Kojo talks with author Colson Whitehead about his new novel "The Underground Railroad" and its resonance at this particular moment in history.
The lazy, hazy days of summer can quickly sap the energy of even the most avid cook when it comes to preparing meals. Instead, many prefer assembling simple, straightforward dishes created from the season’s bounty that require little – or no – heat. We consider ways to stay cool and eat well, even on the hottest days of the year.
- Drew Faulkner President, Les Dames d'Escoffier D.C.; culinary educator, L’Academie de Cuisine
- Joe Yonan Author, "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" (Ten Speed Press, 2013); Food and Travel Editor, The Washington Post
Summer Recipes To Beat The Heat
1 3/4 pounds flank steak, cut across the grain in 3″-4″ wide pieces
3 Tablespoons Asian Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
- Place the pieces of flank steak in a container, preferably one in which the meat can lie flat.
- Rub the steak surfaces with the smashed garlic to rub some of the garlic oil onto the meat. Leave the garlic in the container with the meat.
- In a small bowl, stir to combine the fish sauce and Hoisin. Add the sauce mixture to the meat pan.
- Spread the sauce mixture over all of the meat surfaces. Turn and rub the individual pieces to ensure it is all well covered.
- Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes, or, overnight.
- Grill the meat over a hot fire to your desired doneness. You want to grill this meat over a high heat in order to caramelize the marinade on the meat. Flank steak is relatively thin, so it will cook fairly quickly. Alternately, you could broil the meat.
- Once it’s cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for 5- 10 minutes.
- Slice the meat across the grain into thin serving pieces.
Once cut, the steak will cool rapidly, so serve immediately and enjoy! Serve this steak over a salad with steamed rice, or, steamed rice and any veggies of choice.
Recipe below is for a single Artichoke; multiply quantities as necessary
Artichoke (about the size of a softball)
*Snug-fitting, microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl with lid
- The tips of artichoke leaves have little spikes. Using scissors, trim the tips off the leaves about 3/4 of the way up the artichoke.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the top off the artichoke.You will see the purple center.
- Next, cut the stem off the artichoke. You can leave them on and trim them if you are so inclined.
- Rub the trimmed base, the top of the artichoke, and the trimmed leaves with a lemon.
- Place the artichokes in a snug-fitting glass, ceramic bowl, or other container suitable for microwaving. The original instructions for this cooking method came from Barbara Kafka’s 1987 book Microwave Gourmet. She used saran wrap to enclose the artichokes. I no longer use plastic in a microwave due to health concerns. Instead, I place the artichokes in a bowl and cover them with a plate as a lid.
- Cook a single, medium-large artichoke (bigger than a softball) for 7 minutes, two medium artichokes for 11 minutes, or four artichokes for 17 minutes. Be careful when you remove the lid so you don’t get burned from the hot steam escaping.
- The artichoke is done when you can pull a leaf off easily and cleanly. You shouldn’t be able to lift the artichoke when pulling off a leaf; it should remain resting on the bottom of the bowl. The base of the leaf should be soft, tender, and slide easily off into your mouth when you pull it through your teeth. If it’s still a bit firm, cook the artichokes for another minute or more.
- Enjoy with dipping sauce.
Creamy Green Gazpacho from “Eat Your Vegetables” by Joe Yonan
1 medium tomato, cored and cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
*Flesh from 1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks
*3 large basil leaves
*1/2 jalapeño (optional)
*3/4 cup lightly packed watercress or baby spinach leaves
*1 small celery stalk (optional)
*1 clove garlic, crushed
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
*1 tablespoon honey
*2 ice cubes
*Filtered water (optional)
*Kosher or sea salt
*Freshly ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Reserve one-quarter of the tomato, two cucumber chunks, two avocado chunks, and one basil leaf. Combine and finely chop for garnish.
2.Stem and seed the jalapeño half and reserve the seeds. Cut the jalapeño into several pieces.
3.Combine one or two pieces of the jalapeño with the remaining tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and the watercress or spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth.
- Add 1/4 cup or more water to thin the mixture, if necessary.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if needed. If you want the soup spicier, add more of the jalapeño, a little at a time, as well as some of the seeds if desired, blending and tasting after each addition.
