Previous month:
May 2010
Next month:
July 2010

Posts from June 2010

Stirrings: Simple Syrup

There's a discussion on on where to find simple syrup...made by Stirrings.

At first I thought I must have misread the post; surely Stirrings isn't bottling sugar water and selling it as "simple syrup" (and if they were, surely no one is foolish enough to buy it).  Bottling and selling sugar water (or more accurately, corn syrup water) is nothing new of course, but at least you get the satisfaction of a clever name like "Coke" or "Grenadine" with other sugar water products.  However, a quick jump to the Stirrings website confirmed my fears:  they are selling simple syrup.  At 5 bucks for 12 ounces!

Brilliant stuff.  

My first inclination was to ask the posters on Chowhound what advantage they see in using this product, rather than making simple syrup on their own.  However, the moderators (and quite frankly the posters to a large extent) at Chowhound do not appreciate questions and open discourse, and my question would have ultimately gone unanswered in any satisfactory way, and then removed.

That's OK though, because it seems that the folks at Stirrings knew people might be questioning the rationale behind such a ridiculous product, so they do offer an explanation:

Continue reading "Stirrings: Simple Syrup" »

Abma's Farm: Wyckoff, NJ


If you're like me, you call it Amba's Farm.  For some reason it's tough to get my head (and mouth) around "Abma".  But, it's Abma's Farm.  Somewhat related, I realized only this weekend that the word is "Valedictorian", and not "Valevictorian".  Thankfully I don't claim to be very bright, although my class rank was in fact 17 out of over 200.  But spelling/grammar/English wasn't my strong suit, as anyone who reads the drivel on this blog can attest to.

But on to what I do know about...

I visited Abma's Farm a few times a few years ago, and mentioned it here and there on this blog.  Others have been mentioning it as well, so I thought I'd give it some more exposure.

Abma's grows and raises a lot of its stuff.  For that reason alone, you should support them.  I don't know of too many family owned farms around our parts these days.  And that's yet another reason to support them.

In the spirit of the lowest common denominator bloggers that pepper the internet, I'm going to simply post a bunch of pictures, while pretending I've said something substantive and interesting.  And here ya go (please note that I resisted the urge to blur out 80% of each shot under the deranged impression that you should only be able to see "the important part"):

Continue reading "Abma's Farm: Wyckoff, NJ" »

Guanciale: burger


I'm constantly looking for ways to improve burgers. It goes without saying that the first step is to buy beef and grind it yourself. But, 'round here, the ratios and cuts are constantly being tweaked, and sometimes 86'd altogether.  In general, I'll end up with a blends which include hanger, and likely some chuck, but maybe some rib, skirt on occasion, and possibly some flap, hell I've ground up a porterhouse on occasion. And when I see the 'point' of the brisket (the fatty piece that sits atop the largely useless 'flat', which is what you generally see at the store) in the case at Fairway, you can bet that's going in. It has soooo much beautiful soft fat, and great beefy flavor.

Along with fat, the other element that I look for is the beautiful but elusive dry-aged flavor. That minerally, funky flavor that you can only get from dry-aged beef (for which I am a sucker).The burger at Peter Luger has notes of these flavors, and for good reason: they're using scraps of their dry-aged steak.  I had very good results with my own dry-aged burger, but as much as I love very good results, I can't bring myself to spend 20 dollars on a hamburger at home (although for somre reason I'd have no problem spending that much at a restaurant, and this makes little sense). A little lamb in the mix helps, but let's face it, lamb isn't terribly funky or gamey.  A bit, but not much.

With the brisket point not always available, I'm often left trying to come up with ways of getting more fat into the burger. There's the butter-in-the-middle-of-the-patty trick, which is quite easy and produces good results. There's the ground-up-bacon-in-the-meat trick. Good results, but it does add a bacony flavor which may or may not be what I'm going for at the time.

And then I got to thinking about that bacon. It's nice and fatty, but the smoky flavor isn't necessarily a good thing. If there were only some sort of funky, fatty part of an animal that I could introduce into the mix. And then it hit me: guanciale.

Continue reading "Guanciale: burger" »