Friday, December 28, 2007

Three Months??!!!


I can't believe I haven't even looked at this blog in three months. It's a good thing nobody's reading it.

What I've learned so far is that:

1. regular bloggers are seriously dedicated.
2. Me? Not so much.
3. This was started as an experiment that so far, isn't going so well.

It will be interesting to see if this ever makes any sense.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New House

We settled into our new house last weekend and to innaugurate the occassion, I decided to fill the house with the aromas of some slow-cooked smells.

The last time I fired up the barbecue, the neighbors came over to see if they needed to call the fire department. Not wanting to start a new neighborhood with a tainted reputation, slow-cooked this time would mean simmering something on the stove for a few hours



Some cranberry beans, a hunk of short ribs, celery, onion, carrots, peppers and tomatoes made for a good start.

I salted the pork (After reading Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe Cookbook, I've become a firm believer in salting all meat before cooking (The LA Times confirmed this in a story last year)) and started soaking the beans.




I browned the meat and added my onions, carrots and celery. After about an hour, I added the soaked beans and let the whole thing stew for about four hours along with a couple cups of homemade chicken stock I had in the freezer.

Then, I took the meat out, de-boned and chopped it before adding it back to the beans. I also removed the pesky bay leaf I'd added and that took about five minutes of fishing.

The resulting bean goodness was a thick stew that I put on top of warm tortillas with a little black bean and tomato salsa and a generous glog of my favorite hot sauce from Rancho Gordo and I had an amazing dinner (two of us ate 10 small burritos), some beans left over that I put in the freezer for later and a new happy home filled with good karma, happy people and wonderful aromas.


It was a great way to start living in a new house.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bad Blogger

My biggest frustration with the various blogs and websites I visit is when it isn't updated for days and days and days.

Now, I understand. I was out of town for a few days and we're preparing a move, so between hectic life and work, I just haven't had time.

Good thing this blog is in the "soft opening" phase. If I decide to keep this up, I'll need to figure out a way to schedule blogging into my life.

By way of apology, here's a food tip. The next hot flavor ready to go seriously mainstream from foodieland.... Guajillo Peppers.


The bright, smoky flavor of Guajillo's have become a chef favorite. I recently had conversations with chefs for some of the largest chains in the country and more than one mentioned the trendy little peppers.

OK. I'll try to be a better blogger from now on.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Meez



The Meez is close to me. As in, a few years and pounds ago. Maybe it's the me that steps away from the computer and goes hiking more often.

Peace


It's Friday. The weather (at least here in the woods)is wonderful. The markets are filled with fresh, local food. The web is alive with inspiring ideas.

Other than that, I don't have anything to share for now.

Oh. And the pic to the left is a random snap from my Marin kitchen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bread

So, a friend gave me some sourdough starter a couple of years ago. (a great answer to "what to get a foodie" by the way). It's use was pretty much limited to sourdough pancakes in the morning and breadsticks from the leftover batter that evening.

But they were the best pancakes ever! And the breadsticks were pretty tasty (although kinda ugly).

Anyway, with the move to the Bay Area and a house in the old location, the starter was sadly neglected and, finally, pretty scary looking. Since it wasn't ancestral sourdough passed down through generations of my family, I decided to start over.

After all, I'm practically in San Francisco - home of the world's most famous sourdough bread.

But where to start? I remember seeing little touristy packages of "Genuine San Francisco Sourdough Starter" but that didn't seem right. I also remember reading somewhere that a sourdough starter will eventually take on the character of the local airborne yeasts, so my kitchen was probably swarming with little yeasties waiting and hoping to grow up and be pancakes.

I started with THE SMARTEST FOOD EXPERT I KNOW and that was good, but didn't give me a recipe.

A check with "The California Cook" found the recipe I needed and off I went.



Not promising.




But, by the next day, I had bread.



By the way, I just checked "On Food and Cooking" again. Good tip on salting the starter. And I think I should get it out of the fridge and feed it again. Maybe tonight when it's cooler.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Eat Local


I have a problem with the Eat Local Challenge. I absolutely agree that knowing where your food comes from is an important part of good eating. And, at least in California, it's not too difficult to eat a healthful diet with foods from a few miles away. At least, it is as long as you have the resources in time, money, education and transportation to do all of the necessary hunting and gathering.

But does the eat local admonition mean everyone who wants to have a varied and sustainable diet all year long has to move to California? Or perhaps our geography gives us a moral edge over the folks in Fargo (at least during the winter).

And can you imagine the environmental catastrophe that would occur if all the season-impacted Americans moved left for the climate? Or perhaps they'll all learn to can and I should by stock in a canning jar company.

Absurdity aside, my problem with eat local as a movement and a cause is the impact on the producers. California has managed to maintain family farmers. Specialty crops such as peaches, grapes, figs and pistachios are allowing farms to pass from one generation to the next, along with the inherent stewardship of the land that comes with a family farm. But if the market for those farmers only extended a few hundred miles, they'd be out of business and nobody in the rest of the country would get any grapes.

And in the Midwest, where so many family farms were lost, a new generation is finding sustainability with companies such as Niman Ranch, marketing their responsible and flavorful products all over the country.

Eat local is a wonderful idea. The pears pictured above absolutely tasted better having come from my neighbor's tree. But it only makes sense when, as with so much else, it is part of a varied diet.

So if you're lucky enough to have a cheerful neighbor with a pear tree, enjoy! And if Marin Sun Farm eggs are available to you, go ahead and gloat. But if you want some French jam or sustainably raised, heritage pork bacon from Iowa, don't feel guilty.

Eat local if you can and want. And use the Eat Local idea to encourage people to think more about their food. But don't let Eat Local become an ideology or a constraint on enjoying good food.