Thursday, June 26, 2014

WHISKEYFEST NW 2o14

Big barrels, wet tongues, whiskey-toting monks, and a mechanical bull named Tipsy. Put on your big boy pants for shenanigans of unprecedented magnitude with the world’s best distilleries. They call it Devil’s Mouthwash….. I call it, The Second Annual WhiskeyFest Northwest, May 9th 2o14… The day was awash in overcast skies, bulbous grey clouds and light scattered showers…. Ms. Hannah and I left our humble abode up on N. Interstate and headed downtown over the Broadway bridge to get in to The Pearl, downtown PDX,s newest ultra-lux neighborhood with catastrophic priced spaces the size of fucken shoeboxes…. We arrived in the pouring rain, parkin’ like a rock star directly across the street from the entrance to what could possibly be the most waited for nd anticipated event of the year (at least for this bourbon drinker)…. We arrived at the volunteer tent, collected our bright green volunteer t-shirts and got our alcohol monitor style bracelets on, we were told that we would be pouring for BEND DISTILLERY whom makes CRATER LAKE RYE WHISKEY…. And whom I am very familiar with…. At the last bar I owned, which featured the largest collection of pacific northwest spirits in the pacific northwest; we poured the shit out of Crater Lake Rye…. Our PICKLEBACK was a shot of Crater Lake Rye followed by a chaser of straight dill pickle juice… ok, with all that behind us we get to the Crater Lake booth to find the Crater Lake Girls completely ready to be relieved by Hannah and I….  relief on…. The Crater Lake Girls headed out and left Hannah and I to represent BEND DISTILLERY and to pour their newly released CRATER LAKE RYE WHISKEY…  so pour we did, shot after shot… people expected CRATER LAKE RYE to be run of the mill cause it is in a booth with the bigger names like Elijah Craig, Bulliet, Jack Daniels and Angel’s Envy… it was easy to turn people on to this rye that is only 1yr out of the gate and 1yr old in age… having worked TOAST a few weeks ago and having known Allen the CEO of BEND DISTILLERY, we were very familiar with the two CRATER LAKE GIRLS and thoroughly enjoyed pouring their RYE… making the rounds of the event I was able to shout out to Ted Pappas the president of THE OREGON DISTILLERS GUILD and owner of Big Bottom Whiskey Co. I also ran across the boys at POK POK and in the prohibition cigar lounge the sounds of Portland’s own BOY & BEAN could be heard throughout… oh, BOY & BEAN…… Luke, Andrew and Samantha, I have gone to see these guys all over PDX, they are the finest example of that pre-prohibition sound the 20’s had to offer in this day and age… Hannah and I sat at our booth and discussed the food, drink and music scene of our city over glasses of Elijah Craig 12yr old Bourbon with the BOY & BEAN trio…the funny thing is, they leave to play at THE PICKLED FISH in the ADRIFT HOTEL later this evening… I stopped by and took the short course offered, STUART RAMSAY’S DRAM ACADEMY, giving me an overview of the history and culture of each whiskey dram and region… next up was the cocktail competition, I definitely have a favorite or two in this competition… Chauncey Roach of Racion, Emilly Mistel of the Rum Club and Justin Siemer of The Richmond bar… oh- I hope you guys bring your best, I know and love you all….  [good luck]  eating and drinking with the folks that are in our industry is what we enjoy while spilling drinks in our city…  and oh yeah- knowing the boys @ POK POK always pays off….  see POK POK chicken wings are the dankest fricken chicken wangs on da planet… so you best believe that that pregnant chick I call the love of my life (ms hannah) got a big ass plate of those fish sauce soaked twangy wangs to mow down from POK POK… would love to thank THE LUNA FOUNDATION for the wonderful opportunity that allowed me to taste all of these whiskeys for fricken free, no worries, I will take full advantage of this… for following is a list of all the whiskey, bourbon and rye I was able to consume in the short two days you allowed me to do so… 


Bullleit Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon 10yr Old Bourbon, Bulleit Rye, Crater Lake Rye, George Dickel, Knob Creek Bourbon, Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon, Knob Creek Bourbon Single Barrel Reserve, Bernheim Wheated Whiskey, Elijah Craig 12yr Old Bourbon, Evan William’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Tincup, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Angel’s Envy Rye,Bird Dog Bourbon, Templeton Rye, Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniels Single Barrel, New Holland Distillery Beer Barrel Bourbon, Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon, Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Pendleton, C.W. Irwin Whiskey, Temperance Trader, Whippersnapper Whiskey, Henry Dewyor’s, Big Bottom American Straight Bourbon, Big Bottom Port Cask Conditioned Bourbon, Big Bottom 111 Proof Bourbon, Big Bottom Zinfandel Cask Conditioned Bourbon, Big Bottom Cabernet Cask Conditioned Bourbon, Eastside Distilling Burnside Bourbon, Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey, Dry Fly Bourbon 101, Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey, Rogue Farms Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, Batch 2o6 Barrel Raider Whiskey, 4 Spirits Whiskey……

Friday, June 7, 2013

jack herer [ the emperor wears no clothes ]


