People – Zester Daily http://zesterdaily.com Zester Daily Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.12 Festive Pot Pies Celebrate Thanksgiving Leftovers /chefs-wrecipe/festive-pot-pies-celebrate-thanksgiving-leftovers/ /chefs-wrecipe/festive-pot-pies-celebrate-thanksgiving-leftovers/#respond Thu, 23 Nov 2017 10:00:41 +0000 /?p=75913 Main photo: Turkey pot pies by chef Andrew Pastore at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

The only part of Thanksgiving better than the dinner itself is the next day, when we feast on leftovers. Sandwiches made with sliced turkey and cranberry sauce. Turkey soup. Turkey salad. When I was in his kitchen at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles, chef Andrew Pastore showed me how to make my new favorite after-Thanksgiving dish: elegant, individual turkey pot pies.

Reopened in 2010 after extensive remodeling, Clifton’s remained true to its historical soul as a cafeteria. In the street-level dining hall, customers carry their trays between stations as they collect beverages, salads, entrees, sides and desserts.

Clifton’s takes a page from big-idea theme restaurants. Remodeled dining rooms on all four floors reflect the heyday of the 1930s when there were worlds to be explored and swank nightclubs to attend.

Pastore’s task was to provide a through line for the varied environments of the restaurant. Relaunching Clifton’s meant creating a menu that included old favorites as well as popular modern dishes, which explains why the turkey pot pies share counter space with freshly made sushi and vegan meatloaf.

You might think that a cafeteria would skimp on quality when the kitchen has to prepare as many as 1,000 meals a day. Not so at Clifton’s. Pastore sources quality ingredients that would be at home in any fine dining restaurant. He supervises every detail of preparation. He innovates familiar dishes.

Take his roast beef sandwich, for example. The pink-in the middle beef is moist and flavorful. To add kick, he smears a bit of horseradish sauce on the freshly baked bread. Another chef would layer on tomatoes. That’s where Pastore shows his inventiveness.

Instead of fresh tomatoes, he uses slow roasted Roma tomatoes. Seasoned with dried herbs, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, the tomatoes are halved and roasted in a 200 F oven for up to eight hours.  They give up their water and collapse on themselves. The result is a blast of melt-in-your-mouth tomato flavor.

It is that attention to detail and creativity that Pastore brought to updating his version of Clifton’s classic turkey pot pie.

At Clifton’s, every day is Thanksgiving

Executive Chef Andrew Pastore in a kitchen at Clifton's Cafeteria. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Executive Chef Andrew Pastore at Clifton’s Cafeteria. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

Pastore cooks 40 turkeys every day. Roasted turkeys are served at the carving station. He uses the carcasses to make stock.

For his pot pies, Pastore doesn’t have leftover Thanksgiving turkey so he brines, poaches and shreds turkey breasts. For the poaching liquid he uses homemade stock, made with turkey or chicken carcasses. He would never use commercially produced stocks. They are too expensive and salty.

At our home, while the Thanksgiving turkey is in the oven, we put a gallon of water into a large stock pot. As the turkey is carved, the bones and carcass go into the stock pot, which simmers uncovered for an hour.

With the table cleared, we strain and reserve the liquid. After refrigerating overnight, the stock is portioned into pint- and quart-sized airtight containers. The stock that isn’t used to make pot pies can be frozen for up to six months.

Clifton’s Turkey Pot Pies

A 6-inch round of pastry dough used as a lid on chef Andrew Pastore's turkey pot pie. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

A 6-inch round of pastry dough used as a lid on chef Andrew Pastore’s turkey pot pie. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

Pastore serves his individual pot pies in wide mouth, 16-ounce glass canning jars. If those are not available, use individual-sized bake-proof bowls and adjust the diameter of the puff pastry rounds accordingly. The rounds should be 3 inches larger than the top diameter of the jar or bowl.

Prepared puff pastry can be purchased in most supermarket refrigerated or frozen food sections.

To create a gluten-free pot pie, omit the puff pastry topping and substitute a corn starch slurry for the roux. Easy to make, corn starch and water are mixed together in equal parts without heating. Add the slurry instead of the flour-based roux as directed below.

Use a vegetable oil such as canola, but not pure olive oil, which is too dominating a flavor.

Only use kosher salt in the brine. Iodized salt has a metallic aftertaste.

All vegetables should be cut the same size to promote even cooking. For added flavors, toss vegetables in a small amount of vegetable oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 F for 10 minutes before putting them into the pot.

The roux and the filling can be prepared as much as a day ahead of the meal. Just before serving, reheat the filling and add English peas and the finishing seasonings before topping the jar with the puff pastry round.

Prep time if using leftover turkey breast: 20 minutes

Cook time if using leftover turkey breast: 45 minutes

Total time if using leftover turkey breast: 65 minutes

Prep time if brining and poaching uncooked turkey breast: 60 minutes plus 8 hours overnight

Cook time if poaching uncooked turkey breast: 90 minutes

Total time if brining and poaching uncooked turkey breast: 2 1/2 hours plus 8 hours overnight

Yield: 8 individual 16-ounce pot pies

Ingredients to brine and poach uncooked turkey breast

1/2 cup kosher salt

2 cups brown sugar

1 gallon water

8 sprigs fresh thyme, washed, finely chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic (optional)

1/2 orange (optional)

8 sprigs fresh sage (optional)

1 raw turkey breast, 3 to 4 pounds

1 gallon turkey stock, preferably homemade

Directions for poaching uncooked turkey breast

1. Place salt, sugar, seasonings (optional) and water in a large plastic bag or container. Mix well. Submerge raw turkey breast in seasoned water. Seal. Place in large bowl and refrigerate a minimum of 8 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Place plastic bag in sink. Remove turkey breast. Discard seasoned water. Rinse turkey breast with fresh water. Pat dry.

3. Place turkey stock in large stock pot. Simmer. Add brined turkey breast. Cook 1 1/2 hours or until breast reaches an internal temperature of 155 F.

