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  • The Persimmon – More than Pudding

    …[the persimmon’s] bitter power of astringency is surprising, and seems capable of suspending for a time all the faculties of the lips, and binds up the risible muscles of the sufferer to the same extent that it excites those of a spectator. – Charles Augustus Murray Most Americans aren’t familiar with this delicious but misunderstood […] More

  • 75 Years of Conspicuous Consumption

    December 5th is Repeal Day. That day back in 1933 that ended those dark days of “The Great Experiment” that failed. For those who where sleeping during American History class, the Volstead Act was repealed by the Amendment XXI to the US Constitution: AMENDMENT XXIPassed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933. Section 1. The […] More

  • Love Me Tender

    What’s the best way to bring out the full flavor of meat? If you want to get those juices really flowing, you need to cook it long and slow, and with the temperature down low. Love Me Tender by Heston Blumenthal, The Guardian newspaper, November 24, 2001 Trust me, your patience will be rewarded. Besides, […] More

  • Copia Files for Chapter 11 Banckruptcy

    According to the New York Times (NYT), the mess that is COPIA (offically the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts), the ambitious Frankenstein’s monster in the heart of Napa that was founded in a large part from money donated by the late Robert Mondavi, finally filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the […] More

  • A Green Christmas – Top Ten Sustainable Culinary Gifts

    Brace yourself. It’s that time of year again. I love Christmas as much as the next guy. The lights, the color, the celebration, the sharing, and especially the eating and drinking. The spiritual side of Christmas often goes a little unnoticed amid the mad rush of present buying, decorating and food preparation. Many traditions have […] More

  • Wave Energy Development and Marine Reserves

    I am a commissioner on the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, an industry-funded agency and part of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Commission Program. Among our other responsibilities to the fishing fleet, we have been charged with the enhancement of the image of the Dungeness crab industry, and to increase opportunities for profitability through promotion, […] More

  • Michael Pollan for Secretary of Agriculture

    Brian Lehrer of the Brain Lehrer Show on WNYC Radio spoke with author and activist Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food) about government agricultural policy. What can we do? There is an online petition to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to choose Mr. Pollan as the next U.S. Secretary of […] More

  • The Perfect Turkey

    This may sound egotistical but I know a LOT more than you do about cooking a turkey. Allow me to explain… Back in 1999, when I was teaching at the California Culinary Academy, I was involved in both the cooking and the tasting of the San Francisco Chronicle Food section’s Turkey Challenge. Over a two […] More

  • Student Dies in Eating Competition

    According to the Taipei Times, a student at Dayeh University in Changhuain Taiwan died in late October during the annual steamed bun eating contest. The 23 year old was participating to see who could finish two steamed buns stuffed with egg and cheese in the fastest time. The student couldn’t stop vomiting and fell unconscious […] More

  • Salumi – The Art of Cured Meats

    “The pig is an encyclopedic animal, a meal on legs.” “Dans le cochon, tout est bon (Everything in a pig is good).” Grimod de La Reynière (1758-1837) It’s not a misprint. Salumi is Italian for the whole family of salted, cured cuts of meat or sausages made primarily (but not exclusively) from pork. It is […] More

  • Turn off the Food Network and Rent a Food Movie

    In a recent post entitled Do TV Executives Think We’re Stupid?, I ranted, with the help of author, critic and food writer John Mariani, about the worst (and best) cooking shows on television. I’m taking another cue from Mr. Mariani, choosing my favorite movies where food is a character. Luckily, there are some wonderful food- […] More

  • Spiced Sugar Pumpkin Cake

    Even those who cannot commit to an extravagant chocolate creation or a rich fruit dessert will find solace in the satisfying sweetness and texture of this simple and moist dessert. This cake has the texture of a quick bread and the autumn flavors of pumpkin and “pumpkin pie” spices. Pumpkin is one of those tastes […] More

  • Do TV Executives Think We’re Stupid?

    Since I received such a great and varied response from my post, Do Publishers Think We’re Stupid?, I am continuing the series with Do TV Executives Think We’re Stupid? Author, critic and food writer John Mariani, (Esquire magazine, Diversion magazine, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Radio and The Italian-American Cookbook among other books) published an article in the […] More

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    It’s a Parsnip, it’s a Carrot – No, it’s Parsley Root

    My choice for this weeks unusual vegetable is Parsley Root (Petroselinum crispum variety tuberosum), also known as Rooted parsley, Turnip-Rooted Parsley, Dutch Parsley, Hamburg Parsley or Heimischer. It’s a winter root that has been used for centuries for soups and stews in the “Old World” but is fairly unknown and underutilized everywhere else – at […] More

  • Seasonal Brews – The Right Beer, Right Now

    As Barney, from the Simpson’s so elegantly said, Hey, Homer, I’m worried about the beer supply. After this case, and the other case, there’s only one case left. All beer use to be seasonal but now seems to be the domain of the craft, micro-brewing world. The Brewers Association, who’s goal is to promote and […] More

