Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
And alas, we are told not to buy the endangered Anguilla anguilla, close relative of Magilla gorilla, which some people, like our friend Janet, live in mortal fear of. Along with dangling prepositions. Is it anything dangling perhaps, asks Dr. Freud? Sometimes a pipe is just an... eel.
Friday, December 17, 2010
If you perchance peruse historic goose recipes, going much further back than Dickens’ roast goose served on the Cratchit’s Christmas table, you will find a panoply of intriguing techniques. There is goose baked whole in a pastry crust in 16th century Italy, goose stuffed with oats and boiled, geese semi-roasted, slashed and finished on the grill in what was known as a carbonado in Restoration England, goose ragouts and others served in a staggering variety of sauces. But one in particular caught my attention. It hails from Le Cuisiner of Pierre de Lune, published in 1656, and involves salted cured goose, served in a “pottage” of puréed peas. Here is the recipe, translated from the original:
If the goose is salted, do not lard it; if it is not, then lard it with bacon; then cook it in a pan with lard, and then cook through with bouillon, and a bundle (of herbs). Cook your peas separately and pass through a seive with the goose bouillon, parsley, a bit of pepper, and a morsel of green citron. Garnish with fried bread and little bits of crumbled bacon.
To help recreate this dish, here is a full description of the technique: Carefully remove each half of the breast from the goose with a sharp boning knife. Keep the skin attached. Remove the legs and thighs intact for another use, such as confit. Use the bones and giblets for a light stock, which you can freeze for use later in the recipe. (Reserve the liver for yourself, seared and served on crackers.)
Mix 2 tablespoons of fine sea salt with 1.5 tablespoons of unrefined sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of instacure #1 (or “pink salt” which can be bought on line or at specialty grocers, or celery powder cure which works fine), 1 tablespoon ground pepper and a tablespoon of crushed juniper berries. Liberally coat the breasts, put into a large gallon-size ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator for a week to ten days. Turn the bag over every day.
Remove the breasts from the fridge, rinse off and pat dry. Brown them gently in a pan with a 2 tablespoons of melted lard (or goose fat). Toss in a bouquet garnis tied with string. Pour over goose stock to cover half way and cook breasts through very gently, with the pan covered, about 15-20 minutes. The final texture and taste will be remarkably like cooked ham.
Meanwhile boil a pound of green or yellow split peas in the bouillon with some parsley, pepper and candied green citron. Pass through a seive or purée in a blender or food processor. To serve, put the peas, which should be fairly thick, in a large deep platter and lay the goose breasts, thinly sliced, on top. Scatter croutons and bits of crumbled bacon on top for garnish. Serves 4-6 people.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
And Check out www.good.is/post/why-fast-food-is-not-saving-you-time-nor-doing-you-other-favors/ Very nice review of the cookbook.
And yet another in teh Chicago Tribune www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/sc-food-1015-real-cooking-20101018,0,3746979.story
Friday, October 8, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday I spent the whole damned day in front of the smoker. Which would have been nothing terribly out of the ordinary, but I had a strange feeling that I was channeling a past life. Seriously. Not a New Age Mystical intuition, but an odd ability to live in the bodies and minds of people who lived many years ago. I was a Baptist preacher, I'm guessing in the 17th century. Trust me, I can rant. Hence the name of this blog. But sometimes I wonder how a Brooklyn born Jewish boy came to be sitting in front of a smoking kettle, sipping his own moonshine, chewing on a plug of baccy. Listening to bluegrass.
Smoking everything I could get my hands on. So I am actually myself smoked. Unpictured are the pork shoulder which was simply roasted in wet smoke after all this was done. 6 hours maybe. Ate last night at Lisa's. OH, and a little eel. He's hard as a rock now and hanging in the wine fridge. No idea what to do with him. But see the beef jerky. Top sirloin. Round does not work as well. Then a pancetta. Cured and smoked. It's really just a rolled pork belly though. Went into a broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and chili peppers. Swear I nearly fainted.
And best of all a little tongue. It's got to be a calf, much smaller than any I've seen before. Bought at the Asian grocery for a few bucks. Fresh. Cured for a week, then smoked over oak. Next steamed for several hours and peeled and sliced thin. I'm guessing.
You are coming over aren't you?
The sink is now unclogged after I made a rash decision to chuck some wayward brussels sprouts into the garbage disposal. We shall not do anything of the kind again. But now we are ready to go.
