Monthly Archives: September 2011

Making Bacon Ice Cream, Sue I Am

It’s hard to believe that my time is up here. I have truly enjoy these past porky months with you and have appreciated all your feedback.

Let’s not say good-bye though. I don’t like good-byes. Let’s stay in touch, OK?

You can find me on Twitter: @foodblogga and follow my blog, Food Blogga at http://foodblogga.blogspot.com. Look forward to seeing you soon!

Let’s Go to Phil’s BBQ in San Diego

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I’ve always told my husband that I would never move from San Diego because I couldn’t bear the thought of having to use a windshield ice scraper ever again. That’s not true anymore. The real reason I will never move from San Diego is because of Phil.

Well, actually it’s not so much Phil as his BBQ. Phil’s BBQ is a San Diego landmark. It has served over 1 million pounds of pork and other proteins since it opened its doors in 1998. In the city of fish tacos, Phil’s has proven that pork is still king.

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Talking Pig with Libbie Summers, Author of The Whole Hog Cookbook (Plus a Give-Away!)

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Libbie Summers loves pigs. So much so that she has called her new book, The Whole Hog Cookbook, an “ode to the pig.” And she wants to share her passion for pigs with all of you. That’s why she promises, “if there’s anything this book will teach you, it’s not to be afraid.”

In fact, she’ll teach you dozens of things about pork such as the difference between country-style ribs and back ribs, how the heck to use a hock, and how to make a pie crust so flaky, it’ll change your life. (She guarantees it.)

Summers and I talked pork recently, and here’s what she had to say:

Q: What sparked your love affair with pigs?

Straight up green eyed monster jealousy! I saw all the attention the hogs were getting from my Grandma, Lula Mae, on their boutique farm and I was jealous. I was grade school schoolyard wild to learn what was so great about these big animals that Grandma wouldn’t even let me ride. Well, jealousy coupled with the taste of my first pork tenderloin sandwich!

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Celebrate National Eat Together Week and Win Kid’s Cooking Sets!

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When my 9 and 11-year-old nieces from Rhode Island came to visit us in San Diego last year we took them to Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, and Lego Land. We went swimming, we swung on monkey bars, and we whirled round-and-round on a carousel. I made sure they wouldn’t miss a thing.

Yet when the 11-year-old called her dad one night, the first thing she said was, “Auntie Susan taught me how to make this awesome sausage and egg breakfast scramble. I’m gonna make it for you when I get home!” Continue reading

Pizzeria Mozza is King of Pork Pizzas

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Like peanut butter and jelly, pork and pizza go together. From humble ham and pepperoni to stylish prosciutto and speck, pizza just tastes better with pork. While I’ve eaten at scores of great pizzerias across the country, I’ve never met one that appreciates this pork and pizza harmony as well as Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.

The culinary brainchild of Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joe Bastianich, Pizzeria Mozza, is for the serious-minded pizza-lover. At the heart of the eatery is the flaming 900 degree brick oven that transforms soft pizza dough into delectably smoky, crisp crusts in minutes. You’ll find distinctive pies such as squash blossom, tomato, and burrata cheese and olives, anchovies, and fried capers. However, it’s the pork pies that make people swoon.

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The Winner of the 6-Month Supply of Bacon Is….

Lara, for her Eau de Bacon!

Congratulations, Lara!

And many, many thanks to all of you for your creative comments. Click here to read them all.

And remember, there can never be too much bacon love.

Here’s Lara’s winning entry:

Eau de Bacon

Lip gloss, boots and assorted bling
Going on dates I’ve done everything
Shower, shave, have good hair days
But there’s a potion that always pays

Forget fancy lotion, Chanel No.5
Cologne, aftershave, none of that jive
Salty, mapley, porky schmears
Dab a little behind the ears

They won’t know why, they can’t tell
The promise of heaven is what they smell.

How to Develop a Good Relationship with Your Butcher

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Look around your neighborhood. Notice any new butcher shops? They’re popping up across the nation in small towns and big cities alike, often run by impassioned, young men and women, dedicated to the art of butchery.

