Why, why, why do I agree to do these things? The American Dairy Goat Association had their annual conference here last week and they invited me, along with a dozen or so other chefs, purveyors and writers, to help judge their cheese competition. Now, I love cheese, and I love goat cheese, but it will be a very, very long time before I'm able to stomach another bite of chèvre. Seriously, judging these contests is brutal. “Oh, my God,” some of you may be saying, “I can't believe she's whining about getting paid to sit around and eat goat cheese for a living.” And to you people I say this: shove it up your @$$. Maybe you enjoy writing code and that's why you work as a programmer. But how would you like to spend hours taking in other people's code, the good, the bad and the very, very bad? OK, that analogy fell apart a long time ago. The point is, there are not 40 fabulous goat cheeses for sale at your cheese counter for a reason. Some are better than others. You may enjoy a few crackers spread with a little chèvre, as you sip wine and mingle at a party. But what if we made you taste 40 different cheeses, take copious notes and rate them on 30 different attributes? You might get cranky and lash out at perfectly nice people in your newspaper column, then wonder if you should perhaps take anger management classes. Uh-oh.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
Chef Kent Dagnall, most recently of Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, is now Pastry Chef at Annapurna Chai House (Silver and Yale). Dagnall will be helping owner Yashoda Naidoo expand the bakery aspect of the business, a challenge since everything at Annapurna is vegetarian and much of it is vegan. Naidoo and her staff had been making a small amount of muffins, cheesecakes, different Indian sweets and cookies, but Dagnall, who has extensive experience with vegetarian cooking, will be greatly expanding the restaurant's sweet repertoire. Annapurna now has two locations, one at Juan Tabo and the other at Silver and Yale. The original Annapurna, at San Mateo and Copper, is now Mediterranean Café. Naidoo said she vacated that space because the kitchen was too small and she had outgrown it. In fact, business is so good, Naidoo says that she's in the process of opening another location of her vegetarian café and that's why she's especially glad to have Dagnall now. "He speaks my language," she told me. "I'm planning my Santa Fe store, and now I know I have somebody in the kitchen I can trust. He's just like me. He experiments." Naidoo didn't have full details on the Santa Fe location because she's still in negotiation for the space, but she did say that it'll be just like her Albuquerque restaurants, about the same size as the University location.
Know Your Ingredients
I just met a snack named Nutella
Say it soft and it's almost like praying
Rare is the commercial food product that inspires rhapsodies such as this, from one woman's Internet blog:
Win or Lose, It's Martini Time
Fancy enough for a celebration and stiff enough to drown your sorrows
Whether this election day brings victory or defeat, election eve is a definite cause for cocktails. What will I be drinking? Martinis, of course. As far as alcoholic beverages go, the martini is about as close as you can get to doing a shot and still look classy while getting snockered. The fancy glasses, the cute garnishes, everything about the presentation says special occasion. But what's inside that conical cup is powerful stuff. A typical martini is mostly gin, with a splash of dry vermouth, that's shaken (or stirred!) with ice and garnished with lemon peel or olives. But for election day, you could sass it up a little bit ...