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October 16, 2019 38 mins

Host Michael Ruhlman speaks w/ Chef Michelle Bernstein & Historian Dr. Paul George about "Citrus."

Chef Bernstein's "Mojo" recipe: https://explorepartsunknown.com/miami/recipe-mojo/

Her new restaurant : https://www.cafelatrova.com

Dr. Paul George's tours: http://www.historymiami.org/

Michael Ruhlman's book "From Scratch" is out now! https://www.amazon.com/Scratch-Meals-Recipes-Dozens-Techniques/dp/1419732773

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Grapefruits, lemons, limes, and this place is so ideally suited
for you know, it's just amazing thing. I mean, it's
they just grow. You know, you're talking to somebody in
New York is like, my god, really yeah, but they
do they do. It is my finishing touch. It might
be the beginning to a lot of my food, but
it is the definitive end to every single thing that
I do. Welcome to from Scratch, a production of I

(00:26):
Heart Radio. I'm Michael Rohlman. I'm a writer. I've spent
the last twenty years in professional kitchens, writing about and
with the world's best chefs. The great thing about the
cooking life is that you never stop learning. In this show,
I want to go to the edges of what I
know and then go beyond together with you, with all chefs,

(00:47):
home cooks, and everyone who cares about food and cooking.
In each episode, we'll talk with one chef and one
non chef about the same theme. On today's episode, our
theme is citrus. What I about citrus is the flavor, bright, alive, dynamic.
It can be sweet, it's usually sour. One of your

(01:07):
greatest friends in the kitchen is a lemon. And line
the best citrus there is unless you're in Cuba, and
get your hands on some sour oranges for that sauce
for Smoky Pork. I love citrus, which is why we're
talking about it today. In my effort to discover more
about citrus, we'll be sitting down with a historian who's

(01:28):
made a career as Miami's resident storyteller. He'll help us
discover how citrus became synonymous with Florida and how the
growth of Florida's population might be a challenge for certain
citrus cultivation. But first, the great chef Michelle Bernstein. Michelle Bernstein, Chef, Mom, wife,
and uh Clean. Michelle's hometown of Miami has a booming

(01:51):
hospitality industry and many of the more luxurious hotels their
feature restaurants created in partnership with the world's most famous chefs.
But none of these high profile chefs have roots in
Miami as Michelle does. Michelle was born and raised in Miami,
she grew her career there, and now she has a
legendary status among Miamians. If you had to name one

(02:14):
great chef in Miami, Michelle's who you would name first?
Our producer Jonathan made his way to Miami to speak
with her, and before talking Citrus, we first wanted to
learn from Michelle about her unique position as a local
culinary expert and how her career as a chef began,
a career which happily wasn't derailed by an unpleasant experience

(02:34):
with a classic French dish and one of my favorites.
My first memory of cooking something I wanted to cook
was when I turned seven and I asked my mom
for my birthday as a gift. I wanted to learn
how to make escargo because I ate them in a
fancy French restaurant and I couldn't forget them. And of course,
at the time, I thought that it was all about

(02:56):
the snail. I didn't realize it was all about the garlic,
parsley butter. We made them together. She taught me how
to do it. I took over and I made them
three more times. I ingested probably about two and a
half dozen um a scargo, and I've never eaten them since.
Young Michelle did not dream of becoming a chef. She
was interested in science, especially chemistry. I decided to get

(03:19):
into professional kitchens to boost my knowledge of food because
I dreamt of being a nutritionist and a biochemist. I
studied um sciences, chemistries, nutrition in school. I was just
trying to figure out what branch of all of that
I wanted to be in. Nutrition took her attention, and

(03:40):
she began studying to become a dietitian, but it would
require that she spent many months in a hospital, an
assignment she didn't take too. I told my mom I
didn't know what to do, and I didn't think it
was for me. And oh my god, if I see
someone giving blood or taking blood or giving injections, I
think I'm gonna pass out. So she said, okay, let's

