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Thursday, January 05, 2012

We’re talking a lot about food on today’s show: New York Times contributor Melissa Clark starts us off with a discussion which tools are essential in the kitchen and which we can probably live without. Georgia Pelligrini, a classically trained chef talks about why she started hunting. Pam Anderson shares meatless recipes and tips for full-time and part-time vegetarians. Plus, food for thought: our latest Backstory segments.

What You Need - and Don't Need - in the Kitchen

There's not a lot of storage space or counter space in most New York apartment kitchens. Melissa Clark, author of Cook This Now and the New York Times column “A Good Appetite,” discusses which kitchen appliances, gadgets, and tools are essentials to have in your kitchen, and which you can live without. We’ll also take listener calls!

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Girl Hunter

Georgia Pelligrini, a classically trained chef, talks about becoming a hunter that tracks down food in the wild, and how she embraced local, organic, and sustainable food. Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time tells about teaming up with veteran hunters, trav­elling over field and stream in search of the main course—from quail to venison and wild boar, from elk to javelina and squirrel.

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Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals

Pam Anderson shares meatless recipes and techniques for part-time and full-time vegetarians. In Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals, she encourages readers to eat meat-free a day or two a week and makes it easy to do so with recipes for simple vegetarian and vegan meals. She lays out blueprints with ingredient options for everything from breakfasts and salads and sandwiches to satisfying main courses—so readers can craft a rewarding dish exactly to their personal tastes.

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Backstory: Saving the Sturgeon

The Atlantic sturgeon has been around for more than 85 million years, but years of overfishing, habitat loss, and warming ocean temperatures have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. OnEarth contributing editor Bruce Stutz talks about the efforts to save the sturgeon.

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Backstory: Hungary's New Constitution

Over the last few weeks, thousands of Hungarians have been in the streets, protesting the government’s changes to the country’s constitution. On today’s second Backstory, journalist Adam LeBor joins us from Budapest to discuss why the new constitution has raised concerns within Hungary and around the world, and why the changes could affect the country’s access to economic aid from the IMF and the EU.

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Guest Picks: Pam Anderson

Cookbook author Pam Anderson was on the Lopate Show recently to talk about making meatless meals and getting more vegetarian dishes in your repertoire. She also told us about her love of Spanx!

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Recipe: Master Formula: Master Formula Fruity Breakfast Pizzas, from Cook without a Book

1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar, plus extra for drizzling

Flavorings (Pick 1)

1 pound store-bought pizza dough

Cornmeal, for baking sheet

2 to 3 cups Fruit (Pick 1 or more)

1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup Nuts (Pick 1)

 

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 500°F. Microwave the cream cheese for 15 seconds to soften slightly. Mix the cream cheese with the 2 tablespoons honey or agave and the Flavoring.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and stretch each portion into a rectangle about 12 by 4 inches, arranging all 4 crosswise on a large cornmeal-coated baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture over each portion of dough. Top with Fruit and sprinkle with Nuts.

Bake until the crusts are crisp and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven; drizzle with additional honey or agave, cut into portions, and serve hot or warm.

Serve 6 to 8

fruity breakfast pizza options

Flavorings (Pick 1)

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1⁄4 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest

• 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract

 

Fruit (Pick 1 or more)

• Firm, crisp apple or pear—quartered, cored, each quarter halved crosswise, and sliced

• Fresh figs—quartered

• Apricots or plums—pitted and sliced

• Peaches (peeled) or nectarines—halved, pitted, each half halved crosswise, and sliced

• Strawberries—stemmed and sliced

• Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (halved if large)

• Pineapple—peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice

• Seedless grapes—halved

 

Nuts (Pick 1; buy roasted nuts or toast the nuts yourself; see page 270)

• Toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, chopped

• Toasted whole (chopped), slivered, or sliced almonds

 

Pam’s favotite combos for fruity breakfast pizzas

Apples, hazelnuts, and cinnamon

Figs, pistachios, and vanilla

Apricots, slivered almonds, and orange zest

Strawberries, sliced almonds, and vanilla

Blueberries (or raspberries and/or blackberries), sliced almonds, and lemon zest

Pineapple (or peaches), pecans, and ginger

Grapes, walnuts, and cinnamon

From Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals, by Pam Anderson.