I recently interviewed one these young butchers and asked him to share his thoughts about butchery and why it’s important to get to create a good relationship with your butcher.

Adam Danforth of Brooklyn, New York abandoned a decade-long career in advertising and technology, to become a butcher and local food movement advocate. He trained in slaughtering and processing in Upstate New York at SUNY Cobleskill, then went on to work at the renowned Marlow & Daughters, New York City’s first whole-animal all-local butcher shop. He is currently working on his first book about slaughtering and butchery for Storey Publishing, due out in the fall of 2012.

Q: It seems the independent butcher is making a comeback. What do you think has led to this change?

Interest in the craft is certainly on the rise as is demand for access to such kinds of meat. From the consumer point of view there is growing value to having a tangible sense of place for the meat they are consuming. The same trend is occurring across the board within the food industry; hence the surge of farmers’ markets and CSAs across the country.

Q: Why did you decide to become a butcher?

After more than a decade I no longer wanted to sit in front of a screen all day. I wanted to work with my hands and with a tangible product that was rooted in food and agriculture.

Q: What are the benefits of creating a good relationship with your butcher?

First and foremost, if animal proteins are a staple of one’s diet, and quality is paramount, then having an establishment to rely on is critical… Just because [a recipe] says pork tenderloin, does not mean [it] will not work with something else; trust the substitution recommendations of your butcher until they prove otherwise. Furthermore, relating with a good butcher allows for access to custom cuts, like crown racks, ham bones, pork coppa, or leaf lard—things that you will rarely, if ever, find in a convenience store. A good relationship with your butcher also provides dependable sourcing for hard to get items, like tail, offal, and, depending on how they break down their cuts, smaller individualized muscles. Lastly, it’s a wonderful thing to walk into a shop and be able to inquire about “what’s good today,” with a confidence and trust in the answer.

Q: How do you find an independent butcher?

As when searching for anything these days, I would head to Google first when searching for a local butcher shop. You could also head to sites like chow.com and eGullet.com and inquire on the boards about where folks get reputable meat. Heading to farmers’ markets and asking around may also prove beneficial.

Q: What should people do who you live in area without independent butchers and meat markets?

Again, I would head online to find online sources for ordering meat. It may not be local but you can certainly find respectably raised meat available via online ordering… In the absence of a true butcher shop one might find a farm stand or inquire to some local farms about procuring their products.

Q: As a butcher, what tips can you give consumers on befriending their butchers?

Starting a relationship with a butcher is just like any other relationship: start simple and work your way towards a deeper trust. Begin by ordering some of the more accessible items—pork chops, ground meat, fresh sausages, house-made bacon—and find out if you like the quality because, in the end, it has to taste good. Ask how frequently they grind their meat, make their sausages, get their meat, and other sourcing questions that will indicate a commitment to freshness and quality. If you buy something and it tastes off, tell them—not everything is perfect every time—and work with them to find a suitable solution. Rapport is important—you should enjoy conversing with your butcher—but the most important factors are quality of cutting and the product.

Q: Conversely, what tips do you have for butchers on creating rapport with their customers?

Misinformation and meat often go hand-in-hand, and what many people think they know may be inaccurate. Others who enter your shop may be intimidated, knowing the limitation of their meat knowledge. Everyone can learn something more about the meat they eat. Having time to spend with customers is one of the great benefits of a personalized butcher shop, and handling customers with patience and empathy is paramount.

A customer’s needs are often driven by either recipe ingredients or cultural habits. If you are out of pork loin chops recommend shoulder chops. Sell them on the fact that they are more marbled and have an array of muscle groups which leads to more interesting textures. These are opportunities to educate the customer on viable alternatives; if your shop breaks down animals on-site than help them understand the basics of whole-animal utilization. Inquires are natural when one is witnessing the dissection of a full carcass and it is an opportunity for the butcher to create further interest. It is a natural sales opportunity. Lastly, know how to prepare what you sell. Proving sound advice on culinary handling will greatly increase the acceptance of your recommendations.