(04:00):
let's sit for a minute. Let's think about this. Well
part of nutrition, what part of sciences do you really love?
And I said, well, the chemistry of food. She said,
I have this crazy idea, why don't you just go
to a culinary school. It will boost your knowledge and
maybe when you finally become a nutritionist slash dietitian, you
actually know what you're talking about and you can talk
to people about recipes about food more properly. She said,

(04:20):
maybe one day you'll even write a book or beyond
television and so um, I took her advice. Her mom's
advice was sound. Chef Bernstein has won the Best Chef
award from the Beard Foundation, has been all over TV,
and I love her book Cuisine Latina. But to begin
her career in kitchens, she had to travel a tough road.

(04:42):
So I started cooking, and of course, you know, back then,
it was all boys, all the time, and it was
a very much a place to be. I was always
put in my place. Oh yeah, you think you know
about food just because your mother is a great cook. No,
that's not quite how it works here. You know, in
kitchens we pushed down and then we build up, right.
I never got to the build up part until a

(05:02):
few years later, but I was pushed down a lot.
And every question I would get from everybody I worked
with was, hey, Bernstein, you know that you're never going
to be a chef, right, This is not gonna this
is not gonna work out for you the way you expected.
And I would always look at them and say, but
I'm not here to be a chef. This is not
my stick, you know, I'm I'm here just to learn. Initially,
she didn't find it necessary to match the competitiveness of

(05:24):
the other cooks. I wasn't fighting, you know, I wasn't
competitive like they were. I wasn't competing to be the
best on the line or the best in the kitchen.
But that grew, and the fire grew within me, and
I wanted to start proving myself, and I wanted to
start showing the guys around me. I wanted acceptance from
the other cooks around me, and of course from the chefs,

(05:45):
and so I searched for that acceptance. And I worked
my tushy off, you know, and I come into work
three hours earlier than everyone else, I'd leave two hours
later than everyone else. And I was starting to build
not only my talent but also my confidence and so um. Finally,
after three years cooking in the same kitchen, I was

(06:07):
finally asked, what is it you really want? Because this
definitely is not it. You know, girls like you don't
become chefs. And I finally had the answer, Oh, yes
it is. Thanks to all of you, I found what
I want to do. Michelle is being generous here. The
kitchens in the early nineties were still testosterone stadiums. They
had free license to do things to fellow women cooks

(06:27):
that no longer flies or shouldn't. It's still out there,
but it's getting better. But if you were a woman
cook in the nineties, you had to be tough. You know.
They treated me really like how I mean, I don't
I don't want to go into you know what what
was done to me physically and mentally. But it built
the strength and the confidence that I have today. And

(06:49):
it was a turning point and I finally decided this
is what I want to do, and I found the love.
Of course, I always had love for food and cooking,
but even more so and I and I wanted to
do it even better and wanted to learn everything and
be great. One reason we wanted to hear from Michelle

(07:14):
is because of her expertise and using the ingredients which
surround her. She truly was meant to be a chef,
because this far into her career, she is still giddy
thinking about the Bounty of Miami. Honestly, it all excites me.
In my home, I growl. I've never heard of that fruit.
It resembles a small lime on the outside, but the

(07:34):
inside is bright orange like a mandarin. It's native to
the Philippines. It's used in Malaysian cuisine, and they do
well in Miami's subtropical climate. I grew up with a
calimancy tree at my house in Miami Shores from birth,
and squeezing a little bit of that, or making even
a calimancy aid or lemonade out of that is so

(07:56):
exciting to me. We grow plantains and bananas, and you
know when a banana is green, not a planting, but
banana's green. And you make a toastone out of that,
it's light and airy and has like tiniest touch of sweetness,
and then you put a little melted cheese or even
a piece of fish on top of that, and that

(08:16):
to me just drives me, you know. And and going
out and picking in January and February are strawberries. There's
nothing like a hot Florida strawberry. And if you're more
into heat than sweet, Michelle has a local delicacy for you.
We grow brown scotch bonnet peppers, which to me, you
don't see brown ones in the market. You've never seen
a brown one in the supermarket. It is a fire