- Refrigerate until cold, then pour into a bowl and top with the reserved chopped tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and eat.
1 pound fresh asparagus
Ends of asparagus stalks, chopped into 1′ lengths
1 cup green leek tops, chopped into 1/2″ lengths
1 bay leaf
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1 celery stalk, chopped into 1″ pieces
4 parsley sprigs
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups cold water
The cleaned and prepared tops of 1 of asparagus- Cut off the most attractive tips and reserve for garnishing the soup, cut the stalks into 1/4″ pieces
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 leeks, white part only, washed and cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
asparagus stock (above)
salt and pepper
1/2 Meyer lemon, regular lemon or regular lemon and orange, grated peel and juice
1/4 cup cream
*2 tablespoons sour cream, Labne (Kefir cheese), or yogurt
- Snap off the tough root ends of the asparagus stalks. To do this, hold a stalk below the tip and at the root end. Bend the stalk until it snaps apart. Use the root ends for your stock and the greener, top section for the soup and garnish.
- Combine the prepared stock ingredients into deep saucepan or small stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for 25 minutes. Strain. Set aside.
- Start making the soup by heating the butter in small stock pot or large sauce pan.
- Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until they are very wilted and soft, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the chopped asparagus, salt, and stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes. You want the asparagus cooked tender, soft enough that it can be finely pureed, but still green, not grey green.
- Blend the soup well.
- Scoop or strain the vegetables out of the liquid.
- Place the vegetables in the blender or food processor. Add just enough liquid so that the vegetables will puree. Transfer the smooth puree to a bowl.
- Stir in the remaining stock, tasting as you go. If you think the flavor balance is good before you’ve added all of the stock, don’t add any more. If you think the flavor of the soup is a bit strong, add a bit of water.
- If you’re serving the soup cold, chill it. Otherwise, add a dash of freshly ground pepper. Then balance the seasoning of the soup with lemon juice and salt. Add a squeeze of lemon, then add salt to taste.
- Make the soup garnish. Blanche the reserved asparagus tips in salted water for 1-2 minutes. You want them just tender, but still bright green.
- Grate the rind from 1/2 a lemon. Reserve.
- Whip the 1/4 cup cream lightly, until the soft peak stage. 16. Whisk in the sour cream, Labne, or yogurt.
- Season with salt. Set aside.
- Place the soup in serving bowls. Add a dollop of your cream mixture. Divide your reserved asparagus tips between the bowls. Sprinkle the grated lemon rind over the top.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIOn a hot hazy day in the middle of the summer, the last thing many of us want to do at night when it's just starting to cool down is turn on the oven, set pots of water on the stove to boil or really much of anything in order to get dinner on the table. Luckily we don't have to because there are plenty of ways to make a meal from the bounty of the season that don't require much time, trouble or heat.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIHere to tell us how to stand the heat in the summer kitchen is Drew Faulkner. She is a culinary educator at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and president of Les Dames d'Escoffier D. C. Chapter. Drew Faulkner joins us in studio. Thank you for joining us.
MS. DREW FAULKNERThanks for having me.
NNAMDIJoining us by phone from Maine is Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for the Washington Post and author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." Joe Yonan, thank you for joining us.
MR. JOE YONANThanks for having me, Kojo.
NNAMDIIf you'd like to join the conversation, give us a call at 800-433-8850. What's your summer meal strategy? Tell us your favorite trick for staying cool in the kitchen when it's hot outside, 800-433-8850. You can also go to our website kojoshow.org where you will find recipes for your summer cuisine from both of our guests, or you can simply send us an email to email@example.com with your comment or question.
NNAMDIDrew, I'll start with you and start at the grill, please, since it takes the heat out of the house at least. What's your grilling method of choice and what's your favorite way to use it?
FAULKNERWell, grilling is great in the summer because it's quick and outdoors, as you said, Kojo. One of my favorite simple recipes, and is on your website, favorite grilled flank steak. And the inspiration for this is from Vietnam. And it takes about 15 minutes in the kitchen and about 20 minutes, 15 minutes once the grill is up and going.
