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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 2

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#1 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 11:50 AM

Manager note: this continues the discussion found in Part 1 of this topic.



Looks great Ron. What kind of smoker is that? I don't think I'd have a prayer of holding mine below 100 degrees, so cold smoked probably isn't a player in this house unless I do some very serious jury rigging.



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That is a Great Outdoors brand Smokey Mountain Cooker which is actually propane-powered. In many cases, that gas power is great because it makes maintaining temperature fairly easy. It's basically built for efficient hot smoking. A cast iron box sits in a frame above the heat source and the wood chunks burn pretty evenly over time. I think the manufacturer recommends using chips but I've found that chunks burn longer and produce a better smoke.

Because I was too lazy yesterday to rig my dryer vent-aided cold smoker (a weekend project, it seems), I decided to try something new with the SMC. I only used the gas flame until the cherry wood chunks started to burn. Once they did, I shut down the gas entirely and loaded up the water pan with ice. From there, via the use of damper control, I was able to keep those chunks smoking for about 4 hours. It worked out great because the temperature stayed low and it was largely controllable. During those 4 hours, I dumped the melted ice from the water pan and refilled it with fresh ice 2 times. Also, one time near the end, I placed a single ice cube in the fire box to cool things down a bit.

I'll be curious to see how it turned out because if it did work well, I think there's some cold-smoked salmon in my very near future. At this point, I don't foresee any reason why it may have failed. But, until you taste the final product, you never know for sure. *fingers crossed* Posted Image

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#2 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 12:03 PM

Michael....I do thank you for your continued interest in this thread - it makes it so interesting to have your input.

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I would like to second that motion. Michael, your comments are invaluable, and we really appreciate your participation and continued input. We're all learning here, which is what eG is all about, and you are miles ahead of any of the rest of us on these topics, so please continue to comment and contribute. I think I speak for the other participants that we're all grateful for your book and your help.

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you all have given me more than i've given you. and for that gift and that honor, thank you.

all your work and words will result in more people demanding better pork which will result in happier healthier pigs and happier healthier farmers and happier healthier people. and that is better by far even than the bacon itself.

#3 Bombdog

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 04:15 AM

you all have given me more than i've given you.  and for that gift and that honor, thank you.


I'm not sure how you figure that. It was the hard work and enthusiasm of both Brian and yourself that created the book and inspired me to begin.

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My curing projects are beginning to come out now. This is the bresaola that went into the curing chamber (fancy term for the hi jacked refrigerator in the garage) on March 7th at 1.5 lbs and removed yesterday at 15 oz.

Great flavor and texture and never a hint of mold of any sort.

The duck breast proscuito should be ready tomorrow or Friday, along with the Tuscan salami.
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#4 jmolinari

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:08 AM

bombdog, looks perfect.

One of my lamb prosciuttos is ready, ate it last night. Fantastic. I'll post pics when i get a chance.

jason

#5 Bombdog

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:11 AM

One of my lamb prosciuttos is ready, ate it last night. Fantastic. I'll post pics when i get a chance.

jason

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Jason, I have a leg of lamb curing right now, inspired by your upthread post. It should be ready to come out of the cure and begin "hang time" in a day or so.

We are making lamb, rosemary, garlic and feta sausages tonite of our own design. I'll post pics tomorrow.
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#6 jmolinari

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:59 AM

bombdog, did you use boneless or bone-in?
The boneless one i actually prefer. i can slice it more easily very thinly for sammiches and platters, and it si less lamby. It is still gamey and lamby, but the bone-in one was almost overwhelmingly so.

jason

#7 Bombdog

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:10 AM

bombdog, did you use boneless or bone-in?
The boneless one i actually prefer. i can slice it more easily very thinly for sammiches and platters, and it si less lamby. It is still gamey and lamby, but the bone-in one was almost overwhelmingly so.

jason

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I used the bone in, thinking more along the tradional lines, I think...as far as the flavor...Well, let's just say that your description of strong and lamby was the reason I tried it to begin with.