(08:40):
like not a ghost chili, but it's a different It
has this acid to it. It's it's so complex and
so delicious, even if you don't like spicy food and
can't bear it, to use the skin of that in
a recipe, to totally change the chemistry of it and
the flavor and what it does and your mouth, there's
nothing like that in the world. And while these fantastic

(09:01):
ingredients have been steadily available since her childhood, Miami cuisine
has been in flux since Michelle got her start in kitchens.
Back when I started, which was in the nineties, all
the chefs and all my teachers were doing Caribbean food.
Caribbean food was what we considered Florida food to be. Yes,
of course it had as Latin touches, but we were

(09:22):
truly more Caribbean than anything you would find. Obviously, the
tropicals in almost every dish, which is funny because I
feel like the younger chefs today almost avoid them on
purpose so that they're not known um as these tropical
fruit chefs, you know, because almost it's almost you know,
a negative. It was a bit more spicy. We would

(09:42):
add a lot of Asian touches, we uh, they because
I stemmed from them. It wasn't really what I would do. Um.
They would add their Asian touches. They would add wherever,
whatever background they were more into the food and then
give it the what they called the Floribbean touches, which
is really funny. But you didn't really talk as much
about Latin. You know. I saw Mariel boat Lips come here.

(10:06):
I saw the change. I saw um us becoming more
I guess you could say Latin fied. Um. We didn't
have little Venezuela, little Buenos Aires back then, Um like
we do now. We have an enormous influx of Nicaragua
and Colombia. I mean in our Cuban restaurants today, if

(10:30):
you find one Cuban in the kitchen, I would give
you a hundred bucks because it does. It just doesn't
doesn't happen anymore. Um. You know, the Cubans that began
here have now gone domestic on us, you know, and
sadly the recipes are escaping their little by little, they're
becoming more I guess you could say Central americanized. Um,

(10:55):
we're losing that Cuban flavor, which is really a shame,
because the Cuban flavor, there's there's nothing I get, and
so it's almost like we're becoming one big mix of
Latin flavors, and it's almost hard to define what each
one is anymore. Maybe citrus is in part responsible for
that blending of traditional flavor profiles. Every cuisine in Miami

(11:17):
uses it and uses it plenty. Michelsee's citrus as a
unifying ingredient across dozens of cultures that are meeting and
coming together in her city. I find citrus to be
um the definitive ingredient across these cultures. Where would we
be without citrus in our savaches? Where would we be

(11:37):
without a sour orange or the combination of an orange
in a lime to make a sour orange on our
lech Where would we be without that slice of lime
when they served you a grilled piece of chicken with
caramelized onions on top of it. Where would I be
without tachin the Mexican chili with citrus acid in a
bottle that they put on the vegetables, the raw vegetables
in Mexico that I use to cry my chicken from

(12:01):
my rocomo. You know, where would we be without all
of the citrus? Our food would be dull? I hate
to say this, but I don't think it would have
the passion. It wouldn't sing on your tongue, and we
would be nowhere without it. I mean, it is the
reason why everything is so impactful here. Um. It is

(12:24):
my finishing touch. It might be the beginning to a
lot of my food, but it is the definitive end
to every single thing that I do. And she offered
a simple tip for home cooks to test the potency
of citrus with the most basic recipes. Take some pasta,
toss it in maybe a little bit. Think of your
simplest recipe. Right, let's say what the kids love a

(12:47):
little butter and cheese. Right, That's that's pretty much the
most basic. Add some lemons as to that and see
how your world. We'll just explode. Squeeze is a little
bit of either lime or lemon. Whenever you grab first
onto a sauteied piece of chicken or a filet of fish,

(13:10):
whether it's you know, depending on where you live, piece
of salmon, use the zest and use the juice. It
will brighten your whole week. Take a pork chop, cook
it however you like it, um, whether you like to
use dry spices on it, whatever it is, Take a
little sliver of orange and squeeze it right over the
top before you serve it. You won't believe the flavors

