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Brigit Binns

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Everything posted by Brigit Binns

  1. Pork confit and lobster together, yes...the combo spoke to me of New Orleans, or Portugal, or was just a Brigit's Meat-Your-Fish moment...and it was, truly, lobster-licious! Perfect rainy-day food!
  2. Ravensfeast, I have been wanting to make lardo ever since immersing myself in Ruhlman's great book, Charcuterie, but it's been so humid here this summer, and I read somewhere about someone who had a curing project turn green...I got kinda scared off. But Ossabaw is definitely the pork for it. Maybe in the fall I'll get braver. Actually, tonight I'm melting a crock of confit that has been in the fridge (well-sealed!) since June, and I'm going to crisp it up, then add it to a huge rustic bowl of rigatoni with lobster, chick peas, smoked bacon from Allan Benton's in Tennessee, lots of melty collard greens from the garden, and a bunch of garlicky breadcrumbs. Perfect late summer food, right?
  3. Thanks to you, and to Popsicle Toze, for the very kind words! There was an interesting thread atGourmet.com about the different heritage breeds, and why we want to save them. After hearing from Josh Applestone that one day April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig sent back a delivery of Ossabaw, saying "It's all (expletive deleted) fat! I can't use this!" I have to say I was surprised by all the fuss about the Mangalitsa, the latest high-fat porky darling of the media. If, in the long run, we must cross these fatty breeds with leaner pigs to make a sustainable product, it begs the question: Do we strive to preserve an heirloom breed simply to keep its pure legacy alive? Or, are we engaged in preservation for purely selfish purposes? Or maybe, it can be both....Our small farmers are on the front lines of this history-in-the-making quandary...(I, of course, am at the table with knife and pork poised to take advantage of the edible by-products of the discourse.)
  4. Thanks, Lapin...trouble is, no one ever wants to invite me over for dinner. "Oh, I could never cook for YOU." But, if I can convince them, and they then see my giddy gratitude when someone actually puts pan to flame, spoon to bowl, all for ME, they're happy to make it a habit.
  5. The answer seems to lie in cross-breeding and changing their diets to focus more on nuts and acorns, as Peter and Mark at Turkana Farms, and many champions of the Ossabaw, are now doing. That way, you get the drop-dead delicious meat with a smaller fat cap. The problem is that those who own pure-bred Ossabaws don't seem to want to sell them as breeders.
  6. OK, reporting back: Russell: the fish market is still there at Avila Beach, end of the northernmost pier. I was at the restaurant next door last night for a sunset cocktail, but it was after they'd closed. Will return for dinner supplies this week. Kathy: I am lookin' and lookin' for contact info for NZ Ranch in Edna, and the Nevilles, but not finding much. I'm wondering if they sell from the farm, or where I can get some of their pork for next weekend...Will try New Frontiers and, if no luck, order some from Niman. The Thursday night market in SLO was wonderful, and I just came from the Saturday market in the parking lot at Madonna, which has many of the same producers but none of the street food. Bought many tasty things, plus a Buddha's Hand citron, for amusement value. Today, going up to visit Raoul's olive farm! Next week, visiting Rinconada Dairy in Santa Margarita to meet the sheep, and also to see my friends at L'Aventure. Boy oh boy is it gorgeous here.
  7. I never imagined that my experience earning a B.A. in Chinese Studies in 1979---which involved a month in Taipei, two weeks on the mainland (not easy to do in '79), and six months in Hong Kong---could be so impressively melded with the wonderful times I have enjoyed while accompanying my husband to various Star Trek conventions. Thank you for sharing. Roadfoodie can't wait to get hold of the Top 100, for all those hungry drives across the country; even if Kansas is dry, there must be some estimable dumplings in the interior?