Jack Herer was an author and cannabis activist whose 1985 book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana, inspired the modern marijuana legalization movement. The title of the book is a reference to the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and Herer used Andersen's story as an allegory for the government’s position of official misrepresentation and prohibition of cannabis. In 1973, the year I was born jack also published GRASS…. A self-described “normal American nerd” and veteran of the Korean War, Herer was born in New York City and raised in Buffalo, NY. After his stint in the Army, he worked as a sign painter before moving to Los Angeles with his first wife and children in early 60’s. Herer would marry four times and father six children. “I was 30 years old and this girl I knew found out I had never gotten high,” Herer recalled about his first experience with cannabis. “Nobody had ever told me about marijuana. She tried three times to get me high. Finally, it worked, and I had the most incredible sex I'd ever had.” Before long, Herer left the sign business, divorced and opened a head shop on Venice Beach, California. It was around this time that he met another head shop owner and a longtime marijuana advocate, Edwin M. Adair III, better known as “Captain Ed.” Kindred spirits, the men pledged to campaign for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. Following the advice of his friend, Herer also began archiving information about the history of cannabis, its chemical properties, and its numerous medical, industrial and agricultural applications. That was in 1973. However, it wasn’t until Herer served 14 days in prison in 1981, after he’d been arrested for trespassing on federal property while collecting signatures for a California ballot initiative, that he began writing "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" while behind bars. After his release, Herer moved to Portland, Oregon, where he opened another head shop and finished his manuscript. While Herer printed the book, fittingly, on hemp paper, it is also available to read free, online. To date, there have been 16 print editions and over 600,000 copies sold. A bestseller in Germany – Deutschlanders know their beer and their bud, evidently – the book has been translated into a dozen different languages. Here in America, it helped galvanize the early legalization and decriminalization movement, and firmly established Jack Herer as the father, or “Hemperor” of the cause. For nearly 40 years, Herer crisscrossed the country, logging hundreds of thousands of miles while campaigning to restore the hemp plant to heart and soil of American agriculture. He envisioned the widespread acceptance and use of cannabis as having no less than global repercussions. “Growing hemp as nature designed it is vital to our urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases and ensure the survival of our planet,” Herer once commented, pointing out that hemp, or its derivatives, can be used to produce paper, fiber, food and fuel. In 2000, at a hemp festival near Eugene, Oregon, Herer suffered a stroke. After a prolonged and difficult recovery, his health had improved in recent years to the point where he resumed his busy speaking schedule. Unsurprisingly, Herer partly attributed his recovery to daily use of highly concentrated marijuana oil. Herer then suffered a heart attack after speaking on stage at the Portland Hempstalk Festival. He passed away on April 15, 2010 in Eugene, while in the beloved presence of his wife Jeannie, whom he had married in September the year previously. Jack Herer was 70 years old……..I have met Jack thrice in life and once in Amsterdam….  On Venice Beach in California- we passed around a huge spliff that Jack rolled, this is way back when Jack was healthy and vibrant as hell…. On the corner of 21st Ave and Irving in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Portland, Oregon- a man was standing out front of the eco-swanky Tribeca eatery trying to get people to sign his petition to legalize medical marijuana in Oregon State, this man looked vaguely familiar, upon further inquiry it was none other than Jack Herer, smoking a joint right out front, I invited him and his guests(two oregon state representatives) in for dinner, we later smoked several bowls of organic oregon kush for dessert…. Once in Hendersonville, NC- Jack and a couple of NC State Representatives stayed at the Inn that I was running and ate big Italian countryside cuisine and strategized about how they would legalize in NC, the next day I was able to spend the entire day with Jack smoking some of NC’s best reefer, this was post stroke and it was hard to see Jack in this state, he was in ruff shape and several months later we lost him…. Now in Amsterdam it was a different story jack was full of life and celebrating the fact that the Jack Herer strain was winning a huge amount of attention in the cannabis world…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

monsanto, and our children.............

Parenting Monsanto……Keeping our children safe from harm in today's chemically-saturated world is one of the great challenges of modern parenting, other than  raising a young boy..... The more I read the news, the more I want to look for toddler-sized quarantine suits on Etsy, but the most proactive way I can protect my son is to keep myself educated on these issues -- even if that means I get forehead wrinkles from excessive worry. In addition to the health of my child, I fear for the ecological health of the planet. Last time I checked, Earth is the only place we have to live, and what kind of future am I providing for my son if I am not cognizant of how my life and the decisions of my government effect our environment? That is why every parent should be aware of the Monsanto Protection Act and what it means for their family. When President Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act, many citizens were outraged by this blatant violation of the Constitution. By approving this act, Obama has allowed Monsanto to exist above the law, since genetically modified seeds are now protected from any litigation involving health risks. That is strange, right…? If you were confident in your product, why would you be concerned about lawsuits involving health risks…? You may wonder how this applies to you, considering you don't buy Monsanto-Oh's for breakfast, but essentially, you are.
Monsanto's genetically engineered corn, soy, wheat and beet crops have infiltrated our entire food system, and you are eating their products every day and not even realizing it... Many people, including children, have developed deadly allergies to peanuts and other food products. Imagine the trauma for a child who has to deal with their mortality every time they eat -- how terrifying for the affected kids and their parents... According to PBS.org, some critics of GM foods feel that the possibility exists that those genetically modified food crops may unintentionally introduce a new allergen -- for example, a fish gene can be put into a plant.... Although I am fan of sushi, I don't really think it is necessary to cross-breed it with my strawberries -- especially considering the potential adverse reaction. PBS then goes on to explain, another potential hazard is the possibility that bacteria in our guts could pick up antibiotic-resistant genes found in many GM foodstuffs... in principle, it could exacerbate the already worrisome spread of disease-causing bacteria that have proven able to withstand our antibiotics. Beyond frightening and unforeseen potential consequences to human health, there are serious ecological effects we can't afford to ignore. As well as patenting all its seeds, Monsanto genetically engineered a suicide gene for


each seed and they don't even offer them therapy or xanax. Traditionally, farmers around the world have saved seeds in order to cultivate a variety of strands to help maintain bio-diversity….  Monsanto now forces farmers to use one seed that essentially kills itself so it cannot be used the next season, and therefore the farmers have to purchase new seed annually. This one seed is mass-produced in one location, resulting in mono-crop farming. So when you drive cross-country (like I just did several days ago), one-third of the time you will be staring at corn and soy fields making you wish the Children of the Corn will emerge and eat your eyeballs directly out of your sockets. Massive fields with one crop, created from one seed, become very susceptible to pests -- hence the creation of pesticides. And because there is no crop-rotation to replenish fields, the pesticides often seep further into the ground. You want to know something fun about pesticides….? A lot of them are made from Agent Orange. Yeah…! That stuff we used as a chemical weapon in the Vietnam War. Monsanto actually developed Agent Orange for the U.S. Government, but since it had some left over, Monsanto discovered the perfect market for it -- our food….! I know organic products are annoyingly expensive, but that is because organic farmers don't receive the subsidies that GM farmers do. It is not like organic farmers are bling-bling in diamonds because of all their profit from kale. They are barely scraping by trying to compete in a marketplace dominated by agribusiness. And think of it this way -- until the 1940s the whole world ate organic all the time. Because that was all there was. Of course this is a very complicated issue because millions of people are dependent on GM crops to survive, but as an individual or chef with purchasing power, how you spend your money will dictate where the market will start to lean (lets sway this market). Supporting local farmers and getting involved with Community Supported Agriculture will keep your costs down, and the more people who buy food grown without GMOs, the more companies will move in that direction. It can be difficult to make an assessment for yourself of the personal and environmental risks of genetically engineered crops, because both the pro and con sides of the argument are very impassioned. You can find massive amounts of research pointing you in either direction on this subject and that in and of itself should be a major warning sign. That the long-term consequences of these products are not yet understood means that we, the consumers, are essentially the test subjects of a global experiment involving our entire food system. What kind of responsible scientist uses humans as their guinea pigs…? Not to throw the mice and rats under the bus, but I would much prefer we test on them for a few decades before we use our children…. I have tried and have successfully kept as many GMO products away from my son as possible…. He was raised on an organic apple orchard in southern Maine for his first few years, that has helped immensely in the direction of our food supply…
 

maytag dairy farm....... is american blue cheese....!