(13:32):
that will pop in your mouth. The great thing about
citrus is that not only can you taste a little
bit of the citrus, but you taste everything else so
much more, and it makes everything pal So if you
have a little garlic or a little spice, or a
little heat or whatever it might be, even an herb
like a parsley or cilantro or and a regano or basil,

(13:53):
even in something, if you squeeze a little tiny, just
a tiny zest or squeeze of citrus juice, you will
taste everything even more. So you're basically adding flavor of
all the ingredients you've already put in with that little
that little shake of zest, whether it's on a microplane
which is super easy, or a zester and um, just

(14:15):
use a little juice or it's insane. And then of
course cocktails, forget about it. You know, I even put
My latest go to drink is actually vermouth, and I
take either red or white vermouth, and I squeeze a
little lemon into it and I shake it with ice,
and it is one of the most fabulous cocktails. Ever
think about a sangria without citrus where we be, you know,

(14:36):
think about rum without a little orange slice on it.
So it's just like the icing on the cake. You
wouldn't eat cake without icing, right, So white anything without
a little bit of citrus on the top of it.

(15:00):
Michelle's home state of Florida is best known for one
specific fruit, oranges. The orange has been a major crop
in a central part of the Florida identity for many
generations and even today. Just have a look at their
license plate. And the way that oranges arrived in Florida
follows all the landmarks of ancient trade and how food

(15:22):
came from the Old world to the New. Orange trees
come to us from ancient China, and the first known
mentioned was in the third century a d. The popular
eighth century Chinese poet Do Fou noticed the majesty of
the orange tree when he wrote, two big gardens planted
with thousands of orange trees, there are thick leaves are

(15:43):
putting the clouds to shame. The orange tree was brought
to Europe, where it gained popularity among royalty, and then
of course it made its way to the New World
in all likelihood, citrus was introduced by the Spanish. That's
Dr Paul George right. I'm Hall George, Resident Historian History
Miami Museum in downtown Miami. Dr George is professor of

(16:05):
history at Miami Dade College, has authored fifteen books on
various topics and leads many historical tours around the Miami area.
The Spanish settled St. August Team, which has been a
large sort of Indian Native American center for the Tamuca
and Indians. They settled in there in fifteen sixty five
and within a matter of twenty or so years there
was an enslaved population already there at the Spanish brought

(16:28):
in and that was also the center, and there's references
to it and some of the old early documents on
it of citrus. They started cultivating oranges as time went on,
as the centuries went on, and Florida went from Spanish
to British briefly for twenty years, back to Spanish, then
to an American possession in the citrus industry continue to

(16:50):
move south as more and more of the area of
what we call the Peninsula Florida was developed south. But
also because of climate, it's warm as you move south.
As you know, It's been said the history of Florida
can be marked by freezes. There are even several towns
in Florida that have been named in a spirit of
optimism against winter conditions, like frost Proof and winter Haven.

(17:12):
Those are actual towns, But for orange trees, the air
temperature is a matter of life and death. If the
air stays below twenty eight degrees for more than a
few hours, the juice inside of the orange freezes and
the orange is destroyed. If a freeze is deep and prolonged,
affected branches of the tree need to be amputated, which

(17:32):
in some cases can lead to fatal infections of the
host tree. By the late nineteenth century, there were two
horrendous friezes in Florida that just destroyed these citrus crops,
namely oranges, but also gray fruits, limes, lemons as far
south of today's Palm Beach County. The smart wisdom was,
we need to keep moving these crops south. This continuous

(17:54):
need to avoid freezing temperatures even helped drive the growth
of the city of Miami. Henry Flagger, the great railroad entrepreneur,
this great oil man. He understood that that Miami had
been spared that and that's one reason why one of
the reasons why he moved his railroad down to the
Miami River. Also built with today would be a five
star hotel. I picked up a lot of farm land,

(18:14):
began to sell off farmland because he thought it was
impermeable of the freezes. So it was a year round
place to grow crops, among other things. So that had
a big part to do with it. I think eventually
citrus growers developed successful methods to fight off the cold,
especially after the Second World War. Large scale farming that
we are most familiar with today really is more of

(18:36):
a post World War two phenomenon down there, because of technology,
because of financial assets. I'd like to pause here for
a moment and offer a quick citation. Will link to
it in the show notes. There's a two part article
called Oranges by the writer John McPhee published in The
New Yorker in ninety six and published later as a book.

