Posts Tagged ‘food’


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

FOOD AND WINEFood and wine, is there a better combination? The Halli Casser-Jayne Show brings you from the world of food two time James Beard Award-winner David Leite the founder of the popular website Leite’s Culinaria and now the author of a brave and moving memoir, NOTES ON A BANANA: his story of food, love and manic depression. And also joining Halli at her table is wine maven Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan to talk about the new Rosé revolution going on the subject of her fun, informative book ROSE WINE: THE GUIDE TO DRINKING PINK.

David Leite has tackled everything from chocolate chip cookies to fried clams, from the foods of Portugal to the tribulations of being a super taster—for print, radio, and television. In 1999, he founded the website Leite’s Culinaria, and in 2006 he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat he repeated in 2007. A regular correspondent and guest host on NPR’s “The Splendid Table,” David is out with a brave and moving memoir, NOTES ON A BANANA: his story of food, love and manic depression, a story riff with exhilarating highs and shattering lows of his life, peppered with David’s trademark sense of humor.

FOOD AND WINERosés have long been the Rodney Dangerfield’s of wine. They have gotten no respect. But according to wine maven Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, forget your grandmother’s blush. There is a Rosé revolution going on and Simonetti-Bryan tells all in her new fun, informative book ROSÉ WINE: THE GUIDE TO DRINKING PINK. Move over dark red wines, Simonetti-Bryan rejoices. It’s time for some Rosé! Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW, comes with her bonafides. She is the fourth woman in America to qualify as a master of wine, the world’s top wine credential. She has appeared on the Today Show, The Anderson Cooper Show, Fox & Friends, Fox Business, Fox News, Bloomberg, ABC, CBS, and NBC; on Sirius XM, Martha Stewart, Bloomberg and in print Fortune, Oprah, and Wine Enthusiast.

Food and wine, memoir, Julia Child, Rosé wine, depression, gay rights, bipolar disorder, Halli brings it all together,  on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, the podcast posted at 3 pm ET at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Norman, Andy Garcia, Jimmy KimmelJoin me Sunday evening, July 20, 8 pm ET when The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds welcomes Celebrity Chef and author of a delicious, joyride of a memoir No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken.

Norman Van Aken is known as the founding father of New World Cuisine, a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African, and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world. The only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage,” his restaurant, Norman’s, was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America.” He has also been a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America.” Van Aken has published five cookbooks: Feast of Sunlight, The Exotic Fruit Book, Norman’s New World Cuisine, New World Kitchen, and My Key West Kitchen.

No Experience Necessary spans twenty-plus years of the culinary renegade and pioneering restaurateur’s career, offering a uniquely personal, highly-entertaining under-the-tablecloth view of the high stakes world of American cuisine, told with wit, insight, and great affection by a natural storyteller.

The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds airs Wednesdays, 3 pm ET and Sunday evenings 8 pm ET and is always available for your listening pleasure 24/7 at Halli Casser-Jayne Dot com.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

It’s always a treat for us at The Halli Casser-Jayne Show when renowned Chef Norman Van Aken stops by for a visit, as he did Wednesday, on his way to an appearance on  Jimmy Kimmel LiveNorman, Andy Garcia, Jimmy Kimmel. “The Father of New World cuisine is out with a truly delicious new memoir, “No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken,” a book you’ll want to pick up. The book spans twenty-plus years of the culinary renegade and pioneering restaurateur’s career, offering a uniquely personal, highly-entertaining under-the-tablecloth view of the high stakes world of American cuisine, told with wit, insight, and great affection by a natural storyteller.

We talked about the book, of course, but also about the art of entertainment. Chef  Norman was kind enough to send over two recipes he thought you might like to use for your upcoming Super Bowl Party, and we post them below.

Chef Norman Van Aken’s Carny Corn Dogs

During the 1970s in the Midwest, carnivals and state fairs served up cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs, ice cream, soda, and not much else. It would be several decades before they would become venues not only for entertainment and agricultural prize giving but also for the huge variety of ethnic and regional foods we enjoy and take for granted today. And after nearly being electrocuted on a Ferris wheel, it would be several decades before I started to appreciate and enjoy making my own Carny Corn Dogs.

1 quart oil, for frying

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup buttermilk, or as needed to make a smooth, thick batter

6 wooden skewers

6 hot dogs, bratwurst, or Maxwell Street brand Polish sausages

Preheat the oil in a deep pot over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, sugar, and baking powder. Stir in the egg and both kinds of milk, and set aside.

Insert a wooden skewer into each sausage at least two-thirds of the way up. Roll each skewered sausage in the batter, being careful to avoid the skewer, until the sausage is well coated.

In the hot oil, fry 2 to 3 skewered sausages at a time for about 3 minutes, turning them several times, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with your favorite condiments. Mustard is my choice.

