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edibleLA SUMMER 2018

Issue No. 6

Sharing the Story of Local Food, Season by Season

the

outdoor issue

chefs & their gardens | summer’s bounty cocktails | tempering the grill | suzanne goin’s lamb skewers + more outdoor recipes Member of Edible Communities


IN THIS ISSUE

32

16 EDITOR’S LETTER p. 4

features Tempering is the key to better grilling and better steaks. BY BEN EISENDRATH

19

CHEFS & THEIR GARDENS Meet the urban farmers revolutionizing the way we grow food, and the chefs who count on them to bring their menus to life.

5

NEWS & NIBBLES

8

WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW

9

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: ZUCCHINI

11

READING CORNER

32

SIP ON THIS

BY LISA ALEXANDER

Local bartenders use summer produce to shake up fresh cocktails at home.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

29

Local chefs share their favorite summer recipes to get cookin’ outdoors. BY SHAUNA BURKE

BY KRISTINE BOCCHINO

35

LOCAL HEROES Meet Olympia Auset—the woman tackling LA’s food deserts, one produce box at a time.

FOOD TANK

37

CONTRIBUTORS p. 6

departments

FIERY FOREPLAY

17

SUMMER FLAVORED ICE CUBES P. 42

A Q&A with Danielle Nierenberg about her dynamic nonprofit. BY COLLEEN LEONARDI

BY LISA ALEXANDER

40

THE FOOD HISTORIAN Learn about LA’s impressive hot dog history. BY LINDA CIVITELLO

42

LAST BITE Reduce food waste at home by using scraps to flavor ice cubes. BY SHAUNA BURKE

12 13 14 15 29 30 31

GRILLED POTATO SALAD WITH GRILLED SCALLION VINAIGRETTE CHARRED BROCCOLI WITH LIME, FISH SAUCE, BASIL, & PEANUTS ISRAELI COUSCOUS WITH SUMMER VEGETABLES PEANUT CHUTNEY LAMB SKEWERS WITH LIMA BEAN PUREE AND SALSA VERDE PORK RIBS WITH CALABRIAN RED HOT CHILE SAUCE GRILLED OYSTERS WITH PICKLED RAMP BUTTER

DRINK

recipe index

16 FOOD

30

32 32 34 34 34

RAIN DANCE COBBLER YOU AND WHOSE GARDEN? MARY PICKFORD WATERMELON COOLER ZESTY PIŇA


editor's note

NO. 6

SUMMER 2018 PUBLISHER Pulp & Branch LLC

GET OUT!

EDITOR IN CHIEF Shauna Burke

For our first ‘outdoor’ issue, I wanted to spotlight some of the unsung heroes of the (hyper)local food movement. Our farmers’ markets are indispensable and bring such joy and beauty to our city, but we forget that most of our food doesn’t come from Los Angeles. Farmers drive in, sometimes hours, from surrounding counties to showcase their gorgeous goods. In an effort to stay a little closer to home, we spoke with a few of the urban farmers revolutionizing the way we grow food in LA and the local chefs who count on them to bring their menus to life. Living in such a big city can be both a blessing and a curse. We are so fortunate to be able to eat the world without driving more than a few miles in any direction, but a significant downside is that many of us can become disconnected with nature. We lose sight of the earth’s beauty, we forget where our food comes from, and we forget to just stop—to look around and appreciate what is all around us. I hope this issue leaves you feeling inspired to begin your own garden or urban farm, entertain outdoors, and make use of our beautiful summer produce. Most importantly, in any way that you possibly can…just get outside this summer.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lisa Alexander Kristine Bocchino Shauna Burke Linda Civitello Ben Eisendrath Colleen Leonardi CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Carolina Korman

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SALES REPRESENTATIVES Doreen Cappelli doreen@ediblela.com Westside, Malibu

Enjoy the season... With much love,

Marjorie Fagan marjorie.fagan@outlook.com San Fernando Valley

Shauna

Shauna Burke, Editor in Chief edit@ediblela.com

Colleen Faggiano colleen@ediblela.com Central LA & Beverly Hills, South Bay, Pasadena & The Verdugos EDITORIAL INQUIRIES edit@ediblela.com CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUBSCRIPTIONS hello@ediblela.com

Winner of James Beard Foundation Award 2011 Publication of the Year

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COVER: Courtney Guerra at her Glassell Park farm; photographed by Carolina Korman

No part of this publication may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

Cover Photo © Melanie DeFazio

MAILING ADDRESS 27407 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, CA 90265


NEWS & NIBBLES CONNECT WITH US

@EdibleLAMag #FeastOnLA

SAVE THE DATE! California Pizza Festival When: JULY 28-29 Where: L.A. Center Studios calipizzafestival.com

Coffee Fest

When: AUGUST 19-21 Where: Los Angeles Convention Center coffeefest.com

9th Annual LA Food Fest When: SEPTEMBER 8 Where: Santa Anita Park lafoodfest.com

L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade When: SEPTEMBER 8 Where: Royce Quad, UCLA Campus alexslemonade.org

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"Los Angeles is the perfect city to get outdoors during the summer,” says contributing photographer

"My favorite hike has to be climbing to the top of the ‘rock’ above Westward Beach in Malibu,” says contributing writer LISA ALEXANDER (Chefs &

CAROLINA KORMAN (Chefs & Their Gardens, p. 19). “I love going

Their Gardens, p. 19; Local Heroes, p. 35). "On a good day, you can see

to the Hollywood Bowl for a picnic and concert or enjoy a rooftop dinner at one of the many gorgeous city venues.”

seals, whales, purple starfish, and rock climbers, and then polish off a perfect açaí bowl or smoothie at SunLife Organics on the way home.”

"My favorite place to eat outside is standing next to a lobster truck, chowing down on some Connecticut comfort,” says contributing writer

LINDA CIVITELLO (The Food Historian, p. 40). “Big chunks of hot

lobster, drenched in butter, on a New England split bun. That other stuff, with mayo, ain’t a real lobster roll.”

SHAUNA BURKE (Take it Outside, p. 29; Last Bite, p. 42). "Have a cocktail, enjoy the sunset, and walk downstairs for easy beach access.”

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"Early on summer mornings, I love to take friends on the gorgeous hike at the Victory Trailhead Loop, near Victory Blvd & Valley Circle in Calabasas,” says contributing writer

KRISTINE BOCCHINO (Sip on This, p. 32). “We pick up cheese,

charcuterie, and salads at Blue Table Cafe & Wine Bar in Calabasas on the way, and snack halfway through the hike, mesmerized by vast fields of mustard flowers." Photo ©istockphoto/nata_rass

"Summer is often about escaping and I love to take weekday escapes down to the Montage Laguna Beach,” says our editor-in-chief and writer


our contributors Our contributors tell us how they

LOVE TO GET OUTDOORS DURING THE SUMMER Share your thoughts with us on Instagram @EdibleLAMag #FeastOnLA and we’ll repost our favorites!


What's in Season Now SUMMER & EARLY FALL APPLES ASIAN PEARS AVOCADOS BLACKBERRIES BLUEBERRIES BOYSENBERRIES BROCCOLI CARROTS CAULIFLOWER CHERRIES CHERRY TOMATOES CORN CUCUMBERS EGGPLANTS FIGS GRAPES GREEN BEANS MELONS NECTARINES OKRA PASSION FRUIT PEACHES PEARS PERSIMMONS - early fall PLUMS POMEGRANATES - early fall TOMATOES ZUCCHINI 8

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what’s in season

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT:

ZUCCHINI In Season:

summer through early fall

What to Look For: small to medium in size, firm

Ways to Use:

Grilling and roasting brings out their great flavor. Chop grilled zucchini and tomatoes to make a fresh salsa. Roll up sliced grilled zucchini with soft spreadable cheese, fresh herbs, and ground pepper. Grate fresh zucchini to use in cookies, breads, muffins, or fritters. Hold onto the blossoms! Stuff with ricotta cheese and fry. If you have extra large zucchini, scrape out the soft seedy centers and stuff with ground turkey, cheese, and herbs or crabmeat, then bake. Pickle zucchini just as you would cucumber spears. Use spiralized zucchini in place of pasta or thin slices in place of lasagna noodles.

