Inspiring is the essence of our show this week. We'll talk to two people committed to making our country a better place through educating and introducing practical programs involving healthy food and food nutrition into public and private school systems. Please tune in to find out about this tremendous organization that evolved from the international organization, Slow Food.
The ability to prepare a quick meal is not only a measure of kitchen skill and comfort, but many times comes down to what ingredients do you have in the fridge and pantry. If you want to make a quick soup or coax flavors from veggies sautéing on top of the stove, then a court bouillon can help make that happen. "Court bouillon" or "briefly boiled liquid," is a mixture of water, salt, wine or vinegar, and vegetable aromatics, cooked together for 30-60 minutes...," according to Harold McGee, the author of On Food and Cooking. One English reference from 1685 mentions a "courbolion" and this same type of liquid with basically identical ingredients has been used in French cooking for several centuries.
Most of us are familiar with bouillon cubes, but court bouillon is much different. It's simple to prepare and the culinary crew from Indian Hills will provide the instructions plus fix some broccoli amandine using the liquid.
How about this for a gig? Travel around the USA interviewing chefs about their favorite foods, tools, music, etc. and sharing staff meals with the owners, chefs, and the rest of the restaurant's crew in preparation for writing a book that includes recipes for those dishes. That's what Marissa Guggiana did and her latest cookbook, Off the Menu-Staff Meals from America's Top Restaurants, is the result.
The book showcases her visits to 51 restaurants through more than 80 recipes. Each restaurant is profiled along with its owners and chefs. One of the most interesting sections in each profile is the Escoffier Questionnaire. "The Escoffier Questionnaire," Marissa wrote, "was inspired by my conversations with chefs from across the United States... Like the more famous–currently–Proust Questionnaire, the questions are designed to elicit short responses that are long on meaning."
We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet amazing people regularly because of the Great Taste radio program. Through solar-powered KRUU we get to bring those folks into your home or car or wherever you may happen to pick up the stream.
Right from the beginning of our conversation with our guest this week, Lucy Lean, Kathy and I felt like we had met a kindred spirit on many levels. Lucy is a mother, wife, farmer's daughter, former editor of edible Los Angeles, blogger, photographer, a food judge for the Gordon Ramsay Fox hit TV show Masterchef, and the author of Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food. The book features 100 recipes from chefs located all over the country and with varying cultural backgrounds. The diversity of personalities and Lucy's vision of adapting 20th century regional comfort food recipes to today's ingredients and techniques makes for an engaging read and amazing recipes.
Award-winning author Jessica Theroux kicks off our show this week. Jessica was on the show last year talking about her book, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. In May the book won the coveted International Association of Culinary Professionals 2010 Judge's Choice Award.
It's been a couple of months since I started incorporating more raw foods into my diet as a result of our vegan/raw challenge on Great Taste. I'm definitely not on the "this is amazing and you have to do it" bandwagon for raw foods, but I have noticed significant and positive ongoing beneifits from the adjustments I made.
Breakfast turned out to be the focal point for me. My routine went from eggs, toast, cheese, and other standard American fare to fruit smoothies or whole fruits and manna bread. That switch has meant less cravings, elimination of snacking before lunch and more mental clarity. Because of those results and a determination to eat lighter and add a raw element at lunch and dinner I've also lost some excess body baggage.
Garlicpalooza returns to the Fairfield Farmer's Market, Saturday, September 3 as the focal point for the annual Hometown Harvest fundraiser. Tanya Webster, the event coordinator, and Kim Keller from Hometown Harvest are our in-studio guests for the first half hour.
Some of the dishes you might experience at Garlicpalooza (made almost entirely with local produce) feature garlic from roasted to raw on bruschetta, and in a marinara sauce. Kathy and I are making a gazpacho with an infused garlic/mint olive oil plus look for salsa, a garlic potato soup and much more. Plus, there will be lots of speakers so don't miss it.
We move to the West Coast for the second half of the hour to visit with Kacie Ioparto, the energy behind She Sells Seaweed. Kacie recently moved from harvesting seaweed on the coast of Maine to Mendocino where she's learning about new varieties of the vitamin-rich plants. What she said about her current swimming hole resonated with me:
"Each time I move to a new place it is song and work that make me feel at home. There are a few women that help us dry our seaweed who also love to sing. You’ll be happy to know that your seaweed is serenaded as it is thoroughly inspected and hung to dry."
I knew it was a sign that Great Taste is right in tune with what's happening in America when I read an article in the NYT Monday entitled, "Preaching a Healthy Diet in the Deep-Fried Delta." It seems that the National Baptist Convention is planning to have "health ambassadors" in every member church by September 2012. Some churches have even established "No Fry" zones in their kitchens. Frankly, this is great news as it's critical that organizations with influence on family life take an aggressive approach to educating their public about eating well.
Our guest this week, David Lee Sheng Tin, is a health coach and lifestyle consultant. who has developed the Blissfully Fit course. He asserts that, "Bliss is a state of complete joy and/or happiness. When you are blissful you feel contentment and serenity. For Bliss to be maintained 24/7 a state of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being has to be present."
Kathy and I are back in the studio this week with a "live" show. I've been on the road enjoying meals in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Philadelphia. One thing I finally realized is that I would make a very poor food critic. A food critic does visit a restaurant several times (or should) before putting into print what, in some markets, determines a spot's success or eventual boarding up. After and between those visits there are numerous other establishments that have to be subjected to the scribe's palate. It's a never-ending story of moving on and not going back until it's time to do another review.