Food & Cooking

Diners at Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions get to choose carefully crafted nibbles off wooden dim-sum-style carts. Chef-owners Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza join us in-studio to talk about their popular restaurant and debut eponymous cookbook, which includes the recipe for the restaurant’s namesake dish, fried California quail.  We’ll also discuss their recent work cooking and delivering thousands of meals to North Bay fire victims.

Stuart Brioza, co-owner & chef, State of Bird Provisions & The Progress; co-author, “State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook”
Nicole Krasinski, co-owner & chef, State of Bird Provisions & The Progress; co-author, “State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook”

a selection of bagels

Gluten-free labels are increasingly common in grocery stores, but a new study published in the medical journal ‘Epidemiology,’ found higher concentrations of arsenic and mercury in people eating gluten-free diets. A separate study from the Mayo Clinic found that while the number of people with celiac disease was stable from 2009 to 2014, the number of people who followed a gluten-free diet increased significantly in the same timeframe. We’ll discuss the latest research on celiac disease and the potential benefits and risks of going gluten free.

More Information:
Going Gluten-Free Might Increase Risk of Arsenic, Mercury Exposure, Study Finds (Chicago Tribune)

Michael Ableman poses for a portrait.

The Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia is often labeled “Canada’s poorest neighborhood.” But it is there that author and longtime activist Michael Ableman developed a sustainable food movement. Co-founded by Ableman, Sole Food Street Farms has transformed vacant urban land into fertile gardens employing community members struggling with addiction and mental illness. Ableman’s new book, “Street Farm,” tells the story of Sole Food and its larger mission to encourage small farming in underserved urban cities. We’ll talk to Ableman about the book and the urban farming movement.

More Information:

Michael Abelman’s website

Mark Bittman poses for a portrait

Author and former New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman believes you don’t have to be afraid of baking. His new book, “How to Bake Everything,” breaks down recipes for everything from New Orleans beignets to Afghan snowshoe naan, making them accessible to even novice bakers. Bittman also adapts traditional recipes for the vegan diet. He joins us this hour to talk baking, eating vegan before 6 p.m. and the politics of food.


Mark Bittman, food writer, author and former New York Times columnist; author, “How to Bake Everything” and “How to Cook Everything”

Recipes from How to Bake Everything

Olive Oil Cake (with Creamy Lemon Glaze)

Olive oil cake no glaze
Photo: Robert Bredvad

MAKES: 12 to 16 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
Olive oil cake is rich and dense, but the flavor is nuanced and light. It’s a simple but sophisticated dessert to serve for company; plus it’s incredibly easy to make: Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and you’re good to go. Use good olive oil—its floral, grassy, or citrus notes will shine through in every bite. Top the cake with fruit purée (page 572), Orange Marmalade (page 575), or Vanilla or Lemon Glaze (page 567). Cupcakes made from olive oil batter, which take only 15 minutes to bake, are a refreshing change from the usual.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup milk

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with a little of the olive oil you will be using in the cake. Add a parchment circle and oil it. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk and beat until well combined. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the dry ingredients and stir until smooth with no large lumps of flour.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the outer ring and letting it finish cooling on a rack. 4. Glaze if you like (see the headnote for suggestions). Store at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 4 days.

COCONUT OIL CAKE A rich, dense cake that’s part fruit, part nutty: Substitute coconut oil for the olive oil and coconut milk for the milk. Add 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut and omit the lemon zest. Fold the coconut in with the dry ingredients. Bake for up to 45 minutes.

LIME–SESAME OIL CAKE The intense, roasted flavor of sesame oil is brightened with a hint of lime: Substitute ⅓ cup sesame oil and ⅔ cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, for the olive oil. Substitute lime zest for the lemon zest.

RASPBERRY–OLIVE OIL TORTE Fruity olive oil is the perfect base for a berry add-in: Use 3 eggs instead of 4. Omit the lemon juice and increase the milk to ¾ cup. Add 4 tablespoons (½ stick) melted butter to the wet ingredients. Fold 2 cups raspberries (frozen are fine) into the finished batter.

ALMOND–ANISE–OLIVE OIL CAKE A classic biscotti combination translated into cake: Omit the lemon zest and juice. Increase the milk to ¾ cup. Add ½ teaspoon almond extract to the wet ingredients and fold 1 tablespoon aniseeds into the finished batter.

GRAPEFRUIT–OLIVE OIL CAKE Substitute 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest for the lemon zest and grapefruit juice for the lemon juice.

BOOZY OLIVE OIL CAKE A citrus liqueur is a sophisticated substitution for lemon juice: Substitute Cointreau or Grand Marnier for the lemon juice.

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cookies

chocolate flourless cookies on a cooling rack
Photo: Robert Bredvad

MAKES: 3 to 4 dozen
TIME: About 45 minutes
Sugar and egg whites make this rich, fudgy cookie crisp and glossy on the outside and nice and chewy when you bite into it. It’s simple and endlessly adaptable, so use any nut and just about any flavor you like, from coffee to dried fruit — see below for some ideas.

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ cups almonds, toasted and finely chopped

1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until foamy; add the vanilla and beat for another minute. Gradually add the nuts and the sugar mixture, stirring until a loose, sticky dough forms.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, since these cookies can be very sticky. Use a spoon to drop tablespoon-size mounds of dough onto the sheets about 3 inches apart; keep the cookies small, as the dough spreads quite a bit. Bake until hardened on the outside, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cookies completely on the sheets, then remove with a spatula. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving if you like. These will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

MOCHA-PECAN COOKIES Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder to the sugar and cocoa mixture. If you like, chop 4 ounces dark chocolate and add that with the nuts.

