September 30, 2004

CA bans Foie Gras

California has baned the production and sale of foie gras. Law doesn't kick in until 2012. Sonoma Foie Gras (located in CA) is one of two producers in the US, the other is Hudson Valley Foie Gras in NY.

Sure to be all over the food blog world today. I can't find any news articles on the web that aren't "yay yay" over the bill. Ah ha! Here's one!

Derrick is sure to comment on the subject. He knows far more about the details of it than myself.

Posted by dowdy at 08:10 AM

September 23, 2004

Twinkie the Kid in Trouble

Okay, so this is pretty arguably not about food in the sense of real food. However, in any case, Interstate Bakeries has filed for Chapter 11.

I was never really a Twinkie fan myself. HoHos always appealed to me because of the foil wrapping. Interstate also makes the all important "Chemical Pie" -- as I refer to them.

Posted by dowdy at 11:06 AM

September 21, 2004

Explaining America

Nope, sorry not a political entry.

Apparently, the US government has decided that one bit of American Life we just have to help the rest of the world understand is BBQ.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Posted by dowdy at 08:33 AM

September 16, 2004

Meat Salad

Lots of people ask me "What do you do with all of that BBQ?" It's a reasonable question, because you can't really fire up my massive BBQ rig without being in for something on the order of 10 pounds of meat. Maybe more.

One of my favorite ways of using left over brisket it to make what I (and my co-workers) call a "meat salad." The day before, I slice 1/3-1/2 pound of brisket to take to work. For example, today.

At lunch, I combine it with lettuce from the salad bar (and anything else that looks good). Tomatoes when in season. Cheese. Maybe some croutons. We pay by weight and lettuce is really light. Even when piling it on, I'm usually under $5. Even better, our salad bar/cafe has an excellent selection of condiments to select from. So I usually combine:
- catsup
- red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- mustard
- wochestershire sauce
- pepper
- hot sauce
- honey
in order to make a very loose BBQ sauce. I use this to dress the salad. Recently, they've even added a house made BBQ sauce of their own -- I still usually at least thin it out with some of the above.

When I make extra BBQ sausages, they also make a great addition to this salad. And no, I'm not on Atkins. Why do you ask?

Posted by dowdy at 06:48 PM

September 15, 2004

Geek to Chef

Here's a blog in which the author changes careers to become a chef.

I also took a sabbatical and decided not to change paths as a result. I decided that I didn't need to turn a 2nd hobby into a career and risk losing some of the reasons that I love it.

Posted by dowdy at 06:37 AM

September 13, 2004

Molten Chocolate Cake

I haven't made one of these in some time. Last night I decided to see if I could make a smaller than normal batch (because who really needs to eat 8 deserts on ones own?).

4 oz dark chocolate
4 oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 C sugar
1 T flour

Oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour (or, in my case, I use cocoa powder) two small ramikins (6 oz? something like that). Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When oven is to temp and chocolate has melted, whip eggs and sugar together until the ribbon forms. Pour in chocolate mixture and whip just to combine, then add flour and do likewise.

Pour in prepared ramikins (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the sides). Bake 12 minutes leaving the centers very wet. Remove from oven, run a knife around the edges and upend onto plates to serve. Makes 2-4 depending upon the size of your ramikins and how full you fill them.

If done correctly, you get a nice looking little chocolate cake, that when cut into oozes a dark chocolate sauce. Much more impressive than the work involved.

You can do these ahead of time and fridge them for up to 8 hours. I haven't ever done this, but friends who have say it works well as long as you pull them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.

Last night I used Trader Joe's dark chocolate which has a 70 percent cocoa mass. This is pretty high quality, but they obviously don't conche the chocolate as long as some of the higher-end brands. The cakes had a slightly detectable grit to them as a result.

I also have normally done a separate yolk and egg white whip (pushing the yolks to ribbon with 3/4 of the sugar and whipping to peaks the whites with the remaining). This is how I was taught to do this, but is a pain if you don't have two stand mixing bowls (and I do not, although for the life of me I don't know why) because you have to either a) wash the bowl between the whippings or b) whip the whites by hand.

Also, this approach means that you have to do folding of the whites, which is more time spent. I think the separate approach gives a slightly higher rise, and the outside of the cakes is maybe a bit "crisper" due to the sugar/white combination.

But the differences are very subtle, and the above outlined approach is probably 30 minutes total from start to the eating.

Posted by dowdy at 09:01 AM

September 12, 2004

Ziti with the Meat Gravy

Saturday I sat down with my newly arrived special edition DVD of Goodfellas.

It was, of course, required the I make some long cooked pasta sauce to go along with it. I had a bunch of tomatoes from the garden, and got three kinds of meat from the store (pork, beef, and veal) and sliced the garlic thin (not using a razor blade as in the movie, but still quite thin). The sauce cooked down all day -- a total of about 6 hours of cooking time.

I thought I had Ziti in the house, but alas did not. So, instead I used Rigattoni, which is my favorite pasta shape.

Posted by dowdy at 09:39 AM

September 08, 2004

Odd sizes

I've been told that there's action afoot in the fruit aisle.

Specifically, there are all manner of new fruit hybrids that are on the market this year. I've seen mini pineapples, and 1/4 sized watermelons (which I have been told are seedless and also more sweet). And some weird stone fruit that's a cross between a pluot (itself a cross between a plum and an apricot) and some other fruit. Giant Mangos take things in yet another direction.

I can't help but wonder if this isn't all about Americans being more interested in size and variety in their food rather than quality. Of course, that isn't going to stop me from trying one of those watermelons -- we've had a week of 90 degree heat here, and nothing says hot summer day to me more than a watermelon.

Posted by dowdy at 08:17 AM

September 07, 2004


I'm getting ready to make another batch of homemade bacon. Searching around the web for the BBQ-faq's on the subject turned up some interesting things:

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato scented candles.

The Bacon-of-the-Month Club.

I mean, I love me some bacon, but that's just taking a good thing too far.

Posted by dowdy at 10:05 AM