Friday, December 26, 2008

Émile Zola and Charcuterie

"It [the charcuterie:] was almost on the corner of the Rue Pirouette and was a joy to behold. It was bright and inviting, with touches of brilliant colour standing out amidst white marble. The signboard, on which the name QUENU-GRADELLE glittered in fat gilt letter encircled by leaves and branches painted on a soft-hued background, was protected by a sheet of glass. On the two side panels of the shop front, similarly painted and under glass, were chubby little Cupids playing in the midst of boars' heads, pork chops, and strings of sausages; and these still lifes, adorned with scrolls and rosettes, had been designed in so pretty and tender a style that the raw meat lying there assumed the reddish tint of raspberry jam. Within this delightful frame, the window display was arranged. It was set out on a bed of fine shavings of blue paper; a few cleverly positioned fern leaves transformed some of the plates into bouquets of flowers fringed with foliage. There were vast quantities of rich, succulent things, things that melted in the mouth. Down below, quite close to the window, jars of rillettes were interspersed with pots of mustard. Above these were some boned hams, nicely rounded, golden with breadcrumbs, and adorned at the knuckles with green rosettes. Then came the larger dishes--stuffed Strasbourg tongues, with their red, varnished look, the colour of blood next to the pallor of the sausages and pigs' trotters; strings of black pudding coiled like harmless snakes; andouilles piled up in twos and bursting with health; saucissons in little silver copes that made them look like choristers; pies, hot from the oven, with little banner-like tickets stuck in them; big hams, and great cuts of veal and pork, whose jelly was as limpid as crystallized sugar. Towards the back were large tureens in which the meats and minces lay asleep in lakes of solidified fat. Strewn between the various plates and dishes, on the bed of blue shavings, were bottles of relish, sauce, and preserved truffles, pots of foie gras, and tins of sardines and tuna fish. A box of creamy cheeses and one full of snails stuffed with butter and parsley had been dropped in each corner. Finally, at the very top of the display, falling from a bar with sharp prongs, strings of sausages and saveloys hung down symmetrically like the cords and tassels of some opulent tapestry, while behind, threads of caul were stretched out like white lacework. There, on the highest tier of this temple of gluttony, amid the caul and between two bunches of purple gladioli, the alter display was crowned by a small, square fish tank with a little ornamental rockery, in which two goldfish swam in endless circles."
— Émile Zola

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pigging Out in the Clink

Most people who know me, know of my love for meat from the swine persuasion. Clink is a restaurant in Boston that I have had a couple meals at and I have a feeling this pork themed series they are doing will be quite good. I will be making a trip out to partake in the swine meats.


Starting tomorrow night, Clink in the Liberty Hotel will host a series of pork-focused meals featuring acorn-fed pig from La Quercia (a highly regarded pork purveyor in the Midwest). The four-course meal, served alongside the regular menu, will include various cuts and preparations of the meat, beginning with the feet and tail and moving onto the loin, belly and bones. Dishes include a pork broth and dumpling soup; a grilled piece of brined pork loin served along with crispy pork belly and porchetta-style pork shoulder; and a peanut tart made with a lard-based crust (December 19, 20, 26 and 27; January 2 and 3; $47 per person; 617-224-4004).

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Poor Soldier Opera Preview & More

Dear Friend,

Happy Holidays to you.

On Thursday, January 15th at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in
Troy, join the full cast of the Poor Soldier opera for delicious food
(provided by the Irish Mist Restaurant of Troy), a preview of the
opera (fully costumed and presented in the Black Box Theatre of the
Center), and the first opportunity to taste the incredible porter
being brewed for us by George de Piro of the CH Evans Brew Company in
Albany. This porter recipe is taken from one crafted by Robert Hare in
Philadelphia in 1788 and it was a favorite of George Washington.

The event starts at 7pm and includes a chance to meet the cast and
production team of the opera following the performance.

Reservations are necessary. Tickets are $30 each. Please mail your
check, payable to Musicians of Ma'alwyck, to 511 Mohawk Avenue,
Scotia, NY 12302. Reservation deadline is Mon. Jan. 12th. Seating is
limited, so make your reservation early. You may call the Musicians of
Ma'alwyck office at 518/377-3623 for more information.

Also, tickets are going very quickly for the historically themed
dinner on Saturday, Jan. 24th at 5pm at Schenectady County Community
College. The dinner includes four courses, wines and the Poor Soldier
Porter. The dinner is based on recipes from the late 1700s prepared
by Certified Executive Chef Christopher Tanner and the staff of the
Glen Sanders Mansion. The dinner will be held at 5pm in order to allow
a leisurely meal before attending the opera. Tickets are $85 for the
dinner alone, or $110 for a special package of dinner/opera
performance/opera talks. Please visit to order.

Either one of these special evenings would make a wonderful holiday

All the best,
Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, Director
Musicians of Ma'alwyck

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Certified Hospitality Educator

I got a letter in the mail yesterday telling me I passed the Certified Hospitality Educator certification with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, what a freaking relief. I had to sit through 2.5 days of a drawn out class on educational psychology for the hospitality industry, then took a huge test at the end that I couldn't of even told you if I passed or failed (I got a 90, I was amazed) and then I had to video a 45-60 minute lecture which utilized the skills I learned in the class, needed 70% to pass. Somehow I got a 94% on the video, again shocked, I thought I missed so many of the skills they taught us, but i got it down pretty well it seems,

The next certification will be for Certified Culinary Professional with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I think I'll fill out the paperwork sometime this week and then I have to sit for the test during the national convention in the summer. I'm also taking the Pro-Chef certifications with the Culinary Institute of America, I'm taking Pro-Chef II in May, and probably Pro-Chef III the next year.

