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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Take Some Jerky With You

Celestino’s makes the best jerky in-house, in a ton of different flavors, says cdmedici. They have venison and buffalo in addition to beef.

The beef jerky at Gem’s, swears Funwithfood, is killer good.

Mealcentric’s favorite jerky is at 99 Ranch. Spicy and moist (but not moist enough to be gross–it’s dried meat, after all), it’s super-tasty even if it does look kinda hairy around the edges. Brand name unknown; it comes in a distrinctive red Ziploc bag with black writing on it.

A couple other jerky specialists come recommended: Patty’s House of Jerky (several kinds of meats, including several flavors of beef jerky) and Auntie Dee’s jerky store.

Celestino’s Meat Market [South OC]
270 E. 17th St. # 16, Costa Mesa

Gem Meats [North OC]
3125 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton

99 Ranch Market [San Gabriel Valley]
771 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park

99 Ranch Market [San Gabriel Valley]
140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel

99 Ranch Market [San Gabriel Valley]
8150 Garvey Ave. # 121, Rosemead

99 Ranch Market [Pasadena-ish]
1300 S. Golden West Ave., Arcadia

99 Ranch Market [Inland of LA]
1625 Azusa Ave., Hacienda Heights

99 Ranch Market [Inland of LA]
1015 Nogales St., Rowland Heights

99 Ranch Market [East San Fernando Valley]
6450 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys

99 Ranch Market [South Bay]
1340 W. Artesia Blvd., Gardena

99 Ranch Market [Artesia-ish]
17713 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia

99 Ranch Market [South OC]
15333 Culver Dr., Irvine

99 Ranch Market [South OC]
5402 Walnut Ave., Irvine

Patty’s House of Jerky [Inland of LA]
32692 Ortega Hwy., Lake Elsinore

Auntie Dee’s Jerky [South OC]
211 Avenida Del Mar #A, San Clemente

Board Links
Beef Jerky in Orange County

Head Cheese

Head cheese is not a cheese but a jellied sausage-like terrine. It’s made by simmering the head of a hog or calf, for a long, long time. Seasonings are added; often vinegar for some acidity, and chiles, for a spicy version. The broth is then strained, and the meat removed from the bones and returned to the broth. The remaining mixture is then cooled in a loaf pan.

All those bones make for a very stiff jelly; it can easily be sliced as a lunch meat, or as an appetizer.

Lots of deli departments sell it in both the mild or spicy version.

Board Links
What is head cheese?

New Brent’s Now Open

The long-awaited Westlake Village branch of Brent’s famous is now open, and the pastrami and corned beef is just as good as at the Northridge original, reports LesThePress. Plus, it’s quieter, softer, and more comfortable. At peak times there’s definitely a wait, but it seems to move quickly and there’s much more room to wait than in Northridge. The d

Truffle Salt

Truffle salt is a combination of ground truffles and sea salt. It doesn’t have the intensity of truffle oil, but the essence of truffle is definitely there.

Sprinkle it on almost any savory dish; the stuff works particularly well on scrambled eggs, croutons, roasted asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, crispy-skinned chicken and roasted meat.

For very special fries and popcorn, give them a hit of truffle salt.

Amazon sells several truffle salts.

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Truffle Salt

Corn Off the Cob

It’s hard to imagine overdosing on corn on the cob, but if you do, cut the kernels off your end-of-summer corn, and use it in one of these recipes.

Saute the kernels with minced jalapenos to taste; once off the heat, stir in goat cheese for a creamy, spicy side–or add sauteed or grilled shrimp for a main dish.

Saute the kernels and add to pasta with some oven-dried cherry tomatoes, basil, shrimp, and a bit of white wine and olive oil.

Saute with onion and garlic and add soy sauce for a sweet and salty combo (also good with mushrooms).

gorboduc shares his recipe for corn pudding: preheat oven to 350F. Cut the kernels off of 5 ears of sweet corn. Scrape the cobs down to get the remaining corn and corn juice. Sprinkle the corn with 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and fresh ground pepper. Stir to coat. Add 2 well-beaten eggs, 2 cups whole milk, and 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Stir to combine. Pour into a greased casserole and bake for about 1 hour, until the pudding is set on the edges, but still jiggles a bit in the center.

AlliantK recommends this recipe for fresh corn quiche.

Board Links
End of Summer Corn-something new?

Give That Steak a Rest

Most home cooks know that large roasts should rest before being carved, so their juices can reabsorb. The same is true of the simple steak. But how to keep such a small piece of meat from cooling off while it rests? Here’s what happens: during the resting period, the internal temperature of a piece of meat will actually increase from the residual heat, explains Norm Man. This is called the carryover cooking effect. In his experience, the internal temperature of a steak will rise around 5-7 degrees.

