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eG Foodblog: David Ross - Black Pearls of Gold


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Dude, you need to eat more...for this foodblog, of course! :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Where do tupperware lids go?  If you know, let me know.  About every three months I find I have more bottoms than tops.  I take my tupperware to work.  I bring my tupperware home.  I wash it, I put it away, then I come back later and there are more lids than bottoms.  It's like one of those bad episodes from 'The Twilight Zone' when the store mannequins came alive at night only to go still during the day.  I think the tupperware comes alive at night, then it flies away and we don't ever see it again.

I think your tupperware lids are up there in tupperware heaven having a party with all the lids that have gone missing in my house over the years. :laugh:

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I am really pleased that the huckleberries got such a positive reception. They really rank high on my favorite foods list.

I had some leftover Chinese food for breakfast this morning. It was not too good so I didn't take a photo for you-soggy fried chicken, limp broccoli and passable steamed rice. It was better on Sunday night for dinner. 3 cups of free Starbuck's to wash it down.

Some of you have been asking about 'the tart' in my refrigerator. It's a 'Cherry Clafoutis'-a traditional French tart filled with fresh cherries, then a custard is poured over the cherries and the tart is baked. I like to let the tart cool in the refigerator so the custard is cold, some may prefer to serve the tart warm. I dust it with powdered sugar just before serving and then serve it with a big scoop of Tillamook Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. I like the first serving as dessert on day one, then I eat on the tart for breakfast after that.

I am lucky to live so close to one of the country's top cherry producing regions-the Wenatchee Valley. Wenatchee is home to many fruit orchards and cherries are one of the main crops. Wenatchee lies East of Seattle at the Eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. The Wenatchee River runs through the city. Given the climate-cool nights, warm days and the morning sun rising from the East, Wenatchee is perfect for growing cherry trees.

I bake with 'Bing' cherries every year when they appear fresh in our markets. Bings are normally just eaten without baking, but I like the sweet flavor and deep, ruby red color. Bing cherries are much sweeter than the tart cherries that are used in commerically baked pies. We also see 'Rainier' cherries in our markets this time of year. They are yellow with reddish spots. They are more expensive than the Bings, and I usually eat them raw.

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I have a very specific recipe I use for pastry crust. The ONLY variation I ever make to the recipe is to substitute lard for the Crisco and on occasion I will add finely ground nuts to give the crust some added texture.

The recipe consists of butter, Crisco, cake flour, regular flour, and salt and sugar. The butter gives flavor, the Crisco makes the pastry flaky, and the cake flour keeps the pastry light. I add enough ice water to make the dough come together in a ball, then I wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for about an hour before rolling the dough.

You see me using a pastry cutter to cut the Crisco and butter into the flour. I ONLY do this by hand and NEVER use my food processor to make pastry dough.

Yes, a food processor makes the job very easy. But my issue with using a food processor to make pastry dough is that the blade runs so fast it literally cuts the butter and Crisco into such tiny particles that the finished, baked, pie crust doesn't have that flaky, layered texture we covet in a pie crust. I think 'processed' pastry dough falls apart in your mouth.

Argue if you will about the 'pulse' feature on your food processor and how it will allow you to cut the butter into 'pea shapes' to give you the perfect pie crust. That doesn't work for me.

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You can see from the shaping of the dough that it is very forgiving and easy to work with.

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What a thing of beauty, a tart pan lined with pastry dough. Just looking at it you know it's going to be good. (I forgot to mention how humble I am).

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The cherries in the tart, almost ready for the oven.

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The custard being poured over the cherries, baking moments away.

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The beauty is baked, dusted with powdered sugar and ready for the table. We'll be talking more this week about 'Northwest' cuisine, but this is the type of dessert you might find on one of our table this time of year-fresh Washington cherries in a classical French recipe.

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Oh.my.

How do you pit the cherries? & how long does it take to pit enough for that clafoutis? (Im happy to learn what one is - I've read the word often enough but it wasnt clear in context if it were a cobbler or a tart or ....).

Can you post the recipe? I may have to try this with rhubarb, since I dont have a cherry pitter.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Oh.my.

How do you pit the cherries? & how long does it take to pit enough for that clafoutis? (Im happy to learn what one is - I've read the word often enough but it wasnt clear in context if it were a cobbler or a tart or ....).

Can you post the recipe? I may have to try this with rhubarb, since I dont have a cherry pitter.

I have two different cherry pitters. You can buy them at any large store with a kitchenware section like a Target or Macy's. I have one that is a small, hand-held pitter. It looks like a pair of pliers with a long metal tooth on one end. You put a cherry in, press down, and the metal tooth spits out the pit.