FAULKNERSo you take hoisin sauce, 50 percent, 50 percent Vietnamese fish sauce, smash -- and I don't mean cut up, I mean back of the knife smash a couple garlic cloves. Rub them on your flank steak, put them in your marinade of the hoisin and steak sauce. Fifteen minutes on the grill, good to go. And then this I love on top of the salad. And one of the things you want to do is have the meat juices dripping onto the salad. That gives you the combination of flavors, puts a little of the umami from the steak into the salad. If you're short on steak juices, put a couple drops of soy sauce in your salad dressing.
NNAMDIAnd what's your favorite kind of grill?
FAULKNERWe have two at my house. We love to grill so we have a charcoal Weber, the old fashioned kind that we use a charcoal starter to get going. And then within the last couple years I purchased for my husband a Green Egg, which I call more of an outdoor oven than a grill.
NNAMDIBecause you can make pizza on it.
FAULKNERYou can make pizza actually on both but you've touched on the reason I bought my husband an Egg was in one of my cooking classes at L'Academie I was teaching pizza. And one of the students said that they had recently acquired a Green Egg and it could get up to 750 degrees. You want a hot oven for pizza so I promptly went out and gave my husband a Green Egg.
NNAMDISeven-hundred-fifty degrees. How about you, Joe, what's your grilling method of choice and your favorite way to use it?
YONANAh, well, you've come across a couple of pizza fanatics. I too love to grill pizza. We actually have a piece coming out in the food section by my barbecue writer Jim Shahin in a couple of weeks about grilling pizza strategies. But like Drew, I love to do that. And I recently bought -- you can certainly do the traditional so to speak method of grilling pizza which is where you use a more cracker type crust dough and you put it on the grates. And then you turn it -- with nothing on it, and then you turn it over and top it really quickly and put it back on the grill on the other side. And then cover it. And that doesn't require quite that 750, 800 degree range that Drew was talking about.
YONANBut I also recently bought this nifty device called the Kettle Pizza that is an adaptation for the Weber kettle grill that turns it into more of a pizza oven. And I've been experimenting around with it to somewhat mixed results. But I'm getting better and better all the time. And it can also get up really high. But of course I'm, you know, a vegetable proselytizer. So one of my favorite vegetables to put on the grill that a lot of people don't think about is good old cabbage.
YONANAnd I love to do that. And I put it -- cut it into big thick slabs and leave the core on there as much as possible, brush it with oil, sprinkle it with salt. And what it does is it brings out a lot of those great nutty flavors of cabbage. And it wilts a little bit and takes away a lot of the moisture. Of course that smoky flavor so then it's really fantastic to use that in a slaw. And I do it with udon noodles and some Asian inspired spices and ingredients like sesame oil and peanuts and soy sauce and green onions and rice vinegar and that kind of thing. And that's really a fantastic dish to have in the summer. Grilled cabbage is great to have around.
NNAMDI800-433-8850. You also can call us with your summer meal strategy. What's your grilling method of choice and your favorite way to do it? You can also send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. He mentioned cabbage, Drew. At your house it's okra from the garden.
FAULKNERYes. That was -- and, Joe, thanks for the tip on cabbage. I'll have to go home and try that one.
YONANYeah, you'll love it.
FAULKNERYeah, we had okra growing in the garden. And my son and friends were in the yard and they grabbed some of the okra off the plants and threw it on the barbecue and it's absolutely delicious.
NNAMDINothing on it, just on the grill.
FAULKNERNothing. Okra and children, that's all you need.
NNAMDIThere's one problem that can crop up with grilling. You're about to go out with your ingredients. At the exact moment the sky opens up. If it's not a passing shower but a thunder and lightning parked over your yard scenario, what do you suggest doing with the food you planned to put over the fire as a backup, Drew?
FAULKNERWell, I've been known to barbecue in a downpour.
YONANA committed griller.
FAULKNERYes. You put the lid, as Joe said...
NNAMDI...in a snow storm.
FAULKNER...yeah, to finish the pizza you put the lid on it. So the indirect method on the Weber where you're -- you have the coals pushed to the side, you actually put the lid on the kettle. So that can come in handy. Or as my son and I did the other night, you just rescue the burgers and you bring them inside and you finish them on a grill pan indoors. But you still have some of the flavor from the outdoors.