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Recipe: Master Formula Minestrone for Every Season, from Cook without a Book

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth

1 can (14.5 ounces) petite-cut diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1 large celery rib, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained

1 cup ditalini pasta

Seasonal Vegetables (Pick 1)

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Stir broth and tomatoes together in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container and microwave on high power until steamy hot, about 5 minutes. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute longer. Add remaining ingredients except the Parmesan, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender, about 15 minutes longer. Adjust the seasonings and serve hot topped with the cheese if using.

Serves 8

 

Seasonal Vegetables (Pick 1)

• Fall: about 8 ounces each bite-size cauliflower florets and broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped coarse

• Winter: about 8 ounces each shredded savoy cabbage and butternut squash, cut into medium dice

• Spring: about 8 ounces each frozen green peas and coarsely chopped escarole

• Summer: about 8 ounces each zucchini, cut into medium dice, and well-washed spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped notes and tips

• Except for the true dog days of summer, I eat soup nearly year-round, so it’s nice to have a formula that works for every season. And if you think soup isn’t for supper, give this one a try. It’s stick-to-your-ribs substantial.

• Don’t limit yourself to the vegetables I’ve suggested. Some others to consider: green beans, leafy greens (both firm and tender), yellow squash, bell peppers. Just figure about 8 ounces each of 2 vegetables. Or create your own minestrone soup vegetable mix, using about 1 pound of vegetables in all.

From Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals, by Pam Anderson.

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Recipe: Master Formula: Really Simple Bean Burgers, from Cook without a Book

2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black, white, or pinto beans or black-eyed peas

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

Extra Flavorings (see Burger options)

6 good-quality hamburger buns

Drain 1 can of beans, reserving the liquid, and mash the beans in a medium bowl. Drain the second can, add to the bowl with thebreadcrumbs, eggs, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in Extra Flavorings if using. If necessary, add a little of the bean liquid until the mixture holds together but is not wet. Divide into 6 equal portions and shape into 4-inch patties.

Warm the buns in a 300˚F oven for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1⁄4 cup olive or canola oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning only once, until a crisp brown crust forms on both sides, about 6 minutes total. If you’ve chosen a burger that gets topped with cheese, add it now. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to low, and let the burgers continue to cook until the cheese melts. Top the burgers as desired.

Makes 6 burgers

Burger Options
(use these extra flavorings to embellish the basic burger)

• The Classic: Make the burgers without any extra flavoring and cook according to Stovetop or Grill Method, topping the burgers with 6 thin slices of sharp Cheddar cheese when instructed. Stir together 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard; spread over warm buns and dress the burgers with green leaf lettuce, lightly salted tomato slices, and thinly sliced red onion. Serve with ketchup.

• The Southwestern: Mix in 1⁄2 cup prepared salsa, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro before forming the burgers. Cook burgers according to Stovetop or Grill Method. Mix 2 mashed avocados with 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread over warm buns and dress the burgers with lightly salted sliced tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.

• The Neapolitan: Mix in 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar before forming the burgers. Cook the burgers according to the Stovetop or Grill Method, topping the burgers with 6 slices mozzarella cheese when instructed. Stir together a generous 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise and 1⁄4 cup pesto. Spread over warm buns and dress the burgers with lightly salted sliced tomatoes.

• The Curry: Mix in 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1⁄4 cup Major Grey’s chutney (mincing any large mango pieces), and 1 tablespoon curry powder before forming the burgers. Cook the burgers according to the Stovetop or Grill Method. Spread chutney over warm buns. Dress the burgers with cilantro and pickled carrots (4 peeled and coarsely grated medium carrots tossed with 4 teaspoons rice vinegar and a big pinch of salt).

• The Cajun: Mix in 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons Cajun spice before forming the burgers. Cook the burgers according to the Stovetop or Grill Method. Dress the burgers with slaw (4 cups shredded cabbage mixed with 1⁄2 cup finely diced bell pepper, 2 thinly sliced scallions, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning).

• The Tahini: Mix in 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin before forming the burgers. Cook the burgers according to the Stovetop or Grill Method. Dress the burgers with tzatziki (1 hothouse cucumber—grated and squeezed dry—mixed with 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, 2 minced garlic cloves, 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste).

• The Five-Spice: Mix in 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and 11⁄2 teaspoons five-spice powder before forming the burgers. Cook the burgers according to the Stovetop or Grill Method. Spread the buns with Thai sweet chili sauce. Dress the burgers with cilantro sprigs and pickled cucumber (1 thinly sliced hothouse cucumber, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and salt to taste).

From Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals, by Pam Anderson.

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