Archive: February, 2009
|Triumph brewer Patrick Jones mashing in.|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Jay Misson, former Director of Brewing Operations for Triumph Brewing Co., was working at Gordon Biersch in San Francisco in 1996, when his intern Peter Kruse asked him how he would brew a classic German pilsner. Scratching out a quick recipe, he handed off the paper and forgot about it. In June of 2008, Misson suddenly passed away.
Though Misson is no longer with us, his spirit — and his recipe — is. After Jay's death, Peter Kruse got in touch with writer and Malt Advocate editor Lew Bryson through his blog, Seen Through A Glass, where Jay had been eulogized by both Bryson and many friends. He mailed a copy of the hand-written recipe to Bryson, who passed it along to Patrick Jones, head brewer at Triumph's Philadelphia location, and Casey Hughes of Flying Fish, who decided to pay tribute to their friend by collaboratively brewing his Pils Jay's Way.
Meal Ticket arrived at Triumph at the crack of 9 a.m. to photograph Jones and Hughes mashing in for the first-ever batch of Pils Jay's Way. The scrawled-on-a-napkin sort of recipe had never been brewed until Feb. 3, 2009, and will debut at Triumph's Klash of the Kaisers on Thu., March 12. This Philly Beer Week event will feature up to 10 local pilsners subjected to both expert and audience judging to determine the finest in the land. The contest will have entrants from Sly Fox, Dock Street Brewing, Nodding Head, Earth Bread + Brewery — and of course, Triumph. Any type of pilsner is welcome, from a classic German or Czech style, to modern American or Mexican interpretations. "Anywhere else in the country," says Hughes, "you couldn't even find 10 local pilsners." Any guest at the event may purchase a sampler of all entries and submit a ballot with their vote for the People's Choice Award.
|Casey Hughes of Flying Fish adding hops|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Jones expects that Pils Jay's Way will exhibit the key characteristics of a German pilsner. "Plenty of early hop additions will give this significant bitterness in the back of your throat, with a malty flavor on the tip of the tongue and some residual sugar," he says. "Alcohol should be in the low fives."
When I asked Jones and Hughes why they wanted to make Pils Jay's Way, they both looked sad. "We all worked in Florida at the same time," said Hughes. Jones and Misson were both employed by Gordon Biersch in Miami, while Hughes was working at Key West Brewery. "We've all been friends for a long, long time," added Jones.
Misson was a beloved pioneer of the craft beer scene. The guy was brewing German lagers by strict Reinheitsgebot standards since 1978 (in a German brewpub attached to Action Park in NJ, of all places!). He trained many brewers, including Jones. By all accounts, he was a brewer devoted to classic German styles — Bryson even called him a "lager chauvinist." At Klash of the Kaisers, those who were influenced by Misson's teachings on brewing proper lagers and pilsners will have a chance to raise a glass of the man's beer, to the man himself.
Pils Jay's Way will debut at Klash of the Kaisers, Thu., March 12, at Triumph Brewing Co., 117 Chestnut St., 215-625-0855
|Photo l Drew Lazor|
Groundhog and woodchuck recipes abound on the Internet. Most require you to clean your freshly shot carcass with a garden hose, remove the scent glands from the 'chucks armpits, and hang the critter for 3 days to reduce that gamey flavor. Since we live in the city without a hose, much less a shotgun, and don't care to find scent glands at all, we'll just stick with what we know: word play!
Nothing says Ground Hog Day like a visit to Fiorella's, the premier sausage emporium at 9th and Christian. This family-run business keeps it simple: they sell hot and sweet pork sausage, with or without fennel seeds, pork roasts, cheese sausage and bacon. Everything is made fresh on premises, and the prices are fair for such quality product. We hit up the pig mart to score some hot and sweet loose sausage and bacon, in order to attempt the travesty of nature that has swept the Web: BBQ Addicts' Bacon Explosion.
The basic premise is to weave a mat of bacon, five strips by five strips, and cover with a layer of loose sausage. Cooked crumbled bacon, sprinklings of dry rub and barbecue sauce are added, then the whole thing is rolled into a meat pinwheel. The creation is then smoked, or baked low and slow for at least two-and-a-half hours to yield a log of truly-heart stopping proportions.
|Bacon-weaving, for fun and possible death.|
|Don Ipock for The New York Times|
The New York Times picked up the Bacon Explosion as an example of both the power of bacon-love and internet marketing, lending it hitherto-unheard of mainstream credibility and professional photography. Meal Ticket tried their hand at bacon-weaving and rolling by request of Felicia's Dad, who despite high triglycerides was determined to experience the thing.
