Tag Archives: meat

Victor Churchill

4 Jun

I’m not the first and certainly not the last person to write about Victor Churchill.  I found out about this spot from The Cool Hunter and then begged my mother to stop by while she was on a trip to Sydney earlier this spring.  Like the darling she is, she did and came back with some great pics.

It’s a high end butcher shop in a small, boutique neighborhood in Sydney called Woollahra.  Apparently they have a curing room where they cure meats hung on circulating racks, revolving in front of a wall of salt blocks.  The revolving meat in stasis resembles designer dresses hung styled for the front window, it’s that beautiful.  The door handle itself is made of fake linked sausages.  According to Victor Churchill’s site, the store design is the first retail store project taken on by Dreamtime Australia Design, known for their work elsewhere in the luxury industry.  They have butchers on site who prepare meats and charcuterie for display and by order.

All I have to say, is the second-hand experience is not enough.  I want in this store… badly.  And maybe if I was like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world they’d think I was cool enough to hire me and my dreams would come true.  A girl can dream.

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Eat You UP

9 Apr

There’s that song out by BoA called Eat You Up and I couldn’t help but think of the new Jamie Oliver show on ABC called Food Revolution, wherein, Jamie tries to salvage the city of Huntington, VA from literally consuming itself.  Closer to home than Texas, this city was recently labeled the most obese in the nation.  As a Northerner/Midwesterner, we/I like to think that the truly obese reside in the South which I guess includes Virginia but geographically it’s too close to home for me.  As Jamie tours the public elementary school’s lunchroom, kitchen and classrooms you immediately get a clear picture of the deterioration of food education in this country.

I was fortunate to grow up in a family where my parents were both college and graduate school educated who valued food, taught and exposed us to all types of food even in utero.  So when I watched a little boy look at a potato and have no idea what it is, then look at a french fry and know exactly what it’s called I almost barfed.  In a world where a french fry counts as a vegetable in public school lunch programs, it’s pretty easy to see why Michelle Obama is dedicated to reform and raising awareness.

Eating well has become a moniker for the privileged.  However, eating well did not used to mean expensive, it meant eating fresh and local.  The advancement of fast food, processed snacks, beverages and the industrialization of the meat market has created a vacuum into which marketers and large companies stepped in to offer up cheaper substitutes.  When you read literature on families living with Welfare, part of the discussion is overwhelmingly devoted to feeding the family and the choices available to them: it should be a crime that a liter of Coca-Cola is cheaper than a gallon of milk — this marketing targets the underprivileged and inflates the obesity numbers and unhealthy in our country.

Besides putting me on the verge of tears, Jamie Oliver’s show made me give thanks for the progressive stance of my private elementary and middle school.  Obviously as a private school they are not as subject to the strict dietary and regulatory guidelines as public schools.  In the heart of the most visited national park in the States, the school has always put kids and food education together starting in preschool up through eighth grade, advocating local foods and sustainability.  Now they sport a “Living Machine” which serves to clean the school’s wastewater and a classroom to educate children in the greenhouse.  The challenge becomes greater when you move to urban schools who are not as fortunate to have a rural environment in which to learn.  Hopefully, with more education and the dedication of groups and individuals the heinous state of food in our schools can become a beacon of reform for the rest of our country.

Chicken Skin

21 Jan

Chicken skin is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It starts off slimy and with goosebumps, can turn chewy if sauteed a bit and then golden brown crunchy. To utilize about half a dozen chicken breasts (obviously not skinless), I decided to make a curry the other night. I removed the skin and left it to use later on in the curry. Grab a wok, toss in chopped up chicken breast to brown up with garlic, shallots and onion. Over top pour coconut milk and peas (even if they start off frozen they’ll thaw and cook perfectly within the heat of the curry), then as much mace, turmeric, yellow curry, cayenne pepper as you want. I would have loved to throw in some cherry peppers too but my mother’s palate is a little more sensitive to heat than mine. Cherry peppers are possibly the cutest hot pepper I’ve run into and they have a much sweeter and slightly less spicy quality than jalapenos. They would also give the curry another vibrant color to play off the yellow of the curry powder and the bright green orbs of peas.

While the curry is simmering and melding the spices, start some white rice in another pan. Then while both of those are going, get a small sauté pan, some butter, white wine vinegar and the chicken skins from before. Melt a good amount of butter in the pan, then toss in the skins and pour maybe 3 tablespoons of vinegar over them. The vinegar gives the skin a nice tanginess that plays nicely with the spice and sweetness of the curry. Once the skins shrivel up a bit and brown, drain the liquid from the pan and dump the skins on a cutting board and slice length wise. Then serve the rice in each diner’s dish (preferably a pasta bowl), spoon curry over top and then sprinkle the skin over top. You get a combination of textures: chewy, crunchy, tender and the snap of the peas make this a more interesting variation on the traditional curry.