I'm off to go slice ham for the Price Chopper in Clifton Park, NY. I had a number of people recognize me from the spots I do on the news and from the articles I have had published in the Schenectady Gazette, I certainly enjoyed talking to people about the dishes, someone actually purchased a ham to make the "simple" cassoulet dish I posted on my blog and made on WNYT last week yesterday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Price Chopper Central Market Ham

Price Chopper sells an excellent double smoked spiral cut ham under their Central Market Brand. I will be at three of their stores over the next three days slicing and serving their ham. The hams are a bone-in ham, that is brined, double-smoked and then spiral-cut. Stop on by and pick one up they will be a great centerpiece for your holiday table.

Dec. 19 (Latham, NY 873 New Loudon Road 9am-Noon)
Dec. 20 (Saratoga Springs, NY 115 Ballston Ave. 10 am – 1pm)
Dec. 21 (Saratoga Springs, NY 115 Ballston Ave. 10 am – 1 pm)

I hope to see some of you there!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

“Quick” Cassoulet

“Quick” Cassoulet
Cassoulet is a classic dish based on beans and pork (or lamb) found in the Southwestern region in France. The dish normally takes 2-3 days to prepare, this version takes that lengthy time down to less than two hours but it is still packed with flavor.

Utilizing Price Chopper’s Central Market Spiral Ham, which I will be talking about and serving Dec. 19 (Latham, NY 873 New Loudon Road 11am-2pm), Dec. 20 (Saratoga Springs, NY 115 Ballston Ave. 10 am – 1pm), and Dec. 21 (Saratoga Springs, NY 115 Ballston Ave. 10 am – 1 pm)


1 each Onion, diced medium
1 each Carrot, peeled and diced medium
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 pound Pork sausage, precooked (garlic sausage, kielbasa, bratwurst)
1 1/2 cup Ham, diced medium
¼ lb. Bacon, sliced
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, minced
1 teaspoon Fresh thyme, minced
1 each Bay leaf
2 cans (15 oz. each) Navy beans, drained
1/4 cup Dry red wine
1 cup Chicken broth
½ cup Dry white bread crumbs
As desired Salt and pepper


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2.Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons olive oil, then add onion, carrots, and garlic and sauté 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add the sausage to pan, sauté until browned, and then add the herbs and ham and sauté for another 2-3 minutes then remove from heat, season the mixture with salt and pepper.

3.Stir in beans, wine, and broth. Turn into a 1 1/2 quart casserole (lined with bacon) and top with bread crumbs. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 45 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with a side of French Baguette and a glass of the red wine used for making the cassoulet.

Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CEC
Chef-Instructor Schenectady County Community College
School website –
Personal food blog –

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Are You Going To Do with All of Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

So Thanksgiving is over, all of the family members have gone back to their respective homes, and you are left with more leftovers than you know what to do with. One can only eat so much traditional turkey day dishes until they get tired of it all and decide to toss it all away. I however have some ideas for what you can do with those leftovers so that you don't get food boredom.

Turkey Croquettes
Got some mashed potatoes and gravy leftover? Take some of that leftover turkey (about 8 oz.) you've got, dice it up small and mix in some of that gravy to moisten it. Now take the mashed potatoes (a couple cups will do here), mix in an egg until smooth. Take a few ounces of the masked potatoes, flatten them and cup slightly so that you can add a few oz. of the turkey and gravy. Wrap the mashed potatoes around the turkey and seal on the edges. Now roll the stuffed potatoes into a cylinder and then dredge in some bread crumbs. Prepare a fryer or a pot with some frying oil (vegetable oil work well) to 370 degrees. Deep fry the stuffed mashed potatoes until golden brown, and you've now got some delicious turkey croquettes. Perhaps some of that leftover cranberry sauce thinned out a little with some orange juice and heated slightly would make a good sauce to go accompany the croquettes.

Turkey Soup
I enjoy soup in the winter, and if you aren't a vegetarian then you likely have a carcass left from your turkey along with some meat. Peel and small dice three onions, five carrots and five stalks of celery and mince a couple cloves of garlic. Now take your turkey carcass, remove all the meat from it, dicing the meat into small pieces and reserving. Break the carcass into smallish pieces. Heat up some olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add half of the diced vegetables and saute until soft, about five minutes. Add five peppercorns, a bay leaf and a couple stems of thyme, then add the turkey carcass pieces and add water until fully covered; bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 60 minutes. Strain the solids out of the liquid, this will be your broth for your soup.

One more vegetable to dice, peel and dice two large turnips. In a clean large pot heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute all of the remaining vegetables until the onions are soft. Add one cup of a fruit red wine, perhaps that Beaujolais Nouveau and simmer until reduced by half. Add the diced turkey and the turkey broth you made earlier and bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the carrots and turnips are tender. Season with salt and pepper as desired. A couple cups of boiled egg noodles added to the soup will make this a delicious turkey noodle soup. If you don't like noodles, you can substitute a couple cups of boiled long grain rice.

The What the Heck Do I Do With All of Those Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole
This one os pretty simple. Take one of those 13x9 glass casserole dishes you've got hiding in the cabinets and spray it with some non-stick spray or better yet grease it with some soft butter. Put down a layer of stuffing on the bottom of the dish. If you have some green bean casserole lay it down on top of the beans. Next, dice some of your leftover turkey and put down a layer, if it looks a little dry, add some gravy, but hopefully you have enough liquid from your green bean casserole becasue we are going to need some of that gravy later. Now layer your mashed potatoes ver the top of the turkey, place some pats of butter on top of the potatoes, this will help in the browning of the top of the casserole. Place the casserole into a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until the top of the casserole is lightly browned and the filling is nice and bubbling hot. Heat up your remaining gravy and place a little on top of each serving of the casserole when serving.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WNYT Truffled Salt Cod Cakes

Hello everyone, I was on WNYT Channel 13, a local channel here in upstate New York. I thought I would share with all of you the recipe I prepared today. It was actually a componant of a dish I prepared a few weeks ago at an American Culinary Federation competition which I took a gold medal in. I hope you might enjoy making this recipe, it is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional New England Salt Cod cake.