(18:57):
It paints a vivid picture of the post war World
War Two era of citrus cultivation in central and South Florida.
McPhee spent weeks with grove owners, farmers, managers, and workers
learning the ins and outs of the industry, and one
of the most interesting things he found was how orange
growers dealt with the freezing temperatures. For starters, a frost

(19:20):
Warning service was created, which successfully predicted several major freezes
during the twentieth century. They issued warnings from which the
farmers would spring into action with reserve workforces that doubled
their ranks. Mostly this emergency workforce would be lighting fires. Dr.
George explained one of freeze was coming or buring down

(19:40):
the area. They had these heaters, their fuel powered heaters
to keep the trees from freezing. You know, it was
a fire as it were contained within sort of like
a box with a screen on it. And that was
the way it went all the way into modern times.
You needed to keep those places heated up. The farmers
would burn anything they could to keep their crops warm,
orm including oil or old car tires. They even employed

(20:04):
large industrial fans which mixed warmer air with the cold.
After some practice, the orange industry learned to handle the friezes.
Along the way, they also held off other smaller enemies
like insects and the diseases they carry. To protect the
trees from pests, gas mask wearing workers would strategically spray
pesticides and other chemical agents, and for the rest of

(20:27):
the twentieth century, the growers successfully defended their crops. They
got so good at cultivating oranges that residents in Florida
would send oranges as gifts to show off how much
better their weather was. You almost wanted to tantalize your
folks back in Philadelphia, New York. You know, it was
cold up there, and you would ship them back a
creative orange just to kind of rub it in that. Hey,

(20:48):
you guys in the wrong place. There were all sorts
of tourists um stops along road where you could pay
a certain amount of money and they would do the
shipping for you. But that goes back to probably the twenties.
But if you look into the success of oranges in
Florida now in two thousand nineteen, you'll find that Florida
oranges are in crisis. Just last year I read a

(21:09):
wonderful article by Wyatt Williams called After Oranges, which was
published in the Oxford American. Williams peace followed in the
footsteps of mcfee's story from sixty six, and the changes
that he found were astonishing. For starters. Williams learned that
the Florida citrus industry produced two hundred fifty million boxes
of fruit in two thousand ten, but only seventy million

(21:32):
in two thousand sixteen. That's a loss of about two
thirds of their output. And according to Ben Hill Griffin,
the third of the Griffin citrus growing family, the cost
of production has nearly tripled from eight hundred fifty dollars
an acre to undred dollars per acre. One factor in
this declining output has surely been housing development. When I

(21:54):
was a kid growing up in mid century sixties, what
have you I remember the start of every baseball season
because I could spell the blossoms in this neighborhood. I
haven't smelled one in thirty years. Probably, you know because
of development. They've been taken down. There's hardly any empty
lots here. We're now the third largest state in terms
of population, going on twenty one million people. Uh. We
can see in the greater Miami area what's happened. That's

(22:15):
so much of that farmland now or subdivisions. And these
have been the last two booms, the one that started
about two thousand and two and the one that started
about two thousand and twelve have just eradicated a lot
of farmland, but there's been other reasons to A disease
has been a reason. There's one killer that has citrus
growers in a panic more than housing development. Ever, this
deep decline and output is linked to one tiny enemy

(22:36):
that the industry never saw coming. It's an insect called
Asian citrus sylid, which spreads the disease called huang long
bing where HLB. Citrus farmers called HLB by the name
Greening because of the effects that the disease has on
the color of the leaves. They turned from deep forest
green to a lighter green. Affected trees developed lopsided fruit,

