I’ve finally been tapped to contribute to a cookbook. I feel a bit like the lonely relief pitcher stepping up to the mound to save the game. But in this case there is no Steinbrenner sending a memo down from the luxury box and no Ozzie to give me the nod on my way out of the bullpen. A higher power called me to the stove. The call came down to the field like so: Advertisements
No gutbombs or paperweights allowed. You need fluffy matzo balls, the kind that suck up rich chicken broth. You also need freshly steamed moist corn beef, peppery handcut pastrami. Throw in a syrupy frothy egg cream, a couple of crusty charming countermen, deep vinyl booths, and a healthy dose of chrome, and you got yourself a old style delicatessen and late night diner.
We don’t swoon at the feet of food celebrities. In fact, everytime Giada De Laurentiis pops up on our tv screens with her carefully orchestrated cleavage and soft focus kitchen, we feel a little ill. It’s not that we don’t think she can cook, because we know she can. It’s just that it is such an overt attempt at capturing the 18-43 year old hormonally challenged male demographic. It’s food porn where the food isn’t even in the money shot. Besides, everyone knows that young males are watching Stone Cold Steve Austin throwing down on WWE Raw with bikini clad ladies dancing in the backround.
Chef Noah Bekofsky’s first food memories were a macrobiotic diet of brown rice and miso soup, and he didn’t start eating meat until he was 14. Chef Bekofsky of Aria restaurant in Chicago’s Fairmont hotel grew up in the hippie confines of Eugene, Oregon, where it was all about fresh and organic. Rest assured, the man who was weaned on greens can cook a mean lamb chop. He’s also a well centered philosopher of life and food. In this week’s podcast conversation, we explore the politics of the plate, talk about big and painful tattoos, about how to raise children with a healthy food consciousness, and for good measure, a bit about Tiger Woods and the Chicago Cubs.
I owe this stock to Bruce Sherman, the chef of North Pond in Chicago. Not necessarily the recipe, but the technique. He was classically trained by the French, and thus a total stickler for “by-the-book” cooking. He really made me appreciate how the most miniscule of details can affect how a dish tastes in the end. When It comes to making a good stock you really have to pay attention to the details, after all you are working with a limited amount of ingredients.
This is a quick cure and meant more or less for marinating meat rather than preparing it for a long curing process or for smoking. This mixture will work well on chicken, pork and duck. The ratio of salt to sugar is pretty much 50/50 because you’re really just trying to drive flavor into the meat rather than completely pull moisture out. This recipe is enough for about 3 or 4 pounds of meat.
2 lbs Fresh Pork Belly (3 lbs, if bone in) A scant amount of vegetable or olive oil 2 Carrots, peeled and medium diced 2 Stalks of Celery, medium diced 1 Large Onion, peeled and medium diced 2 Bay Leaves 4-6 Sprigs of Thyme 2 12oz Bottles of Hard Cider 1 Qt Chicken Stock (Roasted if you can get your hands on it) 2 Cloves of garlic
This article first appeared in the Chicago Journal
I like to bite their heads off first. When my nose gets near the sweet tang of artificial yellow sugar crystals, my Ozzy Osbourne instinct takes over, and it’s lights out for the PEEPS®. It’s cruel I know, but like Ted Nugent points out in his practical cooking tome, Kill It and Grill It, when there’s an overpopulation, animals face an even crueler fate of starvation.
The super models at Conde Naste are running out of work. Since all the hot celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Kiera Knightley, Terri Hatcher, et al have gobbled up the covers of Glamour, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, what will the bony chain smoking slinky set do? Move to the food magazines of course.