WALNUT SPICE COOKIES Use walnuts instead of almonds. Substitute ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cardamom, and ½ teaspoon allspice for the cocoa powder.

PISTACHIO LEMON COOKIES Use pistachios for the nuts. Omit the cocoa powder; stir 2 tablespoons each grated lemon zest and juice into the finished batter.

HAZELNUT COOKIES The Italian name for this cookie is brutti ma buoni, or “ugly but good”; true on both counts: Omit the cocoa powder and use 4 cups hazelnuts instead of the almonds. After toasting them in the oven, rub the nuts in a tea towel to remove as much of the skins as you can, then pulse them in a food processor with the sugar until finely ground. If the dough is too wet for your liking, feel free to add more ground hazelnuts.

7 More Combinations for Flourless Nut Cookies
Nuts are a natural match for chopped dried fruit, so add up to 1½ cups or leave it out if you aren’t wild about the texture. Leave in the cocoa powder or omit it, as you like.

  • Almonds, dried cherries, and 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • Peanuts, raisins, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pecans, dried apricots, and 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Walnuts, dried figs, and ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Pine nuts, dried currants, and ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Macadamia nuts, dried mango, and 2 tablespoons grated lime zest
  • Hazelnuts, dried blueberries, and 2 tablespoons grated orange zest

Text excerpted from HOW TO BAKE EVERYTHING, © 2016 by Mark Bittman. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Neal Gottlieb isn’t your everyday, plain-vanilla businessman. The founder of Petaluma-based Three Twins ice cream, Gottlieb recently wrapped up a stint on the CBS reality show “Survivor.” He has also planted LGBT rainbow flags atop mountains in Uganda and North Carolina to protest anti-homosexuality laws. We chat with Gottlieb about his business philosophy and philanthropic work as part of our “First Person” series, which highlights the local leaders and innovators who make the Bay Area unique.

A woman looks at a package of meat

It’s a classic dilemma: the milk smells fine, but the expiration date says it’s past its prime. Most people lean on the safe side and throw away food that may have gone bad. But expiration dates are rarely precise, which means American consumers waste tons of food every year — up to 40 percent of food produced, according to one study. Assemblyman David Chiu has proposed legislation that would make expiration dates distinguish between food safety and freshness. We’ll discuss the bill and how it would change food labeling in California.

a bartender behind a bar

The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich history of bars dating back to the Gold Rush. Iconic drinks like the Mai Tai, Irish Coffee and Pisco Punch were made famous here. In this hour, we celebrate longtime establishments like Vesuvio and Sam Jordan’s Bar & Grill that have shaped San Francisco’s social scene for decades. Tell us — what is your favorite classic Bay Area bar? What makes it unique?

Frances Dinkelspiel

A decade ago, 4.5 million bottles of wine, valued at a quarter of a million dollars, went up in flames at a Vallejo warehouse. The fire was the desperate act of a respected wine collector trying to erase all traces of his years defrauding the wine lovers who trusted him. Among the destroyed collection were 175 bottles of a rare 19th century wine made by the ancestors of journalist Frances Dinkelspiel. In her new book “Tangled Vines,” Dinkelspiel exposes the dark history of California’s wine industry from arson to enslavement and even murder.

Karen MacNeil

Called “America’s missionary of the vine” by Time Magazine, Karen MacNeil has traveled the world and tasted over 10,000 wines from regions as varied as the Mediterranean coast to China’s Sichuan Province. The Bay Area oenophile joins us to discuss all things wine, including what bargains might be had for the holiday table. And we want to hear from you — what stumps you in the wine aisle? What do you want to know about drinking wine?

Audio for this show will be available on Monday, November 30, 2015.

Dominque Crenn

Chef Dominique Crenn made history as the first female chef in the United States to earn two Michelin stars for her San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn. “Atelier,” the French word for an artist’s studio, is a fitting moniker considering Crenn envisions her meals as works of art. We’ll talk to Crenn about weaving poetry into her menus, inspirations from her childhood in Brittany, France and her first cookbook, “Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste.”

Crenn Cedar Macarons by KQED News

Magnus Nilsson

To get to chef Magnus Nilsson’s remote 16-seat restaurant Faviken, diners have to travel 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The 18th century barn housing Faviken lies in foraging country, where Nilsson uses traditional methods for preserving foods and serves up dishes like reindeer lichen and scallops cooked over burning juniper branches. We’ll talk to Nilsson about what it’s like to run a restaurant considered one of the best in the world, discuss his new cookbook on Nordic cuisine and find out what it was like being featured in PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef.”

A salmon in water.

On Thursday, the FDA approved genetically modified salmon for consumption. The modified salmon grows twice as fast as conventionally farm-raised ones. But the FDA’s decision sparked an immediate backlash from food safety and environmental groups who have dubbed the animal a “frankenfish.” They say the safety studies are insufficient and that the modified fish could taint non-modified populations. We take a closer look at the debate.

A child holding a veggie burger

After eating at a restaurant where toddlers were running around and throwing food, a San Francisco woman posted her frustrations on Facebook. “This may shock you, but choosing to have children means you can’t go out to eat for roughly 3 years. Please. Accept your fate,” she wrote. While the woman is facing backlash for her comments, her words spoke to the frustrations of a lot of diners. This hour we take up the issue: when and where do toddlers and babies belong in restaurants?

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