Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I've really been enjoying participating in the active local Slow Food chapter lately - it's apparent that they have some dedicated, hard-working people running these events - which makes it a real pleasure to show up and reap the benefits! This trend continued on Sunday afternoon last weekend, when I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Slow Food Santa Maria BBQ, hosted by Jay at the Linkery at Bird Park - near Morley Field. Jay slaved all day over his Red Oak Grill, cooking up some delicious tri tip (donated by Hamilton's Meats). It was served with wheat bread, homemade pinquito beans and fresh homemade salsa. I don't know how he managed to get it so tender - I've always thought tri tip was a little spongy and tough - but his was excellent.
If you haven't had a chance yet, you really must go see Jay at his restaurant in North Park, the Linkery. They are doing some great stuff with local ingredients and vendors. They will be moving to new bigger digs soon (on University) but will be keeping an interest in the old site - so it will be interesting to see what happens there!
There were a few silent auction items up for sale at the event - I took home the framed vintage print on the right, below. I also bid on the one on the left, but alas someone wanted it more than I. I guess the silver lining is that Slow Food made a lot of money on it!
I also had the pleasure of meeting Lotus, of Good Food Comes from Happy Cows and her husband Thor at the event. Lotus and her husband are both charming and fantastically good company, and I hope we will get to see them again soon. If you haven't already discovered her blog, you really should check it out. She writes about cooking, growing food and eating locally here in San Diego - topics near and dear to my own heart.
A big thanks to Membership Chairs Dominick and Donna for all of their hard work - I heard they got there at 7 AM to stake out the site, clean it up and get it ready for us to enjoy! Cafe Calabria and Jimbos also donated the iced tea and desserts, respectively.
Slow Food has two other fantastic-sounding events coming up that I wanted to tell you about. On August 26, 2007 is the Fourth Annual Taste of Slow Food at Orfila Winery in Escondido. Tickets are $55.00 for members and $65.00 for non-members. Food is included, but you'll need to bring some cash for the additional donation for beer and wine (from Stone and Orfila) if you plan to indulge. Tickets can be purchased (and you can view a partial list of the participating chefs) here. All proceeds benefit the San Pasqual Academy Farm. (I still owe you another post on my visit there.)
On Friday August 31, 2007 (Friday of Labor Day weekend) the Boosters of Old Town are throwing a event partnering with Slow Food and many local "Slow" eateries to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Overland Mail in San Diego. The "alfresco, lantern-lit dining experience" will take place from 5 to 9 PM in the historic plaza, and will feature food from the Lodge at Torrey Pines, Brandt Beef, The Linkery, Stone Brewing Co., San Pasqual Academy and Waters Catering, among others. The flyer can be downloaded here. To purchase tickets, click here.
I took some brownies to the BBQ on Sunday - made from Tartine's recipe - which calls for no less than a full pound of chocolate. I tried another experimental batch before making these - which utterly failed. I still have yet to find the perfect formula - the flavor in these is good, but they're just a leetle bit too dense. I think next time I will try beating two of the egg whites to a soft meringue and folding that in to lighten it up. In the meantime, I had a some requests for the recipe on Sunday - so here it is.
(That's a test batch of homemade maraschino cherries in the background (made with Marasca liqueur- more on those later - if they turn out that is!)
by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Published in the Oakland Tribune October 25, 2006
Kitchen Notes: You can't use a cake tester or toothpick to judge doneness. Because the batter has a high percentage of chocolate, the tester comes out wet even if the brownies are done.
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used a Trader Joes Pound Plus 70% bar - I would have used Valrhona, but that's a lot of chocolate!)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed (not "tightly packed" as is the norm)
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping (optional) 2 cups nuts such as walnut or pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13 inch glass baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes.
Alternatively, use a mixing bowl and a whisk to beat the ingredients until the mixture falls from the whisk in a wide ribbon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don't deflate the air that's been incorporated into the eggs.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with the spatula.
If you are using nuts, evenly distribute them across the batter. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares (I cut mine into more like fifty!) The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.