David Karp is a fruit researcher who writes the Market Watch column for The Los Angeles Times. He describes various stone fruit hybrids, like the pluot. The Flavor King Pluot is the most common variety, which is available at Southern California farmers markets. David shared a "Plerry" with Laura Avery - it's part plum, part cherry. These fruit hybrids are not a result of genetic engineering.
Nancy Zaslavsky specializes in Mexican food. She leads cooking tours to Oaxaca (her next one is during Day of the Dead, October 27-November 2). She uses ingredients from the Farmers Market to make barbacoa, including avocado leaves and epazote from Coleman Family Farms. Jimenez Farms sells lamb. The dish is traditionally cooked in a pit, underground. Nancy uses a Dutch oven.
6-8 lbs bone-in lamb shoulder in large chunks (or substitute
10 dried guajillo chiles
2 to 3 dozen avocado leaves, with strong anise perfume as from Coleman Farm
1 white onion
1 head garlic cloves
2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 sprigs fresh epazote from Coleman Farm
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano (McCormack brand, or from any Mexican market)
Preheat an oven to 350˚
1. Cut the chile stems off, slit open and scrape out the seeds. Toast the chiles by pressing flat with a spatula on a griddle or in a skillet until the color changes, a minute on each side. Transfer the chiles to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and soak 20 minutes until the chiles are soft.
2. Toast the avocado leaves. Set aside.
3. Quarter the unpeeled onion and toast along with the unpeeled garlic cloves until they have black spots all over. Peel the onion and garlic and put into a blender or processor.
4. Drain the chiles and add them to the blender with 4 broken-up toasted avocado leaves, salt, pepper and cloves. Add about one cup cool water. Purée as smoothly as possible. Press the sauce through a strainer into a bowl.
5. Arrange half the toasted avocado leaves in the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot. Rub the chile mixture all over the lamb and place the meat on the leaves. Lay epazote sprigs across the meat. Sprinkle with oregano. Scatter the remaining avocado leaves on top and pour 8 cups water around. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
6. Bake 5 to 6 hours at 350˚ until the meat falls off the bones. Serve shredded or in large chunks, and sprinkle with sea salt. Skim the broth of fat and ladle into mugs to drink along with the meat. Enjoy barbacoa with warm corn tortillas and a spicy table salsa.
© Nancy Zaslavsky 2004
Music Break: Memphis by Billy Strange
Eddie Lin writes the blog Deep End Dining. He recently traveled to Taiwan where he sampled aboriginal Taiwanese cuisine. He also tried Burger King's 7 Patty Burger, which includes seven hamburger patties - each with cheese - and bacon.
Photo: Noah Galuten
Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer for the LA Weekly. This week he heads to the Byzantine-Latino district - specifically Pico between Crenshaw and Arlington - for La Cevicheria. Jonathan recommends the bloody clams, the mariscadas (like ceviche but sauteed), and the shrimp ceviche.
3809 West Pico Blvd.
All of Jonathan Gold's restaurant suggestions are on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
Music Break: Marche Of The Siamese Children by Henry Ball
Photo: Las Vegas Weekly
Active Work time is 20 minutes. Total preparation time is 40 minutes.
8 Shrimp, peeled and cleaned
3-4 Green onions cut into 2-inch bias strips
1/4 cup Chopped dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup Bean sprouts
Soak noodles in warm water to cover 1 hour.
In a small bowl, stir together fish sauce, tamarind paste, limejuice, vinegar, Sriracha sauce and sugar. Set aside.
Heat wok over high heat. Add oil and coat pan completely. When pan starts to smoke, add garlic and stir 5 seconds. Add turnip, dried shrimp and tofu and stir-fry until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken pieces and stir-fry until no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes.
Push ingredients in wok to side and let oil settle in center of pan. Crack eggs into pan, making sure to break yolks. Lightly scramble until half-cooked, about 30 seconds. Combine with remaining cooked ingredients in pan.
Add shrimp and cook until chicken and shrimp are medium done, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups drained noodles and cook for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Add reserved sauce mixture and paprika and fold together until paprika evenly colors noodles and all liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Place green onions in center of noodles, and then spoon some noodles over green onions to cover and let steam 30 seconds. Stir in 3 tablespoons peanuts. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with bean sprouts and remaining peanuts.
Music Break: The Mexican by The Fentones
Lesley Balla is the Los Angeles editor for Tasting Table, where she wrote about where to get good iced tea and coffee in Los Angeles. Lesley recommends the T Salon for their iced tea bar. Also, LA's boutique coffee houses like Intelligentsia and La Mill have a great selection of iced coffees.
7111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Intelligentsia (2 locations)
1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA
1636 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles,
There are several ways to make iced coffee at home.
