Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Top Ten

I have tons to blog about but I'm obviously spending (wasting) my time doing other things so I thought I'd do a little round-up of things that have turned my crank this week.

10. By far the cutest croissant-
With a quarter for scale! These delicious apple pastries with cinnamon glaze were made by L'Etoile for the Friends of the Market breakfast last weekend. The breakfasts are mainly staffed by volunteers and use products sold at the market to support the market and you get a tasty breakfast. Sounds like a win/win to me. If you haven't been-GO!

9. Madison is getting its own restaurant week.
Read more here.
I'll hopefully be going to Harvest since I have a gift certificate.

8. Purple Viking potatoes.

I used to deliver produce to Chicago area restaurants. It was mostly organic and many chefs balked at paying what we charged for potatoes. They claimed that they needed to allocate their dollars toward produce that their customers would really notice. How much better could an organic potato taste, really? I delivered brown paper bags full of sample potatoes from Butter Mountain that shone like jewels and maybe changed a few minds. Sadly, I don't have a picture of John with his lovely potatoes but here is one from a tasting he did at the Willy St. Coop. (Lisa-be sure to check this link!) He is clearly passionate about his potatoes, as well he should be!
Tonight for dinner we had my favorites, Purple Vikings.
They are streaked with purple and pink on the outside, creamy white on the inside and taste like a potato dreams it should. You may not be able to find these particular potatoes but there is a larger point here. I've been reading a lot of articles lately about when buying organic or local is important and when it isn't. I submit that organic food sometimes tastes unexpectedly better. I buy local not beacause I'm hoping to save the planet but because these people are my friends. Get to know a farmer today- you won't regret it!

7. Key Lime marmelade-
I have have been in a marmelade making frenzy and have been pretty happy with the results so far. This one tasted a tiny bit bitter to me so I let some friends sample it. Yup, too bitter. I could have viewed this as a negative (Crap! I'm going to have to eat all 20 jars myself!) but instead I viewed it as a call to action. I had recently noticed that one of June Taylor's Marmelade classes had openings but I was waffling about whether I could justify the expense of flying out to California just to take a preserving class. This convinced me that I NEEDED to take the class. So SF readers, I'll be in your town Feb. 23rd throught the 26th- do you want to go to the Ferry Plaza Market with me?

6. Saveur 100-
I will probably (hopefully) write a complete post on this soon, but for now just let me mention my that I love the January issue of Saveur because it caontains their top 100 food inspirations of the past year. Some would even argue this is where I stole the idea from for this post. (Note to Saveur- online access to the list would be mighty nice. Thanks!)

5. Cocktails-
Thanks to Kevin (my boss), the Saveur 100 (#30- Classic Cocktails), and even perhaps the latest 007 flick, I have broken out the cocktail shaker and have been enjoying an occasional tipple. Here's Sam trying our new fav the Kir Noir.
I was surprised by the lack of Google hits for Kir Noir. It's supposed to be a Kir made with red wine and cassis. I used wine, cassis syrup from Ikea and Absolut Kurrant vodka. A twist of lemon is awfully nice. When you first taste this it's kind of like homemade sangria but the it gets more complex the longer it sits.

4. Food Podcasts-
This one also links to the Saveur 100 because my 2 favorite podcasts related to food were mentioned ( #64 Eat feed, #81 Good Food- KCRW). There is a strange feeling of six degrees of seperation here too. I have been asked to Fuel Eat Feed and that is my main reason for trying to get the website running.

3. Bucatini all'Amatriciana-
Awhile back I bought a smoked pork jowl from the farmers' market and declared I would make this dish. I finally got around to it and I wasn't sorry. Sam declared it "pretty much the best thing ever" when I asked him if he was sick of it after eating it for 2 meals a day several days in a row. He even used the sauce for a gourmet meat lovers pizza which had smoked jowl, sopressata, and pepperoni. Sam doesn't even really like noodles (I KNOW!!!!) but bucatini has become a new favorite. They are essentially hollow spaghetti and they have a special alluring chewiness from their lack of middle (does this make any sense?).

2. Citrus alert!
Okay, this doesn't turn my crank at all. I ran out and bought a bunch of citrus in anticipation of prices going up. I feel bad for my California farming friends. They had such a hard Spring and now this. Do we need to get used to this freaky weather? I just got used to the idea that I could buy Meyer lemons in the store and now they all froze to death while it's 70 degrees in NYC. What's next? Who knows but it's certainly encouraging me to live in the moment.

1. Beef Stew for a cold day-

We finally have snow on the ground here, and the lakes are threatening to freeze so I thought it was time for winter classic- Beef Stew. The recipe was swiped from The Meat Club Cookbook [Girl's only] by Vanessa Dina, Kristina Fuller, and Gemma DePalma. I picked it beacause it called for Guinness (Mmmm....) and juniper berries and allspice; two unappreciated spices that inhabit my spice cabinet. I fully intended to reprint the recipe but I am beyond tired ( and drinking my third cocktail) so here is the abbreviated version. Find a beef stew recipe. replace the liquid with beer (I actually ended up using Furthermore Three Feet Deep) Add 1 tsp. ground allspice and 1 tsp. ground juniper berry. When I tasted this while cooking, I thought the spices were too dominant. By the end though, it achieved savory cohesiveness that was a pleasure to eat on a cold January day with a bottle of Valpolicella Ripassa.

Bonus. I have a logo!
Thanks for everything Sam.


At 11:24 PM, Blogger Tea said...

I'm excited you're coming to San Francisco, Lee! If I am in town that week, let's definitely meet up (I may be in Seattle, which would be a shame).

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous suey said...

1. I LOVE your logo.
2. Wow, does Sam look sexy.
3. I can't believe I've never had a Kir Noir. I love Kirs and Kir Royals but a Kir Noir seems right up my alley. Maybe this weekend.
4. Got any extra key lime marmalade for sale?
5. I love you!

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Ali said...

Holy Mackerel, Lee!
1. Who is that rakish devil drinking the black cocktail?!
2. Those potatoes look ****ing amazing!!
3. I love the list format. Super fun. Lots of inspirations in this post. Yeay Lee! xo

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

I am drooling after looking at the potato picture. And I love the logo!

I had made rhubarb-lemon sauce last summer. I defrosted it, added strawberries to it, and made it into a strawberry-rhubarb crisp. It didn't turn out too well - the lemon made it too sour. But that's okay, because it gave me an excuse to eat the crisp with ice cream! :)

At 10:25 AM, Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Oh, I love the logo!

Have a fantastic time in SF. How fun is that trip going to be?

I like the list. Maybe a monthly blog feature?

At 7:04 PM, Blogger lee said...

Sorry all for taking so long to answer!

Tea- I REALLY hope you are in town, I was looking forward to meeting you!

Suey- Thanks, thanks, go for it, yes and I love you too! I've now had the key lime on toast and I think it's quite tasty. Good thing I already paid for the plane ticket so I can't back out now!

Ali-Thanks sweetie! It was fun writing this post too. Sam and I were swilling cocktails out of mini-martini glasses the whole time I was writing!

Crystal- Those potatoes are definitely worth hunting down. I love throwing some lemon marmelade in my apple crisp. So good!

Allison- I can't wait for the trip but it's going to be so short it's like I'll blink and it'll be over. I miss the days when I used to travel for months instead of weekends!

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Vanessa said...

Lee, I love your logo. I can't wait to taste your products after you return from your class...they're so good now.


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