Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting Trent's Goat (s)

Thus far more than two dozen people have signed on to Trent Hendrick's -not sure what to call it- goat cheese club and I am pleased to say that some of the signatories have come from the far flung regions of the world where A Hunger Artist is read. I'd like to personally thank those of you who have chosen to support Trent's effort to build out a goat cheese program and trust that you will support me when I have to tell him that I refuse to add goat hot dogs to my repertoire of charcuterie for the farm.
All kidding aside, thanks for your support not only of Trent's program but for continuing to check in on A Hunger Artist.
(photo by Debra Richardson


 Here is an update on the goat program excerpted from Trent's most recent newsletter


Way to go folks, it appears you really want this to happen.

We've received several requests to extend the certificate deadline, so for those that are concerned about using your credit for goat products, we will extend the season to 12 months, July 2011 (after July 1 2011 any remaining credit will be lost, no refunds or extensions).  This should make it easier to us the credit for those that consume less.  Those that consume more and are very serious about goats may want to help with additional purchases, or suggest involvement to some restaurants etc that might be interested.

Please feel free to spread the message.  Let's see if we can wrap this up this week yet.  Thanks to all those who stepped up for the opportunity, we look forward to providing you with the best a goat can offer.

Trent Hendricks
Hendricks Farms & Dairy, LLC
202 Green Hill Road
Telford, PA 18969
267.382.0556

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get a Goat On

I realize that a majority of the readers of this blog do not live close enough to the farm where I ply my craft to visit. However, some of you who are within driving distance of Hendricks Farms and Dairy in Telford, Pennsylvania may be interested in a project conceived by Trent Hendricks (the farm's founder and owner) that aims to add goats to the farm and get goat milk products to our customers. 

We intend to bring in a herd of milking goats and start providing cheeses this summer.  We want you to be involved. 

Here's how we can make it happen:  Each goat will cost approximately $300 to purchase.  We are looking for committed goat milk & cheese lovers to help us fund this project by pre-paying for $300 worth of goat products and receive a certificate worth $350 of goat products redeemable from August 1st through December 31, 2010. 

Help us produce the products you want and get $50 worth of free products for doing a good deed.  We call it building community.

If this sounds good to you, please email me at your earliest convenience.  This is a low key farmer to consumer relationship, not some big legal deal.  You give us the money, we give you a certificate.  $300 is the minimum, shock me with a maximum!  We need to make a decision ASAP, so if you're committed, we need to know by June 5th, 2010.


We will be developing a new brand name to represent the goat project as this will be by the people, for the people and the ultimate home-school project for our children.  Overseen and certified by HF&D's master cheesemaker and Dad....me.

We won a Gold medal at the US Cheese Championships and 2nd place at the American Cheese Society in 2005 with our Cabriejo - aged goat cheese - along with many awards for our soft goats milk cheeses in various shows before we sold our goats to help finance the move to our new farm here on Green Hill Road.  After backing away from crazy over-commitments and taking a much needed break from high volume production, we have reignited our passion for crafting great, small batch, artisan cheese. We are excited about what we're doing with our farmstead cow's milk and look forward to renewing our acquaintance with our gone-but-not-forgotten goat's milk cheeses of yesteryear.

Your responses will dictate our ability to implement this project and help us make a final decision.  Will you please consider joining our journey?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dope

I'm not sure why I think that these two news stories are related but how could they not be? 

In the first piece we find Tony Bourdain claiming that everyone in the restaurant business smokes pot after work (But not before or during a shift?). In the second story the actor Nicholas Cage tells a reporter that he chooses his meat  based on his understanding of how "dignified" the animal behaved while fornicating. 

