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Jim Dixon

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Everything posted by Jim Dixon

  1. Apparently the foie ban was killed in committee. Maybe our legislators aren't quite as idiotic as they often appear. Jim
  2. You can get Crocs without the holes. I bought them online here, but the Wild Oats in our neighborhood carries them, too. They seem to run small...I wear 10-11 shoes, but the crocs xxlarge fit me best. I still like my Calzuros, too. I was able to get a shot of Mario's shoes at last year's Beard awards. He's wearing Calzuros. Jim
  3. d'oh! Thanks...I fixed it. While I won't have a booth today, I will be at the market shopping (and overseeing my own oil-for-food program), and I'm always packing a little salt and oil. Next time send me an email and we can arrange to meet...many customers also stop by my warehouse (aka the garage) when they need more salt or oil between market appearances. For you PFM regulars...if you haven't tried Greener Pastures' chicken livers yet, pick some up (go early since they often sell out). They're incredibly good, like some new kind of offal comapred even to the livers from the better chicken suppliers at the supermarket. I usually make cibreo, but lately have been trying to replicate Uncle Margaret's chicken liver ragu from the Gotham Bdlg Tavern. For cibreo, saute a diced leek in butter, add the livers after dredging in flour (and salt and papper), and chop them coarsely while they cook with a spatula (or chop them first). Splash in a little chicken stock as they cook so you get a little roux going. When the livers are cooked, remove from the heat and stir in an egg yolk that you've beaten with a little lemon juice. Spread on crostini... Jim
  4. Blogging is different from having a web site featuring your writing. Anyone thinking about it would be wise to spend some time reading other blogs, of course, but also doing some research into what differentiates a blog from a web site (the best blogs are updated daily if not more often, have lots of links both out and in, and have often rousing comments, for starters). Then there's the whole is-blogging-journalism-? debate. Spend some time reading Jay Rosen's PressThink for the most recent thinking about that. I'm an addicted blog reader, and I've been tempted to start one, too. But it's hard enough to keep my site updated as it is without adding the expectation (from readers) of more new content regularly. Besides the writing, you need to delete comment spam, find and keep updated a set of links to similar blogs, follow up on trackbacks, and learn (to varying degrees) how to use the blogging software. There are millions of blogs, but only a relative handful that get the readership and attention. Jim
  5. Jim Dixon


    I like to slice the stalks, toss them with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast for about 20 minutes. They still need a little sweetener of some kind (maple syrup is quite good, but even a sprinbkling of plain sugar works), but not too much. The roasted pieces retain their shape much better than stewed rhubarb. Jim
  6. Abra, Most of our walnuts end up in the compost, so I'm serious. Late June is about the right time here, too. Jim
  7. Oregon may have only 200 acres under commercial production, but if you added up the square feet occupied by all the backyard rhubarb, you'd probably get at least that much again. Before I got around to planting some a few years back, I'd just ask friends if they had any in their yard. It wasn't hard to get a ready supply this way. I prefer mine straight, and I usually roast it after tossing with a little olive oil and salt. It gets tender in 15 or 20 minutes and holds its shape nicely. I eat it sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with maple syrup. Jim
  8. Jim Dixon

    Gigantic Pasta

    I get this pasta from Don Alfonso, and they call it candele lunghe, long candles. I once asked Ernesto Iaccarino how he cooked it. He said, "We just break it up to fit in the pot." Jim
  9. I'd recommend a trip to Norcia. It's a longer drive (maybe a couple of hours from near Perugia), but well worth it to visit the town of pork butchers. The dining room in the Grotto Azurro (not sure if that's spelled right, but it's the main hotel in the little town, just off the central piazza) is quite good. If you're willing to go farther, a pilgrimage to Castelluccio for lenticchie is also time well spent. Jim
  10. Drive down to Portland. Our tree is usually loaded, and I can only use so many. Jim
  11. That's what I got from the article, too. Much as I like Bittman's approach (I used his slow-roasted sparerib technique from How to Cook Everything here and here), this piece was a not-too-thinly-disguised press release. And I've always maintained that the best meals, for a number of reasons, are those eaten at home. Jim
  12. Volterra, the town, is one of our favorite places. I'll have this spot to my list (which keeps growing) of places ot hit the next time we come north. Jim
  13. Jim Dixon

    Mystery olives?

    Smithy, Thanks for the clarification. Do you what cultivars they use? I'd guess Mission and/or Manzanillo, since those were the most common for a long time, but I'm not sure. Jim
  14. Besides the maitaake mushrooms, stinging nettle, leeks, and cheese, last Saturday I got some pickled stuff from Picklopolis. It's the vinegary arm of Three Square Grill, and David Barber and crew make great stuff. I got carrots with a little heat and, I think, some cumin as well as cippolini onions. Jim
  15. Jim Dixon

    Mystery olives?

