This week we talk to journalist Julia Flynn Siler author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty. Jane and Michael Stern are at Kumback Lunch in Perry, OK. David Rosengarten looks at the origins of ramen noodles. And for an interpretation of an epicurean's take on happiness we turn to philosopher and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think is Right is Wrong.
This was the steak I made to go with our first bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was a 1969, the steak's vintage was around 1974. Use this basic technique whenever you do steak, but remember it must be cut extra thick and be really well marbled, otherwise you don't have the control you need for great flavor and perfect doneness. Get the full recipe.
Excerpted from A Revival of Bitters? Sweeeet! by Charles Perry. The article originally appeared in the January 25, 2006 issue of The Los Angeles Times.
Makes 1 drink
Put a few drops of bitters onto the sugar cube and place it in a Champagne flute. Add the sparkling wine and the rest of the bitters and garnish with lemon peel.
Perry is a lovely, sleepy little town and the kind of place where everyone says "hi" when you pass on the street. It's also the kind of place where the whole town gathers at the local diner-Kumback Lunch-for the good homey food they've been serving since 1926: cinnamon rolls and biscuits with sausage gravy for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch and terrific homemade pies anytime. Michael went for one of the house specialties, a baked potato stuffed with barbecued beef and salsa.
Kumback Lunch has a great sense of history. A story printed on the back of the menu tells of the time gangster Pretty Boy Floyd entered the diner brandishing a gun and demanding the biggest steak in the house. The cook complied.
The Food Network's David Rosengarten has launched a newsletter aptly titled The Rosengarten Report. Published every six weeks, it's full of information, rants, raves, critiques, and opinions about food, wine, and travel.
The Rosengarten Report
7600A Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22043
It seems bitters, the nasty-tasting medicinal liquid that punctuated mixed drinks until the late 1880's, is enjoying a comeback in today's upscale cocktails.
Charles Perry of The Los Angeles Times wrote an article on the subject for the January 25, 2006 issue of the newspaper.
Three bitters varieties Mr. Perry likes are Angostura, Peychaud and Orange.
For information on IEEE Spectrum magazine, a publication for science and technology enthusiasts mentioned in the segment on geek cooking, log on to www.spectrum.ieee.org.
When the subject of tomatoes comes up at The Splendid Table the crew just smiles and indulges Lynne. Tomatoes are her passion, after all, and she knows what she's talking about. But when she sailed into the studio recently and announced she had been experimenting with a $26 can of San Marzano tomatoes the crew wondered if things had finally gone too far. Who but a mad woman would pay $26 for a can of tomatoes? Then she explained it was all in the name of "research."
San Marzanos are the Italian canned tomatoes every food writer tells you to buy. Everyone except Lynne, that is. She maintains they are hype and the ones she's tasted from Italy aren't very good. Then Nancy Harmon Jenkins was a guest on the show and talking San Marzano tomatoes. Nancy is a superb researcher whose latest book is Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of Southern Italian Cooking (William Morrow, 2007).
Nancy found out why the so-called San Marzanos aren't that great. First, most of them aren't grown in San Marzano's home turf, the area near Mount Vesuvius with its special volcanic soil. Second, years ago there was a change in the type of seed used. Now, according to Nancy, the original seed has been found and the true San Marzano is once again being grown in its original location and soil.
The gentleman who started growing the tomatoes produces a brand called Il Miracolo di San Gennaro, "The Miracle of San Gennaro." You can order them online at www.gustiamo.com. Be warned: a 28-ounce can costs $11.50 plus $15.00 shipping (other items ordered at the same time are included in that shipping fee).
Are they worth it? Lynne says the tomatoes are very delicate, with excellent sweet/acid balance and mouth-filling good taste. These are the ones to use in simple sauces-a little olive oil, maybe some basil, not too much garlic. Are they worth ten times the price of Lynne's favorite canned tomatoes from the supermarket? No, unless you are a fanatic with deep pockets.