There are pickles in the cabinet going, fresh salame in the wine fridge. I am gearing up for a party of some kind folks. Let me know you'll be around.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
ALSO, just in today, a very nice review on culinate (that really sounds like a dirty verb to me) nonetheless:
and another on www.thegastronomersbookshelf.com/8177_the-lost-art-of-real-cooking-ken-albala-2010-us
BTW, the effect of these was immediate. Sunday afternoon the book is #496 on amazon. Only behind Pollan in this category. THANKS LYNNE! And Kind Reviewers.
nope make that #398 as of 5:30
Friday, September 24, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
This happened mostly because I went to visit the operation of a friend who breeds melons. Yes, I mean breeds. DID you know that each individual flower must be hand pollinated - you must manually faciliatate sex with melons? It was dizzying.
Out in the field she cut a big box full of melons for me last Wednesday and I have been eating melon, a LOT, ever since. Then today it occured to me. AH, a melong drink. Bought some rum, and someone broke my blender. Will be no mango daquairis today.
So here's the recipe. YES, I will do it. In the standard recipe format, lest someone accuse me of never writing recipes. OK?
1 large lemon, juiced
1 small lime, juiced
1 tablespoon sugar, preferably white, but organic raw fair trade sustainable demerara mayy be subsititued
1 knob ginger*
1 green fleshed melon, the best you can possibly imagine. These were netted skinned cataloupes and kind of honeydew that makes you faint with pleasure. Firm but sweet. Oh, sorry. Back to stilted recipe format.
Yo ho ho. (i.e. a bottle of rum) If you can afford no better, use Bacardi, unless you're snob.
Mix the first 3 ingredients. Stir well, in a counter-clockwise motion, twelve times. Grate the fourth ingredient into the palm of your meticulously sanitized hand and squeeze the juice into the citrus mixture. That's ginger juice. Cut the best part of the melon into chunks. Without the seeds. Preferably the interior, the outer rind is relatively flavorless. But do save the rinds and squeeze them into your citrus-ginger juice. You will be amazed at how much melon juice somes out. A cup at least.
Mix all the previous ingredients with the final ingredient. Exactly 3.4 ounces. Any deviation will result in poisoning an immediate asphyxiation and painful death.
Actually add a shot, or two. I may have added three. Put some melon chunks, a handful of ice cubes (which as always was not mentioned in the original list of ingredients because anything to do with water is not an ingredient) and all the rest in a nice big wine glass. Makes two drinks.
* ginger is a root that can be bought in most Asian groceries and some other stores.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
But what strange delight upon my return to find oddments left behind. What was I thinking?? What is this anyway? There were pickles agog. Bubbling tubs of unidenifyable vegetation. Why didn't I write anything down?
Well, as it turns out, here were two bizarre experiments that I suppose I didn't expect to work, but did. The first is a sausage not in a casing but in parchment. Lamb, spices, hunks of fat. It dried out quite a bit, but thinly sliced is quite fetching. I expect not that different from the same mixture in a sausage casing.
Then this mess. Would you believe a short cut hash? One pound of stew meat chopped finely and thrown into a ziplock with the cure, in the fridge of course. Two weeks. I honestly forgot about it entirely. It emerged sweet smelling. So I tossed it in a pan. See how it stayed red? Added herbs and a little mustard powder. And a really lovely hash. I'd throw it in eggs, or with some potatoes and onions. Maybe even a steamed bun. Very lean and crumbly, but definitely the taste of corned beast without the hassle. Try it, you'll like it.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I pass no comment on the throngs of barbarous unwashed Stocktonian masses who descended upon the mess I set forth. But I must share some images with you.
S. Margot tells me I should shut off the flash and strive for subtlety and I think she may be right. Please do give me feedback. I'm still new at the food photography thing.
The first is a bacterially fermented assemblage of tiny cukes (cut up afterward), peppers and cibollata onions. It worked because we had a serious cold spell for several weeks,
And here's that bungy salami. Toscano Piccante, right? Spiked with chili pepper, otherwise not much different form the smaller one, but bigger, dried less, with a pronounced sourness that somehow is really fetching. I have a feeling I am seriously getting the knack of this.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Sorry for my absence, I've been in England this past week, great symposium in Oxford. And side trip to Cotswolds and Cornwall.
My blog on goose is on the Penguin Website this week as a guest. If you're turned on, come to the book launch in San Francisco at 18 Reasons this Thursday, when these geese among other things will be there to taste.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
It must be because we have been demoted from the country's "Most Miserable City" to number two. I'm sure by some criteria, it may be true, but my Stockfish was in lovely form today. A sunny 80 degrees. A delightful little olive oil festival with local producers - I must have tasted a good pint and bought a little olive tree. Then Earth Day in the park across from my house. The Bad Goods rocked, great food songs too. And the market was small but right on. Fava beans already! And WHO has ever seen green almonds in a farmer's market?? Crunchy, slightly lemony and sweet. Is there something else one can do with them? A buck a pound!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Ok, I just couldn't wait to post this. I think an edited down version will eventually go on You Tube and be used for book publicity, but right now here's me making sausages by hand in my kitchen with no equipment. About 20 minutes long. Shot by our own Chris Martin. Take a look at the clips on his site too, they're fabulous. www.chrismatica.com
Notice in the back Sadie playing dead, and the jingling noise which is Buster at my feet.
