Radio Kitchen | WYPR

Radio Kitchen

Tuesdays 8:45 am
  • Hosted by Hosted by: Al Spoler and Chef Jerry Pellegrino

Every Tuesday morning at 8:45 WYPR listeners are treated to a tasty serving of culinary advice on Radio Kitchen.

Hosts Al Spoler and Chef Jerry Pellegrino of the Schola Cooking School, offer up-to-date advice on the best in local ingredients, cooking techniques, recipe ideas and gadgets for the kitchen.

Archive Prior to 2014

Conventional wisdom in Chesapeake Bay Country holds that September is actually the best month of all for crabs.  After all, they've had all summer long to get fat and happy, and supplies are never more abundant.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a few ideas about all this bounty from the bay. Here are a few recipes.

Phil Denton/flickr creative commons

The farmers markets are jam packed with tons of fresh Maryland tomatoes these days, so it's a great time to start thinking about how to capture that summer goodness for future use. Chef Jerry Pellegrino says that whipping up a big batch of tomato sauce is an excellent idea.

It occurred to me that there are probably as many recipes for tomato sauce as there are little Italian grandmothers, bless their hearts.  So I decided to go on-line and look into all the variations I could think of.  And believe me there were a lot.

Fruit Sorbets

Sep 3, 2019
Joy/flickr creative commons

These last weeks of summer are some of the best for the enjoyment of local produce.  Every vegetable under the sun is out there, and there simply isn't a better time to enjoy fruit.  Apples, peaches, pears, plums, and melons and crying out for love.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, one of the best things you can do to capture those fruity flavors is to learn how to make sorbets and granitas.


Aug 27, 2019

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use peppers, since they grown so well here in Maryland.  Recently, I was in a Mediterranean-themed restaurant where I ordered a small bowl of "harissa-red pepper dipping sauce." It arrived with a slice of warm pita bread, and as I told Chef Jerry Pellegrino, it was love at first bite.

I have heard of harissa, the fiery red seasoning from North Africa, but I hadn't actually tried it.  In this context, it was served up in a roasted red pepper mole.  So a little research was in order. 


Aug 20, 2019
Isabelle Boucher/flickr creative commons

This is the season of the tomato avalanche. At markets, grocery stores and in your neighbor's backyard, tomatoes are coming up like nobody's business. Al asked Chef Jerry Pellegrino, 'what are you supposed to do with a paper bag containing 20 red ripe tomatoes?' His answer: make gazpacho.    

miniQQ/flickr creative commons

It's no secret that our Maryland farmers are cranking out the year's best produce right now. Every time Al visits the market and sees table after table of gorgeous fresh vegetables, he starts ransacking his brain for ideas on how to cook and serve it. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has said that one place to look for inspiration is the Mediterranean, where fresh vegetables are the cornerstone of cooking.

All About Corn

Aug 6, 2019
Overduebook/flickr creative commons

The simple words "corn on the cob" are enough to get nearly anybody lickin' their chops.  Toss in references to butter and salt and you'll hear people's tummies rumbling from down the street.  Here in Maryland we cherish our corn, but since a lot of folks still call it Silver Queen, perhaps a little Corn 101 is in order. Chef Jerry Pellegrino is the go-to guy for this information.

Odd Fish

Jul 29, 2019


During the summer months, a lot of Marylanders love to drive around the back roads of our state looking for unexpected adventures.  If you happen to be anywhere near the water, whether Eastern Shore or Western, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for little shops that sell the bounty of the bay.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino says there are some amazing and totally unexpected fish being caught in the bay that offer up good eating.

Melon Magic

Jul 23, 2019

During the warm summer months Al tries to start every day with a bit of melon for breakfast.  Since he can usually get four servings out of a single melon, he doesn't have to repeat a variety until some time in late September. Once only the preserve of cantaloupes and ice box watermelons, Maryland farmers are now producing an incredible variety of exotic and delicious melons. As Chef Jerry Pellegrino has learned, there is a lot to choose from.

Here's some melon basics: the melon world is divided into watermelons and muskmelons. The biggest difference is seeds. In a watermelon, the seeds are spread throughout the fruit. In a muskmelon, the seeds are held in a web-like structure called the placenta, in a central cavity in the melon. Each type comes in a bewildering number of varieties.

Here are a few of the most interesting muskmelons.


What a great time of the year for fans of Maryland's farmers markets. This is high summer, and the stalls in the marketplace are groaning with fresh produce. Al made a tour of the Waverly farmer's market last week and took some notes. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, at this time of year, if you can't find it in the market, you probably don't need it.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out that we here in Maryland are swimming in fruit. From here on out, each week's harvest is going to include all manner of locally grown fruit in a bewildering variety.  And  aside from munching on a peach, there's a lot of ways of making use of this wonderful bonanza, especially if you're inclined to make a fresh fruit tart.

Tomorrow is our great national holiday and I'm willing to bet the ranch that grills all over the state are going to be fired up.  Hot dogs and hamburgers may be fine, but for a big feast you want to go with the heavy artillery:  succulent cuts of beef in all their glory. But grillers, take note: Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, you can't treat all cuts of beef equally.

Here are some tips for grilling beef steak, our favorite option.


Jun 25, 2019

There's a vegetable out there that is sadly neglected and as far as Al is concerned, it's an undeserved fate. The poor little radish isn't feeling much love these days, which is a shame, because it is a very tasty little veg.