This was a fairly small leg, at 5.5 lbs. I'm curious what you think about hang time after the cure?
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#8 Chris Amirault

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:34 AM

I'm happy to say more, so ask away.

ok i've got a question: how much smoke billows out of the thing as you use it?

you probably couldn't tell from when you were down here, but i live in a tiny rowhouse with a tiny deck for a backyard, in a crowded city. if it contains the smoke pretty well, there could be one in my future, but if it's pouring out smoke all day it's not going to work...

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I'm not sure how to answer that question. It was windy most of the days I was smoking, so I probably think that there's less coming out than usual. It definitely leaks out of the connection between the smoke box and the main unit, and the damper on top leaks a tiny bit. But I certainly wouldn't say that it's "pouring" out. Having said that, I peeked quite a bit, and it billows when you open the door.

That's all to say: I think I'd be pissed if I lived above you. Sorry, man. My condolences. :sad:
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#9 mrbigjas

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:42 AM

I'm happy to say more, so ask away.

ok i've got a question: how much smoke billows out of the thing as you use it?

you probably couldn't tell from when you were down here, but i live in a tiny rowhouse with a tiny deck for a backyard, in a crowded city. if it contains the smoke pretty well, there could be one in my future, but if it's pouring out smoke all day it's not going to work...

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I'm not sure how to answer that question. It was windy most of the days I was smoking, so I probably think that there's less coming out than usual. It definitely leaks out of the connection between the smoke box and the main unit, and the damper on top leaks a tiny bit. But I certainly wouldn't say that it's "pouring" out. Having said that, I peeked quite a bit, and it billows when you open the door.

That's all to say: I think I'd be pissed if I lived above you. Sorry, man. My condolences. :sad:

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hmm... luckily no one lives above me. your answer is inspiring me to look into this.

#10 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 07:45 AM

Wow, Bombdog, that bresaola looks fantastic . . . another recipe I'll be trying out, for sure.

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#11 jmolinari

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 07:51 AM

bombdog, i have to hceck my notes, but my drying time was probably about 45-60 days at about 53F and 75% RH. It lost about 40% of its weight.

My boneless one, in 30 days has lost 35%. That is the little piece you see uptopic, with no casing. It is fantastic. The larger piece is still in the curing chmaber.

jason

#12 Bombdog

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 11:39 AM

bombdog, i have to hceck my notes, but my drying time was probably about 45-60 days at about 53F and 75% RH. It lost about 40% of its weight.

My boneless one, in 30 days has lost 35%. That is the little piece you see uptopic, with no casing. It is fantastic. The larger piece is still in the curing chmaber.

jason

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My temps are a bit lower (48F or so) and my humidity stays a pretty constant 65%. I'm guessing that since my drying appears to be pretty consistent and there has yet to be any mold (good or bad) that I'm okay with those numbers.

I'll do a weight check at 30 days and see where it is then.

Thanks for the help

Dave
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#13 hwilson41

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 04:07 PM

I'll be curious to see how it turned out because if it did work well, I think there's some cold-smoked salmon in my very near future.  At this point, I don't foresee any reason why it may have failed.  But, until you taste the final product, you never know for sure.  *fingers crossed* :wink:

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Ron, I'm dying of curiosity re your sausage. Any results yet? Enquiring minds want to know :raz:.
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#14 Abra

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:53 PM

I'm just kicking myself for failing to weigh my pancetta before hanging it. I'll never make that mistake again.

I'm not sure how to tell when meat's done - firmness? That's sort of intuitive with a relatively thin roll of pork belly, but with a lamb leg, especially bone-in, how do you know how long to let it hang?

#15 Bombdog

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:07 PM

We are making lamb, rosemary, garlic and feta sausages tonite of our own design.  I'll post pics tomorrow.


Okay, so I get this wild hair, the fiance and I wanted lamb and I wanted to make some sausage. I thumbed through the book and decided it shouldn't be too hard, as Michael suggested early on.

The idea was to create a sausage that was like a piece of rosemary and garlic marinated and grilled lamb. So here it is. Simply, lamb, fat back, rosemary, garlic, salt pepper, a bit of paprika, and just before stuffing about a cup of crumbled feta.

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Before grinding and adding the feta

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During the stuffing. Lucky for me, I usually have a second set of hands and the KA stuffer hasn't been much of a problem.

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All stuffed and linked.

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And here they are, with tabbouleh.

