Over the course of the past 3 years I have befriended some of the most unique and wonderful individuals. They might be chefs, farmers, writers or even students. It's been an honor and privilege to get to know each one of them because they truly inspire me. It would be selfish to keep these extraordinary friends all to my self so I decided to create a new feature here on JC called "Heirloom of the Month". An heirloom (just like the tomato) is someone or something that is original and one of a kind. Each month I will ask a different friend that inspires me to write a guest post about someone that has inspired them to cook, eat, grow, write or learn.
This months Heirloom is someone very close to my heart. An influential character, a mentor and a dear, dear friend of mine. Dorette Snover is the Chef and owner of C’est Si Bon (CSB) cooking school in Chapel Hill, NC. If you’ve followed JeremyCooks you might already be acquainted with Dorette as I spent the last 6 summers assisting the CSB Kid-chef and teen-chef programs. That’s where I first met Dorette, on a farm with 4 other teens for “Carolina on My Plate”. It was there that she taught me how food is so much more then something we create or eat but something that can teach us about life.
Not only can you find Dorette at her school but also online at her blog Planting Cabbages. She is also currently in the process of publishing her first novel. I’m honored to share such an amazing women with all of you and I encourage you to see the kitchen through her eyes.
Thanks Dorette, and Keep on Cooking!!!
New Dishes, New Destinations.
To this day the scent of sautéing onions, carrots, and celery, as well as meaty stocks simmering, emulsifies into a memory of other tall white toques rushing ahead of me. We were climbing the hill from C Dorm, our knife rolls tucked under our arms, and we were most likely late for Advanced Kitchen class with Chef White at the Culinary Institute of America. And quite possibly before the day was done we would confront the unknown measured out in Jardiniere of Fresh Vegetables, Pomme de Terre Dauphinoise, Noisette de Porc Pruneaux, and Boeuf Bouriguignonne, well before it stole the show and rose to fame as Julia Child’s dish.
And while being late is a universal student anxiety what I also recognize in this memory is a kind of universal hunger. But hunger for what? A return to youth? A time of no responsibilities save for studying. Was this longing a quest for knowledge, recognition among peers, and connection to something larger and more complex and lingering than the simple (and getting simpler every year) moi?
Since CIA life has meandered through other unknown’s ~ being a private chef, mom, food stylist, commentator, cooking school teacher, food writer, and novelist.
And so it was another unknown when I first met Jeremy Salamon six years ago. He arrived fresh from Boca Raton with his Mom, Robin, and Pop, Jeff, ready for our first ever Carolina On My Plate Teen-Chef Program.
The temps were unheard of cool for a week in June, thankfully, as we, five Teen-Chefs plus my assistant Nicole, all plunked down and bunked down. After long days of cooking and touring other farms, we giggled at ghost stories and stray chickens on the second floor of the barn at Fickle Creek Farm in a very agriturismo atmosphere. We woke to the sound of the pigs getting their food as the feeder banged open and closed. Another once in a lifetime experience?
That year I knew Jeremy was different as he was the only one in the group who stood up at the Gumbo Mumbo Feast to thank me for braving the same conditions they did. Who am I kidding, it was a hoot! I felt lucky to be there!
In the years since I’ve been blessed to watch Jeremy, as I watched my own sons, grow!
Since time began Jeremy has come for a couple of weeks in the hottest part of the summer to give a hand with Kid-Chefs and Teen-Chefs. When he arrives I know we are going to drink great boule’s of coffee and laugh and have, whether we know it or not, once in a lifetime food adventures.
Oh, we’ve cooked in the kitchen after a long day. And we’ve cooked up programs and itineraries for Teen-Chefs. We’ve fed our turkey poults and glazed gargantuan turkey legs from Cliff’s meat market, braised rootbeer molasses pork, baked sweet potato biscuits, learned to dilly and dally pickled carrots with Two Chicks, stir vegetable curry with Vimala, make Quickles, blueberry basil jam, transform pizza into vegetable lasagna for 75 people, and put the finishing touches on huge pots of gumbo mumbo!
Jeremy is a fromage afficiando, but chevre in particular holds a special place on his baguette, and this year we got to turn Field of creams and Hunkadora Cheeses at Prodigal Farms.
Over the time he’s grown so has the food world in these six years. He’s been spot on and on the spot at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. He tells me all about interviewing Giada and Jamie. There is more to come, but I won’t spill the beans.
And a bonus for me is getting to see Chapel Hill and Carrboro from his eyes. The farmer’s markets look new to me when I see them with him. And though I might think I can’t take any more after a day of 16 kid-chefs, still we head out to Café Driade or Gugelhupf and Weaver Street Market to maybe stare off into a cappuccino, or the space above our laptops, and Jeremy brings his pencils along too. Check out the food drawings on his site. All by Jeremy. Jeremy is an artist, lover of words and stories. He is a fantastic writer! Again, there will be more stories to tell.