Hope you enjoy.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Then Deana tells me of a place to buy ambergris in New Zealand. I am on it! 80 bucks for a couple of ounces??? All in the name of research. Bartolomeo Stefani calls.
Someone else - oh it was Hugh Plat!! 17th century, tells me about gum tragacanth. It was partly seeing Ivan Day's lovely sugar sculpture at the MET, but I had to have it. And I will try to throw it on the wheel. Why not?? Real edible sugar plates. Or molded if the wheel doesn't work.
But most importantly, is a movie, shot last week by Don Christobal, featuring me making sausages all by hand with no equipment. I'll give you a link here when it's edited, right now an hour's work boiled down to 20 minutes of documentary, but I think it needs to be more like 15 or 12.
In the meantime, here is today's diversion, as Eddie would say, my going all medieval. Meaning rampant excess with spicerei. Eminemently fitting as I happened to be talking about it in history of medicine class on Friday and in Tudor and Stuart England. Both now in the mid 16th century by chance. So here you see coriander, cardamom (green and brown), long pepper, star anise (which I don't think is authentic but I'm out of aniseed) mustard seed, grains of paradise, nutmeg (still in the shell with the mace) juniper and cinnamon. I had a very hard time resisting the chili peppers - but definitely not appropriate.
Spices were toasted, coarsely crushed and then set aside. Then a mix of salt I smoked over oak (this is a completely random experiment) (3 tbs) with pink curing salt (1 tsp) some muscovado sugar (2tbs) all rubbed on a 4 pound piece of really fatty brisket. Then the riot of spices. All in a big plastic bag, which would can see here. Weighted and thrown in the fridge. Though really I should put it in a barrel in the basement. Well, in about a month, I'll take a look at it. YES, preserved, not just flavored. I'll take it out and steam it for several hours. Maybe it will be a really agressively spiced pastrami with the smoking step skipped, but not using liquid smoke or anything like that. We'll see.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
About a month ago I saw some pork shoulder for sale. Country ribs, for about 5 bucks I got maybe 5 pounds. And on a whim wondered what would happen if I cured them the way one does corned beef. Lots of pepper, coriander, bay, juniper, pink salt, maple sugar. Sounding good huh? Into a ziplock and into the fridge. Then I forgot about it. I mean, the whole point of curing is not to use it after a week, but preserve it, right?
The first shot was a few nubbins poached for about 2 hours with shallots and celery. Gorgeously juicy and spicy. With my sauerkraut, scorched asparagus and a baked potato.
Then things went a little over the top. Why not shreds of meat, sauerkraut, gruyere mustard seeds on a pizza crust? Much the same as a Reuben. Absolutely delicious.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Chinatown, which is nothing like San Francisco's, seems to have been expanding since I lived in NY. Still very little to offer tourists. But the shops teeming with live fish, bizarre vegetables, bins of dried mushrooms, scallops and other unidentified medicinals, remain unchanged. Thankfully! The highlight is Ten Ren's Tea Shop. The King's Tea is among the most wondrous and weird things I have ever consumed. It enhances all other flavors, intensely so. I can still taste the potful I had this morning. I have no idea what's in it and I'm surprised the foodies haven't identified it as a miracle tea, 7th flavor, or something like that. (I just figured out, it's flavored with ginseng!)
Then there was The Pilgrimage. Despite what I have written on this very blog, Langers in L.A. does not even come vaguely close to Katz's. I can not even imagine what made me suspect so. 15 years without the real thing, no doubt. The place was packed, but service excellent. The pastrami literally made me swoon. The owner and I kfetched about David Sax's book Save the Deli. I liked the book a lot. But written by a guy from Toronto?
Dinner at Otto was as expected fabulous. Mario does do a mean pizza. And though the place was crammed to the gills, it was exquisite. My genes notwithstanding, my soul is, I admit, Italian. SO, does anyone remember Stuff Yer Face on Rt. 18 near New Brunswick? Where Mario started.
There were other forays, to the Upper West Side and Zabar's. Kaluystan's in the 20's for spices (all available on line now, but still) even a mad dash across the Brooklyn Bridge to Atlantic Avenue for the Lebanese shops.
