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Food

Food

The Food and Drug Administration is currently embroiled in a surprisingly heated culinary standoff — pitting French cheese-makers (and American cheese-lovers) against regulators, all because of one very small problem: cheese mites.

Cheese mites are microscopic little bugs that live on the surfaces of aged cheeses, munching the microscopic molds that grow there. For many aged cheeses, they're something of an industry nuisance, gently brushed off the cheeses. But for Mimolette, a bright orange French cheese, they're actually encouraged.

My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... thank you, sweetie."

The Alabama Legislature has approved a bill making it legal to brew beer at home, a practice that had been forbidden in the state. If Gov. Robert Bentley signs the bill, as is expected, home brewing will soon be legal in all 50 states.

Alabama lawmakers voted on the bill to legalize home brewing months after it was first introduced. And while it met with earlier debate and resistance, the arrival of the legislation — House Bill 9 — for a vote Tuesday night seems to have come to its supporters as a pleasant surprise.

Weeknight Kitchen: Warm Goat Cheese Salad

May 8, 2013

◦One 11- to 12-ounce log fresh goat cheese, cut crosswise into 4 even pieces
◦1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
◦1/3 pound thick slice of pancetta, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
◦3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
◦2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
◦1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
◦1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
◦1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
◦1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
◦2 cups frisée greens, washed, dried, and torn into 1-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bordeauxs and Burgundys haven't changed much since the days when famous wine-lover Thomas Jefferson kept the cellars of his Parisian home well-stocked with both wines.

But now, some worry that the regional rules and traditions that have defined top winemaking regions like Champagne, Burgundy and Chianti for centuries could melt away as climate change takes effect.

It's strange to find a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, famous as Elvis Presley's favorite, on a restaurant menu, given its effect on Elvis. It's like finding a store selling an Isadora Duncan commemorative scarf.

Nonetheless, freelance radio producer Melissa LaCasse and I decided to try the one offered by The Breslin in New York, listed as "fried peanut butter & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla."

How To Dip Without Breaking The Chip

May 6, 2013

The Mexican army's May 5 victory in 1862's Battle of Puebla is a pretty small holiday in Mexico. But in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has grown into a kind of Mexican St. Patrick's Day. So this weekend, in honor of that holiday, thousands of Americans will be dipping tortilla chips into guacamole, and when they do they'll have an important decision to make: how best to dip without breaking the chip.

Korean and Southern food may not seem like a natural pair. But now it's one more example of traditions emulsifying in the great American melting pot. Korean-American chef Edward Lee makes that case with his new cookbook Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories From a New Southern Kitchen.

Fusion cooking comes naturally to Lee: He grew up in an immigrant neighborhood of Brooklyn surrounded by Jamaicans, Indians, Iranians and Jews.

Home grocery delivery sounds like a frill for people too lazy to schlep to the store. But having food delivered can be more environmentally friendly than driving to the store, researchers say.

Having groceries delivered can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half, compared to driving to the store, according to a new study. That's because the delivery truck offers the equivalent of a "shared ride" for the food.

Weeknight Kitchen: Roasted Chicken Salad with Apples, Golden Raisins, and Tarragon

May 1, 2013

I must admit something embarrassing. Whenever I think of chicken salad, I think of the recipe for Waldorf salad that a customer keeps screaming at Basil Fawlty: chicken, apples, celery, and walnuts! I have that frantic scene locked in my head. Chicken salad = Fawlty Towers. Except, I went back to see that scene again to write this headnote (and get a little comic relief) and realized there's no chicken in a Waldorf salad. Oops. Well, this one's still great.

3 cups cubed cooked chicken, taken from roasted legs and thighs
2 large green apples, peeled and cubed

Mon Dieu! Fast Food Now Rules In France

Apr 30, 2013

When it comes to culinary matters, France, in many minds, is synonymous with fine dining. So it might surprise you that, for the first time, sales at fast food chains have overtaken those at traditional restaurants in the country that gave us the word gastronomie.

I rarely dress up asparagus; it has such a wonderful flavor that it feels silly to complicate it in any way. But, as the first warm months carry on, cooks and farmers, all eagerly anticipating the next wave of crops, begin to grow a little weary of asparagus. For this dish, I drizzle the grilled spears with a sauce that I made up one day when my wife was desperately hungry and the pickins were slim in the kitchen. We had olive oil, hot sauce, and a little grated Parmesan. I mixed them all together to make a dipping sauce for bread, and she loved it!

Coachella, the massive outdoor music festival that kicks off this weekend in Indio, Calif., has become an "incubator" not just for new bands, but for rising food entrepreneurs, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week.