And while it will never be enough to say, I thank you, Jeremy, words are so little to offer for how you’ve inspired me. How? To keep going, to laugh, to treasure, and to redefine. To have faith that this story will never come again. Not this way. But there will be another one. And another.
Jeremy blends Earth, Wind, and Fire, buttery pan sauces and The Chef’s Apprentice into one dish. And always there is an additional accompaniment of laughter at the often absurd and joyful ridiculous life of the kitchen. We wonder whether Escoffier was somewhere off camera in Midnight in Paris and we howl with bittersweet chocolate bars in hand as we watch Julia Child make Glamour Puuuuding. He keeps me up to date with news about Food Trucks and Instagram, and through his eyes, a shiny realm of possibilities are revealed. And shared.
In a few weeks he is headed off to the Culinary Institute of America. What can I tell him, how can I advise him?
When I realized it will be thirty years in 2013 since I graduated, I didn’t want to believe it. Thirty years? Wowsa. What has changed?
Everything and nothing.
When Jeremy told me about the Escoffier Room being revised and refashioned, I can’t lie, I was devastated. I loved that place. LOOOVED it. Now, it was done. I felt old. Like maybe I should ask, but was afraid to find out they weren’t teaching mother sauces anymore.
I took out my notes from Advanced Kitchen with Chef White and out fell pages of Utensil Identification from the Learning Resource Center of the Culinary Institute of America in 1979. In stark black and white the chef’s tools such as a round Parisian scoop, an offset spatula or hot cake turner or food tongs number 2 (same as food tongs number 1) made these tools more resemble medieval relics in a historical journal than actual chef utensils.
Now Lord, there were Good Grips.
Were dishes like Consomme Solange, Veal Marengo, and Breast of Chicken Lukullus ghosts of a once and former kitchen? Did they have any value?
So Jeremy, to be sure, temper the tempeh. Miso the moment and shiso the shrimp.
But don’t forget to tumble the bones into a heavy pan. Smear tomato paste over the roasted shanks. Remove to a large kettle and add mirepoix. Deglaze with wine, and add water, beaucoup bouquet garni, peppercorns and reduce and reduce. Put it all through a chinois. Then pour the deep brown jus in another pot. Clarify with a raft of ground meat, egg shells, and herbs. Strain well. Ladle, and see if you can read the year on the dime at the bottom of the bowl. When noted, add the garniture of pearl barley, julienned chicken breast, and boston lettuce cut into squares.
Be true to the tastes that you love.
So with a soupcon of blueberries, charcuterie and chevre, tomato jam and coffee, always coffee, that I bid you, not farewell, just onward my friend, Jeremy, onward! There’s plenty left!
Keep on writing and drawing on what you see.
LARDED ROAST PORK IN ASPIC – ROTI DE PORC PIQUE
What was so enticing about my CIA’s Charcuterie Class? Was it because the kitchen was down in the basement of the Roth Hall building? Was it the smoky atmosphere? Was it the raw meat, chopping, then stuffing and twisting intestines, poaching and boning things out? The flavors of the finished “products?” The old world French accent of instructor, Jaques de Chanteloup?
In this recipe you will see some old world cooking terms. “Clout” refers to the action of impaling or inserting and in addition to clouting with lardons, one can “clout” an onion with cloves for an onion pique.
You might think it is not easy to find, but the infinitely cool tool called a lardoir, is a larding needle and you can read more about it as well as find places to buy it on The Cook’s Illustrated. Another term mentioned is “face” and obviously refers the “cut side” of the ham or pork.
If you happen to be in France or in the presence of a good Charcuterie Shop in this country as well, it is an older style to prepare the Aspic’d Porc in a stainless steel bowl. Barring this bowl, I mean if you do not have such a bowl, please just use a terrine or deep casserole instead.
Therein you shall, you will, find your Clout!
4 lb piece ham (center cut if possible)
15 lardons (strips of fatback, the same length as the roast)
2 gallons good veal stock
Bone and skin the meat. Using a special needle (called a lardoir), clout the meat regularly with lardons
Tie up the roast with butcher’s twine in regular spaces ½” apart. Sprinkle the meat with a little icing sugar and brown on all faces in a frying pan or a very hot oven. Put the meat in a deep covered pot, cover meat with veal stock and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes per pound until tender. Place meat in a deep service bowl. Make an aspic by using 1 tablespoon powdered unflavored gelatin per pint of stock
Cover with the aspic, cool off overnight and slice directly from the bowl.