Friday, January 29, 2010

Champagne, Caviar and More

AIWF’s Champagne, Caviar and More tasting hits the Lodge in Pebble 3-5:30pm Sunday, Jan. 31. Reserve by Jan. 25, 626-9369

Cioppino Feed at St. Angela's in PG

Saturday, Jan. 30, Monterey Pacific Rotary is packing St. Angela’s in P.G. for Phil’s Fish Market cioppino plus some Mike Marotta music. $55, 277-5936

"National" Corn Chip Day

Always January 29th

National Corn Chip Day celebrates the Corn Chip. Fifty years ago, few Americans knew what Corn Chips were. Today, most American can not imagine life without this tasty, crunchy holder of salsa, cheese and (mostly) mexican dips. Its even sprinkled atop salads, making salads even more crunchy.

(Oh by the way there has been no official congressional recognition of National Corn Chip day.)


Babbo’s bacon. Popularized in this country by chef Mario Batali, guanciale is salt-cured, dried pigs’ cheek; pancetta, which may be substituted for it, is made from the belly of the pig. The name comes from guancia, which means “cheek” in Italian. Guanciale, a main ingredient in spaghetti all’amatriciana, is especially common in the cooking of central Italy. The Babbo website notes that though guanciale “is leaner than traditional pork pieces, it has a noticeably richer flavor. It is this richness, combined with a delicate porkiness, that more than merits the meat’s three-week drying period. Making guanciale may require a little more planning than simply buying good-quality bacon or pancetta, but its abundance of flavor distinguishes guanciale from the rest, making every dish that much more succulent.”

Read more at the James Beard blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pisoni Wine Dinner at La Playa Hotel

Join Gary Pisoni and Executive Chef Bunyan Fortune of La Playa Hotel in fusing the flavors of the Monterey Peninsula and the Santa Lucia Highlands. They will be holding a winemaker dinner at La Playa Hotel in Carmel on Friday, February 12th.

The Pisoni and Lucia wines will be paired with a five course feast by Chef Bunyan and the opportunity to spend the evening with the exuberant Gary Pisoni. The event is $125 per person plus tax and tip.

For more information, visit La Playa Events on the hotel's website, or call La Playa Hotel at 831.624.6476.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Man Arrested for Urinating on Steaks

CANTON, Ohio -- A Canton man remains in jail after being arrested for urinating on a meat counter at a Wal-Mart store.

According to Lt. Linda Brown of the Canton Police Department, Robert T. Jenkins, 21, of Canton, was arrested at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning and charges with felony vandalism and disorderly conduct.

Police say Jenkins was arrested after they responded to a call from an employee at the Wal-Mart store on Atlantic Blvd. NE, claiming a man walked up to the meat counter and began urinating on the steaks, destroying more than $600 dollars in meat.

According to Lt. Brown, it is not yet known if alcohol or drugs played a role in Brown's actions.<~Ya Think?

Cafe food fight: Beef vs. chicken

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A food fight in Brownsville has led to a cafe owner facing an aggravated assault charge over a customer allegedly whacked on the head with plate. Police said Maria Del Rayo Cordero was accused of tossing a tray of food and tea at the customer who had complained he ordered a chicken dish, but was served beef. KRGV-TV reported the pair argued before both allegedly threw food items at each other.

Police said the owner is accused of grabbing a plate and striking the man. Paramedics treated him at the scene on Saturday.

The owner was freed after posting $7,500 bond. She could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.


Information from: KRGV-TV,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Google's Top 10 Recipes of 2009

Google's Top 10 Recipes of 2009: "According to Connection Points, a 2009 Noble/R&I study, 22% of restaurant operators say they use search engines to find recipes. The percentage is likely higher for consumers looking for dishes to cook at home. What consumers eat at home doesn't always determine what they will order when dining out, but there is some overlap, particularly during a time when more people are craving comfort food. The following are the top 10 recipes searched for via Google in 2009.

1. Chili
2. Meatloaf
3. Cheesecake
4. Banana bread
5. Pancake
6. Salsa
7. Hummus
8. Lasagna
9. Apple pie
10. Meatball

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pajaro Street Wine Bar

Pajaro Street Wine Bar at 435 Pajaro St. in Salinas is now open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

The restaurant features vintage and rare wines and light food with a relaxed casual coffee house atmosphere.

