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Soup and sandwich, sorta

You of course subscribe to and religiously read Tablehopper, right? Of course you do.  I mean, how else would you know about all the amazing comings and goings of our ever-robust food scene? How else would you know, for example,…

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Spuntino, a pop-up

San Francisco's food scene is so much more than just excellent restaurants and year-round stellar produce at our farmers markets. (Though, don't get me wrong, all that is awesome.) Look a little closer, and you'll find so many artisans and…

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Obsessive watermelon salad

Remember when I posted that recipe for frikeh, feta, cucumber and cherry salad? Well, I became obsessed with it. Each time I made it, I tinkered with it a little, constantly making substitutions or other tweaks to my tastes. In…

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Table to farm dining

Al fresco dining is hardly de rigueur in San Francisco. Our summers are famously unhot, and even in our nicest times of year it's rarely warm enough in the evening to sit out without some kind of heater to keep…

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Unprocessed

My pal Andrew is on a mission. For the third year in a row, he's going to go through the entire month of October foregoing any and all processed foods. Sure, you say, I could go a month without eating…

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The pancetta that wasn’t

Guanciale and pancetta

I got nothing. Here it is, February 15, the deadline for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge, and all I got is meat hanging in a fridge. And it’s going to hang a little longer yet, at least.

Sure, perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to overachieve and do both guanciale AND pancetta, but since my results with last year’s guanciale were so stellar and so easy, I thought, why not? And besides, I had gone to the trouble of creating a curing chamber so I could control the temperature and humidity.

About that. At first, I thought our basement might have been temperate enough to where I would only have to manage humidity, so I purchased a storage cabinet. But after reading Matt’s very thorough and helpful post and getting, among other things, a hygrometer, I realized that both the temperature and humidity were going to be at issue. So, a fridge was in our future. 

Fine. This is what Craigslist is for, right? Almost immediately, I landed a medium-sized mini fridge from someone just a couple blocks away. Perfect! Unfortunately, it became clear that even at its lowest setting, the temperature was going to be too low, and any attempt to raise it would result in the wee freezer dripping water all over the place. Not the kind of humidity enhancement I was looking for. 

Back to Craigslist, where I finally found a wine fridge. At its lowest setting, the temperature was optimal, right around 55ºF. However, the humidity was definitely low. So, following advice from Cathy at Mrs. Wheelbarrow, I set a tray of salt water in the bottom, with a towel to wick moisture for evaporation. One day later, 75% humidity. Optimal. 

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Announcing: Punk Domestics

Remember when I said I had a supertopsecret project? Well, it's a secret no more. About two months ago I launched Punk Domestics, a community site for people obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. My goal was to create…

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