There are days for cake, and days for ice cream and cookies. But every now and then, you crave a different kind of finish to a satisfying meal. Enter Atlantic Beach Pie, a salty and citrusy staple of the North Carolina coast.

Chocoholics, rejoice!

British scientists have developed a new fruit-juice-infused chocolate that they say has up to 50 percent less fat than the regular stuff. And it's tasty, too.

The scientists, led by University of Warwick's Stefan Bon, created the hybrid chocolate using a blender to generate microscopic droplets of fruit juice fine enough to blend into molten chocolate.

A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.

It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.

The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.

That's a lot of yeast.

Despite growing up in Virginia, I never tasted grits until I was in college. I remember that first bite vividly, because it left me with the impression that grits were truly disgusting. My freshman roommate would make them with her hot pot, and this vile, gluey goo made me swear they would never pass my lips again.

Fast-forward a couple of years, when I was once again duped into trying instant grits — this time doctored with cheddar cheese and butter. Still horrible. Twice fooled, it's a wonder I ever tried them again.

Weeknight Kitchen: Omelette Baguette

Mar 27, 2013

Simple but delicious! Wrapped in a sheet of newspaper, this is a popular breakfast for people on the run. Often, the Vietnamese will simply pull up with their motorcycle at their favourite banh mi cart to pick one up on the way to work. 

12 eggs
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
pinch of salt
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
oil, for frying
6 small baguettes
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 handful coriander (cilantro) sprigs
1 long red chilli, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Backyard chickens have become a coveted suburban accessory, one that packages cuteness, convenience and local food production in one fluffy feathered package.

But animal husbandry can be a nasty business, a fact that's often glossed over by poultry partisans like Martha Stewart and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean.

For vegetable lovers, the start of spring can be a cruel tease, hinting of a feast of just-picked peas and spinach and beets, but delivering instead tired iceberg and romaine shipped from distant climes.

"It's zero here right now," Terry Nennich reported Wednesday morning, the first official day of spring, from Grand Rapids, Minn. So much for spring. Not only was it well below freezing, but the ground remained blanketed by 2 feet of snow.

Some Toddler Foods Come With A Mega-Dose Of Salt

Mar 22, 2013

Feeding toddlers can be a challenge, so it's easy to see the lure of prepackaged favorites like mac and cheese. But many of those foods deliver startlingly high amounts of sodium, some with three times more than recommended in a single serving, according to a new survey.

The offenders include not just savory snacks but also healthful-sounding foods like pasta and chicken, according to Joyce Maalouf, a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Foodcast Episode 87: Hills Market Downtown

Mar 21, 2013

On this week's show, we speak to Amanda Anderson from The Hills Market about their brand new downtown location.

Is saffron — the legendarily expensive, hand- harvested spice — worth the money? Yes, if it's allowed to be the star. 

America loves beer.

In the U.S., we drink $200 billion worth of the hops-brewed libation annually. What many Americans might not know is that most domestic beer, 90 percent in fact, is dominated by just two companies: Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors.

Yogurt For Men: A Review

Mar 17, 2013

Last week on Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, we talked about a new yogurt for men, or brogurt, from a company called Powerful Yogurt. Here's what our panelist, comedian Jessi Klein, had to say about it:

Is Your Medicine Vegan? Probably Not

Mar 15, 2013

Go looking for animal products, and apparently you will find them everywhere.

That's the takeaway from the book Veganissimo A to Z, recently translated into English for the first time. What's veganissimo? It's veganism of the highest order, according to the German authors Reuben Proctor and Lars Thomsen, who call themselves "professional vegans." (Is veganism a healthful way to eat? Sorry, we're not going there in this post.)

Whether it's green tea that warms you up, or coffee that gives you that morning lift, a new study finds both can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, included 82,369 men and women in Japan.

Researchers found that the more green tea a person drank, the more it reduced the risk of suffering a stroke.

Outside The Pizza Box: Chicago's New Pie Scene

Mar 13, 2013

As we prepare to celebrate Pi(e) Day on Thursday (Congress established March 14 as a day to honor both the mathematical constant, 3.14, and our nation's favorite dessert), we find a burgeoning pie scene in Chicago. And it's not of the deep-dish variety.

There are only about 1,000 people of pure Hawaiian descent left in the world, but island residents are cooking up an idea to keep native island culture from fading away. The key ingredient? Reviving a starchy food called poi.

A swarm of locusts that has devastated crops in Egypt made its way into neighboring Israel this week. And with Passover just around the corner, many news outlets couldn't resist noting the shades of the biblical tale of Exodus, when the insects were one of 10 plagues that descended upon Pharaoh and his people.

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