Truffled Salt Cod Potato Cake

by Chef Christopher


¼ lb. Salt Cod

½ lb. Yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

½ each Spanish onion, small dice

½ teaspoon Rosemary, minced

½ tablespoons Flat leaf parsley, minced

1 each Egg, large

1 each Egg yolk, large

2 tablespoon Truffle oil

To taste Black pepper, ground fresh

As needed Flour, all purpose

As needed Grape seed oil


1. Place salt cod in a small pot and cover with water and bring to a simmer for five minutes. Drain and reserve.

2. Place potatoes in a separate pot and cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and boil until tender. Drain and dry in oven for 2-3 minutes and reserve.

3. Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute onion until soft, add rosemary and sauté another minute.

4. In a medium bowl combine simmered salt cod, potatoes, onions, parsley, egg yolk and egg, truffle oil and black pepper. Use a pastry cutter to mash all ingredients together until smooth.

5. Shape potato/salt cod mixture into four cakes and coat with flour. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat with enough grape seed oil to coat the bottom. Place the salt cod cakes into the heated pan and pan-fry on each side until golden brown.

Christopher Allen Tanner, CEC
Department of Hotel Culinary Arts and Tourism
Schenectady County Community College

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving with Dad

Oh goodness, so what does one do that has cooked everything for Thanksgiving. I've done the turkey, I've made a fairly large number of turduckens, I've done the Asian themed, Creole themed and every other theme in between. This weekend I thought of what I truly want this next Thanksgiving, simplicity. It will be just my father and I, and as I don't get to see him as often as I have in the past, I want to make the dinner really special.

Now simplicity doesn't mean boring. I just finished ordering a wild turkey from D'Artagnan, a company I love to do some of my specialty ordering through, they may be a bit expensive but the quality is well worth the price. The 5-7 lb. bird costs 78.99 retail. Yes, it is more expensive than your supermarket turkey with the freakishly large breasts, but unlike the supermarket freak, it will have much more flavor.

I'm thinking of slicing some pieces of butter underneath the skin along with some minced rosemary and then drizzling a bit of black truffle oil over the skin. Gonna do some simple roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary (got tons from the garden still) along with some porcini oil and salt and pepper.

For vegetables I'm gonna go with so haricot vert with obliques of carrots tossed in a veloute sauce with some fresh tarragon, chervil and parsley. I also have to make Brussels sprouts this year. I made an amazing brown sugar smoked bacon recently, which I am going to render and then caramelize the quartered sprouts in, seasoned with (wait for it) rosemary and thyme, and then add a bit of Calvados along with apple cider, cover them in my copper saute pan until they are tender.

Well we need stuffing don't we, I so love a cornbread stuffing, a simple American standard that can't be beat. As for gravy, I have a recipe for sweet potato eggplant gravy from Paul Prudhomme which I will be using this year, pretty tasty with great texture.

So there ya have it, oh wait, dessert you say. Well I am getting it from my students this year. I ordered a pumpkin pie and pecan pie. my dad's favorite pie is pecan, so I'm hoping he will enjoy it. I think I might make a honey and lavender ice cream to go along with it. That's all, nothing else, I think it will go well with the Beaujolais Nouveau for wine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Judged an ACF Show in Washington DC

I just spent the last weekend in Washington DC judging an American Culinary Federation competition. A great time was had by all, including the competitors and the judges. The event took place in the Washington Convention Center. There was two days of competition, the first day on Saturday was the Market Basket competition. One version was an F/1 which was a four course meal, ten portions each and the competitors had no idea of their ingredients, sort of like Iron Chef, but on steroids; they had four hours to prepare the meal. The second group had the same guidelines, except they had a shorter time frame and there were two people on each team.

On the second day we judged about 30 competitors in a category known as Contemporary. The category involves the competitor creating one entree course, preparing four portions, in 60 minutes, with a 5 minute plating window. Additionally there were competitors that produced some amazing watermelon carvings (one of the competitors happened to be the guy who won the TV Food Network vegetable carving challenge); while others prepared a variety of "cold food" (charcuterie) show platters.

It was a great time, a number of golds were attained in the contemporary category, a guy I have known for awhile who has improved vastly over the last year or so I have known his. Another chef who I would call a friend Peter Dweyer did a great job in the F and cold food categories. More admirabley, he trained five students to compete who preferomed wonderfully in the contemporary category. One student attained a silver, after haveing never competed before this point. Peter himself attained a few medals in the categories he comepted in.

I judged with some amazing chefs, humbling actually looking at who they are, Chef Alfonso Contrisciani CMC, Chef James Hanyzeski CMC , Chef Rene Marquis, and Chef Gunther Heiland CMPC. We had a few great meals at restaurants in DC, Jose Adreas' Turkish/ Israeli style tapas restaurant and an ACF member's restaurant, Agraria which was even more amazing than Andreas place.

I had a great time, can't wait to see the judge's I worked with and the chefs that competed again soon.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cooler Weather Calls For Pot Au Feu

Man it got cold real quick this past few weeks. It was really cold at my home last night, I even lite the fireplace last night it was so cold. Cold weather brings my mind back to some of my favorite dishes. Most of my friends know of my love for cassoulet, I have another favorite French cold weather dish, pot au feu.

Pot au feu is a regional French dish consisting pretty much of various tough cuts of beef simmered in liquid with vegetables and seasonings. The stewing vegetables are then removed and replaced with hearty root vegetables. I have my own personal twist which comes from my Alsatian heritage which adds fresh bacon to the dish. I have some bacon in my fridge that I cured for a month, so it is ready for the pot.

