By “out to lunch”, I mean that work has been an all-day, all-night thing lately, so while I have been making some time to cook with the family, the closest thing I’ve come to a food blog in the last two weeks has been reading David Lebovitz’s absolutely delightful The Sweet Life in Paris on the train. My RSS reader has quite a backlog.
My goal with this blog is to continually improve the quality of content and photography, so I’d rather be quiet than slapdash, but please pardon the radio silence (speaking of photography, I’ve been bothering a few of you out there about Digital SLRs and thank you so much for helping me make sense of the Canon/Nikon world).
We did disappear up to the Catskills last weekend and I was delighted to see that we had beaten the deer to the wild strawberries. Hunting tiny strawberries makes for a marvelous 4-yr old activity. Of course, like a scrawny kid dreaming of Charles Atlas, our wild strawberries can only fantasize about becoming the beauties shown at the top of the post, which came from a local farm.
I also briefly attended an event held at the Institute of Culinary Education put on by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (that picture is chef Dave Zino doing a demonstration). I rarely work with tenderloin, so it was fun to roll up my sleeves and learn how to properly trim a full tenderloin from an expert.
The PR team is smart to reach out to food bloggers, who can be considered the “early adopters” and “evangelizers” of the food world. I winced, however, when we started with a braise 101 demonstration. I know that I braise a *lot*, but I would have been surprised if any of the food bloggers in the room did not already know the information. I guess food bloggers are a tough audience to calibrate, since there can be such a range of background and experience, but there are a lot of very sophisticated cooks out there. My advice, which I try to follow when I speak at conferences, is to always over-estimate your audience rather than under-estimate them. With the former, you risk confusion but at least the audience feels challenged; with the latter, you risk boring or, worse, offending.
However, I don’t want to sound snippish because I enjoyed myself. The Beef representatives were incredibly nice, put a lot of effort into the event, and even deflected my attempts to talk agri-business politics in the sweetest of ways!
I haven’t completely abandoned the kitchen for financial models and startup planning. For Lisl’s birthday, kiddo and I made the chocolate cake from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food, albeit with all-purpose flour not cake flour, and it was fantastic, like everything from that book. My wife tells me that my newly discovered, and positively surprising, interest in baking must be from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. It reminds me of a a funny T-shirt at Fleisher’s that says “bacon, the gateway meat”. Perhaps that book is the gateway bake!
Finally I’ll note that when I last made a peasant bean stew (my hack cassoulet), I speculated that leftover braised pork shoulder would be great in the dish. I can now emphatically state that this is the case, but I suppose there never was much risk of that being wrong! (I don’t braise a pork should quite as often as Stacey roasts a chicken, but it might be close!)