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....

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


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

foraging with veronica forest floor gypsy

ms. veronica williams learned to pick mushrooms and berries as a way of life, from her mother in her native hungary… she has been a citizen of the united states of America and a resident of south bend, washington since 1949… although none of us will ever know our forest floor gypsy’s true age- these things are best left untouched…. the hilly forests of pacific county resemble the land she grew up on, knew and loved as a child… naturally, the familiar landscape and surroundings encouraged her to continue her avocation and traditions of reaping the harvest of wild edible commodities…. It is a joy to watch her haul in bucket after bucket of wild harvested celery, flats of fiddlehead ferns (these she blows the brown paper like skin off with a pressure washer), multitudes of mushrooms (some she swears are the biggest she has ever found), white and black truffles (she once gave me like $1200.oo worth as a gift- well I traded 2 pieces of beer-can chicken for them), huckleberries, salmonberries, goose tongue and watercress…. according to veronica- ‘…..the food is here for the picking….’ Her skills netted her 200+ gallons of wild berries last season, she has a wealth of SPOTS…. these SPOTS will never, ever be given up to anyone outside her immediate family…. she may sometimes wind up with another of my farmers weaved baskets, but this is the coolest old chick I have ever met… the products that she brings me cannot be dubbed ORGANIC, for they are wild, like veronicas spirit when she is in the deep emerald green forests… it should not go without saying that veronica forages with a respect for all that grows, following the ways of the native american people- the original ecologists….! she is a lifelong member of the mycological society of america and prizes herself on what she describes as “mushroom eyes’….. see- veronica can spot an edible mushroom from the seat of her car travelling at fifty miles an hour…. veronica has been the chef at the tokeland studio outpost since its opening in 1985…. The food in her kitchen is prepared the old school way, from scratch- using wild and natural ingredients…… veronica is a chefs chef, loving to talk food, she is a true inspiration for people educating themselves on wild edibles…. having her float in and out of my kitchen 2-3 times a week is a pleasure, this the kitchen where friend of veronicas- mr. james beard had cooked thirty years prior… for wild edibles call veronica @ 360.718.0362 or 360.875.6295… she has a solid following among us chefs here in the pacific northwest and beyond… rock on veronica – rock on…… the three early oyster mushrooms that you brought me today with the wild celery were fricken absurd, they were the size of my hand, one bigger……

wild stinging nettles.........( urtica dioica )

several weeks ago I was blessed with a big ass basket of nutrient rich wild stinging nettles from my dear friend and nationally acclaimed forager and life-long member of the american mycological society, ms. veronica williams… she says that she gathered this bunch of nettles from an area close to the mouth of the columbia river on the oregon side close to astoria- that is ALL the info she would give up…..! for days after I cursed her for the stinging itch my forearms went through to make the seasons’ first nettle soup…. Nettles happen to be one of my all time favorite wild edibles…. And one of the most nutrient dense of all early season wild edibles… if the season is cooperating one can harvest nettles in the chilly month of february, at sea level that is…. As any forager knows, though, this plant is called stinging nettle for a good reason… when one touches the leaves, the tips of the sharp, hollow hairs penetrate the skin and brake, depositing a toxin… the result is a painful burning or stinging, along with a localized rash… although the young leaves do not seem to sting as much as the more mature ones, the sensation is not a pleasant one in any fricken case… my forearms still itch…..! this stinging quality was once employed by the quileute seal hunters, who would rub themselves with nettles before going out to sea, to help keep them awake through the night… the indigenous peoples of western washington state (where I am now) used nettle leaves, stems, and roots medicinally: a tonic was prepared from any and all of those parts, to reduce the pain and discomfort of rheumatism, colds, headaches and childbirth… the habitat for thriving nettles is deep rich soil and near moisture, frequently shady; sea level to low mountains; extremely abundant in the pacific northwest…. grows throughout most of north america though, I have found nettles in virginia, north carolina, south carolina, tennessee, new hampshire, vermont and maine….. urtica comes from the latin uro, ‘to burn,’ because of the nettle’s stinging hairs, dioica means that the male and female flowers are on separate plants, though in general this is not true of nettles found in the pacific northwest…

