Show 274, May 19, 2018: Pejmon Noori, Proper’s Pickles, Long Beach

Bijan and Pejmon NooriLong Beach’s Proper’s Pickles is an unlikely local gourmet specialty food product success story. The Noori Brothers (Bijan & Pejmon) are insurance brokers. Growing up their Family pickled all the extra veggies in their home kitchen. In early 2014 the Brothers perfected their recipes and starting selling at one Long Beach Farmers Markets. Today they are available at retail in Gelson’s and select Bristol Farms, and produce some 1,500 to 2,000 jars a month. We’re talking about the art of pickling with Pejmon Noori.

The two brothers had already been making pickles for a long time under the guidance of their father, who was known for pickling anything and everything. Bijan and Pejmon also have been known to venture into unknown pickling territory for a few of their best customers, including products like Pickled Sweet Maui Onion with Habanero. Even their Famous Mixed Jar uses Persian Cucumber as opposed to your traditional Pickling Cucumber.

“You will never see dry dill seed or pepper-flakes floating at the bottom of your jar, but you will see pieces of fresh dill and large cloves of fresh garlic. While most pickling companies think it is okay for their products to be kept on dry shelves for months at a time, Proper’s Pickle believes in cold storage only. Proper’s Pickle is also a very strong believer in using only natural ingredients so they can deliver the vegetables and peppers they use in their best form.”

“There is only one drawback to developing the crispiest, freshest-tasting pickles on the planet: Anyone who tries them will never again enjoy just any ole’ pickle. Anyone who has tasted a Proper’s Pickle will always crave something better. Because “We Make a Proper Pickle.””

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Show 264, March 10, 2018: Pic Picot, Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter, Nelson, New Zealand

Pic PicotEver consider the delights of top quality peanut butter? The style (with no sugar) that is dense with spreadable crunch and oozing with the rich taste and aroma of freshly roasted peanuts? Kiwi Pic Picot certainly has. Since founding Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter Co. in his garage in Nelson, NZ back in 2008 he is now the best-selling (and best loved) peanut butter in New Zealand. Pic’s is now conquering California with availability in Pavilions, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms.

“In 2008 I sold 48 jars to our local supermarket and took to the road. Within a year you could buy Pic’s in 50 outlets around the country. Then we were picked up by both of NZ’s supermarket chains and suddenly Pic’s was available pretty much anywhere in New Zealand.” – Pic Picot

Today, in two bursting-at-the-seams peanut butter works in Nelson, Pic’s produces some 20,000 jars a day. A new 25,000 square foot production facility is under construction designed to accommodate comprehensive factory tours.

The inspirational NZ peanut butter baron, Pic Picot, is our in-studio guest with his in unlikely story.

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Show 264, March 10, 2018: Pic Picot, Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter, Nelson, New Zealand Continues…

Pic PicotEver consider the delights of top quality peanut butter? The style (with no sugar) that is dense with spreadable crunch and oozing with the rich taste and aroma of freshly roasted peanuts? Kiwi Pic Picot certainly has. Since founding Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter Co. in his garage in Nelson, NZ back in 2008 he is now the best-selling (and best loved) peanut butter in New Zealand. Pic’s is now conquering California with availability in Pavilions, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms.

“My Mum and Auntie had made a bit of peanut butter when I was little. They’d both bought a new Vitamix and peanut butter was one of the cool things you could make with them. Anyway, I bought a few kilos of peanuts, roasted them in the oven and squished them up with a bit of salt, blowing up my cheap modern blender in the process.”

“But the peanut butter was beautiful. A million times nicer than the stuff I’d got used to. I filled a few jars for friends, and one of my twelve year old son’s mates liked it so much he bought a jar with his pocket money.”

“I was fifty- five, going a bit blind (macular degeneration runs in the family) and had just had to close a little Laundromat that had been earning me a couple of hundred dollars a week. I figured if I could make 30 jars of peanut butter on Friday morning I could sell it at our farmers market on Friday afternoon and get my $200 back.”

