Friday, March 28, 2008


I've been dreaming about this pie, I need to make it again.
The first time I made it simply with a layer of dark chocolate under homemade pudding mixed with banannas and curled chocolate on the top.

Cook the pie crust then crumble Amano's chocolate (or your fav. chocolate) on the bottom till it melts, then add this pudding with banannas. Top the whole thing with curled chocolate.

2/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
2 to 2 1/2 cups whole goats milk
One bar of your fav. bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
A few sprinkles of nutmeg

Whisk first 4 ingredients in saucepan to blend. Whisk in egg yolks to thick paste. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils 1 minute. Cool 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.

The second time I made it, I made it as a double-bananna pie. I used chocolate chunks and crushed Graham crackers. I fried slices of banannas in butter then carmelized them in sugar. Then I made the pudding recipe.

After the pudding was finished, I threw the fresh banannas in and mixed, then threw in the fried bannanas, the chocolate chunks and some Graham crackers. I topped the whole thing with more crushed Graham crackers. It was delicious. But I have to say, I think I like my first recipe best, for its simplicty.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Steven Rosenberg, CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of Liberty Height Fresh

Say Cheese!

Standing by cheese at Jasper Hill Farm in VT. Steven says: "The brothers make some of the most amazing raw cow's milk cheeses in the USA!"

On Your Shopping List
A few recommendations of magical knock-out tastes gathered by Rosenberg from all over the world.

Winter squash soup and fresh cider (with 8 kinds of apples.) Wight’s natural grain-fed turkeys during Thanksgiving, cute jars of truffle, saffron, smoky or savory French salts to rub on meats and cooked Spanish chestnuts to mix into stuffing.

Preserves: One made entirely of rose petals— or Tunisian marmalade paired with horseradish spread.

Appetizers: Cheeses like Calabra, a hot, heady blue, an aged Gouda that tastes like butterscotch or creamy Vermont Stilton —add pears, apples and dollops of exotic-flower honey from Hawaii or one collected by climbing trees in Africa.

For Baking: Huckleberries, raspberry candied raisens, candied oranges or Sicilian marzipan.

Sweets: Browse a section of tongue-pleasing French and Italian hot cocoas or bars of Amano’s Madagascar or Venchi chili-infused dark chocolates. Fig goat ice-cream! Yum!

I'D LOVE SOME OF THIS: Leave with a sleek bottle of must-taste Tuscan rose-petal syrup.

The store is open Monday-Sat., 8:30-8 and Sunday, 10-7. 801-583-7374.

It’s breezy at Liberty Heights Fresh, the east doors are open wide to keep the produce cool and sweet. heady smells fill the market: a mixture of wild mushrooms, ripe pineapple, sweet, pungent cheeses, and fresh brownies baked with Italian, Spanish and French bittersweet chocolate. Shoppers search for the perfect tastes to complement their meals.

There’s a story behind many of the delicacies sold at Liberty Heights. The owner, Steven Rosenberg, often travels to where the food originates. He’s been to the Venchi chocolate factory in North-western Italy. He’s visited Modina, Italy and learned about the process of distilling the juice of Trebbiano grapes to create one of the many brands of balsamic vinegar he sells. It’s made in the traditional way, having passed though a series of wooden barrels like oak, ash, mulberry, chestnut and cherry. He points to a small bottle filled with the deep burgundy-brown vinegar. “Nothing can go into this bottle unless it’s been aged at least 25 years.”

Perhaps people shop at Liberty Heights because of the romance of those stories. Those with discerning tongues can taste the difference between cheese from a cow grazing on spring wildflowers along the foothills of the Alps or cheese from sheep that dined on the dewy grasses of Northern California. “We are only as good as the last bite someone ate, and if they didn’t get pleasure from it, we failed.” says Rosenberg.

Rosenberg grew up on a third-generation farm in Southwest Michigan, feasting on handpicked produce. It wasn’t until he left for college that he realized most people didn’t eat the way he had. “I just thought everyone ate well because we had all the great fresh things to eat, things that were ripened on the vine, and were allowed to get the flavor they should get.”

He graduated from Michigan State University in 1983 with a degree in agricultural economics, then worked in the cut-flower importing and marketing business––and even as a film maker.

