Harvest Desk

The Salt
5:21 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The 'Shroom Burger From Shake Shack

Mouth's eye view of the 'Shroom Burger.
NPR

If you haven't heard of Shake Shack, it's a hip, growing national chain where Americans go to stand in long lines. Also, it serves food.

We tried the 'Shroom Burger, a breaded and deep-fried cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom patty in a bun. It's topped with lettuce, tomato and the chain's special sauce.

Peter: In order to get the mushrooms stuffed with cheese, they plant the spores in a block of Velveeta.

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Found Recipes
3:44 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Yule Have To Try This Gingerbread Buche De Noel

Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says she makes a "Franco-American" buche de Noel with American flavoring and French technique.
Alan Richardson Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 4:50 pm

Sweets this time of year take on all kinds of whimsical shapes: cookies cut into stars, stockings and gingerbread men, candy canes, peanut butter balls ... or logs covered in frosting.

Yes, really — logs.

Not real logs, of course — these are holiday cakes, rolled and frosted to look like a yule log and known as buche de Noel. Sometimes the cakes are dotted with little meringue mushrooms or edible holly leaves. While the cake may not be on every American's baking list, cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says it's iconic in Europe.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

In Slovakia, Christmas Dinner Starts In The Bathtub

Ivan Babej AP

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 7:06 am

For centuries, families throughout much of central Europe have relied on one simple main course for Christmas Eve dinner: the common carp.

But getting from river (or carp farm) to table is not so simple. As the tradition goes, the Christmas carp must first swim in the family bathtub for at least a day or two before being killed, cleaned and prepared.

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The Salt
2:45 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Nuns On The Ranch Give A Heavenly Twist To Beef

Sister Elizabeth feeds Yoda, a water buffalo calf at the ranch. The nuns bought the buffalo to make mozzarella.
Sonja Salzburg for Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 2:17 pm

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it's not the only food or drink made by a religious order. Many abbeys and convents have deep roots in agriculture, combining farm work with prayer.

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The Salt
8:40 am
Sun December 21, 2014

A History Lesson On The Philippines, Stuffed In A Christmas Chicken

The rellenong manok at La Cocina de Tita Moning, a restaurant in Manila. Chef Suzette Montinola uses a traditional recipe from the 1930s that belonged to her grandmother.
Aurora Almendral for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:41 pm

Noche buena, the Christmas Eve feast in fervently Catholic Philippines, is deeply steeped in tradition. One of the mainstays of this decadent meal, usually eaten after midnight mass, is rellenong manok (rel-ye-nong ma-nok). It's a hybrid name: In Spanish, relleno means stuffed, and in Tagalog, manok means chicken.

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The Salt
3:37 am
Sun December 21, 2014

For Norwegian-Americans, Christmas Cheer Is Wrapped Up In Lefse

Megan Walhood loves the unique toasty potato flavor of lefse. "There's something so comforting about soft, starchy things," she says.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 1:24 pm

For many Norwegian-American families, the biggest Christmas treat isn't foil-wrapped chocolate or sugar-dusted cookies. It's lefse, a simple flatbread.

Lefse are sort of like soft tortillas, made mostly out of mashed potatoes (with a little fat and flour mixed in to form a tender dough). They're usually spread with butter and sugar, or rolled up with a bit of lingonberry jam. And families that make them make them by the dozens.

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The Salt
8:17 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

In Wineries Vs. Weather, Drones To The Rescue?

An unmanned aerial vehicle films vineyards in France. Drones like this one are also being used in Califiornia, as part of a broader "precision farming" movement designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Sami Sarkis Ocean/Corbis

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:43 pm

Tucked behind a hill in Sebastopol, Calif., with a 5,400-square-foot cave that holds some 500 barrels of wine, DRNK Wines exudes the quiet charm that a visitor might expect. But the grapes in some of the wines that are sold here are under a growing threat — which is why DRNK's winemaker, Ryan Kunde, can sometimes be seen in various vineyards testing his fleet of drones. Their mission? To one day collect aerial images that will help determine the vines' vigor, ripeness, flavor and harvest dates, which due to rising soil temperatures have inched up in Sonoma County over the past few years.

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The Salt
5:24 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 4:24 pm

Here's an experiment: take a bite of whatever food you have nearby and listen to some music, something with high notes. Now, take another bite, but listen to something with low notes.