Pot au feu Recipe


4 medium leeks, white part only
8 carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
8 stalks celery, halved crosswise
1 large onion, quartered
2 pounds beef top round, trussed
2 pounds oxtail
2 pounds brisket, trussed
2 lb slab bacon, (in one solid piece) trussed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 small turnips, peeled and large diced
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and large diced
1 lb fingerling potatoes

1. In a large stockpot place 4 leeks, 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks and onion, place meat on top of vegetables along with dried thyme, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 3 hours, skimming any foam which forms on the top.

2. Strain the broth and discard the cooking vegetables. Return the broth and meats to the pot and add remaining vegetables except the potatoes. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour, adding the potatoes after a half hour.

3. Remove the meat from the broth and discard the trussing strings. Carefully remove the vegetables from the broth, place them on a large serving platter, and moisten with some broth. Cover and keep warm.

4. Carve the meat and place on the serving platter with the vegetables.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

From the SCCC Kitchen: Skins stay on to give grilled potatoes a healthful kick

From the SCCC Kitchen: Skins stay on to give grilled potatoes a healthful kick

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Grilled Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
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From the SCCC Kitchen offers Daily Gazette readers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s nationally accredited American Culinary Federation culinary arts program. Recipes selected by SCCC instructors can easily be prepared at home. Today, The Gazette concludes a summerlong batch of recipes offered by technical specialist (and certified executive chef) Christopher Tanner. The finale is a fall harvest of small potatoes — Grilled Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic. Tanner offers more cooking tips at his blog, “Gastronomic Inspirations” at

Schenectady County Community College technical specialist (and certified executive chef) Christopher Tanner offers grilled new potatoes.
Schenectady County Community College technical specialist (and certified executive chef) Christopher Tanner offers grilled new potatoes.
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Christopher Tanner has his own version of “tater tots.”

His spuds are small, like the baked staples kids (and some adults) smother with cheese and ketchup.

There are no toppings allowed on Tanner’s “Grilled Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic.” There’s enough flavor in them to bypass participation by Kraft and Heinz.

“People love starch,” said Tanner, whose recipe scores points for easy preparation, taste, health and simplicity.

The easy prep work comes courtesy of aluminum foil. The fingerling, baby Yukon gold and baby purple potatoes used for the dish are wrapped in a foil packet for their time over (or under) the heat. The taste comes from pepper, rosemary and garlic used to spice up the round vegetables; the healthful component is represented by skins that stay on the spuds. “If you take the skins off, you lose all the nutrients,” Tanner said.

Washing the dishes is simple because there are no dishes — once the seasoned and sizzled potatoes are off the grill or out of the oven, aluminum foil is rolled up and thrown away.

Unlike many recipes, chefs don’t have to keep a constant vigil near the flames.

“This is one of those recipes that you can kind of forget for 15 minutes on the grill or the oven and it will still be fine,” Tanner said.

The potatoes, in different shapes and colors, make a great side dish for autumn plates.


2 pounds varied small potatoes (fingerlings, baby Yukon gold, baby purple potatoes)

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and minced

5 cloves garlic, crushed

Heat a grill on medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.

Place a large piece of aluminum foil flat on the counter, place the potatoes on top of foil, add a second piece of foil over potatoes and seal potatoes inside aluminum foil pouch by crimping the edges securely.

Place the aluminum packet over grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the package and grill and additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. You can poke them through the packet with a toothpick to check if they are tender.

Remove potatoes from the grill packet and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What the heck have I been up to?

Oh goodness it has been a long time since my last post. Well I am teaching full-time at Schenectady County Community College and things could not be any better. I seriously can't say I recall any better time in my life. I am the lead instructor for Garde Manger, I personally teach three sections of the class with two other instructors teaching under my curriculum. I also run the restaurant class on Tuesday nights (make reservations in advance, the days fill up quick) and I teach the basic baking class called Elements of Baking.

I have been working in an America Culinary Federation Knowledge Bowl team for the college along with a number of other great things. On the competition note, I haven't done much myself lately because of work. For those who are ACF members, you will see in the next National Culinary Review that I am named one of the newest ACf certified culinary judges, so proud and humble at the same time.

I am judging one of my first competitions this winter in St Augustine, Fl. I won both my first gold in cold food (garde manger) competition along with my first market basket (mystery basket competition) at this show. Again, I am humbled that I get the chance to come full-circle to judge at this competition.

In the next couple weeks I will be competing in a couple competitions. One will be in Pennsylvania, while the other will be in Delhi, NY. I have never competed in the seafood category, so I thought I would come up with a new dish for that category. To be honest the dish came to me by accident. I purchased some salt cod last week and decided to make some traditional New England salt cod cakes.

The dish I came up with is a sous-vide olive oil poached black cod, set upon a truffled smoke black cod potato cake with rainbow chard two ways (julienne stems sauteed in butter, and the leaves wilted with garlic and shallots with a bit of pumpkin oil. The sauce will be a beurre rouge (red wine butter sauce).

I hope you all are well, thanks for reading... I will try to keep you all up on my latest escapades. Be well, and be safe.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sheldon Farm Corn Fritters

Corn has finally come into season in the Capital District and this recipe utilizes corn from Sheldon Farms in Washington County who will have its own little corn festival in support of the Saratoga region chapter of Slow Food USA on Saturday August 9th, 2008 where these fritters will be featured and cooked by myself along with a number of other fantastic corn dishes.

Sheldon Farms
4363 State Route 22
Salem, NY 12865

You can find more recipes, food and culture writings and restaurant reviews from

Chef Christopher Tanner at

Sheldon Farm Corn Fritters

Makes about 20 fritters


2 cups Flour

1 tablespoon Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 cup Sugar

2 each Eggs, beaten

1 cup Milk

1/4 cup Butter, melted

1 cup Corn, fresh whole kernel

½ cup Corn, fresh, mashed

As desired Powdered sugar or maple syrup


1. Heat a fryer to 365 degrees or heat oil in a cast iron pot measuring temperature with an oil thermometer which can be found in any quality cooking supply store.

2. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.

3. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, and butter then combine with the flour mixture. Fold both the whole kernel and mashed corn into the batter.

4. When oil is heated, drop approximately 1/8 cup spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove fritters from hot oil and drain on a paper towel and dust fritters with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Anthony Bourdain, Slow Food, and Feeding the World

"As much as I admired and appreciated the slow-food movement, and the increased interest in better, more seasonal ingredients, there was a whiff of orthodoxy about it all that I felt contradicted the chef's basic mission: to give pleasure. I'd met a lot of hungry people in recent years and I doubted very much whether they cared if their next meal came from the next village over or a greenhouse in Tacoma. The notion of "terroir" and "organic" started to seem like the kind of thinking you'd expect of the privileged - or isolationist. The very discussion of "organic" vs "nonorganic", I knew, was a luxury. I've since come to believe that any overriding philosophy or worldview is the enemy of good eating." Anthony Bourdain

I greatly appreciate this quote as it states much of my feeling on why I participate in groups such as Slow Food. I believe Slow Food is a suburb organization, I just feel that some people forget that others don't have everything that they have received in life. Not everyone can afford the $4/lb tomato some of us buy, so just think of that before you start to lecture someone on their eating habits.

I have been a member of Slow Food for about five or six years and have found many a friend from participation. Just this past weekend I attended the first official dinner for the new Saratoga Slow Food chapter up at Top of the World in Lake George, NY. A very good meal, utilizing many local ingredients from local farmers, including Sheldon Farms where I cooked for a Slow Food fundraiser yesterday, both breakfast and lunch so I am a little burnt out.

Usually I find the conversations to be wonderful with great topics on food and culture and how we can "ideally" live. I occasionally get disappointed when I bring up topics of helping to feed those that are less fortunate than some of us. The conversation will invariably lead to how they should be eating locally and more nutritious foods, but I rarely hear how we can do this.

For the last year I have been researching this project that Rutger's University, I believe through the IR-4 program. The idea was to take a city block in NYC and convert it into a multi-tier farming facility with I think about 32 floors. Each floor would pretty much contain the necessary essentials for meals, with each floor coming into season after the prior floor was harvested. this one building would be capable of feeding the entire island of Manhattan for the full-year.

Many people would complain that this project is not "natural" due to the fact that obviously it would utilize artificial lighting and fertilizers. However, natural fertilizers could be used and quite honestly, I don't think the homeless or working poor truly care where their food comes from daily, this is evidenced by the growing waistlines reported as many have turned to cheap eats like McDonald's cheap menus or some that are in food-deserts and must shop at the local bodega which is over priced junk food. This project would be getting quality food into their homes, and for those of us that can afford the higher priced heirloom vegetables and other specialty items, we could still buy as we have been.

When thinking about our foodways it is great to idealize, but we also need to ground ourselves in reality. Yes, the localvore thing where you eat within 100 miles of your home is great, but it isn't always feasible for all people. So think about your audience and the lifestyles of some of the people you run into before you preach to them. Sometimes you can do more harm than good for the effort by putting off a person who has less than yourself.

Currently watching :
King Corn
Release date: 2008-04-29

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Slow Food Saratoga Region Breakfast and Luncheon at Sheldon Farms

Have a Slow Food Breakfast with Us

sfslogo box
We can't (or won't) bring you breakfast in bed but it won't be hard to get dressed for a gorgeous Chef-prepared tasting menu of local food, served amidst the fields in which it was grown.

Chef Christopher Tanner has created a fantastic tasting menu for this benefit event for Slow Food Saratoga:

Gazpacho in Cucumber Cups (think bloody mary, byov)
Sweet Corn Blinis with Maple Creme Fraiche
Mountain View Farm's Berkshire Bacon, Roasted Corn, and New Potato Hash
Hot Corn Fritters Drizzled with Maple Syrup
Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Berkshire Pork Sausage and Al Ducci's Fresh Mozzarella
Chef-made Charcuterie · Mrs. London's Fire Bread · Sweet Butter
Mrs. London's Croissants · Sissy's Sour Cherry and Blueberry Jams*

*Made by Sissy Hicks, former chef/owner, The Dorset Inn

When: Sunday, July 27 9 - 10:30 a.m. Where: The Lawn at Sheldon Farms Market
Tickets: Slow Food Members $15 Non-Members $20 Please reserve. Seating limited.

Food donated by Mrs. London's Bakery, Mountain View Farm, Sheldon Farms, and prepared gratis by Chef Christopher Tanner in support and celebration of the new Slow Food Chapter.
Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Slow Food Saratoga.

And/or Enjoy a Slow Food Lunch...

deppAfter our breakfast, or the Courthouse brunch, you'll want to visit a farm or two .... and the next thing you'll be hungry again!

Chef Chris Tanner and Sheldons continue the Sunday Slow Food Benefit with a siesta-time fiesta.... from 1 pm - 3:30 pm. Stop by for a nice slow Yucatan-inspired meal to enjoy here or take home for supper.

We have not heard definitely that Johnny Depp will not be stopping by to partake in this very generous meal of Mexican goodness.....

Fresh sweet corn and black bean salsa with fresh tortilla chips
Cochinita Pibil (Traditional Yucatecan Pork Shoulder Slowly Roasted in Banana Leaves)
Chef-Made Tamale
Pickled Red Onions · Red Beans with Chorizo · Rice
Grilled Sheldon Corn with Lime Butter
Guacamole · Tomato Onion Salsa
Fresh hand-made stone ground white corn tortillas · Valentina Hot Sauce

When: Sunday, July 27 1 - 3:30 p.m. Where: The Lawn at Sheldon Farms Market
Tickets: Slow Food Members $20 Non-Members $25 Nap in the Hammock $100
Please reserve.