When he moved to Utah in 1984 to work for a large distribution company, he had to adjust his eating expectations. “I was born with a passion for good things to eat. When I moved to Utah, there was no place to buy great food, and that was very depressing. The culture here was one of quantity and not of quality.”
Rosenberg opened Liberty Heights Fresh in 1993, initially selling only produce and flowers then adding baked goods and specialty foods from around the world. In 2001, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) named Liberty Heights one of the 10 Best Specialty Food Retailers in the United States.

Besides being passionate about great tasting food, Rosenberg is passionately dismayed about the mega-market, profit-driven approach to buying food. One wonders if Liberty Heights is his own brand of activism in a world fed by supermarket and fast-food chains. “The American consumer has been eating a tremendous bowl full of lies for a long time,” he says.

“People buy food processed to the point where nutritional value is lacking, and that has tremendous health care costs.” He wants to be known for selling food that has integrity. Offering this quality is where specialty retailers find their niche. “I sell real food made by real people, not factories. I prefer [to buy from] people that are passionate about what they do. I’m not interested in how shiny the apple is or how pretty the food is. I’m interested in the pleasure the food is going to give someone when they eat it.”

What does he love most about his business? “When somebody tells me about an extraordinary experience they had with something they ate.”

Rosenberg invites all to come to his shop and browse; he’ll even take you on a tour. He may even tell you about his pet foods for each season. This winter? “It’s a great time to eat cheese,” he says. “I would say a piece of English Stilton with a glass of Port.”

And after that, he suggests some steamed beet greens or Kale, or a good piece of Morgan Valley lamb. And the perfect addition to a cold winter morning? Potatoes latkes with applesauce made from fresh apples hot off the stove.

(photo courtesy of Drake Family farms.)

From Utter to Cheesecake
Drake Family Farm, West Jordan, Utah

The Drake Family raises Saanen and Nubian dairy goats. They have also added Snubians (a Saanen and Nubian mix) to their herd.

Here's one of the Drake's goats. Look how cute she is! I feel very satisfied at the thought of making a pie with the cheese that came from this cute goat. These goats are a-typical, they are prettier and much more graceful and mellow than the goats I was accustomed to.

As part of our pie-making extravaganza (see previous post) we drove to Drake's family farm in the a.m. and picked up some goat's milk, chevre, yogurt and eggs.
I told Ron Drake, the founder of the goat farm, that we wanted to make a cheesecake with his cheese and he gave us a few pounds of chevre to experiment with.

We made a cheesecake that called for:

lemon zest

frothy egg whites.

And some egg yolks:

This is the cheesecake we made....



It was pretty good, but a little too dry. We're going to keep experimenting!

Here's my friend Toni getting ready to cut pie crust! Watch out!

Toni and I recently got together to make pies out of local products..... Drake Family farm goat chevre and local squash (Check out other pies I've made with local products: Amano's chocolate and Santaquin apples in prior posts.)

We made crust, cooked up filling, labored over the goat cheesecake, rolled, sifted, cut dough, pinched the pie edges, cooked and ate little bites till we were sick and up to our elbows in flour. Four hours later, we were pooped out and had made only 6 pies.

Three Secrets to Great Pie Crust by the Menan Relief Society Farm Wives and Company

Cara "June-bug" Raymond

This is my sister Cara standing in her backyard by a plowed-up field of barley. She is pregnant and looking very satisfied with herself. She's a pro at both children and pie-making (and she's good at hunting elk too) But since I don't have children, I often consult her about pies. I asked her to offer some tips for crust making. My sister lives in a community of women known for their pie baking prowess (Menan, Idaho), one of them is her mother-in-law, La Dee Raymond, who has won many pie contests. I especially love her lemon meringue pie. Through these women she has learned the art of pie making.


1. Use lard! I know it's not the best for your waistline or for your pig-protecting affiliations, but most people swear by even a small portion of lard to make the crust flakey

2. Minimize the flour! My sis claims the Idaho pie baking regional winner rolled her dough on the plastic bag inside a box of Western Family cornflakes. This plastic creates special pie-dough rolling magic. Wax paper doesn't work worth beans.

3. Don't overmix! The secret to good pie crust is not handling it too much! Pour the water into the flour into pockets of the mixure, mix each section- instead of pouring all the water over everything and mixing it all together.

This was my favorite pie: Mark Anthony Apple Pie (in honor of Mark's birthday.)



It's one I created and it turned out wonderful.. it makes me hungry just thinking about it!


