Show 314, March 9, 2019: Author & Cooking Teacher Nancie McDermott, Fruit – a Savor The South Cookbook

Nancie McDdermottTo write Fruit: A Savor the South Cookbook, best-selling author Nancie McDermott got to switch back and forth among the four careers she considered pursuing as a day-dreaming North Carolina eight-year-old. “I had a little merry-go-round of ideas on what to be when I grew up: Missionary? Detective? Actor? Or Spy?”

“Researching Fruit, I sorted and sifted, choosing 12 iconic fruits which matter in Southern cuisine. Persimmons and pawpaws, blackberries and melons, mayhaws and damsons — it’s clues and culture, traditions and creativity, flames and bowls, skillets, spoons, and celebrations. Fruit is seasons, symbols and stories. These fruit stories and recipes illuminate the world of Southern cooking.”

Fruit collects a dozen of the South’s bountiful locally sourced fruits in a cook’s basket of fifty-four luscious dishes, savory and sweet. Demand for these edible jewels is growing among those keen to feast on the South’s natural pleasures, whether gathered in the wild or cultivated with care. Indigenous fruits here include blackberries, mayhaws, muscadine and scuppernong grapes, pawpaws, persimmons, and strawberries.

From old-school Grape Hull Pie to Mayhaw Jelly–Glazed Shrimp, McDermott’s recipes for these less common fruits are of remarkable interest–and incredibly tasty. The non-native fruits in the volume were eagerly adopted long ago by southern cooks, and they include damson plums, figs, peaches, cantaloupes, quince, and watermelons. McDermott gives them a delicious twist in recipes such as Fresh Fig Pie and Thai-Inspired Watermelon-Pineapple Salad.

McDermott also illuminates how the South–from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Lowcountry, from the Mississippi Delta to the Gulf Coast–encompasses diverse subregional culinary traditions when it comes to fruit. Her recipes, including a favorite piecrust, provide a treasury of ways to relish southern fruits at their ephemeral peak and to preserve them for enjoyment throughout the year.

McDermott is a North Carolina native, cooking teacher, and author of 14 cookbooks, including Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations In 2018 she was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award in Journalism.

Nancie is our perfectly ripe guest.


Show 224, May 20, 2017: Deborah Madison, Icon of Vegetarian Cuisine Part One

Deborah MadisonFrom perhaps the foremost authority on vegetarian cooking and one of the most trusted voices in food comes a carefully curated and updated collection of 100 favorite and most inspired recipes, reflecting how Deborah Madison loves to cook now. Her new book is In My Kitchen – A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes.

Deborah Madison’s newest book shares 100 beloved and innovative recipes from her vast repertoire, all pared down to the key ingredients needed to achieve delicious, nuanced flavor, with simplified preparations.

In My Kitchen is a vegetable-forward cookbook organized alphabetically and featuring recipes like Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Sunflower Sprouts; Fennel Shaved with Tarragon and Walnuts; and Olive Oil, Almond, and Blood Orange Cake. With dozens of tips for building onto, scaling back, and creating menus around, Deborah’s recipes have a modular quality that makes them particularly easy to use.

Deborah Madison, the founding chef of San Francisco’s popular Greens restaurant, is the author of nine highly regarded cookbooks. Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors have all received James Beard Foundation Awards.

A cooking teacher for two decades, a contributor to many magazines, and long involved in the local food and farming movement, Madison is the recipient of many other awards, including the MFK Fisher Mid-Career Award.

We grab Deborah from her New Mexico garden for a chat.


Show 63, March 1, 2013: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this hot spot was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched at 1:00 p.m. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants. (Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper to a venture capital group at the height of its success in 2005.) Donato credits Mr. Nickoloff with providing the Connie & Ted’s team the wisdom on how to provide exemplary service when you’re serving hundreds of sophisticated guests per day for lunch and dinner.