Sample Menu from January 16th*

Group Menu
(4 course dinners)

Baby back ribs
1/4 slab(3) $5.40 1/2 slab $10.80 full $21.60
Smoky BBQ sauce & Blackberry sauce

Health Mongers:
Veggie Pie $5
Rutabaga, beet, grilled eggplant, parsnips, yellow carrot, eggs, mozzarella and cheddar, with lemon aioli

Vegan Terrine $5
Arugula, carrot, pumpkin, beet, rutabaga, roasted red bells, caramelized onion, lentils, splitpeas, Dikon radish raspberry chipotle sauce +bread plate

From the Sea:
Shrimp stuffed Pasilla $5
Mushrooms, Cheddar & Jack Cheese, fennel, prunes, dates, red bell pepper, turmeric

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding $5
Caramel and Cinnamon Sauces & whip cream

This Week's
Wines by the Glass
6oz glass (2 oz tasting pour)

Beringer White Zinfandel
California 2006
Glass $5.00 taste $2

Dry Creek Fume Blanc
Sonoma 2006
Glass $6.75 taste $2.30

Bernardus Chardonnay
Monterey 2005
Glass $9.00 taste $3.00

Paraiso Riesling
Monterey 2005
Glass $6.50 taste $2.20

La Playa Block Selection Merlot
Chile 2003
Glass $5.50 taste $2

Hahn Monterey Merlot 2005
Glass $6.00 taste $2

Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Zinfandel Sonoma 2006
Glass $6.50 taste $2.5

J Lohr 7 Oaks Cabernet
Paso Robles 2006
Glass $8.25 taste $2.20

Silver Stone Tempranillo
Paso Robles 2002 $43.00
Glass $10.75 taste $3.60

Can't Decide - Have a Martini…

The Wine Bar offers a selection of vintage and rare wine by the glass including tasting pours; Martinis using Han Asian Vodka 48 proof; an Espresso Bar; and a light affordable whimsical menu that changes daily.

Reservations: 831-754-3944.

*Menu and pricing was valid only on the date noted (January 16th)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

17th Street Grille Happy Hour

They are already know for the best burgers and wraps in town. Now they are known for the best draft beef happy hour as well! All draft beers are half off Monday-Friday from 4pm-7pm.

On Tap:
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Widmer Hefeweizen
Fat Tire

This could be the best happy hour in Pacific Grove!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Columbus Distributing -No Longer Distributing

Word on the street is the Tony's Fine Foods has taken over the distribution business of Columbus Foods.

Columbus salami was founded in 1917 and in 1981 the company Columbus Distributing set out to become the premier distributor for fine food products.

Crab Facts

While the female blue crab is in her molted state (soft shell crab), the male blue crab will protect her. The female however, will devour any male that comes along her way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Montrio Bistro Fires Up New Wood Oven

Friday at 11am their facebook page broke the news for Montrio Bistro "We just got our new wood fired oven, it's cured and ready to go! What will Chef Baker make for dinner?!

Tony Baker ran the oven for the last two nights. Lot of fun, finding out that almost their entire menu could go through the oven if he so desired. Chef Tony's favorites were the pork belly, cippolini onions and artichokes in a cast iron pan with Yorkshire pudding batter topped with Point Reyes blue cheese.

Saturday night you could hear the excitement as he cooked up a bloody storm! "I love my new wood oven, it ran all day today and roasted cippolinis, CA Lamb Rack, Diver Scallops, Pork Belly, Bread Pudding to name but a few things. The versatility of this oven is amazing. I'll be testing a number of dishes over the coming days and weeks, so don't... be surprised if I drop something on your table to taste! Cheers, Chef TB"

When Tony is dropping goodies at your table, you don't want to miss it. Get into Montrio and enjoy this new dimension of cooking in their kitchen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flying Pigs Farm in New York

Posted by Erin Zimmer, October 12, 2009

"We realized we had to do something with the land and settled on pigs...This year, we'll finish somewhere between 500 and 600 pigs, along with 2,500 meat chickens and 1,500 laying hens."

Read it at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

L'Auberge Carmel Mushroom Dinner

L'Auberge hosted their Mushroom Dinner last Friday, and while I wasn't able to attend, I was sure to grab a copy of the menu. The menu and photo's are available on thier blog here.

The team continues to reach out with events and classes to draw locals as well as visitors to the Peninsula. Be sure and visit their blog often or sign up for tweets about local specials.

