Friday, September 22, 2006


Like many others of my faith, I'm hard at work cracking black walnuts, trimming cardoons (oy vay).

This is not your Bubby's Rosh Hashanah. More some other time.

Pizza Primer

I once wrote (IMHO) a pretty good pizza primer for Chowhound, because if nothing else, Chicago pizza needs a good primer. And not listening to Mike G's sage advice, I did not save it/copy it to somewhere else on the Internets. The post seems lost in the protocols of New Coke Chowhound, which limits the amount of responses on a page. While I have that blogger's love of one's work (modern Oscar Wilde: "I'd blog so I'd always have a favorite place"), the pizza summary in this week's Reader is a good substitute. I'd suggest, perhaps, that people make their own copy. Besides, it has this gem from Hat Hammond on my beloved Freddy's:
Zabar's of Cicero

More important, there's been a lot of changes in the za scene in the last few years, with the addition of some more Euro-style pizzas. The data is here.

Friday Cat Blogging

Guess Star, the Dog

Daily Musings 006

Don't Give Head

Missing Lettuce

Earlier this summer I finally got my copy of Nose to Tail Eating, whereas Fergus Henderson lays down his culinary principles. Now, while I'm at least curious about rolled spleen and salted pig liver, I doubt I'll ever get an audience, and the recipe for brawn (headcheese) is at least fun to read. One dish, however, that I wanted to make almost immediately was the Little Gem with anchovies and tomatoes--as soon as ripe tomatoes arrived in the market. There was only one problem, I could never find the Little Gem lettuce.

I slightly chalked that up to the idea that my local farmers did not plant Little Gem. Wrong. In fact searching for some Romaine the other day, I got the truth. The farmers are growing Little Gem (and Romaine), just not selling the heads. It seems that head lettuce is too tricky, too much work, to unproductive. So, the farmers pick the lettuce leaves as they grow. They do not wait for a full head to form. If they do, there is a chance, so I was told, there will be too much waste.

I appreciate the economy, but there's many times I'd like a little head [ed. gosh no]. For instance, I was thinking that long Romaine leaves would really work well with the Zuni roast chicken/bread salad that we are having for Rosh Hashanah. I could not find that. And I learned that a lot of lettuce mixes contained Little Gem, but I was not gonna make Fergus's dish by picking out the particular leaves. Let's not forget a good wedge salad. Localvores should not have to skip such decadence. We need to bring back the head.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thinking of Something To Say

Eat Local Spinanch

I've been wanting to comment on the bagged spinach issue, but I have not been sure exactly how to put it. More important, I do not want to appear callous given the seriousness of many of the illnessess.

The Washington Post (reg. required) notes some of what I've been thinking. Quoting fellow Eat Local Challenge Blogger Jen BB:
"If there ever was a reason to shop local, this is it," says Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, a home gardener and food blogger from Syracuse, N.Y. The latest contamination scare makes it "more critical than ever to eat closer to the source," adds Baskerville-Burrows. "If we patronize smaller, local farms and something goes wrong, we can trace it back directly to the producer."
By the way, Jen has some other good stuff on the spinanch issue and eating local generally. Do check her blog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Organic Farming is Hard

I've said it before. Michael Nagrant does a good job of making the same point. (Note to self, if it takes to Monday to see a New City, you're not getting out enough.)

Throughout the morning, even on this "self-imposed day off," Covelli's running from the kitchen to the walk-in refrigerator, conversing with his pickers--"Pick the Sungolds before they get watered or they'll split like a motherfucker"--and rehashing the sauce recipe with his kitchen hand Eric Davis. Covelli says, "If I was in school, I'd be one of those ADD kids. I'm either super-focused, or not focused at all." He adds, "farmer's aren't patient, that's what makes them so effective."

The farm highlighted, Tomato Mountain, is one of only a few that shows at Chicago's Green City and Dane County.

Need more, here's Farmer Vicki's message this week
Fall is the season for harvesting. And boy oh boy, are we harvesting. The barn is filling up with nice goodies for the fall and winter. I find satisfaction in that. I love seeing loads coming in from the field. It is a time when the fruits of our labors are very evident. But, it is also a season for hard and long laboring. We are trying to grow crops, plant greenhouses, harvest fresh items for CSA and market along with cleaning up the field for winter. Then we add the harvest of the storage crops. But, we love it. The guys especially enjoy harvesting the big stuff. They enjoy picking and tossing. The field rings with their laughter and jesting. What characters! They are really great to have around. Farming would not be so much fun without their antics. I am truly blessed with their fun attitudes.