  8. YES, Raoul, I am very interested, and roadfoodie.com readers would love to "see" an olive farm. I used to inhale Graber's when I was a kid growing up in LA. I see they are still around, but getting those mondo-jumbos isn't easy. Note that I haven't been out to Avila pier yet, as my husband had the unexpected pleasure of an emergency root canal in SLO this am. Thus, I haven't yet set out to explore. I will report as to the fish-market-on-the-pier's presence, or non-presence. I am definitely going to track down the NZ pig farm per Kathy, and Thursday market in SLO. Thanks
  9. Hey Kathy - thanks, yeah that could be fun. We are slightly south of SLO (Avila Beach area), but can drive anywhere reasonably close, and will be going to visit friends who own L'Aventure in Paso at some point. I have liked the New Frontiers on Santa Rosa in the past, and have been to the farmers market in Arroyo Grande, last year. Any pig farmers around here? I will def find Templeton for the fish store. There used to be a fish market out at Avila piere, too. Budget is an issue this year (like everyone, I guess), but thanks for the heads-up re Artisan, carpet bagger. That'll be one of the occasional splurges for sure.
  10. Just arrived and will be eating and drinking here until end of Jan. There don't seem to be too many recent posts, although I see that tacos in Morro Bay deserve attention. I have a big kitchen to play in, too, so looking for local farms that sell produce,meat and poultry, etc. V. grateful for advice. Check out Roadfoodie to journey along.... [some people drive simply to arrive]
  11. How did I miss this thread? What a fabulous way to avoid working! It's hard enough to get anyone to invite me for dinner as it is (just because I've written 19 cookbooks, people seem to get intimidated), but I'll risk a little diplomatic sharing. Of the many indifferent meals consumed in England during my 7-year internment, the very first ranks high: Everything on the plate was white: Poached chicken with white sauce, cauliflower cheese, and onions in cream. All proudly served by a girlfriend eager to share the best her native island had to offer. Instead of running back across the pond in abject fear, like an idiot I married an Englishman. He sent me to professional cooking school, where I learned to make suet crust for steak and kidney pudding, babas au rhum, and poulet chaud-froid (more gelatin than a 1950's pot-luck party). Many, many mealtimes were spent dispiritedly chewing overcooked pork in florid parlors. Food made with love always has something to offer, but when made in honest ignorance it can be hard to figure out what that something is. I do always try. My Guilty-Pleasure Web Page
  12. Legend says that the Negroni is the cocktail that "ruined a generation" of post-war youth in Europe. I just can't remember which war they were referring to. Probably, Hemingway had something to do with it. He's usually guilty when it comes to anything involving cocktails... We've been drinking them for years. Glad they've caught on... Am now i.s.o. Punt e Mes and/or the Carpano.
  13. Does anyone know of contemporary recipes for a "Cucumber Cooler" or a "Ginger Cocktail"? The first should have either cucumer-infused sake or muddled cucumber. It's topped up with soda. Use a blender to grind up cucumber if you don't have two weeks to infuse? Then, strain it out, or include some pulp in highball glass? I believe the Ginger Cocktail has sake, ginger, and mint. This is for an entertaining book - I'd be most obliged.
  14. Very, very nice, Alex. Beautiful photography. And if I could somehow attach chicken skin to tuna, I would too. Mmmmm. I'll be sure to come visit the restaurant on my next cross-country drive.
  15. I admit it: I am technologically-challenged!!! But I'm working on this...probably need to hire someone (aaargh!). But THANKS (Probably, around the time you manage to add delicious smells to your blog....) ← Brigit, its really easy, and you dont have to install the software yourself. Just get a free blog on Wordpress or Blogger or Typepad or any of the other places, and just redirect your domain address there. If you want I can give you a simple HTML file to replace your existing home page with, and it can automatically re-direct traffic to your new site. ← You may be my saviour! But then, don't I have to master Wordpress or one of the others? I got bogged down (blogged down) with MySql etc and gave up. I'd like to keep the format the same and not have to re-upload all the pages and images...could it possibly be that what you are suggesting would NOT require me to do that?