On Thursday I was headed across the country on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate freeway I-80 in Iowa of all places and saw a little sign that read- Maytag Dairy Farm…. The trip itself started off on a sour note- learning that my father has cancer; I quickly packed up from my digs in Sonoma, California and headed back east to be by his side… A quick exit and change in direction, heading north I hit the old farm road, three miles ahead and I hit the large brown packing plant and office building that is just before the old farmstead… Greeted immediate by the huge cheese case stocked with all of Maytag Dairy’s best… A separate case housed the big wheels, half wheels and wedges, but the main case offered Edam, Colby, Havarti, Cheddar, Brick and Farmers cheese….  I dove right in to a tasting led by one of the fair Iowa Blue Cheese Maidens… My favorite other than the twangy, salty and milky blue was the creamy Havarti….. Seeing my enthusiasm with American blue cheeses, especially the one that led the way for other American blues the president Myrna Ver Ploeg exited her office and took over as tour guide…  having the queen of blue cheese give me the tour was OFF THE HOOK….. she took me to the back and let me view the very private packaging room and the room where every wedge of Maytag Blue is hand-wrapped…  walking through the office area I also noticed a huge wood slab of a table, asking her about it she explained how it was made from the stone and wood from the original farmstead….. Then headed toward Providence, RI to make sure my pops had some support during his time of need…. I can’t thank the ladies of maytag dairy farm enough- thanks for all your hospitality, thanks……


Maytag is a gastronomic  American treasure, an American style blue cheese produced on the Maytag Dairy Farms outside of Newton, Iowa, the former home of the Maytag Corporation (think washers and dryers)... In 1938, Iowa State University developed a new process for making blue cheese from homogenized cow's milk instead of the traditional sheep's milk. In 1941, production of the cheese was started by Frederick L. Maytag II and Robert Maytag, grandsons of the founder of the Maytag appliance company, Frederick Louis Maytag I…. In the beginning, the milk for the cheese came from a prize winning herd of Holstein cattle that was established by E. H. Maytag, a son of the Maytag founder. The company is currently owned by the third and fourth generations of the Maytag family…. The process for making Maytag Blue Cheese was discovered and patented by two Iowa State University microbiologists, Clarence Lane and Bernard W. Hammer. Roquefort, another type of blue cheese, had been made for hundreds of years in Europe, but attempts to manufacture a similar cheese in the United States had thus far been unsuccessful. Difficulties encountered in making these types of cheeses produced a less than satisfactory product, and quality control would have been disastrous…. The problems encountered with producing Roquefort type cheeses in the United States for distribution were the lengthy time required to develop the artisan flavor, the mold growth not being uniform, the quality being below average for numerous lots produced, and the color of the curd being too dark. The process begins with homogenizing the milk that will be used for the cheese. In making Maytag Blue Cheese, the cream is separated from the milk, homogenized and then added back into the now skim milk. This would typically occur between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (27 and 38 °C) and 2000 to 3500 pounds-force per square inch (14 to 24 MPa) of pressure. This would allow for proper fat hydrolysis, which affects the flavor of the cheese. There is a ripening period prior to adding rennet (a mixture of enzymes that coagulates milk into curds and whey) to the cheese. A typical usage would be to add 3 ounces of rennet per 100 pounds of milk, allowing it to set in a temperature range of 85 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 °C). Better results were achieved using 4 ounces of rennet per 100 pounds of milk and setting in a higher than usual temperature range of 90 to 92 °F (32 to 33 °C). According to Lane and Hammer's records, their alterations caused the cheese-making process to speed up from this point forward, with the time in between setting, cutting and dipping nearly cut in half. Also, after dipping the cheese and allowing it to cook in hot whey, the draining time was cut from 20–30 minutes to 3–5 minutes. Penicillium is then added to the finished product, which produces its characteristic green veins. After the rounds of cheese are made by hand, the cheese is aged in specially designed caves where they are exposed to high humidity and cool temperatures. The company still uses the same time-consuming method of hand making cheese, using milk only from four very local Newton dairy farms… 

The 411…
Maytag Dairy Farms  Po Box 806  Newton, Iowa  50208
www.maytagblue.com      catalog orders-   800.247.2458

Thursday, April 4, 2013

wild salmon..............dear mr. obama

Dear Mr. Obama  
(the current president of these states united)

As a chef who values sustainable wild salmon, I am writing to ask for your support of Bristol Bay, Alaska’s salmon fishery, where foreign mining companies are proposing North America’s largest open-pit gold and copper mine. Now more than ever our nation must defend sustainable, domestic food sources that are both healthy and affordable. Bristol Bay presents an opportunity to permanently protect one of our nation’s last wild foods and the thousands of renewable jobs that depend upon it. While wild salmon stocks have disappeared around the world, Bristol Bay remains a thriving salmon stronghold. Bristol Bay’s salmon have nourished Native people and communities for thousands of years, sustaining their subsistence lifestyle and culture. For the last 130 years, Bristol Bay’s salmon have supported a thriving salmon fishery which sustains over 12,000 jobs each year and generates over $350 million annually. With an average of 40 million salmon returning to its watershed each summer, Bristol Bay is one of the last great wild salmon fisheries left in the world, supplying over 40% of the world’s sockeye salmon. The proposed Pebble Mine, which foreign mining companies want to develop in Bristol Bay’s headwaters, could threaten and destroy all of this. With its massive size, sensitive location, and sulfide-filled ore body, the Pebble Mine is the wrong mine in the wrong place. In the event of an environmental disaster or toxic poisoning of Bristol Bay’s clean waters, Americans will bear the costs and the consequences. At the request of Bristol Bay Tribes, Native corporations, commercial fishermen, seafood processors, sport anglers, jewelers, chefs, and religious groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. We commend your Administration for building this scientific foundation that will help inform whether or not the EPA should use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon fisheries. We urge you to stand behind their efforts and encourage an efficient review process that protects American jobs and resources. As our nation’s fearless leader, you can decide the fate of Bristol Bay and this irreplaceable national treasure that is at the core of our nation’s history and deserves a place in our future. By protecting Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery, we can protect the health of future generations, a native culture that has existed for thousands of years, and renewable jobs and opportunities for Americans. Are those big ass ears of yours open Obama, are they open… You only have a few short years to make right the gastronomic catastrophes you have created with your pride of former Monsanto employees.....!