Notice anything?

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They've found that higher-pitched music — think flutes — enhances the flavor of sweet or sour foods. Lower-pitched sounds, like tubas, enhance the bitter flavors.

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Food
4:16 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:59 pm

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they'd have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA's watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city's plastered past.

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The Salt
4:17 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

The author, Dr. Gavin Francis, arrived at Halley base on Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of the Antarctic midsummer, when 24-hour sunlight illuminates the vast swathes of empty ice.
Courtesy of Gavin Francis

It was Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of midsummer, when I arrived to take up a year-long job as doctor at Halley base – the most remote research station operated by the British in Antarctica.

As we cruised up to the Caird Coast of Antarctica, a crowd of us stood out on the deck of the supply ship RRS Ernest Shackleton, singing Christmas carols in the 24-hour sunlight, wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

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Business
4:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Cuba Relationship Could Be A Boon For American Farmers

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Salt
1:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Pride And Prejudice: For Latinos, Tamales Can Taste Of Both

Panamanian tamales stuffed with chicken and wrapped in bijao leaves — one of hundreds of interpretations of the dish found throughout Latin America.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 12:05 pm

This Christmas Eve, many Latinos will celebrate the holiday by unwrapping delicious little presents: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (dough made from corn or another starch) that's been wrapped in aromatic leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses or coconut milk, others spiced with mole or seasoned with achiote. Some are plain; others are filled with meat, cheese or vegetables.

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The Salt
11:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

How Peppermint Tricks Us Into Feeling (Deliciously) Cold

Even in the coldest months, we relish the refreshing, icy taste of peppermint — in seasonal treats like peppermint bark, peppermint schnapps, even peppermint beer.

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Harvest Desk
6:29 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Harvest Glut Clogs Rail, Rivers, Roads

An MFA Agriservices worker monitors the soybean chute as the barge fills up on the Missouri River in Glasgow, Mo. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

For the Midwest’s biggest crops, this harvest season was a big one. With winter setting in, the race is on for farmers to ship out their harvest so it’s not left out to spoil. But the giant harvest and a lack of available rail cars have created a traffic jam on the rails and the highways.

Usually, farmers store their harvest in silos and grain bins, but this year, farmers brought in so much, there’s just no room.  Farmers in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and South Dakota are all being hit particularly hard by the storage shortage.

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The Salt
4:36 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

Sugar, coffee, fruit juice for babies, oil and salt inside a market subsidized by the government in Havana on July 11, 2013.
Enrique De La Osa Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:14 am

It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama's announcement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.

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The Salt
12:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Tourtiere: A French-Canadian Twist On Christmas Pie

Tourtiere is a savory, spiced meat pie, which both French- and English-speaking Canadians love to serve around the holidays.
martiapunts iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:21 pm

A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 23, 2011.

If you happen to spend Christmas Eve in Canada — especially Quebec — you might be lucky enough to be invited to a festive dinner after midnight Mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called reveillon, and it's something to look forward to after a long day of fasting.

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The Salt
3:53 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:21 am

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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All Tech Considered
3:24 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Weekly Innovation: Nonstick Coating Helps Ketchup Slide Out

With LiquiGlide, ketchup easily slides outside of the bottle with no shaking necessary.
LiquiGlide

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 1:55 pm

Just think about how much food or product we waste because it's stuck on the sides of its container. Whether it's that last bit of ketchup or toothpaste, it seems easier to throw it out and start anew rather than deal with that endless game of shaking and squeezing.

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The Salt
12:13 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

A Holy Land Christmas Porridge Honors A Damsel In Distress

In Jerusalem, Syrian Orthodox Christian Nadia Ishaq prepares her burbara porridge with boiled what kernels, raisins, dried plums and dried apricots, topped with ground coconut in the shape of a cross. The holiday honors St. Barbara, an early convert to Christianity whose story is echoed in the Rapunzel tale.
Daniella Cheslow for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:19 pm

The winter holidays are a time of abundance, but for Christians in the Middle East, the official start of the Christmas season is marked by a decidedly rustic dish: porridge.

Archbishop Swerios Murad of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem says his congregation will eat boiled wheat kernels this week to mark the Feast of St. Barbara, or Eid el-Burbara in Arabic.