(all rough estimates)
3 tablespoons of minced crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cube butter (or lil more)
2 tablespoons of flour

Red rome apples cut up.... crumble the mixture onto the top. Add a shell, vent and cook for 450 for 15 minutes then 350 for roughly 30 more (or longer, till golden brown.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Art Pollard, Amano Chocolate

Whoops, that's not Art photoed above, but Gene Wilder... here's Art: Should I entitle this entry: Local Chocolatier Mistaken for Willy Wonka

A few days ago I met co-founder of
Amano Chocolates... new chocolatier in the area and maker of that rich, earthy, serotonin-boosting, nutty chocolate that has me mezmerized.

I have to say that Art, with his hair a bit unruley standing in a chocolate factory....looked a bit like the eccentric Gene Wilder from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory fame. Only he's much more pratical and less wild than Wilder, but with a boyish kind of idealism and passion for his chocolate making. He's like that guy in your science or engineering class who wows everyone at the science fair with some new-fangled invention.

I had decided to make a pie with Amano chocolate so I stopped by their factory to get some bulk chocolate.

So I met Clark and Art at their factory, a simple cinderblock building off center street in Orem. Art was unhusking a cocoa bean and munching on the bittery but mysterious raw cocoa inside the shell. I asked for a taste and tried some from different countries where he sources his beans (all top secret, he says.) But you can imagine, some from Indonesia, some from South America, some from Africa.

Cocoa Beans used to make Amano's Chocolate:

Here's Clark opening some chocolate. Art and Clark have known each other since college, the two studied physics together.

My pies made with Amano Chocolate:

A tart cherry pie (with cherries from South Ridge Farms in Santaquin)
with a layer of crumbled Amano chocolate on the bottom.

A banana cream pie made with homemade cream (with raw sugar and Drake family goat milk) a sprinkle of nutmeg, bannanas and layer of Amano's chocolate on the bottom.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Warm River Trout

The photo is a picture of one of my favorite places in the world. Warm River where as children we'd pull out trout, take them home to gut and then eat them. The taste of Warm River trout summons up this place and this story: This is an excerpt from an essay I wrote.....

Gift Of Fish

Warm River wasn’t warm, but it wound through a place where the sun could find it, not in the trees but in a meadow of soft yellow grass that as a kid, I walked over like the wind. Waist-deep grasses grew around a pair of abandoned train trestles that ran through the place. The grass grew as wild as my dandelion-tuft hair that refused to tuck behind my ears. My family came with our pants rolled up, our gangly poles and cups of night crawlers from KOA. We came to pull rainbows out of the creek— as magical as pulling one out of the sky.

My mother brought us here as children. Dad spent the day raising houses along the edges of the Rocky Mountains, lifting pine two-by-fours with his arms that had become brown and bulged with the work of carpentry. Mom's work was to keep us with her and happy, so she took us fishing to Warm River often. The place never failed to produce; we always came home with a cooler full of new-caught trout. It was the anonymity of the spot that spoke most loudly. The stillness made me think that sunshine had been the place's only occupant until the Skoy family came to fish. We were like prospectors panning for the beautiful things of the river, standing with our hands in the stream and letting the small ones slip out of our fingers, waiting on the bigger rainbows, that were as good as gold.

I wasn't afraid of worm guts. I impaled the crawlers over and over with my hook and cast my line out to hold out for the nibble, nibble. I'd wait the magic wait, which lasted a few seconds or sometimes half-a-minute, then pull back, feeling the weight of a little life tugging at the end of my rod.

As children we only pulled things from the river that we loved and could hold in our hands and bravely watch die. When fish jumped through the water they were familiar. Catching them was like finding a rock that had been in the bottom of your pocket for a long time.

photo of my hippie family in my backyard. I'm the one in the middle. My mother made the dress I'm wearing.

When I think of fishing with my family, the memory pulls the slack of many years and brings them close, makes them tight in my hands.
Fishing at Warm River was easy, like a dream you'd have of finding hidden treasures buried right in your backyard. We knew Warm River would never let us down and that if you fished, you caught. But that was an Idaho dream, and maybe one only children have. I'm grown up now and live in Utah, and when I fish here without much luck, I tell people they've never really fished until they’ve fished in Idaho. . .

