Kitchen, Tools & Tips

Michael Pollan: Food Rules

By WGBH News   |   Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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foodrules

Cover of the newly illustrated version of Pollan's book, Food Rules.

Jan. 25, 2012

 


BOSTON — Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Author of the “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” a 2006 New York Times book review describes Pollan as a "liberal foodie intellectual."

Polan will present an illustrated version of his book, "Food Rules," during the Boston Speakers Series this week at Symphony Hall. WGBH News' Bob Seay had a chance to speak with Pollan about his book and his views on food.

The book itself is a "20-minute read," according to Pollan; however, its life changing message is simple: Don't eat what's not good for you.

At the Speakers Series, Pollan will discuss our society's confusion over what's right to eat, as well as what influences our knowledge and informs our choices. He offers up some simple solutions, such as "Don't shop in the center aisles of your grocery store, where the most immortal foods live," explaining that the most processed foods exist there.

Visit Pollan's website for a complete list of his books, articles and a collection of food information resources.

Thanksgiving Holiday Tips Part Two
By Annie Copps

Thursday, November 18, 2010
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thansgiving turkey

Feeling a little antsy about the holidays? I have a few ideas that might help you relax and enjoy the spirit of all these celebrations. And if you missed it, see part one of my holiday tips.

11. Pick up a few extra bags of cranberries and pop them in the freezer—after the holidays, they'll be scarce.

12. It's the one day of the year to eat with no restraint. This is not the day for diets. Be full—unbutton your pants if you have to.

13. Invite guests to your home and don't get hung up on the table being too crowded or things not being perfect—it's better to invite a neighbor, friend, or relative who would have been alone otherwise, rather than to fret that someone is sitting in a folded metal chair or eating off a plate that doesn't match your pattern.

14. If a guest brings a surprise dish that doesn't go with your menu, serve it anyway. So much of Thanksgiving is about tradition and memories—if Aunt Sarah needs to make chocolate cranberry turnip salad as part of her tradition, let it slide.

15. Thanksgiving is not the day to try out a new recipe. Stick with what you are comfortable with and that you know will work.

16. Instead of one GIANT turkey, consider two or three smaller ones. Everything will cook faster (consider cooking one the day before and one the day of, so that you can present one beautiful browned bird tableside), smaller birds will be more tender and juicy, and if you have a large crowd, you'll have more drumsticks.

17. Turkeys are notorious for being finicky to cook, because the white breast meat cooks more quickly than the darker meat of the drumsticks. There are several ways to even the playing field: brine your turkey, butterfly your turkey, remove the legs and cook separately, and/or cover the breast with foil (remove the last 45 minutes to brown the skin).

18. Baste or not to baste? Basting does very little to add to the flavor of your turkey (not much of that flavor actually gets absorbed), BUT basting the breast does cool it down (by evaporation) and slows down the cooking time of the breast meat which lets the legs catch up a little.

Salt Versus No Salt
By Lidia Bastianich

Thursday, November 11, 2010
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beef in suace

To salt or not salt the water, that is the question. I used to boil vegetables in salted water but I found that if I boiled them in unsalted water they would retain more of their natural flavors. And after drying them while they are still steaming hot, I toss them with some coarse salt, to enhance their natural goodness. Does it really make a difference? Indeed it does.

Instead of making a saline solution out of the boiling water, which permeates the vegetable throughout, salting later allows the vegetable to retain its pure flavor. In addition, the sprinkled salt adds another dimension by seeping into the vegetable while still hot. The vegetables that best respond to this method are: String beans, broccoli, and zucchini. But I also find it's better with cabbage, beets, chard, and other greens.

Herbs
By Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Wake up and smell the herbs!

Herbs are one of the quickest and healthiest ways to impart flavor to any dish. They release their fresh flavor when cooked in a dish and then help to reinforce that flavor when added to a dish.

Don’t be afraid to use herbs during cooking or as a way to finish any dish, and if you have any herbs left over, here is a great tip that I also share in my cookbook, Lidia’s Family Table. It will allow you to keep your herbs fresh and usable all year long.

—Divide the fresh herbs in an ice cube trays with deep cubicles.

—Pour cold water to cover the herbs and put in the freezer to freeze.

—The herbs and their flavors will remain embedded in the ice and great for plopping into any drink, or perking up any sauce or soup!

—You now have cubed your herbs for year round use!

To keep these herb “rocks” fresh all year long, seal them in a plastic storage bag and keep them in the freezer.
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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Italian-Style Corn
Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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America loves and is obsessed with corn, and I happen to have an Italian-American love affair with corn! When it’s in season, we do wild things with it on the menu at Felidia, my flagship restaurant in New York City.

I know you grill it, in and out of the husk, or boil it and simply dress with butter and salt.

But for an alternative, when a delicious pot of tomato sauce is perking on your stove, try plopping in some sweet ears of corn. The sauce will be sweeter and the ear of corn, tangier.

Directions
Just shuck the corn
Remove all the silk and rinse the ears
Drop them in the pot of tomato sauce
It’s in and out — 2 minutes will do

And what you’ve got is a delicious new way of eating corn, Italian style!

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

Grilled Peppers
By Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Peter Piper picked a peck of…delicious peppers!

When you go shopping at your local reputable market, get yourself some peppers especially when they are in season. They are delicious, colorful, plentiful, nutritious, and usually inexpensive in the summertime! So what do I do with them, you ask me? It’s simple!

Directions
Grill whole peppers over an open flame, turning periodically until all of the skin blisters.

Set them in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let cool.

Peel and scrape off all of the skin under gently running water. Remove the stems and seeds.

Take these delicious morsels and put them in a casserole dish with sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh or dry oregano. Let steep for half an hour, and when you are ready to serve, add a drizzle of vinegar.

Serve these delicious peppers like we do at my Lidia’s restaurants, as an appetizer, side dish, or sandwich stuffer. Now go pick your peppers!

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

About the Author
WGBH News
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 

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