Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monel wins at ACS Tasting

I am delighted to tell you that Monel, one of the goat cheeses made by Trent Hendricks,  made a 3rd place win at the American Cheese Society's annual Festival of Cheese event in August. The event featured  25 producers from 34 states, Canada, and Mexico entered 1,462 cheeses and cultured dairy products and is considered by many American cheese makers to be a great way to collect objective feedback about their products. 

Monel (above) is described by Trent as 

Loosely similar to Crottin.  We hand ladle curd,  over 2 days, into the mold to create a little cheese that's big on flavor.  Aged 60 days to a milky, creamy paste that needs to melt on your tongue for full appreciation, or aged to four months for a mature and complex intensity with barely a hint of a goat finish.  Monel ( a style of stirrup used on vaquero saddles).

Knowing Trent as well as I do, I'm sure that he is proud of his win (He should be. He's only resumed making goat cheese a couple of months ago after a several year hiatus!)  However, I also know that he is going to see it as an incentive to push out the edges of the envelope of quality even further. 

A link to the complete list of  winners of the 2010 Festival of Cheese competition can be found at the American Cheese Society web site. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lamb Coppa

A nice little roast cut from the nape of the neck of the black faced lamb I butchered today.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Chef Jam

Sold Out! 
Chef Jam (see below) has been sold out. Another jam has been  scheduled for November 2.

I've been an admirer of Chef Andy Little's work at Sheppard Mansion  for a few years now. So when the fellow who is handling some of the marketing for The Mansion asked if I would post this splashy announcement about an off-premises event that Andy is going to be involved in, I was happy to oblige him. Majolica, the venue for the event, is in Phoenixville, Pa (which science fiction fans might recognize as the town where the cult classic movie "The Blob" was filmed) and close enough to where I live that, if I was not expecting to be out of town on the weekend of the 28th, I'd have little excuse not to drop in. Who knows, perhaps my trip will be cancelled.

Find out on Tuesday, September 28 when two of the region's top chefs– both LaBan Three Bellrecipients, and good friends– JAM at MAJOLICA in a one-of-a-kind evening of food and fun!

45 fortunate attendees will delight as Chef Andrew Deery and Chef Andrew Little create and converse around an incredible six course concert. In the kitchen and throughout the dining room, diners will be amazed and entertained as the two Andrews deliver this delectable limited engagement!
This is one special night that you do not want to miss and it is certain to sell out quickly, so book now to be a part of this incredibly creative, incredibly collaborative evening.
Food Jam at Majolica promises to be more than a compelling dining opportunity– more a groundbreaking culinary experience- literally blowing the doors off of the kitchen and the front of the restaurant as the fun spills out onto the street. Majolica will be rocking on September 28 and this is your chance to be a part of it all!


A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Executive Chef Andrew Little presents an ever-changing menu of seasonal, organic, local ingredients, with clever New American twists on old favorites at Sheppard Mansion in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The first recipient of the Governor's Award for Culinary Excellence and a Craig LaBan 3 Bellrecipient, Little has been the executive chef at the Sheppard Mansion since the restaurant reinvented itself in 2006. Working closely with local farmers & stockmen, Chef Little truly embodies the "farm-to-table" philosophy, ensuring that everything served is produced using a humane, sustainable process. You can learn more about the Sheppard Mansion and Chef Little by reviewing his blog, Eat Like You Live Here.


Pastrami and turkey
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ready to hang

Prosciutto secco, lardo and capicola
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Lardo (L) and Coppa, cured and ready to hang.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Orange Cardamom Salami

This was hung in the aging room 5 days ago and should be ready in 3 to 5 weeks.
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Cheese hoops

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How [NOT!] to Cook a Great Tasting Steak: 7 steps - wikiHow

This is a great example of how brilliantly the Web can contextualize garbage as gold. There is nothing in this recipe that makes any sense unless the steak to be cooked is from a cadaver. Yet if you don't know how to cook it sounds pretty reasonable.

How to Cook a Great Tasting Steak: 7 steps - wikiHow:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Simplest or Near Simplest is the Question

I think that Bitman's method of keeping grilled chicken breast moist by stuffing it with "wet" ingredients will work as promised, but wonder if it really is the "simplest" way to prevent them from drying out on the grill. It seems to me that pre-salting the meat, marking it over high heat (for aesthetic reasons only, i.e grill marks) then moving the meat to a cooler region of the grill then slow cooking it until done is simpler.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hanging Time

2 more to add to the collection

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

School is (Almost) in Session

I miss teaching like a beached whale misses the sea, so you can imagine how happy I am to tell you that this fall,  Trent Hendricks and I will be offering 3 classes at Hendricks Farms and Dairy. Trent, who owns and farms the farm, milks the cows and goats, runs the business and makes the cheese is "taking it easy" and teaching a cheese making workshop,  while I will be conducting a class in hog butchering and another in curing. Most of what you need to know is below, but feel free to ask me anything about any of this in a comment box or email. 

  Registration closes for each event on the Friday preceding the event. Classes will be limited in size. All registrations must be paid in full at time of enrollment. Click on the PayPal button or call 267-382-0556 to register now.  Please email for more information trent@hendricksfarmsanddairy.com 

October 1 Club Cabriejo Festival 6 pm to 8:30 pm *Open to Club Cabriejo members only*.

A goat themed event with a walking tour, a meet-the-goat photo opportunity, and an exclusive tasting of goat products. Club members will also be treated to farm centric art by a local artist. No charge for this event. 

