I look forward to trying this jerky, but I also hope it is a sign of greater integration between land grant or otherwise agriculturally oriented universities and the world of artisanal foods. Based at my own anecdotal experience of working at a land grant university, the relationship between such institutions and Big Ag is pretty close -- the folks who go run the large scale beef, poultry, or pork operations like those Pollan condemns in Omnivore's Dilemma have to learn how to do that somewhere.* I don't mean to suggest that the future of American agriculture lies in selling bags of jerky at $21.00/lb, but it is good to see an outfit like the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center focus on flavor, rather than volume. And good to see some Aggies kicking the Ferry Terminal types right in the slats in a blind taste test.
*There are silver linings -- Tyson and Hormel are both major recruiters at career fairs where I work, so I have a collection of Tyson logoed foam chickens, cows, and pigs. Cute.
"Urban" is one of the more puzzling words that pops up in restaurant names. Either it is a baffling misrepresentation, as with the "Urban Cafe" in Hartford, VT, or it is a redundant assertion of fact -- see "Righteous Urban BBQ"* There was, though I doubt it survives, a bring-the-chilaquiles-to-the-hipsters place in Chicago called Hilary's Urban Eatery. Given its location near the intersection of Ashland and Division, insisting on urbanness hardly seemed necessary. More generally, "urban" seems to have two rather different usages. It is a more polite way to say "inner city," which is itself a more polite way to say "black," viz "students from urban high schools." On the other hand, it also seems to pop up as a synonym for "hip," or "sophisticated," usually among the same folks who term restaurants with mismatched saltshakers "funky." They may mean "urbane," though applying that to a restaurant makes it sound as if they would be serving Roast Loin of David Niven with Monocle Sauce.
*Here the "Urban" may be the only term that is not disputed.
Nothing to see here - the Fiddler has completely cornered the market on PHC.* So click over and enjoy yourselves -- I'll be the guy in the library trying to catch up with Bloglines forging in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race. *Hint: It rhymes with "kadima." Thanks, Google!
I almost forgot. What Pim said.* Jesus, people -- it's a canvas tote. And, if you are so distraught by not getting one of these fucking bags that you drive your Prius into the compact fluorescent display at your local Whole Foods, here's the tune you will want pumping out of your Bose: X-Ray Specs "Plastic_Bag." Germ-Free Adolescents, (1978) Also, where is the patient zero for hype? The DI/DO article purports to cover the hype, while fanning the flames of the hype. Is there ever hype preceding coverage of hype? See also iPhone, and Harry Potter.*
*At the end of Deathly Hallows, he marries Voldemort, btw.
Not much in the way of PHC today, as I'll be roadtripping with the family to Lancaster, Pa. But if you are at your desk on a July Friday, you certainly deserve to watch a Swede gank Fannypack's attitude, steal a bit of what Gwen stole from the Harajuku girls, and do the whole thing dressed in a Fonda-era leotard in front of sets borrowed from the first season of Pee Wee's Playhouse.
An actual cooking post just to mix these things up. A receipt in the form of one of these things are not like the other:
A) Fancy cream from home-schooled local cows. B) Fancy imported orecchiette. C) Fancy locally-grown, pan-pipe-serenaded English peas. D) Pinot Grigio E) Junior Johnson's Country Ham Biscuit Pieces. If you guessed E) you are correct. In the midst of a bunch of ingredients hand-raised by Hampshire College alumni, or lovingly imported from Italy, is a bolt of fat and salt right out of the Dirty, endorsed by a stock car legend, no less, and smuggled north of the Mason-Dixon by our pal Daniel.
The process is pretty straightforward. Boil pasta water. Shell peas -- you will want about 2 cups worth, shelled. Cut ham into pieces about the size of the nail on your pinkie. Brown the ham in a saucepan, add white wine to deglaze. (I used the PG that was open.) Reduce the wine, add cream to thicken (maybe 1/2 pint or a bit more -- I wasn't making a vaccine, so I did not measure). Start the pasta. When the cream is about the consistency you want, and the pasta is ready, add the peas and just allow to warm through.
Toss the sauce with the pasta, and serve. When you combine the sauce and the pasta, you will see why it is called what it is. The peas, some of them anyway, nestle into the hollows of the orecchiette, creating an effect very much like David Frost sitting in one of the ball chairs that Aario Eero designed.* This is a keeper -- I look forward to trying it with different types of country ham, but I do not think it would be worth making without fresh peas to hand. I did try this once before, and was well into the receipt before I realized there was no orecchiette in the house -- I made it with twists, and it was not nearly as good.