Category: Community Table


The Voice of a Pork Chop

There is no denying the siren call of a Heritage pork chop, the sort of thing that would have made Homer crash his ship. Or, make a man sing about the Voice of a Pork Chop. Some folks might think it’s weird, but it makes perfect sense to us, and to Bob Dylan, who was a big fan of Jim Jackson, a blues and hokum songster who recorded this song in the late 1920s. Hokum, by the way, means comedy songs and shtick, and was big back in the days of medicine shows and vaudeville. This song was based on a popular gospel theme, bringing religion straight to the dinner table. The Voice of a Pork Chop?? Indeed!!!!!

Give the Gift of Good Taste! by Walker Martin

Many years ago, before the Internet had connected us (and deconnected us in may ways, as well), a friend brought me a steak for my birthday. It was a massive rib-eye, cut thick, straight from the butcher’s case, except he wrapped it in holiday wrap and put a bow on it. When he brought it by, he told me to put it in the fridge.

At the time it seemed like an odd gift. My wife thought my friend was nuts, “Who does that?” she wanted to know. “He can’t just be normal and get you a book or a CD or a new tie?”

Thank god he didn’t get be any of those things, because he has horrible taste (I would have ended up with a self-help book, or a Wayne Newton CD he ironicall thought was “the greatest thing ever”), instead I got a fantastic dinner for two built around an aged ribeye that would have cost just by itself about $200 in a decent steak house.

I bought some very good wine to go with it – the kind of stuff that sells $100 a bottle in a restaurant, but only a third of that from a local bottle shoppe – and now my wife the naysayer is still talking about that dinner as one of the most romantic and satisfying we ever had at home. Moral of the story? My friend the weirdo is now my friend the genius.

-Walker Martin
(Bon vivant, food writer, raconteur)

In Celebration of the Feast!

From the “Carnivore’s Manifesto” by Heritage Foods USA founder Patrick Martins
In the words of Mae West, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
As in all things, of course, a little common sense could prevail.
But I’m sick of people telling me to eat only plants. Sure, health is wealth and all we want is for everyone to live a long life, but we also need to have times of wild abandon.
In the Middle Ages, feasts happened when food was abundant: the festivals of spring, summer, and fall. Feasting was a way of allowing yourself a temporary respite from your troubles, sometimes to a point bordering on revolution—during Carnival, kings behaved as paupers in a complete inversion of society, while the proles ruled the roost. The idea was, better to go all out tonight because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
I eat healthy, responsible food. Mostly. But as Oscar Wilde once said, “Where there is no extravagance there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding.”
So for dinner tonight I think I’ll order two hundred portions of grilled octopus shipped in from Spain, drizzled with olive oil from Sicily, and gilded with a few grains of sea salt from off the coast of Portugal.
Once my appetite is piqued, I’ll dig into a plate of carne cruda, a ball of raw meat no smaller than a watermelon. It’s better than steak tartare, prepared with olive oil and lemon instead of a cracked egg so it’s that much lighter. See? I am very sensible about these things.
For the next round, more meat, of course, but nothing too heavy, as I am still just prepping my incisors for the main event. Perhaps just thirty or forty appetizer-sized portions of Akaushi eye of round carpaccio, served with a deli- cate Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged for exactly two years, no more and no less, to give the whole thing some legs and help it dance on my palate.
Clearly, I’m going to need some wine to wash this down with — I think we’ll start with some Bandol Tempier. Two cases should be just fine, it is so easy to drink! And then something a little bigger, perhaps a Barbaresco. Along with sparkling water, I am thinking a few cases of Budweiser— it really does go with anything.
While waiting for the main course I always like to amuse myself, and I think, in this case, a half dozen or so of New York City’s greatest gastronomic gift to the world of noshing ought to do it: the everything bagel with lox. And of course, wild Alaskan salmon is the only salmon that can stand up to a bagel covered in seeds, red onions, capers, and cream cheese.
And now I am ready to rumble.
For the main course, a bit of Eastern flair would be a good turn: two dozen Pekin ducks from Good Shepherd Ranch in Lindsborg, Kansas, prepared Peking style with pancakes and plum sauce and scallions, which I’ll roll up like fat, duck-filled doobies and wash down with a dark beer from North Coast Brewing Company that is just bitter enough to groove with the sweet meat and not fight it.
Just to prove to everyone that I am not crazy, this will be the time for something green. Three Caesar salads will do, prepared tableside, and don’t be stingy with the ancho- vies, preferably from SeaLab Italia, in Bra. Now the way is clear for the cheese course, which I prefer in the form of a hot tub of fondue of raw-milk cheeses from my favorite East Coast dairies—Meadow Creek Dairy, Spring Brook Farm, and Landaff Creamery.
For dessert, a baker’s dozen of quindim pies — a custardy Brazilian delicacy that is so time intensive to make, what with its hundred-eggs-per-pie mandate, that hardly anyone besides my mom makes it anymore. She whipped one up for me last year for July Fourth — you would know it by the trail of comatose bodies it left in its wake.
But before I call it a night, I’ll take my time with three bottles of Fernet Branca. No matter how popular it gets with the trend chasers, it’s still the one thing I can count on to help calm the ol’ gullet after a snack like the one I just imagined. It’s kind of like Jägermeister for adults.

Why a Duck? Ask Dickens!

The best thing about the holidays is always the food, that is, if you are doing it right! As we say here, let nature lead the way — great food is seasonal and should be celebrated in its own time. Look no farther than the books of Charles Dickens and ask why they always seemed to be eating geese at Christmas? Because that is when naturally mating geese and ducks are ready for harvest. It is nature’s way of writing a menu.