I have a bigger unit that attaches to the side of the counter. You put a cherry in a hopper unit, press down on a handle, then the pit is spit out into a small cup. I prefer this unit because it works faster.

I probably pitted the cherries for the Clafoutis in under 10 minutes.

Now your rhubarb idea is wonderful. I love rhubarb. We are just seeing some good, local rhubarb in our markets.

Here is a link to a story I did a few years back about my experience working in a cannery in Oregon. At the bottom of the story is a link to the Clafouti recipe.

http://www.themediadrome.com/content/artic...les/cannery.htm

Please accept my apologies for the rough writing in the piece. I was just starting to do some food writing and it was pretty rough back then. I am working on re-writing all the pieces I did for this particular website, which is now kaput. I hope the re-worked food pieces will someday get published, somewhere. Let me know how your Clafoutis turns out.

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Here in South Dakota, we make a rhubarb-custard pie, although it's baked in a regular pie plate. I've also used fresh cranberries in place of the rhubarb. I had no idea that it was so similar to a clafoutis!

I enjoyed your tale of the "proper" way to kill a crab. I can't imagine how hard a person would have to whack the poor thing to make its innards fly out!

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Here in South Dakota, we make a rhubarb-custard pie, although it's baked in a regular pie plate.  I've also used fresh cranberries in place of the rhubarb.  I had no idea that it was so similar to a clafoutis!

I enjoyed your tale of the "proper" way to kill a crab.  I can't imagine how hard a person would have to whack the poor thing to make its innards fly out!

April

Part of the fun in talking to people about food and cooking is hearing these crazy tales-cooking a hunk of frozen chuck and whacking a live crab over a log.

I'm getting all sorts of ideas from everyone. I think your idea of using cranberries in the Clafoutis would work very well. I'm thinking I'd add some egg nog to the custard, along with a few shots of good Bourbon. Let's call it 'Holiday Clafoutis with Cranberries and Spiked Egg Nog!'

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Part of the fun in talking to people about food and cooking is hearing these crazy tales-cooking a hunk of frozen chuck and whacking a live crab over a log. 

I'm getting all sorts of ideas from everyone.  I think your idea of using cranberries in the Clafoutis would work very well.  I'm thinking I'd add some egg nog to the custard, along with a few shots of good Bourbon.  Let's call it 'Holiday Clafoutis with Cranberries and Spiked Egg Nog!'

I'm now going to have to modify my cranberry custard recipe!

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Here is a link to a story I did a few years back about my experience working in a cannery in Oregon. 

Ha! I worked at a cannery when I was in high school. Peas and Corn. I remember those cutters well.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Here is a link to a story I did a few years back about my experience working in a cannery in Oregon. 

Ha! I worked at a cannery when I was in high school. Peas and Corn. I remember those cutters well.

God I hated those 'corn cutters.' Sticky, gooey, milky corn juice in your hair, under the hair net, in your ears, your nose and any other orifice that was in shot of those damn machines. My job was to walk around with a plastic 'stick' and jam the ears of corn that were stuck in the machines. Now wasn't that a safe job for a teenager in 1977? OSHA probably wasn't around back then.

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Dinner is currently in progress at almost 8pm Pacific Time.

I'll have the photos up tommorrow morning. I try to keep things simple during the week without falling into the Stouffer's frozen lasagna trap.

Tonight I'm grilling lamb chops and serving them over pasta. I was going to do a cucumber/yogurt 'Raita' style sauce for the lamb.

But then I thought-what about tossing the sauce into the pasta! So I've got the pasta cooking, the chops grilling, and a few slices of zucchinni grilling to add to the Raita.

I've stirred together some Greek yogurt, a bit of sour cream, chopped Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced cucumber, salt and pepper. I've tossed in some shredded Parmesano-Reggiano, and squirted in some 'Green Sauce' I made last night for Chicken.

I'll be posting the Chicken dish too-but this green sauce is oh so good. It is basically a 'Chimmichurri' style sauce of pureed cilantro, parsley, basil, olive oil and lemon juice.

So right now it's off to finish this Greek-Italian feast of Lamb Chops with Pasta 'Raita'. Or something like that.

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This is really interesting and informative.  Your kitchen reminds me of mine in that I have a galley kitchen.  I think it's great for cooking.  As an airline executive, can you tell us how you became so involved in cooking on PBS, etc.?  Also, with your work schedule, do you get the opportunity to do much entertaining? 

Jean

Unfortunately, with my work schedule right now I don't do much in terms of entertaining.

Yes, Yes, we'll be visiting about my experience on MasterChef USA on PBS-and a few of my other television experiences. Probably later this week.