(23:00):
and the juice turned sour. The trees eventually lose many
of their leaves and suffer a slow decline. Farmers who
find trees with HLB kill them off in massive fire
pits to try and protect the rest of their crops.
No one knows exactly how the insect made its way
from Asia to Florida, but its arrival and devastation began

(23:20):
in two thousand five after a quick series of historically
large hurricanes spread warm air and water. Now every major
crop farmer in Florida has had to change his or
her practices to try to stanch this new enemy. The
industry has donated millions of dollars to a research center
at the University of Florida called the Institute of Food

(23:43):
and Agricultural Sciences or i f a S. The institute
is serving as the de facto war room in the
battle against greening. Along with issuing warnings and reports, the
i f a S is testing and developing many potential solutions,
including and ethically modified orange trees, which have been developed
without the gene that's affected by the disease, but as

(24:06):
of now, no cure is in sight. In just over
a decade, thousands of citrus industry jobs have been lost,
and vacant groves and packing facilities can be seen around
towns and farmland all around South Florida. And while the
Florida orange industry might be rightly worried about extinction, citrus
fruits aren't yet in danger of being totally wiped out.

(24:29):
Citrus can still grow really well in many places, including
Dr George's yard in Miami fruits, lemons, limes, and this
place is so ideally suited for it, you know, it's
just amazing. We had a I grew up here. My
mom had in the back of Klamandan tree, which is
a citrus. She had a lime tree in the back.
My wife has cultivated different citrus crops here too. It's

(24:51):
just been amazing. I mean, it's they just grow. You know,
it's great. You know, you're talking to somebody in New York.
It's like, my god, really, yeah, but they do, they do.
And interest used among cooks in the US has never
been a highly localized phenomenon. If you're using oranges or
grapefruit and you're cooking and don't live in Florida or California,
they're probably not locally grown. And that's fine. Citrus, of course,

(25:13):
is growing successfully in many parts of the world Brazil, China, Mexico, India,
Iran and more. We're not going to run out of
citrus anytime soon, thank God. When we come back, Chef
Bernstein cooks a very special recipe which can help us
cherish the pleasures of cooking and citrus no matter where
in the world we are. Chef Bernstein generously agreed to

(25:53):
record a recipe demo for us from her home kitchen
in Miami, and what she teaches us to make is
a rest be that's easy enough to memorize and versatile
enough to spawn a hundred variations. It's mohoe deaho. So
what's cool about moho the aho is that, and I
don't know how to say in English, Basically, mohoe the

(26:13):
aho a garlic moho um is great not only as
a marinade, but also as a topping, as a sauce,
as a nigrette. There's lots of different ways to the
mohorea hoo, but mine is to add as many different
flavors of citrus as possible under stove or two small

(26:34):
saute pans on our right front burner. So right now,
all I'm doing is taking a piece of fish to
show you, um, one of the hundreds of things that
you could put with moho the apple. So this is
a yellow tail snapper, locally caught. Um, it's just a filet,

(26:59):
pretty small. I would say that this is maybe about
a four to five file And in the other pan
on the left, so I'm gonna start them all. So
I'm not too into cooking with really great quality olive oil.
To me, great quality olive oil should be like a topping. Um,

(27:22):
So I use a good extra vision olive oil for this,
but nothing too fancy, because it's a shame it with
the nature as a key. So I had a little
bit of olive oil, and olive oil is the base
of the sauce. So she recommends using a half cup
of oil, and we'll link to her rescipe in the
show notes for more details like that. If you think

(27:43):
it looks too oily, that's not a bad thing. You
can always um use as you wish with a spoon,
just take out the good bits of it. Um. But
you need a nice amount of olive oil to scaute
your garlic properly. Um. Some people do a mohold a
hole with raw garlic, but to me, there's nothing like
doing it with toasty caramelized garlic because, let's face it,

