Hello, and welcome to the SauteWednesday Food Forum - please feel free to add your comments, insights, and observations to the dialogue below. Bon Appetit!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Drive Thru Caviar - No, not really. But if you've just picked up your caviar order for the holidays (uh-huh) and want a little taste before you get home, why not drive through your favorite fast food restaurant, order some hideously bad stuff they refer to as "ice cream", and, pocket the spoon - for your caviar snack. Wait a minute!!! We would never ACTUALLY condone anyone patronizing a fast food restaurant (cringe). That is, unless you are fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of an IN N OUT BURGER. But we digress... ROBERT WOLKE'S column in todays Washington Post has this serious advice on caviar spoons: "As a public service, I have compared the effectiveness of the unintentional caviar spoons available at Wendy's, McDonald's, KFC, Dairy Queen and Baskin-Robbins. (Taco Bell doesn't provide spoons; they provide sporks: utensils shaped like a spoon with tines at the end. Remember the Owl and the Pussycat's runcible spoon? It was a kind of spork.) The results of my research are as follows: The caviar spoons at Wendy's, McDonald's, KFC and Dairy Queen are all too big, although Dairy Queen's is smallest and is an attractive red color. Best of all was the small tasting spoon they give you to try an ice cream flavor at Baskin-Robbins. It's not only the perfect size, but a pretty pink color." Read the rest of his column HERE. And a bon appetit to you!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 04:40 PM PST [Link]

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Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Green Eggs and Ham - We just finished reading the book SUSTAINABLE CUISINE. In it is an article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. titled I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM. It's a very disturbing article about the pork industry and the envoirnmental havoc that they reek in North Carolina. For the past few years we have been buying our pork exclusively from the NIMAN RANCH booth at the FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET here in San Francisco. We know it comes from small farms in Iowa that are raising pigs in pastures instead of indoors. Their waste products return to the soil naturally, instead of creating environmental problems, and their pigs are fed no animal byproducts or antibiotics. We recognize that here in SF, we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase this "heirloom pork". Throughout most of the country, the selection of pork available to consumers comes from factory farms like those detailed in the article above - there simply is not any other choice. Here then, is our question to you. How important is it to know the heritage of the food you eat? In this particular instance: pork. That would be the bacon you might have for breakfast, or on the BLT for lunch. The sausage links that come in the economy pack. The pork loin wrapped and priced in your butcher's meat counter. We are curious to know, that if you've read R.F.K. Jr's. article, will it make a difference in the way you shop?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 09:09 PM PST [Link]

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Monday, November 26, 2001

Mashed - Not Mushed
It's post-turkey day and most of the leftovers are gone. Usually we have an ample pile of mashed potatoes remaining that manage to "tupperage" (you know, all those unknown tupperware containers on the bottom shelf of your fridge that are aging and slowy growing various bacterial strains of who-knows-what...) a while in the fridge before being tossed. This year was different. We followed Jeffery Steingartens 2-step recipe, methodically detailed in his book THE MAN WHO ATE EVERYTHING. This all started after HEATHER mentioned that instant mashed potato sales jumped 13% after the events of Sept. 11. Intrigued, we set out to find the perfect mashed potato recipe. And - we found it! Actually, it turns out the "Instant Mashed Potato Industry" found it first. They discovered that by pre-cooking potatoes, it reduces the starch released by the potatoes by half, in the final mashing. The result is light, fluffy, and surprisingly "tasting of potato" mashed potatoes. Now, there's more to it than that, but, trust us. Try this method, you will be amazed. We highly recommend Steingartens book for his treatise on mashed potatoes and other foods. For your cooking pleasure, we present you with our version of his recipe HERE.
As for leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner? We didn't even get seconds! Bon Appetit!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 03:00 PM PST [Link]

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Wednesday, November 21, 2001

