Please Explain (The Leonard Lopate Show)

Please Explain (The Leonard Lopate Show)

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Please Explain, where Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue. History, science, politics, pop culture or anything that needs some explanation!More from Please Explain (The Leonard Lopate Show) »

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We've Got the Scoop on Ice Cream!

The summer is not over yet, and to prove it, we're talking all about ice cream! We'll look into the history of the beloved frozen treat, as well as the many variations on flavor, sweetness and texture that have developed over the years. We'll also find out how to make ice cream (with and without dairy) and the science behind the perfect scoop from Laura O'Neill, Co-Founder Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, based in Greenpoint, and Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder. They're the co-authors of the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream cookbook. Do you have questions about ice cream? Write in the comments section below, write to us on Twitter or Facebook, or call us at 212-433-9692. Recipes Roasted Banana Ice Cream (Reprinted with permission from Van Leeuwen's Artisan Ice Cream, published by Ecco Books, 2015.) Believe it or not, even people who say they don't like bananas love this ice cream—it tastes just like banana bread pudding. We roast the bananas with dark brown sugar and butter until they are golden and caramelized, and then we fold them into our ice cream base. The ice cream that comes out is elegant and luscious, rich with caramelized bananas, and is one of our favorite winter flavors to make. The roasting of the bananas gives the ice cream such a creamy, almost burnt-caramel flavor; we can't think of a better way to round out a Christmas dinner. MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART SPECIAL EQUIPMENT Immersion blender FOR THE ROASTED BANANAS 4 medium bananas, preferably somewhat speckled but not brown, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter 2 tablespoons (14 grams) dark brown sugar Pinch of kosher salt FOR THE ICE CREAM BASE 2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup whole milk 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt 6 large egg yolks 1. To make the roasted bananas, preheat the oven to 400˚F; position the rack in the middle. Line a shallow baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, toss the bananas, butter, sugar, and salt. Spread the ingredients on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until caramelized. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. 3. To make the roasted banana ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk in 1⁄2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar and the salt and stir until they have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising from the top. 4. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set another bowl over it. Set aside. 5. In a medium bowl, with a kitchen towel underneath it to prevent slipping, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (50 grams) sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot dairy mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the dairy mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you've added about half. Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and reducing the heat to medium-low as necessary, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and run your finger through the custard. If the trail left by your finger stays separated, the custard is ready to be cooled. 6. Strain the custard into the bowl sitting over the prepared ice bath and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the custard has cooled. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container and add the roasted bananas. Using an immersion blender, buzz the custard until emulsified. Cover the custard and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Satisfying Our Sweet Tooth

From white sugar and brown sugar, to raw sugar and sugar cane... Not to mention agave, simple syrup, and molasses, there's an abundance of options when it comes to choosing an agent that's going to make your desserts and drinks pop. But which are the best for what purpose... and which are the healthiest? Joining us to talk about all things sweet is Shauna Sever, author of three cookbooks, including Real Sweet:More Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars. We'll also find out how sugar and sweeteners affect our health with Rebecca Blake, a nutritionist, registered dietitian, and Administrative Director for Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Dim Sum: Dumplings & Buns that Make the Perfect Bite

From the cavernous Chinatown restaurants where carts of dumplings are wheeled around, waiting to be pointed to and picked up like an eager single teenager at the prom, to foie gras, flank steak and braised duck chins, dim sum is a changing force in Chinese cuisine in this country. Dim sum takes years to master, seconds to eat, and contains within its tapioca wrapper the history of waves of Cantonese immigration. Ed Schoenfeld, restaurateur, Chinese food aficionado and owner-operator of Red Farm, a Zagat top rated Chinese restaurant in New York, and a New York Times critics-pick.

Our Indispensable Guide to Buying Eggs!

Now that you're equipped with a variety of new egg recipes, today's Please Explain will answer all of your egg-buying questions! Omega-3, Free Range, Cage Free, Organic... What do these labels mean? Why do eggs come in different colors? Why don't you have to put farmers market eggs in the fridge? Here to answer all these questions and more is Cathy Erway, Serious Eats contributor and author of The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. She also blogs at Not Eating Out In New York and has a podcast called Eat Your Words on Heritage Radio. She wrote this article about egg labeling. We'll also be joined by Mary Carpenter, owner and operator of Violet Hill Farm in West Winfield, NY. She keeps poultry and supplies a wide variety of eggs to the Union Square and McCaren Park greenmarkets. Matt Kaplan, who works at the Violet Hill greenmarket stalls, will stop by our studio and bring some eggs for show and tell!

Finding Our Way: A Guide to Trails

This week's Please Explain is all about trails - from the ancient nomadic paths that travelers relied on for survival, to modern hiking trails that help us find our way in the wilderness. Robert Moor began writing his book, On Trails: An Exploration, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2009. He'll talk about animal trails (ants, buffaloes, elephants), long-lost Cherokee trails, and discuss the colonial origins of American hiking trails.

Collecting Data on Mass Shootings in the U.S.

With many people still trying to come to terms with the news from Orlando, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, the conversations around gun control, racial profiling, and police tactics, are front and center. But one element missing from these conversations is concrete data, largely because the federal government does not collect it. For this week's Please Explain, we are going to discuss the data behind the high profile shootings in the news: how it's being collected, and what it reveals. Jamiles Lartey, reporter for Guardian US will talk about their project, The Counted, which is tracking the number of people killed by law enforcement in 2015 and 2016. Ben Casselman, Senior Editor and Chief Economics Writer at 538, will discuss his site's series "Gun Deaths in America" which goes far broader and analyzes all gun deaths in the U.S.

How to Make Arguments... And Win!

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid an argument. That's why on today's Please Explain, we're learning how to make a convincing case with Stanley Fish, law professor and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His latest book, Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom, is a guide to using wit, observation, logic and rhetoric to win the toughest arguments, whether at the workplace or at home. Need to win an argument? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Diving into the Mysterious World of Dolphins

Dolphins have long been regarded for their remarkable intelligence and social skills. When the dolphin genome was first sequenced in 2011, scientists learned that the beloved aquatic mammals are even more like us than we previously thought. This week's Please Explain is all about dolphins, their remarkable intelligence and their relationship to humans, with journalist Susan Casey, author of Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins. She embarked on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of dolphins. Have questions about dolphins? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Weaving Together the Science and Social History of Hair

We're untangling the science and cultural history of hair on this week's Please Explain with a leading expert on the fascinating fiber, Kurt Stenn, the author of Hair: A Human History. He served for over 20 years as a Professor of Pathology and Dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine, in addition to working as the Director of Skin Biology at Johnson & Johnson where he helped found a biotech startup on hair follicle regeneration. He'll talk about the evolutionary history of hair, in addition to its role in art, fashion, cultural identity and even the economy. Do you have questions about hair? Ask us in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

The Psychology Behind Violence and Mass Shootings

After the shooting in Orlando, and mass shootings in the past, there is intense focus on mental illness, and questions of whether mental illness can be linked to mass shootings. On this week's Please Explain, David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner of 20 years, will discuss mental illness and emotional anxiety, and explain how certain stimuli can capture our attention, and even control our actions. Dr. Kessler's latest book is "Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering." He'll reveal how the psychological phenomenon of "capture" influences addiction, abuse, and can even lead to violence, like mass shootings.

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