  16. I admit it: I am technologically-challenged!!! But I'm working on this...probably need to hire someone (aaargh!). But THANKS (Probably, around the time you manage to add delicious smells to your blog....)
  17. In shameless promotion of my fairly new, old-fashioned (no blogging software used..it's purely "home-made; pls see below), I'd like to say that in the last two weeks I've gone from 20 to 30 hits a day, to 35 to 60 hits a day! All via word-of-mouth only - very few of the blog-lists feature me. And Cafe Radio, in Boise, has somehow picked it up and asked me to come on the air and talk about it... A 'cult' blog? Comments?
  18. Thanks, Samuel. I agree that 4-hour-old real lime juice is quite fine, it's just that the terminology used can sometimes be confusing. The faux-fresh stuff is often referred to as "fresh" by a well-meaning bartender, but then the daiquiri arrives and is disappointing. Once in Albuquerque, a waiter wearing bunny ears (it was Easter) said "Sure, no problem." I was surprised, but all the way across the room as she reapproached, I could easily see that the reason it was "no problem" was that the drinks had been made with ROSE'S LIME JUICE. I guess this is just my cross to bear, and I'll learn to be REALLY specific. Not a bad cross, really, as they go.
  19. As a patron on the other side of the bar, I'd like to ask some of the pros how they feel about people (I am one) who insist on actual, freshly-squeezed lime juice--from a real little round fruit, rather than sour mix or bottled faux-fresh lime juice--in the making of a margarita or a classic daiquiri? I have had varying reactions to this request across the country, from the "Sorry, I don't have time" variety to "Oh, it's you again, let me get the squeezer." (accompanied by a smile). For the record, I always offer to juice the limes myself, and have never ordered such in a very busy bar. After all, the classic balance of sour-sweet-strong is best expressed by the original daiquiri. Which was made with a lime. Or two. At La Floridita in Havana, the bartender had his own bar-back whose sole job it was to roll the limes, thus releasing the maximum juice. Sorry to go on. This is a pet peeve of mine.
  20. Brigit, I looked at that recipe after you mentioned it -- it's called "Pork Tenderloin Grilled on the Skewer" and is from Elizabeth David (originally in her "Spices" book) and it calls for salt pork. You mentioned you use bacon; do you use regular, sliced bacon, or what? The recipe previous to David's is from Ada Boni for basically the same thing--"Grilled Skewered Pork Loin or 'Lombello' Arrosto"--and she uses prosciutto, which would probably be tasty in David's version too. Mmmmm ... Bacon, salt pork, prosciutto--I'm getting hungry! ← Steven, I used green bacon (cured but not smoked, much like salt pork) when I lived in England, but smoked bacon is great too. It's just a stronger flavor. I'd get hold of the thickest-cut, applewoood-smoked bacon (or just supermarket bacon, for that matter) and give it a go. One bit of advice learned through many makings: cut the cubes of bread slightly smaller than the dimensions of the pork cubes so that the pork rests on the grill surface and the bread doesn't quite touch. then the croutons come out golden instead of blackened. MMMMM. Can't wait to get into the new kitchen next week and COOK again after 8 months in storage and living with friends!!!! (Very, very nice friends.)
  21. For me, The Good Cook series also came monthly, by subscription. I lived in England then, and later discovered that there was a separate UK series, subtly different from the US books. I have doubles (UK & US versions) for the important subjects like Beef & Veal, Poultry, Pork, etc. It taught me to cook and is still the reference I go to when I need serious information or even inspiration. Trussing a chicken became a breeze via the photos. Jeremiah Tower assisted Richard Olney developing part of the series and the recipes are great; although some are unuseable they are always full of inspiration. But the photographs are the true treasure trove. The TL Foods of the World were a gift - the volumes and spirals that were missing from my original collection have been added through Janet Jarvits and various sources over the years, and I think I'm now complete. They have been an absolutely invaluable reference in my recipe-writing work. How valuable are these series of books? I have moved them, all of them, from New York to England to Spain to Venice Beach and now to the Hudson Valley. I've now been without them (in storage for 8 months while waiting for my house to be built), and reading this thread has made me miss them most desperately!! Best recipe: In The Good Cook Pork book: skewered, seasoned pork chunks are alternated with bacon squares and garlic-oil-drizzled bread cubes, then grilled until the pork, bacon, and croutons are golden, and served over shredded lettuce tossed with a light lemon vinaigrette. A twenty-year favorite! No serious cookbook collection is complete without these gems! Forgive anything that seems dated and cherish the whole, beautiful, rich and culture-laden picture.