"It's a simple porridge," Murad tells The Salt, "but it's very important that it be sweet."

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The Salt
10:46 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Way Beyond Brownies: Vice Launches A Marijuana Cooking Show

Aurora Leveroni, 91, is also known as "Nonna Marijuana."
Vice

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 9:37 am

On Sunday, my mother sent me an email: "OMG! Watch this unbelievable cooking show!"

It wasn't spam, and my mother, who's 65, does not use OMG lightly.

The fuss was over a 20-minute video about a 91-year-old grandmother who cooks Italian classics in marijuana-infused butter.

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The Salt
4:21 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:32 pm

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

About This Series: The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:21 pm

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

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Around the Nation
4:17 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Top Chefs Discover Denver's Fast-Growing Restaurant Scene

James Beard-award winner and Top Chef Masters star Jen Jasinski recently opened a seafood restaurant in Denver called Stoic and Genuine that features a raw bar.
June Cochran Stoic and Genuine

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:00 pm

When you think of the restaurant scene, Denver probably doesn't come to mind. But that's just the latest change for a city whose population has ballooned in the last couple of years, thanks in part to a nearby oil and gas boom. Top chefs are beginning to take notice.

Award-winning pastry chef Keegan Gerhard, for example, just opened a new location of his restaurant, D Bar, that is three times the size of his old one. His chef buddies wonder why he's in Denver.

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The Salt
2:22 am
Tue December 16, 2014

At Last, Muslims Can Savor A Halal Spin On Spain's Famous Jamón

Halal jamón products made with lamb and beef inside the Balkis Gourmet curing room in Cumbres Mayores in Andalusia, Spain.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:29 am

Wander into any bar in Spain, order a drink, and the waiter will very likely hand you free tapas. Very often it's some type of pork — jamón (ham), chorizo (spicy sausage) or panceta (cured bacon). You could say this country is obsessed with cured pork products. People joke that even vegetarians in Spain eat jamón.

Eating authentic jamón ibérico de bellota, a cured ham made from free-range pigs fed on acorns, is a key part of Spanish life, especially in the south.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Hanukkah Miracle

Not pictured: the treadmill Dan is standing on. Just 18 more miles and he'll have worked off half of this sandwich!
Dan Pashman

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:51 pm

[Today's post comes to you from Dan Pashman, a friend of Sandwich Monday. You may know him from his spots on Weekend Edition; his WNYC podcast, The Sporkful; his book, Eat More Better; or the time he stole a piece of your sausage when you weren't looking.]

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The Salt
2:25 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:38 pm

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

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Food
6:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Beware The Tippling Point, And Other Cocktail Party Tips

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:35 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Food
6:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Mead Moves Out Of The Middle Ages

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 11:18 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you've been yearning for a cup of mead ever since you read Beowulf in high school - and who hasn't, really? - this could be your moment. The honey wine is once again the bee's knees. WEEKEND EDITION food commentator, Bonny Wolf, explains.

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The Salt
4:19 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Hanukkah History: Those Chocolate Coins Were Once Real Tips

Wrapped in gold and silver foil, chocolate gelt are often handed out as a little treat for children (and adults) during Hanukkah. Turns out, the tradition is rooted in real money.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:09 pm

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, starts on Tuesday night. But the flickering candles won't be the only things shining on the table. Many families celebrate with gelt, chocolate coins covered in gold and silver foil. But while this treat is beloved, it's not all that delicious.

"It snaps. It's not soft and buttery — it's waxy. This is chocolate you have to chew," jokes Ariel Cohn, who runs Tree of Life, a Jewish pre-school in Portland, Ore.

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The Salt
12:16 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Florida Tomato Pickers' Wins Could Extend To Dairy, Berry Workers

Farm workera at Lipman Produce load tomatoes on a truck on Jan. 16, 2014 in Naples, Fla. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. joined an initiative that will require its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farm worker pay and protect workers from forced labor and sexual assault, among other things.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 10:10 am

Farm workers in America have long been among the nation's poorest paid and most abused workers. But conditions have been improving for Florida tomato pickers, and those advances may soon reach other farm fields, according to the annual report released Thursday by the Fair Food Standards Council, or FFSC, a labor oversight group based in Sarasota, Fla.

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