Antibiotics

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And because I know it will get lost in the bottom of my ridiculously long previous post and I want people to discuss it…

People want meat from animals that haven’t been treated with antibiotics. Why? There’s a big difference between treating a sick animal and feeding an animal antibiotics as a rule to prevent them from getting sick in the first place.

To paraphrase Claverach’s, Sam Hilmer (who is in fact organic—though not legally because it’s pricey): “People are so concerned with all this organic business–and whether their meat is organically fed—but you’ve never met an organic human.”

Discuss…

»crosslinked«

Last Week at the Market – Fennel

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Sorry for the late and brief run down this week but I didn’t spend as much time at the markets last week as I usually do.

Maybe it’s a tough call, but I personally think the highlight was fennel. Probably a lot more people will pick the increase in fruit with all the berries and sweet cherries arriving, but I’m more of a vegetable man and fennel is right up there with the Brussels Sprouts and cauliflower.

At Maplewood the fennel came by way of

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Last Week at the Market – Ivan

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Last week, meaning June 11 at the markets, I forgot to mention that the Root Cellar had sugar snap peas.

For the real last week, however, as previously mentioned, I made it only to Maplewood as I was heading to Louisville for the weekend.

The big change was that Ivan (The Fig Man) Stoilov was there. The million dollar figs aren’t here yet, but he was selling some of his canned pepper relishes made with his mother’s recipes. Sara and Stephen Hale shared some with us on Monday and they were

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Last Week at the Market – Tons of Stuff!!!

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Wednesday

This week at Maplewood Farmers’ Market I made it in time to be one of those people that swept the Our Garden strawberries out from everyone. As I approached the booth there were ten pints and by the time I left the booth there was one. Two were mine! They were rather small and a bit tart but still better than any others I’d had to this point.

A bunch of new lettuces cropped up this week from Centennial Farms including magenta, butter crunch, and Nevada summer crisp.

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Claverach added turnips, spring onions and cucumbers.

Root Cellar also had arugula which I don’t recall seeing last week. It was amazingly clean too. Generally Claverach takes the prize for cleanest vegetables which is a huge bonus when buying from them. They are outright obsessive about cleaning their lettuces especially which I’m sure goes a long way towards restaurants fighting over them.

Ken Muno (Goatsbeard) had his Camembert wheels which I can never remember what he calls after the fact. (Prairie Bloom maybe?)

Saturday

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Dinner: Tuesday, December 4, 2007

turnips

Alanna posted about glazed turnips the other day, and when I read her post, it occurred to me I still had a bunch of turnips buried deep within “MY FRIG, THE ROOT CELLAR” too. I’d bought them from Claverach Farms a couple months ago with no idea what I’d even do with them as I’d never actually cooked turnips before, but with my only recent memory eating them coming from Red, I felt they deserved a chance at glory on my dinner table.

Heading to the kitchen to dig them out I was concerned with how they would look roughly two months after purchasing them, and I was happy to see they appeared almost identical to when I’d tossed them in the fridge in the first place. It’s amazing how long some fruits and vegetables will last if stored properly, and as I pulled the turnips from the crisper, I took the opportunity to take stock of my other late market purchases.

Walker Claridge’s green onions from The Root Cellar were doing surprisingly well for being at least 6 weeks old as I’d washed them the minute I’d gotten them home and wrapped them in moist paper towels. I enjoyed using them all summer when he had them as they were a sort of two-fer: the green ends could be used as herbs in vinaigrettes, tacos, etc. and the bulby root ends were perfect for a light onion flavor in something like scrambled eggs; having almost a leek like flavor.

Celeriac from Berger Bluff Farms, which I’d swiped away from all my Slow Food friends by buying every single one on the last day of the Maplewood Farmers’ Market, looked exactly as I’d expected: unchanged and ugly as the day I bought them; wrapped safely in their plastic bag.

Chioggia Beets from Claverach Farms were maybe a touch soft after at least 6 weeks, and one giant chioggia from The Root Cellar looked precisely how it did the day I bought it as I’d cut the beet greens off and used them the night I’d brought it home ensuring it’s longevity.

