The Clean Plate Club, Episode #14: Allen Salkin (Author “From Scratch: Inside The Food Network”)

So as many of you know, I spent a year hosting a web show for the Food Network that brought me face-to-face with some of its biggest stars: Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown. I haven’t really talked about what I saw behind the scenes but in this week’s podcast, I open up with journalist Allen Salkin who just released a fascinating book called From Scratch: Inside The Food Network. Listen in and learn what Food Network culture’s really like, why their ratings are going down, how they handled the Paula Deen crisis and what they could do to save themselves. You can also listen in iTunes by clicking here.

Arkansas Black Apple Cobbler


When Chef Diep Tran sang the praises of Arkansas Black apples on L.A. Weekly’s Squid Ink blog, there was no lack of enthusiasm: “The Arkansas Black’s siren song starts out bright and tart, then blooms with notes of nutmeg, coriander, vanilla and anise the longer it sits in cellar.” She points out that the apple is called the “Snow White” apple because of its “white flesh and ebony skin.” By the time I finished reading her post, I knew that if I ever saw Arkansas Black apples I would have to buy them. And sure enough, a week or two later, at the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market, I found them in a bin. I felt like I won the lottery.

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How To Serve Guacamole On Halloween


My friends John and Michael hosted a Halloween party this weekend and everyone got a big kick out of how they served the guacamole (see above); they got the idea from Pinterest, so no one’s claiming it’s original, but it’s still a good one to use if you’re doing anything for Halloween this week. The party was a costume party and costumes were REQUIRED and, of course, I left it until the last minute to find mine. Here was the scene at Party City when I arrived on Saturday at 4….

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The Ultimate Five-Hour Meat Ragu


Gather ye round, friends, and hear the tale of a ragu that cooked for five hours, perking away on the stove as the many pieces of meat that went into it–lamb shoulder, pork ribs, short ribs–slowly broke down and contributed their fat and flavor to the tomatoes and onions and garlic that made up the sauce, along with a secret ingredient (anchovies) we best not tell our guests about. Unlike Sunday gravies that I’ve made before, this ragu–which comes from Canal House Cooking Volume No. 2–asks you, at the three hour mark, to shred the meat by hand and return it to the pot. What happens then is that the meat continues to break down over the next two hours, as the sauce thickens, and what you have at the end is something so remarkable, so utterly delicious, you may as well throw away any other ragu recipe you possess because there’s no topping this one.

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Olive Oil Omelet with Celery Caesar


File this under recipes to make Martha Stewart scoff. But on Saturday morning–this was last week–I looked deep into my fridge and deep into my soul and came up with the breakfast you see here. I’m actually pretty proud of it, mostly because it used up lots of ingredients I had lying around: garlic, parsley, anchovies, Parmesan, celery, eggs and olive oil. I wanted the omelet to reflect the flavors in the celery; I also liked the idea of the textural differences between those two things. So here’s how this all went down.

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The Clean Plate Club, Episode #13: Rebecca Lando, Jeffery Self

We’ve got two internet luminaries on our show this week: the first, Rebecca Lando, is co-creator of Working Class Foodies, the viral web show with a devoted following that’s recently become a handsome and useful cookbook from Gotham Books. Our other guest, Jeffery Self, played Liz Lemon’s nephew, Randy Lemon, on 30 Rock and co-starred with Cole Escola on Logo’s Jeffery and Cole Casserole. He’s also the author of Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide and 50 Shades of Gay. ALSO: he’s doing a live show tonight (October 23rd) here in L.A. at the Neon Venus Theater on Melrose at 8 PM (tickets $10). Go see him!

Dinner was five-hour meat ragu (recipe to come next week) and chocolate pear cake. Click ahead to see a picture of everyone at the table, a list of all the things we talk about, and some clips of Rebecca’s and Jeffery’s work.

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