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Radio Kitchen
Tuesdays 8:45 am

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

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  • Garbanzo BeansQuite often lately I've been looking for good recipes to take advantage of our fabulous Maryland produce. And this means I'm often looking for new forms of protein. One thing that has captured my interest is the chickpea, or garbanzo bean. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, this basic little bean has about a million uses.A little background. The chickpea is closely related to the soy bean, which flourishes in Maryland. You'd think chickpeas would do well here, and maybe one day they will. But our humid summers promote a devastating fungal blight that kills off the plant. Nevertheless researchers are working to find a cultivar that will do well in the mid-Atlantic.Meanwhile we can keep our fresh Maryland vegetables company with canned garbanzo beans, which couldn't be easier to find. Canned beans are cooked and softened and ready to use right away. Usually you'll want to wash and drain them.One thing I've done before is to make hummus, one of the most healthy and nutritious spreads around. Hummus will give your food processor a good workout, so get it ready. You'll need your cooked chickpeas, some store-bought tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, salt, cumin and lots of good olive oil. Blitz the heck out of it and finish it off with a dusting of paprika.Recipes for Indian food are loaded with garbanzo beans. How about making a curry that features garbanzo beans along with our local cherry tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, onion, and garlic? Just simmer the beans, onion and cauliflower in a broth. Once tender, you can add the soft ingredients and a healthy dollop of curry powder, and keep on a low heat until a nice thick sauce develops. Garnish with parsley and serve with jasmine rice.Another very simple idea is to prepare a bed of chickpeas for a chicken that you are going to roast. Toss in a little onion and red pepper and let everything soak up the drippings from the chicken. Easy-peasy.Chickpeas are a great ingredient in a salad. And here, the field is wide-open.Some common companions would be feta cheese, sweet onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, radish, peaches, melon, apples and nuts. Grains such as rice, quinoa, bulgur, wheat berry and lentils are natural partners. The choice is yours so get creative!Stews are a great place for chickpeas to shine. Long slow cooking will allow the beans to absorb lots of flavor, so it plays to their strength. Here's a great recipe that combines garbanzo beans with sweet potatoes, spinach and assorted spices. Give it a try.AL'S SWEET POTATO, CHICKPEA STEWIngredients1 cup softened chickpeas2 tbs olive oil1 onion finely chopped1 tsp cumin1 tsp coriander1 tbs tomato paste1 can chopped tomatoes1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced1 tsp brown sugar3 cups baby spinachparsley for garnish salt and pepper(for sweet potatoes)3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into thick slices3 cups water1/4 stick butter4 tbs honeypinch of salt1. Wash and drain the chickpeas. Put into a skillet with lots of water. Boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Drain, set aside.2. Boil then simmer the sweet potatoes in the water with the butter, honey and salt. Turn the sweet potatoes half way. When done, remove from heat and keep warm.3. For sauce: heat oil in skillet, cook onions with cumin and coriander. Add tomato paste, then add the tomatoes, peppers, sugar and more spices. Stir and cook.4. Add spinach to the tomato sauce, then add the chickpeas. Stir and cook.Adjust seasoning.5. Add the sweet potato slices and stir.6. Garnish with parsley.
  • Welcome to RK, I'm AS. Although summer may be slowly winding down, that doesn't mean we are shutting down our grills. Barbecuing is apt to continue until the snow flies, and then beyond. So if you want some ideas about what else to serve with your barbecued ribs, Chef Jerry Pellegrino is your man.
  • As someone who really loves a little cheese with his wine, I appreciate the great change of pace that goat milk cheese offers.
  • They may not be the most glamorous vegetables around, but radishes certainly know how to make their presence felt. That crisp totally unique flavor livens up any salad, and some of them are good enough to eat on their own with your morning coffee.
  • Although it may be the Dog Days of Summer there's no reason to turn your back on something as delicious as pasta. Served cold with any variety of vegetables, a pasta salad is a great way to beat the heat. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you this is one of the best dishes for culinary improvisation.
  • A quick glance in the produce section of your local market or at your favorite farm stand will reveal a rich abundance of corn. This year has been very, very good to Maryland corn farmers and we are the beneficiaries.
  • Last week we were talking about various cuts of Maryland beef. Today we want to continue the subject and talk about a beef dish that is a little bit edgy; and that would be Beef Tartare. Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that since we are talking about raw beef, we should tread carefully here.
  • I recently discovered a first class butcher shop that specializes in grass-fed dry-aged beef. John Brown General and Butchery up in Hunt Valley has become my go to source for some of the best beef I've ever tasted. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino, what amazes me is that some of my favorite cuts are the least expensive.
  • Driving around western Maryland last week, I happened to pass a number of orchards, and they're nestled among the branches and leaves were little splashes of yellow and pale orange... our beloved Maryland peaches.
  • Two or three times a year I like to take a notebook with me as I visit my local Farmers Market and jot down a few of the amazing things that are available. This mid-summer a hungry shopper is going to be thrilled to see an incredible variety of produce and protein for sale.