4. Remove breast from stock. Allow to rest 20 minutes. Reserve stock to use for pot pies and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

5. Use or refrigerate poached breast in airtight container.

Ingredients for turkey pot pie

11 ounces unsalted butter

11 ounces all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cups yellow onions, medium dice

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 cups celery stalks, medium dice

2 cups peeled carrots, medium dice

1 cup Portobello or shiitake mushrooms, washed, thin sliced (optional)

4 cups shredded turkey breast

3 to 4 cups turkey stock, homemade

1 cup English peas, shelled, washed, fresh or frozen

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)

1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

4 sheets puff pastry, cut into 6” rounds to cover eight 16-ounce glass canning jars

2 eggs

8 rosemary sprigs (optional)

Directions

1. To make roux, melt butter over low heat in a saucepan. Sprinkle flour in small amounts to avoid creating clumps. Whisk to incorporate flour into melted butter. Add more flour. Continue whisking until all flour is added. Be careful to keep the roux out of the corners of the pan where it can burn. For added flavor, create a “blond roux” by stirring over medium-low heat until flour is light golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat vegetable oil. Add onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until lightly transparent. Toss to stir. Add celery, carrots and mushrooms (optional). Season in layers with another pinch of salt. Stir well. Sweat vegetables 4 to 5 minutes, being careful not to brown.

3. Add shredded turkey meat and stock.

4. Bring to simmer. Add roux in stages, a small amount each time. Stir well to incorporate. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes. If gravy becomes too thick, add small amounts of heated stock.

5. Add peas, salt and pepper to taste and truffle oil (optional). Stir well.

6. Add thyme and parsley. Stir well.

7. Add heavy cream (optional).

8. Preheat oven to 350 F.

9. Arrange glass canning jars on baking tray. Spoon filling into each jar. Fill to top. Carefully lay a piece of puff pastry over the top of each jar. Gently shape the dough onto the top and down the sides of the jar to create a “lid” that will seal in the filling.

10. Whisk eggs together. Use a pastry brush to paint puff pastry lid on top and sides.

11. Place filled canning jars on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven.

12. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Garnish each pot pie with a rosemary sprig (optional). Serve hot.

Main photo: Turkey pot pies by chef Andrew Pastore at Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

]]>
/chefs-wrecipe/festive-pot-pies-celebrate-thanksgiving-leftovers/feed/ 0
Olive Oil: South Africa’s Liquid Gold /world/travel/olive-oil-south-africas-liquid-gold/ /world/travel/olive-oil-south-africas-liquid-gold/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:00:00 +0000 /?p=76000 South Africa’s extra virgin olive oils are beginning to turn global heads. Credit: Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

When Americans think olive oil, South Africa probably doesn’t leap to mind, but like South African wine, the country’s extra virgin olive oil is beginning to turn global heads. The industry was started by an Italian immigrant in the 1950s, but it’s the new flush of small- to medium-size producers that are pressing the premium oils, and winning awards.

About 90 percent of the country’s olive oil comes from the Western Cape, either from picturesque valleys where olive groves neighbor vineyards, or from the Karoo, a semi-desert farther north. “In the past eight years, South Africa’s olive oil production has doubled, to 2.4 million liters (about 634,000 gallons) annually,” says Nick Wilkinson, chairman of industry regulatory body SA Olive. Wilkinson and his wife, Brenda, are also producers; their Scherpenheuwel Valley farm, Rio Largo, is an hour and half drive from Cape Town.

Small industry, high quality

Olive Branch Deli in Cape Town showcases about 40 olive oil producers on its shelves. Credit: Copyright 2016 Ilana Sharlin Stone

Olive Branch Deli in Cape Town showcases about 40 olive oil producers on its shelves. Credit: Copyright 2017 Ilana Sharlin Stone

With about 160 producers, the industry is still relatively small, but quality is generally high. Take Rio Largo, which in 2016 won gold in the Japan and Los Angeles Olive Oil Competitions, and Best of Class in the New York International Olive Oil Competition.

For starters, nearly all South African olive oils are extra virgin. “There isn’t enough volume to justify secondary production, which in itself is a savior of quality,” Wilkinson says. Olives are handpicked apart from one or two large producers, and because volume tends to be low, are likely pressed soon after harvest.

An Italian connection

At Lettas Kraal, long dry summers and cold humid winters bring out the flavors. Credit: Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

At Lettas Kraal, long dry summers and cold humid winters bring out the flavors. Credit: Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

A nurseryman from Genoa, Ferdinando Costa, recognizing similarities in climate, first brought olive trees to South Africa in the early 1900s. “Years after grafting imported cultivars onto Olea Africana, the indigenous wild olive, Costa decided it wasn’t a fantastic bond, and started growing from root cuttings, which eventually became the norm,” says granddaughter Linda Costa, an olive consultant. Costa persuaded a few local farmers to grow this unknown tree, and by the 1950s, the olive oil industry was born. To this day, South Africa’s olive oils are produced almost exclusively from Italian cultivars.

In South Africa, European olive oils are often cheaper due to farm subsidies, but consumers are beginning to favor local over imported, particularly after reports emerged of fraudulent and chemically manipulated imported oils.

Looking to export

Rio Largo uses a customized Italian-made extractor to press its olive oils. Credit: Courtesy of Rio Largo

Rio Largo uses a customized Italian-made extractor to press its olive oils. Credit: Courtesy of Rio Largo

At Rio Largo, a medium-sized producer, Wilkinson blends his oil from Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina and Favolosa olives, using a customized Italian-made extractor with a computerized management system and cameras linked to his adviser in Italy. “It gives me the information I need to be a quality artisanal producer.”

Many producers are looking toward export: They can offer high quality at very competitive prices to countries with stronger currencies. “We also have the advantage of being able to market to the Northern hemisphere in August through November, during the heat of their summer and when their stocks are less fresh than ours,” Wilkinson says. Rio Largo currently exports 35 percent of its oil, but Wilkinson hopes to build on that.

Young producers in the groves

Hestie Roodt puts olives into an extractor. Once a fashion designer, she now helps run her family's olive oil business, Lettas Kraal. Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

Hestie Roodt puts olives into an extractor. Once a fashion designer, she now helps run her family’s olive oil business, Lettas Kraal. Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

The industry is attracting a new crop of young producers, such as Hestie Roodt, a fashion designer who runs Lettas Kraal, her family’s olive oil business in the Karoo. After an eight-year stint abroad in fashion, she returned to South Africa, and was enlisted by her father to take on marketing and distribution of the oil produced on their farm. Her passion ignited, she soon took over, and now does everything from farm management to extraction and blending, to labeling and sales.