Sincerely-  Chef Sebastian Carosi
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Los Angeles Farmers Market……………………..…@ 3rd & Fairfax

Arose on January 19th of the year two thousand and thirteen to a sweaty eighty degrees in the city of angels….. headed out to third and fairfax to the historic los angeles farmers market… history says the market was established in 1934, when a dozen farmers parked their trucks, piled high with local bounty on an open field to sell their wares… the field was once a legendary los angeles dairy as well… the market remains true to its LA roots to this day… it has been well over 13 years since I was last at the market, last time was when I was in LA building and cooking at Leila’s… this place has grown exponentially since my last visit, the chains have moved in-  come on, really- is johnny rockets is not part of the LA County Farmers Association….?  bounced in to The Farmers Market Salad & Juice Company for a big ass glass of fresh watermelon juice then it was on to the barbecued beef tongue tacos at 'LOTERIA… oh-yeah did I mention the hand-made tortillas that this grass-fed beef tongue is riding on……  damn these were a treat….  the horchata was delightful and sweet with a hint of cinnamon… over the years the market- a magnet for stars and gangsters alike has also offered a trout pond, a drive-in theater, a car hop burger joint, a permanent boy band and an antique mall… for angelenos the phrase-  MEET ME AT 3RD AND FAIRFAX is a happy part of los angeles lexicon… today it is a fricken landmark… the tacos-  off the hook…. and to think that Marilyn Monroe, Bugsy Segal, Bing Crosby, Barbara Stanwyk and Cecil B. Demille have all enjoyed the same tongue tacos…  a fabulous day in LA.....!

sonoma………..some bad-ass terroir (aka- dirt)

 

In late February early March I decided it necessary to camp in the mountains of northern sonoma county, california… I was perched directly above the famed vine-rich alexander valley, with AVA neighbors like the russian river valley, dry creek valley, chalk hill, green valley and rockpile…  as well as a ton of boutique wineries producing grape juice from this vinifera……. ohhhhh the silver oak cab……..!  remembering my first California olive oil tasting there in sonoma county with the man himself- francis ford coppola at his geyserville estate….  sonoma olive oil is peppery and piquant…  now spending day and night over the valley floor, gathering wood to make a fire to cook over and foraging the majority of my edible commodities overlooking the seghesio family vines… these wild edible commodities were plentiful in the fields and mountains but were nowhere to be found in any fashion or mentioned on ANY restaurant menu sonoma or napa-wide… here is a partial list of wild plants and animals that are indigenous to the sonoma valley-  california quail, venison, wild lake sonoma hogs, bite-sized bunnies and full size rabbits, steelhead, salmon, vine prunings for smoking, wild sage, wild fennel and fennel pollen, prickly pear cactus (tuna), rosemary and rosemary blossoms, cattails, miner’s lettuce, redwood sorrel, california laurel and the remains of many different mushrooms although it was very cold some nights….  these are some of the wild edibles available, beyond organic these edibles do not have a government sanctioned list of ‘OK’ organic chemicals to be used on them-  they are wild edibles…  every area of this glorious country that I happen upon I look hard to find what is and was indigenous to that region and its food culture, deepening my interest in the edible wild and the history of each item and where else it is found in the world…

drakes bay oyster company..........


On March 5th I decided that I HAD to go pay the farm a visit and show my support for american aquaculture...  especially one with such a long history in american / californian oyster production, giving us chefs a variety of oysters sustainably grown and harvested in different waters, estuaries, bays and inlets on both coasts, east and left….  having self-distributed these oysters themselves I have been very fortunate to have (ocean beauty) out of san francisco get these bivalves up to me when in the northern states several times a year for several years now…. most of these oysters stay right in the bay area, and while some of the general public slurps down hog island oysters, they may want to ask themselves- did the drakes bay oyster company outfit hog island with the stock being sold as hog island-  cause many a time, drakes has supplied hog island and tomales with bivalves…..  not that this matters, but drakes bay oyster company does supply the great state of california with over 40% of its consumable raw (and tub) oysters…. welcome to drakes bay oyster company (aka- the oyster farm), for it IS a farm…… from the village of point reyes station (home of the famous point reyes blue cheese), we headed south on main street (shoreline hwy one) and as we left town we went over a small green bridge- immediately turning right we were on sir francis drake blvd… we headed the remaining nine and a half miles to the little sign on the right hand side of the road that reads- DRAKES BAY OYSTER FARM….
following the oyster shell driveway we hit the farm…  this place is bad ass, there were atleast 15 people working the bay in front of us in various ways- some dredging, some cracking, some sorting, some headed back out into the bay with young oysters to drop…. in the first five minutes I saw atleast 3 of those employees crack open an oyster and slurp it down-  ahhhhhh  seeing the people eating the products straight from a harvest, that planted them in the first place is an inviting sight….  I sought out for my breakfast-  a pile of extra small drakes bay oysters overlooking drakes estero….  with all these niceties behind me, let me tell you why I am writing about this oyster farm… this farm is in peril of being shut down by secretary of the interior ken salazar…. the west marin pulitzer prize winning point reyes light volume LXVI no. 2 reported on Feb. 28th, 2o13 the drakes bay oyster company would be able to stay open- an appellate court ordered the obama administration to allow oyster farming to continue in drakes estero, this just days before the oyster farm could have been forced to close their doors, pay out 30 employees and destroy over 4 million oysters and numerous clams that have been growing over the past few years…. just shut the fucken doors and pretend like this little place of quality oyster production hasn’t existed for the past half a century, mind the 40% of cali’s oyster production…..  the pride of former monsanto employees that he now calls his administration are more than likely in both of his big ass ears on this one…..  when will this guy learn to leave food policy alone….  drakes bay oyster company provides great service to the community, as an innovative sustainable farm, an educational resource, and a part of the economic fiber of marin county… here is the following open letter to our secretary of the interior…..


Ken Salazar, Secretary of the US Department of the Interior
 
Dear Secretary Salazar,
Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, a beautiful and productive resource on the Point Reyes Peninsula, is in imminent danger of being a thing of the past. For generations this family farm, completely surrounded by the other family ranches and farms in the working landscape of the Point Reyes National Seashore, has been a popular visitor destination. The oyster farm’s 40-year renewable lease expires on November 30th.
Secretary Salazar, the continuation of this historic oyster farm is critical. Significantly, the National Academy of Sciences found that the oyster farm is NOT degrading the natural resources of Drakes Estero. Future generations depend on your decision to preserve jobs, history, culture, food, education and the environment. Please issue a renewable 10 year permit for the farm’s on-shore buildings as authorized by Congress, support the necessary upgrades to the onshore facilities, and allow the California Department of Fish and Game to continue to lease and regulate the shellfish production as they have since 1934.

Sincerely,
Chef Sebastian Carosi
an avid drakes bay oyster shucker ‘n slurper…..
 
I know that this post may only reach a few people, but listen it only takes a few strong to help make things happen….  chefs, cooks, oyster aficionados, foodies, ag-business owners, californians, americans and all others support in any way possible, save your local food sources and supplies for following generations…. I shucked and slurped my briny breakfast bivalves down one by one….  I want this place to be around for my greedy memories and america and california’s gastronomic history and culture…
HERE IS THE 411…
415.669.1149      open daily  8:30am-4:30pm
17171 sir frances drake boulevard  inverness, marin county california   94937

Thursday, January 3, 2013

the yellowfoot chanterelle........

