Radio Kitchen | WYPR

Radio Kitchen

I'm friends with quite a few young folks in their 20's who are just starting out, and for many, cooking is a mystery. To them, my first piece of advice is, don't worry, that's how we all started. My second piece of advice might be to start with something pretty basic and useful: classic winter stews. Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you there are a few basic tips that will come in handy not just for this winter, but for the rest of their lives.

Here in Maryland it seems completely appropriate that our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, is the home to one of the greatest fish in the whole world:  the celebrated rockfish. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, the rockfish is hands-down one of the best tasting fish you'll ever come across.

Caviar Rundown

Dec 31, 2019
Annie Roi/flickr creative commons

Tonight's the big night and there's still time to go out and do something crazy to help ring in the new year.  For that portion of the population with refined and cultivated taste, nothing quite beats caviar for putting a big exclamation point on evening's festivities.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino believes, it pays to know what you're talking about when it comes to caviar.

Trifle

Dec 24, 2019
LearningLark/flickr creative commons

It's Christmas Eve and a few of you out there still may not have solved the problem of what sort of special treat can you whip up.

Well, may we take a page out of the Old English cookbook and suggest creating a nice trifle to lay before the family.  

Trifle was created in England centuries ago, and has undergone countless evolutions and variations.  

Michael Savino/flickr creative commons

As our collective holiday season reaches its climax, it's a great time to consider a few of the traditions that make it so enjoyable. In our Jewish community, this is the time of year when a tasty annual practice comes to the fore: the baking of Jewish holiday cookies. 

One Pot Dishes

Dec 10, 2019

So the holidays are upon us and I for one would like to maximize my time enjoying the festivities and minimize the time I spend cleaning up in the kitchen.  Which is where the concept of the 'One-Pot Meal' comes into play.

Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, there's no reason why this efficient minimalist approach to cooking can't yield very tasty results.  Here are a few great ideas.

Pizza Guy

Dec 3, 2019
Brittany Krempel

With the holidays coming the opportunities for family fun are abundant. With the kids hanging out getting underfoot, it's a good idea for parents to have some kind of group activity to keep the young people occupied and happy. Chef Jerry Pellegrino can tell you from experience, home-made pizza night is a great idea. And who better to talk about the intricacies of pizza than Will Fagg of Tiny Brick Oven in Federal Hill.

Rockfish

Nov 26, 2019

Here in Maryland it seems completely appropriate that our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, is the home to one of the greatest fish in the whole world:  the celebrated rockfish. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, the rockfish is hands-down one of the best tasting fish you'll ever come across.

Butternut Squash

Nov 19, 2019

With Thanksgiving approaching it's time to take a look at recipes for side dishes that might get you out of your ordinary rut. Perhaps the most emblematic vegetable for this season is the butternut squash, which is among the most versatile items in our pantry.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, this tasty winter squash just begs to be doctored up.

Winter Legumes

Nov 13, 2019

One of the benefits of living in an agriculturally enlightened state is that all our farmers practice crop rotation of one kind or another. Crop rotation means that we plant a variety of things that alternately deplete and then replenish the soil. And one of the best ways of building the soil back up is to plant legumes. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, the good news is, we can eat a lot of these winter legumes, particularly the beans.

These beans of winter almost always come to us in a dried form, which means we have to re-hydrate them.  Jerry outlines the process.

So the days have gotten really short, and the night has gotten so much longer, and I for one am standing in the need of a little comfort. When Chef Jerry Pellegrino told me he wanted to talk about bread pudding, I was all ears. In my book, bread pudding is pure comfort.

Last week I started talking about my excellent Italian adventure in Piedmont, in the foothills of the Alps.  One of the most exciting parts of the trip was a visit to the Il Melograno Cooking School in Turin where Chef Giadda Bosco presides. And I don't have to tell you, Chef JP, that taking a cooking lesson is a thoroughly enjoyable thing to do.

I was in Piedmont, Italy last month on a tour featuring food and wine. As you might expect, it was nothing less than inspirational. At one restaurant in Turin we had an opening course of three fabulous appetizers: Caponata, Vitello tonnato, and Crespille ricotta e basilico. And, not only are these wonderful starters, they're easy to make.

A few weeks ago we were looking for something different in the protein department for dinner, and my girlfriend Vickie suggested we make some meatballs. So I bought the fixings and made them up, and they were pretty good, but Chef Jerry Pellegrino tells me could have done better.

 

Watching a Ravens game is very much a sacred ritual for me. I have to have my man cave set up just right.  I have to have the right beverage and of course, I have to have the right food. So of course several times a season I fix up some hamburgers for the crowd. They're usually pretty good, and nobody complains. I told Chef Jerry Pellegrino that I could be doing better. So he came up with just a few simple hints that should really help.

Fish Tacos

Oct 1, 2019

It's no exaggeration to say that Mexican and Hispanic food have become well established parts of our cuisine. Folks who have traveled south of the border have encountered incredible variations on the rudimentary dishes we can get here.  One of the most popular of authentic dishes to emerge is fish tacos. Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that Marylanders should be thrilled to find another use for our splendid seafood. 

Jerry suggests that whatever fish you select, you pan fry it and then cut it into long slices that can run the length of the tortilla. Pico de Gallo sauce and Salsa Roja are traditional accompaniments.

As summer wanes and autumn arrives, the thoughts of many of us turn to beer, as in Oktoberfest. Something about the crisp chill in the air goes well with malty, hoppy, frothy mugs of beer. And if you are a dedicated fan of the suds, you probably have figured out that you can go beyond drinking it. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a few thoughts about cooking with beer.

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.

Harissa

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. 

Gazpacho

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.

chefwolf/Instagram

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.

Radishes

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.

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