When the family bought the farm, it had been overgrazed by sheep and goats. “There was nothing there, just rocks for miles and miles. But there’s a beautiful Italian saying that goes something like this: ‘You need stones and silence for olive trees to thrive’ … we have all of that.” Her father planted Tuscan varieties: FS 17, Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina and a little Mission, which she blends. “It’s the high polyphenol count of the Coratina, which gives it its characteristic robustness and bitterness.”  Most South Africans are still used to softer imported European oils, so education is an industry-wide task.

“Our oil is much like oil from Puglia,” she said. “We have similar long dry summers and cold humid winters. This extremity influences the olives and brings out flavors.” Roodt is particularly proud of her harvest-to-press turnaround: from tree to mill within four to five hours. “I’m pedantic about it; I’d rather stay and finish even if it’s the middle of the night. That’s how we derive our quality.” Lettas Kraal has won many awards in South Africa, and Roodt hopes to be exporting soon.

If you’re visiting Cape Town, Olive Branch Deli is a good place to see the diversity of oils on offer, with about 40 producers represented on shelf. Sibling owners Omeros and Hélène Demetriou know the ins and outs of South African olive oil and are bullish about its future.

Main photo: South Africa’s extra virgin olive oils are beginning to turn global heads. Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

]]>
/world/travel/olive-oil-south-africas-liquid-gold/feed/ 0
Fried Chicken Gets The Sweet-And-Spicy Japanese Treatment /chefs-wrecipe/fried-chicken-gets-the-sweet-and-spicy-japanese-treatment/ /chefs-wrecipe/fried-chicken-gets-the-sweet-and-spicy-japanese-treatment/#respond Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:00:41 +0000 /?p=75585 Japanese fried chicken tatsuta age with spicy ponzu sauce at Roku. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Fried chicken, oh how you are loved. Crisp on the outside, moist inside and savory-sweet, fried chicken is solidly on the list of favorite American foods. But not just in the U.S. Visit just about anywhere on planet Earth and you’ll find a version of fried chicken. Twice-fried Korean chicken, pounded-flat German schnitzel, sweet chili sauce Thai and Senegalese peanut-accented chicken are all local favorites.

Chef Roger Lee recently took me into his kitchen at Roku in West Hollywood to show me how to make the classic Japanese fried chicken called tatsuta age.

Most Japanese restaurants focus on one particular dish or technique. Maybe it’s sushi or ramen or tempura. Roku is one of those rare restaurants that celebrate many Japanese cooking techniques.

In the dining area, teppanyaki chef Michael Monzon engages his diners with Mississippi River boat excitement as he chars proteins and vegetables on his searingly hot grills.

Behind the sushi bar chef Juri Kobayashi is the quiet artist. His dishes are graced with subtle beauty and surprising flavors. A plate of amberjack sashimi is presented as if it were a delicate floral bouquet. Kobayashi decorates the thin slices of fish with slivers of strawberries and edible baby pansies. The seasoning comes from citrus yuzu, crunchy sea salt grains and spicy, freshly grated wasabi.

Some of the ingredients used to prepare the fried chicken tatsuta age at Roku: soy sauce, ponzu sauce, egg whites, chopped ginger, garlic, Sriracha. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Some of the ingredients used to prepare the fried chicken tatsuta age at Roku: soy sauce, ponzu sauce, egg whites, chopped ginger, garlic, Sriracha. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

What diners never see is chef Lee’s kitchen. Like Oz behind the curtain, Lee keeps the teppanyaki grill and sushi bar supplied with all their necessaries. His kitchen also serves up much of the menu, including savory hot and cold small plates. One of the most popular is his take on the classic tatsuta age.

Frequent an izakaya, an eating and drinking bar, and you have encountered tatsuta age or karaage, its close cousin. A small plate of Japanese fried chicken is an ideal salty accompaniment with an ice cold beer, glass of crisp Chablis or a vodka martini with a lemon twist.

Dark meat for Japanese fried chicken. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Dark meat for Japanese fried chicken. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

Some kitchens prepare tatsuta age with chicken breast strips. Others serve tatsuta age “neat,” without sauce. Lee uses deboned leg and thigh meat because the more flavorful dark meat stays moist when fried. Lee also coats his tatsuta age in a sweet and spicy ponzu sauce because he likes the play of textures and flavors.

Fried Chicken Tatsuta Age

The hot and spicy ponzu sauce can be served on the side or, as Lee does at Roku, the cooked chicken can be coated in the sauce before plating.

The chicken can be cooked in a deep fat fryer or, as Lee demonstrates in the video, in a shallow sauté pan.

As the preferred cooking temperature of 350 F is very important, for good results Lee recommends using a hot oil or candy thermometer.

Lee also recommends using dark ponzu, which has more flavor.

Sesame oil, cooking sake, mirin, dark ponzu, sambal chili paste, katakuriko (potato starch) and Sriracha give the dish its distinctive flavor. The ingredients can be found in most supermarkets or in Asian markets. To thicken the sauce, Lee prefers katakuriko for crispness, but corn starch can be substituted.

The chicken can be marinated for as little as 15 minutes, but Lee recommends overnight marinating to create the best results.

Prep time: 30 minutes plus overnight marinating

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes plus overnight marinating

Yield: 4 servings (2-3 pieces per person)

Ingredients

11 ounces deboned chicken leg and thigh meat, washed, pat dried

For the marinade:

2 cups soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Sriracha

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sesame oil

For the spicy ponzu sauce:

1 cup cooking sake

1 cup mirin, Japanese cooking wine

1 cup dark ponzu

1/4 cup sambal chili paste

1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch) or corn starch

For frying and plating:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups canola oil

Sea salt to taste

3 thin slices jalapeno, washed, pat dried (optional garnish)

1 lemon wedge, washed, pat dried (optional garnish)

Directions

1. Trim most of the fat from the deboned dark meat and portion into 1-ounce pieces approximately 1/2 inch thick for easy cooking. Leave some fat for flavor. If not cooking immediately, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

2. Prepare marinade by placing all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

3. Submerge the cut pieces of chicken in marinade at least 15 minutes, preferably overnight. Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

4. Just before cooking chicken, prepare spicy ponzu sauce by placing all ingredients except katakuriko or corn starch in a small saucepan on medium low heat. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Sprinkle in katakuriko and whisk well to dissolve. Reduce flame to low and cook until sauce thickens. Reserve until ready to serve.