Photo ©istockphoto/alessandro0770

HEAD TO EDIBLELA.COM FOR OUR FRESH ZUCCHINI SOUP RECIPE.


reading corner

SOME OF THIS SEASON'S

MOST DELICIOUS READS

SESSION COCKTAILS LOW-ALCOHOL DRINKS FOR ANY OCCASSION Drew Lazor and the Editors of PUNCH (Ten Speed) If you’re looking for a cocktail book to buy this summer, make it this one. Accessible recipes for outdoor entertainers and cocktails that are meant to allow for an anjoyable day of low-proof drinking. You’ll see a couple of local LA mixologists in these pages—head to ediblela.com for their recipes! -eLA

KOREAN BBQ MASTER YOUR GRILL IN SEVEN SAUCES Bill Kim with Chandra Ram (Ten Speed) If you thought you’d read every book on grilling, Korean BBQ will be a delight. It’s casual and approachable, with serious flavor packed into every single recipe. Master the sauces and you’ll find infinite ways to incorporate them into your summer feasting. -eLA

get the recipe for KoRican Pork Chops on ediblela.com

@EdibleLAMag

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reading corner

Grilled Potato Salad with Grilled Scallion Vinaigrette GATHER & GRAZE 120 FAVORITE RECIPES FOR TASTY GOOD TIMES Stephanie Izard with Rachel Holtzman (Ten Speed) From acclaimed Chicago restaurateur Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), this new cookbook is filled with craveable recipes. Some of our favorites include the Roasted Shishito Peppers with Sesame Miso and Parmesan and the recipe shown here, Grilled Potato Salad with Grilled Scallion VInaigrette—the perfect summer salad! -eLA

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recipe on page 16


recipe on page 16

CHARRED BROCCOLI WITH LIME, FISH SAUCE, BASIL, AND PEANUTS

EAT A LITTLE BETTER GREAT FLAVOR, GOOD HEALTH, BETTER WORLD Sam Kass (Clarkson Potter) Sam Kass, former chef to the Obamas and White House food policy advisor, is making it a little easier to eat a little better by sharing his methods for choosing foods and cooking at home. He keeps health and sustainability in mind each step of the way and, most importantly, keeps every recipe delicious. -eLA


reading corner

Israeli Couscous with Summer Vegetables and Caramelized Tomato SHAYA AN ODYSSEY OF FOOD, MY JOURNEY BACK TO ISRAEL Alon Shaya (Knopf) Shaya takes readers on a journey right along with him, making the recipes infinitely more special and closer to the heart. Part memoir, part cookbook, this is about identity and the power of food memories, which is something we all have in common. -eLA serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS 1 gallon plus 1⁄2 cup water, divided 2 tbsp Morton kosher salt, divided 1 large eggplant 1 large zucchini 1 yellow onion, chopped ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 cup Israeli couscous 4 sprigs fresh thyme 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced ¾ cup tomato paste ½ cup assorted olives, black or green, pitted and halved 8 fresh basil leaves, torn INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat the broiler. Combine 1 gallon water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot, and bring to a boil. 2. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant and zucchini into roughly 1-inch pieces, then combine them with the chopped onion, 1⁄4 cup olive oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Spread everything in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring the pieces every 5 minutes or so, until they are evenly golden and the eggplant is very tender. 3. When the water comes to a boil, add the couscous, and cook for about 6 minutes, until it’s tender and still has a little bite. Drain it, and set aside. 4. Strip the leaves from the thyme, and finely chop them with the parsley. Warm the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and herbs. Cook for just 30 seconds to 1 minute, before the garlic has a chance to brown. 5. Stir in the tomato paste, and continue to cook, breaking it up with your spoon, for 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s fragrant and deeply caramelized. Remove the skillet from the heat, and fold in the roasted vegetables, couscous, and remaining 1⁄2 cup water, followed by the olives and basil. Serve warm; leftovers keep well for a few days. Excerpted from Shaya by Alon Shaya. Copyright © 2018 by Alon Shaya. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Peanut Chutney DOSA KITCHEN recipes for INDIA’S FAVORITE STREET FOOD Nash Patel & Leda Scheintaub (Clarkson Potter) Dosas are a popular Indian street food, sort of like very thin pancakes that are filled with an almost infinite combination of ingredients. They are the perfect vehicle for so many flavorful vegetables, meats, spices, and condiments. You’ll find traditional and modern, vegan and meatfilled, sweet, and savory. This is an exquisite introduction. -eLA ◆ makes about 1½ cups While American kids have their PB&J, in Nash’s house it was peanut chutney, tomato, and cucumber on white bread, known as a picnic sandwich. Nash’s favorite way to enjoy peanut chutney is dipping dosa after dosa into a jar of it, then taking a spoon directly to the jar and making quick work of whatever’s left. INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp coconut oil 6 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 to 2 fresh green chiles, to taste, stemmed and halved lengthwise 3 garlic cloves, smashed 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts 1½ tsp tamarind puree, such as Swad 2 tsp Kashmiri chile powder 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste ½ tsp black mustard seeds ½ tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp split urad dal handful of fresh curry leaves INSTRUCTIONS Melt the 2 teaspoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the cherry tomatoes, green chiles, and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are just slightly softened and seared on the outside and the garlic and chiles are slightly softened and browned. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a blender, mini blender, or food processor. Add the peanuts, tamarind, chile powder, salt, and ½ cup water and blend until mostly smooth but with a little texture from the peanuts remaining, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed and adding more water if needed. Transfer to a medium bowl. Temper the spices: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. One immediately after the next, add the spices without stirring: first the mustard seeds (they will start to pop), followed by the cumin seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves. Let the cumin seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves darken a couple of shades without burning. Remove from the heat and stir the spice mixture into the peanut mixture. Taste and add more salt, as needed. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Reprinted from Dosa Kitchen. Copyright © 2018 by Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Kristen Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


reading corner

Grilled Potato Salad with Grilled Scallion Vinaigrette (continued from page 15)

Reprinted from Gather & Graze. Copyright © 2018 by Stephanie Izard, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Galdones Photography. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

serves 6 to 8 INGREDIENTS for the potatoes: kosher salt 3 lbs fingerling potatoes 5 tbsp unsalted butter for the dressing: 2 bunches spring onion greens or scallions 2½ tbsp canola oil kosher salt 1 tbsp champagne vinegar 1 tbsp white miso ½ tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp hot sauce of your choice for the salad: 4 spring onions (white bulbs only), quartered ½ pint fresh blueberries canola oil ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. 2. Boil the potatoes: Fill a medium pot with room temperature water. Add a handful of salt to the water and then the potatoes. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat so that the water simmers. Cook until the potatoes are just fork-tender, about 15 minutes (they’ll finish cooking on the grill). Drain the potatoes, and when cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. 3. Make the dressing: Toss the spring onion greens with ½ tablespoon of the oil and season with a pinch of salt. Grill until just charred, turning once, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a blender or food processor and add the vinegar, miso, mustard, hot sauce, and 3 tablespoons water. Puree until the mixture is bright green and smooth. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and blend on high for 1 more minute. Season to taste with salt. 4. To finish the potatoes on the grill, you’ll need a large piece of aluminum foil, big enough for all the potatoes to fit face-down and still have enough left over to fold up the edges. Put the foil on a sheet pan. Rub a thick layer of butter on the foil, leaving a 2-inch lip around the edges. Put the potatoes on the foil, flesh side down. Dot any remaining butter around the potatoes. Curl the edges of the foil up around the potatoes to help hold the melted butter in place. 5. Slide the foil and potatoes onto the grill and cook for at least 10 minutes. Check them occasionally to make sure they are browning but not burning. Flip the potatoes once the flesh is golden brown. Allow the skin side to cook for a few minutes before removing from the heat. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and toss with a liberal amount of the dressing. 6. While the potatoes are cooking, drizzle the spring onion bulbs and the blueberries with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. Put the quartered spring onions directly onto the grill (on a spot that isn’t 16

