Wednesday, October 27, 2010

esopus spitzenberg........(malus domestica)

one of the great american apple varieties, thomas jefferson's favorite...... he planted over 18 esopus trees at monticello many years ago..... noted for its spicy flavor, and for its susceptibility to any and all diseases afflicting apples.... this highly respected american antique apple is named after the settlement of ESOPUS, ulster county, new york, where it was found towards the end of the 18th century..... it was widely planted in the US in the 19th century and utilized for both dessert and culinary applications, but subsequently fell out of fashion although it remains a popular heirloom variety for gardeners and trees are available from many US nurseries...... the apples have an excellent flavor complexity, which improves with storage, making this a great keeper...... while american apple enthusiasts often seek out european (and especially english) antique varieties, there is unfortunately little if any interest in AMERICAN HEIRLOOM varieties..... it is apparent that american and european tastes in apples are quite different, with europeans apparently preferring slightly more complex flavors...... however, if there was ever an AMERICAN ANTIQUE variety that should appeal to european tastes, it must be the ESOPUS SPITZENBERG..........! the flavor is truly aromatic and matches the complexity of the aromatic english apples...... the flesh is very buttery dense yellow, and there is a rich sharpness which is often characteristic of high quality heirloom and antique dessert apples..... eating an ESOPUS is a thoroughly enjoyable experience...... in terms of supermarket varieties, the closest match is probably the JAZZ, which also has similar dense flesh and rich sharp flavors...... having been able to enjoy the ESOPUS SPITZENBERG many times over, whether in one of our ANTIQUE APPLE SYMPOSIUMS through THE NEW ENGLAND FARM 2 FORK PROJECT or by finding a single tree at an antique apple orchard this apple is still by far my favorite AMERICAN ANTIQUE APPLE.......... hands down

rachel ray lost 44lbs...........!!!

dogged by a growing image problem (fat ass americans) that has linked HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP with everything from obesity to diabetes, the corn refiners association has come up with a smart solution- (or a sly and sneaky one, depending on your point of view): change the name..... according to the Associated Press, the CRA is applying to the federal government to approve 'corn sugar' as an alternative name on our food labels...... it seems HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP is a victim of its own success.... developed in the 1970's as a cheaper alternative to cane sugar, it quickly found its way into EVERYTHING from soda pop to bread..... but as the rates of obesity and diabetes in america climbed, the ubiquitous sweetener (known as the dietary devil) came to symbolize all that was wrong with the average americans diet..... consumers started avoiding it like the plague, no doubt in part because the name just sounded- well too damn industrialized.....! after all, my deep-rooted italian mom or grandma never reached for the HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP to make any of their homemade breads, desserts or condiments...... even some conglomerate manufacturers started removing it from their products: gatorade, snapple, hunts and coca cola jumped on the bandwagon.... the CRA is crying unfair and a foul.................... they have now launched a slick new website that welcomes readers with a picture of a pleasant photo of a corn maze and the question- '.......confused about what you're hearing about HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP......? but we in the food world already know: whether it is called corn sugar or HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, it is sugar and its make up is like practically every other sugar out there........ white (death) sugar, brown sugar, sucrose, honey, and even maple sugar are all roughly the same mixture of simple sugars called glucose and fructose....... given the fact that the american diet is already toooo damn sweet, we as american consumers with mounting health issues should be consuming less and less sugar in any of its molecular forms..... but hey- rachel ray lost 44lbs....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

piss off...................wee-wee whisky

the whisky world has been chattering like mad about designer and researcher james gilpin's student project......... showcased at london's royal college of art's show 2o1o...... design interactions....... which turns the sugar rich urine (yes I said piss) of diabetics into high-end single malt whisky....... yes I said piss....! the inspiration for GILPIN FAMILY WHISKY came from his own life as a type 1 diabetic..... his type 2 diabetic grandmother was his first candidate or shall we say-piss donor..... his projects states, '.....old people's urine becomes an exportable whisky of high economic value..........' large amounts of sugar are excreted on a daily basis by type 2 diabetic patients, especially among older people, gilpin also thinks that we should start to consider using that sugar creatively........ (piss flavored whisky..........roll in your grave gentleman jack- roll in your grave) gilpin cleans the urine using water purification techniques, seperating out the sugars that are present.... this sugar is added to a cooked grain mixture where it accelerates the fermentation process..... (yeast eats sugar, and alcohol is the byproduct) he then distills a clear whisky, then adds other whisky blends for color and taste........ taste...! what can whisky made of piss taste like.....? dont worry all of you artisan whisky and whiskey makers, this is NOT a commercial venture- it is strictly an exhibit intended to spark debate and to serve as an educational tool........