Coming up are a couple cooking classes:

Hands-on Pastry Classes with Ron Mendoza
Award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza
continues with his highly regarded, hands-on sessions
teaching professional pastry techniques.
Wednesday, January 20 - Apple Struedel
Wednesday, February 17 - Chocolate Truffles & Fudge
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
$100* per person

Hands-on Cooking Classes with Christophe Grosjean
Executive Chef Christophe Grosjean will again lead a small group exploring
professional cooking techniques in his very popular hands-on sessions
in the kitchen of Aubergine.
Thursday, January 21 - Mushrooms
Thursday, February 18 - Braising
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
$100* per person

*Per class, plus tax and gratuity. Class size limited so reservation required.

Built in 1929, the European-style luxury hotel is located just four blocks from famous Carmel Beach and an easy stroll to the village's numerous art galleries, shops and restaurants. Major renovations have transformed the hotel's 20 guest rooms, entrance and landscaped courtyard into a romantic Carmel setting.

Luxuriously romantic, the Carmel hotel was created for adults to relax, rejuvenate and nurture relationships—the perfect Carmel escape getaway. The interior decor of the guest rooms is rich and pleasing, warm jewel tones accenting the quaint charm of the architecture. Individually designed guest rooms feature the finest fabrics and linens, enlarged bath areas with radiant floor heating, many with soaking tubs. It is one of Carmel’s few full service luxury hotels offering valet parking, room service and highly personalized guest services.

All accommodations include a sumptuous French country breakfast.

Monte Verde at Seventh

Carmel by the Sea, CA

Telephone 831 624 8578

Executive Chef Christophe Grosjean's cooking philosophy is built on spontaneity. With farmers delivering products daily to the Aubergine kitchen, Christophe and his team focus on making the most of these natural, fresh products. The ingredients are the stars of his menu. Options abound on the Aubergine menu.

Diners have the opportunity to create their own three, four or five course menu by choosing from a variety of dishes progressive in flavors. Or, guests may ask the chef to create an exclusive tasting menu, whereby a diner's only decision is to trust Christophe and his kitchen team as they guide guests through a gastronomic journey. Each course may be ordered with or without a selected wine pairing.

The intimate 12-table Aubergine restaurant features an underground wine cellar that was constructed beneath the inn's courtyard to house the restaurant's 4,500 bottle collection. The wine list features great wines from around the world but especially wines from Monterey County, California and France. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 6:00 - 9:30 pm.

Almost immediately upon opening, the hotel and restaurant received critical acclaim from national magazines. The restaurant was featured in the January 2005 issue of Bon Appetit, as "Best of the Year. Restaurant Hot Seat". Robb Report's 17th annual "Best of the Best" June 2005 issue selected L'Auberge Carmel as one of the new best dining destinations in the United States. Gourmet magazine named the restaurant #20 “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” in 2006. In January 2005, Conde Nast Traveler's Readers Poll selected L'Auberge Carmel as the #42 best hotel in the United States, and the magazine's January 2006, 2007 and 2008 issue listed the hotel on its prestigious Gold List. Travel & Leisure magazine added the hotel to its “World’s Best List” in 2007 & 2008. Most recently Aubergine was selected as one of the "Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S." by, November 2008.

To learn more or to make reservations, visit

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rancho Cielo's Culinary Round Up

A Fancy Party with Western Attire to celebrate the opening of Rancho Cielo's Drummond Culinary Academy
Date: Sunday, January 31, 2010
Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa

Rancho Cielo's Drummond Culinary Academy will train our at-risk youth population in all aspects of restaurant hospitality by functioning as both a classroom and a working restaurant for special events. These trained youth will then be directed into externships and paid jobs upon completing the program, giving them an opportunity for a better life, as well as improving economic development for Monterey County.

Special Guest: Chef Jeff Henderson, who recently discussed his New York Times Best Selling book "Cooked: My Journey From The Streets to the Stove" on Oprah, is head chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and learned to cook in prison.

Local chefs preparing gourmet tastes and Monterey County wine pairings.
Live music by "Eight Second Ride".
Wild Buckin' Live Auction and Rootin' Tootin' Raffle.
Event chaired by Bert Cutino

Tickets $125 per person.
Please call 831.444.3533 for reservations or information

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anatomy of a Pork Rib

Pigs have 14 ribs. They are attached to the spine and are usually divied up into four popular cuts: Baby back ribs, spare ribs, St. Louis cut ribs, and rib tips.

