Francis Lam, the features editor of Gilt Taste, is da bomb. First, he brought me a sample of the homemade tomato paste he so richly describes in this week's Last Chance Foods. Second, threw himself completely into treating the Studio 4 mascot like a live kitty, giving this Stir Fry a creepy, Halloween vibe. Too bad we weren't talking about pumpkins.
I blame the last, lazy days of summer on this 120-Second Stir Fry. Time slowed to a crawl with Selena Gonzalez and Ian Marvy of the Red Hook Community Farm as we discussed top "yums" and "yuks" in the vegetable world and favorite comfort foods.
The hot seat is the favorite place to be for my Last Chance Foods guests, Sisha Ortuzar, chef of Riverpark and partner of the sandwich shop, 'wichcraft, and Zach Pickens, manager of Riverpark's Farm at the Alexandria Center on Manhattan's East Side. They are big hot pepper fans and brought a paper bag full of them to the WNYC's Studio 4.
You can't rile Thomas Wickham with the prospect of the Stir Fry. "So, what are you going to ask me?" he said calmly, as producer Joy Y. Wang and I corralled him into the Studio 4 hot seat.
The man's a farmer, and his family has farmed for generations. I got the sense that nothing phases him. Not even the unblinking gaze of the Studio 4 cat behind him.
Cookbook author Mindy Fox gives her take on some Chicago staples in this 60-Second Stir-Fry.
Community gardener Annalee Sinclair is no stranger to the hot seat. After all, she gardened in a syringe-infested abandoned lot on the Lower East Side, in the 1990s, when the neighborhood was a scary and violent place. Robin Shulman is also a cool customer. She should be. She wrote a book, Eat the City. I'm trying to write a book proposal of my own, and I know there is no pressure like a deadline.
So, bring on the lightning round of Stir Fry questions!
Jennifer Divello of Patty's Berries and Bunches in Mattituck, on Long Island, does a 'berry' good job handling the heat of the stir fry lightning round of questions. Okay, had to do that. It's been a 'berry' long day.
Whether you're looking for Jersey tomatoes, apples from upstate New York, or fresh fish caught off Long Island, you'll find it at the Union Square Greenmarket, the center of New York's regional food scene. And chances are the person selling you the food is an immigrant.
This Stir Fry is less "fry" and more "stir." Brooklyn Botanic Garden herb curator Caleb Leech and BBG Terrace Café chef Ariel Nadelberg were allowed a do-over of my lightning round of questions, after both were scorched by the heat of the hot seat.