I felt like it Chili

20 Jan

If there’s one thing I’m head over heals for, it’s chili and cornbread.  I’m a good sharer of food and drink unless it’s taken from me without permission and I’ve been known to get viciously protective of my cornbread and chili.  My last few days at home I found myself overcome by the craving for the aforementioned foods.

Chili:

Can of whole peeled tomatoes

Large bunch of chopped fresh cilantro

Ground beef or “chili meat” as my grocery store labeled it, second time ’round I used bison to AWESOME effect – highly recommended

As much of the following spices as you want = mace, Cajun Seasoning (whatever that is, I just found it in the spice cabinet and seemed like a good idea), cayenne pepper, black pepper

Lemon juice

2 cans of kidney beans and 1 of black beans

3 cloves of garlic and 1 large shallot, maybe one large yellow or red onion

Start it like you start any stew by cooking down the garlic, shallots and onion then browning the meat over it, then layering all the other goodies and let simmer for an hour.  The cilantro should go in at the last moment!  Another golden rule: it’s always the better the next day.

Now for the cornbread.

1 cup flour + 1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

1 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk if you prefer)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine wet ingredients with dry, preheat oven to 400ºF.  I baked mine in a muffin tin for 15 minutes and they came out beautifully.  A nice slab of Kerry Gold doesn’t hurt them either.  In any case, it’s now my favorite chili and favorite cornbread so I guess take my word for it that these dishes are delicious, because they are.

7 Christmas Realities and Fantasies

25 Dec

1. Grabham’s Chocolates — local spot, awesome chocolates like WHOA, specifically candied orange peel cocooned in dark chocolate.

2.  Gas stoves and new recipes — jam and doughnuts: picked up a recipe for sufganiyot from Martha Stewart and a raspberry jam recipe.  I tweaked the recipe using 8 small packs of raspberries, only 3 cups sugar (I’d use less next time), juice from 2 navel oranges, a tablespoon of orange zest and a tablespoon of ground ginger.  The ginger balances the sweetness SO well. Boiled the hell out of it for a long time, and I didn’t strain out the seeds.  This was my first jam and to blatantly brag, it was gohgeous.  Oh and the gas stove bit is partially about my pyro tendencies but mostly about the fact that the inventor of electric stoves is in a very deep ring of Hell.

3.  Oystah Stew and Osso Bucco — Mama made the osso bucco tonight for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner and I made our traditional oyster stew for Christmas Eve.  All you need is a small saucepan, 2 tablespoons butter melted in it, add 2 cans of oysters and their juices.  Simmer until the oysters’ edges curl then add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 cups of milk.  Serve when it gets frothy.  Winter warmer fo sho.

4.  Sleeping ’til 5.

5.  Wanting to get out of the States and go back to Milano with my lovely roommate for many aperitivi.

6.  Wanting desperately to lose myself in a market in Barcelona or Parma, run into a dashing European man who instantly falls in love with me.

7.  Human seatbelts made from a big brother — I got trapped for a while under the heavy feet of a passed out big brother today, almost made me late to the grocery store for my jam provisions.

Bomb Lasagna

11 Dec

Mozzerella is a great thing — it makes pizza happy and caprese a perfect snack — but I feel it’s a misplaced addition to lasagna.  I’ve never been a fan of lasagna because I never found the combination of mundane ragu and a relatively flavourless cheese that thrilling.  So, over this Thanksgiving break I gave it a try with very slight variations.  For my ragu I started off with browning up some garlic, shallots and chopped andouille sausage in a little olive oil with some splashes of Beckwith cider and a can of whole, peeled tomatoes.  The cider gave it a mild sweetness to counter the spicy sausage, yielding a frankly delightful meat sauce.

A casserole dish was buttered up, layered with the kind of lasagna you don’t have to boil before you bake, then the ragu, ricotta blended with a little heavy whipping cream/cayenne pepper and then slices of creamy havarti on top and halved grape tomatoes.  The havarti was neither too sharp nor too mild and worked it’s quasi-spiciness with the andouille ragu.  The most common reaction from friends was, “this is a BOMB-ASS lasagna!” and then some fighting over bites.  I suppose it was a success.

p.s. it went really nicely with Alesmith’s Grand Cru

Meat Stall

8 Nov

As I peruse and devour every image in Janson’s History of Art for my senior Art History exam, I forgot how much I love the Dutch painters of the Renaissance and Reformation periods in 16th cent. Northern Europe.  In particular, I love the realism and naturalism of the everyday genre paintings such as Pieter Aertsen’s The Meat Stall (1551, oil on panel).

The Meat Stall

This Dutch style and genre of painting continues into the Baroque and only gets more awesome.  What’s especially interesting is during the Baroque in the Netherlands, we see a focus on women and their place in the market economy, management of their household and educating their daughters in the field.  It illustrates their importance in Dutch society, the wealth of the state and prowess of the artist in depicting the plethora of the markets.  Perhaps it is partly my art history training that makes me so enamored of market places and especially the meat counters — formal analysis of paintings such as this seems to carry over into reality.

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