Feeding Frenzy

A professional gastronaut feeds the blogosphere with tales of his culinary adventures - sometimes on-the-job, sometimes just-for-the-hell-of-it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Rosemary Raisin Blog

On Saturday Craig and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary well and a day early with brunch at Cafe Campagne. Craig had the Omelette choisy (French-style rolled omelette flavored with herbs and filled with escarole and chèvre served with choice of Parisian ham or fruit sausage; he had the ham) and I had the Oeufs en meurette (two poached eggs served on garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in a red wine and foie gras sauce served with pommes frîtes). They were both as decadent and delicious as they sound, but what lit us up, aside from the Champagne and Cassis cocktails (which lit me up a good deal too much for a Saturday morning), was the rosemary raisin toast.

Now, we like rosemary a lot. We have an embarassment of rosemary growing in our front yard. You have to fight past bushes of it to get to our front door. But we use a lot of it. Witness our rosemary and garlic roasted pork loin, for instance. There's even a photograph of my rosemary cornmeal bread on the Feeding Frenzy website (go here and click on "Appetizers" and then on "Breads and Rolls"). In summer we grill over rosemary wood. We use branches of it as an air freshener in our house. But I have to admit that I was impressed by the stroke of pairing rosemary and raisins in bread.

So we ordered it. When we actually tried it the bread exceeded my expectations. Frankly, it exceeded my imagination. It was light, moist and sweet-but-not-too-sweet; warm and lightly crunchy without being chewy. It didn't need butter. It needed only to be eaten. It made wonderful breakfast toast. And it made me want to make more time in our cooking schedule to experiment with bread baking.

I don't do a lot of bread baking anymore. It's something I love to do, but, frankly, we don't sell a lot of our own bread and so I don't bake a lot of it. I am thrilled that a visionary bride has ordered our cornmeal rosemary loaves for her wedding this year, but it's the first time a bride has done so. But now this rosemary raisin bread at Cafe Campagne was an inspiration to me so I sat down tonight to work out a little plan to make some for ourselves. Perhaps for breakfast tomorrow morning, since we have our granddaughter spending the night.

I'm not much bothered about "recipe theft". There really isn't such a thing. Anybody with taste buds and experience can replicate pretty much anything anybody makes and folks who make food for a living are used to their creations inspiring cooks to try them at home. But when I have what seems to me to be a new idea, I'm always curious how new the idea is.

So I Google it. I use as keywords the basic ingredients of my idea and what basic form it takes. I confess I was a little disappointed that there was nearly a whole page of references (seven entries) to "Gorgonzola Shortbread" when I had that particular epiphany only a few hours before. And I was pleased when "Sweet Potato Pissaladiere" didn't turn up any (although "Sweet Potato Pizza" does turn up entries). I was surprised (although in retrospect unjustifiably so) when I found the huge number of hits generated by the word "torta" when combined with "gorgonzola" and "apples", as in our Torta 42nd Street (which you can find a photograph of here, if you click "Main Courses" and "Egg Dishes").

Anyway, I Googled for "rosemary raisin bread" and found that Cafe Campagne's secret (which was about to become mine) was already shared in a reported 43,000 hits. I'm still going to make the bread. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, and if any of you really thinks highly of the idea of seeing how new your new ideas are, check this out. Turns out there's practically nothing new. But as long as there's rosemary raisin toast things will work out just fine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,

Just read your new journal page I love it...It has a great picture of your partner and you....

My practice involves hours and hours of talk about FOOD.....30 years worth....I have a doctorate in preventive care and am a nutritionist and an eating disorder specialist as well as a behaviorist. I work in a medical practice with patients from infants to the very old all of whom have an issue with food..it is remarkably sad that no one seems to be comfortable around food and the joy of eating ...Just today I spoke with a patient who is struggling to eat as she is dying and a mom whose 2 year old refuses to eat and is at 5% of his weight and a 71 pound 22 year old in the hospital and a class full of folks who are all overweight and have just been diagnosed with diabetes and feel it is all their fault and man, is it sad. I am thinking of ending all their collective frenzy by having them read your menus, eat the truffles and cheese you had at the show and I am sure that approach will work better than anything I have ever tried!!! I appreciate your philosphy and your logo...and am thrilled that you will "do the wedding" as the food will be beautiful and so will the staff and we will feel as tho we graciously treated our guests to a fabulous meal instead of just throwing a bunch of crap on a table..

Take care....

January 19, 2005 12:36 PM  

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