EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Tasty | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'tasty'

Butter With A College Education

Cultured ButterOK, bad joke maybe, but I’ve been noticing that the next new big thing in San Francisco cuisine is all about cultured butter. Restaurants are making their own like it’s something new that’s never been done before and mixing in bone marrow or herbs or whatever they have laying around in the kitchen. The reality is that it’s not that new, it’s actually been around since people discovered milk comes out of cows and oddly enough it’s pretty easy to make yourself.

Why would I want to make butter? You’re probably saying. You can buy it at the store and if you look hard enough you can sometimes even find cultured butter. This is a bit different though because it’s fresh since you made it yourself and the thing that the restaurant chefs aren’t talking about is that if it’s made here it’s got San Francisco bacteria in it that you can’t find anywhere else. Just like our sourdough bread has it’s own flavor, cultured butter made in San Francisco has it’s own super rich awesome flavor.

I came upon making butter totally by accident actually. I kept hearing about creme fraiche as a new big thing and realized that I didn’t think I had ever tried it before so I had to make some. That part was easy. Here’s what you need:

1 pint heavy cream [not ultra-pasturized]
2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live cultures or cultured buttermilk
1 jar

Yes, it’s that simple. Pour the cream into a bowl and whip in the yogurt with a whisk then pour it into the jar. Here’s the part where people might get a little hincky. Lightly cover the jar and leave it out for 24 hours and you’ve got creme fraiche. The creme thickens up and starts to get a taste that kind of between cream cheese and sour cream. You’re free to stop there and use it anywhere you’d use sour cream. The fun fact with creme fraiche is that it’s higher butterfat content means you can mix it into sauces and it won’t break. I was tossing it on everything just to see where it would be good. Baked potatoes are great. Add a little sugar and pour it onto berries or dessert and it’s great. Mix in herbs for a super rich and wonderful dip for whatever you want to dip in it.

Now for the butter part. You can take your creme fraiche and pour it into a butter churn. Don’t have one? A food processor will work just fine. Turn it on and watch it start to look like beaten whipped cream in a couple of minutes. Let the processor keep going for about 5 minutes and it starts to break up from all that agitation. You’re getting butter and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk off and add some cold water and run the processor again. The water will wash out more of the buttermilk and you might have to do this a couple of times before the water starts to come out clear. The more buttermilk you can extract the longer it will last.

When you’re done you have cultured butter. The buttermilk you got out of it you can use to make more by adding a couple of tablespoons to more cream or you can make buttermilk pancakes. Part of the culturing comes from the yogurt cultures and part comes from your geographic location, i.e. San Francisco. It’s very high in butterfat like European butter. It’s kind of like a rock when you pull it out of the fridge. You can use it on whatever you like. I personally like it melting into some homemade dinner rolls, but again, I’ve been putting it on just about everything to see where it’s best. I’ve yet to be disappointed. It’s a little bit tangier than regular store bought butter and more than even the store bought cultured butter I’ve tried. I’ve used organic cream from Clover Stornetta or Straus Creamery because they’re local and I know the cows are grass fed so you get more Omega 3’s and all the good stuff that comes with grass fed cow’s milk. At the very least don’t tell anyone how easy it is to make and you can been all food snobby when you tell them that the dish you made incorporates hand made butter from the cream of grass fed cows. That’s a lot of words so that means it’s really good.

Yes, it’s pretty much all saturated fat, but it’s healthy saturated fat so it’s good for you right? Just try it and taste it and you really won’t care. I think I’ve found my last meal that won’t disappoint me.

Bacon Bacon Saved? Saved? — CLOSED!

Bacon Bacon SFI don’t remember when it was that I had my first bacon cheeseburger, but I remember biting into it and having the mixture of beef, cheese and smoked pork forming a mosh pit of happiness on my tongue. There was no turning back. Whenever wife and I go to a restaurant that serves burgers I always look for the bacon cheeseburger first.

Bacon has become a meme unto itself now. I’ve seen shirts that say, who doesn’t like bacon? Hell, my daughter’s pediatrician when told that bacon was the only meat my daughter would eat said well, who doesn’t like bacon? OK, I know if you’re a Kosher Jew or observant Muslim bacon is on the no go list, but I have to admit that even most of my vegetarian and vegan friends are looking for a bacon substitute and if they can’t find it they sneak some bacon in while hiding in a dark room late at night to preserve their veggie cred.

Then there’s Bacon Bacon. My first encounter with them was at the SF Weekly Web Awards where I was nominated for Best Political Blog in San Francisco [thank you very much for giving that to an aggregator site that doesn’t write any of their own material] and I had to dip my tongue into the deep end and try the chocolate dipped bacon. I had heard lots about this combo, but never found a place that was selling it until now. One bite had me. Why aren’t more people doing this? Now I wanted to try the bacon doughnuts I had heard about, but while Bacon Bacon is a bit edgy, they don’t offer them. Still that was enough for that night because I was broke and didn’t have any more money to spend so I went inside and drank lots of free beer.

I’ve frequented the truck in several of it’s locations, but I haven’t had a chance to get by the Cafe version. I’ve been close several times, but I’ve just never made it or the timing wasn’t right and then I find out that the storefront might be closed. [cue dramatic dum, dum DUMMMMM music]. Apparently Bacon Bacon had a neighbor that didn’t like the smell of bacon all the time. I don’t know why, I’m sure it would have been better than some of the other smells that fill your nostrils in that area. Why I’m sure the smell was probably even increasing property values because, who doesn’t like bacon? Well apparently this neighbor didn’t and that was causing a problem with Bacon Bacon doing business.

They had to renew some of their permits back in 2011 because there were changes to the regulations. When this happens they allow the public to bring any concerns before the Planning Commission. This was a sticking point because why bother installing an air filtration system for around $35,000 if they would get closed down anyway?

Well the good news came on Friday in that the neighbor is willing to work with Bacon Bacon and will withdraw the complaint if Bacon Bacon installs the filtration system. Now I still have a chance to make it by their Cafe, daughter firmly in hand who I’m sure will be yelling Bacon! Bacon! the second we get inside. While they don’t go insane with their bacon ideas, they push the edge just enough with their bacon jam [available on any sandwich], bacon mayo and of course their chocolate dipped bacon and their bacon caramel corn.

Then of course I woke up this morning after writing this article early Friday to read the following on SF Gate:

“[The neighbor] had a change of heart yesterday and said they want to run more tests,” says Angelus [owner of Bacon Bacon], who must now close for three months, until the July hearing where they can procure their proper permits. He says four employees will likely lose their jobs, unless they want to hang around for the approval, which he hopes will happen.

“I feel really comfortable that it will get approved,” he says. “We have tons of neighborhood support.”

So it looks like their doors will be closed for three months so that they can get the changes made. At least they have a truck once again after it caught fire and had to be replaced, but I’m still waiting for the cafe to come back so I can happily bring my daughter to worship at the temple of porcine smokiness.