 

cantharellus tubaeformis......
the winter chanterelle is a modest looking relative of the attractively colored chanterelle… it pops up overnight so quickly that you could almost watch it grow… tubaeformis means: trumpet-shaped…  it is an endearing mushroom not least because it tends to appear in great numbers in the forests rich with conifer and douglas fir… the hollow stem and hole in the cap let water flow through so the edible forest floor commodity remains frost-resistant… the color and shape vary according to age and weather conditions on the forest floor…each individual trumpet chanterelle has more than one color… the cap is brownish and has that unmistakable hole in the center… the ridges and the stalk range from brown-yellow to gray-yellow to gray-lilac… a positive id on these guys is: found in groups, hollow stem, ridges, brownish, thin fleshed… they are about an inch when mature, appear from December to February in the pacific northwest, mossy banks are a favorite habitat…. my close friend, chef and internationally known forager and mycological expert VERONICA WILLIAMS has just started to bring in the winter chanterelle, first basket is small, about a pound and a half… the next basket is plump as hell, now I can start to use these beauties for all applications in my kitchen… the next few baskets weight in at over 30lbs a piece…. wooooooo weeeeeeee the chanterelle needs the forest to thrive…. they love trees, and trees love them….!  
as a foraging chef the pacific golden chanterelle is my favorite- the flesh is firm and fibrous like chicken breast with a fruity odor akin to that of apricots or ripening field pumpkin… the mild, slightly peppery flavor harmonizes well with pasture raised eggs, creamery butter, fresh cream and all wild game… the yellowfoot is so small that they can be used whole…

Saturday, December 15, 2012

west coast clams.......(wild harvested).........!


on december 2nd of 2o12 todd osten and rob taylor owners and chief clam counters of WEST COAST CLAMS were led to the pickled fish in long beach, WA.....  four stories over the pacific ocean to let the inhabitants of the fish to try-  MARTHA WASHINGTONS (saxidomus giganteus), a sweet butter clam that is wild harvested in coos bay oregon by these two bad-ass purveyors of killer bivalves....  since i let fly out of my mouth that we on the east coast EAT our clams raw, i was the test tube baby for the group when the first clam got whacked...  i slurped down the mineral rich briney bastard and to my astonishment this ocean-going long neck clam was good as hell...   gulped down another bite...... damn was it good...! no one else at the table had the balls to chomp into the big gaping raw clam, but jake took a bite of a raw piece from the table- nice job....  these clams are found in low tidal areas, but these clams are found deep under the water and are dive harvested...  the butter clam meat is light pink (like every clam should be) in color, with a ruby red rim that produces a buttery sweet flavor... i put verjus from mount baker vineyards and roasted garlic butter on the split open bivalve and placed them in the alder wood fired oven and roasted them for 4-5minutes at 700*.....  damn these ginormous bivalves are fricken good....  i made three more then devoured all six of them...  west coast clams also offers GAPER CLAMS (tresus capax)-, commonly known on the oregon coast as empire clams and has been regarded as the mack daddy of all clams....  COCKLES (clinocardium)-  these tiny little bivalves are sweet, succulent, tender and juicy, a true coastal treat.... sometimes these boys will have wild harvested PACIFIC BLUE LIP MUSSELS (mytilus edulis).....  their motto is- FROM THE SEA FLOOR TO YOUR DOOR........!  check out these guys, their clams are world class and full of oceanic flavors that leave you satisfied these products are harvested with the future of our food in mind....   westcoastclams@gmail.com
 
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

iron chef goes coastal 2o12......


Pickled Fish Executive Chef Sebastian Carosi, Sous Chef Jake Way and Pastry Chef Heather Lynn will pack up and leave their eco-swanky digs on the 4th floor of Adrift Hotel + Spa to head down the coast a short distance to Seaside, OR so they can participate in the 5th annual iron chef goes coastal event… Since our coastal community has been giving up baskets full of wild forest foraged mushrooms the Pickled Fish culinary team will offer up: forest foraged wild mushroom strudel with country mustard cream and a toss of tiny herbs and greens… Most of the mushrooms were harvested by local legendary forest floor gypsy and mycological goddess-  Ms. Veronica Williams, a very close friend of Chef Carosi’s and his seasonal source of countless wild edibles including- sea beans, huckleberries, blackberries, salmonberries, truffles, wild celery, goose tongue, watercress, king boletus, nettles, oyster mushrooms and chanterelles… being able to serve something that represents a true sense  of place, like our prized local mushroom crop is what powers the Pickled Fish kitchen and staff to source their products as close to home as possible, exploiting the bounty of our edible coast throughout the 11th annual wild mushroom celebration… The 5th Annual Iron Chef Goes Coastal—sponsored by US Bank—will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Seaside Convention Center. 2011 Iron Chef winners, William Leroux of the Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge and John Newman of Newmans at 988, will draw knives with the 2011 People‘s Choice Award Winners, Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro and Stephanie Inn, forming two new teams to compete in a timed duel for the coveted 2012 Iron Chef Title. Come be part of this exciting competition while sampling delectable bites and casting your votes for the 2012 “People’s Choice” tasting and “People’s Dessert of Clatsop County”. Due to the generous amount of time and food donated by FSA and the participating restaurants 100% of all proceeds benefit United Way of Clatsop County and its agencies... Again this year a judge position will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. For the “People’s Choice” award you get to be the judge, by visiting each restaurant and casting your vote. After the votes are tallied, the top two restaurants will be announced and qualify as competitors in the 2013 Iron Chef Competition. Don’t forget dessert…again you get to be the judge for the “People’s Dessert Choice” where local pastry chefs compete for “Best Dessert of Clatsop County.” Door opens @5pm for silent auction and reserved seating. General admission door opens @6pm. Competition GONG sounds at 7pm... The first Iron Chef Goes Coastal event was held in 2008. It has grown each year to attract more guests and raise more money for local United Way agencies.... Chloe Houser of FOX 12 Oregon of PDX TV and local Chef Geoff Gunn will EMCEE the event... After the results were tallied the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD goes to-   chef sebastian carosi of pickled fish……………  yeah-boy  another trophy for the mantle…..  so next year chris from baked Alaska in astoria and myself will take on the wayfarere boys and try to dethrone them from their 4 year rein over the iron chef goes coastal event…..  be ready boys- be ready…..  kitchen stadium is prime for the pickin…

Friday, November 2, 2012

portland lamb jam.....