YONANOne of my favorite ways to grill -- or to get the sort of effect of the grill inside, in addition to a grill pan like Drew mentioned, I'm a big believer in the broiler. And the broiler, believe it or not, can actually be a decent thing to think about using in the summer. It gets so hot you kind of wouldn't think about it but the thing that's great is that it's quick. So, you know, part of the reason you avoid doing too much cooking in the summer is, of course, you don't want your oven to heat up your kitchen.
YONANWith the broiler, you know, you can kind of flash broil things and give them a little kiss of fire, especially if you have a gas oven that has a flame. And it happens so quickly that you can turn it on and turn it off and it doesn't heat your oven up -- or your kitchen up quite as much as if you're preheating your oven for, you know, 30 minutes before you bake something.
NNAMDIJoe, avid readers of the Post will know that you have spent considerable time at your sister's main home. In fact, you're joining us from vocation land right now.
YONANThat's right. Yes, I'm here now, yep.
NNAMDIWhat have you been making up north to really capture the season with minimal fuss?
YONANOh, it's just so great to cook up here, Kojo, because yes, my sister and brother-in-law have a large house with 8,000 square feet of planted bed. So I'm looking out right now and I can see -- god, I can see the corn and the garlic and the kale. And in the distance I can see wheat and sweet potatoes and beans and scarlet runner beans and squash plants. It's pretty incredible up here. But it actually has gotten kind of hot since I've been here. Today with the head index it was up to 100 around noon. It's starting to cool off a little bit because we're going to get some thunderstorms. But...
NNAMDIIt's about the same thing here but you've also been tending your own 150 square feet or so, your own urban garden here in D.C. this summer...
NNAMDI...as so many do at this time of the year. What are you growing and how's the harvest been so far?
YONANIt's been really fun. I've been growing a lot of greens, beautiful kale and collard greens and Swiss chard that have gone very well. If you haven't had baby collards, you know, that's one of the best things about gardening is that you can sort of harvest things any time you want. So I've been harvesting a lot of collards that are, you know, really the size of a butter lettuce leaf. And that's been -- they're tender. Radishes certainly. I had a little small modest harvest of peas, many, many lettuces that were great in the spring and early summer. It's now gotten way too hot for those. Those have bolted and are getting bitter.
YONANAnd the tomatoes are coming in strong. Tomatoes and eggplants and some chili peppers are coming in strong. The tomatoes, I've got eight -- seven or eight plants, several different varieties. And I've gotten a good number of Sun Golds so far, the little great cherry tomato variety that's kind of nonstop once it starts coming in. But I -- the other tomatoes were just starting -- several other beautiful ones were just starting to ripen just as I was turning the keys to my garden over to my next door neighbor to take care of me for a couple of weeks. So I think she will be enjoying some of the harvest...
NNAMDIYeah, you're taking care of the next door neighbor is what you're doing.
YONANYes, yes. So Jenna, if she's listening, thank you again for watering. And she will be getting some of the harvest in exchange for all of her help. But I've already done some -- I made a couple gazpachos here in Maine because we had some tomatoes. And that's just one of my favorite things to do.
NNAMDIDrew, you have lived in and taught cooking in a variety of states and in other countries. What tips, what tricks or favorite dishes for summer meals have you picked up in your travels?
FAULKNERWell, one of the things I really like, Joe was mentioning his garden and produce, but also the herbs that you can have.
FAULKNERAnd I love green sauces such as a salsa verde and Italian style salsa verde or cilantro mint chutney from India. And don't limit yourself to thinking say that cilantro mint chutney is only for Indian food. It's great going back to the barbecue with barbecued chicken or salmon, any kind of grilled vegetables. And it requires no heat at all. You just throw the herbs into the blender and wa-la.
NNAMDI800-433-8850. We're talking with Drew Faulkner. She's a culinary educator at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and president of Les Dames d'Escoffier D. C. Chapter. She joins us in studio. Joe Yonan joins us by phone. He is the food and travel editor for the Washington Post and author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." We move to the telephones where Norman in Waldorf, Md. awaits us. Norman, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
NORMANHey, Kojo. How's it going?