Ingredients donated by Sheldon Farms and prepared gratis by Chef Christopher Tanner in support of the new Slow Food Chapter.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Slow Food Saratoga.
How (and many reasons why) to join Slow Food Saratoga

As a member of Slow Food Saratoga you'll receive discounts on Slow Food events in the Saratoga/Capital District area, in New York Cityand around the'll meet fascinating people who enjoy good food and good living ... you'll receive Slow Food USA periodicals, beautifully designed and illustrated, provocatively written. Your membership includes:

  • A one-year subscription to the Snail, which covers good, clean and fair food issues such as sustainable seafood, alternative food distribution, protecting biodiversity and regional food traditions.
  • A selection of publications from Slow Food International that feature in-depth stories of the movement from around the world.
  • The Food Chain, our monthly e-newsletter that highlights the activities of our 160 convivia, our diverse programs and the latest headlines in food sustainability.
  • A personal membership card and a copy of the Slow Food Companion (for first-time members, mailed quarterly), which details Slow Food's mission, network and projects.
  • Membership in the Saratoga Convivium and invitations to local, national and international Slow Food events ranging from seasonal feasts to film festivals, farm tours to taste workshops.
  • Discounts on merchandise including the Slow Food Guides to New York City, Chicago and San Francisco and other items in our General Store. Call for member discount or order through the monthly Food Chain.
An individual membership equals only $5 a month.... Start saving with these great events by visiting the web (Link below - Amex, Mastercard and Visa accepted). Or stop by the farmstore for a brochure and membership form.

'There are consequences to the decisions we make every day about what we eat. If we support the people who take care of the land, cook the food ourselves
and come back to the table, we will discover a delicious way of life,' says Alice Waters,
founder of Slow Food Nation, Slow Food International vice-president, and author of the foreword to Come to the Table: The Slow Food Way of Living.

black snail
Meet Chef Chris

Chef Christopher Tanner is a certified executive chef and member of the American Culinary Federation. With experience at numerous restaurants in NYC, Saratoga and Florida, Chef Chris is currently teaching at the prodigious culinary arts program at Schenectady County Community College, plus working on his Master's degree thesis in gastronomy at Boston University. He is classically trained in French haute cuisine as well as regional Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisines.
We have opened our roadside stand at the Christmas Shop on Rte 50 in Wilton, noon-6 pm, seven days a week. We are also at The Saturday Saratoga Farmers' Market and the Sunday Dorset Farmers' Market.

The heirloom tomatoes are ripening, sweet corn is sensational, green beans at their most luscious, and yes the Pennsylvania peaches have arrived. We also have Milky Way bars (please ask.)
We look forward to seeing you, and thank you for your support,

Pat and Albert at Sheldon Farms

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What the heck is this Charcuterie Things?

A number of people have been asking me what this charcuterie thing is that I do. I usually give a simple answer that it has to do with sausages, terrine, pate, galantine and the sort. However, I started to realize that they probably did not know what a terrine, pate or a galantine was either. So in the interest of education I thought I would post the Wikipedia article which I personally wrote a few weeks ago describing the different aspects of the craft. The article is not complete, it is missing items such as confit and I do not have specifics found in different cuisines, so check back soon and there should be some more info on there. The platter you see up to the right there is an example of a competition platter I did a couple years ago utilizing charcuterie skills. I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July.

Charcuterie, derived from the French words for flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit), is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.[1] Charcuterie is part of the garde manger chef's repertoire. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, these preparations are prepared today for their flavors that are derived from the preservation processes.[2] Charcuterie in Italy is known as salumi.


The Romans may be the first to have regulated the trade of charcuterie as they wrote laws regulating the proper production of pork joints; it was the French though, who raised the skill to an art. In 15th century France local guilds regulated tradesman in the food production industry in each city. The guilds that produced charcuterie were those of the charcutiers. The members of this guild produced a traditional range of cooked or salted and dried meats, which varied, sometimes distinctively, from region to region. The only "raw" meat the charcutiers were allowed to sell was unrendered lard. The charcutier prepared numerous items including pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon, trotters, and head cheese. These preservation methods ensured that meats would have a longer shelf-life.[3]

Products created with forcemeats

Forcemeat is a mixture of ground, lean meat emulsified with fat. The emulsification can be accomplished by grinding, sieving, or pureeing the ingredients. The emulsification may either be smooth or coarse in texture, depending on the desired consistency of the final product. Forcemeats are used in the production of numerous items found in charcuterie. Proteins commonly used in the production of forcemeats include pork, fish (pike, trout, or salmon), seafood, game meats (venison, boar, or rabbit), poultry, game birds, veal, and pork livers. Pork fatback is often used for the fat portion of forcemeat as it has a somewhat neutral flavor.[4]

In American usage, there are four basic styles of forcemeats. Straight forcemeats are produced by progressively grinding equal parts pork and pork fat with a third dominant meat which can be pork or another meat. The proteins are cubed and then seasoned, cured, rested, ground and then placed into desired vessel.[4] Country-style forcemeats are a combination of pork, pork fat, often with the addition of pork liver and garnish ingredients. The finished product has a coarse texture.[4] The third style is gratin which has a portion of the main protein browned; the French term gratin connotes a "grated" product that is browned.[4]. The final style is mousseline which are very light in texture utilizing lean cuts of meat usually from veal, poultry, fish, or shellfish. The resulting texture comes from the addition of eggs and cream to this forcemeat.[4]


Derived through French from the Latin sal, "salt", sausage-making is a technique that involves placing ground or chopped meats along with salt into a tube. The tubes can vary, but the more common animal-derived tubes include sheep, hog, or cattle intestinal linings. Additionally, animal stomachs, bladders, as-well-as inedible casings produced from collagen, plant cellulose or paper are used. Not all casings are edible; inedible ones are primarily used to shape, store, and age the sausage.[5] There are two main variants of sausage, fresh and cooked. Fresh sausages involve the production of raw meats placed into casings to be cooked at a later time, whereas cooked sausages are heated during production and are ready to eat at the end of production.[6]