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super-hot) and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly charred and tender, about 5 minutes. Slice them into bite-size pieces and add them to the bowl with the potatoes. 7. Use a grill basket or seafood pan to grill the blueberries. The berries will need no more than 2 minutes on the heat. They’ll turn a darker blue color when they’re done. 8. Put the dressed potatoes and spring onions on a platter. Top with the grilled blueberries and torn mint. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Charred Broccoli with Lime, Fish Sauce, Basil, and Peanuts (continued from page 16) If you like roasted broccoli, you’re going to love it grilled. I like to keep the florets big; they’re not only easy to handle but they also have time to develop crispy buds and deep, dark char before the stems lose their snap. Broccoli’s nooks and crannies make it a great vehicle for dressing, like this Thai-style concoction—salty from umami-packed fish sauce, tart from lime juice, and sweet from just enough brown sugar (brown because of its flavor, not because it’s any healthier than white). A final sprinkling of roasted peanuts and fresh basil completes the dish’s trip to addictive territory. Add a teaspoon or so of minced fresh chile to the dressing, if heat’s your thing. serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for the grill ¼ cup fish sauce 2 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark) 3 tbsp fresh lime juice 2 large heads of broccoli, bottom ½ inch trimmed, stalks peeled kosher salt ¼ cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts handful of fresh basil leaves, torn at the last minute INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Pour a little oil on a rag, grab the rag with tongs, and rub the oil onto the grill grates to prevent sticking. 2. Whisk together the fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice to taste in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. 3. Cut the broccoli into florets about 4 inches long, with plenty of stalk. Combine the broccoli, oil, and a generous sprinkle of salt in a large bowl and toss well. 4. Grill the broccoli over direct heat, flipping occasionally, until the stalks are crisp-tender and blackened in places and the buds are slightly crunchy, 8 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter. 5. Drizzle the dressing over the broccoli and sprinkle on the peanuts and basil. Season with salt to taste. Reprinted from Eat A Little Better. Copyright © 2018 by Sam Kass. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. ◆


BY BEN EISENDRATH

FIERY FOREPLAY

Photo © Grillworks

P

Get your steak warmed up before it hits the grill.

icture, if you will, in your carnivorous eye, the last steak that made you question whether you’d ever really had a steak before. Sizzling before you, bearing the brand of the fire. Ringed with burnt-amber fat. Not fork-tender, but firm— demanding the knife. Your first cut parts an artful spectrum of caramel to pink, assuring that each bite would deliver the holy trinity of crust, jus, and seasoning. You remember pausing for a moment to drink it all in. And so it was. Your perfect steak. The steps to such perfection are several: careful sourcing, mastery of fire, meticulous seasoning. Just as important to delivering an immortal steak is a primary step oft forgotten by home chefs, one

that can make a world of difference in the result. This step is called tempering. “Tempering is the most important thing we do to meat, period,” says Chef Rubén García, the culinary creative director at José Andrés’ Think Food Group. A large part of the live-fire training of José Andrés’ cooks doesn’t take place over the grill, but in a holding area where they continuously monitor steaks that are on deck, making sure their internal temperatures rise to exactly 95 degrees before they get on the heat. “In Spain, we cook large cuts of meat, often two inches or @EdibleLAMag ediblela.com 17


more [in thickness],” stresses Chef Rubén, “Tempering both loosens the muscle and gets the whole cut to the same temperature before cooking begins. That way we get the perfect sear, tenderness, and even pinkness through to the center.” Tempering is key in many disciplines. In metallurgy, steel strengthens through simple heating and cooling. Molecules bind into harder bonds. When tempering’s effect on the metal was discovered, it enabled better weapons and tools and taller buildings. Tempered speech is that which brings opposing ideas together. It loosens people from their hard positions. Relaxes what was tight. Hardens what was soft. But whether warmer or colder, tempering is always a preparatory manipulation of temperature to get a better result. Chef Greg Denton and wife, Chef Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, James Beard Award-winners for their Portland restaurant Ox, are legendary for their large primal cuts. But those aren’t the ones that worry them most: “Obviously our thickest steaks get the most press, but we probably spend more time considering our handling of grill cuts oneinch or thinner. The fire at Ox is so hot that if we warm-temper a skirt steak it’ll be overdone in a second. So we keep them cold right up to cooking. Refrigerator cold.” Psst—it might sound counterintuitive, but thick steaks, tempered correctly, are far more forgiving, with far more potential for greatness, than thin. Buy the huge steak and carve for several. Growing up in my family home, it was hard to miss dad’s dinner signals. A four-bone pile of bleeding rib steaks in the sink meant “we’re grilling.” A full three inches thick, these marvels anchored a kitchen island still-life wreathed by knife, cleaver, salt, and garlic. And all day they’d sit there. ALL DAY. Mom’s complaints that unexpected callers might not understand our dawn-to-dusk kitchen spectacle went unheeded. But now, knowing what I’ve learned from my own tinkerings

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and from the those of the wildest professional kitchens, I realize he was doing more than simply un-freezing; he was warming them all the way up to room temperature, near what I now know as the tempering range. Employing a secret weapon I didn’t have a name for until much later. Warm tempering is ideal between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If your kitchen’s ambient temperature rests much lower than that, there are plenty of ways to cheat centers to the right range. My preference is to heat an oven to 150 degrees, turn it off, then leave the defrosted steaks in there for about 30 minutes. Another option is a zip-top or vacuum-sealed dunk in hot water (don’t directly soak the meat or you’ll damage the texture). Don’t use a microwave—strange things happen in there. When you’re done, use a meat thermometer to see if you’ve arrived—or if, like me, you’re a “by feel” person, pick up each steak by one end. If it elongates easily and readily, you’re ready to go. Even if you’re an advanced griller and already in the habit of starting with room-temperature meat, try a little warmer, say 80 to 90 degrees. Steaks will finish faster, more predictably and, as a bonus, their relaxed texture will accept pre-grill seasonings far more readily. So if your entire day before the evening’s grill session is focused on prep (mine is), if you focus so completely on the meat at hand that you make your guests bring all the sides and drinks (I do), if you find yourself concerned about what order you salt it, pepper it, or drizzle lime on it (yes—me again), then for goodness sake, temper it. Don’t let a handful of degrees keep you from your perfect steak. ◆


CHEFS & THEIR GARDENS

A love affair, three ways.

WRITTEN BY LISA ALEXANDER PHOTOGRAPHED BY CAROLINA KORMAN

@EdibleLAMag

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COURTNEY GUERRA HOLDING ONION FLOWERS AT HER GLASSELL PARK FARM.

