Rub a dub, dub. I’m done with rubs, I have a new love, yay!

I’m no different from many people who grill or smoke their food, often. I’ve got a pantry filled with chile powders, herbs and spices that all go in to any rub I care to make at any given meal. I’ve got versions I like better than others and sometimes just like to strip it down to the basics and enjoy the meat & smoke.
Yeah well, when I was at the Fatted Calf Picnic this year Taylor used 1 ingredient for his dry rub and I’ve been experimenting ever since. Even took some slabs of babybacks to a food blogger picnic a few weekends ago. So far, I’m at 100% approval rating for this ingredient.
Care to come see?

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A pork, a salt and a blow torch. One of these things …

This was one of those meals when you only have 45 minutes to get ready, the sun is setting and the children want food now. The pork roast I bought was completely devoid of visible fat and figured just cook the damned thing and get dinner over with. I had originally purchased it for the smoker (was going to wrap it in bacon). All that, and I was tired, cranky and my back was a little sore, grrrrr. Get it? Grrrr?
It wasn’t until I turned the little gem over to reveal the reversed side was completely covered in a nice layer of fat! Um, make a u-turn Biggles and get back on track. And you know what? I did just that, and quite a bit more. I totally rule, come see why.

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Free Sea Salt – It’s right over there ya bone!

I happen to know Monkey Wrangler ain’t the first silly ass human to make their own sea salt. Cookiecrumb of I’m Mad and I Eat did this a while back.
I wasn’t able to taste her version, but if memory serves me correctly it had an ‘off’ taste to it and was tossed after a few months. Makes sense, while California can be an amazing wild place to be, we have our own collection of polution outlets.
Blah, blah, blah and mostly, blah. Well check this out. Monkey W went out with his daughter in a little kayak adventure in Tomales Bay and grabbed 5 gallons of sea water.
I don’t know about you, but navigating a kayak is one thing, especially with a 3 year old. But if you can bring back 5 gallons of sea water, too? And not kill anyone? You sir, or madame, are a badass.
Here are the fruits of his crazy labor.
This in no way shortens what Cookie did, she took it on. But as you may or may not know, Tomales Bay is home to some of the world’s best mollusks. If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for us.
Cheers to you that are crazy enough to sally forth to the great unknown.

California Bay Laurel – In Jars?

The last few days have been a little unsettling and the catalyst was this antique jar of bay leaves Creepy E found upstairs.
But Biggles, they’re just bay leaves. Why get all torqued out over a jar of old bay leaves?
Excellent question, let me say this about that. I live and grew up in the San Franciso Bay Area. California Bay Laurel trees are all over the damned place. And I’ll bet Berkeley wins the trophy for most trees of all. It’s “common knowledge” that these are most certainly not the leaves you find in the bay leaf jars at the market. These bay laurel leaves are exceptionally strong, oily and can very quickly ruin your stew. It’s irreversible and you’re better off with a nice Mediterranean version. Or so I thought.
At some point in its history Spice Islands (based in San Francisco) decided to dry and sell the buggers. To me, it’s kinda like selling bags of sand at the beach. For around here anyways.
What do you think of California Bay Laurel leaves in your food? I’ve never seen them for sale, here or anywhere. Have you?

Mexican Oregano – A Native Seeds Product

J. Lee called me an afternoon a while back and said she had a gift for me. A Mexican Oregano (Lippia Graveolens) she’d found and said it was worth the effort. I’m thinkin’, comon man, I got enough Mexican Oregano here to sink a ship several times. Besides, I can get it cheeeap locally. No, this was better. Better? How could that be? Easy.

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Balinese Long Pepper – Salt Traders !

Early last week I decided on a whim to see what Rob at Salt Traders was up to. Almost 2 years ago I was shown the light (thanks J. Lee) and bought a few bottles of their Danish Viking-Smoked Sea Salt. As you can glean from my post, it’s pretty cool stuff. Well, I got myself some more. What I also picked up were some fancy peppercorns, mmmmm pepper. In fact, I got a gaggle of goodies and it’s going to take me more than a few posts to get through them all. I decided to start with the Balinese Long Peppercorns because they were the most intriquing.

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Antica Salina Sale Marino Di Trapani (sea salt)

This posting is dedicated to Kim. Without her care and enthusiasm I probably wouldn’t have found this salt. She tells me late last year she traveled to Italy, to the little town that produces this fine product. I can only imagine …
Yay for salt !! Sure sure, most everyone needs to watch their sodium intake. And I catch nitwits telling me to “just remove the table salt from the table”. I casually sneer, “and which salt should I be removing? ” I don’t usually get a reply. Feh. Ya know, there’s more than one use for salt pal and most certainly more than one kind of salt.

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It’s been about a month since my trek into Berkeley’s The Spanish Table rendered me a complete and total wreck. They were out of Pebrella. I was out of Pebrella, oh the horror.
Okay, so that is a bit too much drama. Even so, I was darned excited this morning when I called to see if it had come in. It had and I was out the door.
Pebrella is a rare form of wild thyme indigneous to the area between Valencia and Alicante. The flavor is quite warm and well rounded compared to our American dried thyme and has a nice rich perfume that works well on and in many dishes. I use it as a garnish or rub for meats & vegies. Even on the morning’s eggs is quite wonderful. And since I do use it in rubs for meat the darned stuff doesn’t last long.
Those pretty little jars are my own creation. Pebrella comes in 25g bags for about four bucks off the shelf. If you’re looking for an interesting dried herb friend, try it. Go!

Piri Piri – Portuguese-African condiment

Over the last few weeks I’ve been searching for some interesting marinade type stuff I could use for this year’s grilling season. My new hangout, Chuck Taggart’s gumbo pages and my old hangout found me with a ton of great ideas. I decided to start with a recipe I found on the gumbo pages, Piri Piri.
It’s darned hot Portuguese-African condiment … or so I am told. You see, once you put it together, it has to sit a week and I have until next Friday to find out.
It’s meat free Jebbers, just for you.

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Viking Salt

Danish Viking-Smoked Sea Salt – Take your time to read over that a few times. Some of you may have heard about Smoked Salt, especially if you’re in the Southern part of the United States. Viking Salt is not standard smoked salt. The process for rendering is unique. This is, hands down, one of the greatest food finds for me this year.

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Chicken Flavored Salad Dressing

Okay well, it isn’t really. But my wife said it tasted like it was. Normally I don’t go for the creamy dressings, but if it tastd like chicken I wanted to know about it. Sure enough, it’s thick and creamy and tastes a bit like chicken. Yum.