5. Pour canola oil into a sauté pan. For safety, the oil should only fill the sauté pan halfway. Heat oil on medium heat. Use a hot oil or candy thermometer and bring the temperature of the oil to 350 F.

6. Remove chicken pieces from marinade. Drain to remove excess liquid.

7. Pour all-purpose flour into a bowl or onto a plate. Dredge each piece of chicken through the flour. Shake off excess flour.

8. To protect against being splattered by hot oil, drop each piece of coated chicken in the back of the sauté pan.

9. Brown on one side and use tongs to turn over each piece. The chicken should cook within 2 to 3 minutes when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 F.

10. To remove excess oil, place cooked chicken in a metal strainer. Season with sea salt.

11. Place cooked chicken in a bowl. Ladle in approximately 2 ounces of warm ponzu sauce. Lightly toss to coat. If serving sauce on the side, place in a heat-proof bowl on the serving dish.

12. Serve hot chicken pieces on an attractive platter with a garnish (optional) and warm ponzu sauce in a bowl (optional).

Main photo: Japanese fried chicken tatsuta age with spicy ponzu sauce at Roku. Credit: Copyright 2017 David Latt

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

]]>
/chefs-wrecipe/fried-chicken-gets-the-sweet-and-spicy-japanese-treatment/feed/ 0
Handcrafted Coffee With A Whiskey Spirit /agriculture/coffee/ /agriculture/coffee/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 09:00:41 +0000 /?p=75561 Cooper’s Cask Coffee out of Rhode Island combines single-origin beans with the unbeatable aromas of whiskey. Credit: Cooper’s Cask Coffee

When Trish Rothgeb of the Coffee Quality Institute christened artisanal brews “third wave” coffee in 2002, quality, expertise, sustainability, individuality and a complex, even quirky taste experience began to define the coffeehouse cup of morning joe.

Handcrafted coffee achieved the status of fine wine, craft beer and artisanal bread.

Now, imagine something more.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee out of Rhode Island gives artisanal coffee a whiskey twist. The small new company is named for coopers, the craftsmen who for centuries have built wooden, barrel-shaped casks. Rooted in New England history, casks are also the key to Cooper’s special brew. Master roasters combine the carefully selected, single-origin coffee beans that typify third wave coffee with the unbeatable aromas of award-winning whiskeys.

Making and tasting whiskey-aged coffee beans

Cooper’s Cask Coffee beans are aged in Sons of Liberty whiskey barrels. Credit: Courtesy of Sons of Liberty

Cooper’s Cask Coffee beans are aged in Sons of Liberty whiskey barrels. Credit: Courtesy of Sons of Liberty

At Cooper’s Cask Coffee, unroasted beans are aged in barrels previously used for producing Sons of Liberty whiskey, which has won dozens of accolades including gold at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards. Beans are then roasted in batches so small that they are marked on each package by hand, noting the roast date and the signature of the master roaster. Those signatures belong to Jason Maranhao and John Speights, who also serve as master matchmakers. They skillfully pair the tasting notes of the beans with those of the whiskey. The barrels impart their aroma, producing a boon for the senses with coffees that are vibrant, intricate and thought provoking.

For example, the tasting notes of the Sumatra beans are described as woody and earthy, with a touch of sweet tobacco and a hint of ripe tropical fruits. The sweet vanilla and caramel notes of Sons of Liberty’s stout style American whiskey further enhance the bean’s flavor, creating a memorable cup of joe.

Cooper’s Ethiopian beans boast their own sought-after accents of peaches, strawberries, honey and chocolate. Once aged in the charred barrels from Sons of Liberty’s Battle Cry rye based whiskey, an intense and layered sensory experience emerges. Snappy spice intermingles with sweetness as a touch of floral brightness shines through. In a third offering, Rwanda beans find their soul mate in Thomas Tew Rum, yielding rich molasses, caramelized sugar and toasted notes.

Finding a passion for coffee

Engineers John Speights, left, and Jason Maranhao turned their passion for coffee into Cooper’s Cask Coffee. Credit: Courtesy of Cooper’s Cask Coffee

Engineers John Speights, left, and Jason Maranhao turned their passion for coffee into Cooper’s Cask Coffee. Credit: Courtesy of Cooper’s Cask Coffee

Launched in 2015, Cooper’s Cask Coffee began years earlier as a personal passion for Jason and John when they met while working as engineers in the computer technology industry. They weren’t always coffee aficionados. “In the beginning, I would drink the office ‘stink’ pot of coffee,” Maranhao says. “I’d throw in the cream and sugar to make it palatable.”

But then, he found his coffee passion with a strong DIY streak. “I first started roasting beans on a frying pan on the stove, sending the house smoke detectors into a frenzy,” he recalls. “Then I modified a hot air popcorn popper, and now a commercial roaster. As an engineer, I always enjoy creating new things and crafting coffee is just an extension of that creativity.”

While Maranhao and Speights still work their day jobs, they have high hopes for the future of Cooper’s Cask Coffee. “We want to bring to the world a revolution of craft coffee like how craft beer has turned big breweries on their head,” Maranhao says. They also encourage coffee drinkers, “Give yourself a small escape into happiness,” a mantra printed on each package. Coffee might be mindless morning fuel for some, but the idea behind Cooper’s Cask is to start the day, or reboot the afternoon, with an indulgent coffee experience that is daring, sensual and truly awakening.

Main photo: Cooper’s Cask Coffee out of Rhode Island combines single-origin beans with the unbeatable aromas of whiskey. Credit: Courtesy of Cooper’s Cask Coffee

]]>
/agriculture/coffee/feed/ 0
How A Basque Chef Smokes Out Food’s Subtle Natural Flavors /people/75460/ /people/75460/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:00:29 +0000 /?p=75460 Chef Bittor Arginzoniz slicing beef. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Etxebarri

When my friend Andoni Luis Aduriz invited me to dinner in Spain’s Basque countryside, I knew the food would be wonderful. Aduriz is the chef at San Sebastián’s Mugaritz, one of the world’s most famous restaurants, so he knows cooking. But I’ll admit I had my doubts when he described the tasting menu we’d be having at Etxebarri, in the town of Atxondo. “Every dish has at least one grilled or smoked component,” he informed me.

