BY SARAH SINGLETON

agedsteak

It's true. We are all eating slightly old beef. Whether one week or five, in plastic or in a dry environment, all beef needs to sit around for a while before eating unless cooked immediately after slaughter. This controlled rot allows the meat to evolve into a more flavorful and tender steak.

At the slaughterhouse, sides of beef are hung for a day to allow the muscles to relax out of the rigor mortis stage. This is the beginning of the aging process. At the packing plant, the carcass is then cut into "sub-primal" cuts – the stage between the whole animal and a small cut. Then it is sealed in plastic bags and shipped off to its retail destination. This process and the travel time effectively wet age the meat another week or two.

Read more: Aging Beef: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

BY MIKE MADISON

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A customer who had a baby a few years back came by my stall at the farmers market. I said, "Your son must be about ready to start kindergarten by now." She raised her eyebrows. "He's in the fifth grade," she said. Yikes! How could a decade have slipped away so quickly?

As we age, our sense of the passage of time speeds up. When I was a thirteen year old suffering through Latin class in boarding school it seemed that there were far more minutes to an hour, and days to a month, than there are now. But in addition to this subjective sense of time accelerating, there are objective data to show that the world is indeed speeding up.

Read more: Fast Tomatoes, Fast Beethoven: Time is Accelerating

BY ANDREW BAKER & EDIE BAKER

coffeeprod2Coffee drinking is a daily ritual all around the globe; most of us take it for granted and believe that there's plenty of coffee for everyone and it's no big deal. But it is a big deal; it really is. Take a sip of your coffee and look at the 1,095 day journey it took to get to you. Three years and countless hands have helped create this amazing drink, so slow down and appreciate every sip.

Arabica Coffee is grown at high altitudes between 1000 to 2100 meters, only in the Equatorial regions between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. Coffee plants require an average temperature between 64-72° F and a minimum of 1200-1500 mm annual rainfall, with no longer than three months without rainfall. Oh, that's easy! Once all the conditions are perfect, coffee can be grown.

Read more: From Seed To Cup: A Timeline of Coffee Production

BY KEVIN CORCORAN

nathan corderoConsidering that this issue's theme is time, I decided that for the roundup I would taste through multiple vintages of mourvèdre I had saved from La Clarine Farm. La Clarine is a ten acre farm in Somerset owned by Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer. The wines are made with minimal intervention in the field and cellar, allowing unique expressions of each vintage to emerge. I wanted to taste how each compared side by side and how they held up over several years of storage. I also had a larger question in mind: who produces age-worthy wines in our region?

2010 LA CLARINE FARM MOURVÈDRE, "CEDARVILLE"

This was the most beautiful right out of the bottle, the brooding and sauvage aspects of the varietal met with floral elegance, pinned down by a peppery finish. Beckmeyer's notes indicate the 2010 was taken from cask to bottle faster than is typical in order to preserve the freshness of the vintage, and the perfume and fruit that term conjures up are still very much in focus. This, coupled with the subtlety of its tannins, makes the wine such a pleasure to drink now, but I believe it will continue to age gracefully based on the consistency with my impressions upon release. Slow and steady.

Grapes sourced from Cedarville Vineyard in Fair Play.

74 cases made, Stelvin closure, 14.2% alcohol by volume.

2009 LA CLARINE FARM MOURVÈDRE, "SIERRA FOOTHILLS"

Difficult weather late in the harvest season caused problems in the foothills for this grape. As a result, it was decided to blend mourvèdre from two different vineyards, roughly half and half. The wine maintained the most rawness out of the bottle and appeared lighter in the glass than the others. Initial impressions reminded me of tasting a tank sample, something still a bit unstable, but no flaws were readily apparent. Higher-toned fruit brought to mind fresh currants and dried cranberries, brighter and more tart than the other vintages, but the finish carried a similar black peppercorn and woodsy spiciness. Once open for a day things began to integrate. Tasting over the next two days gradually revealed the depth I had come to expect from this wine, which makes me even more curious about the future. Mercurial but promising.

Read more: Round Up: La Clarine

BY AMBER K. STOTT

Local food blogger Garrett McCord's first cheese experience was very American.

"It was orange block cheddar from the grocery store," he says. "In fact, I have one in my fridge right now."

While McCord (a frequent contributor to Edible Sacramento) may still crave comfort foods from his childhood, his taste for cheese has expanded like the band of blue stretching across a chunk of Humbolt Fog.

October marks the release of McCord's first cookbook with co-author Stephanie Stiavetti. Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese is filled with reinterpreted recipes from the American classic. Yet, instead of orange block cheddar, these dishes rely on artisan cheeses like French goat cheese and smoked blue.

"Five years ago, I wouldn't have guessed I would be writing a cookbook, and I wouldn't have guessed it would be mac and cheese," says McCord, whose popular food blog, Vanilla Garlic, is filled with pastries, jams, Asian dishes and cocktail recipes in addition to cheesy creations.

Read more: Three Years in Cheese: The Making of Melt

BY AMANDA HAWKINS

kombucha

I was visiting my Aunt Susie a few years ago and noticed a large jar of liquid sitting on her counter. Something brown and flat floated on top of it. It was kombucha, a strange form of tea. The brown pancake thing on top was what kombucha enthusiasts called the "Mother," a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that feed on sugar. After a week or so on the counter the kombucha becomes bubbly and tangy and purportedly good for the gut.

Kombucha is as easy to make as sauerkraut – maybe easier because no chopping is involved. Every time a batch of kombucha is made the Mother makes a baby pancake colony, so even though you can buy a Mother online in starter kits, chances are there are baby Mother colonies near you waiting to be adopted.

Once you have a Mother, you just steep some tea, add some sugar, let it cool, and give that floppy Mother a little soak for a week or two in a warm, dark place. Of course, Aunt Susie also says everything must be "scrupulously clean."

Read more: Kombucha: One Funky Mother

BY BECKY GRUNEWALD / PHOTOGRAPHY BY RACHEL VALLEY

There isn't much of a "back of the house" at Maalouf's Taste of Lebanon because owner Adbul Maalouf is always manning the grill behind the counter, clad in his customary bright orange Maalouf's T-shirt and his rapper-worthy gold chain with a cedar – the symbol of Lebanon – on it. He is a bear of a guy with a soft voice, and he invariably admonishes me that it's been too long since he's seen me (even if it hasn't been that long).

maaloufs1

Read more: Back of the House: Maalouf's

BY NGAIO BEALUM / PHOTOGRAPHED BY JANINE MAPURUNGA

canna

Weed and food have a long and wonderful history together. And not just because "the munchies" have inspired countless food and flavor combinations (think about Ben and Jerry's ice cream, those dudes must've been high). Bhang lassi, a cannabis-infused yogurt drink, originated in India hundreds and hundreds of years ago and is still popular, especially during the festival of Holi. When used in moderation, marijuana-infused food can be a nice treat, and itmay even have a few beneficial properties as well. For many people with serious and chronic pain conditions, medical marijuana edibles, sometimes called "medibles," have been a blessing. There are people with insomnia who use pot instead of sleeping pills and folks who use cannabis foods to help with arthritis, MS, and other conditions. And some people just like to get high. A cannabis chocolate bar and a movie or concert go together very well.

Read more: Marijuana: It's What's for Dinner

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