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W

e’re standing in what used to be a vacant lot behind Coogie’s Cafe in Santa Monica. It’s been transformed into a culinary oasis that supplies chefs—like Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon and Ari Taymor of Little Prince—with prized ingredients. “You’ve never truly tasted a vegetable until you’ve tasted its blossoms,” says Courtney Guerra of Courtney Guerra Farms. Guerra is in her element here—any onlooker could easily deduce that there is nothing more she’d rather be doing than messing around in this soil. Tall and striking, she wears a widebrimmed hat as she shows me around the farm, taking me over to see her dark green and very happy fava beans clumping in rows. “With favas, the chefs are going to want open blossoms. They have such a great flavor,” she says, handing me one to try. She’s right—the flowers taste like crisp, fresh peas. “And look at these really nice, beautiful green tips that are just coming out—they’d make a great garnish—and you have also these very young, velvety pods,” she @EdibleLAMag

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shows me. It’s heartwarming to see the sheer pleasure Guerra takes in greening the neighborhood. According to her, it’s also about giving chefs a new or unique ingredient that they can’t easily buy. “If I’m a farmer in a farmers’ market, [that means] I’m selling fava beans for weight, so I’d want a big, beefy pod and full-sized beans. The more volume, the more money… that’s why I’ve found it easier to partner exclusively [with chefs] or have the restaurant own the farm… you can focus on what you’re doing, just growing the food,” she tells me. After going to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, Guerra discovered that she would much rather be outside instead of inside the kitchen. She began working at the Michelin-star restaurant Meadowood in Napa Valley, then did her internship at Mélisse in Santa Monica. Chef Ari Taymor, who recently opened his new concept Little Prince, was one of the first chefs Guerra approached with her culinary garden idea. Within weeks, she found herself driving her truck to Taymor’s now-shuttered Alma Restaurant downtown. “It was really gnarly there with a gentlemen’s club across the street, the Ace Hotel not yet open, and crack users in the alley—and there I was with my blossoms and snails and buckets full of seaweed sloshing in seawater.” “Taymor is one of those chefs who knows how special it is to work with [ingredients] that are grown in a specific fashion…we worked very closely together for three years,” Guerra tells me. “He likes spicy mustard, bitter greens, and fresh fenugreek. He’s very experimental and also came from a background of working at a restaurant in France that had their own garden. And Jeremy [Fox] of Rustic Canyon, the same thing…there’s a recurring theme that, if you peel back some layers, some of the finest chefs in Los Angeles have very close connections with farming.” Guerra says that “it’s more than just having relationships at farmers’ markets—which is awesome because you can have conversations with the growers, and they will grow ingredients for you— but there’s something so special about having your own space and your own grower.” She tells me about a dehydrated turnip she started creating with Taymor—a root vegetable that they starved for water until it formed a white skin, which left the inside exceptionally crunchy and sweet. Taymor remembers that turnip too. An intense young man who obviously cares deeply about every element of owning a restaurant, I met him outside the construction at his newer concept, Little Prince, which began as a pop-up in Santa Monica and is now a bustling, permanent fixture. He remembers how small that turnip was, how condensed in flavor. He also loved Guerra’s favas, harvested either super young or overly mature. “We’d dry them and turn them into a miso,” he remembers. The farm in Santa Monica is on land donated by a private owner, as is another, bigger location in Glassell Park. Along with her own farm in Ojai, everything about Guerra tells me that she’s committed to urban culinary farming for the long haul. “You’ve heard the term slow food?” she asks. “I’m a very impatient person by nature and gardening is the balance to that. If you think, okay, I’m going to commit to farming for the 22

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next twenty years and I want to grow this specific tomato, you only get twenty chances to perfect growing that tomato or that turnip. And chefs understand that. They know they won’t get it all at once, but they commit long term to experimenting with new food—and this is where they get to do that. It’s so hard to find something new,” she says. Guerra also stresses that there is so much room and opportunity here, which is important to note because breaking into the world of fine dining is notoriously difficult. “If you walk up to the back of a restaurant with a case of awesome heirloom tomatoes that you grew two blocks away, no one will turn you away,” she explains. “There’s a lot of vacant space,” Guerra tells me, “and no reason why this can’t explode. If we can get as many chefs as possible to have access to where their food is growing, what is that going to do for future menus?”

THE NEIGHBOR’S YARD For Chef Kevin Meehan of Kali Restaurant, community and environment define how his food gets to be hyper-local—like, on the same block—and hyper-seasonal. Kali is situated in a residential area near Larchmont Village. Houses with front and back yards extend behind the dining room and Kevin wants his neighbors to see the restaurant as their own—a neighborhood restaurant in the most literal sense. That’s what gave him the idea to go to them with a proposal, Meehan tells me: “let me turn your front yard into an edible garden that my chefs will harvest and maintain!” Within weeks, raised garden beds exploded with purple kale, mustard, arugula, and nasturtium, and more and more people wanted him to transform their yards. “My cooks love it too,” Meehan says. “Cooks get burnt out, it’s a really tiring job…so they can run out in the middle of the day to go pick chives.” Meehan wants to provide a better environment and nurture a more positive kitchen culture than the one he came up in. Having worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, he remembers the screaming, long hours, and near-constant stress. “It’s about my cooks getting out of the kitchen and connecting with the food,” he says. “They come out here with a big bowl and scissors and nothing gets wasted.” Meehan is a self-taught gardener. It all began with a little garden he started back when he and his wife rented their first house together. Now, they have two-year-old twin daughters—Lily Peach and Naomi Olive—and, of course, Meehan planted peach and olive trees for them when they were born. A passionate gardener, he even lets me in on his own little trick: “it’s like a secret,” he tells me, “I put sprigs of mint in my shoes.” He also explains that one of the very unique attributes of Kali is that every single dish tells a story. Today he’s discovered green almonds. He cooked them in brine and, he’s right, they taste just like—actually, even better—than artichokes. Back in the kitchen, he also shows me a pan of charred avocados and another of sugar-cured egg yolks. Right now, chef Meehan is also into jarring things and aging them like fine wine. “Think about it,” he says. “You could have a main

Chef Kevin Meehan in one of Kali Restaurant’s gardens. Photo courtesy of Kali Restaurant

course with a 2002 Kirby pickle. Who does that?” he asks. What strikes me most about Kali is the reaction when diners found out about chef Meehan’s edible farms. “People just show up at the back door with buckets of stuff,” he tells me. ‘Here are some loquats from my backyard; or ‘I have all these apples.’ Everybody just wants to be part of something,” he thinks. It’s an arresting Alice Waters-ian vision, and also the mark of a true neighborhood restaurant.

GROWING FOOD ON AIR Chef Tim Hollingsworth’s downtown restaurant, Otium, has been meticulously planned. There’s a mature olive grove, a patio with herb boxes and fireplaces, and a terrace with twenty-four vertical aeroponic food farms—more like towers—installed and maintained by LA Urban Farms. In yet another variation on the theme, Otium’s culinary team like their gardens growing up to the sky. And there’s a lot to love with these towers. Using only ten percent of the land and irrigation of traditional farming, they recycle all of their nutrients and water through a closed loop system. They also leave a negligible CO2 footprint by eliminating the need for shipping and storage. The pH-balanced ionic materials and nutrients mean no harmful chemicals, and the system uses less than a dollar per month in electricity. Let’s not forget that, according to some estimates, the yields grow @EdibleLAMag

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ONE OF THE VERTICAL FARMING TOWERS AT OTIUM IN DOWNTOWN LA. (photo courtesy of otium)

