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The King Of Cheeses Roquefort

Perhaps the oldest known cheese in the world, scholars speculate that Roquefort was known even to the ancient Romans. This cheese, made in the desolate southern French town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, was the first cheese in France to be legally protected from fraudulent look-alikes. While Roquefort is certainly not to everyone's liking (which means there is more of it for those of us who adore it), it is undisputedly one of the world's most famous and unique cheeses. Roquefort packs a punch. It does not strive for delicateness of flavor but instead delivers a powerful... read more

Cooking With Popcorn

Mention popcorn and most Americans think of theaters, sporting events, circuses and their microwave ovens. By far the largest use of popcorn is as a confection. However, popcorn also has a long history as a cookery ingredient. While conducting a computer search of the National Agricultural Library's holdings, I misspelled popcorn, leaving a space between the "p" and the "c." On the computer screen, out popped Mary Hamilton Talbott's Pop Corn Recipes, published by the Sam Nelson, Jr., Company of Grinnell, Iowa. Popcorn had long been viewed mainly as a snack food. Few... read more

Proper Poaching

Welcome back to class! Hopefully you have had a month of successful grilling! What have you grilled that was really great? Today, we are going to turn our attention from dry heat cooking methods (sautéing and grilling) and begin looking at moist heat cooking methods. Moist heat cooking methods use liquid or steam to transfer heat, thus cooking the product. In this class we will focus on one particular type of moist heat cooking--poaching. Poaching is certainly less practiced today than the methods covered in previous classes, sautéing and grilling. But poaching is... read more

Olive Descriptions

The lowly olive is one of the world's greatest and most historically coveted foods. Throughout history, the olive tree has been the subject of mythology, a sign of longevity, and a source for excellent wood. From the olive flows olive oil, a precious commodity that was used historically for food, fuel, the anointing of kings, industrial lubricant, medicinal balm, soap manufacture, and polishing finely cut diamonds.   The fruit of the olive tree, the olive itself, has been eaten for centuries (ever since people learned how to tame the raw, inedible olive and make... read more

Oysters Varieties

What's In A Name? The last five years has brought a large proliferation of Oysters to the market. Where as the menu of a few years ago was lucky to include the ubiquitous "Blue Point" the menus of today offer a range of oyster varieties. With the popularity of Oyster Bars, it is not unusual to see as many as 20 different oysters offered to the discriminating consumer. Oyster varieties such as the Quilcene,  Hog Island, Malpeque and Kumamoto have all but become house hold names and now even more recognizable to the under 30 crowd than the Beatles. But where do all these... read more

Pipefarces

It never ceases to amaze me that supposedly new and exciting recipes can be so very old in origin. Take, for example, the recent craze for fried mozzarella sticks. 10 years ago they were nowhere to be found. Now suddenly almost every Italian-American restaurant offers them, and they're available in a heat-n-eat form from the supermarket as well. Amazing. Especially when you consider that one form of this recipe dates back to at least the 14th century! This recipe for fried cheese sticks, or "pipefarces", appears in Le Ménagier de Paris, a French work of c. 1393.... read more

The Resort Circuit

The most frequent question I'm asked from visitors to my web site; The Adventures of an Itinerant Chef (http://www.chefpatrick.com/) is, “How do you find all these jobs?”I've decided to take advantage of this column to answer that question. I began my culinary career as an apprentice in 1971 working in restaurants, hotels and resorts on the “resort circuit.”The “resort circuit” is nothing more than any restaurant, hotel, resort, lodge, camp, yacht and other business that operate on a seasonal basis. To “work the circuit”one could work the Summer season at a lodge in... read more

Petit Mothais

The Loire River rises in the Massif Central from where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. At some 629 miles long, it is the longest river in France. It flows first to the north, and then to the west. Soft plains spread around the Loire's giant curve in a region justly called the Garden of France. Then countryside is sprinkled with Renaissance castles and there is an abundance of wines and cheeses. It was in this region in the eighth century, that the Saracens were repelled at the city of Poitiers. The Saracens were originally Arabs, who for centuries had occupied much... read more

Pears In Syrup

This delicious recipe for Pears in Syrup is from a manuscript cookbook dating to circa 1450 (Harleian MS. 4016). These pears make a perfect dessert for a hearty autumn or winter feast! Present individual servings in crystal glasses to show off the exquisite color of the sauce. ( [th] stands for the Old English character 'thorn.') The original recipe: 96 Peris in Syrippe. Take Wardons, and cast hem in a faire potte, And boile hem til [th]ei ben tendre; and take hem vppe, and pare hem in ij. or in iij. And take powder of Canell, a good quantite, and cast hit in good... read more

Searching For The Perfect Cup Of Coffee Part Two Costa Rica

Dateline: March 1, 2001, San Jose, Costa Rica Following my interview with Norman Saurage the CEO of the Community Coffee Company, I couldn't wait to broaden my knowledge about coffee. The next stage of my development involved a coffee "cupping." Similar to a wine tasting, a "cupping" was arranged for me by Norman at one of his companies new Coffee Houses in Austin, Texas. I arrived at CC's Coffee House at North Lamar and 6th Street in Austin at 1:00 PM and was greeted by David Walsh, CC's District Manager and Melissa Piker-Purvis, the store manager. I was impressed... read more

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