Fast-forward to a grilled egg yolk, the bright golden orb quivering over a bed of zizas (chanterelles). Marbled slices of housemade chorizo, ibérico pork streaked fire-engine red with smoked paprika. Grilled baby octopi the size of large grapes, their flesh tinged with the slightest char. The nacreous iridescence of grilled bacalao. By the time we got to dessert — grilled puff pastry, topped with smoked-milk ice cream — I couldn’t help but laugh. At myself.

]]>
/people/75460/feed/ 0
25 Insider Tips For Navigating Your Farmers Market /agriculture/26-insider-tips-to-your-local-farmers-market/ /agriculture/26-insider-tips-to-your-local-farmers-market/#comments Fri, 28 Jul 2017 09:00:07 +0000 /?p=68145 A true farmers market features local producers, not wholesalers, so the produce you see is all in season. Credit: Copyright 2015 Zester Media

Farmers markets are everywhere. Thanks to a rapid expansion in recent years, there are more than 8,000 farmers markets in the U.S., making it possible for almost everyone to buy fresh food directly from farmers. But with so many stalls and so many different foods, farmers markets can feel overwhelming. How do you find the best produce? Who’s who? And what’s what?

Follow our slideshow to learn the tricks to getting the most out of shopping at your local farmers market. In no time, you will be addicted to the super fresh fruits and vegetables and the seemingly endless variety. Shopping for produce and the other delicacies you can find at a farmers market will become a joy instead of a chore.

More from Zester Daily:

» Shopping for a farmer at the farmers market
» Hey growers, be honest with your farmers market customers
» Changing farmers markets
» How to cook up your own romance in a French market

Main photo: A true farmers market features local producers, not wholesalers, so the produce you see is all in season. Credit: Copyright 2017 Zester Media

]]>
/agriculture/26-insider-tips-to-your-local-farmers-market/feed/ 1
Vineyard CSI: How To Read Grape Leaves /drinking/ampelography-vineyard-csi-how-to-read-grape-leaves/ /drinking/ampelography-vineyard-csi-how-to-read-grape-leaves/#comments Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:00:17 +0000 /?p=66096 In a sea of vines, ampelography can help growers tell which grape varieties are which. Credit: Copyright Tina Caputo

Let’s say you bought some Cabernet Sauvignon vines from a local nursery to plant a vineyard. You decided on Cabernet because you determined that this particular grape variety would be best for your location because of its soil type, sun exposure and climate. But then a worrisome thought enters your head: What if the vines aren’t Cabernet Sauvignon after all, but some other less-suited variety? What if the nursery somehow got them mixed up with Sauvignon Blanc vines? That would be a mighty costly mistake.

You could pray, sweat and grind your teeth until the first grape clusters appear, and then wait some more until they change color and mature enough for you to figure out the vines’ true identity. Or, you could call an ampelographer.

Ampelography is a type of grapevine botany that uses the physical traits of grape leaves to identify varieties. Grape leaves vary quite a bit between varieties, so a skilled ampelographer can easily distinguish Cabernet Sauvignon from Cabernet Franc.

Expert ampelographer

Lucie Morton is a world-renowned ampelographer and vineyard consultant. Credit: Tina Caputo

Lucie Morton is a world-renowned ampelographer and vineyard consultant. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

In the world of ampelography, it would be hard to find a more renowned practitioner than Virginia-based vineyard consultant Lucie Morton, who travels around the country lending her expertise to grape growers and vintners.

Among Morton’s clients is one of California’s best Sauvignon Blanc producers, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, which flew her out to the Napa Valley earlier this month to teach an ampelography class. I was lucky enough to participate in the workshop, and learn some tips from a master.

Before taking us into the vineyard, Morton explained the background and basics of vine identification. Lesson number one: “Looking at clusters is cheating.”

Mistaken identity

In the early days of the California wine industry, American vintners often brought back vine cuttings from Europe to plant in their vineyards. Sometimes, the varieties were not identified correctly, or were known in their native country by a different name than the one used by the rest of the world.

In the 1970s Morton began to discover that some vines planted in American vineyards were misidentified. For example, she said, in the Finger Lakes region of New York people used to say that the Chardonnay grown there tasted “Germanic,” due to the area’s cold climate. The real reason was because their “Chardonnay” was actually Riesling.

Up until the early 80s, nearly all of the “Pinot Blanc” planted in California was not Pinot Blanc but a French variety called Melon de Bourgogne. An ampelographer — Morton’s teacher, Pierre Galet — set the record straight. “It does not make you popular, pointing out other people’s mistakes,” Morton told the class.

Even so, her skills are in demand, even in the modern world of high-tech viticulture. Although DNA testing can identify varieties, Morton pointed out, it can’t distinguish between clones. Ampelography can. “There’s still practical value in this skill,” she said.

Anatomy of a grape leaf

According to Lucie Morton, the main characteristics that distinguish grape leaves include their lobes, petiolar sinuses and teeth. It's also important to look at the color and texture of the leaves. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

According to Lucie Morton, the main characteristics that distinguish grape leaves include their lobes, petiolar sinuses and teeth. It’s also important to look at the color and texture of the leaves. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

According to Morton, the main characteristics that distinguish grape leaves include:

Lobes: If you imagine the leaf as a hand, the lobes would be the individual fingers that extend outward. Some leaves have prominent lobes, other leaves are shield-shaped and have none.

Petiolar sinus: This is the empty space surrounding the stem of the leaf. Some sinuses are wide open, others are very narrow.

Teeth: These are the serrations on the outside edge of the leaf. Some are jagged and sharp, others are rounded.

It’s also important to look at the color and texture of the leaves.

In the vineyard

Students in Lucie Morton’s ampelography class examine vine leaves to identify the corresponding grape varieties. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Students in Lucie Morton’s ampelography class examine vine leaves to identify the corresponding grape varieties. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

Providing each of us with a list of defining characteristics for several different grape varieties, Morton sent us out into St. Supery’s Dollarhide vineyard and challenged us to bring her back a leaf from each variety. If we got it wrong, we went back to try again.

