Meatballs in my family make their own meal. They’re palm-sized and ever so tender nestled in tomato sauce with rarely a carb in sight. You could bake them in the oven – yea you could – but we like them simmered until they are just barely held together. Mom recently bought half a whole hog which she split with her good friend Priscilla who lives up the road. They’ll be cooking everything save a few offal, including the head, which are illegal to ship outside state lines. She’s still waiting on the cured bits, but ground pork, raw sausage and chops have graced our table in the last few weeks. It’s damn good pork, out of a small farm in Maine. Today we broke out the ground pork and some grass fed beef.3 Comments » Keep reading »
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Pancakes, the limp dicks of the bread world… er… the carb darlings of the American breakfast. I’ll admit, I never liked ‘em. Pancakes always seemed like a sucker punch – refined flour and maple syrup taking turns until you were forced to go curl up in a corner and take a nap. Of course I always loved making them – they were the first food I learned to cook when I was about two. Mom would turn around the kitchen chair (so I didn’t tumble over onto the stove top) and let me (slowly now) ladle the batter onto the griddle. I’m sure there was a lot going through my kid brain at the time, but all I remember was making little dinosaurs and A, B, Cs.
“I’ve got a lot of friends who say, ‘Hey, you’re a baker? I’ve got a bread machine. I used it once!’ Yeah, thanks man, we can relate.”
Sometimes I imagine yeast only blows in on the spring breeze. And so, it seems, do the bakers. They come in talking of the wild and ebullient yeast, growing all around us and living underneath our fingernails. This has been my experience with the spring sourdough classes, either at Murray’s, 92nd Street Y, or The French Culinary Institute. This year The Brooklyn Kitchen decided to celebrate bread for the month of March. Portland native, Watson Fellowship winner, and world traveler Nathan Leamy arrived in New York two months ago, praising the simplicity, patience, and Zen-like practice of baking sourdough. Nathan’s fellowship sent him around the world (i.e.: Mexico, India, France, Italy, and Egypt) in a year to document the changes of farming staple crops due to industry and politics. While I have listened to a couple of these classes now, I enjoyed Nathan’s friendly, frank, and practical approach to baking loaves. My takeaway? Bake, a lot. Taste, a lot. Mess up, a lot. A lot of fun is to be had.
If Brooklyn Kitchen does another set with Nathan, check him out. Or you can read my notes below. I have omitted the recipe but give a healthy description and those ever-elusive baker’s tips.Leave a comment » Keep reading »