“So that’s what I did. I made a roaster out of a concrete mixer and bought a bench top grinder and a tonne of peanuts from Australia and got to work.” –Pic Picot

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Show 237, August 19, 2017: Melissa’s Corporate Chef, Ida Rodriguez. Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook

Chef Ida Rodriquez of Melissas World Variety ProduceHatch Chile season is upon us! Fresh Hatch Chiles, grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, are available for just a few short weeks each year in August and September. Many connoisseurs consider them the world’s tastiest chiles.

Once roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of the chiles and the texture of the thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the pepper’s variable heat (unlike other chile peppers, Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch, New Mexico.

Melissa’s World Variety Produce has led the charge in popularizing the coveted Hatch Chiles and developing many great recipes using them. From now through mid-September Melissa’s will be sponsoring weekend Hatch Chile Roasting parties at area supermarkets including at select Gelson’s and Bristol Farms. Check the Melissa’s website for locations, dates and times. The roasting is conveniently included in the price of the case of chiles.

Melissa’s website has lots of good information on Hatch Chiles. Recipes are there, too, including Hatch Chile Guacamole, Hatch Chile Chili and Hatch Chile Salsa.

Melissa’s Corporate Chef, Ida Rodriguez, joins us to discuss the joys of Hatch Chile season.

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Corporate Chef Ida Rodriguez, Melissa’s, Hatch Chile Season

Chef Ida Rodriquez of Melissas World Variety Produce

Hatch Chile season is upon us! Fresh Hatch Chiles, grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, are available for just a few short weeks each year in August and September. Many connoisseurs consider them the world’s tastiest chiles.

Once roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of the chiles and the texture of the thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the pepper’s variable heat (unlike other chile peppers, Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch, New Mexico.

Melissa’s World Variety Produce has led the charge in popularizing the coveted Hatch Chiles and developing many great recipes using them. From now through mid-September Melissa’s will be sponsoring weekend Hatch Chile Roasting parties at area supermarkets including at select Bristol Farms and Gelson’s. Check the Melissa’s website for locations, dates and times.

Hatch Chiles are an inspired addition to libations. The Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook has a recipe for Hatch Chile-Infused Tequila which is then used in a signature Spicy Margarita. Also there is a recipe for Spicy Ice Cubes and Ginger Ale. As the ice cubes melt, the drinks will become spicier.

There are also fun Hatch Chile desserts in the cookbook. Chef Andrew Gruel is a fan of the Hatch Chile S’mores. It’s a novel twist on the classic with a little punch.

Melissa’s Corporate Chef, Ida Rodriguez, joins us to highlight the joys of Hatch Chile season.

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Show 127, June 20, 2015: Steve Schirripa, Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties

Steve SchirripaItalian-American character actor Steve Schrripa is best known for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” He’s also a serious home cook.

Taking his mother’s recipe for pasta sauce he created a collection of popular sauces including Marinara, Tomato Basil and Arrabiata in the Steve Schirripa’s Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties line. The pasta sauces are each hand-crafted with organic whole, imported Italian peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt and spices. They are slow-simmered for six hours before bottling.

In the L.A. area they are available at Gelson’s with other retailers on the way.

Steve shares his struggles in initially getting his pasta sauces taken seriously by retail grocery store buyers. Because there are so many celebrity pasta sauces out there on the shelves that are mediocre, the buyers are resistant. Even the late Frank Sinatra had a line of jarred pasta sauces that didn’t survive the rigors of the marketplace. Schirripa’s key to success is simply getting them to try the sauce and judge it for the quality in the jar! This is why he’s resisted the temptation to put his image on the label.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, Sunday was the day you would wake up to the aroma of tomatoes, garlic and olive oil simmering on Mom’s stove as she prepared the sauce for Sunday dinner. My fondest memories are from those day, my Italian heritage and the comfort of family that I wish to share.” – Steve Schirripa

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