Saturday, November 1, 2008

Aaahhh… Blog. Where have I been. At school that is. Well, we are all getting amp up for the CIA conference “Worlds of Flavor”. After this next week I will have a entry once a week.
Thank you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Greatest Of All Time!


The idea of sitting down to try 50 of the very best cheeses, might seem like a fun time spent with friends over a bottle or two of wine. Boy… I’ll till you it was not fun, but very interesting. I truly found out that I do not like goat cheese at all. This saddens me I really want to find any kind of redeeming character, but I can’t. Now I have done it, pissed everyone off. I can hear it now “Goat cheese is the best cheese, the true taste of the barn yard”. I’ll tell you my mom hates peas, I just can’t figure it out. What’s better then sweet tiny spring peas. I have to say I always try to find ways of using foods I seem to dislike in ways that make taste better to me. So, in due time I will hopefully find a way to make goat cheese taste good to me. Hopefully…

"If the tomatoes aren't good enough for gazpacho."


As they say, the people at Long Meadow Ranch are not former hippies. Their belief is that organic farming methods produce higher quality at lower cost. They do everything at Long Meadow Ranch, nothing is wasted. It seems that everything at the ranch is there for a reason, from the grapes to the chickens.

"If the tomatoes aren't good enough for gazpacho, they'll be fed to our organic chickens. Because they eat fabulous tomatoes and veggies, the chickens lay spectacular eggs with yolks almost neon-like in their color. We then get to sell the eggs back to Auberge du Soleil! There are even more efficiencies here. Since we raise the poultry near the vegetable production, we have no cost of poultry feed because we're feeding them our leftover vegetables. When we're done with the crop season, we have all the organic matter - old pumpkin vines, dead tomato plants - that then goes into a nearby compost pile. This time we use the chicken manure as the source of essential nitrogen. And, by spring the compost is ready to go back on the field as fertilizer. The cycle begins again." -Ted Hall, the owner of Long Meadow Ranch.

Instead of the "mono-culture" they have developed an integrated farming system that relies on each part of the ranch contributing to the health of the whole. Vineyards and wine making, olive orchards and olive oil making, and grass-feed beef, horse, and chicken raising all work together (not to mention the organic vegetable gardens). Even the soil from the making of the wine cave was in return used to construct the winery building. These things always amaze me, when people uncannily find ways around all the problems in their way. We should all just take a look at what Long Meadow Ranch does, and learn that the speed bumps between point A to point B are just little rests.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forni-Brown-Welsh

What is Perfection? Nothing… It’s a goal, and it can not be attained. Sad huh. But, here is something with a little cheer. A very, very small farm(garden) up valley in Calistoga called Forni-Brown-Welsh.
Now, if you’ve ever wanted to see anything near perfection it’s Forni-Brown. If ever you are in Calistoga go take a quick look around. You Can’t buy anything(but one week a year in April), Because it’s all sold to the restaurants around Napa Valley.
Look them up on the Internet(it will be hard to find anything, but you will), and you will find out why it has such a special place in my heart and all Chefs around the world.

Old dog new tricks

Some would say it would be out of the realm of possibility to start cooking school at the age of 27. Even I the person doing it might, when it comes down to it would say that it is crazy. It is hard for someone that has been cooking since he was 10, to relearn the right way of doing everything from how to wash a dirty pot to how to make a perfect Consomm√©. I soon found out that I wasn’t the craziest of the crazies. There are in my whole class of 12 at least 8 students over the age of 25, and 5 of those are over the age of 30. So why go to cooking school? The answer looking at my class would be “Why not”. People do things for what ever reason comes to their minds at any time. Me well… it’s because I want to learn everything about cooking and food.

Killer Garlic

Food safety… How many of us lived in a home, where Mom would cook a big pot of whatever. Then leave that pot out on the counter to cool over night. What about cold Pizza left in the box in a cold oven. Even this, buying dented cans at the supermarket because they are cheaper, and getting that nice gift of garlic infused olive oil during the Holidays.
I lived in a home that this was assumed safe, but none of it is. The garlic infused oil is in an environment without oxygen, and that is right where Botulism likes to move in and grow. If done improperly that oil that your beloved Aunt Mimi put in that beautiful bottle will kill you faster then you can say “um, tasty”.
Cooking food for others is serious stuff that needs to be done very carefully. If you like to cook and like being in the kitchen then go take a Serve Safe class. Be warned you may never go out to eat again.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Downtown Suisun


Bab's is a good place to get a breakfast in Suisun. The place is very small, so most of the time you have to sit outside. Which is great if its Summer. I do not blame Bab's for the weather at all, don't get me wrong. Bab's is right on the water and has great views.
Bab's food is good for a Eggs and Beacon kind of place. I always go with the specials. The one bad thing is the menu is too short.
So like I always say give it a try, and if it is Summer then make sure to sit outside and enjoy the views.