New Cooking Demo Video

Here’s the latest video from KTVL Channel 10 West Coast Flavors.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

New Growing Medium.

We are experimenting with a new growing medium for our micro greens.  It’s natural clay pellets that wick water up.  In the bottom of the pan is natural, nitrogen rich water with the clay on top.  I have sprinkled pea seeds on top.  I then covered it with plastic wrap so the peas can take on the nutrient rich water and then germinate.  I’m hoping this will eliminate the need for soil and will make the growing process quicker, cleaner and more efficient.

New West Coast Flavors Video…

Modernist Cuisine Has Arrived…

 

Some Stats on the book:

Total number of pages in Modernist Cuisine: 2,438
Total word count: ~1.1 million
Number of photographs: 3,216
Number of images shot for the book: 147,000
Total size of image file library: 2.8 terabytes
Number of annotated cutaway illustrations: 36
Total number of recipes: 1,522
Example recipes: 379
Recipes in parametric tables: 814
Component recipes in the 49 plated-dish recipes: 239
Total weight: 43 pounds
Total weight of ink: 4 pounds
Cost: $625

 

Here is a slide show of the unpacking of the 4 (FOUR!) inner boxes..

 

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Pear Blossom Festival Tomorrow!

Southern Oregon produces a lot of pears for the world.  With so many pear trees, the blooms are quite a site.  Every year, my boss runs in the Pear Blossom Marathon and every year I make him a huge pasta dish to help him get his carb on.  Here’s this year’s rendition.  GOOD LUCK JERRY!!!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I oftentimes think about what makes me who I am.  I haven’t always felt I was confident in my life’s path.  The older I get, the more I realize the life tools I was taught growing up has given me what I need to be proud of who I’ve become.  Today is a time of reflection because it’s my Mom’s Birthday and without her, I would not be here.  Not just in a physical sense, but also in a sense of being or a sense of place.  Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you.

What is Sustainable?

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the USDA Website:

Definition of Sustainable Agriculture

The term ”sustainable agriculture” (U.S. Code Title 7, Section 3103) means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term:

  • Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
  • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends.
  • Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
  • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

 

From Yourdictionary.com:

us·tain·able (sə stānə bəl)

adjective

  1. capable of being sustained
  2. designating, of, or characterized by a practice that sustains a given condition, as economic growth or a human population, without destroying or depleting natural resources, polluting the environment

I need to qualify this by saying I am not a farmer.  I respect farmers/ranchers/food producers.  It’s hard work.  It’s also very unpredictable.  Farming sustainability requires an understanding of the relationships between organisms and their environment.  One must benefit the other.  Consider it a closed loop system.  You don’t really need to introduce anything if done well.  Composting, water catchment and wind or solar power are examples of sustainable practices.  It’s important for me as a chef to understand how this works.  I need to understand why a commercial egg costs me 11 cents while a sustainable egg costs me 25 cents.  It’s important for my guests to understand this as well.

Food is getting more and more expensive.  There are reasons why.  Food in the US is cheaper than most other countries.  It’s artificially kept low by the government.  I don’t yet fully understand why.  I’m in the process of studying it now.  The main thing to know is that the food system must change.  If we are to continue as a people, we need to get back to basics and re-learn what our grandparents held dearly.  Are we as Americans generally privileged?  Yes.  Are we softer because of this?  Yes.  Will this be our undoing?  Only you can decide.  For now, support your sustainable food producers.  Just in case.  It may cost more, but can you put a price on a healthy planet?

The Homogenization of American Food.

There are an awful lot of “convenience” foods available today. From canned foods to frozen-prepared foods all the way to fast food. There are more options available today than ever. These “food” manufacturers are dictating what food “should” taste like. No longer is the croissant that a Parisian baker produces after years or more of training considered the standard. Now it’s the big-as-your-head croissant that you pick up at your local big box store that resembles little of its namesake.

We all make decisions on what food to eat. As a Chef, I feel I have a professional obligation to uphold. I am faced with many options. There are so many food manufacturers that want me to purchase their ready made crap. “Flash frozen at it’s peak” they say.  “Thaw and serve. Cut down on labor. Increase consistency.”   Sound wonderful, no?

I fear food manufacturers. They are huge. Their products are distributed far and wide. The goal is to manufacture these “foods” as cheaply as possible which often include absurd amounts of fats, sugars and salt.  They begin to dictate what pesto sauce or crab (“krab”) stuffed sole or croissants should taste like. The more people purchase and consume these products for their cheap convenience, the less we come to appreciate what real, home made food tastes like without all the fillers or additives. Why artisan bread from one region of the world tastes different than the other. The more restaurants that purchase and use Sysco’s latest “thaw and serve” product, the less we can appreciate a chef’s own ability to create the same thing from whole foods. So the “krab” stuffed sole you had last week at Bubba’s Fish House will taste the same as the one from Bojo’s Krab Shack because they get them from Sysco. For crying out loud, I can now buy caramelized onions, thaw and serve. God help us!

I promise I will make all my food from scratch using whole foods. My buttermilk dressing will not taste like “Hidden Valley” and my Mac n Cheese will not taste like Kraft. And this, I am proud of. Keep this in mind the next time you crave something “convenient” or manufactured. The Kraft’s and the Tyson’s should not and cannot be dictating what food should taste like.

Google “food manufacturing” if you want to be scared.  Then thank the one who taught you how to cook.  Then use that skill.  Get back to tradition.

Cippolini Onions

Whole roasted.  Delicious…

West Coast Flavors in KTVL Channel 10 News.

Now that March Madness is over, Today was the second  airing of 6 episodes of West Coast Flavors we shot.  For all of you “Local” folks, it will be on Channel 10 KTVL at 5:00pm every Thursday.  Tune in and check it out…

If you want to check the episodes out on line, they will be posted here as they air:

http://www.ktvl.com/sections/recipes/

We got an extra minute today, so Grab 3.5 minutes worth of popcorn and enjoy!

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