Every few months we dedicate our Friday shows to all things food. We'll look at food through a variety of lenses—culinary, social, cultural, political, and talk to chefs, restaurant critics, food writers. We'll also have recipes, cooking tips, how-to demonstrations.
It’s apple picking season, and if you’re searching for ways to use all the apples available this time of year, two experts are here to offer advice. Rozanne Gold, James Beard award-winning chef and author of 13 cookbooks, including her most recent, Radically Simple, and Elizabeth Ryan of Breezy Hill Orchards in the Hudson Valley, talk about the range of apple varieties and what to make with them.
This soup can be made up to three days in advance. For a vegetarian option, eliminate the bacon and garnish with slivered smoked almonds.
This dish includes fresh apples, apple butter, and apple cider. Rozanne suggests that the best varieties of apples to use are Cameo or Winesap.
A credible beurre blanc elevates a humble stack of cooked apples and pork to a four-star dish. Try it at home.
Bun Lai, chef at Miya’s Sushi, in New Haven, Connecticut, talks about eating invasive species that are causing problems in ecosystems across the country, such as sea squirt, European green crabs, jellyfish, feral hogs, and Asian carp. He’ll talk about foraging for these invasive species and creating dishes in his restaurant. He wrote the article “How (and Why) to Eat Invasive Species” in the September issue of Scientific American.
Earlier this month the USDA lifted its ban on chicken meat that’s processed in Chinese plants. The Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindy talks about why the Dept. of Agriculture has cleared four Chinese poultry processors to export to the US, and why critics are worried about contamination in the meat, and whether you’ll be able to tell where the meat in your supermarket was processed.
Anya von Bremzen, a James Beard Award-winning writer, describes life in the USSR. Born in 1963, in an era of bread shortages, Anya grew up in a communal Moscow apartment where 18 families shared one kitchen. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is about feasts, famines, and three generations of her family, and how, in the USSR, every edible morsel was packed with emotional and political meaning.
Sine qua non of socialist celebrations, this salady Soviet icon actually has a fancy, bourgeois past. The name? Derived from one Lucien Olivier, a French chef who wowed 1860s Moscow with his swank L’Hermitage
restaurant. The Gaul’s original creation, of course, had almost nothing in common with our Soviet classic. His was an extravagant still life of grouse, tongue, and crayﬁsh tails encircling a mound of potatoes and cornichons, all doused with le chef ’s secret Provençal sauce. To Olivier’s horror, Russian clients vulgarized his precious arrangement by mixing up all the ingredients on their plates. And so he retooled his dish as a salad. Then came 1917. L’Hermitage was shuttered, its recipes scorned. All Soviet children knew Mayakovsky’s jingle: “Eat your pineapples, gobble your grouse / Your last day is coming, you bourgeois louse!”
The salad gained a second life in the mid-1930s when Olivier’s old apprentice, a chef known as Comrade Ivanov, revived it at the Stalin-era Moskva Hotel. Revived it in Soviet form. Chicken replaced the class-enemy grouse, proletarian carrots stood in for the original pink of the crayﬁsh, and potatoes and canned peas took center stage—the whole drenched in our own tangy, mass-produced Provansal mayo.
Meanwhile, variations of the salad traveled the world with White Russian émigrés. To this day, I’m amazed to encounter it under its generic name, “Russian salad,” at steakhouses in Buenos Aires, railway stations in Istanbul, or as part of Korean or Spanish or Iranian appetizer spreads. Amazed and just a little bit proud.
At our own table, Mom gives this Soviet staple an arty, nonconformist twist by adding fresh cucumbers and apple, and substituting crabmeat for chicken (feel free to stay with the latter). The ultimate key to success, though, she insists: chopping everything into a very ﬁne dice. She also obsessively doctors Hellmann’s mayo with various zesty additions. I think Lucien Olivier would approve.