So, to rest a steak: place your cooked steak on a warmed plate. Crease a piece of foil to form a tent shape, and drape the foil over the plate so it doesn’t touch the steak. This’ll keep all the heat in without compromising the steak’s crust. Finally, you only need to rest a steak around five minutes before digging in. If it’s an inch thick, it still won’t want more than ten minutes.

Board Links
Preserving the heat: Steak serving temperature

Snackie Cakes

Snackie Cakes

Our own versions of cellophane-wrapped classics allow you to make your own old-fashioned treats. READ MORE

The Weak in Review: Least Essential Food Writing for Sept. 4-8

It’s two, two, two sucky stories to wind up the week.

In the October issue of Food & Wine, Christopher Russell, general manager at New York’s Union Square Café, reveals his bohemian sense of hospitality: “[A customer] had a bacon-cheddar burger and a bottle of the 1982 Cheval Blanc; a $13 burger and a $1,400 bottle of wine. I thanked him and invited him to come back the next day.” Incredible! A customer spends $1,400 on wine… and he’s invited back! Stay tuned for November’s edition, wherein a customer mishandles the blini while eating an $800 plate of caviar and is not summarily whapped across the face with a vodka bottle.

The email newsletter of aphrodisiac-obsessed food writer Amy Reiley is similarly uninspired this week, with a not-very-detailed essay on why the tomato is this month’s sexy featured ingredient. She writes:

Renamed pomme d’amore, or love apple, by the French in the 16th Century, the tomato is thought by many historians to be the original forbidden fruit.

Google would reply by saying: Name one historian making that case. Islamic historians thought it was the banana, which makes a certain amount of low-comedy sense. Jewish tradition suggests the pomegranate, among other possibilities. Figs, mushrooms, apples, pears, and quinces have also been mentioned as reasonable candidates, but the truth is that no one really has a clue. One thing’s for sure: the tomato, as a New World plant, is fairly far down the ladder of speculation.

A Crush-Worthy Candidate

There’s a new food blogger in town, and he happens to be the most adorable candidate for Agriculture Commissioner of South Carolina this writer has ever seen. Probably also the most adorable candidate for Agriculture Commissioner anywhere.

Emile DeFelice, the aforementioned adorable candidate, raises pigs for a living and lets his animals roam free on a certified organic farm. He helps direct a farm stewardship association and has supercute kids and a wife who makes her own wine. And as a central part of his campaign, he’s drawing attention to the local-food movement: The whole family has been eating nothing but locally-produced food since July 4th and plans to continue through election day. He’s making rather good use of the camera and the blog medium in documenting their eat-local challenge, too; those pork chops in particular look mighty chompable.

Sure, he’s not a perfect candidate. As Fesser at The Gurgling Cod points out (Fesser is the one who introduced me, btw), Emile does have a penchant for silly puns —the whole “put your state on your plate,” “put my pork on your fork” thing could get a little old. And Emile also seems inordinately worried that people will mispronounce his name.

Still, this guy is inspiring—he even has a whip-smart energy policy that recognizes the inherent limitations of corn ethanol and soybean-based biofuels and instead emphasizes solar and wind power!! Head and shoulders above my state’s ag commissioner, who’s actually pretty cool. If any of y’all are contemplating a move to South Carolina before November, I say do it, and vote DeFelice. And if you already live there, well, lucky you (for many reasons). Anyone know of other cool food-forward politicians?

On the Hook

Could Red Hook get any more hyped? With the opening of fancypants grocery store Fairway Market earlier this summer, and a giant IKEA in the works, hardly a week goes by without some trend piece naming it the next Williamsburg/Dumbo/Hell’s Kitchen/East Village. And now, a wine bar!

Already, there’s a lot to eat-and drink-down by the waterfront. Recent spreads in Edible Brooklyn and The New York Times (requires registration) revealed local foodies’ secret: the cheap, excellent Mexican and Central American street food cooked up by local vendors alongside the ballfields on summer weekends. Bourbon lovers make the trek to LeNell’s quirky liquor boutique for its superior small-batch sourmash selection; drag-karaoke enthusiasts go to hipster diner Hope & Anchor; cupcake cravers hit Baked; and steak and kimchee fans head to The Good Fork.

But as if we needed any more evidence that the nabe going from Mickey’s to merlot, the Hook’s got a brand-new wine bar, Tini, run by Monica Byrne (who worked the kitchen of the nearby Liberty Tap Room, back when they served more than just deep-fried mozzarella sticks). The menu sounds like a stripped-down version of Cobble Hill’s new Bocca Lupo: Italian salumi, nifty cheese plates, olives, salads from local asphalt-farm Added Value along other salty, snacky small plates meant to keep you drinking.

Still, for all the ink the ‘hood’s getting, it’s still pretty scruffy (although it certainly wasn’t hit as hard with the aluminum-siding ugly stick as Williamsburg and Greenpoint). And there’s no public transit, besides a couple of bus lines. So sure, go raise a glass at Tini if you’re already living in Brooklyn. But Manhattanites? You people have enough bars. Stay home.