Ken Rudin's Political Junkie

Fridays at 12pm

A weekly conversation on politics with analyst Ken Rudin and MPR News host Kerri Miller.

Considering that Mexico is one of the spiritual homelands for high-quality chili peppers, it’s unfortunate to see that in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. chiles rellenos, the dish where the pepper is the star, is often underappreciated and poorly executed. Bricia Lopez wants to change that. She and her family own Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, which has been called the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country. Host Francis Lam says they make the greatest chiles rellenos he’s ever had.

Photo: Chili peppers growing on a farm in rural Thailand.

The food world's love for fine hot sauces has become an obsession. Not so long ago, eating hot sauce was like taking a dare due to the unbelievable, gimmicky, and often unenjoyable amount of heat and Scoville units – the measurement of how mouth-scorchingly hot a pepper is. Thankfully, hot sauce culture has matured into a true craft. While many sauces are still incredibly hot, they are made with culinary consideration towards balance of pepper flavor and heat mixed with other fruit, vegetable, vinegar and spice flavors.

America’s Test Kitchen finds the good in all green peppers

Jul 12, 2018

Of all the produce found at the farmers market, possibly none has a more divisive "love it or hate it" reaction from cooks as green bell pepper. But why is that? And what other green peppers are fun to work into your ingredient list to create interesting new flavors? To answer these questions Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Tucker Shaw, the Editor-in-Chief of Cook’s Country.

Our good friend and award-winning food writer/editor Doc Willoughby has a thing for great ingredients for grilling and indoor cooking. Over the years, he’s introduced us and his readers to countless amazing spice mixes. When we told him that we were doing a whole show dedicated to chilies and hot peppers, he was excited to tell us about his favorite magical French pepper powder, piment d’Esplette.

Playing with fire: new barbecue recipes from Michael Symon

Jul 2, 2018

Michael Symon is a renowned chef, especially notable in the world of grilling and smoked meats for his boldly flavored recipes. In his new book Michael Symon's Playing with Fire, Symon combines a lifetime of barbecue obsession with his experience running a barbecue kitchen to improve and inspire your home smoking.

Grill upgrade: better grilling with America’s Test Kitchen

Jun 29, 2018

When we have questions about tips and techniques for the home cook, we often turn to our friends at America’s Test Kitchen. Their crew has put in countless hours at the grill, so we asked Dan Souza, Editor-in-Chief of Cook’s Illustrated, for a guide to grilling. He talked with Managing Producer Sally Swift about different fire setups, proper use of grill vents, and why a small flare up can be a good thing.

You could call fish the underdog of the summer cookout. When you have people getting psyched about racks of ribs and charring porterhouses, grilled fish doesn’t always get the love it deserves. But when you hear Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes and host Francis Lam speak so passionately about grilling sardines in the style of Mendes's home country, you can't help but think of how wonderful plump fresh sardines must taste with a bit of char on them.

Chef Bill Kim made his name as a fine dining chef; he ran the kitchen at the legendary Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, which had one of the first tasting menus in the United States. But since he left that world he’s dug into two things: the Asian flavors he grew up with and boiling his cooking down to simple sauces that pack tons of flavor. This led to his new book, Korean BBQ, which is filled with delicious recipes you can make at home with the help of a few innovative sauces.

Photo: Cristina Martinez and Francis Lam with the full spread
of barbacoa, salsa, and accompaniments at El Compadre.

The Andes hold the heart of Peruvian food

Jun 15, 2018

Photo: Fruit market in the streets of Cusco, a town in the Peruvian Andes.

Doc Willoughby on how to cook boniatos

Jun 14, 2018

Boniatos are what most of the world thinks of when it thinks of a sweet potato. While not quite as sweet as the yam type sweet potatoes we are used to in the United States, boniatos are nonetheless delicious and fun to cook for their own nutty flavors and texture. Francis Lam wanted to know more about this terrific tuber. Thankfully, his good friend Doc Willoughby is a huge fan of boniatos, so they two sat down to talk about it.

Fresh fish can be prepared in many wonderful ways. However, for retaining the quality and texture of freshness, one of the best ways using it to make ceviche. This no-cook method for presenting fish is popular in Peru, where it is seen almost as an introduction to the country's coastal cuisine. The dish is light, acidic and easy to make. Keith Dresser is executive food editor at Cook's Illustrated, where he leads the recipe development process. He talked with Managing Producer Sally Swift about the process and ingredients for making ceviche.

The Splendid Table honors Anthony Bourdain

Jun 13, 2018

The world is still dealing with the emotional shock it has felt since learning last week of the death of Anthony Bourdain. We at The Splendid Table wanted to offer our own tribute to Tony. We produced a special episode that was released on June 14, 2108 in which we hear from both host Francis Lam and retired host Lynne Rossetto Kasper, who'd interviewed Tony many times over the years. The show also features a special 2004 interview from our archives, one in which Lynne interviews Tony Bourdain alongside his friend and colleague Chef Thomas Keller.

