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by Barbara Wilder Pearlman - Metro Chef, San Fernando Valley

Radicchio is a vegetable in the chicory family, and has been around since ancient times. It is widely cultivated in Italy, especially in the Veneto region near Venice, but it is also grown year round in California with peak season lasting from mid-winter through early spring. It’s rich in fiber as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium. It also contains intybin which stimulates the appetite and digestion as well as giving it a distinctive flavor. Radicchio can be eaten raw, simply with olive oil and salt, or grilled to mellow out its flavor. Often used in risotto, salad and pasta, the roots can be used to mix with coffee to give it a mild chicory flavor. It pairs well with balsamic vinegar and intensely flavored cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Asiago and Parmesan. It also works well with fruits and nuts such as apples, pears, walnuts and pecans.

Barbara Wilder Pearlman

Barbara is a metro chef in the San Fernando Valley

There are dozens of varieties of basil around the world and it is a key component in Italian, Vietnamese, Thai and many others cuisines.  Although basil is primarily associated with the classic pesto sauce, there are an infinite number of both sweet and savory uses for this herb.  In Italy, basil is known as a symbol of love, a fitting title for the many foods it partners with and the...

Asparagus comes from the Greek root word meaning sprout. It is native to the Mediterranean and was cultivated over 2,000 years ago.  There are many different varieties to choose from like white asparagus, violet –green asparagus, pencil thin asparagus and jumbo asparagus.  In China, asparagus is candied and eaten as a special treat, but it’s actually really easy to prepare and enjoy...

Mushrooms are quite different than a lot of the produce we eat, so they require a different set of cleaning and preparation techniques . A few basic tips to go by are ...