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Sunday, October 30, 2011

“The Salad Chef Speaks, Pt. VII: The Original Caesar Salad as created at Caesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, during the Great Depression”

The Grateful Dead’s sixty-second album, “View from the Vault, Volume I: July 06-08, 1990, Pittsburgh, PA, and Louisville, KY” was released on October 10, 2000 and was another great retrospective live album.  All of the band’s live releases are stellar—some more so than others, and this is definitely one of the best.  We therefore recommend that you buy it and think you will be delighted with it so please take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and get it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.


                                                                                
Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 418 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!




                                                                                    



                                                   STINKBUG 2011


                                                                         


Chef Stinkbug

END Commentary 10-31-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,596.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, October 31, 2011 by Chef Stinkbug

THE SALAD CHEF SPEAKS, PT. VII

 The Salad Chef Speaks, Pt. VII: The Original Caesar Salad as created at Caesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, during the Great Depression



Bakersfield, CA, 10-31-2011 M: Well, friends, I am back to write for MY blog once more and let me say this: I am happy to be here with all of you!  Last night was Brian Carrick’s bachelor party at the Déjà vu and since this was posted before the party began, I will have to tell you about it tomorrow and also about the upcoming wedding that’s happening later today sometime tomorrow or the day after.  But I want to you to know that we will miss him while he’s gone as he’s not only my partner in this blogging venture, he’s also my close companion, confidante, and friend.

We are going to be doing salads all week long and today we will make a classic.  Salads are always a fun thing to enjoy when one goes out to a luncheon at a country club or some such swanky other establishment but you don’t realize that every time you go out to dine, you are literally placing YOUR life in the hands of someone else. Let me say this again: “When you go out to eat, you are placing your LIFE into the hands of someone else that you don’t even know.  If you were out on the highway, would you accept a ride from a total stranger?  Would you let a stranger sleep in the same bed as you do on any given night (Hey? We’re not talking about trolling bars and picking guys up, Okay?)? No, of course not, you would do any of these things unless you are STUPID!”

What do I mean by this provocative statement? When you go out to eat, the person handling your food is generally a stranger and you do not know if this person not only follows the county health laws, guidelines, and regulations BUT respects and adheres to them!  Does this person wash his or her hands after handling raw meats, after visits to the bathroom, and often enough to NOT transport infectious disease organisms from one spot in the kitchen to another? Being a food-handler places enormous responsibility upon the kitchen supervisor, be he or she a chef, a head cook, or a kitchen manager.  Many of the people working in the lower echelons are not well-educated, are immigrants, and may not speak English well or have a rational, common-sense mind. These people have only the training they’re given by whoever is in charge and as any of us who have been in the business know, there is not a lot of extra time so much of what transpires within a professional kitchen is anticipated to stick after the first or second take and a lot of it is just expected from the employee.

The responsibility of the salad chef or the garde manger is intensive as they handle all sorts of meats, cheeses, and raw produce and each and every one of these things carries dangers with it. I remember a story a health inspector once told me about iceberg lettuce; he said, “I never eat lettuce anymore and it’s because if you see what goes on in the fields where it’s grown, you would never eat lettuce ever again!  They have Porta Potties out in the fields but they’re way on one end and it’s difficult for the workers to walk over and use them. I saw this man squatting down among the rows of lettuce and was defecating when there was a portable john TWENTY yards away.”

“Hey! Why aren’t you using the toilet over there?” I yelled at the individual as I prepared to write him and his boss up.

“I don’t like it, senor, I like the dirt.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t like it, senor, I feel confined.”

The health official said, “I fined their boss but this “crap” (ha ha) goes on ALL the time out in the fields and I have given  up lettuce—there is NO way you can wash it enough for my palate!”

Yikes!  I had never thought about this!  One simply assumes that individuals working in the fields of the United States automatically adhere to American rules but this is NOT the case. They do whatever they want and if they want to urinate on our lettuce, they don’t care, after all, they’re not the ones eating it.  So, the cooks who receive the produce and work with it are expected to wash it but once in the kitchen, the head chef or his appointed sous chefs have to supervise the help but especially the immigrant workers which is the dominant source of labor from line cooks to pantry workers to dish-and-pot washers to busboys.  No matter how much the supervisors school them, train them, and guide them, these people still end up working independently much of the time and one simply does NOT know how strict they are upon themselves—are they like their compatriots working in the fields OR do they parrot what they’re taught by their superiors?

