hotel industry at Bacchus Restaurant in Sonoma County, before returning as Poggio’s Chef de Cuisine and assuming the role of Executive Chef in April 2006.

This year, for the first time, Poggio sent Peter McNee to Italy to hand-select this season's white truffles for their restaurant.  They held their 2nd Annual "5 Nights of White Truffles" event on November 15-19, in honor of Italy's Festa del Tartufo.

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