NORMANWe smoke meat up here. I guess I really don't grill anything. I smoke everything away from the fire.
NNAMDIWhat do you smoke?
NORMANWell, I mean, I guess, chicken. I smoke briskets. I guess my specialty would be the baby backs.
NORMANYeah, we'll marinate them all the night and we'll smoke them on about 275, 300 for about four hours out of the foil. Then I -- once the had all the smoke they start hollering at you, I got enough smoke. And then I put them in foil and then that just gets them juiced up in there. So yeah, it's real good. I don’t -- you know, I always get the best ribs people ever had. I'm going to make you some, Kojo.
NNAMDII appreciate that. Just make them and bring them here. I'll be waiting for them. Thank you very much for your call. You too can call us at 800-433-8850. Is there an ingredient you cannot get enough of this time of year? Tell us what it is and how you prepare it. It's Food Wednesday. Joe, cold salads with a pasta or grain base are popular at cookouts this time of year. And if you can't even bear to even bring a pot to boil because it's so hot, you don't have to. What might we do instead?
YONANThat's right. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. You know, everybody -- well, not everybody but hopefully many of us have had the tabouli, the beautiful middle eastern parsley salad that has bulgur wheat in it which is par-cooked cracked wheat. And most of us learned how to make bulgur by boiling water and pouring it over the bulgur and letting it soak. But the traditional way to make bulgur for a salad like tabouli is to soak it in cold water or room temperature water.
YONANSo I started playing around with that and realizing that there are certainly other grains that you can do that with, the really small ones, like particularly I played around with whole wheat couscous. And what's really phenomenal about this is that it's a one-to-one ratio of water to grain. And you let it sit. And the couscous takes about 45 minutes and the bulgur -- course bulgur took about twice that long.
YONANBut the best part about it was that I could leave them in the refrigerator overnight and they didn't get soggy. They just soaked up just enough water to plump up and then they stopped and sat there and waited for me. And that's really about the best that you can ask for when it comes to things that you're cooking in the summer, is for them to be really easy and really flexible and to wait for you rather than the other way around. So, yes, I've playing around with that a lot and using those quite a bit. So I...
NNAMDIYeah, you use your bulgur and your couscous in a variety of dishes, don't you?
YONANYes, yes, absolutely. So the ones that I wrote about were a -- there was a dish that uses beets and beet greens with yogurt that you just shop up or press some garlic into. And the beet greens you can massage the same way. You can massage kale. I don't know if you've heard about that or had people talking about that, but when you massage a kind of tougher green, you slice it thinly and you kind of pick it up by the handful and squeeze it, it gets silkier and more pleasant to eat.
YONANAnd you can do that with beet greens or Swiss chard or collards or kale. Kale's gotten the most attention of course. And then beets, I've been using either by roasting them at night -- late at night and using them for another meal, not that one, or you can also buy pre-cooked beets now in the produce section of a lot of super markets that are much better than anything canned. They're basically just baked beets that sometimes are marinated. And they're whole and they're baby bets and they're really great to use.
YONANAnd then I make lots of cold salads too, different vegetables and beans and avocado and different dressings. I'm also a -- you know, I really am an advocate of people making their own salad dressings. And that's another whole idea that I think needs to get expressed when you're talking about summer cooking is the importance of having good salad dressing around that you can use to jazz up very quick or even raw dishes.
NNAMDIWhat do you do, Drew, from getting into a salad rut? We've heard Joe's ideas. You know, Homer Simpson once said, you don't win friends with salad, but you would probably disagree.
FAULKNERI agree with Joe. Salad is fabulous. And there's -- I just urge people to sort of think outside the box. Put a couple different greens together. Joe mentioned beets. They're lovely and very nutritious grated raw. And yes, I agree, to have a fresh salad dressing is wonderful but I have a little trick which is Tessemae's salad dressing. It's produced in Maryland. It's in the produce section at my local Whole Foods. And it's made with simple high-quality ingredients. And when you're in a rush, there's nothing like something to back you up. And I'm not a fan of most -- I have to say most bottled salad dressings.
YONANRight, when you find a good one, there's no shame in it, absolutely.
FAULKNERThank you. And...
YONANI give you dispensation.