GROW YOUR OWN - In today's NY TIMES, an article on "real turkeys". You know, the kind you used to color in kindergarten, big colorful tail feathers and all. SLOW FOOD USA is connecting customers with turkey breeders that are raising the forgotten turkeys of our past. You can actually contact a grower that will raise a turkey of your choice (a Standard Bronze, the Narragansett, and the Bourbon are among your choices) and deliver it in time for next years Thanksgiving dinner. (e-mail at info@slowfoodusa.org. The turkeys cost $3 to $4 a pound, not including shipping.) According to the AMERICAN LIVESTOCK BREEDS CONSERVANCY many of the wild turkey stocks are approaching the critical breeding stage and may become extinct if steps aren't taken to protect the gene pool. Besides the fact that the modern turkey is a sterile bird, being artificially inseminated, it is also basically a bland tasteless bird - which partly explains the numerous recipes devoted to "brining your bird". We love Marian Burros line: "In other words, the modern day turkey, in addition to being dry and tasteless, is a physical wreck." Sums it up rather succinctly, don't you think?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 12:51 PM PST [Link]

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Tuesday, November 20, 2001

The Year, December 31, 1999. The Place, Val d'Arpette - high in the Swiss Alps. The recipe: L'Arpege's EGG WITH MAPLE SYRUP. We traveled to Switzerland for New Years Eve 1999/2000. It was one huge party - 18 adults and 24 kids - yikes! Not to mention the fact that we had volunteered to cook dinner for everyone on New Years Eve... To start the meal off, we wanted something spectacular, and a little American. Afterall, we were cooking for people who had gathered from all around the world - Africa, Malaysia, England, Spain, France, and the U.S.A. - and we wanted to do something with an American bent. Maple syrup is distinctively American, but ALAIN PASSARD, the famous French chef, had managed to incorporate it in this devine little "amuse guele". The result, a combination of French sophistication and American flavors. His EGG WITH MAPLE SYRUP recipe is remarkably easy to make. Patricia Wells' recipe that we link to, sounds a little intimidating, but here's our tips. You need a very sharp knife to cut off the tops of the eggs. Try to use a "sawing" motion with your knife to cut through the shell, it seems to work best. We wiped off our eggs and put them back into the carton to hold them - no problem. We then served them sans egg cups. It was much more fun holding a delicate egg shell in the palm of your hand and scooping out the luscious fillings. Make some extra for yourself, or in case of slippery fingers! Note: L'Arpege, Alain Passard's famous Parisian eatery, has been serving only VEGETARIAN meals since January 2001. We hope to dine there some day...have you?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 11:14 AM PST [Link]

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Sunday, November 18, 2001

BIG CHEESE - from the December Issue of FAST COMPANY, an article on the quaint little cheesemaking company CABOT CHEESE (always one of our favorite domestic cheddars) in Vermont. And they perpetuate that quaintness, right down to the pictures and content on their WEBSITE: "Cabot is still a sleepy little farm town tucked into the rocky soil of Vermont's rolling hills." Quaint, even though they were the 14th largest dairy co-op in the U.S. last year with a revenue of $520 million. We do find it kind of funny how ones loyalty to a food product not only relies on the quality of the food, but by our romanticized images of how it is made and where it comes from - in this case the "sleepy little farm town..." But still, the main reason we like the cheese is because it is so good. Unlike alot of cheese producers that inject enzymes into the process, which speeds up aging, Cabot ages their cheddar a full 12 months. But what's more interesting is that they when they warehouse each 640 pound block of cheddar, it is priced according to the current market price of milk. Cheese futures anyone?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 08:45 PM PST [Link]

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Friday, November 16, 2001

A Bridge Too Far - It was cold and foggy last night in San Francisco - what else is new...we were having one of our favorite cold weather dishes for dinner; Dinosaur Kale and Potato Soup with sliced sausages. "G", who is 5, asked where the sausages came from. When told they were chicken apple sausages, G replied: "oh, I bet it hurts the chicken when we chew it, huh?" His 5 year old train of thought focused on the moment, and not quite making the leap to the chicken, who long ago, became our dinner. DINOSAUR KALE and Potato Soup - Cut up 2 large peeled potatoes (russets work well) into one inch chunks. Simmer in homemade chicken stock for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and starting to break up. Season with salt and pepper. Add one bunch of chopped Dinosaur Kale (Kids seem much more willing to eat it when you lie and tell them that dinosaurs used to eat it...) add 3 sliced cooked sausages and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve in warmed soup bowls. We like to smush up the potatoes with our forks, making a nice thick broth. Garnish with your favorite cheese. Bon Appetit!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 09:48 AM PST [Link]

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Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Thanksgiving At The Whitehouse - 1969 - ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING! From CULINARY.ORG the entire list of menus (including jpeg photos of the actual menus) for the White House during chef HEINZ BENDER'S tenure. Did you know that Richard Nixon's 1969 Thanksgiving dinner started out with a fruit cup? Ughh. Sounds suspiciously like fruit cocktail to us! Be sure to check out AMERICA THE BOUNTIFUL an on-line exhibit of American Food from antiquity to the space age.

