Thursday, September 29, 2011

Snap Spiked Pawpaw Clafouti Tart

We've been popping over to the Passyunk and South St. Market on Tuesdays to grab ingredients for Thursday's market. This past Tuesday there were plenty of pawpaws.  Coincidentally the folks at Art in the Age sent me samples of their intriguing and tasty products. I paired SNAP, their ginger snap flavored spirit, with the pawpaws. My mini sample tart is still in the oven. I'll comment on the flavor later. I did sample the SNAP soaked pawpaw pulp. The ginger/pawpaw combo is a sweet match. The pawpaw's floral, tropical notes and custardy texture get a mellow but spicy frame from the ginger and molasses infused spirits.

UPDATE. Snap and pawpaws are good friends if they limit their time together. After a few hours Snap begins to overwhelm and dominate the flavor conversation. The pawpaws that took a short dip in Snap were delicious with a good balance of contributions from both parties. The pawpaw that i soaked all day was just 20% tropical fruit notes and the rest was boozy sharp, dominant, spice and candy flavors.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Equinox Eggs Benedict

Robert Todd, one of the vegetable vendors at Saturday's Rittenhouse Market, connected me with a Chester Co farm that had a surplus of just laid chicken eggs from pastured hens. I bought a bunch. Most of them are headed into canele and tarts. We decided a few should be evaluated immediately. 

The hollandaise used Shankstead butter, veggies were from TapRoot and Z Food Farm, the toast is slices of WildFlour's  sourdough loaf. Those amazing September tomatoes were perfectly saturated with ripe flavor.They were delivered, just picked, yesterday, from our neighbor Bobbie. The ham, came from WholeFoods market.

No BirchRun Hills Equinox cheese was used in the making of this plate.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Market Day Canele In This Month's Food & Wine Magazine

Yahoo! We're honored to share a page in Food & Wine Magazine with a few other "French Dessert" producers. Merci Food & Wine.

Check out the new Market Day Canele web site. Send some canelovin to your good grub buds.

Guanciale di Vitello @ D'Angelo Bros

Sonny D'Angelo gave me a hunk of this calf jowl for experimentation. I did a little research and decided to pair it with some pappardelle. The dish didn't come out so great but the guanciale was wonderful..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fig Tart ------- West Cape May Tomato Tart With PorcSalt Bacon

Pricey, organic, WholeFoods figs in this tart. Claudio ricotta spiked with candied fruits and rum. In the baking process the homemade candied fruits: ginger, orange, cherry, lemon-- impart a fruity perfume to the ricotta..

Tomato times are nearly gone. I took a basket of Duckies tomatoes yesterday while in Cape May. These Jersey tomato tarts with bacon, leeks and cremini went to market in Media today.

Tomatoes Getting Scarce

I can't say no. I've got to use end of season tomatoes as often as possible. No, I'm not in denial. Tomato season is closing out.  

This plate uses Z Food Farm French fingerlings and heirloom tomatoes along with a BirchRun Hills pork chop.

Peach cider grilled chicken and oyster mushrooms with Duckies of West Cape May Jersey tomatoes.

Damselflies All Over The Garden

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

For me 9/11/2011 was an especially rough anniversary year. Was it the tremendous volume of media coverage or was it that 10 years is time for a deeper reflection? 

At first i resented the media's relentless attention to the approach of September 11,2011. Later, I remembered that years ago I told myself 9/11 should be remembered in all its horror, injustice and brutality. I felt then that it would be wrong to forget the hideous brutality of the day.  Listening to NPR radio presentations and watching the name reading online I felt that the 10th memorial anniversary was handled brilliantly.  What happened should never be forgotten.

Paul Simon was genius, an absolute poet of the moment. Transforming the Star Spangled Banner for the 21st Century The Brooklyn Children's Choir were spectacular. For me, first glimpses of the black pool were breathtaking.