Applebees launched pork riblets on their rib menu adding a lower cost menu item while expanding their variety. Now they feature two portions of pork baby back rib, and two portions of pork "riblets" The price points are at a $10.50 pork riblet basket-just ribs, a $12 Riblet meal offering a choice of flavorful sauces to chose from, a $13 half rack of baby backs, and a $17 full rack of baby backs with signature bbq sauce. All but the basket include fries and coleslaw.

A riblet is a confusing term however as what there are really serving is more accurately called a "rib tip" or in retail they are known as button ribs. This is a portion of the whole pork sparerib that is closest to the breast or brisket. It is trimmed off of the sparerib to create what is called a St. Louis style rib.

Pork loin baby back ribs lie closest to the spine on the hog, and as the name implies they back up the loin meat that makes up your pork chops. This is the area where the "prime rib" of pork is located and the meat is most tender. Baby backs are probably one of the most popular menu items here on the West Coast.

St. Louis ribs are popular because they combine the wonderful full flavor of the sparerib with the consistant sizing of a pork loin baby back rib, at up to half the cost of the back rib.

A sparerib sold wholesale will usually cost under $2 lb, while a St. Louis rib will be in the $2-$3 lb range. Amazingly the cut rib tip tends to remain around the same price of the whole sparerib creating quite a value for the restaurateur and ultimately the consumer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crab Facts

The blue crab’s shedding process is repeated up to 25 times during a crab’s lifetime.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Seville Orange

A popular bitter Orange grown in the Northern California region. It has a thick, rough skin and an extremely tart, bitter flesh full of seeds. Because of its high acidic content, the Seville is not and eating orange but , because of that same acidity is extremely popular for making marmalades as well a liqueurs. Packed in 40-pound cartons.

Although the Seville orange's sweeter sisters may grace our shelves all year round, the Spanish fruit has all but disappeared by the end of February. Marmalade-makers await the season eagerly, while other people may not even be aware of its passing. This is largely because underneath the Seville's thick, rough skin, the flesh is extremely tart and packed with seeds; it is not an eating orange, but its high acidity offers perfect setting power for preserves.

Bitter oranges originated in the northeast of India and neighbouring areas of China and Southeast Asia. During the first centuries of their empire, the Romans took a great interest in the fruit; however, as their domination of Europe ended, so did the cultivation of oranges. By this time, Arabs had established both themselves and the bitter orange in Spain. With the Moors' irrigation technology, the fruit flourished in the once-dry land.

Some believe that the British passion for the fruit – or rather, the fruit transformed to marmalade – began with a happy accident in 1700, after a young Dundee grocer named James Keiller took a risk on a large consignment of oranges that were en route from Seville, on a ship sheltering against a storm in Dundee harbour. The oranges were cheap, but Keiller couldn't sell them: the flesh was far too sour. His shrewd wife, however, used the oranges to make a spreadable preserve. The jars went on sale in Keiller's shop and soon demand became so high, the family had to order a regular shipment of oranges from Seville. By 1797 they had opened Britain's first marmalade factory.

Despite the huge number of bitter oranges that are grown in Seville, none is available to buy in the shops or markets; the people of Seville can pick the fruit freely from the trees anyway, so there's little point trying to sell them. But the Spaniards use few in cooking and they aren't big marmalade-makers, so the bulk of the harvest is exported to Britain. That said, the sisters of the San Leandro and Santa Paula convents make bitter orange preserves, to traditional recipes that have been handed down the years, to be sold alongside their famous pastries.

Marmalade aside, the tart juice of the Seville orange can also be used to create tangy salad dressings and fabulous sauces to cut through the richness of meat and game. The classic French bigarade is a delicious example: a dark, port-enriched, orange-flavoured sauce that is traditionally served with roast duck and for which dessert oranges would prove far too sweet.

The juice makes a great alternative to lime or lemon juice in ceviche, a Latin American fish dish in which the citric acid has a similar effect to heat on the protein bonds in the tissue and 'cooks' it by marination. Firm white fish, plump meaty scallops and oily, omega-3-rich fish such as salmon and mackerel work especially well. Simply slice the fish thinly and marinate in a mixture of bitter orange juice, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, with some sliced or chopped onion, crushed garlic, maybe a chopped chilli or two – even a grating of ginger. Leave in the fridge or another cool place for a couple of hours or so, until the flesh turns opaque – and that's all it takes. Just ensure the fish you are using is ultra-fresh.

