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May 30, 2021

Food Thread: Fishheads and Rye: A Match Made In Heaven

RMS photo.jpg
Ryan Matthew Smith Photography

No particular reason for the photo, aside from it being rather good, and a bitter reminder that I can't grill fish worth a damn!


One of my favorite meals of all time was a loaf of San Francisco sourdough, a chunk of Safeway sharp cheddar and a salami from one of the big San Francisco companies (Columbus? Molinari?), all washed down with some Henry Weinhard's beer, which in retrospect was pretty crappy but sure went down nicely after a few hours of abalone diving at Fort Ross.

What made the meal so good and so memorable was the setting and the company. A beautiful day on the North Coast of California and an old friend and diving buddy.

The food could have been a bag of burgers from McDonalds or a catered picnic from The French Laundry, and it would have tasted just as good.

So take this as my regular admonition that the food is secondary to the company. When you are invited to someone's home, or invite someone to yours, it is for the pleasure of companionship; the meal is a delightful bonus!



There is actually a Sazerac Cocktail Week, which really shouldn't surprise anyone...

The Sazerac Cocktail is an absolute joy when made well, and an insipid mess when done poorly. And it's not as easy as it sounds, because there is no way to hide behind a bunch of ingredients. It's made from very small amounts of pretty strong stuff, so a tiny extra bit of one or the other and it becomes a very unbalanced cocktail.

1 sugar cube
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1½ oz. Sazerac Rye Whiskey
¼ oz. Herbsaint
Lemon peel

Pack an old-fashioned glass with ice.

In a second old-fashioned glass, place a sugar cube and three dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters.

Crush the sugar cube and add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey. Add ice and stir.

Empty the ice from the first glass and coat it with the Herbsaint, discarding the remainder.

Strain the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the first glass into the Herbsaint-coated glass.

Garnish with a lemon peel.

I don't vouch for this recipe. I have my own, and I'm not sharing. But this is a good start!


From bartender/commenter "Bitter Clinger," a very simple technique that sounds like it yielded a very good meal!
We're Gonna Need a Bigger Sous Vide!

Helped a fellow congregant with a whole hog, first one I've done. He and his wife are celebrating their 45th anniversary with the church and friends.

Built a pit with some old cinder block and some goat fencing for the rack. Turned out delicious.

I just know the Horde can do better and has some secrets to share.

My technique involved an overnight brine, getting up at 4 am, starting the fires (one on the side to feed fresh coals), basting the hog with white vinegar mixed with melted lard, flipping every two hours or so when I felt like I needed to. 12 hours later, bingo.

One of the two of us drank beer starting at about 9 am. And one of us decided it needed a mask for pictures. I'll let y'all sort out which one of us decided those practices would improve the finished product.

Beer makes BBQ taste better, especially when consumed in the morning. It is known...


Good cast-iron pans are a joy to cook with, and there has been a bit of a renaissance in their manufacture, with Lodge suddenly having competition from several high-end makers who produce some great (and expensive) stuff. Stargazer Cast-Iron is one of the better ones I have seen, and while expensive, they aren't stupidly so.

[Hat Tip: redc1c4]


Commenter "Otto Zilch" had some words of wisdom in response to last week's wine discussion.
If you like Albariño, you might also like Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourveèdre in France and Australia and Mataro in parts of California). It’s a red grape native to Spain that likes warm climates and can make full-bodied wines that go well with hearty foods like your short ribs. Almost as good with pizza as Zinfandel is. It also is the key ingredient in those very expensive rosés from the Bandol region in the Rhône

Monastrell-based wines from Jumilla and Yecla (districts on the east coast of Spain) are very affordable. Buy a half dozen different ones and you’re likely to find a new favorite among them. If you’re willing to go up some in price, look for some of the California ones. A lot of the Mourvèdre is grown in unsung places like Contra Costa. Look for Cline for moderately-priced California Mourvèdre, and Ridge, Rosenblum, Bonny Doon (Old Telegram) for more expensive ones. Matt Cline of Three Wine Company is probably the chief proponent of the grape in California, and is worth our support.



Yum! That's the beginning of Tomatillo Soup (here's a basic recipe) in the kitchen of a lurker. I assume he lurks because otherwise I would have been there for dinner.

Tomatillos are a great base for lots of wonderful things. I used to char them for salsa, and roast the hell out of them for a fun chicken and hominy stew.

Any experts out there with some more uses?


Tender Broccoli Rabe that isn't bitter, beef short ribs that have meat on them (not the stupid little sliver of bone they sneak into the packages), Snap Peas (apparently they are no longer grown in quantity), spare bottles of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old Bourbon, an herb garden that actually produces herbs, well-marbled NY strip steaks and elk backstrap to: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com.

And don't think that you are off the hook with maple syrup and French Toast: I'm watching you...all of you! And I am watching you perverts who shake Manhattans and keeping a list for the Burning Times.

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posted by CBD at 04:00 PM

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