FAULKNERThank you. But I would urge you, I go back to the herbs. I would urge you -- I use the bottled dressing as a starter.
FAULKNERAdd herbs, maybe a tiny bit of extra garlic, some sweet shallots.
NNAMDIYou're good to go. Here is Cheryl in Boyds, Md. Cheryl, what do you do?
CHERYLWhat do I do with my garden?
CHERYLI have an abundance of cucumbers right now and an abundance of basil. And I'm not a big fan of pesto so -- and yesterday also my air conditioning broke.
CHERYLSo while I was waiting for the repairman to show up I took the -- took a scoop of -- like a cup of yogurt, a couple of cucumbers, a bunch of basil and one red onion that I also grew and threw it in the blender for some cold cucumber soup. A little bit of cider vinegar, salt and pepper and a little bit of hot pepper, a little tiny hot pepper from my garden. It was delicious and refreshing. And, yeah.
NNAMDIHopefully you gave some to the air conditioning repairman also. I offered it to him but he said he ate beforehand. And I said, well, I can offer you something more normal if you want something more normal but anyway.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. We're going to take a short break. If you have called, stay on the line. We will get to your calls. If you'd like to call, the number is 800-433-8850. Do you notice a seasonal change in the foods you crave? Tell us what your summer favorites are and/or how your appetite changes, 800-433-8850. You can go to our website kojoshow.org to find recipes from both of our guests. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIIt's a Food Wednesday conversation on cooking to beat the heat with Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for the Washington Post and author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes For the Single Cook." And Drew Faulkner, culinary educator at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and president of Les Dames d'Escoffier D. C. Chapter. And of course your calls, 800-433-8850, your emails to email@example.com or your tweets @kojoshow. We got one tweet from Bob who says, "Hey, you the slow cooker, find easy scratch barbecue recipes on the internet, set up before work and enjoy after. No need to slave over a hot stove."
NNAMDIDrew, corn on the cob or artichoke hearts might be a favorite seasonal treat late and early in summer respectively but preparing them can be a pain. What trick do you have up your sleeve on that front?
FAULKNERMy husband actually was the first one to put the artichokes in the microwave. You just put them in -- whole artichokes in a bowl -- ceramic bowl with a lid and they steam in their own juices. And you've never had a tastier artichoke. The same with corn on the cob. I put it in the microwave, husk and all, don't clean it. Put it in, it's about 2 minutes an ear, bring it out and you're ready to go.
YONANThey slip out -- you cut them -- then after you pull them out of the microwave you cut them on one end and they slip out of the husks after they've been microwaved.
FAULKNERYes. it's much easier cleaning them. The silk just pulls right out.
NNAMDIGreat tip. On now to Kate in Reston, Va. Kate, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KATEHi everyone. Thanks for taking my call. I'm from Australia originally, but I moved to the U.S. about 15 years ago and we spend a lot of time in Mexico in Puerto Vallarta. My husband's from California so when we -- and now that we've got kids we do a lot of cooking by sort of freezing meat ahead of time and then cutting it so that we can do a Korean style barbecue and cutting it into really thin strips.
KATEAnd then also doing a lot with precooking seafood in lime similar to, like, when you make ceviche, so that way when you put everything on the grill you really only have to grill for like three or four minutes just to, like, you just flame broil it really quickly. And then we just pre-prepare things and let it soak overnight in lime. And by the time it's on the grill it's nice and juicy and not too rubbery. And we tend to do that with baby octopus as well, which can be really good with jalapenos and then caramelize some walnuts with it and more lime juice.
NNAMDIIt sounds good, Kate.
YONANThat sounds great, yeah.
NNAMDIThank you very much for sharing that with us. Joe and Drew, I forgot to bring you in on the conversation when we were talking with our caller who talked about the cucumber soup that she made. Joe, cold soups can be a refreshing course or meal unto themselves this time of year. What goes into whipping up a batch and what are some of your favorites, starting with you, Joe?
YONANOh, I love all of them so much. Of course there is the classic gazpacho with really flavorful tomatoes and herbs and a little cucumber and maybe a little spicy pepper. I'm a big fan too of adding an avocado to those sometimes, not all the time, to make it more like -- give it a little creamy texture kind of almost like a smoothie. You know, green smoothies have gotten really popular the last few years. And it struck me a couple years ago that there's really a fine line between a smoothie and a cold soup. The difference really just seems to be in the method of eating. You drink one and you eat another one out of a bowl with a spoon.