Ten years after September 11, 2001, we remember those who lost their lives that day, and Duke University particularly remembers our six alumni killed in the attack:  Rob Lenoir, Peter Ortale, Todd Pitman,Todd Rancke, Fred Rimmele, and Michael Taylor. In Mozart's solemn Requiem, we pay tribute to the lives we have lost. But the deep lesson of 9/11 is that the power to dehumanize is best countered by our ability to recognize and respect the humanity of others. This university has the privilege of drawing together people from every part of American culture and the world, deepening their understanding, and sending them forth to be a force for good. On this day, we rededicate ourselves to advancing mutual understanding and mutual respect.  

A requiem is a time to mourn the deaths of others and to contemplate our own. Our culture denies death. On 9/11 the hijackers manufactured death in unspeakable quantities. But many people that day showed us how to die, how to transcend death, and so how to dissolve its power. May our lives, and our deaths, be worthy of theirs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pre 9/11 Report...Professor Micheal Gillespie Remembers Peter Ortale

My brother studied with Professor Gillespie at Duke. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 Michael recalls his relationship with my brother.

In Remembrance of 9/11 Victim Peter Ortale

Professor Michael Gillespie recalls a former student who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, and explores the struggle between good and evil. 
Editor's Note: Michael Allen Gillespie is the Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor of Political Science at Duke.

Durham, NC - Ten years ago, more than 3,000 people from many different countries had their lives snuffed out by an act of evil.  The thousands who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, in the Pentagon and aboard the four planes that were the instruments of this destruction remain, for the most part, faceless to us. On this anniversary, I would like to call back to memory one of the dead, our former student Peter Ortale.
Peter was a great deal like many Duke students.  He came to Duke from a working-class, Catholic family in northeast Philadelphia to play lacrosse and get an education.  He was good looking, with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He didn't care much about how he dressed, usually showing up to class in a battered sweatshirt.  He was a great athlete and especially excelled at lacrosse, winning all-ACC honors and serving as captain of the team.  He had an exuberant personality.  He liked to party and he loved to compete.  He clearly enjoyed the social life at Duke.

What distinguished Peter from almost all of the other students I have had at Duke over the last 30 years, however, was his utter dedication to learning and his complete indifference to grades.  Peter always wanted to take the most difficult and challenging courses, from my graduate seminar on European nihilism to Russian.  As his adviser, I often suggested that he give himself a break, but he always gave me a little quiet smile and told me he'd think about it, and we both knew that meant no.  Those courses were one more mountain to climb and Peter had to measure himself against it.  Even though he knew he couldn't make it to the top, he was happy with the views he got from one or another precipice on the way.
peter ortale
Peter Ortale

The other thing that set Peter apart was his constant efforts to impart this same enthusiasm for learning to his friends and particularly the members of his lacrosse team.  He was always hauling them along to one class or another, encouraging them to join him in the serious pursuit not of good grades or a college degree but of a challenging and fruitful education.  He brought several of them to my various classes and while they seldom had any preparation for the subject matter, Peter always managed to convince them they would be better for the challenge.

After Duke, Peter traveled for a while, played lacrosse on a variety of club teams in both the U.S. and abroad, and went to work on Wall Street.  He was 37 and working for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.  After the attack, he made three phone calls: to his wife, his mother and a friend in California before heading for the stairs.  He did not reach the bottom.

I remember writing a letter of recommendation for Peter in 1987.  I don't remember all of the details and the letter itself is long since lost or laid aside.  However, I do remember remarking that if I ever had a son, I would want him to be like Peter.  My son Tom was born in the fall after Peter graduated and is actually somewhat like Peter.  I don't know that a father could ask for anything more.  I only hope that he becomes as good a human being as Peter and has as positive an impact on those around him.
I have often confronted the question in class whether there is a real difference between good and evil, or whether all values are not relative to particular cultures or particular historical periods.  It seems to me that the events of Sept. 11th provide us with a simple but concrete answer to this question, and that this answer is captured in the differences between Peter Ortale and those who murdered him.  Peter took great joy in helping and encouraging others; Osama Bin Laden and his henchmen took great pleasure in killing them.  Where decent human beings mourn and cry, they celebrate and laugh.

In killing Peter and all the others, these murderers struck a blow against humanity and against good men and women everywhere.  As dramatic as this blow was, however, I cannot help but believe that the good that Peter and all the other victims of 9/11 did in life will ultimately outshine the evil of those who destroyed them.

