Farm Dinner Updates. Gotta Be Here! #clericiranch #signorelloestate

We are very excited and proud to have Barbara and David Clerici host a fantastic farm dinner this summer.  They are opening up their ranch to all of us for an unforgettable evening of food, wine, and fun.  We will be featuring wines of the esteemed Signorello Estate paired with 5 courses of delicious Italian themed farmhouse cuisine which would not be complete without homemade Italian cream sodas.  Enjoy an exclusive tour of the ranch and watch your dinner being created right in front of your eyes in our open farm kitchen.

Dessert includes French pressed Napa Valley Coffee Roasters “Chinese Laundry” blend.  Feel great about participation in this event as proceeds go to help raise awareness about local food systems, help support lo cal family farmers and small local businesses, and Connolly Ranch, a local nonprofit organization that connects local area youth with nature through hands-on environmental education and nutrition programs.  Enjoy the slide show below which offers up views of Barbara and David’s ranch and photos of some past events.  Ciao and hope to see ya out on the farm!  Tickets available here.

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Cry-O-Blanching Baby Carrots

Here is a good example of Cry-o-Blanching I demoed for a group of 10 chefs from Beijing, China who participated in my Modern American Cooking lecture I did last month.  The carrots are peeled and cry-o-vac’ed and then frozen.  Ideally they are frozen in liquid nitrogen.  Then they are allowed to defrost at room temperature and then frozen again.  The process is repeated 3 times for these carrots, but can be done on any number of different vegetables or fruits.  The number of freeze-defrost cycles would vary based on the ingredient and desired texture.  You end result will resemble a traditionally blanched item but with a great, fresh flavor not dulled by a drop in boiling water.

New Local Tuna Special

I have finally (FINALLY!) hooked up with the Port Orford gang and they are now sending me fresh albacore tuna straight from the Oregon coast.  Here’s a special we’re running with it right now…  Sesame seared with a nice Asian slaw, tomato puree and avocado.  Turned out really delicious…

Wheat from Dunbar Farms, Southern Oregon

We have spread some wheat berries from Dunbar Farm around our garden a few months ago when it was really cold out.  Actually, it was our chief maintenance man, Trapper who grabbed a handful back in February when I was toiling with what to do with them.  Well, now that it’s warm, and the sun is shining, this is what we have…

 This is a great example of natural selection.  This wheat is grown in this area and selected for these growing condition.  I’m not sure of the lineage of this red wheat before I got it, only that it is an heirloom variety…  But we have kept it going for another season.  Perhaps we will continue to replant it season after season and show how this wheat is much better than GM seeds that have no value after it’s planted.  My seeds have history and can be replanted year after year, adapted to this region, unlike the genetically modified wheat that can only be planted for one season, then it’s lost.  Only time and people can decide what’s better.

Wild Ramp Butter

I made a lot of ramp butter with some more ramps I got.  Thinking something with oven braised rainbow trout….

Sous Vide Chicken with Oregon White Truffles

Here is the first dish I made today using my truffles for Sunday Brunch.

          

Oregon Ramps Are (finally) Here!

Okay, okay, okay!  I’ve been asking Louis over at Mushrooms All Year where the ramps are for the last 2 months.  “No, chef” he would say….  “Only from Michigan right now.”  Michigan??  What???  Well, I would have to wait.  Well, that wait is OVER!   We have been  waiting for a while (Honestly for about 10 months now since last season…) So, now I have pickled them and am thinking of how to use them.  I wanted to use them fresh, but they seem to be in really short supply just like morels this year.  How depressing.  So, They are now pickled and I will probably make ramp butter with the tops.  It’s the best way I can think of to stretch them in case I don’t get another crack at ’em this season.  

Our Micro Greens Revisited

So, I took the plunge and purchased a 50 liter bag of “Hydroton”.  This is the clay like rocks I started experimenting with to grow microgreens under out grow lights in the kitchen.  It cost $35 and we are now converting all our indoor growing operations to utilize it.  Our most recent planting includes pea tendrils, micro radish and micro beets.  The tendrils have been tested and work great (see prior post) but the other items have yet to be seen.  Germination has already taken place after just 2 days.

Wild Columbia River Sturgeon

The restaurant is known for it’s Salmon and Halibut on the menu that we feature year round.  People come looking for it.  As the customer demand dictates that we must have this available all the time, I have started trying to focus on other fish that we can offer that may, perhaps, sway some guests into discovering how delicious local, fresh fish can be.  Remember, ALL food we consume has a season.  Just because it can be purchased year long does not mean that it’s at it’s best year long.  With this in mind, I have been really trying to utilize some of the wild Columbia River sturgeon we have available.  This fish is truly amazing.  It is an ancient species that swam with the dinosaurs.  It has a rich history in the Columbia River.  The sous vide sturgeon we have on the menu is garnering a lot of attention.  Here we have another application.  It smokes up great.  We will probably feature this smoked sturgeon for our mother’s day brunch.  It came out delicious!

Join Me In July As I Cook For a Fantastic Farm to Fork Event July 23rd

I will be excitedly joining Matthew Domingo, Director of Farm to fork Events to be a guest Chef for his July 23rd event at Willow-Witt Ranch in Ashland featuring their wonderful pastured pork and goat.  Enjoy wines by Weisinger’s Winery as we celebrate local farmers and wineries and enjoy food right at the source.  It will be a fantastic opportunity to meet the ranchers and learn about what goes into a fun and fabulously prepared dinner.   Farm to Fork events have become known for their interactive dining formats and this evening will prove to be no different.  Come join us and see what’s new from The Jacksonville Inn.

House Made Canadian Bacon

We have started making our own canadian bacon.  Partly because high quality bacon has gotten REALLY expensive  lately and partly because this house made product is MUCH better than the high quality product we were using. And now we can feature pork loin from local producers like Willow-Witt Ranch…

New Hybrid-Hydroponic System Results for Micro Greens in Our Kitchen

Well, here are some photos of what our pea tendrils look like using the new soiless growing medium.  These photos are taken 10 days after germination with just water and organic fertilizer.


 Needless to say, we will be switching all of our indoor growing operations to this new system. 
 It’s remarkable.  Thanks to the Ladybug Store for hooking us up with the experiment.  

New Cooking Demo Video

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

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!!!

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?

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!

Micro Greens

Micro Greens growing nice under the grow lights.  Nice to have these…

Hearts and Vines Charity Auction

Here are some shots of the Charity auction dinner we did for Hearts and Vines…

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Farming is the New Cool.

As I have said before.  Youngsters are finding value in hard work again.  Here’s an excerpt from “Cooking up a Story”…

March 10, 2011 As the season begins to change to Spring, I've noticed a lot
more attention being paid to the small farmer. Last week the New York Times
ran a piece on the growing interest of small farming with 20-30 year olds.

Check out the whole article here:
http://cookingupastory.com/interest-in-small-farms-grows?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CookingUpAStory+%28Cooking+Up+A+Story%29

Urban farms are gaining in popularity too.  As a Wise (?) Greek recently told me, The future belongs to the ones who can grow food….

West Coast Flavors Featuring Jacksonville Inn

Today is the first airing of 6 episodes of West Coast Flavors we shot a couple days ago.  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/

Grab 2.5 minutes worth of popcorn and enjoy!

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