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three times faster and three times bigger than soil-based crops. “Tim got with Niels [Thorlaksson, of LA Urban Farms] before Otium was even built,” their chef de cuisine, Jonathan Granada, tells me. Granada obviously delights in the garden and wants to show me everything, especially his prized ice lettuce. “We got the seeds from Tucker, who used to be the old French Laundry gardener…we cook it instead of using it raw. It’s a little more bitter and is great with [ingredients that] need acidity.” And a gorgeous plant is—dark green, purple, and beaded with tiny droplets of water that hug the fleshy leaves like glycerin. Borage, multi-colored bachelor’s buttons (cornflowers) and kale also festoon the white towers, among many other vegetables and herbs. “We use this cilantro in our tabouli,” Granada tells me, and “this baby kale goes with our pork belly at lunch.” The garden doesn’t completely supply the restaurant, which is hard to believe when I look at the two-week harvest covering a long table that runs the length of the terrace. “We use bits here and there,” Granada says. “Like when we do a funnel cake, I’ll finish it with arugula. If there’s an octopus on the line, I’ll grow epazote and use it in the oil. It’ll take me one month to grow and one month to use the oil up.” This lush oasis didn’t quite spring up overnight—it’s the result of a collaborative effort between Otium’s chefs and the urban farmers. First the chef will write the season’s menu, then they all come up with a planting schedule for the crops— some of which take only seven to fourteen days to grow— and LA Urban Farms tends the towers, sending out gardeners to harvest the flowers, vegetables, and fruits every week and then replant with seedlings. As Wendy Coleman, a founder of LA Urban Farms, tells me, “the chefs love [the process] because we have a huge seed catalogue.” Moving into summer, the towers will soon be packed with herbs. “Greek basil on the front [towers] because it grows in these cool globes,” chef Granada shows me. Diners can sit on the terrace and literally watch their garden grow. “I get to play with every stage of the plant,” chef Hollingsworth adds. “If you go to farmers’ markets, you only see the end game. If something starts to flower, we can use that here and being able to have that versatility…that’s pretty amazing in an urban environment [like downtown Los Angeles].” It’s interesting to think about the fact that most of our beloved local produce comes from surrounding counties and isn’t really as close to home as we may believe. Imagine how we could all green up our neighborhood’s vacant lots, schools, or even just a small portion of our own yards. As I leave Otium, it’s hard not to be excited about our local food scene. LA Urban Farms continues to install these vertical farms at some of the county’s best restaurants, hotels, schools, and corporate offices. Courtney Guerra sees her gardens as the vanguard of a movement that’s about to explode. Kevin Meehan is colonizing a neighborhood, one yard at time. As I drive home and look beyond the traffic, all I can see are possible urban farm spaces where I only saw buildings or empty space before. Now, take a look around your neighborhood. ◆

hEre’s to fOods thAT are nOt MadE. Simple, honest, whole grain nutrition born from farms, not factories.

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MARKET DAY AT BARBERRY HILL FARM • YUMI ECO SOLUTIONS SUMMER RECIPES • HOW CONNECTICUT RAISED THE MODERN CHICKEN

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COOKS CSA Cooking with Chef Felmley Farmer Sandra Broussard Cooks Fresh Fisherman Dan Major and Local Box Crab Young Baker Gets Creative with Cupcakes Exploring Imperial Beach

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TAKE IT OUTSIDE Three local chefs share crowd-stunning recipes to cook outdoors this summer. BY SHAUNA BURKE

Lamb Skewers with Lima Bean Purée and French Feta Salsa Verde Worth the effort, these grilled lamb skewers from Suzanne Goin of The Lucques Group (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, The Larder, and The Larder Baking Company, among other projects) are hearty and packed with flavor. INGREDIENTS 6 branches fresh rosemary, about 7-8” long 2 1/2 lbs lamb sirloin 3 cloves garlic, smashed 1 tbsp thyme leaves 2 tsp cracked black pepper 1/4 lb French feta cheese, crumbled 1 recipe salsa verde (recipe follows) 1/2 lemon, for juicing 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil lima bean purée (recipe follows) 1 bunch dandelion or arugula, cleaned kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper INSTRUCTIONS 1. Remove all the rosemary leaves from the branches except 2 inches’ worth at the top of each. Cut the leafless end of the branch at an angle with a sharp knife to make a point (this will make it easier to skewer the lamb). Coarsely chop the rosemary leaves you removed from the branches. 2. Cut the lamb into 1-to-1 1/2-inch-thick 2-ounce pieces. 3. Season the lamb with 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves, the

Suzanne Goin’s lamb skewers. Photo: Mackenzie Strickland

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smashed garlic, thyme, and cracked black pepper. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking, and take the lamb out of the refrigerator so it comes to room temperature. 4. Skewer three pieces of lamb onto each rosemary branch. The pieces on each skewer should be of similar thickness and not skewered too tightly or they will not cook evenly. 5. Stir the feta into the salsa verde. Taste for seasoning. It does not usually need salt but might need lemon and a pinch of pepper. Set aside. 6. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the lamb skewers with olive oil, and season generously with salt. Place the lamb on the grill, and cook 3 minutes on each side, rotating the skewers a few times to get nice color, until they’re medium-rare. 7. Spoon the warm lima bean purée onto a large warm platter. Scatter the dandelion greens over it, and arrange the skewers on top. Spoon some of the French feta salsa verde over the lamb, and serve the rest on the side.

Pork ribs. Photo: Michael’s Santa Monica

Salsa Verde INGREDIENTS 1 tsp fresh marjoram or oregano leaves ¼ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped 1 cup flat-leafed parsley, coarsely chopped ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 small clove garlic 1 salt-packed anchovy, rinsed and drained 1 tbsp salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained 1/2 lemon , for juicing freshly ground black pepper INSTRUCTIONS 1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the herbs to a paste. (You may have to do this in batches) Work in some of the olive oil, and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Pound the garlic and anchovy, and add them to the herbs. 2. Gently pound the capers until they’re partially crushed, and add them to the herbs. Stir in the remaining oil, a pinch of black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Lima Bean Purée INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 small sprig rosemary 1 dried chile de árbol, crumbled 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 cups cooked fresh lima beans, well drained (see page 128) 1/2 lemon, for juicing Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in the olive oil and turn the heat down to low. Add the rosemary sprig and the crumbled chile. When the rosemary begins to sizzle, add the garlic. Cook a minute or so, then add the lima beans and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stew gently 5 to 7 minutes, until the beans are soft but not mushy. Strain the beans, reserving the oil. Discard the rosemary sprig and chile. 2. Place the beans in a food processor and purée. With the motor running, slowly pour in some of the reserved oil until the mixture has a smooth consistency. You may not need all the oil. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to taste. 30

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Michael’s Pork Ribs with Calabrian Chile Red Hot Sauce Miles Thompson, executive chef of Michael’s in Santa Monica, shares his recipe for craveable pork ribs—smoky, sticky, sweet, spicy, and (maybe most importantly) tender. The secret is in the sauce, which you can make in advance to keep things simple. INGREDIENTS Neutral oil, such as rice bran or grapeseed pork ribs (recipe below) Calabrian chile red hot sauce (recipe below) TO PREPARE 1. Prep the ribs per the instructions below. 2. When you’re ready to serve, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the ribs directly on the preheated grill and cook until ribs have a nice, crusty sear. 3. Remove the ribs to a paper towel lined tray and douse with the Red Hot. 4. Serve immediately.

PORK RIBS INGREDIENTS 1 rack St. Louis-style pork ribs, preferably heritage and organic kosher salt, to taste ½ cup fish sauce (chef’s choice: Three Crabs brand) ½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice, strained ½ cup neutral oil, such as rice bran or grapeseed 2 tbsp chile flakes 2 tbsp sugar INSTRUCTIONS 1. Season the ribs well with the kosher salt. (chef’s note: If you want to get technical, weigh the ribs and season with 1.5% of the weight with salt. For the average rack of ribs, you would use approximately 2-3 tablespoons of salt.)


2. Scrub the salt into the ribs and allow it to cure overnight, uncovered in the refrigerator on a rack set over a baking sheet. 3. The next day, remove the ribs from the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking and set out at room temperature to temper. 4. To make the seasoning liquid: blend fish sauce, lime juice, oil, chile flakes, and cane sugar in a blender for 2 minutes on high. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it steep for the two hour period that the ribs are tempering. 5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 6. Lay the ribs (bone side up) in a roasting tray and pour the seasoning liquid over the ribs. 7. Wet the roasting tray lip with water and cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure to tuck the plastic under the lip of the roasting tray, if there is one. Cover the plastic wrap with aluminum foil making sure that the shiny side is facing the ribs and that the aluminum is tucked under the lip of the tray, if there is one. This technique is called “steam roasting.” 8. Place the wrapped roasting tray into the oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. 9. Remove the roasting tray from the oven, uncover and allow the ribs to cool to room temperature. After the ribs have cooled, lift the ribs from the braising liquid, invert onto a tray and refrigerate overnight. The next day, portion the ribs by cutting each rib apart between the bones

Calabrian Chile Red Hot Sauce INGREDIENTS ½ cup calabrian chilies, chopped finely ½ cup honey (chef’s choice: buckwheat) ½ cup unsalted butter, melted ½ cup Crystal brand hot sauce ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets 3 large cloves garlic 2-inches ginger, peeled

1 tbsp fish sauce (Chef’s choice: Three Crabs brand) 1 tbsp kosher salt 2 tbsp black peppercorns 2 tbsp filtered water INSTRUCTIONS Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 2 minutes to combine. Transfer to a bowl and reserve in a warm place.

Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell with Pickled Ramp Butter Suzanne Tracht, chef and owner of Jar Restaurant, shares this simple and luxurious recipe for grilled oysters—perfect as an appetizer to tide guests over while getting back to the grill or even as a passed hors d’oeuvre for an indoor gathering while escaping the heat. INGREDIENTS 6 oysters 3 pickled ramps (recipe follows) 2 oz butter 2-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice salt and freshly ground pepper INSTRUCTIONS 1. Prepare pickled ramps in advance and reserve. 2. Place 3 pickled ramps in a saucepan with the butter and 2-4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (or to taste). Heat and stir until combined and keep warm on low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 3. Grill the oysters on high heat over a charcoal or gas grill. Remove and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon warm ramp butter over the oysters and serve immediately.

Pickled Ramps INGREDIENTS 1 lb ramps, carefully washed, ends trimmed 1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar or rice vinegar 1 1/2 cups water 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/4 cup salt 3 bay leaves 1 tbsp yellow or black mustard seed 6 allspice berries 1 pinch red pepper flakes INSTRUCTIONS Carefully pack ramps into a sterilized quart-sized jar with a screwtop lid. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour hot brine over ramps. Screw on lid and cool at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to rest for at least 3 weeks. Keeps up to a year. ◆

Suzanne Tracht’s grilled oysters. Photo: Jar Restaurant @EdibleLAMag

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sip on this

SUMMER’S BOUNTY BY KRISTINE BOCCHINO

Five local bartenders head to the farmers’ market to get these seasonal cocktails shakin’.

note: all recipes make one cocktail

RAIN DANCE COBBLER

YOU AND WHOSE GARDEN?

Having one of the industry’s most celebrated talents managing the bar program is a perk not many cocktail bars in Los Angeles can claim. Employees Only co-founder Dushan Zaric and his team feature this refreshing yet complex summer cocktail, blending local farmers’ market blackberries with Spanish and Portuguese spirits.

At the helm of the new Genever in Filipinotown is Kelso Norris, who shares an earthy and aromatic cocktail recipe that is as versatile—switch out the gin for vodka or even tequila—as it is seasonal. “I wanted to make a summery cocktail that was a hybrid of a vegetal Bloody Mary and a Gordon’s Cup,” she says. Norris adds that the tomatoes and cucumbers used to make the shrub come straight from a friend’s backyard.

INGREDIENTS 1 oz Ruby Port 1 oz Gin Mare 3/4 oz Rainwater Madeira 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz blackberry syrup 1 crown fresh mint, for garnish 3 fresh blackberries, for garnish sprinkle of powdered sugar, for garnish

INGREDIENTS 2 oz gin 1 oz cucumber tomato shrub ½ oz fresh lime juice dash hellfire bitters 2 cucumber slices, plus more for garnish 2 cherry tomatoes, for garnish salt & pepper, for garnish

TO PREPARE COCKTAIL Add all ingredients to a shaker, top with ice and shake hard, then double-strain into a tulip beer glass. Fill with crushed ice. Garnish with large fresh mint crown, blackberries, and a dash of powdered sugar.

TO PREPARE COCKTAIL Add gin, shrub, lime juice, bitters, and two slices of cucumber to a shaker tin, fill with ice, and shake until cold. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a trio of cucumber slices, 2 cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

BLACKBERRY SYRUP

CUCUMBER TOMATO SHRUB

INGREDIENTS 1 cup organic granulated sugar 1 cup very hot water 1 cup fresh blackberries

INGREDIENTS 3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1 quart cherry tomatoes, halved 2 quarts granulated sugar pinch of salt 2 cups rice vinegar 2 cups apple cider vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a low boil for 2 minutes and let cool completely. Strain and store refrigerated in a sealed container. 32

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INSTRUCTIONS In a large container, add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then the


Rain Dance Cobbler at Employee’s Only. Photo: Josh Telles

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sip on this cucumber peels and slices, and lightly press both to release some juices. Cover with sugar and muddle. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 48 to 72 hours. Norris starts to check in around hour 48 to see how the sugar is dissolving and usually lets it sit for another day, but each batch varies depending on how much liquid there is. At this point, stir to dissolve the remaining sugar and then strain out all solids. There should be about a quart of liquid remaining. Add the vinegars and stir to combine.

MARY PICKFORD Bar manager Rui Silva of Encino’s Woodley Proper offers up this island vacation in a glass, complete with housemade grenadine—it’s so much easier to make at home than you might believe! INGREDIENTS 1 ½ oz Banks 5 Island Rum ¼ oz grenadine ½ oz fresh lime juice ½ oz Maraschino liqueur 1 ½ oz fresh pineapple juice TO PREPARE COCKTAIL Add all ingredients to a shaker tin, fill with ice, and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe. HOUSEMADE GRENADINE makes 1 ½ quarts INGREDIENTS

24 oz pomegranate juice 24 oz granulated sugar 4 oz pomegranate molasses INSTRUCTIONS Add all ingredients to a saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring until all sugar dissolves. Allow to cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate until cold.

WATERMELON COOLER In keeping with Malibu Farm’s philosophy of using as many local and organic ingredients as possible, bartender Jason Nobriga sources the basil, along with many of the other herbs and vegetables on the menu at this local favorite, from Thorne Family Farms, just four miles from the iconic Malibu Pier location. INGREDIENTS 2 oz cucumber-infused vodka 2 ½ oz fresh watermelon Juice ½ oz fresh lime juice ½ oz agave syrup fresh basil, for garnish watermelon ball, for garnish TO PREPARE COCKTAIL Add all ingredients into a mason jar, stir and top with ice. Give a couple of large pieces of basil a whack against your hand to release its aroma, then add to the cocktail as a garnish with a watermelon ball. CUCUMBER-INFUSED VODKA INGREDIENTS 1 750ml bottle vodka, such as Humboldt Distillery 2 organic cucumbers, peel and sliced INSTRUCTIONS Place vodka and cucumber in a sealable container and set aside for 2 to 3 days, then strain and store in a bottle or glass jar.

ZESTY PIÑA Heading to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, bar manager Blaine Bradfield has his pick of the crop when it comes to fresh seasonal fruit to incorporate into The Mar Vista’s sake and sojubased cocktail program. “We’re having a lot of fun now, and once we get our full liquor license [sometime] down the road, the sky’s the limit with the great things we’ll come up with behind the bar,” Bradfield tells me. INGREDIENTS 3 oz sake 2 ½ oz fresh pineapple juice ¼ oz fresh ginger juice 2 oz soda water orange twist, for garnish

Watermelon Cooler cocktail at Malibu Farm

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TO PREPARE COCKTAIL Add sake, pineapple juice, and ginger to a shaker tin, fill with ice, and shake until cold. Strain over ice into a Collins glass, then top with soda water and garnish with an orange twist. ◆


local heroes

AN OASIS OF FRESH Olympia Auset’s SÜprmarkt tackles Los Angeles food deserts, one produce box at a time. BY LISA ALEXANDER | PHOTOS BY CHRISTEL ROBLETO