Tasting Table's Recipe for Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
1 cup coarsely ground coffee
4 cups water
1. In a large jar or container, combine the coffee grounds and cold water. Stir, cover and let sit for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Line a coffee dripper or fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter and place over a pitcher. Slowly strain about half of the coffee. Replace the filter with a new one and repeat with the remaining coffee.
3. Pour the coffee over ice and dilute to taste with water and/ or milk.
Music Break: Mini Skirt by Esquivel
Photo: Glenn Koenig / LA Times
Russ Parsons is the food editor for The Los Angeles Times. Classic gazpacho is made by blending bread, olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic. Russ likes to add cucumbers.
Andalusian Garden Gazpacho
4 slices bread, crusts removed (4 ounces), plus 2 slices bread, diced and fried in a little olive oil (for garnish), divided
11/2 cups cold water, plus extra to soak the bread, divided
5 tomatoes (about 2 pounds), plus 1 small tomato, finely chopped (for garnish), divided
2 cloves garlic
Small piece of green bell pepper, plus extra finely chopped green pepper (for garnish), divided
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsps salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped, for garnish
1 small white onion, finely chopped, for garnish
1. Break the 4 slices crustless bread into chunks and soak it in water to cover until softened.
2. Remove cores from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor. Press the juice and pulp through a sieve, discarding the bits of skin and seeds.
3. Squeeze the water from the bread and place it in a blender or food processor with the garlic. Blend until smooth.
4. Add the tomato pulp, green pepper, cumin and salt. With the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream. Blend in the vinegar and some of the 11/2 cups cold water.
5. Place the gazpacho in a pitcher and add the remaining water. This makes about 41/2 cups gazpacho. Serve immediately or chill until serving time.
6. To serve, pour the gazpacho into individual bowls. Place each of the garnishes (finely chopped green pepper, cucumber, onion, tomato and crisp bread) in small bowls. Pass the garnishes with the gazpacho and allow guests to serve themselves.
Music Break: Moon And Sand by 11 Acorn Lane
WindowFarms are the brainchild of Britta Riley. She uses plastic bottles to create a hanging hydroponic garden.
The 'Fuerte Four,’ nixtamalization, and eggplants Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament is this Sunday and our judges are faced with the ultimate decision: corn or flour? Bill Esparza talks tortilla makers in the LA area. And did you know that inside your tortilla is an ancient process, perfected over centuries? Also, L.A. Taco’s Daniel Hernandez recalls a Guadalajara taco crawl with Jonathan Gold. Plus: some tips on cooking eggplant, now in season.
Plastic straws, Persian cuisine, and Meathead Goldwyn What does the history of plastic straws tell us about U.S. capitalism? Growing up in Tehran, Naz Deravian watched her parents entertain with classic Persian dishes; now she’s carrying on the tradition in LA. Stressed about cooking brisket this Rosh Hashanah? Help is here. Plus, Zach Brooks stops by to discuss Jonathan Gold’s review of Vespertine.
Jell-O and feminism, ‘Losing Earth,’ vertical farming A new book examines the intersection of American feminism and Jell-O. This Labor Day, throw some desserts on the grill. Nathaniel Rich dives into the consequences of ignoring climate change warnings. Does vertical farming yield the same nutrient content as open air agriculture? Also: Tien Nguyen remembers Jonathan Gold’s impassioned defense of San Gabriel noodle shops, including Nha Trang.
Thai food, from Bangkok to SoCal Thai food is having a renaissance. We revisit conversations with James Syhabout of Hawker Fare and Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker, who are showing U.S. diners the wider canon of Thai food. We also hear about Bangkok’s unique food culture. How does the history of Thai food in LA tell the story of Thai assimilation? Plus: hear Jonathan Gold’s original review of Jitlada, the beloved Thai restaurant in Hollywood.
Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament, Grand Finale: And SoCal’s Best Tortilla Is… Wow, what a great time yesterday at KCRW’s Inaugural Great Tortilla Tournament! Throngs of people lined up to taste samples from our Fuerte Four Finalists: Kernel of Truth and Taco… Read More
Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament, week 4 recap: Behold SoCal’s four best tortillas! The bracket has been narrowed, the comal is heating up, and the tortillas are being filled for this Sunday at LA River and Gardens Center in Cypress Park! Find out who the final four are and don’t forget to RSVP for a day of micheladas, tortilla art, and live music. Read More
Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament, week 3 recap: Behold SoCal’s four best tortillas! The bracket has been narrowed, the comal is heating up, and the tortillas are being filled for this Sunday at LA River and Gardens Center in Cypress Park! Find out who the final four are and don’t forget to RSVP for a day of micheladas, tortilla art, and live music. Read More