(28:05):
it changes the whole um dimension of this flavor for
the garlic. Slice it as thinly as you can. This
will increase the surface area of the garlic, allowing it
to cook quickly and distribute its flavor more evenly. So
this can be made um as I'm making this with

(28:26):
yellowhal snapper. If you make this at home, U you
can use everything anything. Um. A piece of pork a
piece of chicken, a steak, a filet, salmon, um, shrimp, actually,
oh during shrimp in the mojaveho would be delicious, you
name it. There's really no limit tofu vegetables whatever you like. Alright,

(28:52):
so that fish is basically just gonna finish cooking. I'm
gonna shut it off because there's nothing worse than over
cooking fish. Especially as a Florida person, I should know
how to cook a fish properly. But this goes for
any protein you want to use with mohodaho. Just prepare
it simply because the beautiful sauce will do the singing. Also,
before you start cooking on the stove, you'll want to
take some time to prep your ingredients. Slice segments of

(29:15):
your citrus fruits and have your herbs close by. If
you're squeezing by hand, cut your limes in thirds to
avoid the thick core. This gives you more juice and
beautiful looking lime wages. So here we go. Um, I
have some pink ripe fruit, a little bit of mandarin,

(29:36):
some limes, regular oranges. It doesn't matter what kind of
citterests you get, as long as you have citrus. So
I have this very thinly sliced garlic. That's the first
thing that goes in. I want to shake that around
a little bit, use a spoon or a hand up

(29:58):
to you, and as soon as it turns golden, you
actually shut the heat off and you get a waft
of this deliciously caramelizing garlic. Now I want you to
listen here. Michelle isn't measuring anything. All she's doing is
sauteing slice garlic and plenty of olive oil, paying attention

(30:20):
to color and smell than adding the rest of the
ingredients carefully because the oil is super hot and stays
that way. All right, I'm gonna season the garlic a
nice amount of salt. This really takes a good amount
of salt because of all the citrus that we're going
to add in a little hit of pepper. And it's
up to you if you want to make it spicy.
If you want to make it spicy, go ahead and

(30:43):
throw in. I have here some very thinly sliced hallo
penios that we actually used a mandolin to slice um.
And then you begin the fun the citrus. So I'm
gonna take the first thing is lime because to me,
line it is the most important part of moharreaha or

(31:04):
a salur orange. So I follow up the line with
a piece of any type of an orange colored citrus.
Somebody just cut that in half, add that in, pick
it up, and again my heat is off. It sounds

(31:25):
like it's on, but it's off, so that nothing caramelizes
too much anymore in the pan. Then if you want
to add, I'm adding a little bit of m segmented
or sections from a grapefruit if you have one around. Um.
It adds color and a little bit of bitterness, which
I love. But if you're not into the bitterness, then
add segments or sections of an orange or a mandarin

(31:49):
and add that in like that, and then it's basically done.
If you want to get a little fancy, you and
add a little bit of cilantro um and I would
basically just take a knife and you don't have to
be perfect with it. Um. I just kind of grab it,

(32:11):
roll it around, and chop a couple of slices from it,
nice and thin. You can even pick the leaves if
you wanted to. Like I said, it doesn't really matter.
This is rustic food at its finest, especially rusty Latin foods.
Take whatever it is you're cooking. I'm taking my snapper,
which is really nice and juicy. Um, put it in

(32:33):
the middle of the plate, and then you can either
pour that moholajo right on or you can spoon it on.
Totally up to you. I'm gonna throw that cilantro into
the moho, stired around a little bit, and then take
a big old spoon and try to get every little
piece of that citrus and the citrus juices and the

(32:56):
garlic and the oil, and and spoon that right over
that piece of fit. So that basically what you have
is the fishes secondary right. The mohoa is everything. It's
just this warm vinigrette with these bright colors from the citrus. Uh.
The oil around it is glistening and um, it's like