. . . When spring came, I fished with Chris, a new friend who helped me fine tune my technique. Chris appreciated my fiberglass rod and my father's hodgepodge fly collection; he said, "The fish don't know the difference.” Chris had a love of fishing that exceeded mine. During that time of day when the sun, the river, the fish, and the fly all line up—call it the angler’s eclipse—Chris goes crazy. He is aware of nothing except giving life to a fly through the swirl of his line and watching fish rise. He is known to keep flies handy by putting them in his mouth between his gums and cheek. During one such moment, he forgot the fly was there and kissed me. The hook got stuck in his gums.

After pulling in a fish on Blacksmith Fork, Chris knocked it on the head, killing it, then put his hand in the lower jaw and ripped it open.

"This is a beautiful healthy fish," he said. "Look at the pink flesh, one of the best I've seen on this river." He ran his fingers through the fish's wet entrails and pulled out the stomach, an oval-shaped pod. He opened the stomach and sorted through the flies and insects inside, slimy and covered with brown muck. He pulled out a large winged creature and said, "Look, this is a stone fly." Then together we looked through my dad's old fly box, found something that looked like what we had found in the fish's stomach, and tied it to the end of my line.

I had often gone to the river with questions about life there: What do fish eat? How do they move and grow and digest? I thought I’d need to go home and look it all up in a book; I didn’t expect the chance to ask the fish directly. Opening a fish on the bank of Blacksmith’s Fork was like asking it how it lived.

I felt a mixture of awe and curiosity but not revulsion. It was the same feeling I got when as a child, my dad told us to clean the fish we caught during Warm River trips. You gut your own fishes at the Skoy home. If you took the life of a fish, you saw that life carefully through until the end, till the fish was eaten. We’d lay the fishies, shiny and still, on our back deck, touch their fish eyes—which felt wet like skinned grapes—wipe the smelly slime on our jeans after we gutted them, took off their heads, slit them open, and lifted out the slippery organs.

To take a fish as a trophy may be cruel, but to catch a fish with the intent to eat it seemed natural, as though fish were created to be opened but not without a feeling something like love. Most of the time I release fish, thankful the river gives this gift so generously—this silver-dollar flash of fins; this small, red-gilled body. This piece of moving river, tugging on my line, wild in my hands.

This perfect fish that will be caught.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I just returned from Moab where I drank from a spring called MATRIMONY SPRINGS not too far from main street up a canyon. It's a wonderful place with water clean from the redrocks.

The place reminded me of the spring that bubbled up by my own home in Island Park, Idaho.

My backyard while growing up:

As a kid in Idaho one of my favorite hangouts was a place called Big Mouth... which was respectively a swamp with delicious green moss that we walked on like it was the carpet of some magical castle. It fed into the creek that ran through a covert under the dirt road we drove down. It bubbled up from the ground like a liquid crystal ball. We put our mouths there and drank from the earth. I thought the water came from the middle of the earth and that it would make you magic.

Here's the creek fed by the spring, fed like me. She is soo pretty.

In the summer we'd catch minnows by putting buckets under the banks of the creek and stomping. We picked wild peppermint to bring home to mom for brewing tea. Wild peppermint and fresh spring water: does it get much better than this. Then we'd head to Box Canyon and pick morell mushrooms from the forest (we called them brain mushrooms.) My dad would fry them on the stove with butter and salt.

What I don't like about the city and the modern environmental movement is that withought realizing it, it makes us fearful of interacting with the earth. It see's humans as the enemy, instead of part of nature. Of course we as humans have polluted the earth, we've abused her, we've misused her resources, we've exploited her. We've been greedy. But our fear of impacting the earth, even on a small scale is unfortunate. I remember this shift while hiking with a friend at Alta in Utah. I picked a wild flower to put in my hair and she told me that doing so was illegal. What? I grew up picking flowers in my backyard. We made perfume out of the flowers with a mason jar of tap water. Yes, it changes the life of that flower forever. I'm afraid our fear to touch the earth: to pick a flower, touch a spider web, has created a sickness. We have lost intimacy with the land.

Perhaps that's why I write about food and try to find the source of the food. I want to find that intimacy with nature again. I think knowing where your food comes from is intimacy with the earth.. feeling the soil that grows the food, knowing the farmer who works the ground to get it to produce. Knowing what side of the hill the goat or cow grazes and what it eats and how it affects the taste of the milk.

That's why I'm passionate to know where my food comes. It's simple, I'm trying to reconnect to the earth which is where we all came from. We've isolated ourselves from it in too may ways.