Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food Culture: To Have and to Hold

In respect of those who prepare our food we must embrace the struggle, the art and tradition which creates such sumptuous delights for our palates. Luckily, in the past decade as people have become more involved in their food, interests have changed from homogenization to natural and true offerings allowing cooks to reveal their recipes and traditions in an honest and appealing light. 

 We crave the honest grit and flavor found in a proud establishment
Ruddell's Smokehouse, Cyucos, CA.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

The origin of this blog started as a simple means to document my fermenting and preserving projects and promote the vinegar & jam creations sold on Etsy. Time went by and I began to post more frequently on other food related topics. However, as a proud 'ferment er' I never offered some instruction for making vinegar in the home. Since this is one of my loves and origin of this blog it seems fitting and overdue.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kitschy Chic - Salts Blends & Rubs

Since my wife and I opened Entropy the Shop on a year ago (summer 2012), I have found a world of fellow chefs, artisans, and foodies who create a vast amount of original, handcrafted culinary supplies. From hand forged knives to kitchen hand soaps, marshmallows, spice blends and even Kombucha scooby's. The majority of the incredibly unique edible selections are not only made with the choicest of ingredients but with pride and sincerity as well. Since the primary form of advertising and promotion on Etsy is the quality of your products and service, a shopper is guaranteed to be impressed when searching for quality ingredients, supplies, or new and delicious pantry elements.

Through my searches and tasting among the various artisans on Etsy I have had the great fortune to find a spicy little shop named Kitschy Chic; Salts Blends & Rubs. Upon first viewing the shop and it's selections, I was instantly impressed with the fun and professional packaging, and the displays of flavors, all accompanied with tantalizing descriptions. The more I shopped and read the more I became interested in who this person was and how the unique blend of flavor profiles had been created.
Kitschy Chic on
"Find your inner spice today!"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Barrels from Oregon Barrel Works

As I mentioned in the post A Change or Two in Plans, my father had wanted to get involved with my vinegar making and somehow found Oregon Barrel Works. Through some phone calls he commissioned Rick DeFerrari to create 2, 15 gallon vinegar barrels; one made of French oak and one made of Oregon oak.

The work I wanted done was specific and finally, through some emails, phone calls, and tough decisions, the barrels were  finished and in route to my front door. I admit I grew impatient at times, as the process took roughly 3 months, but upon the arrival of the 2 works of art, I was reminded of just who I was dealing with, and what I had ultimately received. These barrels were handcrafted for my needs by an artist in the Pacific Northwest's only cooperage.

Stone Soup

I have only known this story for a couple of years now. My wife, Cherie introduced me to it, surprised that I, a chef, had never heard it before. The moral of the story was not unique to me, having grown up in a religious family, but I believe that there can never too much enchantment and intrigue woven around the importance of community and sharing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To Roast A Chicken

I realize that the number of recipes for chicken out on the Internet are limitless, sometimes viewed as over done if not redundant. This does not render them useless providing they are accurate and offer some new and useful information.

For example this blog has come to include some very basic recipes and methods out of my desire to reveal the fundamentals of some obvious recipes; some which are still difficult to consistently master, some not so common but basic and recently popular (fermenting is coming up) and some, like this one (roasting a chicken) which while common can be used as a platform for discussing some very useful and important topics and current global issues. That's right! Roasting a chicken can be as intriguing as delicious.
A juicy chicken trussed and roasted.
I used the optinal 2 teaspoons of one of my favorite spice blends mixed into
the olive oil and butter mixture used for basting:
Tango Mango Hot Habanero Spice made by Kitschy Chic

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Truss A Bird Without Twine

The practice of trussing a bird (any variety) is to ensure an even cooking temperature throughout the legs, thighs and breasts. If a bird is not trussed before it is roasted, hot air will circulate inside of the cavity as well as the exterior which will cook the breast portion of the bird more quickly than the leg and thigh portions. By the time the legs and thighs have come up to a safe temperature the breast meat has been overcooked. The main function of trussing is to gather the legs, thighs and arms of the fowl, holding them snugly in place against the body of the bird. The drumsticks obstruct the opening of the cavity allowing even cooking on the surface while limiting heat from overcooking the breast portion from the inside out.

I learned this no twine trussing method from a dishwasher with whom I worked. I was impressed and kind of surprised that I had not figured this out nor seen it after 13 years of professional cooking. I told myself that to my benefit I was a product of my rigid, formal culinary training and therefore never sought another method. But still...duh.
A plump, well formed chicken trussed and roasted without twine