Posts Tagged ‘joel fair’

Cilantro Cassidy and the Sundance Ham

For the bread of the week I’ve got an outlaw guaranteed to turn heads, with a taste that will make you smile. You’ll love the melding flavor profiles of lemon, smoky ham and fresh cilantro of this fougasse.

Avalanche General Manager Joel Fair showing off one of these great fougasse.

First, I took a butt-load of cilantro (stems and all) and threw it, unchopped, into a mass of 30 percent high-gluten flour, 40 percent poolish (made with 80 percent spelt flour), and 20 percent of my  Levain (or starter) that I fed for a week prior.

All I needed to complete this already wet dough was the 10 percent water, salt, commercial yeast for the kick, olive oil and a little help from an organic barley malt  to make this an Avalanche bread thrill.

The ham is from my friend Rich Blazer at Harmony Hollow farms. He’s got some awesome Heritage pork and hams and is an Athens Farmers Market stalwart, especially here in winter.

Okay Mr. Goon, so what does this bread taste like?

The first bite sends the spicy cilantro off his horse and into the mailcar.

Then the lemon zest blasts the safe into smithereens.

These strong flavors have the loot. The salty Sundance ham rides beside the railcar, with its meaty texture, and saves them both. Dag, whose shoes are those?

Altogether this bread releases a broad range of flavor: spicy, steely, salty and refreshing, all in a heavily-hydrated dough I’ve aged for two days, affording the gluten net to strengthen around the ham, zest and cilantro. This time also enables more gas to form, thus producing a killer crumb structure. (Joel’s checking it out below.)

Stop on by sometime to try this bodacious fougasse… but please don’t bring the Mexican Army.

A Matter of Perspective

In my 30-plus years in the food industry, several hilarious incidents stand out in my memory. These are staked on my ceribral cortex in bright blinking neon, and never fail to cheer me up during serious moments (or tax time.)

The latest involved an employee and a customer who participated in the age-old practice of mis-communication. But this incident was more of a topsy turvy discombobulation that brought both persons (channel Rod Sterling now) into the Twilight Zone.

At 6:45 p.m. on  November 24th, Joel Fair, my stellar general manager, took an order for a small Godzilla pizza. The Godzilla is the pizza that won at the World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore Italy in 2004. It is adorned with sundried tomato, feta cheese, chicken and spinach, with mozzarella and provolone. The woman who ordered it (a certain Ms. H). requested our new local spelt crust and also requested that it be cut into squares as opposed to pie shapes.

After Joel printed out the order, Ms. H called back and requested it be available for pick-up at 7:45 p.m. Joel hurriedly wrote the time on the ticket and went about his duties. The ticket is below.

When Ms. H. came in to retrieve her requested pizza, Joel quickly jumped to the front counter with her pizza and dipping sauce. She was well dressed and courteous, obviously accomplished at whatever profession she practiced. He double checked to see if the pizza had indeed been cut into squares as requested, and continued with the transaction.

“That’ll be ten dollars and eighteen cents please,” Joel said as he set the ticket on the counter in front of her.

“Can I ask you a question?” she said, sounding concerned.

Joel looked up saying, “Why yes, ma’am.”

“Why does my ticket say ‘Shit’ on it?”

Joel looked at the ticket again. Then the woman turned the ticket upside down.

Joel was dumbfounded and stammered an apology and explaination. The woman was cool about it and continues to be a good customer.

Like life, this ticket depends upon the viewer; our time on this earth only becomes shit when you look at it the wrong way. It’s just a matter of perspective. Nyuk Nyuk.