Don’t be Loco!! Go Local!!


Lunch for ChefBlog’s Head Chef.
My wife and I are on a mini-vacation of sorts.
When our Prius touched down a few hours later at our arrival destination the first thing we did was go shopping for food at the local stores. On first impression of the town’s grocery stores exterior I thought, “hmm might be limited”. I wasn’t wrong it was limited. Here’s the thing though, the items the Grocer had were generally better looking and of higher quality than much larger stores that had seventeen versions of the same item. To which you have no idea of quality without tasting all of them.
There are lots of specialty farmers growing all sorts of things in and around this area of New York. While shopping I picked some simple food stuffs like bread, milk, meat and veggies without too much critical scrutiny.
We arrived to the house where we would be keeping the real world at bay while we recharged and grew back some butt that had gotten kicked or chewed off in the course of a reguler persons life. We ate out a few times and had the pleasure of eating great meals at friends and family’s homes while here on vacation.
Today for our lunch I wanted a burger but didn’t want to need a eight hour nap to digest and snap
Out of my burger coma. What I did diffently was make the burgers much thinner and wider than usual. I used Local Beef. Heirloom tomatoes from my Sister-in-law’s garden, locally produced Amish cheese, local lettuce along with some mushroom and diced, sautéed onion. The only part of the experience that wasn’t local were the out of town burger eaters being my wife and I.
I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t have to say anything about your food other than you personally enjoyed it. Others that eat your food are the ones that should use words like: “The Best”, “Great” and etc. I like to think of myself as being, ” Confidently Humble” when cooking.
Now, all that being said I have to say that the Mushroom Onion Heirloom Tomato Cheese Burger we had for our lunch was the best tasting burger I’ve personally have had in years or maybe ever! Not because of me necessarily.
The limited part I had in it was that I choose the items at the store which were local and amazing before i did anything to them.


To Can Or Not To Freeze? That Is The Question.


I was asked the other day a question from a friend about whether she should can her fresh tomatoes that she grew herself or freeze them. There are a number of ways to look at this. If your going to use the tomatoes/sauce in relatively short time, like a matter of weeks. then I would put the big freeze on them( double bag em for their protection ). If you’re going to be zip zappin it around the globe for a matter of months, then I would choose to can them.
Canning sweet ripe tomatoes is a great way to preserve your gardening efforts, in a smack your self silly I can’t believe how delicious this is” kinda way. Freezing freshly harvested yummables is awesome for people who will use those items pretty quickly. Non-commercial, home owner types of freezers tend to have temperatures that can be sporadic at times.
Maintaining a consistent freezer temperature goes a big way when keeping food in good shape over time . Freezers that are continually being opened and closed all day by kids nomadic nosher’s will increase the likely hood of ice crystals to start to form. Sadly turning your fresh firm veg/fruit into a huge Mushapalooza when thawed for use. With the final curtain call being a everyone on stage jam session of funky flavors and not so great culinary memories .

You Know The Buffet Is Going To Be Good When;

You Know The Buffet Is Going To Be Good When;

You know the Chinese buffet is gonna be good when your table number is written with a fine tipped Sharpie. The masking tape marked with the undisputed champ of food quality monikers “A1”. It could also be considered my temporary house arrest ID, Until my debt/check is paid. In my case it was an omen of things to come. It reminded me of the Book “The Black pearl” where the emaciatedly poor farmer shouts to the heavens; “Bad Rice, Bad Rice!” In hopes of faking out the wheelers and dealers of Human fate. To grant this lowly farmer a good crop and a chance to live another year.
In my head I did the same and mentally screamed; “Bad Food Bad Food!”. The Culinary Gods this time would not hear my plea and would not invoke any Yum Yum Mojo upon my plate of food. Instead they would clean out the celestial fridge on high. Letting loose from deepest freon induced slumber a hoard of off tasting, bad smelling unworldly things. Things best left to have been casted out and banished to the underworld or, at the very least composted, 😉

The Magic Rain Chairs

Starbucks on Astor Pl. Roof is leaking. The only two free seats that happen to be postioned under a major leak have had many takers. Alas no one has been able to tame the bewitched Rain chairs(or move them anywhere else). Beverage laden tourists walk up to the chairs, setup shop. Making a temporary beverage shelter for them and their clan.They make it their own by splaying out carefully all the newly garnered Starbucks provisions. Giving a visual sign to all, “this space is taken. Keep to the coffee trail, Keep moving.” all the others that paid their dues at the Rain Chairs now somberly stare at the ground in unifying silence while the unassuming coffee gazelle’s hunches are ripped out from under them.

Life’s brutal lessons continue like they have for countless coffee millennia (in coffee years about 4 hours). Next life altering challenge; Get on line and wait for the restroom. Open the door to the restroom without touching the door. Pay homage to the ceramic shrine, using as many of the rooms vast amenities( minus the nicly tagged baby station) as possible. Without putting down my shetland pony sized Kmart bag (can be done). Wish me luck.

Go Yeast Young Man (making pizza with homemade yeast)

I wanted to make my daughter a slammin pizza today by using gleefully ripe Plum tomatoes from our own garden. After close inspection of all food, spices and other worldly cooking stuffs worthy of pizzadom, I realized to my dismay I didn’t have yeast for “Operation Make-a-da- Pizza”. I thought; “Do you really want to go out to the megamart for yeast?” I decided to see if I’ve got the grapes for the job. and headed outside to pick a bowls worth of grapes growing on our property. I had hopes of making enough yeast with the grapes to make a killer pizza. First thing done with the grapes was to make sure they weren’t any nasty bits or fruit sporting any kind of hidden bug co-ops, lurking in with the other grapes . Grapes were then put into a stainless steel bowl with about three cups of 107 degree filtered water. A pinch of sugar was added as an insurance and snack for the beautiful little beasties to partake of . After that he whole lot was gracefully placed atop of my modified/pimped cup warmer that I enjoy using for keeping my tea nice and warm as I do super duper important stuff around the house. I put enough Insulation around the heating plate to allow just enough surface area to touch the bowl and keep it warm but not too warm. You want it to be warm enough to let the yeast love fest to Begin the Beguine, but not too much. If the water is too hot the yeast will stop growing and could very well take that big trip the leavening here-after. Depending on where you get you information it’s generally believed that over a 120 degrees will cause your yeast to play dead for real.

I think body temperature to about 110 degrees fahrenheit is a good place to be on the yeast love boat.
I’ll let you know how it goes.