Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter-Blues Burger

Seasonal affective disorder. I don’t have it, but sometimes it sure feels like I might. I should have written more often, so you have my apologies.
Here in New England we’ve accumulated quite a fair amount of snow, given the unusual amount of winter storms we’ve had in the past two months. Neither I, nor anyone I’ve spoken with can remember the last winter that was this bad. Pretty much every town in the state has exhausted its snow removal budget. Street corners are piled so high with filthy brown-black snow that you have to crawl at a snail’s pace to safely make it through traffic intersections, and even then you might get hit by some undiscerning driver going too fast to see around corners.
On top of it all, next week is the 5 month anniversary of my being unceremoniously laid off from work. After 5 months of looking and applying to a countless number of prospects I still haven’t got a job lead. I have quite uncomfortably, however, become the spitting image of a house wife. Something that I’m not too happy about, or enthusiastic to admit. There comes a certain amount of shame to being the man of the house, yet having my wife (God bless her) be the typical bread-winner, working full time. Once again, not an ideal relationship for either of us.
Not to make excuses for myself, but this is the cause of my mini-depression, which in turn has de-motivated me from writing. But rest assured, as the days get longer, and temperatures hopefully rise, I do feel more optimistic, and I want to get back on track. To start, I’ll be making the typical summer picnic treat to liven things up around here: hamburgers and potato salad! The problem is that my grill is outdoors. And the outdoors looks like this:

But that’s going to be alright, because if we play our cards right we can pan-sear our burgers and still get a taste of summer, even if our kitchen is 52 degrees … Fahrenheit.
We're also going to up the ante with a whole bunch of "umami" flavors.  You'll notice that I add what I call "powdered Porcini" to the meat.  All this is is a package of dried Porcini mushrooms, which pretty much every supermarket sells in their produce department.  Take the contents of the package to your coffee grinder, spice mill, blender, or whatever device you've got, to reduce it to a powder.  Store the 'shroom powder the same way you would any other spice or dried herb, and use it to flavor ground meats, stews, soups, sauces, coffee, ice cream, or whatever your heart desires.  
Of course you can top the burger with whatever you want, but I'll give you one of my favorite topping combos, so stay tuned for that!

1 1/3 lb. Ground Angus sirlion
1 Tbs powdered Porcini
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp garlic power
¼ tsp freshly ground grains of paradise, or pepper
2-3 Tbs bacon fat, or other cooking fat, such as oil or clarified butter
1 avocado
Grated (not shredded) Pecorino Romano, or parmigiano reggiano
Ketchup “spiked” with cumin powder and soy sauce
Bread or buns for each burger

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together the first 7 ingredients.  I like to use my hands, but you could use a wooden spoon, or whatever you've got.  Just don't be too aggressive with it, because if you over-mix, it may become more of a paste than a burger.  If that's your preference, fine, but I don't like my burgers to have the same consistency as the Swedish Meatballs from a furniture stores' cafeteria.  Form 4 or 5 patties (depending on your preference) and let them rest for at least half an hour.  A full hour would be even better, if you really want the flavors of all those potent seasonings to infuse themselves with your meat.

While the meat is resting grate/grind the cheese.  You only need about a quarter cup for 1 "cheese chip" per burger, but I like to add a couple to each of my burgers, so I had about half a cup worth.  Line a cookie-sheet with a sil-pat or parchment paper and evenly space no more than six individual 1 Tbs heaps of the grated cheese.  Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they look like this:

Slide the sil-pat or parchment paper off the hot pan and onto your counter to cool.  They will be soft at first, but after a few minutes they will crisp up nicely.  Unlike cheddar or american cheese, which must be liberally melted all over a burger in order to make a flavor impact, just one of these deliciously thin crispy chips turn the overall flavor of a hamburger up to 11.  I like to make a couple extra to nibble on while cooking the burgers.

Prep the other toppings:
Mix in 1 tsp cumin powder and 2 tsp soy sauce for every ¼ cup ketchup. Slice the avocado in half, discard the pit, and use a fork to mash up the flesh while in the skin still.  Spread a quarter of the avocado onto the bottom half of your bread or buns (assuming you're making 4 burgers; if you're making 5 burgers, use only a fifth of the avocado per bun). Discard the avocado skins.  Or save, and decorate your neighbors porch with them.  Be imaginative.