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After Dr. Gillespies piece appeared online I received this soulfully honest message from a Duke Alumnus.

I knew a young man named Pete Ortale when I was a student at Duke University.  I didn’t know him well, in fact, I only met him once on the quad on a sunny spring afternoon a few weeks before I graduated.  I certainly knew of him for longer.  He was one of those chosen young men that all the girls talked about.  He was a couple of years behind me but I remember hearing about him almost from the moment he set foot on campus.  He was good-looking, an athlete, and remarkably, by all accounts, a genuinely nice guy.  He was the kind of guy I actively stayed away from, too much competition.  Plus he was younger, I had a brother in his class, much too young for me.  Still, I’d noticed him.

Peter Kevin Ortale, Duke ’87, was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.  I found out this news a week after the attack when I finally got the courage to check the Duke Alumni website.  I didn’t want to know anyone.  I didn’t want to check that list but I had to.  Deep breathe and down the list until my heart stopped.  I later read the Portrait of Grief in the New York Times.  After the first plane hit he called his mother and his wife from his office on the 80th floor of the second tower to report that he was OK.  

I haven’t seen Pete since I graduated from Duke.  I’m not sure I ever mentioned him to other friends and family.  He might even be surprised that I remember him, but I do.  It was a beautiful day.  I was standing with a group of guys discussing baseball.  For people who know me this fact would not be surprising.  Standing on the quad talking baseball, my kind of afternoon and then Pete Ortale walks up.  Ohmigod, Pete Ortale.  I know why the girls talk about you.  Lisa, do you know Pete?  No, hi.  And then he smiled at me.  It was one of those smiles, the kind you remember.  It was a springtime smile.  I see something in you and I know that at this moment you see something in me.  Are you going to be at that party tonight?  Maybe.  For me, maybe meant no.  I was going to graduate in a few weeks, and he was Pete Ortale, the kind of guy I avoided.  I was flattered, it was an ego boost, and it was enough.  It was a memory to tuck away and pull out when I was feeling low.  Something to keep in my heart to remind myself that I was once young.  

Some people we love because they are family.  Some people we love because we can’t imagine our lives without them.  Some people we love because their happiness rubs off on us and makes us happy too.  Some people we love because of one moment.  And I will grieve for you, Peter Keith Ortale, because of one moment, a long time ago when, on a beautiful, sunny, April afternoon, you smiled at me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cheese Steaks The Best is Better Than Ever

Pre-chewed cheese steaks, in my view, are not at the top of the list on the cheese steak mastery chart. Jim's Steaks goes beyond pre-chewing by precooking and then hacking the the beef to shreds. Pats and Geno's does enough precooking that the 'beef' is like vulcanized tissue paper. Last time at Dalessandro's I got the impression that, to them, cheese steak virtuosity involves bludgeoning 'beef' and making a racket with spatulas. It doesn't at all.

I was once in line at Sonny's and the guy in front of me ordered 'extra chopped'. He said it as if it was a straight up Philly thing to order. IT IS NOT. It's worse than asking for Swiss.

If you enjoy the texture and flavor of good quality, sliced beef and prefer grub that is cooked to order. If you want to have a basis for saying that you know what an excellent cheese steak tastes like then get thee to Steve's.

Businesses That Botch...Liberty Gas Car Wash 1600 South Columbus

This place has been sucking for years. The card reader never fails to say "SEE ATTENDANT." Who wants to wait in line for the attendant, in the rain, with other folks waiting to get $5 of gas? OK, that alone sucks. Over that mess, heap on pricing that is about 25 cents a gal over other spots, and you've got incompetence and possibly electronic manipulation coupled with narrow greed. It's the worst.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day ......Lunch

We stuck around town for the holiday. 

Poached eggs with seared beef and veal, shishito peppers and garlic, heirloom tomatoes. Tasty with Metro Cracked Wheat.
 Lil lady made this goat milk and honey, basil ice cream. I minced some candied cherry for the topping.

Happy Labor Day

My son sent this pic today. He's WWOOFing in Bordeaux.

Two Men of Avignon.