We were both extremely pleased with the flavor and texture, exactly as I wanted. More importantly, I was pretty happy that we have graduated to the point of making our own sausage, from conception of an idea to dinner table.

Dave
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"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#16 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:55 PM

Dave, those lamb sausages look just incredible. And the fact you were able to tube them off solo while photographing yourself, is also amazing :biggrin: Seriously, I can just imagine how great those taste and I may even "borrow" the idea. :wink:


I'm very happy to report that my batch of Cold-Smoked Andouille turned out very well indeed. A few pics . . .


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The finished product. I was astounded when I saw how red they were after 2 days of drying. They were still beige and somewhat golden brown when I put them up.



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Inside, still raw.



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A little snack. I simmered this sausage whole, in a bit of water, crisped it up right at the end and sliced it up.



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Detailed close-up of the emulsified sausage interior.


I really love these sausages. They are spicy and bursting with flavor. The smoke tastes delicious and the exterior has a firm bite but also provides that natural casing 'snap' that I love so much. These would be perfect if not for the strong onion note -- which I like -- but don't love. Also, I tubed off another batch of Andouille earlier today, based on the Folse recipe linked upthread and hope to post some additional results in the next day or two.

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#17 Bombdog

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 03:08 AM

Dave, those lamb sausages look just incredible.  And the fact you were able to tube them off solo while photographing yourself, is also amazing

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Yeah, well, that WAS a bit difficult.

Those andouille are incredible! I think I found my next project.

Thanks Ron
Dave Valentin
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#18 Abra

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 07:51 AM

Great job all around! I feel like I should make some casing pom-poms for my little cheering section.

Dave, I have to try those lamb and feta sausages. I'm thinking now how great it would be to do them with gyro seasonings. My husband would adore those.

And Ron, thanks for taking so many for the team in search of the perfect andouille recipe! How did you feel about the texture of these latest ones? They look super-smooth, much more so than I'm used to seeing with andouille. That's a gorgeous emulsion - did you feel the need for additional texture, or were they just right? And what does make them red, anyway?

#19 jmolinari

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 08:19 AM

Abra, regarding done-ness, i go by feel and by weight loss. Normally the cured meat is done after it has lost about 40% of it's weight...but that isn't always the case. Personally i feel it is better to over-dry the meat the 1st time and take notes and make adjustments subsequent times.

This is part of the reason curing is as much an art as it is a science, and note taking is key.

jason

#20 hwilson41

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 08:53 AM

I'm very happy to report that my batch of Cold-Smoked Andouille turned out very well indeed....

A little snack.  I simmered this sausage whole, in a bit of water, crisped it up right at the end and sliced it up....

I really love these sausages.  They are spicy and bursting with flavor.  The smoke tastes delicious and the exterior has a firm bite but also provides that natural casing 'snap' that I love so much.  These would be perfect if not for the strong onion note -- which I like -- but don't love.  Also, I tubed off another batch of Andouille earlier today, based on the Folse recipe linked upthread and hope to post some additional results in the next day or two.

=R=

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Beautiful sausages Ron, and I'm glad to hear the flavor worked well. How would you compare them to LA Andouille?

I'm anxious to hear how the Folse recipe worked out too, because one of the two will be my next project when we get home Sunday night. Right now, smoking my second 10 lb batch of bacon over some apple, and it already smells devine :raz:.
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#21 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 11:30 AM

And Ron, thanks for taking so many for the team in search of the perfect andouille recipe!  How did you feel about the texture of these latest ones?  They look super-smooth, much more so than I'm used to seeing with andouille.  That's a gorgeous emulsion - did you feel the need for additional texture, or were they just right?  And what does make them red, anyway?

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I loved the texture -- and the fact that I was able to reproduce it properly -- but it does seem a bit fine compared to the andouille I'm most used to using. These are almost hotdog-like in their texture, which again, is very cool but not necessarily what I was after. The 2nd batch (using the Folse recipe linked above) will be closer to the other end of the texture spectrum. The first batch were ground twice through the smaller die, whereas the Folse andouille, which I hope to smoke tonight, were ground only once and it was through the larger die (1/4" IIRC).

The redness, I believe, is a function of the smoke and the curing salt. On other occasions when I've smoked whole foods at home, they often take on a reddish hue on their exterior. The interior pinkness, I'm pretty sure, is due to the use of curing salt. That expression is similar to bologna, mortadella or hotdogs.