Identifying the vines was more difficult than I expected. In a given vineyard row, not all of the leaves are identical, even among the same variety. Just when I would think I had a match, I’d notice that one of the distinguishing elements wasn’t quite right: The teeth were rounded instead of triangular or the surface was smooth instead of leathery. Each time I was sent back for another leaf, I came to respect Morton’s skill a little more.

Defining characteristics

Following are the characteristics of five of California’s most popular grape varieties:

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Cabernet Sauvignon. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

Morton calls this leaf the “monkey face” or the “mask,” because when held with its tip facing up, it looks like it has eye and mouth holes. It has five lobes, rounded teeth and an open (or naked) petiolar sinus.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Chardonnay. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

This is a shield-shaped leaf, with shallow, sawblade-like teeth and an open petiolar sinus. The vine’s young shoots will have red nodes that are distinctive to Chardonnay.

Merlot

Merlot. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Merlot. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

This leaf is longer than it is wide, with five prominent lobes, an open petiolar sinus and deep triangular teeth. It’s yellowish in color, with a waffled, leathery texture.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Sauvignon Blanc. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

This five-lobed leaf is green in color, with a wavy texture. It has a narrow, almost-closed petiolar sinus, a round shape and rounded teeth. The lobes have three prominent troughs that resemble spouts from a fountain.

Malbec

Malbec. Credit: Copyright 2015 Tina Caputo

Malbec. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

This leaf is a heart-shaped shield, with a relatively narrow petiolar sinus and shallow pointy teeth. It has a puffy, quilted look and a thick, leathery texture.

Main photo: In a sea of vines, ampelography can help growers tell which grape varieties are which. Credit: Copyright 2017 Tina Caputo

]]>
/drinking/ampelography-vineyard-csi-how-to-read-grape-leaves/feed/ 16
Boat-To-Fork Seafood Protects Local Fisheries /fishing/boat-to-fork-seafood-protects-local-fisheries/ /fishing/boat-to-fork-seafood-protects-local-fisheries/#comments Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:00:46 +0000 /?p=74082 Fresh mackerel. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

By now, most consumers have heard about community-supported agriculture, or CSA. With a CSA you purchase a share in a local farm at the start of the growing season and, in return, receive a weekly allotment of fresh produce. This system, which arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, ensures farmers earn fair wages for their harvests and guarantees fresh, often organically grown, vegetables and fruit for their supporters.

While CSAs may have become commonplace, the public remains less aware of community-supported fisheries, or CSFs. Granted, CSFs have not been in existence as long. The first, Port Clyde Fresh Catch, began in Maine in 2007. As of September 2015, the number had grown to 39 in North America.

Supporting local fishermen

Fishermen unload their catch. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

Fishermen unload their catch. Credit: Copyright 2017 Kathy Hunt

Applying the CSA premise to seafood, CSF subscribers buy a share in a fishery. This payment goes directly to local fishermen. Direct payment usually cuts out costly middlemen such as processors and distributors. It also offers income stability for the anglers.

In return for this money, the fishermen provide a weekly or biweekly supply of fresh-from-the-boat seafood for their patrons. They also give peace of mind about food sourcing. With this system people know who caught their fish and where, when and how it was obtained.

Along with promising information and a steady market for their catches, CSFs allow fishermen to seek out unusual and abundant seafood. “They honor the diversity of catch of smaller-scale fisheries. These are the mainstays of fishing communities and have the smallest ecological footprint,” said Niaz Dorry, director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Dorry has been a driving force in the creation and continuation of community-supported fisheries.

Dorry points out that while New England fishermen bring in roughly 60 species of fish and shellfish, supermarkets carry, at most, 12. As a result, only the longstanding favorites get purchased and consumed. Deemed bycatch or unwanted by consumers, the remaining species are discarded.

Instead of fixating on overly popular, exploited seafood, CSF fishermen seek out healthy sustainable stocks and sell all the fish they catch. They also target invasive species such as green crabs and Asian carp. They work with, rather than against, the environment, allowing overfished populations to rebound and reducing, if not eliminating, predatory alien marine life.

Regardless of the good that a CSF can do, consumers may still shy away from joining one. Intimidated by the thought of by receiving an exotic crustacean or whole carp to cook, some may opt for the usual imported shrimp or filleted farmed-raised salmon from the grocery store.

Although store-bought offerings may feel more familiar and manageable, they won’t be as fresh. Rarely are they local; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fish Watch, 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the U.S. has been imported. Along with possessing a bigger carbon footprint than locally sourced goods, seafood shipped in from overseas tends to come from less sustainable fisheries.

Community-supported fisheries aim to educate

Cleaning fish. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

Cleaning fish. Credit: Copyright 2017 Kathy Hunt

To combat this reliance on a chosen, foreign few, consumers must be educated.

“People haven’t had enough exposure to other fish. This is why we give a suggested recipe each day, so that people know what to do with their pollock, hake, sole, redfish or monkfish,” said Donna Marshall, director of Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a 4,500-member CSF in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

For members who feel squeamish about looking their fish in the eye, Cape Ann provides the choice of receiving whole or filleted fish. For more daring cooks it offers truck-side filleting demonstrations. On designated pickup days it sends all participants an email detailing the seafood and on which of the 17 participating fishing boats their portions were caught.

Whether you belong to a community-supported fishery or not, Marshall says the public should become informed and know where their seafood comes from. “Go to any restaurant and ask where your fish is from. If it’s not local, why isn’t it? We must start insisting that we eat fresh local fish,” she said.

CSFs part of the local food movement

A barrel of fish. Credit: Copyright 2016 Kathy Hunt

A barrel of fish. Credit: Copyright 2017 Kathy Hunt

Demanding access to local seafood seems like a no-brainer. So, too, does backing a community-supported fishery. It helps a region’s fishing community, fosters working waterfronts and boosts the area’s economy. It embraces seafood diversity, reduces the likelihood of overfishing and delivers extremely fresh food. Ultimately, it can provide a win for fishermen, consumers and the oceans.