In early june of this year I was contacted by the american lamb board to participate in the first annual american lamb jam tour- portland lamb jam 2012……  after graciously excepting the invitation I called my lamb growers Dan and Susie Wilson owners of SuDan Farms in Canby, Oregon….  So on Sunday October 21st I handed the kitchen over to jake way (said sous chef of the pickled fish) and Heather and I headed to the space, a warehouse space that would host the inaugural american lamb jam portland….  I submitted my recipe a month or so prior-  smoky pinot noir soaked sudan farms leg of lamb with a salad of toasted ancient grains, lemonade pickled local peaches, vines and sundried starvation alley organic cranberries from the bog… I was very excited that adam sappington of the country cat was going to be the emcee and was going to give a hands-on demonstration of lamb butchery…

We got to the event with five minutes to enter the doors before they close to all restaurants and competing chefs……  whew…..  got a parking spot and headed to find our table in the land of leg……  we were oddly enough placed next to chris czarnecki of the joel palmer house and chef johnny nunn of brasserie montmartre, were I had eaten many times back in culinary school….. we set up our table and proceeded to cook our smoky pinot noir soaked leg of lamb parts and pieces-  the smell started to attract peoples’ attention but not many in the beginning…
I started to build the grain salad and look backed to see a huge line forming in front of our table….  No other lines were forming anywhere in the building- that felt good…..  we put our heads down and served the 600 people in attendance over the next few hours our crispy bits of smoky lambness… then the judging announcements came over the PA system….  Chef adam sappington’s voiced boomed with the winners in all categories:  The winners were Best Shank Dish: Mark Hosack of Gracies Dining; Best Shoulder Dish: Pascal Sauton of Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine; Best Breast Dish: Andrew Biggs of Hunt and Gathering Catering; Best Leg Dish: Sebastian Carosi of The Pickled Fish……  chef sebastian carosi of the pickled fish…… WTF I won……!  I was just happy to be there and to have been invited- now I am bringin’ home a big gold lamb of a trophy… I truly didn’t believe that I would win the fricken trophy…  booyah  a trophy to build a mantle around…..  thanks to the american lamb board for supporting the use of domestic lamb and heritage breeds…..  see ya next year….
visit the link below for official details….

Sunday, July 8, 2012

VSU 8th Annual Commercial Vegetable & Berry Field Day

On July 14th, 2011 I received a call from, well ok- I was putting my specialty greens order in on mike clarks voice mail at planet earth diversified when he called me back to invite me to Virginia State University’s 8th Annual Commercial Vegetable & Berry Field Day… they wanted me to be one of the VSU Iron Chef competitors and Dr. Rezza Rafi also wanted me to give a speech to over 300 virginia farmers on the aspects of getting their goods to the restaurants and other logistic matters associated with the modern day sustainable farm…. arriving at our hotel the night before we went to the farm to scope out the situation…. melons of varying varieties were semi ripe, mini lipstick peppers were ripe for the takin’, long beans were ripe, bitter melon ripe, tomatillos ripe, some heirloom tomatoes ripe, lots of basil- looks like it is bolting- but this is just a preview….. we will have to wait until tomorrow to pillage this rural garden of its booty that will drive us in to iron chef battle… menu brainstorm: after getting the list of available ingredients I found myself interested in- randolph farm aquaculture raised fresh water spot prawns, pasture raised local goat meat, mini lipstick peppers, bunching onions, misc. heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, carrots, genovese basil and some other herbs including verbena and mint… two dishes quickly came to mind- creamery butter poached spot prawns with misc. chilis and roasted carrot vinaigrette and/or blistered mini lipstick peppers stuffed with heirloom plantation rice, spot prawns and homemade goat chorizo with smoky pepper and tomatillosauces….. I went with the stuffed lipstick peppers…. six thirty the next mornin’ I found myself standing next to heather (zander too) on a virginia state university research farm with the head of the project, Dr. Rezza Rafi (with this man’s help we successfully grew a papaya there in virginia- yes in virginia), Tonia Reinhard (author of the book super foods), David Dunaway (horticulture specialist), Chef Harrison Keevil (owner of brookville restaurant in charlottesville), Chef Scott Williamson (henrico ornamental nursery), Chef Todd Johnson (owner of mezzanine and timber belly tavern in richmond, va), several representatives from virginia farmers direct marketing association, Dr. Franklin Jackson (dean of ag. at vsu), Chef Todd Burge (head of vsu culinary) and Mr. Motavio Alston (executive chef for the secretary of defense @ the pentagon)….. an interesting bunch standing in a greenhouse that grew a papaya in virginia….. oh-yeah those 300+ farmers were all there too…. we hurried to pick our quota of mini lipstick peppers but zanders stroller wheels kept getting stuck in the rich soil….. after picking all of our goods it was off to the prep kitchen location inside the newly built and barely used kitchens and equipment at Thompson Hospitality Dining Hall and the new Gateway Dining Facility…. this place was bad-ass, it was set up to put out huge numbers of meals to the student body utilizing the local foods grown by the agriculture students at randolph farm……
we missed the high-tunnel wind demonstrations, but we had no choice but to prep on……. with all this stuffed pepper and pentagon chef shit on my mind I completely forgot that I have to give a speech to over 300 virginia farmers, sharing helpful advice on the subject of how small farmers and producers can connect to and sell to demanding food service operations and local foods driven chefs in their areas and regions….. we started by getting our little peppers roasted, heirloom plantation rice cooked, goat meat chorizo made and fresh water spot prawns peeled and cooked… we then made our blistered lipstick pepper sauce, our charred tomatillo salsa verde and got the stuffing mixed and adjusted the seasonings….. stuffing commenced- (heather did all the stuffin’ and I did all the yackin’) we were told to prepare 50 samples and 2 plates for the judges, but when they came to ask for plates they asked for 4 judges plates….. let’s just say I know better- so with the crowd of 300+ swelling by midafternoon, I am glad we stuffed over 180 peppers and brought along some of virginia’s finest artisan & farmstead cheeses for the crowd to nosh on before the samples were ready… they got their nibble on…. they took down over 8lbs. of cheese in under 10 minutes…….. damn….! and our samples lasted just as long…… with people lined up for more a half hour after we ran out….. it was now time to get our plates to the judges…. and wait- after about an hour they announced the winner….. chef todd Johnson (the wolfgang puck protégé)…….!
it did not matter at all WHO won, cause we all had one hell of a good time on the stage speakin’ our minds about what we are bent on believing for our progressive kitchens these days…. we were all handed a certificate of appreciation from virginia state university and headed back to our mothership kitchens, some with a check for $500 bucks some with nothin’…… after the scoring was tallied I found out that I lost by 2/100ths of a point…… we stuck around for the vsu luncheon of country fried chicken, salad greens from the farm, buttered yeast rolls, sweet tea, mashed taters, baked church beans, ham-hock stewed green beans and summer rambo apple pie….. ate with 12 virginia farmers, they were cool shit with great topics facing their farms and their products….. gave my 20 minute speech with a beautiful power point presentation, got a standing ovation with eminem in the background, tore the bottom off of my speech, wrote my produce order on it, handed it to leslie from planet earth diversified, who was doing the videography for the event and headed the almost four hours back to rappahannock county…. thanks virginia state university, thanks mike & leslie from planet earth diversified, thanks to my fellow chefs for doing yet another food event with me, and a special thanks to the more than 300 farmers in attendance from around the state…. here are a few links to media coverage of the event:









 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

heritage breed hogs

Pigs were traditionally raised with little direct management, allowed to forage for their own food, fed by-products from dairies, bakeries, and breweries, and used to glean fields after harvest. Pigs' ability to utilize spoiled food and other waste made them a valuable sanitation service even in urban settings. Under such "extensive" husbandry, pigs could be used to produce meat with little investment in feed, time, or labor. Today, most pigs in North America are kept in large, climate controlled buildings and fed high-energy grains that have been grown and transported specifically as animal feed. The evolution of pig husbandry has affected the number and type of pig breeds that were raised. Pigs were first brought to the Americas by Columbus in 1493, DeSoto in 1539, and other early explorers. As colonies were established, pigs were imported from England, Spain, Portugal, and other countries. The types of pigs imported were not well documented until after about 1800, when a multitude of breed names began to appear in the historical record. The most important were three imported breeds - the Berkshire, the Big China, and the Irish Grazier - which were widely used as improvers of common stocks. Pigs were an essential part of every farm, being used for home production of lard and pork. They could also be driven to market to generate ready income. Every region seemed to have its own breed of pigs, selected from available stocks to fit the specific climate, uses, and markets. For most of the 1800s, decentralization of breeds and breeding was characteristic of pig production, and this served to maintain a broad genetic foundation for the future. As the larger settled farms of the Midwest began to produce excess corn, the availability and low cost of this feed attracted pig production and processing to the region. By the mid-1800s, the states that produced the most corn also produced the most pigs, and production declined in the East and New England. The industry was becoming geographically centralized as well and the number of breeds of pigs began to decline. Several breeds became extinct by the early 1900s. Pig breeds were traditionally classified as one of two types, lard or bacon. Lard breeds were used to produce lard, a cooking fat and mechanical lubricant. These pigs were compact and thick, with short legs and deep bodies. They fattened quickly on corn, and their meat had large amounts of fat in it. This was considered desirable for improved taste and keeping qualities of the pork. In contrast bacon pigs were long, lean, and muscular. They were traditionally fed on legumes, small grains, turnips, and dairy byproducts, feeds which are high in protein and low in energy. As a result, bacon pigs grew more slowly and put on more muscle than fat. Almost all American pig breeds were considered lard types, with only the Yorkshire and the Tamworth classified as bacon breeds. The market for lard was very strong during World War II, when it was used in the manufacture of explosives. With most lard diverted for military purposes, people had to switch to vegetable oils for cooking. After the war, these oils were successfully marketed as healthier fats, and lard never regained its place in the diet. About the same time, petrochemicals and synthetic nitroglycerine replaced lard for industrial and military purposes. With the decline in the market for lard, demand for lard pigs collapsed. This sudden market shift caused selection of the lard pig breeds to change completely. Breeders needed to produce leaner meat, and they began to select pigs for muscling, rather than fattening, when fed corn. The most popular breeds of the time, including the Berkshire, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, and Yorkshire, received most of the industry's attention. These breeds were widespread, and they had the genetic diversity necessary for selection to change direction. The less popular lard breeds were ignored, and most of them disappeared. Only three breeds of traditional lard type remain today, the Choctaw, Guinea Hog, and Mulefoot. The economic structure of pig production has also changed dramatically since World War II. Pigs used to be an integral part of subsistence and diversified commercial farming, and every farmer kept a few pigs. In contrast, production today is dominated by a few large corporations which are vertically integrated, controlling every step from selection of breeding stock to marketing pork in the supermarket. The number of pig farms has declined precipitously; some farmers have become contract growers for the corporations and others have gone out of business. Fewer and fewer sale barns and processing facilities are open to independent pig farmers. This economic centralization has led to genetic narrowing as well. Today, the pork industry rests on a three-way cross between a few highly selected strains of the Duroc, Hampshire, and Yorkshire breeds which have been chosen for performance under intensive husbandry. The seven other commercial breeds that remain, including the Berkshire and Poland China, have declined in economic importance, and a handful of critically rare breeds barely cling to survival. It is ironic that an industry whose success was built on a foundation of genetic diversity is rapidly discarding most of its remaining genetic material. Rare breeds of pigs will not be conserved by the pork industry, since these breeds do not have the characteristics desired for today's intensive production of pork. Instead, survival of rare breeds depends upon their use in traditional production niches, such as on pasture and in woodlands, where their hardiness and efficiency have economic value. The market for sustainably produced pork is very small, but it is increasing. In addition, diversified commercial farmers are once again becoming interested in using pigs in conjunction with land clearing, field crops, specialty vegetables, dairying, fruit production, and other agricultural enterprises. This may also provide habitat for rare breeds… having been raised on a hog farm, i have learned to appreciate these breeds and thoroughly enjoy their deep pig flavor... we raised heritage breed yorkshires before it was cool to raise heritage breeds........ my first sow was named esmerelda..... she was a 400+ pound beauty.......