To create versatile flavoured oils and vinegars, just drop a piece or two of oven-dried peel into the bottle and leave for a while to infuse. They will beautifully complement zingy, peppery leaves such as rocket, spinach and watercress.

Seville Orange Marmalade

6 Seville oranges
Juice of 2 small Moro Blood oranges
10 cups water
pinch of salt
8 cups sugar
12" x 12" square of 4 layers of cheesecloth rinsed and wet

1. Take the damned stickers off the oranges, wash them and dry them. Cut each orange in half as for juicing. I hand juice thoroughly on an old fashioned glass juicer as I can't find the machine since we moved. Pour all the juice including the blood orange juice in a wide kettle.
2. Then pull the membrane out from the rind and scrape away some of the pith (remember Seville, not Dresden, don't be obsessive with the pith) and put all the innards including the seeds in cheesecloth lined bowl. Tie it all up in cheesecloth or muslin very securely. and toss it into the kettle.
3. With a very sharp knife slice all the rind into very, very thin slices. The cross cut the slices about the length you would like them in your marmalade.
4. Add the water, pinch of sea salt, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that it only simmers. Simmer until the peels are translucent, about 25 to 35 minutes. It is very important that they be translucent as they do not become much more translucent after you add the sugar, and you don't want white pieces in your marmalade.
5. Add the sugar and bring to a full boil, then turn the heat down to a vigorous simmer. Simmer until the jam passes the "Spoon Test:" Scoop up a small amount of jam in your cooking spoon and let it run back into the pan. First it will pour. At the end when the jam is ready, it should form two large drops which will merge into one big hesitant drop.
6. Remove the seed and pith packet and put in in a metal wire strainer set over the pot. Press to squeeze out any remaining jam and pectin with the back of the cooking spoon. Careful as this is very hot, indeed. Then dump the seed packet directly in the garbage.
7. Remove the pot from the heat or leave it on the lowest setting. Fill and seal the jars. Turn them upside down and let them sit for 5 minutes. Then turn them back right side up. Let cool, label them and put them in your larder.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Foodservice business could be creeping back up

Published on 01/08/2010 12:15pm By Tom Burfield

When the economy took a dive, so did business throughout the foodservice industry. But several mushroom grower-shippers said they’ve noticed gradual upward movement in their sales to restaurants this winter.

After dropping off in the middle of 2008, foodservice business started picking up again late this fall for Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, Calif., said Joe Caldwell, vice president.

Some of the sales upturn may have resulted from the company’s efforts to let foodservice operators know just how versatile mushrooms are, Caldwell said.

“Mushrooms have flexibility,” he said.

They can be used in breakfast, lunch or dinner offerings; in Mexican, Italian, Asian, German or American dishes; and in sandwiches, salads, soups and casseroles.

Read the full story at

Mushrooms enhance menu at San Francisco restaurant

Published on 01/08/2010 12:36pm By Tom Burfield

When Annie Somerville, executive chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, wants to add a special touch to her menu, one of her favorite options is mushrooms.

Filo purses stuffed with mushrooms and artichokes is one of her favorites, she said, and diners also love the grilled or roasted portabella sandwich, and they “go absolutely crazy” when she serves stuffed portabella mushroom with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes.

“Right now we are serving abalone, oyster and king trumpets,” she said in mid-December.

And the following week, she planned to grill squares of polenta over charcoal and serve that with an herb cream, grilled mushrooms and shaved parmesan cheese.

“It will be a really nice winter dish,” she said.

Somerville likes working with mushrooms because they are fun and exciting.

“They have great texture, really good flavor, and they’re compelling and fun to work with,” she said.

Because Greens is a vegetarian restaurant, Somerville gets to try her hand at preparing a variety of mushrooms, including portabella, crimini and the basic white variety. She likes to go beyond white mushrooms and considers the portabella a good, basic mushroom that many chefs now use.

“It has a really hardy flavor, it’s got a great texture, it makes a great sandwich, and it’s good roasted or grilled,” she said. “You can really put it to work.”

Somerville’s approach to vegetarian cooking is not to simply look for meat substitutes.

“It’s always nice to have some really, really hardy, flavorful ingredients on the menu,” she said, “and mushrooms definitely are.”

She is fond of the crimini, which she characterizes as “the white mushroom’s tan cousin” with a slightly deeper flavor.

She also likes to use the oyster variety because it has a good texture and grills and roasts nicely.