(33:18):
salty and tart. It has a little bit of heat
from the hotpano, which again you don't have to use,
but it's fun. And if you only have dried chilies,
those work two um, and it just pops it right.
It brings out all the freshness and whatever it is
you're cooking, and it just gives so much flavor, so slimply,
and it's actually pretty healthy too. With an olive oil

(33:40):
based like this and all the citrus. It's it's good
for you, and it pretty good to look at. That's
all there is to it. One beautiful thing about Mohoe
Daho is that it could be prepared quickly without a recipe.
It's almost like a genre of sauce. It can be
improvised in countless ways. Try it with a pork up,

(34:00):
Try it over rice, Try it cooled down as a
salad dressing. As Michelle says, it'll brighten your whole week.
When we explained our show's mission to Bernstein, she immediately
connected with and I want to close the show with
her words of wisdom. After she finishes, go get some

(34:23):
food and cook. So I know it's scary to start
cooking if you've never been taught to cook. However, think
about it like this. It's almost scarier to know that
you're putting your health, not only yours, but also your
family's health and your hard earned cash into how everybody

(34:46):
or anybody else will cook every single day. So rather
than doing that, a gift to yourself we give to
your family would be just try it. Try always, try
to start. Plea, it's amazing what taking a let's let's
use the most basic of foods. Right, Let's take a

(35:06):
piece of chicken, and let's take one that I don't
even like. Let's take a breast of chicken. Okay, let's
take a little mallet and slightly pound up that chicken.
Let's add I don't know the most basic of ingredients,
like salt and pepper. Let's throw in that lemon zest
in there, maybe a piece of garlic. Okay, you don't
even have to cut it perfectly. And let's take a

(35:28):
little bit of olive oil. Heat that pan up at
medium and saute that chicken breast just until it's nice
and golden on both sides. Because you flatten it a little.
You don't have to even go in the oven. Now,
turn that pan down to low. Squeeze a lemon in there,
or an orange or both. Throw in a little bit
of very roughly chopped herb, whatever smells good to you.

(35:50):
It doesn't even matter. It doesn't have to be finely chopped.
Put that on a bed of white rice or brown
rice or keenoir whatever. Turn as you want, even just
maybe some chopped up avocado or even a cucumber if
you don't feel like cooking anything else. And taste that
and feel what it feels like to have empowerment and

(36:14):
ownership over what you've made. First of all, you're gonna
feel like a million bucks because you've done something for
yourself and for your family. You're gonna feel like, holy smokes,
is it that easy to make something this delicious and
this healthy? And you're just gonna be proud, you know,
even I after twenty oh my goodness, twenty something years
of cooking, I'll roasted chicken and I'll put it down

(36:36):
in front of my family and maybe a baked potato
and watch them eat it. And I can't even begin
to tell you how good you feel, how proud you
feel as a parent, as a wife, as a husband. Um,
just being immersive, right, and you make that something that

(36:58):
you do as a family together, and when you sit
down and eat together as a family, it's amazing all
the things that can come out, all the beauty that
can come up, and and how thankful everyone really feels
at the end of it. Uh. And then scoop yourself
some vanilla ice cream and uh and just commend yourself
on how could you feel about what you've done? Special

(37:25):
thanks to Michelle Bernstein for The Snapper and Moho Daho.
If you're in Miami and lucky enough to get a reservation,
go check out her new restaurant, Cafe La Trova in
Little Havana. Thanks also to Dr Paul George. You can
find his extensive tours through his website History Miami dot org.

(37:46):
From Scratches produced by Jonathan Dressler. Our executive producer is
Christopher Hasiotis are supervising producer is Gabrielle Collins. All of
the music is by Ryan Scott off his album A
Freak Rose in Brooklyn. Also, I've got a new book
out called From Scratch, about ten staple meals and all

(38:07):
they can teach you about cooking. We'll have a link
in the show notes, or go to Amazon or any
independent bookseller. From Scratch is a production of I Heart Radio.
For more podcasts from I Heart Radio, visit the I
heart Radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you listen to

(38:31):
your favorite shows.
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