Friday, June 27, 2008

Dried red peppercorns

Seems worth investigating...

Spice Pages: Pepper (Piper nigrum, Black Peppercorns): "Dried red peppercorns are even harder to find, and are to my knowledge, only produced by one single company in Kerala (Southern India)."

More about dried red peppercorns

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lunch with Barack

"Five grassroots donors shared a lunch with Barack in Muncie, Indiana and had the chance to discuss their concerns, talk about their experiences with the campaign, and share their own stories with Barack."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fox News Kills Monsanto Milk Story

The Real News

This internet station is really making me excited. It feels honest.


[link]The Real News journalist committee includes Lewis Lapham, Gore Vidal, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, and Howard Zinn

The World According To Monsanto

Monday, June 16, 2008

The deciding factor for left and right wing political identity

This paragraph struck me as odd, and I had to read it four or five times before I accepted that someone feels this way, but when I see:
Personally, I'd like to see the United States remain the number one economic power in the Western Hemisphere, but this is not foreordained. If Brazil's Congress is smarter than ours, as it certainly is at the moment, we are at a huge disadvantage. It is said that democracies get the governments they deserve, which implies that Brazilians are smart enough to vote for prosperity, and Americans are not. We'll have more data in November.
I at first think it's parody. I had no idea even that someone would think that "democracies get the governments they deserve" could be used with a straight face when someone holds such right-wing political views. I guess they think they can, but,

"I’m really not interested in having yet another debate on the purpose of government so this will be my last post on the subject and you can have the last word.

[Your] views seem to me as nothing more than typical conservative dogma. "

Are you sure you’re in the right country, have you read the Bill of Rights, what do you think was really most important to some of the most brilliant political minds like Benjamin Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington? Prosperity or Freedom? They had prosperity, these were rich landholders, all of them. They weren't fighting because one more tax was being taken from them, no matter how you misinterpret your history. From the private writings of these people, they protected our freedoms as well as they could because they knew that people with power try to take away liberties. People with power doesn't just mean power from a political office, but corporate power. People need to be protected, and the Bill of Rights are the only words standing in the way of crushing power being used against the little man. Sometimes one wants to be a little man, producing little economically and taking little economically, or a small fish. But small fish don't want to be eaten by big fish, just because they're small, and laws help make that be the case.

Most liberals and/or Democrats feel that the purpose of our government involves a little more than just providing a Laissez-faire system.

As far as I’m concerned, providing people with the security and opportunity to succeed brings with it a hefty responsibility to give back to the system. I fully support a progressive tax rate, so no, I don’t feel “He is entitled to every single penny he has made”. ...

In regards to money grubbing, I’ve found this to be much more of a problem with conservatives and the rich than people who’re down and out. And although you won’t get much of an argument out of me over your opinion about how stupid Americans are, you raised my nationalistic hackles with your comments.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Moleon Olive Oil

From Paul Vossen:
‘Koroneiki’ blends. The ‘Koroneiki’ variety
is dominant all over Peloponnisos, Zakinthos,
and Crete. It is sometimes blended with
‘Kalamon’, ‘Konservolia’, and ‘Chalkidiki’
in table fruit-growing areas and with ‘Mastoides’
in oil-growing areas. ‘Koroneiki’ oils
are high in polyphenols, very stable, and very
aromatically fruity with herbaceous and
green banana characteristics. The fruit is very
small and difficult to get off the tree. Much of
the oil from Greece is made from olives with
olive fly damage, or are mishandled in transport
and stored for a while before processing.
When the fruit is clean and processed
quickly, however, some excellent oils are
produced (Vossen, 1999).

Quite honestly, if I find something from Paul Vossen about olive oil, he's my definitive source. If I could be an olive oil scholar groupie, than I would be one for Dr. Vossen at UC Davis.

Here's Paul Vossen on Olive Oil Production In Greece, it is literally going to be everything you need to know about Greek olive oil as of 1999.

Mt. Vikos Glazed and Roasted Figs

From David Rosengarten:

This fat glass jar is filled with whole fresh figs that have been roasted, creating a wonderful chewy-tender texture. The figs have been glazed with, among other things, grape juice concentrate and apple juice, leading to a not-too-sweet, brown and shiny sauce.

Rich and sweet with aromatic spiciness

A PDF monograph about the fig
, more than you could dream of about this inverted flower which becomes a fruit.

I have no idea what variety of fig is used in these, but here's a database of all fig varieties, from arguably the largest database about figs available on the internet.