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The various parts of a meat animal which are used as food but which are not skeletal muscle. The term literally means “offfall”, or the pieces which fall from a carcass when it is butchered. Originally the word applied principally to the entrails. It now covers insides includingthe heart, liver, and lungs (collectively known as the pluck), all abdominal organs and extremities: tails, feet, and the head including jowls, brains andtongue. In the USA the expression “organ meat” or “variety meat” is used instead… Offal from edible birds and poultry is usually referred to as giblets(nothing beats a good New England giblet gravy on Thanksgiving)… Another archaic English word for insides, especially those of deer, was ‘umbles’, a term which survives in the expression “to eat humble pie”, meaning to be apologetic or submissive…. The taste and texture of offal depends on the particular organ, and on the species and age of animal from which it was harvested from. Generally speaking, offal from young calves is held to be the best, providing large organs of fine flavor and texture (sautéed calves liver and onions- yum)…. Heritage breed lamb offal is also good, but sheep, pig, and ox offal tends to be coarse in flavor and texture….. Although some pig liver is on the sweet side, especially if the liver is from a free foraging pasture raised heritage hog… Offal does not keep well so must either be prepared and cooked quite soon after slaughter or turned into a product which does keep…. The type of offal used in any given culture depends on the favored meat animal, which may in turn depend on religious dietary laws….. Muslim countries use a tremendous amount of lamb offal.…. The Chinese have numerous ways of dealing with organs from their big black pigs….. Offal is a wonderful source of protein, and some organs, notably the liver and kidneys, are very valuable nutritionally….. In most parts of the world, especially the less developed countries, it is valued accordingly. In the English-speaking world, however, the pattern is different. In North America, there has been and still exists a squeamish attitude toward most variety meats. In Britain, where there used to be no qualms about eating offal, overt consumption has declined in the last half of the 20th century, although most offal is in fact still eaten in processed foods where it is not clearly ‘visible’ to the consumer- hot dog anyone......? Squeamish attitudes may be explained on various grounds. Heads and feet remind consumers too directly that the food is of animal origin. Ambivalence about eating certain bits of an animal’s anatomy, such as testicles, is expressed through the use of euphemistic names like swingin’ steaks, fries and rocky mountain oysters to mention a few (dare one eat rocky mountain oysters on the half shell)…..! Some internal offal has surreal shapes and strong flavors, which are not to everyone’s taste. The meat of feet and ears is characterized by textures which are gelatinous and crunchy at the same time, a combination which is generally disliked in the western world, although appreciated in the Orient… I love slaughter time, I make ‘the listener sandwich’- (a crispy pigs ear between two pieces of white peasant bread with a splash of homemade coca cola barbecue sauce)…. A true gastronomic delight out of the two pig ears that generally go to waste…… Roasted snout can be crispy and gelatinous at the same time, leaving ones taste buds and palate in a wonderful place….