The irony of the whole trip is the last night I thought I'd treat myself to a proper meal, at the uber-hip hotel at which I was put up. And I got what must have been food poisoning. If you don't mind such things, Faustina was very tasty. The aftermath I do not recommend.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Is this not a heart-warming shot? Cheese 7 months old and cheese 7 hours old. There is another significant difference. I was telling someone recently that it's really hard to make cheese using traditional methods if you're using pasteurized milk. Apart from the ultimate flavor, and need for bacterial funk, there's something wrong with the texture and the process sometimes doesn't work right. Yesterday I set out to prove myself wrong. There was another reason too: using raw milk at 9 dollars a half gallon, the cheese on the top was 36 dollars plus labor. Regular supermarket whole milk and a little butter milk as starter, with the bottom one, about 8 bucks. I also did it on the stove top rather than the very gentle water bath. And you know what? I have never had the process go smoother.
I did have to follow my own directions, and aghast, I found an infelicitous turn of phrase that I think I missed in the proofreading. But this was easier and nothing scorched or overheated as I feared it might. Now I have no idea what this will be like flavor-wise, the proof of this cheese will be in the eating.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I have never been an avid maker of jam. Or I should say my habit of winging it has resulted in a lot of runny flops. Or worse, so many jars that I couldn't give them away - the year I made concord grape jelly from a huge stockpot full of fruit. And then there's the whole canning jar business, pain in the neck.
But this time it was as if the fruit and I were meant for each other. I have to admit I have never set eyes on a Bergamot orange. I was in San Francisco and went to visit Rachel and her new husband and we all made a brief foray to Bi-Rite and there they were, like little round unassuming lemons. But the aroma, indeed Earl Grey. Heady.
So armed with nothing but a knife, a peeler and a pot, I peeled two specimens and julienned the strips finely. Then removed all the white pith and chopped the flesh, tiny pits and all. (The source of pectin, I think.) Then added about 4 or 5 tablespoons of sugar. This is to taste, and I like it bitter. Some water. Cooked it for about half an hour or a bit longer on high heat. When it was thick, poured it into a glass. Simple enough. On toasted ciabbata, a bit of butter from Isigny, a sprinkle of Spanish sea salt, and a good dollop of this marmalade, utterly magnificent.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Moving rapidly from Uganda to Ecuador, as you can imagine, boggles the mind. At least they're both on the equator. In any case, I ended up writing the encyclopedia article for an author who flaked on me. A lot of fun, but of course it's postponed editing the monster (Food Cultures of the World). But look at what happens. This is a chupe de pescado, and I don't know honestly if the etymology is related to cioppino, but they are similar.
This one starts with a mixture of onions, celery, green bell pepper. So far sounds like a soffrito. Annato for color. Some tomatoes, water. Bay leaves and oregano. Hominy stood in for proper Ecuadorean choclo, then carrots, parsnip (yuca would have been better) a cut up potato, yellow squash, cabbage, and I guess any fish will do. I had crab meat and some shrimp. A raw egg could go in, and even crumbled white cheese. But I went for simplicity and a squeeze of lime. Touch of chili. I am about to eat the leftovers now for dinner. Can not wait!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The fates decreed, not I, that the article on Uganda for my monster Encylopedia would be written by me. Not the first time I have written something about which I know nothing. Luckily I had a friend of a friend, Roger Serunyigo, tell me all he could from the inside, as someone in the Baganda culture, and whose mom is apparently a fantastic cook.
So today I decided to make matooke. Plantains are not as good as little green bananas from S.E. Asia, which came out nice. Wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Then mashed. And I was told cooked over a real fire makes everything taste better. I am now cerain of that. So, the main dish is Luwombo. For the book I wrote the recipe with chicken, but trust me, beef was unfathomably delicious. You need a really tough fatty cut. I used back ribs, cut off the bone. Use an expensive cut and this will probably be awful.
You first brown some onions, throw in some grated ginger, some salt and pepper, a few chopped tomatoes, and then a lot of real finely pounded peanuts. It's not peanut butter, just ground peanuts. Then quickly grill the beef, which has been cut into small pieces, over a fire. Real fire. After barely browned, throw it into the sauce. Then wrap this whole mixture in banana leaves and tie on top with several strands of banana leaves. Any S.E. Asian shop sells them frozen.
Then put them in a big pot, over an upturned plate, with some water on the bottom, with the matooke too, cover and put on a charcoal fire, and let it steam for a couple of hours. Must be eaten with fingers. Well, actually not, but I prefer my fingers!
Can I say, I have never tasted anything like this in my life. The leaves so intensely flavor everything, no other seasoning is necessary. The beef is soft and pliable, but still chewy, not a stew, but a steamed meat with peanut sauce dish. I could have eaten it all but didn't. No one else in my house would touch it. Anyone like Ugandan food, come over any time.