Morea Sweet Red Wine Vinegar

Made from Korinthiaki and Moschofilero grapes, barrel aged for six months. Both of these grapes are indigenous to the Peloponnese region. Korinthiaki really just means Corinthian, or from the city of Corinth, and has several much more familiar names: Stafidambelos, Stafida, Lianorogi, Corinthe Noir, Raisin de Corinthe, Corinto Nero, Korinthiaki Stafis, Korinthiaki Stafida, Mavri Stafis, Lianorogi, Corinthe Noir, Raisin de Corinthe, Pesserille, Passerilla (France), Corinto nero, Passerina, Passolina, Passera, Passeretta nera, Passula di Corinto (Italia), Black corinth, Currant grape, Zante Currant (USA, England), Korinthiaki stafida, Korinthiaki, Corinthe Noir, Staphidampelo, Corinthe noir, Stafidampelo, Raisin de Corinthe

Moschofilero [ Mos ko fee' le ro ]
Moschofilero is highly regarded as a producer of premium white table wines and sparkling wines. Most top quality production of Moschofilero is centered in the Mantinia plateau, a soil-rich plain in the center of a mountain range in northern Arkadía on the Peloponnesos. At these elevations (up to 600 meters), sugar and alcohol can be low and acid considerable. Moschofilero grapes have a pink/gray colored skin and therefore produce wines varied in color depending on vinification. Moschofilero can be delicate to a fault and very weather sensitive. At its best, the grape produces wines of quiet character, their best attributes being elegance, crispness and subtle perfumed floral aroma of roses and violets with hints of spices.

Zante Grapes are very small grapes. Usually only a maximum of 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) wide, they are about the size of a pea -- or "pearl", as the marketers today are saying (accompanied by the phrase "jewel-like" as well). Their purple skin is so dark it is sometimes seems almost black. They grow in long clusters, and are seedless. The grapes are very sweet and tender, and have very small stems that are edible.

Morea is imported by Hellas International, whose marketing says:

Co-founder Areti Skalkos was born and raised in the village of Vlahioti in the Peloponnese region of Greece - an area renowned for its olives. Each day on her way to school, Areti walked through her father's olive factory, savoring the smells and eating a breakfast of toasted bread drizzled with golden-green olive oil and fresh oregano. After moving to the U.S., Areti found that the exceptional Greek olive oils and olives of her youth were difficult to find. With two other partners, she founded Hellas to bring these wonderful foods into the U.S.

Hellas seeks out family farms and exceptional producers who embrace their high standards and traditions - hand picked olives, careful production methods, and family recipes passed down for generations. This careful attention to quality has resulted in numerous awards and industry acclaim for Hellas products.

Chios Mastiha Bread from Zingerman's Bakehouse

Zingerman's Deli:
Mastiha — mastic gum from a resin tree — is an ancient, uniquely aromatic Greek spice. Greek folk lore has it that only Chias, mastic trees on the island of Chios in the Aegean, shed these aromatic tears. Frank Carollo, at Zingerman's Bakehouse, was inspired to create a very special loaf of bread for us using Chios Mastiha. Made with barley, whole wheat, clover honey, cardamom and mastiha, this bread has a deep texture and a lovely, intriguing aroma. Available in June only. Taste some today.

Wikipedia on Mastic

Greek Travel guide on Mastiha

Kalamata Olives from Messinia Estate

Greece by David Willett, p 183: "Locals insist, though, that the finest olives are grown on Messinian soil, particularly in the Parnisos Valley, north of Messini. The regions reliable winter rains and hot summers make for perfect olive-growing conditions."

More than you want to know, unless you're a horticulturist.

The Prefecture of Messinia on Kalamata olives.

Mt. Vikos Manouri

Greek Cheese Page on Manouri:
Manouri is the most exceptional traditional Greek whey cheese with Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC). It is exclusively manufactured in Central and Western Macedonia and in Thessalia from whey derived from ewe’s or goat’s or mixture of them, with the addition of milk and/or cream (in larger percentages than these used for anthotiros), when making hard cheeses. Manouri is a soft cheese with unique taste and flavour. The mean composition of Manouri is: moisture 51.9%, fat 36.7%, proteins 10.9%, salt 0.8% and pH 5.9.
Cheesenet on Manouri

Typical uses for manouri cheese include:

• spanikopita, the spinach cheese dish made with layers of phyllo dough and typically including a blend of cheeses, such as feta, anthotyro and manouri;
• kalitsounia, sweet pastries from Crete;
savory cheese pies, including those served for Easter—a custard pie made with a blend of cheese which may include feta, manouri, kefalotyri, or parmesan;
• in the dressing called brinza;
• served with fresh fruit slices, honey, and toasted walnuts;
• as a salad garnish particularly for salads of beans, eggplant, or tomatoes;
• as a desert cheese; and
• as a pasta topping;