Monday, October 4, 2010

Route 11 Potato Chips.............VA

Route 11 Potato Chips originally started in an old feed store in Middletown, VA. situated near the center of the Shenandoah Valley, they have up rooted and are now in a state-of-the-art chipping facility in Mount Jackson, VA....! (just down da road) Fry-viewing opportunities abound as do kick-ass chips for sampling and purchasing.... Route 11 is famous for its delicious, old style kettle-cooked tater chips with all natural flavor enhancements..... Everything they make is hand-cooked... Although it is very labor intensive compared to the continuous frying methods of the big boys..... Ah- the pleasures of the Shenandoah Valley- Apple Blossoms, Bucolic Farms and tater chips..... You will find yourself lining up like a pilgrim at a shrine to enjoy these hip chips..... Just think- Chef Jose Andres uses these chips to make his world famous 'DC' potato chip omelet..... On our visit the chippery was pumping out hand-dusted Barbecue Chips... Some are little ovals of locally grown potatoes with burnished edges and slight undulations.... Others are tater plateaus, doubling back on themselves like some coral formation containing nubby caverns of perfectly fried tubers..... The retro packaging sports eye catching appeal and the crispy nuggets of tater-ness contained inside are truly hip chips..... Lightly Salted . BBQ . Dill Pickle . Sour Cream & Chive . Chesapeake Crab . Salt-n-Vinegar . Garlic & Herb . Sweet Potato . Mixed Vegetable . Tabard Farm Yukon Gold . Mama Zumas . Habenero & Eastern Shore Hayman are the sinfully delicious specimens... Oh- did I forget to mention that Sarah (da chip queen) is also committed to the environment..... All tater chip peelings and chip rejects are fed to cows 1/2 mile down the road..... The fry oil is reused by another local company to roast their horse feed.... They also reclaim the steam from the fryers (taters are 75% H20) to help heat the facility kitchen..... crunch on with your GREEN selves route 11...... Come get your tater chip fix.... 800.294.spud

Sunday, October 3, 2010

maine lobster.............a rare calico bug

a rare calico lobster is on display at the Portland Lobster Company on commercial street in the old port of portland, maine's busy fishing community... the creature is sporting a mottled orange and black shell rather than the usual deep green and red shell that is so common to humerus americanus... this bug was caught by larry and crystal dunne, who have been harvesting maine bugs for years off the coast... the saco couple pulled up this calico bug on august 25th, 2o1o off the tip of cape elizabeth while aboard their boat, the bushwhacker... the Portland Lobster Company is 'boarding' the calico crustacean until the Dunne's can find it a new home- or a pot of boiling salted water.....! calico lobsters are one of the rarest of multicolored lobsters in the sea... a blue bug is one in a million and a yellow or orange bug is one in thirty million, reports a lobster scientist from The Lobster Conservancy... calico's are rare, only albino's are rarer, just how rare is anyones guest... discolored shells are a genetic trait... in twenty-five years The Lobster Conservancy has only had two or three calicoes reported by local lobstermen... the maine state aquarium in west boothbay has a tank full of unusual 'bugs'... some are half multi-colored and the half is normal... the bugs have been donated by local lobstermen who believe strongly that it is GOOD luck to catch a mis-colored bug, but BAD luck to eat one.....! the Dunne's have been working their way through the entire lobster color spectrum... her husband has caught both blue and yellow specimens in the past few years... finding a permanent homestead for this calico creature may be harder than usual this summer though, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in portland has had so many donations, including an awesome albino this season that it has run out of room... no one knows why so many off-colored 'bugs' are showing up off the coast of maine this year... this is an unusual summer- so draw some local creamery butter, cook some native sweet corn-on-the-cob, make a classic wild maine 'low-bush' blueberry pie and cook that calico bastard then get crackin'..........! ( check out maine buggin' a documentary about the maine lobster industry )

Friday, October 1, 2010

geno's.......whiz wit........and andrew zimmern

driving from providence, rhode island to south philly with the ever-so consuming thought of geno's philly cheese-steak (whiz wit, please) burned into our brain and tattooed into the deep recesses of our palate..... we forge on- chewing up asphalt we hit the five hour mark and are now within striking distance of GENO'S........ (it's 6:35pm) as we pull up to the intersection of 1237 passyunk ave and 1219 south 9th street (pat's king of steaks and geno's steaks) I noticed a large group of what seems to be men in extravagant feathered costumes playing an oompah tune and dancing in the street.... a very busy street that just happens to be ground zero for the philly cheesesteak wars (move over nicky scarfo)...... as we approach the epicenter I look over to my left and notice none-other than ANDREW 'fucken' Zimmern (that's not his real middle name)...............!!! andrew zimmern, the man all of us culinarians look to when it comes to consuming the nastiest, smelliest most off the damn wall foods on the planet (quickly remembering the house of stink in asia somewhere)........ this dude is a freak of nature, a true foodies foodie and one of heather's favorite food-world stars.... and it just happened to be his birthday..... at the intersection of cheese whiz, shaved steak, maybe onions and a pillow-soft roll (baked in jersey of course) we met food writer, tv celeb, chef, author, teacher and the consumer of all thangs stanky..... this seemed to dwarf the whole reason we were there in philly..... geno's whiz wit...... andrew is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world..... host of travel channel's hit series- BIZZARE FOODS, andrew travels the world exploring food in its own terroir- wherever and however it is found..... from restaurants to jungle markets, it's all about discovering the authentic experience...... the geno's cheesesteak whiz wit was still as we remember it- SCRUMPTDILLIOUS....!!! hit the road with andrew zimmern in search of america's best curbside cuisine..... be sure to check out APPETITEFORLIFE.MSN.COM to see '...appetite for life- curbside cuisine...' in its many american culinary locations....... and remember we traveled a total of almost 500 miles and nearly 6 hours in the car to get a geno's steak....... whiz wit.... as we walk the short distance back to the overstuffed automobile we over hear 3 asians kids discussing the differences between the 2 leaders in philly cheesesteakdom.... they seem to prefer PAT'S KING OF STEAKS because there is less neon and glitz..... but is the steak sandwich better at PAT'S....? we have not been able to give it much thought after consuming the much anticipated steak at GENO's...........!!! my mouth waters for our next visit