Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bacon Dripping Ginger Snaps

Last year, my wife spotted a recipe for bacon-fat ginger snaps in the New York Times magazine. When Prather Ranch began regularly stocking bacon, we started socking away bacon fat - storing up the 3/4 of a cup required for the recipe.

We faced some hurdles along the way, including a package of bacon that was virtually fat free. Not surprisingly though, Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch was down with the bacon fat cookie cause. He contributed a package of bacon that was almost entirely fat.

Amy baked the first batch yesterday. The cookies are incredibly savory and that crisps up like you wouldn't believe. As you eat, you can feel the cookie bits melt in your mouth. As our friend Sarah pointed out to her partner Victor,"That'd be the fat."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

About 'A Milk War Over More Than Price'

The New York Times ran an article this morning on a new Walmart house-brand of organic milk. Because the article was in the business section, the motivation and character of Walmart's interest in selling organic milk goes more or less unadressed - there's a market, and they are delivering product to it.

According to a market researcher working with Walmart they are even expanding the organic consumer market, “They’re creating incremental users because they’re removing one of the big inhibitors to buying organic, which is price." I wonder what the persona room (pdf) for your typical Walmart organic buyer would have in it?

I'm still inclined to think that any interest in the organic food movement is a good thing, but some early adopters have been done with the organic label for years now because it's virtually meaningless - you can bathe lettuces in bleach and still sell them as organic.

Which is why it sounds like such a cop out when Aurora Organic Dairy, Walmart's organic milk supplier, says they,"are in full compliance with Agriculture Department standards for organic dairy."

Aurora are also feeding their cows hay, silage, corn and soybeans. I can't sling any mud at soybeans or silage, and grass-fed cows face perils of their own, but if you are feeding a cow corn then you've given up your right to make claims to your interest in that animals health and welfare.

Photo credit: Matthew Staver for The New York Times

Monday, September 04, 2006

Black's Tea-Smoked Sea Salt

Whenever she travels, our friend Sarah brings us back foodstuffs. Hot sauce and tamarind marinade from Puerto Rico, Turkish Delight from Istanbul. Most recently, she visited family back east and returned with this tea-smoked sea salt.

Sarah's brother Danny is the executive sous chef at Blacksalt restaurant in Washington D.C., where the salt is sold in an adjoining fish market.

The salt is redolent both of smoke and floral black tea scents, imparted over a fire of cherry and maple woods. It's a complex scent. I haven't had a chance to try the salt with fish, but am eager to give it a whirl in both raw and cooked preparations.