Kotleti for lunch, kotleti for dinner, kotleti of beef, of pork, of ﬁsh, of chicken—even kotleti of minced carrots or beets. The entire USSR pretty much lived on these cheap, delicious fried patties, and when
comrades didn’t make them from scratch, they bought them at stores. Back in Moscow, Mom and I harbored a secret passion for the proletarian, six-kopek variety produced by the meat-processing plant named after Stalin’s food supply commissar, Anastas Mikoyan. Inspired by his 1936 trip to America, Mikoyan wanted to copy Yankee burgers in Russia, but somehow the bun got lost in the shufﬂe and the country got hooked on mass-produced kotleti instead. Deliciously greasy, petite, and with a heavy industrial breading that fried up to a wicked crunch, Mikoyan factory patties could be scarfed down by the dozen. Wild with nostalgia, Mom and I tried a million times to recreate them at home, but no luck: some manufactured treats just can’t be duplicated. So we always reverted back to Mom’s (far more noble) homemade version.
Every ex-Soviet cook has a special trick for making juicy, savory patties. Some add crushed ice, others tuck in pats of butter or mix in a whipped egg white. My mother likes her kotleti Odessa-style (garlicky!), and adds mayo as binding instead of the usual egg, with delightful results. The same formula works with ground turkey or chicken or ﬁsh. Buckwheat kasha makes a nostalgic Russian accompaniment. Ditto thin potato batons slowly pan-fried with onions in lots of butter or oil. I love cold kotleti for lunch the next day, with some dense dark bread, hot mustard, and a good crunchy dill pickle.
Try this recipe for pickled watermelon rind! They're ready in just 10 days and make use of something we normally throw away.
Try making pickles at home with these recipes for sour dill pickles and bread and butter pickles.
Food is measured in calories. People sometimes count calories and cut calories, and this week’s Please Explain is all about what calories are, how they’re measured, how we burn them, and if they differ from food to food. Joining us are: Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. And Russell Rising, Research Associate in the Metabolic Laboratory at the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.
Martha Stewart gives advice on how to live the good life—from the best ways eat healthy to tips for organize your home to protecting your mental health as you age. Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others is a handbook for living your healthiest life after 40—with expertise from doctors and specialists on eating, exercise, wellness, and caring for others.
This week we're kicking off Food Fridays series, and to whet your appetite, we're sharing a conversation from last spring. In May, hundreds of WNYC listeners joined Leonard Lopate in the Great Hall of Cooper Union for a conversation with three great French chefs. Jacques Pepin, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert talked about falling in love with cooking in France and then finding their way to fame and fortune in America’s kitchens.
Hear Daniel Boulud describe his love of baby eels (a delicacy that’s gotten very expensive). Eric Ripert shares that his nickname when he was an apprentice was “Blue Shoulders.” And don’t miss Jacques Pepin’s fantastic Julia Child impression!
This month we’re bringing back our Food Fridays series! This fall, we’ll be talking about food and cooking with some of the city’s leading chefs, farmers and experts from across the country. (And we’ll have plenty of recipes to share, too.) And we want to know what you’d like to hear. Tell us what you liked about Food Fridays this past spring, and what you’d like us to discuss this fall. Share your thoughts below!
Pasta is a staple of Italian food, but noodles are also an important part of Asian cuisine. Pasta is versatile, comes in hundreds of shapes and sizes, and on this week’s Please Explain we’ll find out how it’s made and ways to cook with it. Joining us: Ron Palladino, pasta expert and Fresh Pasta counter general manager at Eataly, and Jack Bishop, editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen and author of several cookbooks, including The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Pasta e Verdura, and the editor of Pasta Revolution.
Danny Meyer, of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and more, talks about the food that the chefs make for one another—the staff “family meal.” It is simple, often improvised, but special enough to please the chefs’ discerning palates. In Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurant to Your Home, the restaurants’ culinary director, Michael Romano, coauthor of the award-winning Union Square Cafe Cookbook, collects and refines his favorite in-house dishes for the home cook, while served Karen Stabiner shares stories about how this imaginative array of dishes came to be.