Thursday, April 19, 2012

buddy cianci..........the prince of providence

Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, Jr., the ebullient five-term mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, has spent almost a quarter-century stirring things up in the city I was so proudly born in. Starting with his first squeaker of a victory in 1974, Cianci has kept the pot boiling through several re-elections, a forced resignation, a stint as a local radio talk show host, a triumphant return to office, and now a long run as his revived city's biggest booster. But these days, in addition to politics, Cianci has something else cooking -specifically, the Mayor's Own Marinara Sauce (MOMS). Cianci's adaptation of an old family recipe is a low-cal, no-cholesterol mix of tomatoes and lots of onions blended with garlic, olive oil, pepper, herbs, and carrots- the last, he says, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. It's a bit thin for fans of chunky sauce (marinara isn't supposed to be chunky, Cianci says), but it's tasty enough to have won Rhode Island Monthly's blind taste test for the state's "best jarred spaghetti sauce." Donna Lee, food editor for the Providence Journal-Bulletin, approvingly calls it "a very light, gently seasoned marinara -- as opposed to the thick, heavy, over spiced sauces that are proliferating on the supermarket shelves and seem to be made with tomato paste instead of real Rhode Island grown tomaters." More impressively, in the two years since it went on the market, MOMS has appeared in the "Today" show, New England Cable News, and USA Today. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, the president of Italy, and the prime minister of Portugal have all taken jars home as souvenirs of Providence visits. Cartier, the posh New York jeweler, wreathed a jar in gems and placed it in the front window of its Fifth Avenue emporium. Making marinara may, in fact, one of the affable Cianci's most popular mayoral acts. Still, when students at Brown University did their own taste test, MOMS fell to supermarket brand Prego. So why all the fuss…..? And more importantly, why is the full-time mayor of a rapidly changing city spending his time mixing up sauce rather than mixing it up with his opponents….? The answer, perhaps, can be found on the label. Next to Hizzoner's beaming face is the official mayoral seal, which according to the Providence city charter can be used for a broad range of non-commercial activities. MOMS fits that definition: 100 percent of the profits from sauce sales goes into the Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. Scholarship Fund and thence into scholarships to high-achieving, college-bound Providence high school students who meet academic criteria, have a family income just beyond the federal government's Pell Grant guidelines, and demonstrate an active interest in their community… Hizzoner started the scholarship fund in 1991, financing it by hosting an annual golf tournament. Then, in 1994, he was preparing for a political event by mixing up a small batch -- only about 150 gallons -- of his pasta sauce recipe. "I always give a little gift away at my events," he explained. "So afterwards I had a few jars left over, and they were sitting on my desk the next day when I held a press conference. The reporters asked about it, they wrote about it, and people started to call asking where they could buy it." It occurred to him that this was one fundraising opportunity that wouldn't end with the golf season. At first it seemed like a joke, but my man Cianci is no novice to the publicity game. After all, he's spent the better part of the Nineties exuberantly and incessantly pushing Providence to lift itself out of the doldrums of class struggle, racial tension, and economic misfortune that plagued it throughout the middle of the century. This is also the same man who was forced to resign from office in 1984 after receiving a suspended prison term for assaulting a man who was allegedly having an affair with Cianci's estranged wife -- then was swept back into office six years later. And in 1996 he was dubbed by Rhode Island Monthly not only "best politician," but also "the Rhode Islander you'd most like to go on a date with." With that kind of background, promoting pasta sauce would seem to be, well, gravy…... So Buddy began by giving MOMS away, asking attendees at fundraisers and public appearances, "Would you like a jar of my sauce?" Then he found a way to get it on the shelves of small local markets. Then he found a distributor who could sell it to large supermarket chains like Stop & Shop. A local pizzeria created the Mayor's Own Pizza, topped with Hizzoner's sauce, as a special promotion during the city's 1996 Italian festival on Federal Hill. And before you could say "pass the parmesan, please," 28-ounce jars of MOMS were selling in mom-and-pop stores all over town, in supermarkets throughout Rhode Island and parts of southern Massachusetts, and even at the Providence airport gift shop……! That’s what I am talking about-Of course, charitable-minded pasta lovers have for several years been able to combine their good taste and their good deeds by buying actor Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce, "Newman's Own," which also contributes all its profits to charity. Competition……? No contest, says the mayor: "Would you rather buy sauce from someone named Newman, or someone named Cianci?" Someone must agree, because MOMS is currently selling at the brisk rate of 2,000 cases, or 24,000 jars, a month, not including sauce sold by the gallon for commercial use and in Providence public schools. The Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. Scholarship Fund is up to almost $500,000, including at least $150,000 in marinara money; 38 students thus far have received scholarships averaging $1,500. The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, was inspired to market his own civic-minded spaghetti sauce. And with four new hotels scheduled to break ground in downtown Providence in the near future, Hizzoner has four new restaurants and gift shops to target as potential outlets for that suicide wrist red gravy…. But he has bigger plans yet. After all, sauce isn't something you eat every day. September 1997 saw the introduction of "Mayor's Choice" coffee, a custom blend, buddy hopes will tap into the double-latte-mocha-chino java trend. "That's going to be as big as, if not bigger than, the sauce," he insists. The goal: to build the fund up to the million-dollar mark, enough to give away numerous scholarships without depleting the principal. And what happens when he leaves the mayor's office- a new career in catering, perhaps….? Hizzoner says he'll keep selling the sauce; as a former mayor, he'll have the right to continue using the name "Mayor's Own" as well as the mayoral seal. But, he adds in mock
surprise, "Who would ever think I would leave the Providence mayor's office………..?"

[blogger comment: Buddy Cianci was indicted in April 2001 as part of a federal investigation of Rhode Island politics which was cleverly dubbed "PlunderDome." He was convicted in June 2002 on a single count of racketeering conspiracy, and was sentenced in September 2002 to 64 months in prison, two years of probation, and a $100,000 fine. State law required him to leave office after sentencing. Hizzoner (buddy) has now paid his debt to society, he is again on the radio and enjoying his freedom….. all bullshit aside- we have to give credit where credit is due- and buddy, I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for the city we share……..!]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