If you watch 'MasterChef Goes Large' on BBC America-that's the production that spawned MasterChef USA. Sadly, the series ended on PBS about 6 years ago. Stay tuned later this week.

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David

thanks for the great blog.  Your pictures and writing are wonderful.  BTW, do you know a guy named Jordan L. that works for your airlines?

Doesn't ring a bell right now. I hope you are surviving the hot Summer in Sacramento. My Sister lives in Carmichael and tells me it's been pretty hot down there.

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I am currently doing something that most foodies would NOT recommend you do before falling asleep-no, I am not eating ice cream in bed. I am watching one of television's worst shows about what America eats.

The television is currently turned to 'Taste of America' with 'host' Mark deCarlo. This will more than likely cause me to have nightmares all night.

This poor guy is more 'schtick' than substance. One of the subjects is wild morels-a mushroom that we all know is coveted in our world of food and cooking.

The average, everyday Joe and Joan that appears on this show, seem to be excited to have their 'one moment in time' on television and to be able to showcase their scrumptious dishes for the camera.

Unfortunately, they are quickly shocked, stunned in horror as Mark the mucracker makes fun at them at their expense. It gives the term food and cooking on television a bad name. He should be selling Subaru's, but I digress.

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"...most of our really good restaurants are old-fashioned Mom and Pot joints."

Owned by former graduates of the U. of O.?

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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David

thanks for the great blog.  Your pictures and writing are wonderful.  BTW, do you know a guy named Jordan L. that works for your airlines?

Doesn't ring a bell right now. I hope you are surviving the hot Summer in Sacramento. My Sister lives in Carmichael and tells me it's been pretty hot down there.

It's getting managable right now. Thanks for thinking of us! :raz:

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Dude! What a killer opening for a blog! Even if I wasn't in love with the Pacific Northwest I'd be hooked. As it is, I'm now experiencing wicked pangs of nostalgia for that corner of the world.

There was a period in my decade as a Seattle resident in which I did a lot of driving all around the region for internship/work purposes. What beatiful country. I have fond memories of that drive across the length of Washington. A couple of times to Spokane, once beyond to Moscow Idaho. That trip I departed the interstates early and drove state and local routes through the Palouse. Just ravishing, those rolling hills... till I realized I hadn't seen another vehicle for seemingly hours and miles and if my little rustbucket Chevette gave out I'd be in deep doughnuts. :laugh:

There are so many other things I wanted to comment on, I kind of gave up trying to keep track of them. :smile: Instead I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Dude! What a killer opening for a blog! Even if I wasn't in love with the Pacific Northwest I'd be hooked. As it is, I'm now experiencing wicked pangs of nostalgia for that corner of the world.

There was a period in my decade as a Seattle resident in which I did a lot of driving all around the region for internship/work purposes. What beatiful country. I have fond memories of that drive across the length of Washington. A couple of times to Spokane, once beyond to Moscow Idaho. That trip I departed the interstates early and drove state and local routes through the Palouse. Just ravishing, those rolling hills... till I realized I hadn't seen another vehicle for seemingly hours and miles and if my little rustbucket Chevette gave out I'd be in deep doughnuts. :laugh:

There are so many other things I wanted to comment on, I kind of gave up trying to keep track of them.  :smile: Instead I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the show.

I'm glad you are liking the blog.

This morning it is absolutely beautiful with clear skies all the way from Spokane West to Seattle.

Nature's alarm clock went off in Spokane at 315 this morning. As we get closer to the longest day of the year, the chirping should start about 5 minutes earlier by the end of the week. Wonderful.

It's actually a gift to wake up in the Northwest as the sun is coming up in June. In Eastern Washington the sun is an intense blue in the morning. The air is incredily clean smelling and fresh. Think of Spokane as a medium size city in the middle of a pine forest.

I love your story about driving through the state. I always caution people that if they take the 'country roads' to have plenty of water, food and a blanket. Really. As you said, you can literally drive through farmland for hours without seeing any other cars. You may get passed by a big old Dodge truck but that's about it. The scenery is well worth being alone on the road.

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This morning breakfast is 'Cherries ala Tupperware.'

Yes, last night I found a beautiful matching set of tupperware. This is one lid that didn't get away. More of the sweet Bing cherries.

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I also had two pieces of soggy, limp toast wrapped in foil. So awful that it wasn't photo worthy-merely some stomach filler for the cherries and cups of coffee.

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Here are some photos from one of my oldest cookbooks-the 1907 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer.

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I can't remember which long-gone relative left this book to me, but it is a treasure. It is quite interesting to read through the recipes today, nearly 100 years after the date this cookbook was published. I counted 10 different recipes for chicken livers. You would be hard pressed to find one chicken liver recipe in today's edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook.