Al and Chef Pellegrino give some ideas for summer salsas you won't be able to stop snacking on! 


Jun 12, 2019

Al and Chef Pellegrino offer some ideas on how to use shallots with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, fish and more! 

This is high season for salad lovers, so what better time to be creative and make your own salad dressing! Al and Chef Jerry give some tips and tricks. 

One of the stalworts of the spring growing season is spinach. The recent cool weather has been perfect for farmers and you can tell by all the spinach that's available at the markets. In this episode of Radio Kitchen, Al and Chef Jerry give us recipes for spanikopita, shakshouka, spinach lasagna, lamb and spinach, and more! 

Summer Salads

May 21, 2019

With warmer weather here our thoughts naturally turn toward lighter dishes, especially salads.  Not only can a salad be a concoction of greens and vegetables, there are a handful of classics that involve one protein or another.

Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, these rudimentary preparations all start with the mayonnaise, and therein lies opportunity.

Here is the Schola Cooking School recipe for homemade mayonnaise and several ideas for tempting summer salad.  And remember, they all taste best when you use fresh quality locally grown ingredients.

The season of spring lends its name to all manner of food.  Spring onions, spring rolls, and especially spring lamb.  Just coming into the market at this time of year, spring lamb is a succulent flavorful meat that fits in perfectly with this season of gentle dining.  And spring lamb has a well deserved reputation for being far milder than its more mature associate, the tough old leg of mutton.

Let's take a look at the classic cuts of lamb and what they are best used for.


Every time Al sees a TV show or a movie set in New Orleans his mouth starts to water.  Along with the obligatory shots of Bourbon Street and funky jazz clubs, there will be depictions of folks tucking into big plates of gumbo and shrimp étoufée. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, there's no denying it: the cuisine of New Orleans is mighty tempting.

There is certainly something about spring which calls for gentle cooking methods. And one of the gentlest was invented by the French. It involves cooking food in paper, believe it or not, better known as cooking "en papilotte." And Chef Jerry Pellegrino says this is a pretty unique way to prepare food.

If travel is one of the finest ways to broaden our minds, then Chef Jerry Pellegrino must have one of the broadest minds in Baltimore. The reason being, Jerry has gone about as far away as a man can get from our city on the Bay. He made it down to Melbourne, Australia to visit with his fiancées family.

While in The Antipodes, Jerry got an eyeful of the Australian way of eating.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Chef and Al talk about the endless possibilities for delicious french toast, from sweet to savory.


Apr 8, 2019

As the spring markets open up, we'll start seeing some old friends. The artichoke is coming back for a few weeks, and it's a time to enjoy this surprisingly versatile vegetable.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino jokes, a lot of people just sort of look at an artichoke and say, "yeah, what do I do with it?"

Well, quite a lot actually. First the anatomy. An artichoke is actually a thistle flower that hasn't blossomed.  It has multiple layers of leaves with significant flesh at their base, clustered sightly around the thistle down "choke" which is inedible. The principle producers are Spain, France, Italy, California and Mexico.

Get a recipe for stuffed artichokes below. 

It's a truism that if we want to enjoy locally produced food, we have to support local farms.  Maryland has been very progressive about preserving agricultural land, fighting to keep it from over-development. Al mentioned to Chef Jerry Pellegrino, one of the leading lights is Montgomery County, which is why they invited two lovely women who have written a fabulous cookbook inspired by the farms in the Montgomery Reserve.  Claudia Kousoulas and Ellen Letourneau have written a cookbook called "Bread and Beauty, A Year in Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve" and it is self-published.  

It is now officially spring, even if the earth hasn't entirely shaken off winter.  Be that as it may, Al thinks this is a very optimistic time of the year, especially for lovers of locally grown food. One of the first things we'll be able to do is rustle up a bunch of greens and make some salads.  Which is why Al and Chef Jerry Pellegrino invited their great friend Liz Nuttle to join us today.

Baking Tips

Mar 19, 2019

The weather is just starting to warm up a bit, and our collective sap is starting to rise. If you feel like taking on a few little projects in the kitchen, it's a good time to start baking. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has some timely tips for our listeners.


Mar 11, 2019

A few weeks ago our friendly neighborhood nutritionist Courtney Ferreira was on talking about healthy choices in eating. One thing she mentioned was cauliflower, which is apparently quite a little nutrition bomb.  And Al and Chef Jerry Pellegrino agree that cauliflower may have gotten something of a bum rap and being way too bland.

Neil Hinchley/flickr

Somebody once said that paprika was the most mediocre of all spices. What??!! Well Al supposes that if paprika to you is nothing more than the red stuff on a deviled egg, well then fine. But Chef Jerry Pellegrino, warms us not sell this fabulous spice short!

Paprika is nothing more than ground up red peppers, reduced to a powder. This started in the ancient Americas, was brought back to Spain in the 1500's and then eventually spread throughout the world.  Hungary, India and China all have paprika in their cuisines.

Today many would argue that the best paprika still comes from Spain, where it is called "pimeton".  But world-wide, there are several types.

In deep mid-winter it does get hard to work locally grown food into our cooking.  Some smart folks have put up preserves or done some pickling, but most of us are having a little trouble eating local.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that if you can get to one of the year-round farmers markets, there are definitely some things we can toss into our market basket.