Mt. Vikos Kefalotiri (Kefalotyri)

From Fundamentals of Cheese Science By Patrick F. Fox, Paul L. H. McSweeney, Timothy M. Cogan, p401:
Kefalotiri is a Greek cheese made from pasteurized sheep or goat milk standardized to about 6.0% fat. The milk is inoculated with a thermophilic culture (usually Sc. thermophilus and Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus) and coagulated by calf rennet. The curds are cooked to 43-45 degrees C, transferred to molds lined with cheesecloth and subjected to a low pressure, which is increased slowly. Upon removal from the molds, the cheeses are dried overnight and brine-salted. After brining, dry salt is rubbed onto the surface of the cheese over the next few days to give a final salt content close to 4%. During this time, the cheeses are washed with a brine-soaked cloth to control microbial growth on the surface and ripened for about 3 months.
The Greek Cheese Page

A kefalo, by the way, is a type of hat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

List of selected ethnic markets in Ann Arbor, MI

From Kitchen Empress:

Bombay Grocers
3022 Packard Rd.
734 971-7707

Dong Yu China Market
2765 Plymouth Rd.
734 669-8821
European Market
3108 Packard St.
(734) 975-4326


Foods of India
1168 Broadway
734 332-0500

Jerusalem International Market
1713 Plymouth Rd.
734 668-7773
Hua Xing Asia Market [amazing, just amazing]
2867 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Lucky Market
1665 Plymouth Rd.
734 769-1688

Manna International Food and Gifts
1156 Broadway St.
734 663-6868

Mediterranean Market
4019 Stone School Rd.
734 477-8023

Tsai Grocery
3115 Oak Valley Dr., Pittsfield Twp.
734 995-0422

Mt. Vikos Barrel Aged Feta

Good things come from wooden barrels. The greatest of spirits, of wines, of vinegars, and more include barrel aging as a component of their taste. Wood is flavorful as a spice, for lack of a better term. Even meats take on the flavor of its smoke so well.

I was in Whole Foods yesterday and saw their feta section. They have three cheeses labeled feta, one from cow, one from goat, and one from sheep milk. As an opportunity to taste the difference between the three animal's milk, I couldn't pass it up, but as an example of feta, I don't think so, except perhaps the sheep. One block over, at a great ethnic market (we have some great ethnic markets in town) they carry Bulgarian, French, and other peoples' takes on feta.

"Any attempt to trace feta's origins leads a researcher straight into quicksand."

At Mt. Vikos, a Greek company that makes an acclaimed barrel-aged feta, the production process lasts a minimum of two months. It begins with pasteurized milk from local herds of sheep and goats that graze freely on pastures near the dairy. Greek regulations require that feta be at least 70 percent sheep's milk, with the remainder goat's milk. Sheep's milk is richer and more desirable, but sheep are shy producers, so supplementing with goat's milk is allowed.

After the bacterial culture and rennet are added, the milk coagulates in less than an hour. Cheesemakers know when the curd is ready to cut. With a wire implement, they cut the curds into relatively large cubes, then transfer them to perforated molds for draining. Over the next three hours, the cheesemaker will jiggle, massage and gently press the curds to assist the draining and help them knit together into a wheel.

Next, the thick round is cut into three fat, pie-shaped segments, and these wedges are flipped a couple of times to encourage more draining. The next day, the segmented rounds are packed in wooden barrels with sea salt between the layers. After 24 hours, the wedges are rinsed and nestled in a second set of birch barrels that have been rubbed on the inside with a fresh cheese made from the feta's own whey. Then the cheesemaker fills any gaps with whey, seals the barrels and transfers them to a room kept at about 68 degrees to cure for 15 to 20 days. Finally, the barrels are moved into refrigerated storage, where the cheese continues to develop, albeit more slowly.

Prime age

Although the cheese is ready at two months, Mt. Vikos founder Sotiris Kitrilakis likes to hold onto it for at least four months. "Ideally, the cheese should be eaten between 6 and 12 months old," writes Kitrilakis in an e- mail.


Most feta today is aged in tins, which doesn't allow for the same sort of flavor development. Because barrels are permeable, allowing oxygen in, barrel- aged feta can mature like wine.
The Greek Cheese Page


Cheesenet on Feta

Feta can be whipped with olive oil, garlic, oregano and hot peppers to make the spicy cheese spread known in Greece as htipiti.

David Rosengarten on Mt. Vikos feta

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Spittoon and other Sites

I need to investigate this later, but don't have the time right now.

About Spittoon and other Sites: "Wine tasting notes and wine news with plenty of links forms the basis of content. Topics such as beer and spirits add to the mix. Food and wine matching form a lot of the content."