With everything pulled out for inspection, it was then that I saw the several varieties of apples from Centennial Farms I’d completely forgotten about. A bit soft, they were definitely showing their age, and it was at then inspiration hit in the form of applesauce…applesauce on turnip-potato pancakes.

beans applesauce
pork pork2

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Dinner Triumphant!

carrotI suppose because of my years cooking, I have a tendency to aim high when cooking dinner at home. While that in and of itself isn’t a problem, what is a problem, is that I’m rusty. Rustiness, coupled with my being particularly critical, means that I’m more than a little unenthused with most of the food I make.

Take last Friday for instance. On call at work and having to respond within fifteen minutes, I was forced to stay around the house for most of the weekend. Having known this well in advance I decided to do it up big for dinner after spotting some celeriac earlier that week at the Berger Bluff Farms tent at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market. I also still had the beautiful carrots I’d picked up in Kansas City at the Farmers Community Market at Brookside and not wanting them to go to waste, I knew they would make perfect sides to what Ellie and I had been craving all week: pot roast.

So as previously mentioned, at lunch last Friday I headed off for Whole Foods to pick up an American Grass Fed roast. But alas, it was one of the cuts that were no longer available. I instead picked up a larger rib eye for us to share.

That proved to be my downfall as I overcooked the beef a little in my frenzy to finish passing the celeriac puree through a sieve and get everything onto the plate hot. I was clearly trying to do too much at once, and I was doubly irritated because it had been such a fine cut of meat.

steak
American Grass Fed Beef Rib-Eye, Berger Bluff Farms Celeriac and Bellews Creek Farm potato puree, Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture carrots, Claverach Farms chioggia beet greens, Our Garden butter


salumi But thankfully, while my story does technically end there, it began with one of my greatest home-kitchen culinary triumphs — my appetizer.You see, my other reason for going to Whole Foods was because I’d thought they were going to have the Bell’s Best Brown Ale. They however did not, and knowing The Wine & Cheese Place did, I knew I’d be making the quick trip around the corner to yield that delicious brew. It was then that I also remembered that they now have salumi from Mario Batali’s father’s shop in Seattle, and that I could finally buy some of that as well.When I did work in kitchens, I was always what I referred to as a “flavor wheel cook.” While there are some chefs that truly can think outside the box and create flavors that are new and challenging, I didn’t possess that sort of raw talent. Just as I make up for my lack of natural athletic ability in my running now with sheer mileage, I made up for my lack of talent in the kitchen by literally reading the hundreds of cookbooks I have. When you do this, you start to see patterns. There are foods that clearly go together, and a spin of the flavor wheel of pork for instance, will yield things like rosemary, sage, thyme, cranberries, apples, honey, mustard, onions, juniper berries, and walnuts.

With that knowledge in hand, while you won’t be breaking new ground, it is possible to make phenomenally good food rooted in solid techniques and classic flavor combinations.

So before leaving Whole Foods I grabbed a 12 month aged manchego because the flavor wheel of most any cheese includes cured meats. Because of the strong flavors Salumi’s salumi has, I gave the next spin to the cheese. Manchego, a Spanish cheese, would go with things like sausage, garlic, mustard, sherry vinegar, onions, thyme and olives. It was at this point that the hand of brilliance reached out and touched me.

bodinoManchego is a sheep’s milk cheese with a similar texture and fat content to Pecorino — I could make the budino substituting manchego for the pecorino. With an additional helping of good fortune, The Wine & Cheese place had Salumi’s mole salami. With a nice touch of heat, a dash of cinnamon, and the richness from the added chocolate, it would go perfect with my plan.

Not to pat myself on the back, but it really did turn out beautifully, and we devoured every bit. The richness of the budino cut beautifully through the heat of the salami and the slight addition of some fresh lemon juice in my vinaigrette gave the whole thing a zippy freshness that really worked, and for a change, I was completely pleased with something I’d made.

salad
12 month Aged manchego budino, Claverach Farms mesclun, Salumi mole salumi, Bellews Creek Red Onion, with a sherry vinaigrette