Mustards, Mayos and more!

So picture this:  You find yourself at your local grocery store picking up a few staples for that new recipe you’ve been dying to try.   Maybe you need a bit of mustard to glaze those salmon steaks you’re attempting to cedar smoke, or just searching for a new dressing for that same old salad you’re throwing together on the side.  There’s that one aisle where you can find it all, you know, the one lined floor to ceiling with pickles, vinegars, oils, and pre-bottled sauces, marinades and salad dressings.  The one where you’re bombarded with and overwhelmed by the countless options, low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free, low-sodium, no-sodium, bright colors, flashing lights.  You try to focus and read the labels and digest it all, “How do I know which one is right? ... Which one tastes the best?... and just what the heck is calcium disodium EDTA?”

What if I told you you could ditch those overpriced, over-sugared grocery store squeeze bottles and impress your friends and family with your very own HOMEMADE condiments?  This may seem unfathomable, but I promise you, most condiments, when made by hand, require just a few minutes of time and less than a handful of ingredients.  If you’ve got a whisk and a bowl, an egg and some oil, you’ve got yourself mayo in minutes!  Want to take it up a few levels? Got a blender? Then grab some mustard seed, a bit of booze, a bit of vinegar, and you’re on your way to mustard heaven.  Or grab a decent vinegar, whisk in a bit more oil (1:3 ratio to be precise) toss in some fresh herbs, and you’ve got the base for a killer vinaigrette for salads, veggies, marinades, etc.  Once you have the very basics down, the sky’s the limit for modifications.  It’s fast, it’s fresh, and it’s freakin good!  

And of course you can head on down to Terra Nomad to get your fix, where we’ll be whisking up fresh jams, jellies, mustards and mayos daily. Because, as a great man once said, “it’s too easy and it’s too good not to!”  

Homemade condiments: LETS GET THE WORD OUT!

-Chef Tyler

Directed & Produced by Charles Russell

Cinematography & Editing by Derek Ellis

Pass the pickles, please

Who’s got two thumbs and loves pickles?  THIS GUY!  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a pickle junkie.  Bread and butter, spicy, kosher, dill, spears, chips, you name it, I loved it.  That perfect mix of salty/sweet-vinegary goodness packed into that little cucumber hit my tastebuds just right.  But hey, here’s a fun fact boys and girls, the term pickle is not reserved for cucumbers alone.  It can actually refer to a multitude of fruits, vegetables, and even proteins that are cured in some sort of vinegar solution or brine.  Oh my, did this notion turn my world upside down.  I decided to pick up the pickling torch one day and take myself on a little journey, a journey to pickle EVERYTHING.  Beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, grapes, garlic, you name it, I’ve pickled it.  Fennel?  I can pickle that.  Kumquats?  You bet!  

To the lay person, pickling seems like such an entry level cooking technique, a hobby of your grandmother’s, a practice that has no relevance in this day and age of modernist cuisine.  BLASPHEMY, I say. There’s a reason why pickling has stood the test of time.  Because when it comes down to it, the sky’s the limit, from the product you’re pickling to the flavor you try to impart.  From jar to jar, tastes and textures are transformed and flavor profiles can come across as delicate, tart, sweet, sour, salty, or spicy.   The beauty of the pickle is it’s confident and strong enough to stand alone, but can have the finesse to elevate a plate to that next level by providing a crisp bright contrast to round out the richest, most decadent dish.  

GOOD NEWS, MY FRIENDS!  You don’t need to be a farmer, or have a backyard garden, or be living in the late 1800’s to pickle.  Get yourself some mason jars, some fruit or veg (cucumbers, carrots, beets, or whatever), a jug of vinegar, some spices and PICKLE!!!  The most complicated part of the whole process is not diving into those jars straight away but allowing the pickles to cure for weeks on end to ensure that just-right flavor.  Show some restraint.  If you’ve got the patience of a saint, you’re golden.  However, if you’re an instant gratification type of guy or gal, just come on down to Terra Nomad and enjoy some of my favorite handmade pickles.  

-Chef Tyler

Directed & Produced by Charles Russell 

Cinematography & Editing by Derek Ellis

Tea Party

I would by no means call myself a “Mad Hatter” but let’s just say that we had ourselves one hell of a tea party when we were in San Francisco.  Our host for this party was Peter Luong.  Peter spent years transforming Red Blossom Tea, his family’s small teashop, into one of San Francisco’s best tea vendors.  With his new venture, Song Tea & Ceramics, he is able to bring small lots of unique and unusual teas, which he personally selects on his tasting trips to China and Taiwan.  Meeting Peter was like reconnecting with an old friend you haven’t seen in years.  He gave us his undivided attention while taking us on a tea journey, tasting for hours.   We didn’t know tea could be so interesting and delicious, not to mention caffeinate the heck out of you. 

Four Barrel

Hey my coffee companions! Guess what we did this past week.  We shipped ourselves to San Francisco to hang out with our friends over at Four Barrel Coffee and learned all the tricks of the trade.  These people know their stuff and we are super pumped to be a part of their extended family.  And by default that means that you will be something like their second cousin once removed.  That should make you extremely happy. 

This past year we were doing our coffee research, which entailed ordering all sorts of coffees and tasting them.   It was months of coffee torture.  We received our first Four Barrel Coffee on an ordinary weekend this past spring.  We were sitting on the couch listening to Ballroom Blitz by Sweet when we took that first sip.  You know those movie moments where the actors look at each other and lock eyes as if to say, “What the hell was that?”  This was one of those moments.  We didn’t realize that coffee could taste like that, let alone coffee that we had made at home.

We immediately started reading anything and everything we could get our hands on regarding this company.  Let’s just say that they not only specialize in coffee roasting, but they also focus on and stress the importance of quality throughout the entire process of the coffee bean.  From the Columbian farmer drying the bean to Four Barrel’s roasting cycle to the barista’s latte pouring technique: every point along the process impacts what you taste as a consumer. 

Our weekend with Four Barrel began with an in-depth look at a roasting cycle via their 1950’s Probat roaster.   This behemoth of German engineering was reminiscent of machinery straight out of the industrial revolution.  Ryan, the giant-of-a-man rocking the roaster, explained with yoda-like knowledge the various “forces” involved in creating an exceptional coffee for consumption.  The next three days were spent learning the ins and outs of espresso and coffee.  Trevor instructed us in the artistry of espresso; where we learned that it is the minute details that truly differentiate mediocrity from the sublime.  On our final day with Four Barrel, Tayler guided us through a cupping of their latest coffee offerings.   The complexity and range of flavors are something we are extremely excited to introduce to our community.

We cannot thank and praise Four Barrel enough for the their hospitality this past weekend.   So, Bismarck, put on your dancing shoes because Terra Nomad will be hosting a daily party and our good friends over at Four Barrel Coffee love to boogie.