  22. So, veal demi glace. I'm a relative newcomer here, but if you want the REAL stuff, i.e. just exactly like yours would be if you made it yourself, check out www.vatelcuisine.com It's made by "Ahnold's" private chef (though this is emphatically not mentioned on the site) with no corners cut, comes in those 7-ounce bags that look like transfusion bags, and is PERISHABLE, something that has always made me distrust the MoreThanGourmet product. Many Whole Foods around the country now carry it in their meat and poultry cases (there is also a brown chicken demi glace, and a fish stock and LOBSTER STOCK as well) and more Whole Foods will be carrying it soon, I gather. It's also at Gelsons in SoCal and various other gourmet outlets. The lobster stock is so dense and full of delicious shell-leavings that two bags, with the addition of a quart of heavy cream, 1 cup of cognac, judicious seasoning, and some diced poached lobster, you end up with a lobster bisque for six that would be right at home at a Parisian Reveillon dinner. The same lobster bisque made from scratch would take five days of roasting, crushing, simmering, straining, etc. Every New Years Eve, making it makes me a hero. And the veal demi glace makes the most beautiful glossy pan-reduction sauces....mmmm.
  23. Brigit Binns


    Funny. Just tonight I became attracted to a recipe in Terrance Brennan's new book for duck pastrami and frisee salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette, as a possible Thanksgiving starter....it says pomegranate juice is available in "gourmet markets"...etc. Is this the same things as "Pom," does anyone know? Or is "Pom" sweetened too much? I'm lazy and trying to avoid juicing the pomegranate and turning the kitchen counter and my clothese permanently scarlet. I am also in search of a classy, subtle Persimmon soup, possibly curried...
  24. Ned: On my website, if you scroll down to the archives and open the story called The Evolution of Mr. Beef, you will read about a fantastic use for your new spitjack. www.brigitbinns.com I am ordering mine directly from Italy because spitjack.com doesn't carry the super-heavyweight model. I'm hoping it'll arrive in time for Thanksgiving and I'll do two 7-pound Heritage turkeys, feet-to-feet. Much of my rotisserie experimenting has taken place on a Weber kettle grill. It will be interesting to see how the heat of the open fire differs from the intense heat inside a covered Weber and how this affects cooking time. Do report on your efforts. Although the contortions of the sheperds animals sound like a bit of overkill....
  25. Ah, Ned. Another aficionado (sp?). For which spit-roaster did you part with your hard-earned dough? A Fuf? Or a vertical from e-bay? Fuf is not the most organized web-ordering environment I've encountered, but they did indeed finally charge my credit card today, 9 days after I ordered my Mechanical Spit #6. I hope to be a proud owner within a few weeks. On my favorite subject, that of balance, I'd think your 8-pound Umbrian lamb would be relatively easy to mount. Smaller bones and all that. Note that on Adam Balic's historic cooking web site we see how the smaller animals can embrace one another a deux, toe to tail, in order to provide an even center of gravity (I'll shorten this to C.O.G). Wrapping with string is a good plan, to hold in extremities liable to flop about, but the string does tend to burn up. I only dwell on this because I've burned out some spit-motors in the past. And one such burned-out motor, that thus developed a jerk in its final circumlocution, caused a tender, tender, spit-roasted, nasturtium-leaf-wrapped, whole fish to spontaneously combust and fall, in many pieces, into the ashes below.
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