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Most of the recipes in the book that require cooking in an oven simply state "Start a fire. When the fire is hot, roast the meat."

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The photos look crude and the meat is primal. But don't you get a sense of the American farm tradition when you look at that black and white photograph of a whole joint of beef?

I have plenty of cookbooks with colored photos of a perfectly trimmed beef filet 'stacked' on top of pureed potatoes with truffles. The beef is glistening with juices that seem to drip off the high-gloss pages of the cookbook. That look is pretty, but there is something intriguing about a 94 year-old photograph of the leg of a steer butchered in the barn out back.

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Wonderful blog. I've never been to the Pacific NW but really want to visit, and this just provides encouragement.

I just did a rhubarb custard pie on Sunday, like some others mentioned - just like a clafoutis in a pie dish. I may have missed it, but do you macerate the cherries before placing them in the shell? I always do pie crust by hand (not with a cutter) and with straight butter. I've convinced myself that pressing the butter into small sheet-like pieces coated in flour results in wonderful flakiness, and I have been pleased by the tenderness. I haven't actually ever tried Crisco in a crust but perhaps I will soon. I do almost a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour (by weight), with a little pinch of salt and enough ice cold water to hold it.

Here where I live in Michigan I haven't seen any local cherries yet, but they should be in soon. All the cherries in the store are from California.

Jennie

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Wonderful blog.  I've never been to the Pacific NW but really want to visit, and this just provides encouragement.

I just did a rhubarb custard pie on Sunday, like some others mentioned - just like a clafoutis in a pie dish.  I may have missed it, but do you macerate the cherries before placing them in the shell?  I always do pie crust by hand (not with a cutter) and with straight butter.  I've convinced myself that pressing the butter into small sheet-like pieces coated in flour results in wonderful flakiness, and I have been pleased by the tenderness.  I haven't actually ever tried Crisco in a crust but perhaps I will soon.  I do almost a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour (by weight), with a little pinch of salt and enough ice cold water to hold it.

Here where I live in Michigan I haven't seen any local cherries yet, but they should be in soon.  All the cherries in the store are from California.

Hello Michigan. I hear your local cherries are wonderful.

I macerate the pitted cherries in Kirsch overnight so they can soak up that good cherry brandy flavor.

Thanks for the tips on pastry crust. I have always been apprehensive about using my hot little fingers to mix pastry crust because I was afraid the shards of butter would melt. I'll try your tip though, next time I make pastry crust. Thanks.

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David, I have flown Horizon a pleasant few times between Missoula MT and Seattle, when we weren't driving that beautiful route.

Are there ingredients or supplies you have to shop for on the Seattle end of your commute, or can you get everything you need in Spokane? And what can you get in Spokane that you can't in Seattle?

Blog on!

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ●  Twitter

 

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David, I have flown Horizon a pleasant few times between Missoula MT and Seattle, when we weren't driving that beautiful route.

Are there ingredients or supplies you have to shop for on the Seattle end of your commute, or can you get everything you need in Spokane?  And what can you get in Spokane that you can't in Seattle?

Blog on!

I can get almost anything in Spokane-but there are some things I miss not having in Spokane that I could get in Seattle.

I do a lot of Asian cooking and we only have one decent Asian market in Spokane, but their fresh produce is limited and the seafood is frozen. They do have fresh pork belly which I regularly buy.

Unfortunately, we don't have the type of wonderful Asian markets in Spokane like Seattle does. Seattle has this Asian Supermarket-Uwajimaya-that sells things like live seafood and BBQ duck. I miss not having a market like that.

You would think being only a few hundreds miles inland we would have wonderfully fresh seafood in Spokane. We don't have much. Most of the seafood is found only at Supermarket counters. The stinky stuff they haul out in trays every morning, haul back into the cooler at night, haul back out on day 27.

We have only one old-fashioned seafood shop-Williams Seafood-and it is excellent. I buy frozen frog's legs there and they are not afraid to sell me fresh Chilean Sea Bass. You've probably heard that many restaurants stopped serving real Chilean Sea Bass because it apparently has become endangered. I am one man contributing to the demise of the Sea Bass fishery in Chile.

But really, I get by very well in Spokane, but my cooking would be better if I lived over in Seattle.

On the reverse side, while Seattle will sell some fresh Morels and fresh huckleberries, they probably come from our side of the state. Sometimes in the Spring our small Farmer's market has a stand with literally buckets of Morels that have been picked in the forests just a few miles North of Spokane. And of course, the huckleberries.

If I need things like chestnuts, foie gras or game, I just order that online and it is delivered to Spokane the next day. Thank God for the internet.

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