Preheat a heavy (cast iron is best) 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat on your stove. Should take 3-5 minutes. Add the fat. If you're using the bacon fat that you should be saving, like me, or using butter, let it melt down. Once the fat shimmers, twirl the pan to coat it thoroughly and drop in the burgers. Cook about 5 minutes per side for medium done-ness, 3 minutes per side for medium rare, or 7-8 minutes for well done.
Put the burger straight from the pan to the avocado-spread bun, and top with the umami ketchup, crispy cheese chip, and of course the top half of the bun.

          Enjoy along with your favorite potato salad recipe!  I haven't included one here because, to be honest, I haven't been able to make the perfect potato salad, yet.  Until then, I hope you like this, MY perfect hamburger recipe.
          Press “Comment” below and leave me your favorite potato salad recipe, or your favorite hamburger ever. Or better yet, do you have an escapist methods for forgetting that it's winter out there?

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”
- Mark Twain

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Potshots @ Food Shots

I have a love/hate relationship with food photography. 
Just to set the record straight from the beginning – I love food and I also love photography.  One of my favorite parts of studying graphic communications for 4 years was being able to take photographs, and developing and printing them.  I loved the whole process, and I loved to see other people’s photos.  I still enjoy and appreciate beautifully composted pictures of food.  Food magazines would be a bit depressing without that glamour shot of some expertly prepared dish on the cover.  And when I do crack open the occasional cook/recipe-book (a rare thing for me) I have to admit that well shot photos are both inspirational and educational.  Of course I, too, like taking pictures of the food I prepare, both as a personal journal of my culinary journey, and also to share with people.  Indeed, pictures and photography have been an important part of my life for a very long time.
Somewhere along the line I grew a sense of discernment, however.  I think it was some time when I was a wee lad, and my mother took me to a fast food restaurant.  As we sat at the table I couldn’t help but notice a vast difference between the carelessly assembled pieces of “meat” and “bread” that was served to us under the, perhaps laughable, moniker of ‘burgers, and the 6 foot tall brightly colored photographs on the windows - pictures of what could only be called the Platonic Ideal of hamburgers. Being a mere child I asked my mother why our food was not like that?  What had gone horribly wrong in the kitchen that we had to be served these soggy meat sandwiches, rather than the promised GOD among burgers?  Alright, I may not have used those exact words, but I was certainly smart enough to know the difference between the photographs and the real thing.  My mother explained to me that when they make those advertisements they have special chefs who make the über food, and in some cases the pictures aren’t even of real food.
Those frauds!  Charlatans! From that time forward I have always looked upon food advertisement with a certain amount of contempt for the mountebanks who would try to pull the wool over the eyes of the wise.  Oh, we’re onto your game, and we won’t be fooled by your photo-buggery!  Of course … when I find myself waiting in line for that order of chalupa and volcano nachos and think about how I ended up there, it’s usually because some commercial with flying tortillas, lettuce, and tomato set off a Pavlovian response and the next thing I know I’m back home eating low-grade Taco Bell Brand kangaroo meat, wishing I had remembered that discussion with my mother so many years before.  C’est la vie.
Yet, I have a level of respect for the photographers who make that kind of magic happen.  It’s a testament to how powerful a really good photo can be.  Really good photos are, a majority of the time, taken by really good photographers.  The kind of photographers I wanted to be like, when I was in high school.
Now-a-days my aspirations are a bit more subdued.  I only hope to take decent pictures of the food I make so when I tell people my stories I have interesting visuals to offer.  The pictures you’re going to find on this blog will probably never be spectacular, as long as I’m taking them.  In a way I don’t want them to be spectacular.  By no means do I want crappy pictures here, don’t get me wrong.  But I’m reminded of all the food blogs I’ve rifled through whose pictures are spectacular.  I don’t like that.  Those blogs who offer a paltry half-paragraph or two, a brief recipe, and a plethora of exquisitely plated food, professionally lit, and shot like a pro.  I hate those blogs.
I know, I sound curmudgeonly right about now, and I apologize.  First of all, those blogs are dishonest.  They aren’t about food.  They should be barely considered a food blog.  They’re a photography blog.  Photography blogs are excellent!  But a blogger should not be confused about what their own blog is about.  I think blogs like that should keep doing what they’re doing, but stop pretending to be about the food.  I’m convinced that most of the times the photo sessions take longer than it actually took to prepare the food.
This brings me to the second reason that these photo-centric food blogs have fallen into disfavor with me.  When the emphasis is on photography it seems to de-food-a-fy (like “dehumanize”, but for food – use it, credit me) the subject.  Which is fine by me if it’s a photography blog, because photography blogs are about photos.  But if you’re going to call yourself a food blog please give me more than pretty pictures.  Food is more than just light bouncing off the surface of a roast and being captured with a lens or a retina.
Did you ever notice that when you eat dinner you don’t just sit down at the table and look at the food from all sorts of angles with various exciting lighting?  Maybe some people do that, but for me dinner uses all the senses!  Tell me about cooking the food in those great photos, please!  What did it smell like?  Did it make any cool sounds as you sautéed it, or bit into that crust?  What made the flavors special?  Did it makes you think?  Maybe about a childhood memory?  Food encompasses all our senses, and even our thoughts.  Maybe I’m different, but those are the things I want to have more of in food blogs.  Keep the awesome photos, but if you want to be called a food blog, I’m of the opinion that you ought to give me more insight into food than just the sight of it.
I feel like I ought to add a bit of a disclaimer here:  I realize these opinions of mine might make it sound to some people like I am in some way opposed to food photography.  Not in the least.  Food photography is vitally important in the blog, magazine, and recipe-book worlds.  I appreciate, even if I dislike in a way, those publications whose modus operandi is to present excellent food photos with recipes and minimal commentary.  I just don’t like the fact that everyone feels the need to cater to the carnal lust for pretty pictures and shallow content.  Therefore it’s in that spirit that I decided to keep photographs out of this entry.  As a bit of an experiment, I’m curious if I’ll get nearly as many hits to this entry as I do to entries with pictures on it.  I’ll be sure to let you know the results.
So which do you prefer?  Long winded food blogs with depth and details, or pictures shows with photographic professionals?  Can there be a balance betwixt the two?