Dabbed with a little Sweet Baby Ray's honey barbecue sauce, one sweet and one hot Fiorella's meat fattie went into the oven. Three hours later, we dissected the thing and slapped the slices between split Pillsbury biscuits. The verdict? Frightening as it looks, it's good. The salty strips of exterior bacon baste the sausage and keep it moist, while the crumbled bacon creates texture variation. The sweet barbecue sauce added another layer of flavor that contrasted spectacularly with the spicy sausage.
The massive roll of Ground Hog made for a gruntingly good Superbowl Sunday dinner, as well as supplying the fun of weaving pork fat into a mat. With an alleged 5,000 calories and 500 grams of fat, I don't think we'll be eating it regularly. But it made the men happy. Carnivores, Eat This Immediately.
Check out the NY Times version of the recipe HERE.
Fiorella's Sausage, 817 Christian St., 215-922-0506
I abstained from meat for a week. Read why here.
My main revelation, however, has been that I should probably stop eating fatty meat with such unmitigated frequency. My self-prescribed fast solidified what I already knew — I love meat and I'm never going to stop eating it (sorry, Erik!) — but it's also helped me realize that there are plenty of meals I can occasionally make that are both healthy and easy to pull off.
As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to test out some recipes from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby's Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine for dinner last night. I've have this tome in my cookbook pile awhile now, but never attempted to make anything out of it because I found it a little intimidating. But after a great meal there on Saturday, I built up the courage to flip through and pick out a few things. While some of their recipes are involved, the two I chose were extremely straightforward and produced some nice results. Learn how to make Seitan Beef, Barley & Ale Soup and Garlic Green Beans with Marcona Almonds & Vegan Tarragon Butter after the jump.
Seitan Beef, Barley & Ale Soup (from Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine)
Yields 6 to 10 servings as an appetizer or 4 to 6 servings as an entrée
Go Get This:
2 quarts vegetable stock
4 cups seitan, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup dark ale (I ended up using Flying Fish's Imperial Espresso Porter)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons margarine (I used butter)
1 cup dried wild mushroom blend
2 cups pre-cooked barley (prepare according to package)
Optional garnishes: Chopped chives for garnish (I used scallions); truffle oil; baguette slices
Then Do This:
1. In a large pot, simmer all ingredients, except the barley, for 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the barley and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Top bowls with any or all of the optional garnishes.
Garlic Green Beans with Marcona Almonds & Vegan Tarragon Butter (from Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine)
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Go Get This:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 pound French beans or green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup water
2 tablespoons margarine, softened (I used butter)
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Spanish Marcona almonds, chopped or crushed
Then Do This:
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat until it ripples.
2. Add the garlic and immediately put the string beans on top.
3. When the garlic starts to brown (after 1 to 2 minutes), add hte water and cover the skillet.
4. Steam the beams until the desired tenderness — some people like their green beans crunchy, while some prefer theirs a bit more tender.
5. When done to your liking, transfer the beans to a mixing bowl, and add the margarine (or butter), tarragon, salt and pepper.
6. Toss until the margarine (or butter) melts, and then garnish with the almonds.
|Pabbit loves bourbon.|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
As the second cycle of Restaurant Week(s) revs up tonight, chef Jonathan McDonald of Pub & Kitchen wants to make sure cooks, servers, bartenders and managers have something to look forward to.
P&K's late-night happy hour should soothe the jangled nerves of those who have been serving hordes of bargain-hungry RW diners — think beer, bourbon and bivalves. From Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., restaurant staff can hit up P&K's bar for $4 bottles of Brooklyn lager and a shot of Bulleit bourbon (one vote for new Citywide Special!), $3 draft beers and oysters on the half shell for a buck each.
The 'tenders won't even play 20 questions with you before you've had your alcohol. "We don't want to grill people," says JMac. "We're trusting you — no pay stubs required." Maybe friends of servers and cooks should treat their hard-working comrades to a beer, and get in on the industry discount. The chef is even considering extending the late-night deal into the future. "We've had a great turnout, " he says. Meal Ticket has spotted staff from Rouge, Snackbar, Ten Stone and Amada chilling at the happening bar already. Could Pub & Kitchen become the new pre-Pen & Pencil?
|Strongbox on Facebook|
With a capacity of around 100, it'll be a little cozier than your average Center City lounge — owner Brett Perloff (formerly of Pearl) says the name’s a nod to the intimate, exclusive vibe he hopes to build. Expect realistically priced bottle service with a few unexpected twists (attorney/party promoter Perloff won’t elaborate just yet); magnums (1.5 liters) and jeroboams (3 liters) of champagne; and a small specialty cocktail list. They will be serving food, though details on that are scarce at this juncture.
