Good Taste

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stanley Tucci discusses how food has seeped into his professional life as an actor and led to his new cookbook. Boston Globe language columnist Ben Zimmer explains the rise of terms like “locavore.” The second installment of our new series Globavores looks at how corn has traveled around the world since 1492. The stars of Least Among Saints talk about the film. Plus, our Gurus of How-To take your calls on home repair!

Stanley Tucci's Cookbook

Actor Stanely Tucci talks about how his roles in food-centered films such as Big Night and Julie & Julia and his own childhood in an Italian family kitchen helped him develop a love of food and cooking. He’s now written The Tucci Cookbook, which features nearly 200 recipes, with wine pairings.

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Ben Zimmer on "Locavore"

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, talks about the origin of the words "locavore" and "vegetarian" and the many variations that have been developed, such as "pescatarians" and "flexitarians."

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Globavores: Corn

We continue our exploration of the foods of the Columbian Exchange with a look at corn, which has become a staple of modern agriculture. Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn, explains how the grain has changed the way the world eats. We'll also look at how corn is used in a variety of Mexican dishes with Zarela Martinez, author of numerous cookbooks including Zarela's Veracruz

Recipe:Zarela's Pimpo

Recipe: Zarela's Esquites

Corn Recipes from Listeners

Share your corn recipes below!

Comments [8]

Least Among Saints

Martin Papazian, who wrote, directed, produced, and stars in Least Among Saints, discuss the film along with actress Laura San Giacomo, who stars in it. Martin Papazian plays a combat veteran who has lost hope until a troubled 10-year-old neighbor turns to him for help. It opens in New York October 12 at the AMC Loews Village 7.

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The Gurus of How-To

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, are here to offer advice on home repair matters, from basements to baseboards.

Call 212-433-9692 with your questions or leave a comment below!

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Guest Picks: Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci was on the Lopate Show recently to talk about his life-long love of cooking. He also told us about his love of fishing. Find out what else Stanley Tucci is a fan of!


Stanley Tucci's Recipe: Simple Ricotta Cake

This cake is best made one day before you plan to serve it. The cake is very moist and tender, so be careful when removing it from the pan. If you like, it may be served with the sauce described in the recipe for Ricotta Cheese with Fresh Fruit  (page 349), using either raspberries or strawberries for the sauce.

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum (such as Myers’s) (optional)
2 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest

1.    If the ricotta cheese is very wet, place it in a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a bowl, refrigerate, and drain the ricotta for 2 hours.
2.    Preheat the oven to 325 ºF. Completely line an 8-inch springform pan with two overlapping layers of aluminum foil. Grease the foil with the softened butter and dust lightly with flour, set aside.
3.    Place the eggs in a large bowl. With an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the eggs just to combing, about 10 seconds. Add the ricotta, flour, sugar, vanilla, and rum, if using, and beat just to combine. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the cream. Stir in the zest.
4.    Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, and bake until the edges of the cake are firm and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. (If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue to bake.) Remove the pan from the oven, set it on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the outer ring of the pan and cut away the foil. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours before serving.


From The Tucci Cookbook, by Stanley Tucci


Stanley Tucci's Recipe: Concetta’s Stuffed Artichokes

When we began work on this book project it was before my grandmother had passed away at the age of eighty-seven, and we were very excited about preserving so many of her recipes. One day my mother went to visit my grandmother in the hospital. She told her that we didn’t have her recipe for stuffed artichokes and we wanted to include it in the book. Without hesitation my grandmother began to tell her how she prepared them. The nurse who was attending her said, “Only an Italian could come out of surgery and start discussing food.” But the telling of a recipe is very different from the actual process of making a dish with its creator. So this recipe, which is named for my grandmother, is based on memories of her stuffed artichokes.

4 medium-size or 2 extra-large artichokes, stems and top ¼ inch sliced off and discarded, sharp outer leaf points snipped off and discarded
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian, flat leafed parsley
5 teaspoons finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coarsely grated day-old bread or 1 cup plain dried bread crumbs, or a combination of both
4 tablespoons olive oil

1.    Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2.    Snugly fit the artichokes in a small saucepan and add water to a depth ¼ inch below the tops of the artichokes. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until an outside leaf pulls away easily, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook or the artichokes will fall apart. Remove from the water, turn upside down to drain, and set aside to cool.
3.    In a small bowl, mix the parsley, Romano cheese, garlic, and bread. Sprinkle teaspoons of the filling between the leaves, working from the outer leaves toward the center of the artichoke, spreading the inner leaves slightly if necessary. Place the artichokes in a glass baking pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over each artichoke (2 tablespoons if using extra-large ones). Fill the pan with water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add more water to the pan if necessary, and continue baking until the artichokes are tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature.


WINE PAIRING: Light white and medium white

VARIATIONS: When serving steamed or boiled artichokes that have not been stuffed, I like to whisk 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and ¼ cup melted butter to dip the tender leaves into before eating. One steamed artichoke may be served as part of an antipasto with drinks before dinner. Separate the leaves and arrange them on a platter. Serve along with a small dish of Basic Vinaigrette.

From The Tucci Cookbook, by Stanley Tucci.

Comments [1]

Zarela's Recipe: Pimpo

Toasted Corn Flour Cookies

I was walking through the crowded marketplace at Juchitán, the capital of the Isthmus, when I nearly stumbled over María Ruíz sitting daintily on the ground with two small children in the shade of an arch, next to a basket lined with a snowy embroidered cloth.  I was already attuned enough to the region to think that this pretty young woman did not look quite like the flamboyant juchitecas around her, and sure enough I learned that she was from the town of Tehuantepec some twenty miles distant, where they specialize in making totopos dulces, sweet crackers of fine corn flour and dried coconut.  I could not replicate María's totopos, which require a tandoorlike sunken clay oven, but she gave me her recipe for these little cousins that can be made like cookies in a regular oven.

To grate the sugar, use the fine side of a standard straight-sided grater.  The recipe requires a starchy type of corn.

One 1- 1 1/2-inch piece canela
4 cups dried dent or flour corn kernels 
1/2 cup grated Mexican brown loaf sugar (panela or piloncillo; see page 000), packed before measuring, or 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Grind the canela in an electric coffee or spice grinder.  Set aside.

Spread the corn on a large baking sheet and bake until the kernels are bright yellow, about 40 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely while keeping the oven set to 375°F.

The corn must now be ground to a fine powdery flour.  I prefer to do this in an electric coffee or spice grinder, about 3/4 cup at a time. (You can also grind the kernels in several batches in a food processor, but the flour will not be as finely or evenly ground. 4 cups whole kernels should yield about 2 1/2 cups flour.)   Mix well with the ground canela.  

In a large bowl, cream the butter well and beat in the sugar; continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the toasted corn flour mixture, beating well after each addition.  It will form a somewhat stiff dough.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to about 1/2-inch thickness.  With a cookie cutter, cut into 1-inch rounds.  Reroll leftover scraps of dough for cutting until all is used.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Yield: About 3 dozen 1-inch cookies

Comments [2]

Zarela's Recipe: Esquites

3 cups corn
2 cups stock
Crema Mexicana
Powdered chile
1 lime (cut in half)
1 cup crumbled cotija cheese

Directions: Mix the corn, stock, mayo and cream; sprinkle with the cheese, powdered chili and a squeeze of lime juice.


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