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iving on the border of Inglewood, Olympia Auset found it a real struggle to get fresh food, especially since she was vegan and didn’t drive. Everywhere she looked stood liquor stores or fast food joints. It would take her two hours or more on the bus every time she needed to go to a grocery store. To make it worse, her loved ones started getting sick and passing away. By the time she got to college, Auset was determined to learn more about our food system and how she could truly create change. Put simply, she wanted everyone she cared about to stick around. And it wasn’t going to happen in South Los Angeles, where 1.3 million residents share just sixty grocery stores. SÜprmarkt, Auset’s brain and heart child, is a low-cost organic grocery that makes it easy and affordable for all people to eat well, no matter where they are. Her personal experience was a catalyst, as well as the fact that 23.5 million other Americans live in food deserts over a mile away from access to fresh food. The negative impact is well documented, like the tripling of disease due to poor diet—often because of no access to healthy foods and little education about health and nutrition. SÜprmarkt runs pop-ups in food desert areas. Customers can pick out fruits and vegetables or choose to a have a big box packed with produce delivered to them anywhere @EdibleLAMag

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in Los Angeles. The box costs $25 per week or $100 per month. This is about half what you get per person with EBT (Los Angeles County’s Electronic Benefit Transfer), and guarantees that people have fresh fruits and veggies in their fridge at all times. Suprmarkt is an idea that’s caught on, even though they’re still challenged by building a team and creating enough operational and organizational strength to be able to serve even more. Just awarded 501(c) status, the company is kind of a hybrid. One side sells produce, while the other is more a non-profit and focused on education, workshops, and keeping the costs of the food down. The next goal to achieve is a physical location that provides constant access to produce, plus a learning center for the community. “I want people to learn how to be chefs and how to make food for themselves,” Auset tells me. “We want to be a driving force in changing the way people think about food and also helping people apply what they’ve learned.” Auset herself walks the talk wherever she can. A raw vegan, she initiated the creation of the hundred foot “Let’s Be Good to Each Other” mural at 54th and Crenshaw, and serves on the board of the food collective Co-opportunity as well. She’s media savvy, and also aware that no matter how cool your messaging is, it won’t work if it doesn’t appeal to your audience. It also helps to be culturally sensitive. “If you’re dealing with people who love to eat tacos, my job isn’t to tell them to stop eating tacos. My job instead is to tell them how to stay away from GMO corn, or how to use a coconutbased tortilla,” Auset explains. “They can still have that savory

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flavor, but why not try this vegan sausage? They could also use oil instead of lard to cook rice. Or, if they don’t want to use rice, substitute quinoa.” “Talking is important,” Auset continues. “Education is important. But the most powerful thing is when you make someone a delicious, plant-based, healthy meal that tastes better than what they would normally eat.” There are plenty of ways to get involved and support the mission: you can offer to volunteer remotely or locally. Even better, you can sign up for the One for One program, where $200 buys you four veggie-packed boxes and also delivers the same to someone in need. SÜprmarkt even offers ways to connect the two of you, like recipe sharing. It’s a powerful way to help each other and help ourselves. ◆

To donate or volunteer, visit suprmarkt.la/give.


edible NATION

Food Tank A Q&A with Danielle Nierenberg about her dynamic nonprofit and how it’s changing the way we talk solutions in the global food community. By Colleen Leonardi & Danielle Nierenberg

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ood Tank calls itself the “Think Tank for Food.” A global community with a robust online platform, their vision works to “push for food system change.” Established in 2013 by President Danielle Nierenberg, the nonprofit offers informationpacked newsletters, volunteer opportunities, yearly summits and an upcoming book, scheduled for release later this year. You can also become a member of the organization and engage in solutions-oriented conversations within the sustainable food movement from your desk. “We try to be as interactive with folks as possible and we’re very open to engaging as much as time allows,” Nierenberg says, and she means it. She takes phone calls from people who have simple questions, like where to start with sustainable agriculture, and spent a lovely afternoon talking with me about Food Tank’s origins, how they stay positive in a “doom and gloom” food industry and what gives her hope—the core tenet of Food Tank—for a future of empowered, engaged and healthy eaters and farmers.

Q: Why did you create Food Tank? Danielle Nierenberg: I was working for many years at an environmental think tank in D.C. Eventually, when I left I was the director of their food and agriculture program. We were really good at highlighting what wasn’t working and all of the problems. And in so many ways, you have to talk about the problems when you’re talking about the food system. @EdibleLAMag

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“[We want] to really get people to talk to and listen to one another and understand that there is always going to be disagreement but that if we’re not all listening to one another, the things that we care about are never going to come to fruition.”

Below: Danielle Nierenberg | photo courtesy of Food Tank

I was doing a lot of work interviewing farmers, scientists, women’s groups, chefs, nutritionists and policy makers all over the world. What I was hearing was a lot of hope and a lot of innovation that had potential to be scaled up and scaled out but wasn’t getting the investment, research and attention it needed. There were solutions; we just weren’t hearing enough about them. That was the real impetus behind it. And to build a platform for the goodfood movement, for different organizations to be highlighted and for them to feel like they can come to Food Tank and find non-biased information, that it can be a resource for everyone—from regular moms and dads to policy makers and business leaders. That platform is really important to us so that people feel like they can be critical, offer suggestions, call us out on things and build a dialogue through our daily articles and research publications. And then being able to meet in person at our Food Tank Summits, where we’re bringing together unlikely suspects, like executives from McDonald’s and Cargill and Monsanto on the stage with food justice advocates having a real dialogue. There is a lot of demonizing when we talk about food issues. [We want] to really get people to talk to and listen to one another and understand that there is always going to be disagreement but that if we’re not all listening to one another, the things that we care about are never going to come to fruition.

Q: You touch on sustainable agriculture as key to your mission, but what is sustainable agriculture, how is it different or similar to indigenous farming practices and why is it so central to these global food issues? A: Sustainable agriculture has so many definitions. For me, a sustainable agriculture system is one that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. One that is regenerative. It’s not just extracting resources from the land but putting them back in. One that is able to make farmers a fair wage and also provide accessible, affordable food to eaters, and that doesn’t treat farmers, food workers and women as slaves to the food system, but one that treats them respectfully and humanely. And that’s very different from the industrial system of agriculture. When Food Tank talks about indigenous and traditional practices in other countries what we’re trying to highlight is that there are many of these practices that have a lot of potential, like rainwater harvesting, cover cropping, different irrigation practices that have been forgotten, and natural forms of fertilizing land as opposed to getting artificial fertilizer out of a bag. They’ve been ignored in favor of some technologies that offer a lot of promise but are very expensive. One of the key things that we try to do is highlight both high and low technologies, and combine big data, which is a term that is being thrown around a lot now because of GPS and drones and all this great information that we’re able to collect. [We’re asking] how can you get it to farmers, whether they’re small and large? Like being able to harness 38

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the use of cell phones, which has grown so tremendously across Sub-Saharan Africa and places like India, and having farmers being able to have access to data and information about weather systems and markets that they never would have before. I think there are ways to not ignore the new and fancy things that are coming about, but to combine them with the things that we know already work.

Q: I read you joined the Peace Corps and worked in the Dominican Republic for two years, and you continue to travel the globe interviewing farmers. How has working with people from all over the world, particularly women farmers, influenced your perspectives on real solutions to climate change, obesity, malnutrition and poverty? A: The thing about women farmers is that they’ve been invisible for so long, whether you’re talking about the United States or the global south. When people think of farmers they think of men, either male farmers tilling fields by hand or sitting on a combine. They don’t understand that women make up nearly half of all farmers in the world. And in some cases, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, they make up to 80% of the agriculture labor force. Yet they’re denied access to the same resources as men. They don’t get an education and extension services. They often are not allowed to own land. The bankers don’t listen to them, or [women farmers are] afraid to go to the banking and lending institutions. The real opportunity here is that if we invest in and pay attention to women farmers, data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization suggests that we could increase yields by 20 to 30% and lift as many as 100 million people out of hunger. So I think there is a real opportunity we’re missing there. From my travels and my experiences with the Peace Corps, or I was just in Senegal recently, we really need to listen to the needs of women farmers and make sure they’re not ignored when you’re developing new innovations or new technologies, or when you’re concentrating on some of these more sustainable or traditional practices.

