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May Round Up
The May Round Up
I’m writing this newsletter from Chattanooga, TN, where I’ll be spending the next week before heading to NYC for the summer! I’m looking forward to exploring the food landscape in both of these spots. I’ve already found an incredible bakery and an amazing butcher here in Chattanooga, and I’m going to hit the local farmer’s market on Wednesday. If you’ve got recommendations for either city, please let me know!
Last week I formally announced 80/20 Cooking, a new cohort course I’m launching this summer. There are still a few spots left for the first cohort! If you’re interested, all of the info can be found here: 8020cooking.com
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any other questions!
Sourdough Trials and Tribulations
Last year I decided to make it a priority to really dive into the world of sourdough baking. It’s been incredibly fascinating, but also really challenging.
Prior to learning sourdough, I had done a fair amount of baking using commercial yeast. And I honesly think that’s a great starting point for most people— commercial yeast is reliable and behaves pretty consistently. It’s nice to get some reps in with that before moving onto natural yeast (aka sourdough) baking.
I really do believe that natural yeast gets you more flavor and health benefits, but it also creates a ton of new variables. I’ve been experimenting pretty consistently for about 6 months or so, and I still feel like a total beginner! One thing that really made a difference for me, though, was getting a well-established starter. Originally I made my own, but it wasn’t rising consistently even after several weeks. I swapped it out with a starter I got from a local baker, and instantly things started to work much better. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and experiment this year!
A Few Products I’ve Been Liking
A few months back I connected with Jack on Twitter and got to talking olive oil. He just launched this brand, and I purchased some as soon as it was available. Unlike a lot of other olive oil brands, he’s not focused much on marketing or snazzy branding. He’s just obsessed with product— 100% single-origin, organic olive oil from Italy. And it’s fantastic. Just ordered some more for myself!
I love anchovies, and these recently popped up at my local market. They’re phenomenal.
I think that Burlap and Barrel sources the best spices on the market today (and this is coming from someone who used to own a spice brand). They seek out high-quality, single-origin spices and ship them super fresh. I picked up few, including my new favorite chile powder— Chile Cobanero.
I recently switched to half-caf coffee in the mornings, and it’s been a nice change. I still feel like a get an energy boost from the coffee but without the jitters and subsequent crash. I tried Savorista and liked it a lot, and my friend Nat recently recommended Jitterliss.
If I wasn’t enough of a coffee snob already, these tasting glasses from Stagg really seal the deal. But I can’t lie— they’re great cups. They’re double-walled glass, which means the heat from the coffee doesn’t transfer to the outside of the cup, they have a flared lip designed specifically for tasting, and they look great. Pair with the recently published MTCC Coffee Guide.
If you want to make flour tortillas at home (and I highly recommend that you do), you’d be remiss not to seek out this organic Sonora flour. Sonora is a heritage breed of soft wheat that is just incredible in tortillas. I can’t recommend it enough.
The Pathless Path Podcast
I met Paul Millerd about 6 months ago in Austin, and he’s become a good friend. I love Paul’s work— I highly recommend checking out his book and newsletter. I’m also a huge fan of his podcast— I listen to it all the time— so it was an honor to join him for an episode. I’ve linked to the YouTube version below, but you can check it out on all platforms here.
Regional American Burgers
George Motz is a super cool historian whose work has mostly focused on the history and regionality of hamburgers in America. He’s got an awesome series with First We Feast, and I really loved this episode about a regional burger I consider the finest out there— the Oklahoma onion smash burger.
Check out the episode. And if you want to learn how to make them I wrote that up here.
New Noma Drop
I love following the weird and crazy kitchen experiments from Noma Projects, and it’s been cool seeing them branch out into physical products. I loved their smoked mushroom garum, and now I’m dying to try their latest drop— Dashi RDX.
Hot off the Noma Kyoto run, the team released this new product, which is described as “a powerful reduction of dashi made from kombu, katsuobushi, sake, and mushrooms. This savory syrup packs layers of flavor from the ocean, perfect to drizzle on roast vegetables, steamed fish, eggs any style, or a satisfying bowl of steamed rice.”
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