Perhaps they are related in that one probably needs to be stoned to accept that there is a need to know this stuff. 
Chefs Using Marijuana Create a New Kitchen Culture - NYTimes.com

Nicholas Cage only eats polite animals

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: Culinary Careers



Culinary Careers by Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride is a great overview of the educational and professional pathways to becoming a food professional and a bit of a surprise. Given that the first author is the President and CEO of The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, I was expecting it to be a propaganda piece for his school; but no way. It's a refreshungly unbiased introduction to the range of educational opportunities and careers available to those who see the world through the lens of food and cooking. I'm sure the temptation to churn the book into a marketing tool for his school must have been tremendous and Mr. Smilow is to be commended for his restraint.

Come to think of it. Not only is the book devoid of propaganda for Mr. Smilow's school, but he and co-author Anne McBride (an adjunct professor in the Food Studies program at New York University) pay considerable attention to ways to enter the culinary profession without going to culinary school.

The intended audience of Culinary Careers appears to be as diverse as the job market it addresses and is refreshingly devoid of the condescending language common to other works of this genre which are  typically aimed at  high school aged readers. It feels right and real and the writing is crisp and clear. There is a terrific section on how to approach opening a business that I wish I had read before I decided to open a catering business in 1982. (I would not have done it.) And there is a discussion of the merits of becoming an investor in a restaurant that left me wondering why anyone would bother.

Specifically, there is an interview with attorney Mark Seelig who claims to have directly and indirectly invested in at least two dozen restaurants. Seelig counsels that the vast majority of restaurants are lousy investments that never pay back their investors. He explains that he's been investing in restaurants for twenty years, "for reasons not tied to making money on my investment " (emphasis mine) and that they are "probably the worst type of venture to invest in." He then goes on to say that only one out of the "dozens" of his clients who invested in restaurants has ever made money. As much as I would like to speculate about why anyone would invest money he knew he was going to lose, I'll have to leave it to others to explain. Anyway, I doubt that whatever I came up with would be half as clever as the truth.

Now, I no longer care about how to get into a culinary career -I'm already in- so most of the discussion about how to get in was only of passing interest to me. However, I found myself fascinated by the interviews with food professionals that comprise the majority (80%) of the content of the book. In fact I liked this part so much that  will I go out on a limb and say that even if you are not interested in entering the food industry, I think you will be intrigued by the testimonies of some of the famous an obscure personalities that populate this section of the book. Dan Barber, a chef whose work I admire but whose on-screen persona makes me claw at my eyes because he reminds me too much my own anxious and goofy stage presence , comes across as the sensitive and careful scholar that I always assumed he was. The interview with Daniele Boulud does nothing to dispel his image as truly great chef and a perhaps even greater businessman and, at the risk of sounding like a groupie, I found it thrilling. Ruhlman and Lidia Bastianiach weigh in, as do a bunch of other celebrity culinarians. But the bulk of the interviews are with people you probably know nothing about, and probably never will, unless you read the book.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dogs continue to advance space travel

The Soviet Union pioneered the use of dogs to test the life support systems of space craft and the Chinese, their political ideological analogs, appear to be continuing the tradition today by feeding dogs to their astronauts. 

Dog on the menu for Chinese astronauts

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rennet Preparation at home

Trent Hendricks sent this fascinating description of David B. Frankhauser's attempt to make rennet at home in the body of an email. So I tracked it to it's source and discovered a web site that is a veritable mother lode of cheese making science. After you peruse Rennet Preparation at home take a look at the home page for the site.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A minimalist approach towards scholarship or editing?

At times it seems like one could make a career out of correcting the mistakes in the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times. Come to think of it, isn't correcting the mistakes made by journalists the job of an editor, whose job is to make a career out of finding and correcting mistakes? I don't know, maybe in this brave new world of declining revenue in the newspaper industry and the explosion of free content on the web, the Times can't afford to hire enough bodies who know enough about cooking to keep up with the mistakes made by some of their less careful writers, videographers and photographers.

After Lou  (aka Don Luis) pointed out this recent column about asparagus pesto  by Mark Bittman wherein he claims that the word pesto means "paste" (it does not, "pasta" means paste) I was reminded of this column about no-knead dough by Harold McGee where someone on the editorial staff decided that this photo of tight-grained bread was what was needed to illustrate the typically wide open grain of bread made using the no-knead technique. I could go on and point out many more instances where inaccurate and wrong information ends up being published in the Dining & Wine section of The New York Times. But the Times is already paying someone to do that job. Right?