Flavorwise, these have a few more elements and a slightly more complex flavor than the andouille I'm used to. Again, the main difference is the onion, which seems a bit out of place in the andouille. Still, these smell and taste great. I still consider them to be andouille because they are more similar than different but I will categorize them in my mind as a personal, stylized version.

I was so captivated by Bombdog's lamb sausages that I made a point of picking up 5 pounds of lamb shoulder while I was at the butcher today. I think I'll attempt those on Sunday.

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#22 Bombdog

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:46 PM

I was so captivated by Bombdog's lamb sausages that I made a point of picking up 5 pounds of lamb shoulder while I was at the butcher today.  I think I'll attempt those on Sunday.


I'm honored Ron. I used about 2.5 lbs of lamb to about 10 oz of fat back, trying to stay in the ratios Michael suggests. Probably about 3 T of chopped fresh rosemary, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, 2 t of kosher salt and added the crumbled/diced feta AFTER the grind.

On an other note (happily), I removed the duck proscuito from the box today...

Posted Image

What a happy mouth this created! This stuff is great! I highly recommend it!

Dave
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#23 jmolinari

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:57 PM

Dave, not saying it is good or bad, but just noticing your duck looked totally differnet than when i made it. Mine was a dark dark red and looked a lot drier.
What method/recipe did you follow?

jason

#24 Bombdog

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:03 PM

Dave, not saying it is good or bad, but just noticing your duck looked totally differnet than when i made it. Mine was a dark dark red and looked a lot drier.
What method/recipe did you follow?

jason

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I used the one in the book Jason. Not sure if it comes across in the picture, but the flesh is very firm and easy to slice paper thin. The flavor is a bit gamey (expected) and very remeniscent of pork proscuito.

These are not some kind of special duck, just a supermarket buy in South Carolina. Perhaps that's the difference?

Dave
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#25 jmolinari

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:04 PM

Dave, perhaps the duck. I used magret breast when i made it.

I think everyone needs to make a boneless lamb prosciutto immediately. I can't get over how awesome it is.

#26 Bombdog

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:11 PM

I think everyone needs to make a boneless lamb prosciutto immediately. I can't get over how awesome it is.

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I totally agree!
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#27 Abra

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:17 PM

Wow, Dave, your duck prosciutto looks totally different from mine, too. Mine was also very dark red, and the fat was ivory, as opposed to the snowy look of yours. I just used Muscovy duck breasts, and they hung for 2 weeks.

On the other hand, yours is sliced much thinner than I could get mine. Did you slice by hand, or with a slicer? And if by hand, please post a picture of your knife so I can get one right away!

Ok, lamb prosciutto coming up as my next start.

#28 FoodMan

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:54 PM

Dave, perhaps the duck. I used magret breast when i made it.

I think everyone needs to make a boneless lamb prosciutto immediately. I can't get over how awesome it is.

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Can we get some pointers on the lamb proscuitto? Did you use the proportions from the book? Was it boneless and butterflied and rolled?

That lamb sausage looks amazing. I love Abra's idea about treating it like Greek Gyro meet and tuck it in a pita with some tzatziki and onions!

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#29 McDuff

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 02:12 PM

I finally got my hands on a pork belly and confidently went at it, and took the skin off. Duuuh. That's ok. I stopped for gas earlier, went in and said gimme 6 bucks on pump six, walked back out, got in the car and drove away without pumping.
I was just mixing up the dry cure when I got distracted by something, so I'm going back to that. The guy across the street brought over three dried sausage of unknown etiology that the buddy of a buddy of his made. They were excellent. That's what you get when you belong to a social club called The Mangia Mangia Club. All these gualiones get together on sundays and cook and eat. You have to be 100% Italian heritage to get in.

#30 jmolinari

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 02:21 PM

Foodman, i think i posted the recipe upthread, around page 13/14..Didn't use the book. Is there even a recipe for it in the book? I don't remember seeing it.

jason

My sequence is on page 15, but i dont have a formula posted. I'll post it tonight if i remember.

jason

Edited by jmolinari, 06 April 2006 - 02:24 PM.






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