Emulsified sausage

Emulsified sausages are cooked sausages with a very fine texture, using the combination of pork, beef, or poultry with fat, salt, nitrate, flavorings and water. These items are emulsified at high-speed in a food processor or blender. During this process the salt dissolves the muscle proteins, which helps to suspend the fat molecules. Temperature is an important part of the process, if the temperature rises above 60 degrees for pork or 70 degrees for beef, the emulsification will not hold and fat will leak from the sausage during the cooking process.[6]

Pâté, terrine, galantine, roulade

Pâté and terrines are often cooked in a pastry crust or a earthenware container. Both the earthenware container and the dish itself are called a terrine. Pâté and terrine are very similar: the term pâté often suggests a finer-textured forcemeat utilizing liver, while terrines are more often made of a coarser forcemeat. The meats are chopped or ground, along with heavy seasoning, which may include fat and other proteins. The seasoning is important for pâté and terrine as they will generally be served cold, as the seasoning must be increased as the flavors will be muted when cold.[7]

The mixture is placed into a lined mold, covered and cooked in a water bath to control the temperature, which will keep the forcemeat from separating as the water bath slows the heating process of the terrine. Pâté and terrine are generally cooked to 160 degrees, while terrine made of foie gras are generally cooked to an internal temperature of 120 degrees. After the proper temperature is reached the terrine is removed from the oven and placed into a cooling unit topped with a weight to compact the contents of the terrine. Then it is allowed to rest for several days to allow the flavors to blend.[7]

Galantine is a chilled production of poultry created after the French Revolution by the chef to the Marquis de Brancas. The term galant connotes urbane sophistication. Other origins are suggested: the older French word for chicken géline or galine or the word gelatin which sources suggest that the spelling of gelatin transformed into the words galentyne, galyntyne, galandyne, and galendine. The galantine is prepared by skinning and de-boning a chicken or other poultry. The skin is laid flat, with the pounded breast laid on top. A forcemeat is then placed on top of the pounded breast. The galantine is then rolled with the ends of the breast meeting one another. The galantine is then wrapped in cheesecloth and poached in poultry stock until the proper internal temperature is reached.[8]

Roulade is similar to a galantine. There are two major differences, the first difference is that instead of rolling the poultry evenly for the ends of the breasts to meet, the bird is rolled into a pinwheel shape. The second difference is that when the roulade is cooled it is chilled after it has been removed from the poaching liquid.[8]

Salt-cured and brined products

Salt serves four main purposes in the preservation of food in the charcuterie kitchen. The first is inducing osmosis: this process involves the movement of water outside of the cell membranes of the proteins, which in turn reabsorb the salted water back into the cell; this process assists in the destruction of harmful pathogens. The second is dehydration, which means that the salt pulls excess water from the protein, which aids in the shelf-life of the protein as there is less moisture present for bacteria to thrive in. Fermentation is the third, in which salt assists in halting the fermentation process in meat which would otherwise completely break it down. Finally, salt assists in denaturing proteins, which in essence means that the structure of the proteins are effectively shifted, similar to the effects of cooking.[9]

Before the discovery of nitrates and nitrites by German chemists around 1900, curing was done with unrefined salt and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). As saltpeter gives inconsistent results, and has been outlawed in the United States for culinary uses since 1975, nitrate and nitrates have increased in popularity for their consistent results. Nitrates take a considerably longer period of time to break down in cured foods than nitrites; because of this fact nitrates are the preferred curing salts for lengthy curing and drying periods. Nitrites are often used in foods that require a shorter curing time and are used for any item that will be fully cooked.[10] Eventually a portion of the nitrates will break down into nitrites.[11]

Nitrite has multiple purposes in the curing process. One purpose is flavor, the nitrites give a sharp, piquant flavor to the meat. Secondly the nitrites react with the meat molecules to produce nitric oxide. In producing nitric oxide the iron becomes incapable of breaking down the fat in the meat, thus halting rancidity. The binding also creates the characteristic reddish color found in most cured meats. Finally the nitrite inhibits the growth of botulism which would ordinarily thrive in the oxygen-deprived environment in the sausage casing. German scientists originally named botulism poisoning Wurstvergiftung or "sausage disease". The term botulism derives its name from the Latin term for sausage.[12]

Nitrates and nitrites have been noted to react with one another and form nitrosamines which are known to cause cancer. Recent research has proven this risk to be minimal, but regulations in the United States limit residual nitrates and nitrites to 200 parts per million (0.02%) as a cautionary measure.[12]

Curing salt blends

There are two main types of curing salt mixtures used by the charcutier. The first is known by multiple names, including "tinted cure mix", "pink cure", "prague powder", or "insta-cure #1". The mixture is 94 percent sodium chloride and 6 percent sodium nitrate. When used, the recommended amount is a ratio of 4oz/113g for each 100lb/45.36kg of meat or 4 percent of the total weight of the meat. This blend is colored bright pink to keep the charcutier from confusing the mixture with regular salt.[13]

The second curing salt blend is called "prague powder II" or "insta-cure #2". Also colored pink to differentiate it from table salt, this blend is produced from salt, sodium nitrite, and sodium nitrate. This mixture is used for dry-sausages that require a longer drying period which requires the presence of nitrate.[13]

Seasoning and flavoring agents

Sweeteners and other flavoring agents are necessary in the production of many cured products due to the harsh flavors of the curing salts. A number of sweeteners can be used in curing foods, including dextrose, sugar, corn syrup, honey, and maple syrup. Dextrose is seen often in cured meats as it not only mellows the harshness, but it also increases the moisture content of the cured product while not adding a sweet flavor to the cured meat. The sweeteners also assist in stabilizing the colors in meats and it also helps the fermentation process by giving a nutrient to the bacteria.[14]

