The Chez Panisse founder discusses the early days of the historic Berkeley institution and the power of taste to change lives. Also on this week's show: Our trip to Sicily for the real Pasta e Fagioli; Jerrelle Guy chats about her debut book, Black Girl Baking; and Dan Pashman of The Sporkful performs an on-air experiment about sound and taste.
Questions in this Episode
“I’ve been baking some of my own breads and recently threw in a handful of sunflower seeds into one of my loaves. Within 24 hours, the sunflower seeds had turned a bright green. Initially, I thought it was mold and then I did a little bit of digging and found a few websites that said this might happen but they didn’t say how to mitigate the greenness.”
“A local restaurant has the most amazing lamb kebabs. I’ve tried making lamb kebabs at home but have struggled with which cuts to buy and how to prepare it to get these delectable chunks. I’ve tried boneless and bone-in leg and also shoulder. I get inconsistent results, but never anything like the restaurant does.”
“I’ve spent years trying to recreate the meals I had in Mumbai and Goa but I frequently find myself at a loss for authentic ingredients. Without a doubt, the most frustrating of these is the South Asian pink onion. The South Asian pink onion is as unobtainable in North America as it is integral to most authentic wet curries. Please help me identify a substitute.”
“I recently opened a donut shop and I'm having problems with the icing on my donuts crystallizing and cracking when I'd like them to be smooth and shiny. What can I do to fix this?”
“I read Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking and her description of how to caramelize onions is different from the way I learned to caramelize onions, which is to add salt almost immediately after the onions get into the pan. Sahni doesn’t mention putting in salt until the very end. I’ve tried it both ways and I haven’t been able to caramelize onions since. Am I doing something wrong?”
“I’m in a debate with my mother, who’s a kosher cook, about when to salt meat. She thinks that we shouldn’t salt too much because of the way kosher meat is processed, but I think regardless you should add. What do you think?”
Milk Street Basic:
We created a simpler but equally delicious grenadine by simmering 1 cup each pomegranate juice and sour cherry juice with 6 tablespoons white sugar, 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Strain and cool, then refrigerate for up to a month. We like it mixed with soda water for a grown-up Shirley Temple or shaken in a gin daisy (2 ounces gin, 1 ounce each lemon juice and grenadine, shaken with ice and strained, then topped with 4 ounces seltzer).