A lot of people consider Philadelphia home of the cheese steak, and that is obviously not wrong. But there's an impressive vegan scene happening in the city as well in large part because of Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau. They're the owners of three restaurants in the city: Wiz Kid, V Street and Vedge – as well as Fancy Radish in Washington, DC.

Anthony Bourdain reads from "Don't Eat Before Reading This"

Jun 12, 2018

In 1999, The Splendid Table invited Anthony Bourdain to read an excerpt from an article he'd recently had published in The New Yorker called "Don't Eat Before Reading This." In the piece, Bourdain pulls back the curtain to reveal some of the not-so-pleasant realities of restaurant kitchens.

Anthony Bourdain remembered in his own words

Jun 8, 2018

The Splendid Table was saddened to learn this morning that Anthony Bourdain, a dear friend of the show and an inspiration to adventurous food lovers around the world, had passed away. It’s no secret that Tony was one of retired host Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s favorite guests; she welcomed a conversation with him any time schedules aligned. They chatted multiple times over the years, tracing Tony’s progression from bad boy chef to author to television star.

Enter to win Korean BBQ by Bill Kim

Jun 5, 2018

June 2018 Giveaway

Every month, The Splendid Table helps listeners equip their kitchens, stock their pantries, and fill their bookshelves. This month, one (1) winner will receive one (1) copy of Korean BBQ by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram. The book has a retail value of $28.00. Enter before June 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

Cucumbers are a key flavor and ingredient for summertime cooking. While we generally think of them sliced or diced, the folks at America's Test Kitchen have a new strategy: smash them! Managing Producer Sally Swift talks with Elle Simone, food stylist and on-screen test cook for America's Test Kitchen, about this new -- dare we say fun -- method. Try your hand at smashing cukes with this America's Test Kitchen recipe for Smashed Cucumbers.

The Key 3: Vedge

Jun 1, 2018

Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau are the husband/wife team of chefs behind Vedge, a vegan restaurant in Philadelphia, where they have been offering an exciting dining experience inspired by seasonal vegetables since 2011. Francis Lam visited Jacoby and Landau in the kitchen of their restaurant to learn more about their cooking techniques and what three dishes they consider essential to the vegetarian or veggie-loving home cook.

Diana Henry is one of Britain's most admired cooks. She's written 10 books and her new one, How to Eat a Peach, is as much about planning a meal as it is about how to cook it. Our contributor Melissa Clark, of The New York Times, talked with her about how she takes her ideas for composing meals and applies them to vegetables without the big beef roast to go with them.

Photo: Choya Webb with his father, Choya Webb, Sr.

Summertime grilling guide from The Splendid Table

May 24, 2018

The summer grilling season is upon us. It's that wonderful time of year when our grills are filled with the sound of fires crackling and the aromas of cooked meat and vegetables. We've collected some of our favorite recipes from A Summertime Grilling Guide from The Splendid Table to inspire your backyard barbecues. They include meats, veggies, sauces, sides, beverages and desserts - everything you need for grilling fun in the summer sun.

Nigella Lawson is one of the food world's biggest international superstars. She’s written 11 cookbooks, hosted TV shows for two decades, and is surprisingly terrible with a knife. While our host Francis Lam has been reading her work for his whole career, he just recently had the chance to meet her in-person when she came to the U.S. to tour for her new book, At My Table.

Summertime menu from Nigella Lawson

May 17, 2018

America's Test Kitchen on the sweet science of syrup

May 17, 2018

Syrups can be used in recipes to sweeten and add body to everything from main dishes to desserts. But all syrups are not meant to be used interchangeably. Their different molecular structures mean some are better for certain uses.  To learn more about the science behind syrups Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Dan Souza, Editor in Chief of Cook's Illustrated. One syrup they talk about is the British classic, Lyle's Golden Syrup.

We all know Patti LaBelle as an iconic singer and performer, but what you might not know is that she is nearly as passionate about cooking as she is about music. She found the kitchen a magical place to be ever since she was a small child, learning to cook and bake alongside her parents. As a well-traveled superstar, she now shares her culinary experience and knowledge with the world by way of a series of cookbooks. Miss LaBelle talked with contributor Shauna Sever about the joy she finds in cooking for family and friends.

Mother's Day brunch recipes you can prepare the night before

May 11, 2018

Brunch is a Mother's Day tradition in many of our homes, and most of us would like for it to be as low-stress as possible. After all, who wants to spend the whole morning scrambling around the kitchen when we should be hanging out with mom. With this in mind, The Splendid Table gathered a few of our favorite Mother's Day brunch recipes that can be prepared the night before and then cooked the morning of. Make the prep work a group activity on Saturday - minus mom, of course, because it's her weekend! Then more time can be spent on Sunday relaxing and enjoying your meal as a family.

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