We had an incident back in 2000 at a local Mimi’s Restaurant in Bakersfield, California where a foodserver was infected with Hepatitis B and had handled salad lettuce sans gloves and was then diagnosed as having the illness.  The Kern County Health Department (KCHD) discovered the infected worker and had to pull her off the line and send her for treatment. The restaurant then had to dispense FREE Hepatitis B shots to hundreds of customers costing the restaurant thousands of dollars to any-and-everyone who had dined at the beautiful restaurant on California Avenue between a certain set of dates.  Fortunately, this was NOT a major foodservice mishap but it wasn’t a cheap one either and it serves to illustrate the risks we subject our health to every time we go out to eat!  The good news is this: DON’T worry because these events happen occasionally but remember this every time you go to another country, especially ones in the Third World like Mexico or any of the Caribbean-region nations. There are sanitizers one can buy that can be sprinkled on food so check your drugstore prior to going on any trip.  Okay, enough foodservice horror stories, let’s move on to what we came to discuss, alright?

 One of the famous salads of all time is the Caesar Salad which is found all over the place in practically every restaurant in one form or another.  This is one that was once upon a time made with RAW eggs which is a surefire way to get foodborne illness as raw egg yolks have a bad way of spreading salmonella illness to unfortunate people. I have had salmonella once in my life and never have I begged harder for DEATH to liberate me from this world EVER in my life!  It was coming out of every end and the bathroom was imbued with a frightful stench. I threw up more bile and God knows what else and the pain was monstrous. The doctors said I had to ride it out and gave my wife a prescription for the pain to bring home to me. I was in bad shape for THREE days and when it finally left me, I felt as though I had played an NFL game and had been sacked on every play for a MONTH. 

Caesar Salad is one that was created in Tijuana during the Depression when a restaurateur who was hosting a bash for a bunch of Yankees found himself with hardly any food left but hungry mouths looking for more, more, more like a nest-full of baby sparrows!  He transformed what he had gathered from his shelves and from his cold storage into a salad that has lasted the century and is going into the next in much the same way as Napoleon Bonaparte’s chef did after the Battle of Marengo.  Made with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, anchovies, and eggs, it has a legacy all its own.   Unfortunately, this famed eatery in Mexico has had to close its doors due to the horrible economy of this Depression!

(#704) THE REAL CAESAR SALAD

Yield:  4 servings / Mis-en-place: 20 minutes:


Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
2-3
Each
Romaine hearts, chopped rough and briefly soaked in ice water
.25
Cup
Lime juice

.25
Cup
Worcestershire sauce

.5
Cup
Olive oil

.5
Cup
Safflower oil

16
Each
Anchovy fillets, chopped

16
Each
Artichoke hearts, halved

.25
Cup
Pine nuts

8
Cloves
Garlic, minced

1.5
Teaspoons
Kosher salt

1.5
Teaspoons
Black pepper

1.5
Cups
Toasted croutons

1
Tablespoon
Dry mustard

.25
Cup
Shredded parmesan cheese

4
Each
Coddled eggs

The Garnish:
.25
Cup
Shredded parmesan cheese

8
Each
Large tomato wedges

8
Each
Lemon wedges

4
Each
Large sprigs parsley
Rinsed
.125
Cup
Freshly minced parsley

Spanish paprika

8
Each
Caesar bread sticks




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work.  Let’s look at the coddled eggs: they are done by placing them into boiling salted water and leaving them there for one minute AFTER turning the flame off.  Then, bring them out using a slotted spoon and gently crack.  Allow the blanched egg to fall out into a small dish or bowl and then have ready to toss into the salad.

2.      Drain the water from the lettuce and if you don’t have a salad spinner with which to remove all of the water from it, pat dry with cloth towels until hardly any water remains on the leaves; if you don’t, the oils won’t adhere properly and the finished salads will taste bland.

3.      In a large mixing bowl, add the lettuce leaves, the lime juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the olive and the safflower oils, and the anchovy filets and toss with a salad fork and spoon.  Toss well and then add the artichoke hearts, pine nuts, the seasonings, the croutons, the mustard, and the parmesan cheese; toss together well.  Finally, toss in the coddled eggs and blend well; now, it’s ready to serve:

4.      Now, on four large salad plates, divide the Caesar salad evenly between them.  Make sure that they all have equal amounts more or less of the ingredients.

