ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO EAT!
Hamming it up at the fermin IBéRIco dinner
5/22/17 - by Heather Arndt Anderson (Nicky is honored to feature Heather's writing on occasion in our News section. She is a Portland-based food writer, plant ecologist, and speaker, and is the author of four books on culinary history and her writing has been featured in numerous national publications. Heather is an avid home cook and will be working with us developing content and recipes featuring Nicky Farms products to share with any cooks interested in specialty game & high quality meats.)
On Sunday, May 21, about thirty of the luckiest people in town (including yours truly) were treated to a seven-course dinner featuring Spain's famed Ibérico pork at Chesa. The dinner was sponsored by Nicky USA, Wagshal's Imports, and Fermin Ibérico. The meal included two jamón-based appetizers, giving us a total of nine different ways to enjoy an acorn-fed pig. If that weren't enough, slices of jamón Ibérico de bellota were carved by Raul Martín, the charming grandson of the Fermin Ibérico founder.
Chef Jose Chesa's menu was a global exploration, giving diners tastes of China, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Spain, and the good ol' U.S. of A. The Chinese "char sui" was two medallions of boneless loin, served mid-rare, in a velvety jus with stir-fried vegetables, paper-thin omelet, and a sprinkling of nasturtium and cornflower blossoms. The quesadilla consisted of chorizo sandwiched between two toothsome tortillas with a pretty quenelle of adobo-spiked goat cheese wrapped in an avocado veneer, with a brunoise of grilled pineapple. (My dining companions and I agreed that the Spätlese from the first course would have been a better pairing than the slightly dryer moscato that came with the course, but this is such a hair-splitting quibble that I feel like a snob even bringing it up.)
The risotto was a relaxed bowl of creamy heaven: perfectly chewy, Manchego-cheesy bomba rice with spoon-tender pork cheek, a scattering of spring vegetables, and sweet freeze-dried eggplant wafers (called "crystals" by the chef). The yakitori course that followed was the mildest dish by contrast; a very light miso-jamón dash with white soba, a pretty little over-easy egg, and sweet hunks of pluma (a tender cut off of the shoulder). I wanted a little bit of combo in the broth, but the wine paired with it - a 30-year old Palo Cortado sherry from Spain - helped me forget all about it.
After all of this food, next they expected us to eat ribs. I started sweating. The ribs came out, so tender that they melted at a stern glance, sitting atop a bed of mercifully light saffron-scented couscous with currants and ras-al-hanout yogurt.
I am woman enough to admit that I cried 'uncle' by the time we hit Spain, managing only a bite or two of the succulent cochinillo (suckling pig) before tapping out and requesting a to-go box. Fortunately, a stroll to the patio (and an extra glass of bubbly rosé) was the bracing jolt I needed to make it through dessert: a flaky apple galette laced with more of the Iberico jamón, served à la mode.
Fermín Ibérico is Spain's first producer of Ibérico pork to pass the USDA's muster, and you can get a nice selection of their excellent fresh and cured products from Nicky USA.
Nicky Farms - Gilgamesh Brewing Chef Series beer #4 Now available
Chef Andy Ricker has created the Pok Pok Rhubarb Som Shandy for our latest Chef Series Beer. The Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar gives the brew the classic shandy profile of fruit, acidity, and a touch of sweetness that complements, not competes with with food, especially boldly seasoned and spicy fare. As always the beers in the series donate $1 from every 22oz bottle sold and a portion of every keg sale to a local nonprofit. We are thrilled to be partnered with Growing Gardens on this beer and helping them continue their great work in the community reducing hunger and transforming lives through the experience of gardening and growing your own food. The beer is available at all Pok Pok locations in Portland, and at Green Zebra Grocery, Zupan's, and select local bottle shops. Chaiyo!
