Friday, June 26, 2009

Market Report


There was quite a bit of good stuff at the farmer's market last week. I saw some very clear signs of summer fruit and vegetables including a figs sighting. I bet this week will be booming with early summer goodies just in time for next week's July 4.

What's spotted:
Pluots
Plums
Figs
Melons
Cucumbers of all kinds
Peppers
Heirloom tomatoes

Onto some pics:

Melons of all shapes and sizes


Rainbow of tomatoes

Plumps plums

Figs! Yay!

Lil tomatoes and peppers

Get Greens

Multiple varietals of cucumber

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Smoking Baby Goat


The pictures are somewhat graphic because some twitter followers have mentioned that the baby goat actually kinda looks like a dog. Considering that I am Chinese, but not living in China and that I am not a member of the Mike Vick Extracurricular Fan Club, it is safe to say this is indeed a goat. If you still feel slightly offended, feel free to contact PETA at 1-888-I-DONT-GIVE-A-RATS-ASS.

Wait, that number doesn't work? Oops, my bad.

The smoked goat was very tasty, but I wish I could have had it in there for a little longer. I had thought that smoked goat was feasible for a bbq, but yield and reward for all that work is a tad too little. Ah well, maybe I can take some of the leftovers and turn into a terrine...


Middle of smoking process

About 3/4 way in

Hotboxing
Doneski

Pink and tender meat.



Monday, June 22, 2009

Cooking Under Presumption


I was clueless about dinner last night, but I happened to have some wonderful fresh shelled peas from Iacopi, cured pork belly via 4505 Meats, cured chinese sausage, leftover rice and fresh farm eggs from the market, so I went with the simplest reasoning for dinner and decided to make fried rice. It would be rather stupid to have a blog about fried rice, so I'll spare you the basics. Actually, I wanted to use the example of basic fried rice as an example for evaluating how we approach recipes and dish creation.

Fried rice is easy; it is rice cooked in a stir-frying wok/pan. The ingredients can be as simple as fresh ginger with scallions or as complicated as sea urchin with abalone. With all its variety, there are some very common ingredients and known methods. One of the most common and acceptable methods for starting a fried rice is to cook scrambled eggs on the wok until they are crushed into some sort of little brown and yellow bits. Normally the egg is so crushed and scarce that no one really seems to notice its existence. The way the egg is cooked in fried rice is a very good example of cooking under a classic and baseless presumption. It is a recipe like millions of others where chefs and home cooks alike execute faithfully without question. And even though their execution may be perfect and yield the exact desired final product, it does not mean that the dish itself is impervious to unintended flaws or age-old presumptive fallacy.

It just so happens that the egg in Chinese fried rice is a golden example. While many may enjoy putting light dots of egg in my fried rice, I actually appreciate the taste of a nice bite of egg in mine. I normally cook two small french omelette (rolled) and cut them up in a cross section to stir into my fried rice. Adding pieces of rolled eggs gives the rice a wonderful prominent egg flavor and a soft pillowy egg texture with each bite. While you may not agree that this is better for the dish than the original concept or even that this is how you want egg in Chinese fried rice, the point that I am trying to make is that the most established and classic of dishes can always be questioned or challenged. I dare you to say an brown/black egg bit on a wok tastes better than a fluffy bite of french omelette. As important as it is to understand how a technique or step is done, it is equally as important for personal culinary improvement to question how a technique or step can be improved. Cooking is a free-form art in many respects and it may have its rules and guidelines, but it does not guarantee that food is immune from being constantly challenged.