  • Shubert cherry white and brown wood spoon

    10 Techniques Every Cook Should Know Redux, #5 – #1

    Here is the continuing countdown of My Top 10 Techniques Every Cook Should Know about Continental Cuisine. Lets first review #10- #6: Number 10, Spatchcock Number 9, Sautéing Number 8, Dicing Number 7, Blanching Vegetables Number 6, Cooking Pasta More

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    10 Techniques Every Cook Should Know Redux, #10 – #6

    Amanda Gold, a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, recently came out with 10 techniques every cook should know: Breading Browning/searing Dicing an onion Folding Making pan sauce Rolling out pie crust Making a roux Segmenting citrus Tempering Making a vinaigrette She said, “Mastering these will ease everyday kitchen chores and help you tackle […] More

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    Braised Beef Short Ribs

    The weather took a right turn and thermometer began to drop this week, so a young man’s culinary fancy turns to braising. This is one of our favorite recipes for several reasons. First, by using a cut of meat not normally used, you promote economic and environmental sustainability by making use of all the beef. […] More

  • Do Publishers Think We’re Stupid?

    The people over at Slashfood turned me on to an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Publishers Bet Big on Cookbooks. the gist of the article is that even though people maybe cutting back on luxuries like eating out, the tanking cookbook publishers are counting on all of us to buy their product – […] More

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    The Real Farm-To-Table

    You may have read, especially from various press releases, about this restaurant claiming to “green” or “sustainable” or that chef doing “farm-to-table” cuisine. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent and supporter of sustainable cuisine and local artisans, as long as it isn’t used just for PR purposes. But with all do […] More

  • Sustainability is Sexy

    I’ve deservedly ranted about Starbucks a lot lately. (See Starbucks: Wasting Up to 6 Million Gallons of Water Every Day and Where Do You Draw the Line?) Let me ask you and them another question, What about the eco-impact of disposable paper coffee cups? Disposable coffee cups are responsible for the deaths of over 6.5 […] More

  • Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

    After spending my first autumn surround by the amazing micro-climates of the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon, I was inspired to give the classic potato gnocchi recipe my own twist by adding roasted squash along with the roasted potatoes. Just like other dumplings, the key to making gnocchi is to make sure that the dough […] More

  • Winter Squash

    In Alexander Dumas’ distinguished Grand Dictionary de Cuisine, he includes directions on how to cook an elephant. For many people, elephant cookery is less daunting than dealing with the large category of winter squash. Winter squashes (member of the Cuburbita family that includes cucumbers and melons) come in a plethora of varieties, shapes, sizes and […] More

  • Starbucks: Wasting Up to 6 Million Gallons of Water Every Day

    The Sydney Morning Herald, The Dallas Morning News and The Sun published articles today that estimated that the Starbucks wastes up to 6 million gallons of water every day. The Sun said, As part of a company policy aimed at preventing germ buildup in its taps, Starbucks stores are directed to keep water running constantly […] More

  • Saké To Me

    For Westerners, sake has always held a bit of a mystery. What exactly is it? How is it made? What are the different styles? And how do you drink it? I have to admit that I am a relative newcomer to the world of sake. I’ve found that it isn’t the hot, overly alcoholic, biting […] More

  • The Ultimate Comfort Food

    As summer rolls into fall and fall goes screaming into winter, one’s culinary palate yearns for the muted flavors of  braises and stews, the consoling warmth of roasts and for me, the comfort of fried chicken. Yes, I said Fried Chicken. This isn’t your aunt Flo’s fried chicken. Call it Uncle Thomas’ fried chicken – […] More

  • Dead Zones – The Fisherman’s Perspective

    With apologies to both Stephen King and Verizon Wireless, the “real” Dead Zones we need to talk about are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world’s water systems that can no longer support aquatic life. As Joshua Hill, over at Plantsave has eloquently said, Dead zones are created, in the beginning, by nitrogen (among other things). […] More

  • Curl up in Front of the Fire with Hard Cider

    To me, cider is one of those comfort foods. Reminds me of days gone by, memories almost forgotten and curling up in front of the fire with that special someone. Hard cider is making a comeback – not that it ever went away – especially cider produced from artisans farming sustainably and producing product using […] More

  • Chefs are Different

    William J. Garry, editor of Bon Appetit magazine in the September 1997 issue wrote: The view is put forth that chefs, at least when they are at home or at play, are indeed much like everyone else: They have husbands and wives (or not), kids and dogs (or none), chores and hobbies, good times and […] More

  • Plum Claflouti

    I’ve been a HUGE fan of the freestone Italian Prune Plum, sometimes called “Stanley” plums, since one of the farmers from my previous restaurants invited me to have a look around his orchard. Sweet and tangy at the same time without being cloying or astringent. They are at their peak right now, at least here […] More

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