YONANSo I have some recipes that I send both ways or one way or the other just by virtue of how I serve it. For as cold soup I would hold out some of the ingredients and chop them up and use them as a garnish. Because I think with cold soups you also want a little bit of texture. You know, you don't really want to just eat something with a spoon that is just smooth, smooth, smooth without any textural interest at all, I think. And so I always like to make sure that people hold out something and put it back in.
YONANWe have a beautiful piece about granitas in last week's no-cook issue. And I also, a couple weeks ago, wrote about a cold cucumber soup that has no cream in it at all. But by virtue of the way you make it by pulling out a lot of the seeds, it has this beautifully, almost like slightly gelatinous texture that makes it seem creamy. And it's fabulous.
NNAMDIHow about you, Drew, cold soups?
FAULKNERI'm a fan of buttermilk cucumber definitely. But another one that we do at my house is an asparagus soup. I first served it hot. It's a vegetarian soup and you can make it vegan if you just take out the little dollop of yogurt on the top to finish it. It's a vegetarian stock with the stalks of the asparagus. Then you make a very quick soup. You don't want to lose the green and the freshness of the asparagus. Puree it and chill it and season it with lemon. It's great with meyer lemon in particular. But it's just incredibly refreshing. Since we've started serving it that way I don't think I've had it hot for years.
NNAMDII think -- go ahead, Joe.
YONANOh, I was just going to add, I had years ago at a Mexican restaurant or a food truck actually at the time in Austin, I had a fantastic mango yogurt soup cold -- spicy mango yogurt soup that I got the recipe for and put in my last cookbook. And it's pretty fantastic. And it uses a little Asian pear and jalapeno and mango and yogurt and a little garlic and lime. And then it's garnished with the little peanuts and a little more of that Asian pear. And you can top it with a little baked and marinated tofu if you want to make it more of the main course. But it's spectacular. It's this gorgeous color, as you might imagine.
YONANAnd it's really surprising to people to eat it and have the savory mango as a soup. I think it's sort of inspired in some ways by savory mango lassi from Indian cooking. But it's, of course, eaten with a spoon. It's just incredible.
NNAMDIWell, I think James in Arlington, Va. would like some cold cucumber soup but he's having a little trouble with his cucumbers. James, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JAMESYes, how are you?
JAMESThanks for taking my call. Yeah, so I live in Arlington, Va. in one of the many high-rise apartments. And I've got a -- I'm on the sixth floor and I'm growing basil which is doing well, Thai chilies, which are also doing extremely well. But my cucumbers do not seem to grow. They'll bloom. I'll have the baby cucumbers on the tip of the blossom, the blossom will die and then the cucumber will slowly die and fall off. And I've done a little bit of research online and it seems like it's a pollination issue, but I just can't seem -- I've had -- I've found a couple bees that had finally started to show up, but I haven't been able to have any luck.
NNAMDIThis is not our growing show, but I don't know if Joe can help -- offer you any assistance.
YONANWell, the one thing that I will say is that growing in containers -- I'm assuming you're growing this in containers.
JAMESYeah, it's -- I mean, the containers are about -- they're large containers, large enough that they won't have an issue with the roots.
YONANOh, oh great. Okay. Well, then it probably is a pollination issue. I think -- and I'm not sure exactly how you -- you know, what you might think about doing is planting something like borage, which is one of the flowering herbs that draws a lot of bees. That's one thing that people suggest for something like cucumbers and squash, things that need pollination.
YONANI've had mixed success with things in containers. I have much better results with things that I put in the ground, even if -- even in the tight space that I have. So I think container gardening is -- has its special challenges that I haven't quite figured out. I had some beautiful lemon basil that I bought from seedling and I put it in what I thought was a really big enough pot. And I think it was just too crowded and they just hated it. And then as soon as I just put them in the ground they just did really, really well. So -- but I would try something -- look up borage and other plants that attract pollinators. That might help.