One unique feature: an elevated DJ booth that’ll be accessible only by ladder. The artist's rendering above comes from Strongbox's Facebook page.
City Paper restaurant critic David Snyder (aka PhilaFoodie) is one quotable SOB. A lawyer by day, he's been tapped for a number of articles, including a March '07 New York Times piece on the lawsuit involving Bala Cynwyd restaurant Chops and Inky crit Craig LaBan. But lately he's also been lending his expertise as a Wine School of Philadelphia instructor to the Associated Press — check out this piece on good wines for a Super Bowl party and this one on pairing vino with broccoli (!). Go on, D.
Those watching the Super Bowl last night may have been disappointed in the creativity of the pricey commercials. Pepsi's trans-generational "Refresh Anthem" appealed to nostalgia; Coca-Cola relied on CGI flowers and bees and Cheetos reminded us that snobby bitches in silver Uggs look down on those who eat flourescent orange snack food.
The only one that stuck out in my mind was Denny's offer of a "free serious breakfast" — their classic Grand Slam. Two eggs, two pieces of bacon, two sausage links and two pancakes comprise the oversized plate — and tomorrow, it's free. Every Denny's is offering a free original Slam to each customer from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tue., Feb. 3, as well as 1000 coupon books to be used later that include buy-one, get-one deals, 25 percent off, free dessert and free puppy pancakes (made with real puppies!).
If you don't have time to eat your free breakfast in, find a manager and ask for one of the 500 Grand Slam rainchecks they have on hand. I haven't been to a Denny's since high school, when it was our preferred hangout for sucking down gallons of coffee and smoking endless butts. Now that the ashtrays are off tables across PA, the food might taste of fake syrup and fake butter instead of used nicotine.
Click here for a list of Denny's in the Philadelphia area — not a one in the 215, though.
|Cheeses of Piemonte at Osteria|
Any serious home cook who has tasted the wild boar ragu with chestnut fettuccine at Vetri knows that the waves of happiness that run from the tongue to the brain are accompanied by a a lime-green passenger: envy. Though intellectually you know chef Marc Vetri spent years honing his craft, in Italy no less, slavishly rolling pasta until he could spin out perfect sheets, you jealously wonder why you never took the time to learn this transcendent practice.
Your chance to quit coveting and start rolling has arrived: The prep kitchen at Osteria has been converted into a culinary school, and lessons on pasta making, pizza making, wine tastings and cheese classes are set to start. In addition to learning from masters of Italian cuisine Vetri and Jeff Michaud, guest chefs and winemakers will be visiting to share their expertise. For those who can eat without envy, simply choose a theme and allow Vetri or Michaud to cook for your group, while you host and hold forth like a bon vivant.
Call or e-mail Osteria for more information: 215-763-0920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
I’m abstaining from meat for a week. Read why here.
For Day 6's dinner, I decided to go all the way out — Horizons, y'all. Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby's much-celebrated vegan eatery, which opened in 2006 near Seventh and South, has definitely been on my The Week Without Meat hit list from the beginning. The second-to-last evening of my veg challenge seemed like the perfect opportunity to splurge a little. I'm glad I did.
The lady and I pulled up seats at the ground-floor bar and got busy. Clockwise from top left — seitan reuben sliders (I'm a Jewish deli addict, so these were killer); grilled seitan with yukon mash, horseradish cream sauce and red pepper tapenade (heartily American in the best possible way); Jacoby's super-creamy saffron creme brulee with pistachio biscotti; and Catalan tempeh with braised lentils and a smoked eggplant-stuffed pepper. I dug everything we ordered, but I'll admit that I'm not accustomed to the consistency of tempeh — this was my first time having it, and I was somewhat flummoxed by the inherent textural characteristics of the soybean-based superfood. I'll give it another shot down the line, but for now I think seitan is my number one not-meat girl.
Tonight, I'll be trying my hand at two recipes from their 2007 cookbook, Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine, for my Super Bowl dinner — seitan beef, barley and ale soup and garlic green beans with Marcona almonds and tarragon butter*. How badly will I screw this up? Find out tomorrow.
Also: When shopping for ingredients at Whole Foods earlier, I couldn't resist tossing a packet of uncured bacon into the cart. Will I be frying up a big-ass pile at 12:01 a.m.? Check back manana for the answer.
* The recipe calls for vegan butter, but I think I'm going to rock the real stuff.
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