Write Like Mike (Plus, Our New Digital Home is Coming Soon)

It’s like the Matrix. Well, sorta.

Chef’s snazzy penmanship is now available for download to your personal computing devices as a custom typeface, Genuine Michael. Look for it on the new and improved michaelsgenuine.com, going live later this month thanks to some killer work by talented digital designer Ilysa Corns.

What’s it to you? Besides a site that’s for sore eyes (and looks a lot more like we feel these days,) form will meet 21st century function.  Here are some core improvements:

Enjoy 100% access to our website on the go.  Yep, you heard us.  No more Flash!  Gone will be the sad, empty maroon landing page that you see when you go to our website on your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android right now.

More about who we are and what we do, organized all in one place and updated at warp drive.  Say hello to our new Michael’s Genuine Flickr account and find The Genuine Kitchen blog on the homepage, too.

Our classic tees, hats, and more genuine propaganda will soon be available to you worldwide, on-demand at our e-store.

See below for instructions to download Genuine Michael and to share with friends. Continue reading

Rare Hua Moa Banana-Plantain in the House

A ripe Hua Moa (naked and mashed above) is custard-like. Michael and Hedy say it tastes like banana cream pie.

Perched on the food bar today is a stalk of Hua Moa, a rare banana-plantain cross brought to South Florida from the Pacific Islands in 1960 by William F. Whitman Jr., a self-taught horticulturist who became renowned for collecting rare tropical fruits from around the world and popularizing them in the United States.  The sample is courtesy of Slow Food Miami’s Donna Reno and Noel Ramos, who hooked us up with Larry Siegel, a Brooklyn-born fruit tree grower in Davie, FL.

“I lived in Brazil for a while and liked exotic fruits,” he explains.  “I started with lychee, cherimoyas, longans, avocados…  They took a big hit during hurricanes Irene and Wilma.  Coconut, papaya, and bananas always hang on!”

Siegel’s been at it since 1996, and his 35 acres are divided into rows that intermix the different tree varieties, alternating coconut, then banana, then coconut, etc. It’s a technique that benefits both, promoting good growth and taste.

Hua Moa was originally from southeast Asia but was carried to the South Pacific in canoes and rafts to the Marquesas Islands and then on to Hawaii.  It’s now cultivated in South Dade by a handful of small growers like Siegel. It is the only place in the continental United States where they are found. Slow Food  Miami is co-nominating the Hua Moa with Slow Food Hawaii for Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste,  a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction.  Read more about the Hua Moa below, and the Ark of Taste here.

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Smoking Barrels

And we thought we had fun sourcing slowly…

When Lexington, Kentucky chef Jonathan Lundy wants to incorporate local product into his restaurant’s menu, he calls on his friends at the Maker’s Mark Bourbon distillery in Loretto.  And it’s not just the bourbon he’s after.

“The bung plugs are in contact with the bourbon for 5-9 years,” he explains of the contents of his care package to Michael, pictured. “When they want to check, or pour out the barrel they use a drill to remove the walnut plug and this destroys it… They have been sending them to me for about the past five years.”

Michael will join host Lundy and chef Traci des Jardins for  Cookin’ in the Bluegrass, 16 days of James Beard Foundation culinary events around the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.  The working menu, below, for their September 25 opening dinner for 80 features a host of Kentucky-branded favorites, including Michael’s bung plug-smoked bacon.

So far, we’ve smoked baby eggplant, kumamoto oysters, mussels, and octopus for two small dishes in Miami: smoked baby eggplant with albert’s organic ricotta, housemade pancetta, and artichoke salad (11,) and smoked seafood salad with kumamoto oysters, mussels, octopus, harissa, meyer lemon, olives, and capers (12.)

“It’s not like you can taste bourbon, but it does impart a little sweetness to the flavor profile of a dish,” Michael explains.  “Yeah, we’re definitely gonna play around with some different things.”

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