NNAMDIJames, thank you for your call and good luck to you. James may have -- or should have started maybe earlier in life, Drew. School's out and parents looking to keep kids busy and teach them some key life skills might recruit little ones to help in the garden, help in the kitchen. What age is right to start getting them involved and what kind of tasks are best?
FAULKNERGet them started as soon as they can, as soon as they can stand on something next to the kitchen sink. Kids love to play in water. Get them washing the vegetables. And another thing I really encourage to get them interested is taking them with you to the farm market. This time of year we have such fabulous markets. I have two near me, the Bethesda Central Market and then of course Fresh Farms in Silver Spring.
FAULKNERWhen my son was little he went and he loved the theater of the farm market and he would taste things that I just couldn't -- I was so surprised that he loved the attention he got for trying the pomegranates. Or, in fact, one of his favorite things was bleu cheese when he was little and in his stroller. And he would pound on his stroller, bleu cheese, bleu cheese.
FAULKNERThey've since gone on. You might know the cheese, Point Reyes Bleu has since gone on to be a national brand. But they started at a local farm market in Marin County. But that's my suggestion, and then bring the stuff home and get them involved in cooking. And don't assume the kids aren't going to try things, particularly if you involve their other friends. They'll be willing to try spinach salads, again pomegranates, green avocados. You know, just getting them involved makes such a difference.
NNAMDISpeaking of salads, Jessica in Savage, Md. has a suggestion for one. Jessica, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JESSICAHi. Thanks, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. It's so funny that your guest was just talking about involving children. I'm actually on my way to pick up our CSA care at Breezy Willow Farm with my kids. They love it. The salad I was talking about was with kohlrabi, raw kohlrabi, fennel balls, which I haven't been able to find in a farmers market yet, but it's pretty easily accessible in the grocery store. And then some of the early farmers market apples.
JESSICAI love chopping those up and just doing a little bit of cider vinegar, a little bit of honey and then some fresh dill and a little bit of salt. And it's so good. You can serve it as, like, a first course or even as a side dish. It's great and my kids love it.
JESSICAAnd they also fight over beets. Thank god for CSA or they would never have tried beets.
NNAMDIYeah, thank you very much.
YONANI love a kid who fights over a beet.
NNAMDIYeah, Joe, we don't have -- we only have about two minutes left but pies made with summer fruits can be favorites. But baking them can make the house a little stuffy. Any alternative suggestions?
YONANWell, you can certainly make desserts like granitas, which we wrote about. You can make a fresh fruit pie which involves just baking the crust. And then, you know, you can fill it with a pastry cream or even just Greek yogurt that you've added some honey to and maybe some other flavors. And then just put the fresh fruit on top. That comes together much, much more quickly than a pie does. And then of course there are ice creams. And you can just do all this stuff in the freezer.
YONANThe other thing I'd have to say I've been addicted to lately is making a shrub which is a sweet and sour vinegar sugar fruit mixture that's traditional to using cocktails but can also be the base of a really good soda. And that's a really great thing to do with fruit that's about to go bad. You just combine it cut up with equal parts vinegar and sugar and let it sit in the fridge for a week or two. Strain it out and you've got this fabulous base for sodas. That's another great thing to do with fruit in the summer.
NNAMDIDrew, we've only got about a minute left.
FAULKNERStrawberry sauce. Slice fresh strawberries, a little confectioner sugar, put them in the fridge overnight and the juice will come out. Then you can put them on whatever you'd like, store-bought angel food cake, ice cream, gelato. It's great. And another suggestion I would an alternative to pie, it would be a clafoutis which is like a...
FAULKNER...yeah, which is a crepe base batter that you load with fruit and start on the stove and finish in the oven.
NNAMDIDrew Faulkner is a culinary educator at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and president of Les Dames d'Escoffier D. C. Chapter. Joe Yonan is the food and travel editor for the Washington Post and author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes For the Single Cook." We just had to put up Joe's recipe for grilled cabbage, a link to it on our website because we've had several requests for it. Joe, thank you for joining us.
YONANThanks so much, Kojo. Had a pleasant (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIDrew, thank you for joining us.
FAULKNERYou're welcome and thanks for having me.
NNAMDIAnd thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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