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 11:37 AM PST [Link]

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Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Have No Fear - Foie Gras is here! We remember the first time we bought a whole foie gras. Yikes! What do we do with it now? We tore it apart, literally, searching out the veins, until we ended up with a big pile of liver pieces. Disaster? Nope. We wrapped it all in a piece of cheesecloth and tightly twisted the ends until it resembled a huge sausage. Gently placed in a terrine, we covered it with salt, and weighed it down with cans of tuna. 2 days later we took it out of the fridge, unwrapped it, and served it up, sliced thick on a plate, drizzled with 25 year old balsamic vinegar and spiked with sea salt. Absolutely devine. You can find the recipe in FRENCH FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK by Susan Herrman Loomis. For the more adventurous, THOMAS KELLER, of the FRENCH LAUNDRY RESTAURANT, discusses other recipes and techniques in a recent article for the LA Times. Bon Appetit!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 09:32 AM PST [Link]

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Sunday, November 11, 2001

Vital statistics - What America Eats 2001 is the 8th biennial survey of the nations food habits - in todays PARADE MAGAZINE in the Sunday Newspaper. 33% of adults are on a diet, 70% are trying to cut fat, 40% more are drinking bottled water, 26% are eating turkey burgers, and 18% have tried a veggie burger. The unanimous desert island dish of Americans is pizza. Hmmmm. If we were stranded on a desert island, in addition to a soccer ball named Wilson, we would have to wish for an IN N OUT burger and fries. And a coke. What would your desert island dish be?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 09:35 PM PST [Link]

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Thursday, November 8, 2001

Hemp-A-Roni - Not even remotely politically correct. COOKING WITH BIGFOOT One of America's favorite chefs cracks open the consciousness with a can of Woody You-Know-Who's favorite fast food. We can't wait for the episode with Emeril!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 08:37 PM PST [Link]

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Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Cowboy coffee and mashed potatoes - Sales of COMFORT FOODS have increased since Sept. 11 (via HARRUMPH!). "People across the country have turned to food - from chocolate to instant mashed potatoes to peanut butter and jelly - to deal with the anxiety of the terrorist attacks and anthrax scares, according to dietitians and psychologists." "...the sale of instant potatoes jumped almost 13 percent, according to Information Resources Inc." Instant Mashed Potatoes? We find it more comforting to make them ourselves, sticking our head in the pot, soaking up that fragrant warm mashed potato steam. Just don't do THIS to them, please! What food comforts you?

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 12:17 PM PST [Link]

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Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Tastes like - "funky"? THE ELEMENTS OF TASTE, a new cookbook Gray Kunz and Peter Kaminsky, is a real tome to taste. As a matter of fact, they identify over 14 "tastes", including "funky, oceanic, and vinted", under the premise that "Chefs don't create from recipes. They create from tastes." While it's not a book for the beginning cook, the recipes are straightforward, precise, and relatively uncomplicated. Each recipe ends with unique "Taste Notes", an explantion of what exactly the elements of taste used in the recipe should achieve on the palate. We made OVEN CRISPED CHICKEN WITH MAPLE VINEGAR SAUCE last nite to rave reviews! Bon appetit!

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 10:49 AM PST [Link]

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Monday, November 5, 2001

A Small, Good Thing - Anthony Bourdain quotes RAYMOND CARVER in an article published in this weekends SF CHRONICLE. In this passage, two parents, grieving over the loss of their son in an accident, finally show up at a bakery. The baker's persistent messages regarding picking up a birthday cake he had made for their son, drives them to confront the seemingly heartless baker... "You probably need to eat something," the baker said. "I hope you'll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this," he said...
Smell this, the baker said breaking open a dark loaf. They smelled it, then he had them taste it. It had the taste of molasses and coarse grains. They listened to him. They ate what they could. They swallowed the dark bread. It was like daylight under the flourescent trays of light. They talked on into the morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving." It is easily one of our favorite passages on food - a short swift treatise on the healing power of eating - we'd like to know yours.

Posted by SauteWednesday @ 02:23 PM PST [Link]

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