“It's weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don't even amount to a couple of hours.”
- James Lalropui Keivom

Monday, January 3, 2011

Flour + Salt + Yeast + H2O = Awesome

     What is more universal than bread?  I haven't done any scientific research, but I would venture to say that every civilized society in the world makes and consumes bread.  Biblically speaking bread has all sorts of significance.  Jacob was such a fine baker that his older brother, Esau, sold him his birthright for some bread and lentils.  Let's not forget the meal which unites all the Church in all the world throughout all of time being centered on bread and wine.
     Aside from religious symbolism, many cultures, countries, and peoples have a bread which is special to them.  Taking it a step further you'll be sure to find that within those cultures you'll find families have their own special recipe for bread, which they hold dear.  For my family that is Grammy's Oatmeal Bread.  That's going to have to be an other entry, though.
     I'm still a very beginner baker, so I like to take the simple route, at least until I get more skillful, then I'll make more elaborate breads.  I know many people are the same as me, so this video is for them.  It's the popular Sullivan St. Bread, which is so simple a toddler could do it.  I figured this is the perfect time to be video blogging a wee bit, so watch the video, and enjoy!  Written recipe follows.


In a glass or stainless steel bowl put 17.5 oz. (4 cups) bread flour (easily found in any supermarket), along with 2.5 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp instant/rapid rise yeast.  Stir it up so you don't have a clump of yeast, then add 1.5 cups of room tempurature (70 degrees) water.  Use yours hands, or a spoon, or a fork, or spatula, or garden trowel (whatever works) to get all water absorbed by the flour and you've got one solid shaggy dough.  Plastic wrap the bowl and let rise at room temp for 8-24 hours, depending on temperature.  If it's summer where you are and you've got no A/C so your kitchen is 80 or 90+ degrees you could easily get away with the 8 hour rise, but if you're stuck in a 52 degree house like I am right now, go ahead and give it the full 24 hour treatment.

Punch it down and let it rest 15 minutes.

Sprinkle a silpat or a kitchen towel with corn meal (if you don't have corn meal I'm sure a heavy dose of flour would work well enough).  Form your dough into a ball by tucking the outer edge up under itself so the top of the ball has a clean round "skin" to it.  Let it rise, seam down and covered with another towel, on your silpat/towel for 2 hours.  About a half hour before the time is up put a 5-6 qt. cast iron dutch oven (or any oven proof pot with a lid) into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  When your 2 hours are up use your towel or silpat as a kind of "sling" to drop the bread into the pot, seam down, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.

Take the top off and bake 15 minutes more.

Rest the loaf on a rack for 1-2 hours before cutting.  Store wrapped in tin foil.  It'll keep a week, if you don't devour it all before then.