Our Aylesbury ducks, by the way, are the most incredible birds ever to make it all the way from London to your table! And their story is one of the best you will hear at the table.

The Aylesbury duck reached its peak popularity in the late 1800s when thousands of ducklings were sent from the town of Aylesbury to London and served by the top restaurants of the day.

Since then, the Aylesbury was crossed with other breeds like the Pekin, which fared better in industrial settings. If it were not for a few dedicated farmers who kept it pure, it is likely the breed would have disappeared for good. The Aylesbury Duck is listed on the Most Endangered List with fewer than 500 breeding birds left in the U.S. We’re proud to be offering these ducks this season — and no matter what you have heard, they are simple to prepare, not much different than roasting a chicken, and they are sure to make you a superstar in the kitchen!

The Aylesbury boasts a bouncy texture and rich, creamy fat. Its robust flavor with nutty and herbaceous notes make this the most flavorful duck on the market today. These ducks are raised outdoors on ponds and pasture with no hormones or antibiotics.

Americans consume less than 1/3 lb. of duck per year but we hope to restore the bird’s presence on the farm and at your dinner table.

Still need convincing? Here’s our recipe for a simple whole roast duck. If you love duck, and want a truly spectacular bird beyond what is even available in restaurants, you can’t possibly go wrong!

Click here for a simple duck recipe.

Stephen Barber – Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

California is the Promised Land where dreams really do come true — Hollywood, Disneyland, and Farmstead at the Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley.

“Farmstead is the culmination of many things that came together,” says Farmstead’s executive chef Stephen Barber, “this is where the rubber hits the road. It’s a lot to explain, it’s a complex operation. We raise our own beef, we grow our own vegetables. We make wine. We have the apple orchard in Napa, and an olive farm. We have 500 chickens, fruit orchards… there are so many different elements. And our restaurant, Farmstead, is where it all comes together. For lack of a better term, it is pure “farm to table,” — it’s been overused, but best describes what we are doing. This is the best case scenario — total control of our food supply from start to finish. The vegetables are from our farm, it is our wine you are drinking, our olive oil finishing your plate.

“We have Scotch Highlands cows — Ted Hall and the Hall family (who took over Long Meadow in the 1980s, after a storied past that drifted through the Civil War and Prohibition) — fell in love with this breed. They are gorgeous animals, very long hair, very lean, tasty, rich flavorful beef that does well in the hills here. We have some angus, too, and we use a rotating paddock system that we graze our animals on.

“But we can’t raise every bit of protein at the restaurant, so the next thing is to find responsible people we can work with. Heritage is as much a part of our story as raising our own beef. We use all the Heritage rare breeds, Red Wattle, Berkshire, Duroc. We actually took a shot at raising pork — Patrick helped us with some Red Wattle pigs, but gosh, we couldn’t get them to mate. I think he sent us some unsocialized pigs!”

10 Soup Facts That I Find Interesting (by Patrick Martins)

Soup is a tough subject matter for a meat distributor. So I have accumulated 10 soup facts that I find interesting.

1. Carlo Petrini, the founder of SlowFood, told me the best way to judge a restaurant is to try the soup – there is almost no margin of error when it comes to soup. One can’t dupe on the soup.

2. Soup is the best backdrop for our cured shanks, the best cured cut Heritage sells. We only ever sell the cured fore shank as it’s the perfect size for the cure recipe — hind shanks are so large and don’t take in the cure perfectly.

3. Pea Soup is my favorite and the only soup that can be a meal in and of itself for me. (Plus lentil soup in an emergency).

4. Soup ranks last as a desirable dish on the menu to share with acquaintances.

5. Soup is the last stop of the nose-to-tail gastronomic train — bones from heritage breeds make the best stock in the business. Try our Roli Roti beef broth – it takes days to craft!

6. When soup is served the spoon receives top billing at the dinner table finally overcoming the fork and knife for importance.

7. In the movie Ratatouille, the eponymous mouse got his big break making soup at Gusteau’s, the best restaurant in Paris.

8. Soup satisfies the soul, it’s easy, homey, comforting, flexible and nourishing.

9. Soup can change a life – its curative and inspirational… “The dish that changed my life was tom yum kum. You start with a pot of water, add lemongrass, lime leaves, lime juice, coriander, mushrooms, and shrimp; ten minutes later, you have the most incredible, intense soup.” Jean-Georges Vongerichten

10. Soup is where I learned the alphabet.

-Patrick Martins
Founder & President of Heritage Foods

Season 7: No Goat Left Behind from Heritage Foods

Heritage Foods is celebrating the seventh year of its annual October goat project, NO GOAT LEFT BEHIND, and the second in the United Kingdom. No Goat Left Behind addresses the growing problem facing New England goat dairies — namely, what to do with male goats….

Matthew Rudofker

Matt Rudofker – Director of Culinary Operations at Momofuku

Matthew Rudofker joined Momofuku Ssäm Bar as a Sous Chef in 2010 and soon rose to Executive Chef. In 2015 he was also named Executive Chef of Momofuku Má Pêche. Matthew has received a variety of recognition from the hospitality community included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Zagat 30 under 30, Eater Young Guns, and James Beard Nominated Rising Star Chef.

Nancy Silverton, Chef Series and Featured Cuts

When Nancy Silverton was getting ready to open up Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, her partners, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, gave her very little direction. “Joe had an idea for an amaro focus at the bar, and of course we had Italian wine. As far as the food, Mario trusted us, but he wanted us to look into working with Patrick and Heritage Foods, which was still very new….

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