Makes 6 corn dogs

Chef Norman Van Aken’s Vietnamese Soft Spring Rolls

This was a recipe I began making a few years before the birth of a Mano, but I think it reached its zenith in the small kitchen on Ocean Drive, as far as my versions of it. A chef I really loved having on the team named Maria figured out how to write the word “delicious” in Japanese—with wasabi. Of course almost no one got it but when a person literate in the Japanese language did understand it we felt a kind of kinship with humanity that bordered on the cosmic.

For the marinade and dipping sauce:

2 tablespoons plum sauce

5 tablespoons hoisin

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

5 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon mirin

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chile oil

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Reserve.

For the noodles:

1 sleeve (2¼ ounces dry weight) uncooked somen noodles

In a large pot, cook the noodles in rapidly boiling salted water for about 30 to 45 seconds. Rinse quickly under cold running water, and drain well. Toss the noodles with enough marinade to evenly coat. Reserve the remaining marinade for dipping sauce.

For the filling:

4 (8½-inch) round rice paper wrappers

1½ cups cooked duck or chicken or pork

3 cups shiitake (or other) cooked mushroom caps, sliced

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Season the protein with the salt and pepper. Fill a wide, shallow bowl halfway up with warm water. Working one by one, dampen the wrappers in the water until they are pliant. (This usually takes 1 to 2 minutes per wrapper and should be done immediately prior to stuffing.) Remove and pat dry.

To fill each roll, place some of the marinated noodles about a third of the way down the wrapper. Fold in the bottom and each side of the wrapper burrito-style, then add some of the meat and some of the mushrooms, and continue rolling, keeping a little pressure on the bundle as you roll.

Reserve the filled spring rolls between layers of slightly moist toweling in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Note: Spring Rolls may be made up to 4 hours before serving.) Trim off the ends (you can eat or discard them). Slice the rolls into bite-sized sections. Serve with the reserved remaining marinade in small dipping cups for each guest.

Makes 2½ cups

Recipes reprinted with permission of Norman Van Aken.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Food glorious food was the subject of The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Foodies, Wednesday, and what a gastronomic feast it was. Our delicious conversation included a discussion with pioneering chef, the father of  New World Cuisine and known internationally for introducing “fusion” into the lexicon of modern cookery, Norman Van Aken. Tune in to hear his visual on chocolate, and his pet peeve concerning what is happening in the food business. Chef Norman has a new memoir coming out in a few weeks. Be sure to look for No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken. Lucky me, I received an advanced copy and I can tell you, even if you’re not a foodie, this is one well-written, fascinating read.

I also spoke with dietician and nutritionist Manuel Villacorta. His new book, Peruvian Power Foods, 18 Superfoods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes is one powerful little book, which, by the way, is gorgeously produced. Villacorta, born in Peru, revisited his native country and brought us back the secrets to the good health the Peruvian people enjoy. If you’re a health nut, and even if you’re not, this book is for you.

The Cooking Channel’s Ingrid Hoffmann stopped by for a chat. She is fascinating. She’s smart, she’s pretty, she’s fun, she’s one heckuva businesswoman. Her latest book Latin D’Lite, Latin Recipes with A Healthy Twist goes hand in hand with my discussion with Manuel Villacorta. She offers some tips on beating the pounds while eating the things you love. Don’t miss the segment.

Sandra A. Gutierrez is truly impressive. She has a host of interesting food titles, but her latest, Latin American Street Food: The Best Flavors of Markets, Beaches and Roadside Stands from Mexico to Argentina is right up my alley. As many of you know, I have spent a great deal of time in the Americas. One of my favorite dishes is Salvadoran pupusa. I am forever looking for recipes that are as good as those I ate on the streets of El Salvador. To my surprise, Sandra includes recipes for Pupusas de Frijo Negro, as well as cheese pupusas in her beautiful book. I plan to try making Pupusa de Frijo Negro this weekend. I can’t wait. Knowing Sandra, I have no doubt they will be delicious.

Relish, My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley is a charming, forthright, thoughtful and amusing memoir in which Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe – many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions. Relish is a graphic novel for our time. And, by the way, the book a great gift for your friends and loved ones for the holidays.

Smart talk, intimate talk, real talk…listen to our food episode on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Delicious Talk Radio for Fine Minds.

* By the way, all of my guests will be at the 30th Miami Book Fair International, as will I, November 17-24th. Come meet me there!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Vangi baath is a South Indian rice dish that’s made with eggplant and a really fragrant spice mixture made from urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, dried coconut, dried red chili and curry leaves. I’ve written the recipe down that my mother had from her Aunt below, but if you don’t have these ingredients, you can buy the spice mixture at the Indian store. MTR brand makes a good one. I had these little eggplants from my farm share, but you can use the regular Italian or Chinese eggplants for this dish too.