     I love this recipe!  First of all it's simple.  Second, it's very forgiving, so experimentation is encouraged.  Third, as a science geek I love that gluten shows up without kneading ... all it took was plenty of moisture and time. Fourth, it's just delicious bread.  My favorite things to do with it?  

  • Thick sliced, toasted, and topped with butter and honey with a big cup of loose leaf oolong or green tea.
  • Great with soups and pot roasts.
  • Top it with some over easy eggs and bacon, or sausage, for a hearty breakfast.  Strong coffee not  optional!
  • My favorite French toast in the world is to slice it up the night/day before and let it dry out uncovered all night, then apply your favorite French toast recipe.
  • Or if you find you somehow can't eat it all you can let it dry out even longer and process it into bread crumbs.  Store in a zip top baggy.  All-natural home-made bread crumbs are simply wonderful, and sadly it's rare these days.
     It's your bread, now, so have fun with it.  Enjoy it.  And be sure to get back to me so I can hear how it went.

(Special thanks to my wonderful wife @ Marriage Photography for filming <3  )

"If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee."
Proverb of King Solomon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If At First: The Necessity of Failure

Usually I hate failure.  Especially when failure comes at the expense of time and money that simply doesn’t exist.  For example, when a car or the human body fails I tend to be quite unhappy.  But we all muscle through semi-catastrophic failure, one way or another, and hope it never happens again.
                The kitchen, however, is a different story.  Aside from personal injury and property damage I welcome failure like it’s a loving teacher I haven’t seen for a while.  I’m speaking, of course, of recipe failure.  Don’t get me wrong … I don’t ever start to cook hoping that something unexpected or unpleasant occurs.  However, my heart rarely sinks when a recipe fails.  I consider culinary failure to be an invaluable teaching moment.   It’s absolutely silly to think that a wise cook doesn’t make a mistake; a wise cook doesn’t make the same mistake twice. 
                Think about the last meal you made that went well.  Let’s say that this morning you poached an egg, toasted bread, and brewed coffee.  Everything went well most likely because you’ve made it dozens, or maybe hundreds of times.  What about the first time ever you poached or brewed?  Maybe it didn’t go so well because you didn’t know how much you could play with the time and temperature you brewed the coffee for, or poached the egg at?  What about the utter simplicity of toasting?  Sure it came out perfect at ½” slices, but what if you want thick toast, or maybe a different grain of bread?  With so many factors, who’s to say which ones contributed to success, and which ones are irrelevant?  It’s through trial and error that we come to the most usable and memorable kinds of enlightenment. 
                This simple breakfast may be a bad example, seeing as each piece has little more than 1 or 2 ingredients, but things get more muddled when we’re making a recipe with many more ingredients, or making a culinary maneuver that we’ve never made before.  With complexity or novelty comes the probability of failure. Take exhibit “A” into consideration:

This is the first mayonnaise I made myself.  Only an escaped patient from the Galloping Senility ward would consume this stuff.  A failure - and I was upset about it, for sure.  On the other hand I learned the immense importance of continually whisking and very slowly adding oil when forming an emulsion.  Had I not learned this lesson at the get-go imagine how silly I would have looked if trying to make a mayonnaise sauce with friends around or in a time of need, and in my over confidence been slack with the whisk or hasty with the oil?
You only have to learn a lesson once when you learn by failure.  What the great thing is about cooking is that almost every lesson is transferable.  So when I go to make a hollandaise or vinaigrette I know standard procedure.  By the way, out of all the mysterious suspensions of oil droplets in water, otherwise known as a stable emulsion, mayonnaise is my absolute favorite.  I finally did get it right, too!  But now I never make it by hand, since I have a food processor and a stand mixer as options.  You could use either one, or still go the old fashion way with a metal whisk and stainless steel, or glass, bowl.  I use Alton Brown’s recipe from Good Eats episode “Mayo Clinic”

Party Mayonnaise
2 cups oil (he suggests a neutral one such as safflower or corn oil)
2 tablespoons chile oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (white wine or champagne, according to Alton)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard (powder)
¼ teaspoon sugar

Dump everything but the oils into whatever you’ll be mixing in.  If using a food processor give it a few pulses to get things started, otherwise beat vigorously with a whisk or in a stand mixer with whisk attachment.  Once mixed put the pedal to the metal with your mixer/whisk/processor and very. slowly. add.  the oil.  Start drop by drop.  You can pick up the pace with the oil once the emulsion looks light and thick, but don’t *pour* it in … a thin steady stream will do just fine. (If you get to the end and the sauce breaks do not fret.  Just break a solitary egg yolk into a clean bowl, whisk it up nice, and slowly add the broken sauce to it.)