The Minimalist - Asparagus Pesto Combines the Best of 2 Greens - NYTimes.com

Friday, May 7, 2010

Young foodies know everything, but can't cook

According to Michael Hill, some folks in the food and cooking community think that the youngest of us are less interested in fine dining, more open-minded about food and beverage combinations but lack basic cooking skills. The latter ineptitude to which I will add that since most of them are amateurs who work in fields other than gastronomy, most probably don't care that they can't braise a brisket or fry an egg without turning it into a Frisbee. For some it's not "the done" but the doing -even if they trash the kitchen in the process. 


Young foodies more exhibitionist, less highbrow - AP News Wire, Associated Press News - Salon.com

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hendricks Farms and Dairy: Thursday 5.6.2010

Here is a  bunch of pictures of salumi and cheese taken at the farm today. Most of the cheese is very young and has a good deal of aging to do. The first hams will be ready in September (We age them a minimum of 12 months.). I harvested all of the soppresata today and will begin taking down the chorizo tomorrow.

No high fructose corn syrup was used in the making of any of the products that appear in this slide show.  ;-)



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Aviary

I admire Grant Achatz for his skill and his success in an extremely competitive environment but I don't much care for the aesthetic of his cuisine and brand image. I'm not making any judgement about quality or worthiness or value to the culture. I'm just not a fan of the his technogastronomic   theatrics. Case in point

Sunday, May 2, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup Has An Image Problem

 


It was bound to happen.

The seeds of public disillusionment and potential demise of high-fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup in general, were sown at the moment they were introduced to the market and food manufacturers realized that they could put them in almost any product that might benefit from the introduction of sugar. Just like processed fats and oils, salt, MSG and modified starches, Red Dye #2 and dozens of other food additives,  corn syrups became ubiquitous and overused.

So as the millions who were already on their way to handing over complete responsibility for the construction of their food to corporate others, became obese and developed  high blood pressure and diabetes, it was only natural that many of them would blame corn syrup as a culprit.

 Never mind that the real reason they were experiencing health problems was that they were being duped into eating too much sugar, salt and fat by manufacturers who added these ingredients to everything they produced.  Disregard the fact that people were being suckered into overeating by companies (To whom they had ceded responsibility for their diets, don't forget!) that kept increasing portion sizes because they wanted to sell more food and knew that most people will eat until their plate is clean. In the tortured  logic of an increasingly vulnerable  processed food addicted public, its choice to entrust its diet to companies who don't give a flying f--k about anything more than making their stockholders happy, it's the ingredients in the food that are the cause of their health problems.

 So now there is an outcry from some of these poor souls to replace corn syrup -which is made by breaking down corn starch into sugars with acids and enzymes- with something more "natural" like cane sugar.

Well, I say "good luck with that" because while there may be valid environmental and economic reasons to reduce production of corn syrup, substituting cane sugar isn't going to make junk food any healthier and less likely to cause obesity and diabetes. Ketchup (see the article below) or soda pop made with cane sugar isn't any better for you than the same product made with corn syrup. Oh sure, there may be differences in the way one's metabolism responds to some of the monosaccharides (e.g. glucose, fructose) in corn syrup relative to the sucrose in cane sugar. But at the end of the day, too much sugar in the diet is too much sugar. So instead of obsessing about the stupid ingredients in the processed food that we are shoveling into our every expanding gullets, how about not buying and eating so much processed food? 


For High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Sweet Talk Gets Harder - NYTimes.com

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Slow Pop Tarts


A bad idea made good.

homemade pop tarts | smitten kitchen

Mark Ryden: Exploring the connection between children and meat

I ran across a reference to this guy a few minutes ago at the new York Times web site and was immediately smitten. I don't understand the message at all, but it's a pretty strong message just the same.



Mark Ryden