For those curious about whether a CSF exists near their town, LocalCatch.org has created an online interactive map of “boat-to-fork seafood.” LocalCatch.org is a network of North American fishermen, researchers, organizers and consumers devoted to the growth and maintenance of community-supported fisheries.

Its locator presents information on CSFs, farmers and fish markets, boat-to-school cafeteria programs and small fishing crews that sell dockside and directly to the public.

Main photo: Fresh mackerel. Credit: Copyright 2017 Kathy Hunt

]]>
/fishing/boat-to-fork-seafood-protects-local-fisheries/feed/ 1
Home On The Range At Grass-Fed Cattle Ranch /agriculture/home-on-the-range-at-grass-fed-cattle-ranch/ /agriculture/home-on-the-range-at-grass-fed-cattle-ranch/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:00:37 +0000 /?p=66567 On the Arrow T Ranch near Prescott, Arizona, the eponymous family behind Kelly Beef raises 100% grass-fed cattle. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

Just like family members, Kelly Beef cattle are raised with care and love. At the Arrow T Ranch in the Williamson Valley outside Prescott, Arizona, Tom Kelly and his wife, Tammy, bring together their relatives to work and gain expertise in treating animals, and human beings, right.

Tom and Tammy Kelly’s extended family and old friends gather for a roundup. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

Tom and Tammy Kelly’s extended family and old friends gather for a roundup. Credit: Copyright 2017 Seth Joel

Tom Kelly was born in northwestern Arizona, where ranches are measured in not acres but square miles. He always wanted to be a rancher. But he realized that the landowners were often “attorneys from Phoenix or Wickenburg” — in other words, well-to-do gentlemen farmers. So Tom became a lawyer in order to finance his dream of becoming a rancher — and succeeded. Now he produces 100% grass-fed beef in the old-fashioned way while making sure that skills and experience needed to raise cows is passed on to another generation.

Home on the (free) range

The herd stretches out over subirrigated meadows. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

The herd stretches out over subirrigated meadows. Credit: Copyright 2017 Seth Joel

The cattle are raised on two different spreads. Their first year is spent on the Kellys’ La Cienega Ranch, 130 square miles of mountainous open range in the Mojave desert. The calves thrive in this uncontaminated habitat, grazing on 27 types of forage. When the animals weigh 450 pounds, they are moved to the lush subirrigated grassland of the Arrow T Ranch. For the past 70 years, the native grasses in these verdant meadows have been nurtured and the invasive grasses culled without pesticides or herbicides.

Herding day on the ranch

Cole Looper runs a calf into the correct pen. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

Cole Looper runs a calf into the correct pen. Credit: Copyright 2017 Seth Joel

Late last summer, I joined Tom for a roundup — which might more accurately be called a “push-up” — to the sorting pens. For these events, Tammy’s brother, Kasey Looper, brings his wife, Tyler, and children Cole, 12, Rio, 10, and Sage, 8, to work alongside family friend Mark Mingus and fiancée Savannah Lindau. There are no clouds of dust, no thundering hooves. What appears to be a quiet Sunday ride with his young nieces and nephews is in fact a carefully choreographed dance, as their horses “push” the young cows in the right direction from a distance of up to several hundred yards; the movement is gentle rather than aggressive, because stressed cows are hard to handle and even tougher to eat.

When the cattle reach the sorting pens, Tom allows time for a family lesson. The children learn about the sorting process, which Tom describes as “a conversation and comparison of opinions” about the quality and potential of each calf. Some are returned to La Cienega as breeding stock and others enter the commercial beef pipeline — but the best calves are selected to remain on the grass, fattening up naturally for up to 18 months until they are ready to be sold. Cole is already acquiring the skills that must become second nature to every cowboy, such as “heading and heeling” the calf. As dad Kasey throws one lasso over the animal’s head, Cole quickly lassoes its two back legs, or heels, on his first throw, displaying the accuracy that is needed to do the job gently and safely for both the riders and the calf, which can now be branded.

Looking back, moving forward

Tammy Kelly at her retail store The Rancher’s Wife, where Kelly Beef is sold. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

Tammy Kelly at her retail store The Rancher’s Wife, where Kelly Beef is sold. Credit: Copyright 2017 Seth Joel

As small-scale producers, Tammy and Tom are developing a following for Kelly Beef one client at a time. In her Prescott store, The Rancher’s Wife, Tammy explains the more-unusual cuts of meat, providing instruction and recipes to help customers make the most of the nutrient-rich, almost purple meat. Don’t assume that health-conscious urban foodies are their best customers: Locals who still have roots in the agricultural community buy half or a quarter of a calf, sometimes on the hoof. They value knowing every player in the supply chain and are comfortable cooking every cut of meat.

But the Kellys are not trying to return to a lost agrarian paradise; they are looking to the future. They believe the demand for grass-fed beef is growing and that “knowledge-rich farming,” to use a term coined by rancher-author Allan Nation, will lead a younger generation to good breeding and good grazing management. That much was clear from my visit to Arrow T, as I obeyed his instructions about photographing the roundup from my car discreetly: no raised voices, no sudden movements that might spook the herd. Next time, though, I want to be riding beside him through the thigh-high red-wheat grass, watching the cows stroll back to pasture.

Main photo: On the Arrow T Ranch near Prescott, Arizona, the eponymous family behind Kelly Beef raises 100% grass-fed cattle. Credit: Copyright 2015 Seth Joel

]]>
/agriculture/home-on-the-range-at-grass-fed-cattle-ranch/feed/ 0
Chef Francis Mallmann Sets Fire To Food Of Uruguay /chefs-wrecipe/chef-francis-mallmann-sets-fire-to-food-of-uruguay/ /chefs-wrecipe/chef-francis-mallmann-sets-fire-to-food-of-uruguay/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:00:11 +0000 /?p=73891 Chef Francis Mallmann. Credit: Copyright 2016 Peter Buchanan-Smith

“Fire is a language all its own. It’s magical. Mysterious.” No, these are not the words of a committed arsonist, but rather Francis Mallmann, one of South America’s greatest chefs, a man famous for his deftness with this most elemental of cooking tools.

Raised in Patagonia by an Argentinian father and Uruguayan mother, the 60-year-old Mallmann waxed poetic on the subject of fire when we sat down to talk at his Restaurante Garzón in the tiny Uruguayan town for which it is named.

