Show 571, March 30, 2024: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut, perfectly crisp fries. Something that seems so simple, however, is rarely done right. Chef Andrew shares his perfected technique. (Rescheduled from last week.)

Look for Chef Andrew’s new cooking video with Cathy Thomas on Orange Coast Magazine. He prepares One-Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes (from Melissa’s), mushrooms, and garbanzo beans.

Check out Chef Andrew’s handy and practical cooking tips on Substack at “American Gravy.” There is an accessible free level as well as a premium option with a modest cost.

Lentil Veggie Curry Soup

Lentil Veggie Curry Soup by the Jazzy Vegetarian Laura Theodore

Recipe excerpt from:
Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious, 10th Anniversary Edition

by Laura Theodore
Jazzy Vegetarian

Makes 4 servings

When you need curry in a hurry, this snazzy soup will truly satisfy. Creamy red lentils combined with butternut squash, carrots, baby potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, cabbage, and curry powder makes a flavorful potage. Serve this delicious dish for an easy and nutritious weeknight meal.

  • 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2½ cups cubed baby red potatoes and/or baby white potatoes (leave peels on)
  • 2⅓ cups sliced carrots (peeling is optional)
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash or sweet potatoes
  • 1⅓ cups chopped celery, with leaves
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed (see note)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large vegan bouillon cube, crumbled
  • 9 cups water

Put all of the ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are soft. Serve hot.

NOTE: To sort the lentils, spread them out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Remove any stones, dirt, broken lentils, or other debris. The lentils are now ready to be rinsed and used in your recipe. You may also sort split peas or dried beans in this manner.

Show 520, April 8, 2023: Melissa’s World Variety Produce’s “Prince of Produce,” with the freshest of the Spring Season Part One

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA Studio

It’s Spring and time to revisit our resident produce authority, Robert Schueller, of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. When it comes to knowing the season’s best there is no better resource than Robert (also known as “The Prince of Produce.”) Robert will brief us on the newest produce items that are sure to be trendy this year. He’ll also discuss trends in fruits and veggies for 2023.

The incredible Ojai Pixie Tangerines grown by small family farmers in California are back for their short season until (possibly) early June. “Savor the tasty, delicate treat of tree-ripened fruit bursting with sunshine-sweet flavor and juice. This seedless variety is the result of open pollination of Kincy, King and Dancy mandarins. Popular backyard trees in Ojai, California, they bear small to medium-sized citrus, having pebbly textured, yellow-orange rinds with loose skins that peel easily. The segments separate neatly for a quick snack, making them a great choice for eating out of hand.”

Already tending is Baby Baker Russet Potatoes. “Melissa’s Baby Baker Russet Potatoes are absolutely adorable and perfect for almost any meal. Like regular-size Russets, these babies feature sandy-textured brown skin and bright white flesh that’s crisp and firm. Cooked, their flesh becomes light and oh-so fluffy, featuring a buttery sweet flavor profile with mild, earthy undertones.”

Robert continues with us with a signature Pink Pineapple in hand.

Show 303, December 22, 2018: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Produce Trends

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioWhat are the “Top 10” Specialty Produce items in 2018? What’s sprouting on the horizon for 2019? We now continue Robert Schueller’s (Melissa’s World Variety Produce) informative report from two weeks ago.

More will be revealed by our enthusiastic resident produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s. We respectfully refer to him as The Prince of Produce. You can call him the Produce Guru for short.

We’ve covered Jackfruit and Red Papaya. Number Eight on the Specialty Produce Hit Parade is Chayote Squash which is where we’ll pick the conversation up. It’s actually a fruit and a staple of the Creole kitchen.

What’s Number One ? You need to listen but we’ll hint that it’s a specialty item exclusively grown in Idaho…

Show 219, April 15, 2017: Dave Peters, Founder & CEO, Veggie Fries (Farmwise)

Dave Peters of Veggie Fries“Our story is probably your story; a family searching for healthy and delicious food for our three daughters. We achieved the best of both worlds in some of America’s most iconic foods. Our whole family loves French fries and tater tots, so we made them healthier; blending in our favorite vegetables to make a tasty nutritious treat. We experimented with over 300 recipes to create perfect fries and tots –extra crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside using a delicious blend of vegetables, legumes, and potatoes. We hope your family loves them as much as we do.” Dave Peters, Founder, Veggie Fries / Farmwise

Veggie Fries are genuinely tasty frozen French fries made from a blend of all-natural, farm grown vegetables, legumes, and potatoes, chopped and blended together with herbs, spices, and just a pinch of sea salt. Veggie Fries are vegan, Non-GMO certified and free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat.

Each batch of Veggie Fries provides a crispy texture on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. Every variety has at least 27% of non-potato vegetables and legumes, containing 9 vegetable servings and a substantial amount of vegetable nutrition in every14 oz. bag.

We’ll pull Founder & CEO Dave Peters out of the veggie patch for a chat.


Show 80, July 19, 2014: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim

Shachi MehraChef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Earlier in her career Chef Shachi was mentored by pioneering Indian Chef Floyd Cardoz in Manhattan. She worked at both Tabla and Bread Bar eventually rising to the position of Head Cook at Bread Bar.

“With ADYA, I present an Indian experience that will allow those who are both familiar and less experienced with Indian cuisine to embark on a delicious, unique culinary journey that emphasizes fresh ingredients and pronounced flavors,” commented Chef Shachi, who blends Western and Indian cultures to create artful dishes that successfully marry tradition with modernity. “The casual setting of ADYA makes it inviting and accommodating to a wide range of guests who seek out the rich experiences that Indian cuisine has to offer.”

Indian kebabs differ from Middle Eastern ones. They are cooked in the tandoor and also have different spicing.

ADYA has two tandoor ovens. One is for the breads (lower temperature) and the other is for the meats.

Chef Shachi is delighted that her Pani Puri with spicy tamarind water, potatoes, and mint has proven so popular. That’s the real article when you are talking about authentic Indian Street Food.