5.      To garnish the salads, sprinkle each with the second amount of shredded parmesan cheese, place a tomato wedge at the 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions, and lemon wedges at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions.  Sprinkle with freshly minced parsley flakes and then with Spanish paprika to add a little bit of color across the top.  Accompany with toasted Caesar bread sticks and enjoy.

This is the classic Caesar salad as created at Caesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, during the Great Depression.  This is one of the most popular salads of all time and one that you and your family or your guests will enjoy. Now, here’s a Caesar Dressing that you will find useful if you want to prepare your salad materials in advance and then just toss them with the dressing and serve:

(#704 A) CAESAR DRESSING #1


Yield:  about 3 cups  / Mis-en-place: 20 minutes:


Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
.5
Cup
Packed anchovy fillets, chopped

2
Large
Eggs, coddled

6
Cloves
Garlic, minced

1.5
Teaspoons
Black pepper

1
Teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce

.5
Teaspoon
Tabasco sauce

1
Cup
Bertolli-brand olive oil

.5
Cup
Vegetable oil

.75
Cup
Red wine vinegar

.25
Cup
Fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated

.25
Cup
Chopped parsley (do it in a food processor)[i]




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work. Using the first SIX ingredients, turn them into a PASTE in your food processor or meat grinder.

2.      Next, either grind or puree the ingredients until soupy and then place in the bowl of an electric mixer or in the food processor and gradually incorporates BOTH oils in slowly, beating well after each addition.

3.      When the mixture is smooth, stir in the vinegar, cheese, parsley, and again, beat until well-combined. When it is, pour it into a jar and refrigerate.  Please note that this dressing must be kept refrigerated due to the eggs and anchovies—it must never be left out at room temperature, especially in the summertime! Note, too, that the anchovies usually supply the necessary salt but if it’s not salty enough for you, add a little bit of kosher salt. 

4.      Make sure you use mix it up well when you go to use it as everything tends to settle to the bottom.  Observe, too, that the flavorings may need to be readjusted to suit one’s taste; sometimes the oil can blot out the other flavorings and that is all you can taste.

This is a good way to have your dressing prepared in advance so that all you have to do is to toss the salad ingredients together and then add the dressing and serve your salads.  We love this one as it’s not only tasty, it’s easy.  Always store your dressing in a clean, sanitized container so as to prevent foodborne illness.

As my counterpart, Chef Brian Carrick said to all of you yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

This blog post obviously was posted before the end of Brian Carrick’s bachelor party last night so I cannot discuss the events of that but will tomorrow. I will be able to discuss his wedding which will take place later today the day after tomorrow.  Rest assured that both are going to go according to plan and will be a lot of fun. I want to offer my congratulations to him on his choice of a marvelous bride—the Lovely Lady Linda E. Payne is simply the most beautiful, charming, and intelligent woman I’ve ever met and certainly is better than any of the other skanks he’s had in his life.  Everybody loves this woman including not only Brian’s family but all of us and his friends, too, and we are all hopeful that the two of them will have a long lovely life together and that their trip to the Hawaiian Islands will be as exciting as it always is. Anyhow, please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!    

Thank you!

Stinky

Stinkbug
American Bakers’ Association, ACF, CWC


This is me back in the 1980's when I was the sous chef of a large foodservice operation in Bakersfield, CA. I began my cooking career in the 1960's when I apprenticed underneath a great chef, Master Chef Ulysses S. Paz.  I have lived and worked in Hawaii, Washington State, Arizona, and California.  Even though I am in my late 60’s, I am still actively involved at a hotel here in Bakersfield, CA.

---30---

END Commentary for Monday, October 31, 2011 by Chef Stinkbug



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Stinkbug

Recipes created by Chef Stinkbug on April 21, 1978 in Bakersfield, CA.

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          BERRENDA MESA, CA, STINKY


                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
This is #1232 a 40” x 30" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Spring Flowers." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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[i] Mince parsley FINE.  Then, place it into a towel, wrap it into a ball, hold under cold running water, and squeeze out as much green chlorophyll as you possibly can.

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