Garzón is a curious place for a world-renowned chef to put down roots, but then Mallmann is a curious figure — part master craftsman, part culinary shaman. He opened his first restaurant in the Argentinian Andes at the age of 19 before moving northeast to set up shop in the Uruguayan beach resort of José Ignacio, a summer destination for the Argentinian upper crust. During the off-season, he staged in some of France’s most legendary kitchens, under the likes of Roger Vergé and Alain Senderens.

By the age of 40, he’d reached the top of his field, winning Le Grand Prix de l’Art de la Cuisine from the International Academy of Gastronomy, but instead of viewing the award as validation, he saw it as a wake-up call. “It made me sad. I’d forged a path through European cuisines, but I didn’t have my own culinary language.” In an effort to find it, he turned back to his childhood and began investigating the native cuisines of the Andes and other parts of South America.

A small town draws big names

The restaurant deck at Bodega Garzón. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Bodega Garzón

The restaurant deck at Bodega Garzón. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Bodega Garzón

His search led him to Garzón, a place he describes as having a wonderful aura. “It’s got great bones — the streets, the trees, the beautiful old houses. There’s a peaceful quality here.” He wasn’t the only one who saw the potential; I’d gone there in March as the guest of Bodega Garzón, a winery established by Alejandro Bulgheroni, an Argentinian oil tycoon who’s one of the world’s richest men.

To describe it as Uruguay’s most ambitious new winery isn’t saying much in a country smaller than Missouri that’s home to more cattle than people, but Bulgheroni’s $85 million project is not what you’d call a shoestring operation. Covering more than 520 acres, the complex includes a restaurant, a private wine club and an olive oil production facility that resembles a modern Tuscan villa, and there are plans to build a boutique hotel amid the vines. Mallmann was brought in to help design the kitchens and create the menus.

As you’d expect from a project this ambitious, Bodega Garzón’s wines are anything but shabby. Indeed, they’re likely to gain this small but progressive country a closer look by international connoisseurs. In particular, the Albariño and Tannat bottlings are worth seeking out.

Although the winery is opulent, its restaurant menu is of a piece with the gaucho-inspired dishes Mallmann serves at his own place down the road. His food highlights the earthy flavor combinations, techniques and ingredients (particularly the excellent meat) of Argentina and Uruguay, whose populations are a blend of indigenous and immigrant, the latter category hailing primarily from Italy and Spain. And running throughout Mallmann’s cuisine, always, there is fire.

No translation necessary

Chef Francis Mallmann tending to the hearth at Restaurante Garzon. Credit: Copyright 2016 Sofia Perez

Chef Francis Mallmann tending to the hearth at Restaurante Garzon. Credit: Copyright 2016 Sofia Perez

His favored medium notwithstanding, however, Mallmann brings to his food an undeniable delicacy — fire as perfume, not punishment. “People think that cooking with fire is a masculine thing, something brutal, but it’s actually quite fragile.”

He made his case at the dinner he hosted for the winery’s official opening. In the square outside his own restaurant, Mallmann and his team spent the day tending to a split-leveled fire that was surrounded by a circle of crucified lambs, which were themselves ringed by flames. By the time guests arrived that evening, the darkness of rural night had been deferred, revealing a tableau that suggested an offering to the gods — or a scene from “Lord of the Flies,” take your pick. But despite the fierce manner in which the meat had been cooked, it remained remarkably tender, and its subtle flavor was surprising.

“The ‘simple’ approaches are the most difficult,” Mallmann said, “because there’s nowhere to hide. Things can go wrong with the tiniest shift.” He pointed to the strong winds that had buffeted Garzón that day, constantly altering the fire’s temperature and, therefore, the way the meat cooked. Mastery of such a technique can only be achieved through repetition and attentiveness. “The language of cooking is one of silences — it’s of the hands and all the senses.”

Throughout our conversation, Mallmann returned repeatedly to the metaphor of language, which seems fitting for someone who has used cooking to communicate with people all over the world. “If you bring a president and a farmer together around a fire, you don’t need words,” he said. “Fire is part of our collective memory — it’s what unites us.”

Tomato, Goat Cheese and Anchovy Bruschetta

Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Anchovy Bruschetta. Credit: Copyright 2016 Santiago Solo Monllor

Tomato, Goat Cheese and Anchovy Bruschetta. Credit: Copyright 2016 Santiago Solo Monllor

Excerpted from “Seven Fires” by Francis Mallmann (Artisan Books, 2009).

According to Mallmann, the key to this recipe is to burn the tomatoes to achieve a “toasty bitterness” that contrasts with the sweetness of the liquid they contain.

Ingredients

36 cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound)

1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 day-old baguette (10 ounces) sliced into 24 half-inch-thick rounds, toasted until crisp

8 ounces Bûcheron or similar goat cheese

24 anchovy fillets (about 3 1/2 ounces), drained and halved lengthwise

Parsley, Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce (see recipe below)

Directions

Cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl. Add the oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

Heat a chapa or large cast-iron griddle over very high heat. When it is very hot, place the cherry tomato halves cut side down about 1 inch apart on the hot surface; work in batches if necessary. It is very important not to move the tomatoes while they cook, or they will release their juices and lose their shape and texture. Keep in mind that it is hard to char a tomato too much: best to err on the side of charring; and if you do move one, you are committed and you should remove it immediately. When you see that the tomatoes are well charred on the bottom, almost black (about 4 minutes), remove them using tongs or a spatula and place burnt side up on a large tray, about an inch apart so they don’t steam.

Arrange the toasted bread rounds on a platter. Spread some of the goat cheese on each round, and place 3 tomato halves on top of the cheese. Garnish with the anchovies and drizzle a teaspoonful of the sauce on top. Serve immediately.

Parsley, Olive Oil, and Garlic Sauce

Excerpted from “Seven Fires” by Francis Mallmann (Artisan Books, 2009).

Ingredients

1/2 cup packed minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine the parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce can be kept refrigerated for three to four days.

Main image: Chef Francis Mallmann. Credit: Copyright 2016 Peter Buchanan-Smith

]]>
/chefs-wrecipe/chef-francis-mallmann-sets-fire-to-food-of-uruguay/feed/ 0