    I think Tim is referring to canned black olives. They're picked green and processed with an iron compound that turns them black. A purely American invention, nothing like the soft, crinkly cured ripe olives from the Mediterranean. Jim
  16. I was looking at some of the nominated articles (thanks for the links, Bruce) and was struck by this It's in the second paragraph of When Corks Attack - They Do It With TCA . I'm neither a chemist nor wine expert, but I was pretty sure TCA wasn't a bacteria. The name itself screams organic compound. Google took me this wikipedia entry, which includes a diagram of the compound and says So TCA is a chemical compound that's a byproduct of fungal activity. It's surprising that an error like this slipped past the nominating committee. Getting facts wrong is one of the quickest ways to lose credibility. Jim
  17. My market lunch of choice is one of Fred Carlo's sausages, served with grilled onions and peppers on roll. There's also good pizza and a couple of other vendors with prepared food. You might also check out Alma Chocolates, delicious (and beautiful) chocolates by my friend Sara Hart. Jim
  18. I haven't been to Florence for a few years, but given the state of Oregon's economy, the season (not summer, which means tourist-driven businesses aren't happening), and the dismal state of most Oregon coastal dining, don't expect much. You should still be able to find fresh crab, but stick with more humble offerings at any local eateries. of course, I may be completely wrong.... Jim
  19. Higgins has already been mentioned, but make sure you talk to Greg. He was among the first to champion local, seasonal, sustainably produced food. It must've been at least 10 years ago when he proudly told me he had made it through the winter without bringing any greens from out of state. He not only has growing growing for him, he grows a lot of what's served at the restaurant himself. (disclosure: Higgins uses the Necton flor de sal I import, and once he goes through the barrel of olive oil he imported himself from Spain, he'll be an olive oil customer again) Jim
  20. Jim Dixon

    Pork Shoulder

    Marcella's pork braised in milk, from Classics, is my favorite. I think she calls for a loin, but I always use a shoulder roast You season the pork with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and cinnamon, then let it sit overnight before braising in milk. Jim
  21. Like last year, I'll be at the market one Saturday each month. I think May 14th is my next appearance, but I need to find the note I scrawled to myself to make sure. Eventually I'll post the dates on my web site. If you need oil or salt before then, send me an email. I have many customers who drop by to pick up their fix. Jim
  22. I just loaded the truck and am about to head down to set up. Here's the email I sent out earlier with some info about this year's oils. The Portland Farmers Market opens earlier than ever this year, and I’ll be there this Saturday, April 2, in the Park Blocks by PSU. I’ve got freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany and Umbria (yes, the Bettini is back!), the Arbequina from California Olive Ranch, and a little Sicilian oil from last year (it’s still delicious). And salt, of course. The Italian oils from the 2004 harvest are just a little less pungent this year (that’s the official term for that “peppery” taste), but they’re nicely balanced. Sabina Nenna from the Novo Frantoio describes the Olio Novo as “a little sweeter.” The COR Arbequina, on the other hand, is a bit more pungent and similar to the 2003 oil, the first year of production for this newcomer. Morgon Brownlow at clarklewis has always used it in the kitchen, along with the Italian oils, but now he’s serving it with Ken’s bread as well. Most of you know that one of the reasons for my little business is going to Italy more often, but I may have to add beautiful Oroville to the itinerary. Marco Bettini, the University of Perugia cardiologist who runs the family oil operation in Montefalco, is now a certified International Olive Oil Council taster, and he’s even more passionate about making the best oil available. He harvests early,so his yield of oil per kilo of fruit is lower, but the result is amazing. You Bettini addicts know what I’m talking about. Caterina Minnisale operate the frantoio that presses Leonforte. She says that the 2004 harvest in the dry interior of Sicily wasn’t so good, and she decided not to send any oil this year because she felt it wasn’t quite as good as it could be. I’m lucky to have such honest suppliers. I’ve still got some of the 2003 oil, maybe 25 liters, so if you like it get it early. A load of Madre Terra, the oil I first imported for clarklewis, is on its way from the SW coast of Sicily. I hope to have sometime in May. Ditto for Don Alfonso. I’ve got some of each left over from last year’s harvest, but quantities are limited. If you haven’t tried the Necton flor de sal, well, about all I can say is that some of the flavor is missing from your table. I’m still amazed that something so simple can make such a difference. But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what Pablo Neruda has to say (thanks to Mimi). Ode to Salt This salt in the saltcellar I once saw in the salt mines. I know you won't believe me, but it sings, salt sings, the skin of the salt mines sings with a mouth smothered by the earth. I shivered in those solitudes when I heard the voice of the salt in the desert. Near Antofagasta the nitrous pampa resounds: a broken voice, a mournful song. In its caves the salt moans, mountain of buried light, translucent cathedral, crystal of the sea, oblivion of the waves. And then on every table in the world, salt, we see your piquant powder sprinkling vital light upon our food. Preserver of the ancient holds of ships, discoverer on the high seas, earliest sailor of the unknown, shifting byways of the foam. Dust of the sea, in you the tongue receives a kiss from ocean night: taste imparts to every seasoned dish your ocean essence; the smallest, miniature wave from the saltcellar reveals to us more than domestic whiteness; in it, we taste infinitude. Drop me a note if you'd like to be on my email list. Jim
  23. Ask Pierre at Juniper Grove for a recommendation. He'll know what's good. There used to be a great old cowboy bar downtown (on Bond, I think). I'm not sure if it hasn't been gentrified out of existence, but if not it's worth stopping by and joining the buckaroos for a shot and beer at 7 am..steak and eggs aren't bad, either. Jim
  24. Ms. Wolfert, Your check is in the mail. I first read about Necton flor de sal (Portuguese for fluer de sel) in an article by Corby Kummer in the Atlantic Monthly (no longer available free online, but a slightly different version is on the Slow Food site). At about the same time I realized that most of what I ate at home was being drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. So tracked down Necton, sent an email, and a little more than a year later I had emptied my bank account and had a pallet of salt in my basement. Our food has tasted better ever since. For more info, including how to order some for yourself, follow the link to Real Good Food in my signature below. Jim
  25. Marco Bettini, my supplier in Umbria (who's also an IOOC-certified taster), says this about temperature during pressing: It's my understanding that the term 'cold pressed' was first used to differentiate virgin ols form those refined or rectified, processes that both require very high temperatures. Jim
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