Principe italian cured meats & Charcuterie now available
Nicky USA has added a selection of cured meats and charcuterie from Italy's renown Principe Foods. Look for a range of prosciuttos (Italian hams) - di Parma, San Daniele, and Italiano, as well as other Italian deli meats like roasted pancetta, truffle ham, speck, bresaola, and porchetta. Principe's high quality standards and exacting production methods results in the finest authentic Italian charcuterie available.
nicky farms - gilgamesh brewing chef series beer #3 now available
We are thrilled to announce the release of Chef Aaron Barnett's La Moule de L'Amour Red Brett Saison with Oyster Shells. Chef Barnett worked with the brew masters at Gilgamesh Brewing to create a refreshing, crisp beer in the French farmhouse style with a slightly funky wild side courtesy of the Brett yeast and the addition of oyster shells for some mineral complexity. Chef Barnett wanted a beer that would pair well with La Moule's diverse menu, but especially seafood dishes. The restaurant is a nod to the dimly lit bistros and bars of Europe, where a lively evening in cozied in a booth with rich bowls of mussels, crispy frites, and good company isn't an indulgence, but a part of life. It's a fabulous late winter beer that pairs well with the signature mussel dishes at La Moule and also holds up nicely to more hearty seasonal fare.
$1 from every bottle sold goes directly to support the programs at The Portland Kitchen, Inc. which help underserved and low income aspiring teen chefs, and now also young adults, pursue a culinary career. This year a generous donation by The Richard & Helen Phillips Charitable Trust will match that buck and double the contribution from each sale!
The beer is available at Green Zebra Grocery, Zupan's Markets, and other area retailers and bottle shops, and on draft at La Moule and ST. JACK restaurant & bar. Cheers to a good beer and a great cause.
Nicky Farms - Gilgamesh brewing chef series beer #2 now available
Nicky USA and Chef John Gorham are thrilled to release the second offering in our Gilgamesh Brewing Chef Beer Series with his Shalom Y'all Turkish Coffee Stout, a rich, classic toasty stout with coffee notes (thanks to some beautiful beans from Water Avenue Coffee) and hints of vanilla and cardamom. The beer is equally at home paired with savory and sweet dishes and of course, is perfectly delicious on its own. The stout is available on tap at Shalom Y’all and Mediterranean Exploration Company, and is available in bottles at Gorham’s other restaurants (Toro Bravo, Tasty 'n Sons, Tasty 'n Alder, and Pollo Bravo) and in 22oz bottles at retailers like Green Zebra, Zupans, and area bottle shops.
The series launched in August with a collaboration between Gilgamesh Brewing and chef Carlo Lamagna of Clyde Common, raising over $1,500 for The Portland Kitchen with Lamagna’s Hibiscus Lager. Chef John Gorham’s Turkish Coffee Stout will be available through January 2017, and will be followed by collaborations with Chef Aaron Barnett of La Moule, and Chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok.
All beers in the series donate $1 from every 22oz bottle sold and $10 from every keg sold to The Portland Kitchen. TPK sets the table for successful futures by using food and cooking to empower underserved teens to create healthy lifestyles, prepare for meaningful employment, and become engaged citizens in our community.
Just another example of our passion in bringing together the best ingredients and culinary talent to create delicious experiences for our community.
customer spotlight - copine
Chef Shaun McCrain and his team are cooking exceptional contemporary American cuisine executed with classical French technique and attention to detail at Copine in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. We were fortunate enough to have them cook for us at this year's Wild About Game, where they partnered with Hudson Valley Foie Gras to present one of the most well received dishes at the event. Their foie gras terrine with duck confit, Cascade huckleberries, and candied pistachios was an absolute stunner for the eyes and the taste buds. They served over 500 of the delectable morsels to the attendees that day. The presentation and execution was flawless on every single plate. Imagine the possibilities when you go to dine at their restaurant and they are cooking just for you. You are in extremely capable hands.
They also have a cold case for take away items featuring everything from soups to smoked amarena cherries that will seriously upgrade your cocktail game. Copine should be at the top of your must visit list.