Sunday, May 27, 2012

cochon555

on march 11th of 2o12 I handed the historic kitchen at the shelburne inn over to my linecook and a hired gun- so that I could attend the premier pork event of the year- cochon555’s fourth us tour….. this sunday, the day of the sabbath and a day to rejoice pig itself- we will be conjoining on an eatery in downtown portland, oregon (pdx)- the original, a classy modern joint with a high bar, a pig orientated chef and the space to host 400+ swine lovers… well 402 counting me and my baby (who got us the $350 tickets to this pugnacious pig affair) so the plan is- 5pm VIP entry . 5-6pm tasting . 5:15-6pm butcher demo by tracy smaciarz of heritage meats washington . 6:30 the votes are open . 6:45 heritage hog bbq by ethan powell + tobias hogan of EaT oyster bar . 7pm dessert . 7:15 champagne toast . 7:30 awards…. a friendly competition when five chefs cook for one cause- pig ........! converging on downtown pdx I was reminded that one of my wisdom teeth had gone on full blown swollen… I couldn’t pass this up… in we went, stopping to enjoy a table of cultured milk curds provided by cheese bar of portland….. next it was on to trays of hamma hamma oysters on the half shell- as swollen as I was I consumed 2 to 3 dozen…. slurpin ‘em down one after the next… entering the event we are blessed with mason jars full of bacon- on every fucken table in the room- thanks brady…. first room we hit was booming with the presents of chef adam sappington of the country cat dinner house and bar- the berkshire was his hog of distinction… he and his wife made scrapple chips with ranch, all pork slow buns, bacon & butterscotch cookies (I went back twice for these pork poppers), texas bbq baked beans- this crew is going to be hard to beat…… into the big room with chef vitaly paley of paleys place- my down the block competition years ago when I was at tribeca…. Nonetheless he is a bad ass james beard award winning chef and the former cochon555 prince of pork…. vitaleys’ red wattle hog offerings included- black pudding with rich pork broth, spicy pork belly buttercup, face & feet croquettas (these were fricken off the hook), mad mans pork loaf with molasses mustard and a 3 layer terrine of pig…. moving on past vitaley yields naked dead pig parts and master butcher from heritage meats Washington- tracy smaciarz… cutting a large black from the collective… today the some culinary students and tracy worked together to create a series of essays and photographic essays on complete animal utilization… bravo guys- bravo…… on the corner of the room I found the crazy ass team from the woodsman tavern- with one of the crew swingin’ a huge chainsaw in the air for the local paparazzi film team…. their offerings were given up by a duroc hog from worden hill farm…. chef jason barwikowski is another pdx bad-ass, at clyde common he barrel-ages his own spirits in the basement…. his menu for the evening included- kielbasa two ways, kishka pierogi with apple butter vinaigrette, bigos- hunter stew (this was piglicious) and braised pig head….. opposite corner of the large room lay ms. naomi pomeroy of beast….. but I was diverted by a tiny asian woman named rita jia you of lucky strike…. she blasts us with the true taste and aromas of sichuan cuisine, she hails from where the pig is a pillar of good eating and it shows….. salty, spicy, pungent parts of the tamworth, this chick kicks ass…. little hibachi grills pour flavor filled vapors around the room…. a stop at the sokol blosser table for a glass of organic oregon pinot noir, then on to naomi pomeroy and beast… the black shirt chick brigade of beast converted a mckinley farms large black into: foie gras poached pork loin with aged sauvignon blanc pickled fennel, devilled pork mousse with oregon black truffle toasted brioche, celery-apple slaw, mini parker house rolls with 16 hour grape-wood smoked pork shoulder with long cooked collards and crispy shallots, glazed pork belly with angelino plum & ginger confiture and micro mustard greens, pork pudding with cinnamon sugar cracklin’s and vanilla bean whipped lardo- this plate was like a little full on rock show but just too much going on for me to enjoy one thing…. that’s it- all the pork was behind me….. but out rolled brady with ethan powell & tobias hogan of EaT oyster bar pushing a boos block with two huge ass smoked pork butts and a half dozen southern sides….. time to get my eat on one more time….. watching them fill a tower of over 400 champagne flutes was very impressive but my vote went to- adam sappington, but he did not leave as the prince of pork 2o12….. I will await the next cochon555 event with straight up exuberance…. maybe in another city, maybe in the great city of portland, oregon….. I hope that you will join me heather carosi, I hope that you will join me…. one more glass of champagne before we hit the road for the coast of washington state… this was one of the most memorable food event of my life I am so glad we shared these moments together…..! I hope that people understand that we must consume these heritage breed beasts to keep the breeds alive for generations to come…. our children deserve foods not born in test tubes….

Saturday, May 26, 2012

an ode to the belly........

ROOM! room! make room for the bouncing Belly, First father of sauce and deviser of jelly; Prime master of arts and the giver of wit, That found out the excellent engine, the hog roasting spit, The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper, The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper, The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel, The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel. He, he first invented the hogshead and tun, The gimlet and vice too, and taught 'em to run; And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag, He's made of himself that now he cries swag; Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches, Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches Of any delight, and not spares from his back.. Whatever to make of the belly a sack. Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste, For fresh pig meats or powdered, or pickle or paste! Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod! And emptier of cups, be they even or odd! All which have now made thee so wide i' the waist, As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced; But eating and drinking until thou dost nod, Thou break'st all thy girdles and break'st forth a god....

sustainable west coast seafood watch list

worldwide, the demand for seafood is increasing…. yet many populations of the large fish we enjoy consuming are overfished and, in the US, we import over 80% of our seafood to meet the current demands… destructive fishing and fish farming practices only add to the problem….. by purchasing fish caught or farmed using environmentally friendly practices, you’re supporting healthy, abundant oceans… MBA recommendations are thoroughly researched by monterey bay aquarium scientists… make a difference- purchase green list seafood . ask your fishmonger where your seafood comes from . tell your friends, the more ocean-friendly shoppers out there, the better…. your best choices are: us farmed abalone, farmed arctic char, us farmed barramundi, us farmed catfish, us farmed clams, longline pacific cod, Dungeness crab, us pacific halibut, us spiny lobster, us farmed mussels, us farmed cold water estuary oysters (such as those from willapa bay, wa or damariscotta, me), hook & line black rockfish, alaskan sablefish (black cod), wild alaskan salmon, us pacific sardines, off bottom farmed scallops, oregon pink shrimp, wild striped bass, us farmed tilapia, us farmed rainbow trout, skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, hook & line white sea bass…..

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sea beans...............( salicornia )

mysterious green plants known as sea beans (or just 'greens' to native folks) are popping up and have becoming increasingly prominent at farmers markets and local foods driven restaurants throughout areas that have a good supply, especially here in the pacific northwest where washington state and oregon meet at the mouth of the columbia river…. I have been receiving buckets of these saline palate pounders from my local forager and finding them in the marshes of willapa bay……. although their scientific name is salicornia, they are frequently referred to by many names, including pickleweed, glasswort, drift seeds, sea asparagus, sea pickles, and marsh samphire…. found in the tidal flat areas, their vivid ultra-green stalks, which grow on salt marshes and beaches, have a crunchy texture and a briny flavor with a vegetal aftertaste that's been likened to asparagus (without the smelly pee)….. they can be eaten raw, but have a high sodium content, so often they are blanched to remove some of their saltiness….. sea beans can also be sautéed, steamed, pickled, and even battered and fried, yes fried…… I have been tossing them with meyer lemon juice and serving them with crispy wild caught spring chinook salmon skin for $15, or a thick piece of applewood smoked salmon belly over the same meyer lemon dressed sea beans- fricken yum…. salicornia is a genus of succulent, halophyte (salt tolerant)plants that grow in salt marshes, on beaches, and among mangroves…. salicornia species are native to north america… salicornia europaea is a highly edible wild edible, either cooked or raw…. in england it is one of several plants known as samphire; the term samphire is believed to be a corruption of the french name, herbe de saint-pierre, which means “st. peter's herb…..” samphire is usually steamed and then coated in butter or olive oil….. due to its high salt content, it must be cooked without any salt added, in plenty of water….. It has a hard stringy core, and after cooking, the edible flesh is pulled off from the core….. this flesh, after cooking, resembles seaweed in color, and the flavor and texture are like young spinach stems or asparagus…. samphire is very often used as a suitably maritime accompaniment to fish or seafood….. eating this coastal treat raw with a little fresh squeezed lemon juice is allowing one to truly experience this salt loving plant at its finest… In addition to salicornia europaea, the seeds of salicornia bigelovii yield a highly edible oil…. salicornia bigelovii's edibility is compromised somewhat because it contains saponins, which are toxic under certain conditions…. this is where years of foraging come into play- one should know the true identity of a foraged wild edible before consumption…. a friend told me before I went live with this post that her haida and tlingit indian friends in alaska called sea baeans ‘…greens…’ and that they make a salad with mayo, crispy bacon bits, green onion, hard boiled eggs and sea beans- something that resembles egg salad to us white bread americans in the lower 48… These same native people sometimes put tiny local salad shrimp in the salad as we do in our kitchen on occasion…… yum