“You can grill or roast a whole cluster,” she said. “They’re very flavorful, and they have a really nice, chewy texture.”

Plain white mushrooms also can be delicious if you slice them, sauté them with olive oil, garlic or shallots, salt and pepper.

“Deglaze your pan with a little red or white wine or sherry,” she said. “They just need seasoning.”

During the fall, she made a salad that featured grilled delicata squash, little artichokes, peppers and abalone mushrooms.

“It’s fun and a good combination of flavors, colors and textures,” she said.

Other favorite mushroom dishes at Greens include stuffed portabella mushrooms, a grilled mushroom sandwich with melted cheese and wild mushroom ravioli.

“And anytime we have mushrooms on pizza, people love it,” Somerville said.

Read the full story at

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hot Tip For You Broke Asses!

Brokeass Gourmet is the premier food and lifestyle blog for folks who want to live the high life on the cheap. The blog features recipes that are always under $20, along with great advice on inexpensive but delicious beers, wines, cocktails and other topics relating to the BrokeAss Gourmet lifestyle.

Check it out!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Is Chicken Skin the New Bacon?

By Kristin Donnelly, Associate Editor at

While visiting my parents outsidePhiladelphia over the holidays, I met up with restaurant critic Joy Manning for a Philly restaurant crawl. At Fish—chef Mike Stollenwerk’s second restaurant (the first is the diminutive Little Fish)— I loved the perfectly cooked skate (nicely crusted outside and moist within) served with golden brown spaetzle and a lush parmesan-truffle sauce. But our fishless starter—an otherwise ordinary beet salad—really struck me because of its garnish: crisp bits of chicken skin scattered like croutons.

Since winning Top Chef Season 2, Ilan Hall has talked about the deliciousness of chicken skin.

Rooster Rind

Now, he’s getting all kinds of press for the gribenes sandwich—essentially a BLT with chicken skin standing in for the bacon—that he serves at his new LA spot, The Gorbals.

And what trend would be complete without a David Chang restaurant to legitimize it? Crispy chicken skin garnishes hand-torn pasta with escargot sausage at NYC's still-impossible-to-get-into Momofuku Ko. (Plus David recently created Turkey Cracklings to accompany Turkey Breast with Ginger-Scallion Sauce in F&W's Thanksgiving Leftovers Challenge.)

Another fabulous recipe: chicken tacos from F&W's Marcia Kiesel with a crispy skin garnish.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CIA Analyst to Gourmet Sausage Maker

Former CIA Intelligence Analyst, Stanley Feder, discovered a passion for crafting gourmet sausages. Four years later, his sausages are highly sought after in the Washington culinary community. Feder accredits his success to his artisanal process and his list of high quality ingredients, which would not be complete without Vande Rose Farms Duroc Pork.

Simply Sausage hand crafts high quality sausages for restaurants, gourmet food shops, farmers who raise livestock naturally, and for people who love great food.

They are fanatical about quality. They use high quality meats such as Vande Rose Farms Duroc pork, which is sustainably raised without hormones or antibiotics. For beef, they are using briskets and chucks. Their spices are the best available. In short, we believe that good ingredients, handled with care and creativity produce outstanding eating.

About the sausage team

The Simply Sausage team is composed of Stanley Feder, Gathoni Kamau, and C.J. Russell. Although Simply Sausage has been in business for four years, it took Stan two and a half years to find the skilled, responsible, and dedicated people who are serious about the craft of sausage making.

Stanley Feder learned the finer points of sausage making through trial and error and two short apprenticeships with John van der Lieck, a European-trained Master of Sausage Making (Wurstmeister) whose Oyama Sausage Company ( is famous in Vancouver, BC, Canada. During 2004 Stan made sausages part-time at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, VA. Stan learned the basics in the 1970s by reading about and making charcuterie — sausages, pâtés, salt pork, and lard — at home. In February 2007 Stan spent eight days working with the Noguera family, traditional sausage makers in Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain. Stan brought back a dozen recipes from this experience, including the chorizo picante and butifarras offered for sale. He is obsessed with quality in all aspects of any cooking he does. Stan is a member of Slow Food, a charter member of the National Capital Area chapter of the American Institute of Food and Wine, and a former director of The Regional Food Council/Local Food, a not-for-profit that worked to strengthen links between small farmers and the citizens of the greater Washington, DC, area.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tabiko Cavier Now In Stock At US Foodservice SF

The small roe (eggs) harvested from flying fish. Orange in color which is the natural color of this caviar, Tobiko is slightly sweet in flavor with a mild salty overtone. It has become popular caviar to season with a variety of different flavors, also adding different colorings to identify intensities and types of various flavors. As an example, the yellow colored Tobiko typically has a ginger flavor; the orange and black have a somewhat salty flavor (the black being colored with squid ink); the light green version is flavored with Wasabi for a mildly spicy flavor while a darker green denotes a more intense jalapeno flavor; and the red is often flavored with chili pepper seasoning to add a spiciness in flavor.

