Saturday, April 25, 2009

A good local Joe

I'm sitting in Shenandoah Joe's right now, having been booted from my condo apartment so the owner can show it to new tenants (I thought he was coming at 1:30). The smell of fresh roasted coffee hangs in the air about as lightly as the curtains, made from the burlap bags the green coffee beans come in, that are used to partially hide the heavy machinery. They have 14 single origin coffees, some great espresso, dark roasts and six decaf options, and a mix of organic in each category. I haven't ever tried their limited availability coffees, but they're out of them today, anyway. I like that the baristas, no matter how rushed they are, never forget to do a little bit of art on the foam. Right now, the barista is discussing coffee philosophy with a very interested young woman, who approves of him putting the ice in the espresso instead of the espresso over the ice.

Photograph © Lori Korleski Richardson

Friday, April 24, 2009

A challenge

I just couldn't resist taking the New York Times' Twitter recipe challenge, to take a long recipe and condense it. Twitterati can see my feeble effort by going to and typing in #nytrc

I certainly got nowhere near 140 words and had to change the recipe significantly. But I think a decent cook could follow it and it would still be pretty good (although you might have to take off the outside leaves since the foil may react with the lemon-prepped artichokes). And yes, EVOO was added to the dictionary a couple of years ago, thanks to Rachael Ray. Four characters shorten the 22 of extra-virgin olive oil.

I'm afraid the new twecipes will be simple efforts, at best, and are not likely to advance anyone's cooking skills. But that's not to say that some of the twecipes won't be great. I already found one for duck gumbo that sounded pretty good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great local foods

Earth Day dinner at St. Paul's was a resounding success; we had more than a 100 people, and more than enough dishes to feed everyone. And the food was super! The quiches and gratins, made from local eggs, milk and butter were especially yummy, and the local beef and chicken dishes were incredibly succulent as well. 

Here was my dish; if any of the other cooks pass along their recipes, I'll include them as well.

Sirloin Tip Roast  (serves 10 -12)


1 3-pound roast (donated by Kelli Olson from Horse & Buggy, Harrisonburg)

Two onions, peeled and cut in half horizontally


Season overnight with salt, rosemary and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees; put roast in oiled pan with room on the sides, on top of the onion halves.

Check in 30 minutes to make sure it’s above 115 degrees; take out when it reaches 130 degrees and let sit for 15 minutes, then slice. Serve with following sauce:

Mustard sauce


1 cup beef soup-bone broth

½ cup red wine (Kluge winery)

1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (from Jane Rotch's garden) or thyme

2 tablespoons hot mustard (locally made by Betsy Respess)

Salt and pepper to taste


Pour off fat from roasting pan. Heat remaining drippings with broth, wine, herbs. Reduce until almost syrup. Whisk in mustard and taste for salt and pepper.

Carve meat in thin slices across the grain. Pour sauce over and serve.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day - tomorrow!

I remember my first Earth Day celebration. I was in college and we thought our parents had screwed up the planet beyond repair and we needed to do something about it. I think a lot of my friends felt the same way. We played nonviolent, cooperative games and talked about how to make this world a better place. 

One of my favorite restaurants in Sacramento was founded on Earth Day, under a neon sign for Tower Records that the owners restored. They featured dishes from around the world, using fresh ingredients. It's still going strong, and the little garden they planted in front of the place is now a lush jungle that makes dining in the urban setting a grand experience.

Tomorrow, we will honor the Earth at St. Paul's with a dinner featuring more than a dozen dishes prepared with local ingredients by local cooks. We hope we have a big turnout, since our youth group will be auctioning off really splendid items (including some vacation cabin stays) to help them on their way to help others this summer. Please come for this free dinner, a gift for those who care and share. We're hoping to attract around a hundred people.

If I don't have the time to post tomorrow, please check back in on Thursday to see what delicious dishes we made from local ingredients and where you can find them, too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's Emeril's favorite w(h)ine? Charlie stole my casserole!

Now here's a fight worthy of a page of pixels, from ABC's World Newser blog:

Casseroles are for sharing, not fighting over. If you are a chef, and you want to keep a recipe to yourself, fine, keep it secret. But if you go on TV to show all the world how to cook like you, that means your work is in the public domain and anyone can "steal" it. Honest people give credit where credit is due. And to pick an enchilada casserole, or anything that appears in school cafeteria lines or at a church dinner, as a dish worthy to defend as one's own shows a jaw-dropping lack of judgment.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maureen Dowd takes the ie out of foodie

Although she's not as side-splittingly funny as she was as a mere reporter, Maureen Dowd continues to be a fine writer. Today's column on Alice Waters is full of good quotes and whimsy. Read all about it here.