Once you’ve got a beautiful mayonnaise put it in an airtight vessel and leave it on your counter for an hour.  This gives the acid a chance to kill whatever nasty bugs could potentially be in that raw egg.  According to Alton the acid is less apt to kill anything while it’s cold.  So after an hour stash it in your fridge for “up to a week”.

If you don’t think you’ll use that much mayonnaise on your sandwiches, make it into a homemade French onion dip (sometimes called California dip), or use it as a base for other sauces like rémoulade, or tartar sauce, or a dressing like Ranch or Thousand Island.  I mixed a little capers, pimentos, and Worcester sauce into some and used it as a steak sauce.  Or mix it with a bit of tomato sauce (canned/jarred is fine) and a touch of ketchup and use it for dipping thick oven baked French fries, or for shrimp.  The possibilities go only so far as your imagination.
The point is, never hesitate to try a new recipe or technique for fear of failure.  Let failure be a teacher, instead of a bully.  And when worse comes to worse, your failed dinners could be the dogs gourmet dinners!  Comment below by clicking the "Comments" button, and share some of your favorite failures, and more importantly the lessons learned.  What are some new dishes you plan to make for the first time?

"The truth is, that all genuine appreciation rests on a certain mystery of humility and almost of darkness.  The man who said, ‘Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed,’ put the eulogy quite inadequately and even falsely.  The truth ‘Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall be gloriously surprised.’ Until we realize that things might not be we cannot realize that things are. Until we see the background of darkness we cannot admire the light."
- Gilbert Keith Chesterton, "Heretics" 1905

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let There Be: Cooking and the Creation of Food, part 1

My bachelor meals consisted mostly of instant mashed potatoes and homemade fried chicken.  Sometimes canned corn, too.

When I was somewhere between 5 and 6 years old I wanted to be a fireman.  Me, and every boy in America, that is, wanted to be a fireman when we were so young and impressionable that the only occupation we could truly comprehend is so full of valor, bravery, danger, and overall manliness.  Soon we start to understand that there are, presumably, other options.  And that’s when I decided that when I grew up I would be a chemist. 
                What, pray tell, does a chemist do?  According to my once limited knowledge, a chemist experiments with chemicals and compounds, creating new ones for only two purposes: 1) to blow stuff up, and 2) to cure cancer.  I, somewhat fuzzily, remember my Uncle Emil asking me when I was a young’un, what I wanted to do as a chemist, and my answer was to cure cancer (would that I could).  That’s roughly when the theme of creation entered into the definition of who I wanted to become.  I wanted to MAKE stuff.  To create.  And my brain was so wired that the external expression of those internal urges was to, at the time, know more about the microscopic realm and to use that knowledge to mold and make new things.  “Chemicals” that would cure diseases.  And, of course, other chemicals to blow stuff up.
                As public schooling tends to do, it dulled my dreams more than it inspired them.  By the time I was nearly finished with middle school I didn’t think much about what I was looking forward to for the rest of my life.  And, no offenses toward my parents, but they were in the midst of a divorce, so my transition from boyhood into manhood was one I was left to battle on my own, with whatever counsel and guidance I gleaned from my peers and grandparents.  Luckily the local trade school was making its rounds to the area schools to garner recruits who would forgo the usual high school for something more intriguing, and something they claimed was more promising.  It was their program in culinary arts that piqued my interest.  At that point I already enjoyed cooking, if only it was to help my grandmother prepare meals.  And my palate was finally growing away from Kraft Mac’n’Cheese to my grandfather’s home baked macaroni and cheese.  From frozen fish sticks to grandma’s chicken and noodles.  (I was an incredibly picky eater as a child.  I remember crying at the dinner table for hours because I wasn’t allowed to leave until I ate my peas, or the stew lovingly made by my mother. )

My skills at graphic designer weren't half-bad. I designed these name tags.