Versatile in use, Tobiko Caviar has a texture that is semi-hard which does not soften and change when added to sauces, dressings or other liquid-based ingredients. The color and texture are quite stable and retained to add to not only an enhancing appearance to various foods but also a crunchy consistency. Tobiko goes well as a topping for cheese and crackers, as a garnish for sushi, crab cakes, cheese, and other appetizer selections. Since it is small and hardy, it can be frozen and refrozen to preserve it for future use.

Tobico Capelin Caviar Wasabi USPN#1474956

Wasabi Tobico is a fiery addition to any Wasabi sushi dish.

Flavored flying fish roe is a fundamental eye-catching accompaniment of professional sushi preparations and the home connoisseurs. These bright berries are perfect as an addition to sushi and canapés garnish and add a kick sure to delight.

Origin: Iceland
Storage: refrigerated, frozen
Shelf Life: 1 month refrigerated, 6 months frozen

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pebble Beach Resident Remembered for Quarter Pounder

MONTEREY, Calif. - Al Bernardin, a Pebble Beach resident credited with bringing the world the "Quarter Pounder", has died at the age of 81.

Bernardin passed away at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula on December 22; he is said to be responsible for the creation McDonald's "Quarter Pounder", the frozen french fry, and deep-fried pies. Bernardin was a McDonald's vice president, and led the company's training facility, "Hamburger University".

Not all of his ideas became menu stables. McDonald's corporate office nixed the The Lite Mac - a one-fifth pounder consisting of 15 percent less beef fat - and the McGobbler, a sandwich made of ground turkey meat.

"He always wanted to make things better," said Bernardin's son, Mark, who owns three McDonald's in Fremont. "He spent two years making prototypes to spread butter on corn-on-the-cob."

While the Quarter Pounder became an international sensation, Bernardin said his most important contribution to fast-food fare is the frozen french fry.
"Before that, the (restaurants) had to store potatoes in the basement," Mark Bernardin said. "It was a real pain."

Bernardin and his wife, Joan, were major benefactors for CHOMP; he spent time volunteering at hospices in Northern California.

You can read the story at Or There is this moving tribute by Doug Speirs of the Winnipeg Free Press to help remind us of Al’s contributions.

To say I like cheeseburgers is an understatement. It's like saying Tiger Woods likes to play around once in a while, if you catch my general drift.

I will try to explain. You see, one of my wife's New Year's resolutions is for me to do something about my weight. I tried to show her how serious I was about this resolution the other night by putting on my parka, stumbling into the backyard, knocking the snow off my barbecue and grilling some cheeseburgers.

I should point out grilling in subarctic weather does involve a certain amount of exercise in the sense that, if your barbecue is positioned too close to the side of your house, you will burn up quite a few calories dodging falling icicles. You will also have to sprint into the house quite frequently to ensure your beer doesn't freeze.

But my wife didn't see this frosty weight-loss regimen in a positive light. So she decided to motivate me to go to the gym. She did this via the standard motivational technique of telling my boss, Bob, to drive to our house, pick me up and physically take me to the nearest gym.

Which is how I ended up on the treadmill, which is where, to the sounds of my sneaker-clad feed thumping like pistons and my lungs wheezing like a runaway locomotive and my heart pounding like the drummer for a heavy metal band, I started thinking about Al Bernardin.

I started thinking how much I was going to miss Al, even though I'd never actually met him.

If you don't know who Al Bernardin was, then you are probably what health professionals and exercise experts refer to as "a woman." Whereas if you are a guy like me, a middle-aged newspaper columnist who adores a great idea and a perfectly grilled burger, you will know that Al Bernardin was the Albert Einstein of the hamburger world.

But instead of giving the world the theory of relativity, Al gave us something much more useful -- the McDonald's Quarter Pounder. According to recent news reports, Al went to work at McDonald's corporate HQ in 1960 and quickly became the dean of Hamburger University, the burger chain's training centre.