monsanto.....governmental food supply control

Government control of our food supply is the ultimate step in our enslavement. Barack Obama has moved swiftly, and largely unnoticed by either Congress or the public, to seize authority over the very food we eat. The mechanism for this power grab is legislation that most Congressmen will vote for without reading, as usual, based on the synoptic introduction listing intended improvements. From the HR version: To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes. Going through process in the House of Representatives is H.R.875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. Concurrently being rammed through the Senate is S.425, the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act. A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the establishment of a traceability system for food, to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspections Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for improved public health and food safety through enhanced enforcement, and for other purposes. That sounds innocuous, doesn’t it? These bills are being coordinated by their sponsors to stifle the debate that would normally occur during the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions: These bills have the legal potential to eliminate organic farming, destroy small family farms, outlaw natural seed banks, and criminalize even backyard vegetable gardens. Their overt intention, although nobody is noticing, is to force all of the American people into a more costly diet entirely composed of genetically modified plants and animals. How will this work? The genetically modified seeds are patented, so farmers who purchase seed from Monsanto are not allowed to save seed from one year’s crop to sow the next year. If they do, they will be sued out of business by the agri-giant. So once they get on the treadmill, they are forced to purchase every year from Monsanto. (Monsanto has even routinely sued farmers who didn’t want their seeds, whose fields were contaminated by Monsanto seeds blown from neighboring farms.) This could be a moot point, as the hybrids often produce sterile seed. In fact, there is a danger that eventually the world’s grain crop could become totally sterile, destroying life on earth as we know it, since even the animals that we eat feed on the grains. Whether deliberately or through their native ineptitude Congress permitted the American people to be softened up to accept this restrictive legislation. Fear for public safety was induced by recent crises from Chinese (April, 2007) and Mexican (July, 2008) food imports, among many others. Such events could be almost entirely prevented by adequate enforcement of existing laws and honest effort by responsible government agencies. But instead of correcting the failed existing system, the Obama administration will use these shortfalls as an excuse to pass even more legislation, and in the process, prevent Americans from providing for their own sustenance. Worse, after claiming freedom from the influence of lobbyists, Obama is doing this at the behest of agricultural giant Monsanto, among others. One of his campaign advisors was Stanford University plant biologist Sharon Long, a director at Monsanto. Obama appointed former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, so close to Monsanto that he often travelled in their corporate jet, as Secretary of Agriculture. Most egregious, Obama’s reputed choice to head the new “Food Police” agency that will be created by this legislation is Michael Taylor, who joined Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy in 1998. Monsanto, you will recall, was one of the companies that produced Agent Orange, the herbicide used to defoliate the forest cover in Vietnam which was linked to veterans’ diseases. They also acquired the subsidiary that made the artificial sweetener Aspartame, linked to many reports of health problems because it breaks down into formaldehyde (embalming fluid) in the human body. On the European Common Market, Aspartame is banned for all children’s products. Why is this not the case in Canada and the U.S.? Because Monsanto – which owns the NutraSweet Company which manufactures Aspartame – pays off the FDA, the American Medical Association, The American Dietetic and Diabetic Associations, Congressmen and Senators and virtually anyone who gets in the way, and in other countries too. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation caught them red handed and aired a program where Monsanto was trying to bribe Canadian Doctors at Health Canada. From 1930 until they were banned in 1977 Monsanto was the sole American producer/marketer of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), persistent organic pollutants which bio-accumulate in animals. Won’t a Monsanto minion make a great leader for the Obama food police? The rest of the world already resents being forced to use genetically modified seed from the United States, 90% of which is from Monsanto... There may be some unintended consequences for Barack Obama in these choices. His support is highly polarized — he has little among republicans and conservatives. And democrats and liberals are generally the ones who favor organic food and care deeply about the environment, so this goes against his political base. And, oh yes, Michelle and the girls just planted an organic garden on the White House grounds, amid much fanfare about promoting healthy choices. We wonder how that squares with her husband cozying up to Monsanto..................? keep your hands off of my food...... you have done enough damage .....!

razor clams.........................(siliqua patula)

although the pacific razor clam is found from california to alaska, only a handful of beaches have populations large enough to sustain commercial harvesting of this unique, sweet tasting clam... fortunately, the remote ocean beaches of the pristine olympic peninsula in washington state are ideal razor clam habitat, which gives the quinault indian nation exclusive commercial access to the largest single razor clam resource on the pacific coast... of all the razor clams harvested commercially, quinault razor clams are the most prized for their large size and succulently sweet white meat... razors live near the surf line, which means they can only be harvested at extremely low tides..... diggin' for these bivalves is a blast.... consuming them is even better.......! if harvesting yourself, check the local fish police to see if the clams are high in domoic acid (a marine toxin)... in the kitchen they are commonly dredged in flour, dipped in local buttermilk and pressed into panko to yield a crispy exterior and slightly chewy inside... we also fry 'em up and situate them or one big ass clam on a toasted bulky roll with lettuce, thick cut tomato, american cheese and green tabasco mayo..... ahhh- the razor clam......!