                Taking my cue from the visitors from Oliver Wolcott Regional Vocational Technical High School, and yes that is its real, ridiculously long name, I decided to head towards their culinary program.  To get into the program of your liking every student first had to take 3 days trials of each of the 12 shops offered by the trade school, then a 10 trial of each of their 3 favorite shops, and from there you would choose your preferred shop, and the school would place the top 20-25 contenders into each shop, depending on their academic performance, and aptitude for that trade.  In this process not everyone would get into the shop they wanted, and be turfed to a less desired one.  For most of the students this less preferred shop was culinary arts.  Because of its aptitude for mediocrity, and its lack of passionate teachers or students (at least while I was there) cooking lost the attractiveness I once saw in it.  I, instead, decided to study graphic communications for the following three and a half years. 
                I liked graphics.  A lot.  Primarily because it allowed me to externalize the same drive to create that both “chemistry” and cooking allowed.  But the post 9/11 economy, which no young adult should ever have to exit high school into (I graduated early summer, 2002), wasn’t receptive to my half-assed attempts to get a graphic design job.  I had one night job during my fall semester at college that lasted all of a month before I was laid-off.  And it was barely related to graphic design, as I merely washed and prepped large silk screens.

Building a solid wall and steps is still more straightforward and simple than making a hollandaise.  Except when there's building inspectors involved in the former!

                From there my main creative outlet for nearly 6 years was carpentry, masonry, and landscaping.  Which was fine, for the time.  I barely paid the bills, but I was able to create.  Houses, sidewalks, chimneys, fences, lawns, and so much more.  As all things tend to do, that came to a sad end.  I got a much steadier job, but with it came a very limited capacity to create.  It was at that same time that my, at that time, girlfriend (then fiancée, now wife) finished college and came home.  I rediscovered my long lost love for cooking as a form of creation.  I could now cook for more than just my lonely bachelor self! 
In these brief two years not only have I been practicing the craft, but I’ve been educating myself.  Recipe aren’t good enough, because they so limit one to cooking that dish alone.  I want to learn to cook, and to create new foods.  When I was much younger I took piano lessons for a couple years, and I had two books I had to study from: one book with pieces I would have to practice and learn, but the other book, whose purpose I didn’t know enough to appreciate at the time, was called “Piano Theory” and taught music.  I now thirst for these “Cooking Theory” books like my life depends on it.  They aid me in expanding my creative abilities, and applying them to all manner of dishes and ingredients.
The drive to create has defined me for as long as I remember.  I believe the desire to create defines all of us, to an extent, and that is what part two will concern.  The creation of food is my passion, if only to say I made something … anything.  Unlike a stone wall, though, I can now eat my creations.  Well … most of them.

At last my skills are finely honed into the worlds absolute best baked macaroni and cheese with smoked gouda, creamy havarti,  sharp cheddar, carmelized onions, double smoked bacon, and a panko/Parmesan crust on top.

“The Olive Garden recently sponsored a contest where the winner wins a trip to Italy.  I don’t know about you but I personally am hoping the winner is their chef.” – Conan O’Brien, December 14, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Brief Introduction to Bacon Coffee

Welcome! My name is Zach, and this is my new blog, Bacon Coffee. A name both odd and contrived, I know. There must be a thousand food blogs whose title is simply two foods smashed together, like one of my favorites, Vanilla Garlic. Which must beg the question, with so many food blogs out there, why should I start one, and why should you read it? To be quite frank, I don't have a niche yet, or an answer for that right now, other than food deserves all the blogs it can get. Also, I think I come from a unique perspective in the food-blog-o-sphere, in that I'm not a great cook or baker, or even taster. As I continue my journey in life I hope to grow wiser and more skillful, and hopefully share those tiny steps with you fine folks.

Why "Bacon Coffee"? That pretty much sums up my tastes. When a food is made well, it is really good - like real salt cured, and naturally smoked bacon, or a locally roasted coffee brewed to perfection. I love that. On the other hand, when food is processed, pumped with preservatives, mass produced, and given away a dime a dozen ... well ... I still end up loving it. Bacon and coffee from McDonald's or Wendy's is still better than none at all. Warning!: This blog does not condone the creation, or consumption of bacon flavored coffee, and will not be held responsible for over use, or abuse of either coffee or bacon.

By the way, I hope you're enjoying that photo of my spice rubbed, and seared roast beef tenderlion. I enjoy it sliced thick with hunger as the only garnish. Of course my philosophy on beef has changed much from when I was a child ... but that's another post.

All that having been said, I invite everyone to leave comments, let me know what sort of entries you'd like to see in a food blog, or what sort of questions you want answered, either about me as a food maker and eater, or about food itself. If I don't know the answer I will make it my purpose to figure it out and make the most entertaining and/or educational blog I can. So don't hold your breathe ... we're just getting started!

"Every time I think of you I know we have to [meat]
And I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough
It's getting hotter, it's a burning love
And I just can't seem to get enough of"
- Depeche Mode