October 8 Fine Fall Foods Appreciation Event 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Welcome fall with a celebration of fine cheeses, cured meats and artisanal breads paired with complementary wine selections. Lively discussions on food, and related issues. If you don’t like to have fun, stay at home! $40 per person or $75 per couple. Payment required for registration.

October 23 Cheese Making Class 9 am to 2 pm


We will be making both cows milk and goats milk cheese in two vats. Hands on with running discussions and Q&A. Aging room work also. $200 per participant, a light lunch will be provided. A sample basket along with an at home recipe kit is included. Limited to 5 participants. Led by Cheesemaker Trent Hendricks 

November 13 Hog Butchering 9 am to 2 pm


We will be breaking down a whole hog into retail cuts with demonstrations of sausage making and lard rendering. $150 per participant, a light lunch will be provided along with samples from the days work. Limited to 10 participants. Led by Chef Bob Del Grosso 

December 11 Meat, Cheese & Bread Class 9 am to 2 pm


Instruction on salami, ham and other cured meat production for the home enthusiast, along with an brief overview on artisanal breads and baking in the brick oven. At the end of the class we will bring it all together with serving and pairing discussions and demonstrations. Just in time for your holiday hosting. $150 per participant, a light lunch will be provided along with a gift basket from the days work. Limited to 15 participants. Presented by Trent Hendricks and Chef Del Grosso 

Hendricks Farms Consulting Services 

Trent Hendricks will be available on a limited basis to consult on a variety of issues including, Farm Business Plan Development, Product Development – focusing on meats and cheeses, Farm or Ranch Development and Design, and associated subjects. Day rates plus expenses will apply, serious inquires only. trent@hendricksfarmsanddairy.com 

Ready to hang

The pH of the Chorizo dropped from more than 5.2 to 4.8.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pigstock is Back!

Out of all of the many cool events I have attended over the course of my professional life, one of the most affecting was held last January at Mosefund Mangalitsa Farm in Branchville, NJ. Pigstock 2010 was a hog slaughter-butcher-and-cook class taught by Christoph and Isabel Wiesner from Austria. Christoph, the president of the Mangalitsa Pig Breeders Association of Austria, and Isabel raise these hyper-lard hogs on their farm in Austria and have been instrumental in preserving and propagating them around the world. I was extremely impressed by their knowledge of everything from porcine biochemistry to the details of how to slaughter while causing minimal distress to the animals. 

But as impressive as the Wiesner's were, I think what impressed me the most were the other attendees.  Most, maybe 60% were either professional chefs or cooks,  the others came out of backgrounds that had nothing to do with food and cooking, to a person they were respectful of the animals and the craft. It was great. 

So I'm excited to announce that this November Christoph and Isabel Wiesner will again be leading the 3 day workshop at Mosefund. 

I'm hoping to go again; perhaps I will see you there! Here is the skinny:

Classes are November 12,13,14 and  November 16,17,18.

Please contact Chef Michael Clampffer (see contact info below) and tell him which package you would like

  1. Class only,  $1050
  2. Class and take home half a cleaned pig,  $1700
  3. Class and take home whole cleaned pig,  $2300. 

Each class is limited to 12 students. 

A 50% deposit is required to reserve your spot or you can send the whole amount. 

Make checks out to Mosefund Farm:
Phone: 201 289 0210


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Monday, August 9, 2010

Starting Fluid

Grape mash (left) is great for jump starting bread starter (right ) .

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Not Cool

It was this line from one of those "don't take this too seriously, it's all just good fun" articles on CNN's Eatocracy web site that flipped my switch
"Guilty food pleasures: they're so wrong, yet oh-so right."
 I find the idea of "guilty food pleasures" to be ridiculous on it's face and completely irrelevant to my life. For me there is nothing I understand to be food  that is both pleasurable and capable of engendering guilt when eaten. The experiences of guilt and pleasure cannot coexist in my mind when I eat and have not since I was a child. I'm sure that there are adults who get hot and bothered by guilt when they eat something that makes them ululate when they masticate but that does not happen in me. This is mostly because I cannot experience pleasure at the same time that I experiencing feelings that are negative ( i.e. guilt) but also because I'm not going to eat something that I know is going make me experience negative emotions. Simply put, in my little corner of the universe there is no such thing as a "guilty food pleasure."

Then there is the notion that it's [oh-so] right to indulge in an activity that you believe to be wrong. I'm not sure how to think about this as anything other than a call to betray one's moral code. It suggests that as long as the end result is pleasure, you are free to eat things that you believe to be wrong to eat. I don't want to bother this  (I suspect) lighthearted article on the joys of eating junk food with too much analysis and criticism, but I think that anyone who eats something, experiences pleasure then feels "guilty" about what they have done, might want to reconsider their relationship to food and eating.

Perhaps it is needless to add that on those rare occasions when  I eat junk food AND experience pleasure I don't experience guilt.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dinner 8/7

This is ready to finish as soon as the coal bed is ready.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bread and Butter Pickles

If you would like to see the recipe I have published it HERE. Feel free to ask for clarification via email or a comment box. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Foie Gras and Kobe Beef a la 1962

Check out this excerpt from the 1962 "shockumentary" Mondo Cane (A Dog's World) that, following a brief vignette showing baby chickens being color-dyed, shows geese being force fed and cattle being massaged and sated with beer. Although I was too young to see this when it played in New York in the early '60's (I did not get to see it until the early '70's)  I'm old enough to remember the brouhaha surrounding this early animal rights flick. Today, I doubt it would rustle a lace curtain before an open window.