Numerous spices and herbs are used in the curing process to assist with the flavor of the final product. The sweet spices regularly used include cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, mace, and cardamom. Other flavoring agents may include dried and fresh chilies, wine, fruit juice, or vinegar.[14]

Fermented sausage

Fermented sausage are created by salting chopped or grounds meats to remove moisture, while allowing beneficial bacteria to break down mild flavored proteins into highly aromatic and flavorful molecules. Bacteria, including Lactobacilli and Leuconostoc, break down these protein molecules and create lactic acid which not only affects the flavor of the sausage, but also lowers the pH from 6 to 4.5-5, making the environment less suitable to bacteria that may spoil the sausage. The effects are magnified during the drying process, as the salt and acidity are concentrated as the moisture is extracted.[15]

The ingredients found in a fermented sausage include meat, fat, bacterial culture, salt, spices, sugar and nitrate. Nitrate must be added to fermented sausages to stop the formation of botulism bacteria. The sugar is added to aid the bacterial culture in the production of lactic acid during the 18-hour to three-day fermentation process, the time depending on the temperature in which the sausage is stored at: the lower the temperature, the longer the fermentation period. A white mold and yeast normally adheres to the outside of the sausage during the drying process. This mold adds to the flavor of the sausage but also aids in preventing harmful bacteria attaching itself to the drying sausage.[15]

There are two main types of fermented sausage. The first would be the dry, salted, spiced sausages found in the warmer climates of the Mediterranean in countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal. As these sausages contain 25-35% water and more than 4% salt, they may be stored at room temperature. The sausages of northern Europe are usually contain less salt, usually around 3% , 40-50% water and as such do not dry well in the humid climate of countries like Germany.[15]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Charcuterie: Preserving a Classical Skill

One of my favorite parts of classical French cooking is the preparation of garde manger items. Specifically I love pates, terrines, rillettes, sausages and other similar items which are more specifically considered charcuterie. I go through phases of what I like to prepare depending on the time of year and other outside influences, such as seeing fresh product used to make such items. During the summer I tend to lean toward seafood and poultry items, while the fall and winter tends to bring forth heavier pork preparations along with turkey and game meats.

Many of these items were originally prepared as a way of preserving food longer or using pieces of the animal that there was little other usage for. Today we have such access to ingredients that not only do we get to utilize ancillary proteins in our kitchens, but we can use just about any flavor combination we desire, as long as it is tasty.

Seeing as we are in summer, I will share a recipe for a Trout Galantine with Dilled, Smoked Trout Forcemeat.

Trout Galantine with Dilled, Smoked Trout Forcemeat
1 tablespoon butter
2 oz. onion, minced
3 oz. smoked trout fillet, skinned, chopped coarsely
3 oz. trout fillet, skinned, chopped coarsely
2 slices white bread, crust removed
1 egg white
1.5 tablespoon light cream
pinch of salt, ground white pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
7 trout fillets, skinned, 3oz. each
Enough fish broth to submerge galantine in poaching vessal

1. Melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium/high heat and onions and cook until soft, but do allow to color, remove from pan and allow to cool.
2. Place smoked and fresh chopped trout into a large bowl, top with the sauteed onion and bread. Top egg white and cream to moisten bread and top with salt, white pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard. Place in cooler and chill for at least 1 hour.
3. Grind all chilled ingredients through the finest die of a meat grinder. Sieve through a drum sieve or strainer into a bowl over ice.
4. Mix ground forcemeat with whipping cream over iced bowl and then fold in dill.
5. Place trout fillets down on a layer of plastic wrap making sure they touch one another with the skin side up. Completely cover fillets with trout forcemeat. Once covered, roll the covered trout fillets into a log to create the galantine. Roll galantine in plastic wrap or cheese cloth as tightly as possible and tie the ends tightly with butchers twine.
6. Chill galantine while warming fish broth t0 175 degrees. Once at the proper temperature, submerge galantine in broth and poach for 30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 140 degrees is reached. Remove pan from heat, add 8 oz of ice cubes to poaching liquid and chill the galantine inside poaching vessel for 6-8 hours or until fully chilled.
7. Remove galantine from poaching liquid, unwrap and slice as desired. Serve with a dill or tarragon infused mayonnaise and a light salad as a first course or a light luncheon.

I have quite a large library of books on garde manger. Any chef would do well to have many of these in their repertoire, but any home cook with some practice can make any of these items as well. The most important part of attaining the ingredients for charcuterie and other garde manger items is to assure that the items are of the utmost freshness. So with that, I give you a list of suggested books for you to work on your own garde manger and charcuterie skills.

Book List
Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen by The Culinary Institute of America.
Third edition is due out January 3rd 2008

The Professional Chef's Art of Garde Manger by Frederic H. Sonnenschmidt.
Chef Sonnenschmidt is a walking reference book and classical practitioner of the craft, this was my textbook in culinary school.

The Professional Garde Manger: A Guide to the Art of the Buffet by David Paul Larousse .
Another textbook style book, good writing

Modern Garde Manger by Robert B Garlough, Angus Campbell.
Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook award in the food reference/technical category.

Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and Pâtés by John Kinsella and David T. Harvey.
An absolute favorite of mine, especially for the sausage recipes.

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman (Author), Brian Polcyn (Author), Thomas Keller (Foreword).
Aimed more at the home cook, this is a great book, and makes the topic very non-intimidating.

Pates and Terrines by Edouard Lonque (Author), Michael Raffael (Author), Frank Wesel (Author), Friedrich W. Ehlert (Editor).
An excellent book, one of my favorites. Very classical type recipes, this book is out of print, so it is slightly more pricey.

Kochkunst in Bildern 6: International Exhibition for Culinary Art 2000 (International Exhibition for Culinary Art) by International Exhibition for Culinary Art .
This is one of the books from the culinary Olympics that takes place every four years in Germany. This is one of my favorite editions, it is a book of pictures of competition garde manger platters and it is very inspirational for new ideas.

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