Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hot Bologna is NOT What Your Mom Used to Make (Unless She's Really Cool)

It was a lazy-man's Saturday and I was not about to let it slip away without some lazy-man's time with a cast-iron skillet.

Nothing so simple as a sandwich. Bread, meat, cheese, some veg. A bit of time with the skillet, and a happy eater.

And this time of year, I haven't set foot in a grocery store in about a month and a half. Not because I'm that busy, but because almost all of my food is coming from the market or the CSA; meat, eggs, root veg, and baked goods.

South Mountain Creamery's thin sliced bologna, crisped up around the edges in the cast iron and then set on top of their havarti dill which was in turn on top of the fresh mizuna from the awesome herbs and greens ladies up near Greenmount at the market, which was in turn on top of the bottom half of a rosemary focacia mini-loaf from the bakers at the T in the market on your way toward Greenmount. Then a small onion from the CSA sliced and caramelized in the detritus of the bologna and a hint of dijon (from the store, but really, I don't grow mustard seed and I'm not from Dijon) and the top of that mini-loaf to complete the whole scene.

Half of it for brunch and half for an early dinner and I was a happy camper.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

There Will be Cooking and There Will be More

First let me jump ahead and give you a pet peeve of mine and The Quiet One's. If you advertise your festival to start at 11am...have the thing up and running at...get ready for it...11am.

Seriously. Drove up to Greektown after Waverly and breakfast to check out some dolmades, oktopodi, and souvlaki. We were ready. Hittin' it early so the heat wasn't too oppressive. Instead, we got to walk around the deserted block watching one guy pour water into the steam trays. No fryers were on, the grills were cold. A few vendors were just setting their wares out. There was not even a soundcheck going on on the stage.

It's not a crisis, I know. But we're just sayin'. Advertise breakfast, know how to cook eggs. Advertise a start time. Start.

Now, you will suffer the awesome fury of my typing this weekend. I know this because I have eaten out twice already and have the CSA box AND a monster trip to the Waverly Market under my belt (but none of you can blame me for perfect, crispy homefries or a pit beef and turkey sandwich, can you?).

There are bone-in chicken breasts from Woolsey Farm that will be cooked up with sage and creminis. The sage is from the ladies whose names I haven't gotten yet. End of the market closest to Greenmount Avenue. Most amazing looking radishes, green and red cabbage, several bits of mized greens, and herbs, herbs, herbs. The sage today. Last couple trips it's been the cilantro. The mushrooms are from the mushroom people. Always there, always with creminis and shitakes, oysters and morels, and even fiddleheads and ramps earlier in the year.

There is hot italian sausage from M&M Meats.

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And kale from the Bartenfelders (Two pounds of it. There is an entire drawer in my refrigerator that is designated for kale duty this week, a whole drawer). And I have pasta. Clean and rinse the kale, then cut it into ribbons, blanch it, shock it, and saute it in a pan with the sausage and some red onions. Add pasta that's almost cooked, finish it. Save the pasta water in case the pan gets dry. You did save the pasta water, right?

This week also brought home the cherries and blueberries, more green peas, and the tasty goodness of sweet potatoes.

A few of the short, stubby cukes I like will get the pickle! And they'll like it.

And then there are the green beans, which will lovingly get together (on a blind my skillet!!!) with the CSA broccoli and cauliflower to get all Indian on their bad selves. I mean, there will be garam masala because that's how we 'do (Keith is proud, Chez is laughing, That is all).

Almost forgot to tell you about the 'maters. Yeah, advertised by their grower as "Real Flavor." Advertised by me as 'Get in Mah Belly.' You know how that'll end.

I also get to read through the new issue of Food & Wine to see what the fabulous people are cooking. It's "Best New Chefs and Their Simplest Recipes." Hoo-rah!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I haz new toy!!!

I am now not only a blogger.

And not only a food blogger.

But a pretentious food blogger with a new technological toy I will tell you makes my content better than yours.

I am the epitome of what the blogger should be. Free to sip my latte in a cafe and look down my Cupertino nose at you.

And I probably will. Because we all know that it's the 'puter (like the shoes) that makes the blogger (player).


And yes, feel free to remind me in the comments that process posts about the computer on a food blog are only okay if there is actually FOOD on the food blog.

More on that soon. I have pictures of wild boar that need to be shared.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not Putting the Pieces Together Well

First, we have a review of a book about steak and travelling to eat it in seven different countries known for beef. I will preface the Cookbook review and food news hilarity to come with this passage:
After Schatzker meets Bill O’Brien, who keeps 50,000 cows in Texas and champions the use of corn-based feed, he spends the rest of “Steak” railing against such a diet. Among other reasons, it doesn’t produce what one expert calls “a rounded flavor profile,” and it requires antibiotics to keep livers and guts from failing.

The steaks from grass-fed cattle, by comparison, show more complexity and communicate terroir, the influence of place. One such meal, Schatzker recalls, was “so intense that I was reminded of extremely ripe fruit. . . . It was like steak with headphones on.” Unfortunately, grass feed doesn’t guarantee good flavor. “Bad grass,” he explains, “equals bad steaks.” One particularly horrific example evokes “an old, atrophied, abscessed organ left in the trunk of a car sitting in a Miami parking lot for two weeks in July.”
On May 28, 2010 you got to read this:
It’s hard to be cynical about homemade jelly. And everyone likes to save money. These are the sentiments publishers are hoping will still exist a year after they put this summer’s cookbooks into motion. Instead of trotting out the usual spate of celebrity grillers, this season’s bookshelf instructs us to get back to basics, preferably those practiced by our great-grandmothers. I’m sure home-butchery manuals will be ready by the fall, complete with brown- paper dust covers. In the meantime, we’ll be making jams and syrups from foraged berries, churning butter and clotting cream, griddling our own English muffins, mastering the fundamentals of gadgetless cooking and turning out meatballs that would make anyone’s nonna proud. Even celebrity chefs have kicked it down 20 ­notches. When Emeril Lagasse is pushing a farm-to-fork book, you know it’s Michael Pollan’s world. We just cook in it.
Then one week later on June 4, 2010, you get this:
If Americans ate only foods advertised on TV, a new report says, they would consume 25 times the recommended amount of sugar and 20 times the amount of fat they need, but less than half the dairy, fiber and fruits and vegetables.

For the study, being published this month in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers taped 28 days of prime-time television as well as Saturday-morning programming on the four major broadcast networks. They identified 800 foods promoted in 3,000 ads and used a nutritional software program to analyze the content of the items, comparing the foods’ nutritional values with the government’s food guide pyramid and recommended daily intake values for various nutrients.
Really? You're surprised? I didn't think so...

A guy goes out and tries to discover the perfect steak only to find two things. 1) He can't. And 2) There are so many variables you can't even follow his attempt well. The one that did come through is that corn is right out as the primary diet for tasty steaks. But then the related issue of 100-years of automation has removed us from the true heritage least you can still find Brandywine seeds (for now).

Then after we find out we'll never have a perfect steak we at least take solace in the fact that we can can tomatoes and peaches and get closer to our inner-Mamaw. This is a good thing.

Until you keep reading a week later and find out that we're doomed to be crushed under an epic plastic-wrapped avalanche of processed crap that will turn us all into Baron Harkonnen from fat we will only be able to conquer the universe when we 1) control the spice and 2) we control gravity to keep us from being crushed under our own weight.

What? Geeky reference?

Yeah, check the blog title...