Q: Journalism about sustainable food and farming issues these days can be so mired in the negative. What values do you practice and hold close to help you and your team stay future-focused on positive solutions? A: Oh gosh, that’s a good question. No one has ever asked me that. I think we try to talk to people who inspire us. When we get article ideas from our fellows and our interns I like to ask, “Who is your hero or heroine, who has inspired you? Why did you want to work here? What kind of person made you want to do this? Did you grow up on a farm, or in a city and always wanted to grow food on a rooftop?” It’s just about being able to get those ideas flowing. You know, there’s so much negativity. I get negative. But I think because I get this opportunity to work with so many young people who are so passionate and so energetic ...we started this fellows program last year to get really keen, excited, smart people on board for three to six months with a stipend. And talking to these candidates for the position yesterday, they’re so energetic and come from so many backgrounds. That’s honestly what keeps me going: having all these young people. I learn from them all the time.

in your own community and what challenges you face as an eater and cook? A: I love food. I wouldn’t be in this if I didn’t care about food. Food Tank talks so much about food loss and food waste. I have the same tendency that a lot of people have. Like, I see something beautiful at the farmers market or the grocery store, and I’m, like, “I want it,” but because I travel all the time, at least in the past, a lot of food used to get wasted. So I’ve had to practice what we preach and find different ways to preserve the foods that I want, so making more soups and pickling. That’s been a journey for me, for sure. I want to make sure I’m following the same values that we’re putting out into the world.

Q: Is there a recent experience from your travels and work that makes you smile and have faith in creating, as your mission states, “a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters”? A: There is one I think about a lot, and it happened several years ago now. It is the one that makes me smile the most. I was in Niger with this group of about 50 women farmers who were working with a research institute. They had built a community farm that they themselves ran. They were using solar drip technology to irrigate their crops, because Niger is very dry. They were growing a lot of fruits and vegetables but also ornamental and fruit trees to sell, which you can get a high price for. One of the questions I always ask anyone I’m meeting is, “How did this innovation change you, what kind of transformation took place?” I was talking to these women and having it translated back to me. They would say things like, “I was able to buy my husband a bicycle so that he doesn’t have to walk to the land where he’s growing food,” or “I was able to send my children to school, because I couldn’t do that before,” or “buy books or medical supplies.” And then, one of the women said to me, “We’re fatter now.” And these women are not fat. What they mean is they’re better nourished and eating a more diverse group of foods. They were making more money. We forget farmers are businesspeople. These farmers were making about a dollar a day before they started this garden. Now each of them is making about $1,500 a year. That’s a huge increase. And I think that’s what transforms things. Understanding that the food system has to be all of those things mentioned before—environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. And that project, for me, really encompasses all those things, and the fact that these women thought they were fat when they’re really not. They were just eating a lot better. Learn more about Danielle and how Food Tank can become your food think tank at FoodTank.com. ◆

Q: Tell me a bit about the journey of trying to eat well @EdibleLAMag

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Photo © iStockphoto.com/dmuir2009


the food historian

HOT DOG DAYS OF SUMMER BY LINDA CIVITELLO

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os Angeles, maybe surprisingly, is perched at the top of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council’s list of top-consuming cities. In 2016, we chowed down on more than 36 million pounds of hot dogs to edge out New York as the hot dog capital of the world. The assist goes to Dodger fans, who led the major leagues in hot dog consumption by downing 2.6 million Dodger Dogs at the stadium and another million at home. Dodger Dogs are ten inches of all pork, made by the Farmer John brand. But the most-consumed beef hot dog in the United States, Ball Park Franks, got its start in the late 1950s when the Detroit Tigers decided they wanted their own stadium hot dogs. In 2016, Americans consumed 20 billion hot dogs. Mostly with mustard. No surprise that more than one-third—7 billion—are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. July is National Hot Dog month, with two prime dog days: the Fourth of July and National Hot Dog Day, July 18. Hot dogs are America’s national sausage—our street food—fast and fun from the beginning. The first hot dog eating contest was in 1916, at Nathan’s Famous on the beach at Coney Island in New York. Now, hot dogs are ubiquitous across the country in convenience stores, like 7-Eleven’s signature rollergrilled Big Bite. Oscar Mayer makes the special blend, all beef dogs. But hot dog variations are ferociously local, and the toppings are very personal. In the 1990s, when Dodger chefs started steaming the dogs, fans called foul. Grilled for the win! It was 1939 when Paul Pink started selling dogs from a pushcart in Hollywood. Maybe he was inspired by the famous picnic that President Roosevelt hosted at his home in Hyde Park, New York, for King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II’s father and

predecessor) that same year. Paul Pink was certainly following a long line of street vendors in Los Angeles, going back to the nineteenth century, when the first laws were passed limiting the amount of time mobile vendors could remain in one place to three minutes. After World War II, in 1946, Pink’s erected the stand near the corner of La Brea and Melrose that they still occupy today. That same year, a 33-year-old man from Missouri, Dave Barham, opened his own hot dog stand on a Santa Monica beach. He dipped a dog into his mother’s cornbread batter, deep fried it, and gave it a handle: Hot Dog on a Stick, now spotted in malls all over the country. The company recently added Korea to its dozens of U.S. franchises. Pink’s only opened its second location about a decade ago and has continued to expand with new locations over the years, including Hawaii and the Philippines. At Pink’s original stand in our multiethnic city, there are dogs to soothe the homesick from Chicago, Brooklyn, Guadalajara, and more, not to mention the dogs named after celebrities—Ozzy Osbourne and Martha Stewart come to mind—and classic movies. Locals and tourists alike will wait in a line that often stretches around the block for these all beef dogs, custom-made by Hoffy in Los Angeles. In March 2018, the Los Angeles City Council honored the hot dog business that started in a pushcart, grew to a brick and mortar, went global, and became a legend: they unanimously approved a motion to name the intersection of Melrose and La Brea ‘Pink’s Square.’ At Pink’s expense, the crosswalks will be painted pink. So, this summer, throw another hot dog on the grill and keep this American tradition going at home. As you reach for the mustard, don’t forget to grab some sunscreen for yourself. ◆ @EdibleLAMag

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LAST BITE

BY SHAUNA BURKE

CHILL OUT

Reduce food waste at home by using scraps to flavor ice cubes for your favorite beverages.

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ce seems pretty straightforward and isn’t usually something to think twice about—unless you open the freezer to find the trays empty on a scorching hot summer day—but there’s an easy way to both brighten up your drinks and make them look gorgeous: keep flavored ice cubes in the freezer and ready to go at all times. If you’re not focused on adding flavor and simply want to liven up a glass of plain water, keep a tray of floral cubes (making sure to only use flowers that have been grown to eat and have not been treated with chemicals) on hand. Add berries, pitted cherries, or other fruits to cubes for juices or fruity summer cocktails. To make lemonade a little bit more interesting, add basil or tarragon

cubes. The process could not be simpler: just fill your ice trays as you normally would and plop in a small amount of whichever ingredient you choose. If you’d like to have more control over how they turn out and want to suspend things right in the middle of the cube, it takes a little extra effort: fill your trays a bit less than halfway with water, freeze, add your ingredient, fill to the top with water, and freeze again. Bonus tip: freeze leftover coffee into cubes, which you can use for iced coffee or cold brew and it’ll never be watered down! Get the kids into it, reduce food waste, and utilize the best of summer’s beautiful produce.

BERRIES

CITRUS

SOFT HERBS

choose whole flowers or petals

whole or sliced

use the peel or a small wedge

use whole or chopped leaves

nasturtiums pansies orchids roses

raspberries blackberries blueberries sliced strawberries

lemon lime grapefruit orange

basil mint tarragon thyme

Photo © iStockphoto.com/tanjichica7

EDIBLE FLOWERS

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Denver,Colorado

JULY 13 –15, 2018 Parties • Tastings • Workshops Family Activities • Taste Marketplace • Talks

A festival of flavor, culture and exploration! slowfoodnations.org

Edible LA | No. 6  
Edible LA | No. 6  
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