I actually made this for my Brooklyn Winery supper earlier in the year and it was a hit. This was a rice that my family would make when we’d go on long car rides or on picnics.  It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is.  Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but I like the combo of onions, eggplant and green pepper and I’ve also made it with cauliflower too.  My mom recently made this rice for Thanksgiving and added fried peanuts to the mix which was really good.  I usually serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

I made vangi baath for my friend Mia when she came to visit from LA and she took this pic of it in the pan. Even though I really hate using a non-stick pan, I recommend it for this dish when frying the eggplant and rice so it doesn’t stick!

Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder

In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing.  Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil.  Add in the onion and fry until translucent.  Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.

Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked.  Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables.  Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the rice and stir well.  Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon and mix together.  Top with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Vangi Baath Powder RecipeDry roast –
3/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup urad dal

Fry in ghee –
4 1 inch size cinnamon
4 cloves
10 pepper corns

Fry in oil –
2 cups coriander seeds
1 cup dried red chili
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3-4 strands of curry leavesCool and grind all of the above. Mix in 1/2 cup of dried coconut (optional as you can add fresh frozen when you are making the rice itself).

To find out more about Chef Chitra Agrawal visit her at her website The ABCD’s of Cooking!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

This week The Halli Casser-Jayne Show is all about food. The guests on Wednesday’s show were four of the top chefs in the world. First up was the delightful Alex Hitz, whose new book, The Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with A French Twist is a must for any foodie’s library. Alex is FUN! Next I talked with “The Founding Father of New World Cuisine,” Norman Van Aken, the man who introduced “Fusion” into the lexicon of modern cookery. Norman’s new book is a delightful romp through the place where he started his cooking career, Key West. The book, which he co-wrote with his son Chef Justin Van Aken, is My Key West Kitchen. What fabulous recipes. I want to try them all! Following Norman was the delicious Raquel Roque who has written a great many books on Cuban Cuisine including The Cuban Kitchen and her soon to be released Cocina Latina. Have you ever eaten Cuban cuisine? If not, you will love it. And love not all the wonderful recipes in the book but also learning about all the divine drinks that the Cuban people contributed to Happy Hour, many recipes for them included in Raquel’s books. Did you know that Bacardi Rum is a product of Cuba as are Daiquiri’s, Mojitos and Batidos (Cuban milkshakes)? Last, but not least, to talk about her new cookbook, Hiroko’s American Kitchen, was chef Hiroko Shimbo. Chef Shimbo is considered one of the foremost authorities on Japanese cuisine with worldwide recognition. She was absolutely charming!

In keeping with our food theme, our friend and food consultant to The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Chef Chitra Agrawal is, in the coming days, going to share a few of her fabulous recipes. Chef Chitra is an authority on Indian cooking. Here is Chef Chitra’s recipe for Kosambri (Carrot Salad) and a few words from her.

“Kosambri is a traditional South Indian salad that I love. Whenever I go to a South Indian restaurant I always scan the menu for it, but rarely does it ever appear. So if you want to try it you will most likely have to make the recipe or come to my house? I remember that this dish was made for special occasions and picnics, but when my mother figured out that I really liked it she would make it more often. She mixes all of the ingredients up with her hand and now so do I. I’m convinced it tastes better that way.

This salad has many variations, but most popularly it is made with grated carrot. Kosambri has such a unique, tangy flavor, which comes from the combination of coconut, lemon, chili and seeds fried in oil. You can also add soaked moong or chana dals to it. I forgot to soak the hard lentils the night before I made it for my friend’s birthday picnic, but I will include the preparation with these dals in the recipe below.

This salad is so good for vegetarians not only because of the veggies, but because of the protein in the dals. I learned that the beta carotene in carrots is healthful in reducing the risk of cancer, but this recipe is actually doubly good because the nutrition in carrots is best absorbed when it is consumed with some oil. I had no idea how good kosambri was for me, but now I am really happy that I ate so much of it growing up. Thanks Mom and Aunties!”

1/8 cup yellow moong dal (optional) – soaked from night before
3 large carrots – shredded
1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded, chopped small
little plum tomato chopped
1 shallot – chopped small
handful fresh coconut
juice of half a lemon
cilantro chopped
salt to taste (I find that putting a good amount brings out the flavor well)
1-2 green chilis chopped (optional if you like it hotter)

Vaggarne (Oil mixture)
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
3 fresh curry leaves (or dried curry leaves)
1 dried red chilis – broken in two

Wash dals until the water is clear and soak overnight. Drain dals next day and place in bowl with carrots, cucumber, tomato and shallot.

In a little pan, fry oil with mustard seed and hing. When the mustard seed starts to spurt, add fresh or dry curry leaves and dried red chili. Stir for few seconds until coated with oil.

Pour this oil mixture over ingredients in bowl and mix.

Add lemon, coconut, cilantro and salt and mix well. Taste and if you want more more spice, add some chopped green chili (I use the small green chilis you find in the Indian store).

To find out more about Chef Chitra Agrawal visit her at her website The ABCD’s of Cooking!


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