As a vice-president of product development, he played a key role in the creation of McDonald's fish sandwich, french fries and their hot apple and cherry pies.
But that wasn't enough for Al. He was not the kind of guy who could look at a basic hamburger and think to himself: "Yummy!" No, Al was the kind of guy who thought to himself: "How can I build a much bigger burger?"

So that's what he did. In 1971, as a franchise owner in California, he gave the world the Quarter Pounder. In short order, he also gave the world the Quarter Pounder with cheese. The world has never been the same.

Here's what he said about his invention in a 1991 interview: "I felt there was a void in our menu vis-a-vis the adult who wanted a higher ratio of meat to bun."

That's what made Al great. He approached hamburgers the way we should approach life: Demanding a higher ratio of meat to bun. Seriously, think about it: More meat, less bun! If those are not words to live by, then I am a vegetarian, which I'm not.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Small Batch of ExCrabaGanza Savory Bread Pudding

1/4 Stick unsalted butter
2 large leeks only the white part cleaned and sliced
3/4 pounds of spicy sausage
1/4 pound of slice mushrooms
4 1/2 cups of stale bread cubes
1 1/2 cups of half and half
3 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup asiago

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft. Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes breaking it up as it browns. Add the shrooms and cook for another couple minutes, while stirring.

In a a bowl toss the bread and sausage mix together. In another bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased 8x8 pan and press down firmly. Allow to set for 30 minutes. Bake for about 1 hour until nicely browned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to Basics Lead Food Channel's 2010 Trends

Media Post Publications Back-to-basics -- meaning a focus on buying quality, basic ingredients and building a menu from there -- leads the Food Channel's list of top food trends for 2010.

This version of back-to-basics "isn't about retro, or comfort food, or even cost -- it's about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly," say the channel's food gurus.

In fact, in addition to more of the eating-at-home trend, they predict a shift away from convenience foods and toward real, from-scratch cooking, "now that we have more time than money, and more food knowledge and concerns."

When people do go out to eat, they'll be experimenting more than ever. Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going "out" to eat means, they note. New formats/concepts that are likely to do well include gastropubs, fusion dining, "shareables" and communal tables, and those built around "fresh" and do-it-yourself themes.

Grocery stores will continue to see growth in private label and a revival of emphasis on the in-store butcher, as well as upgraded delis and fresh take-out sections, say the trend-watchers. Bulk buys will continue, but frequent -- even daily -- purchases of fresh meal ingredients will become more common as a means of making meals special and minimizing waste. Using social media, apps and online sources to get real-time tips on where the best grocery deals are and to score coupons will become more prevalent.

Other trends:

Redefining "ethnic" ("American, The New Ethnic"). American food is made up of a growing number of ethnic staples and favorites. We're also adding individual dashes of creativity as we share these favorites and learn to cook them at home.
Food vetting. Food sourcing issues ranging from Fair Trade to organics to mercury-free fish will continue to grow in importance.

Mainstreaming sustainability. Growing numbers of Americans will continue to adopt sustainable practices out of a desire to make a difference, including eating locally sourced, seasonal foods and buying products with sustainable/biodegradable packaging. Food manufacturers will continue to expand sustainable operational and packaging practices.

Food with benefits. "Functional" foods with added nutrients or health/beauty benefits claims will continue to proliferate, as will gluten- and allergy-free foods. Nutritional labeling will get sorted out.

The "new" foodie. Today's foodies are less obsessed with snob appeal and more interested in fun experimentation, such as combining exotic or expensive ingredients with everyday items like hamburgers or mac and cheese.

Bartering for consumables. With community-supported agriculture (CSA's) as well as farmers' markets and roadside stands in vogue, the next step is using our new online communication capabilities to make connections (even with strangers) for swaps that include food. These analysts predict more trading of skills/time for food, and vice versa ("think a box of tomatoes in exchange for babysitting"), as well as more homemade food as gifts.

Personalizing and individual portions to express individuality. The parallel trend to collectives and communal eating is individualism, reflected both in practices like making cheese at home and in the growing number of individual-size foods (cupcakes, pizzas, etc.). Individual portions also enable cooks and restaurants to let people choose their own ingredients and express their personalities. Chains such as Flat Top Grill, where customers can choose their own ingredients for items served at every meal, will grow in popularity.