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Everything posted by melicob

  1. Alas, no. Nothing quite so nice in the house. Oh, and the most recent recipe tried was the foie gras poutine. OhMyFoie-ingGosh, was it good. Even with a slightly broken foie sauce! BTW, does anyone know how to get tallow to melt down more? Mine seemed to render, but not nearly as much as I thought it would. (It became more like cracklin's.) Should I have chopped it up more? Been more patient and cooked over low heat for a while? Just used bacon or duck fat instead? I'm new to tallow and now I have lots of it to play with, so I'd love any tips you might have!
  2. Thanks budrichard for the tip on using the veal demi-glace for the foie gras sauce (instead of poutine sauce as a base - which is apparently not available in San Francisco). We mixed the demi-glace with cream, egg yolk, and used the rendered foie fat from the Foie Gras Hamburger to make a side of foie gras sauce to put on the PDC Chicken Pie. Oh my, it was amazing! It took a really great homemade pot pie to the next level. The FOIE level. Who knew? Highly highly recommended! The Chicken Pie with Foie Gras Sauce (OK, it looks kind of gross, but it tasted really, really, really good. Chicken pot pie with foie gras!) The Foie Gras Hamburger (which contributed its lovely foie fat) And we were inspired by The Album and Carol at FrenchLaundryAtHome (and pigs and foie gras and cooking outside our comfort zone and the excuse to have friends over for dinner on a weekly basis) and decided to cook every recipe The Album. (We've done 8 so far!) You can read along here if you'd like...
  3. I'm a little late on the scene - my copy arrived last week and even with the crappy exchange rate with the USD, it's worth every loonie! It's a fun book with interesting recipes that I've never seen anywhere else. I'm quite anxious to get my pig trotter action going! I can only imagine the amount of foie gras and pork I will "have" to consume in my pursuit of a broader culinary repertoire.
  4. I know it's been a while since this question was asked, but I found a link on Instructables with a suggestion of sewn manila folders. I'm going to try this week!
  5. Sadly, I abandoned ship. Everyone was right that it would need to happen last minute, and last minute just didn't happen. You see, the kitchen was already clean for the party and pig roasting/beer drinking started at 3... And the beans would have needed attention at around 6 (which, as you know, would be 3 hours after beer drinking started). But, luckily, the pig was enough of a treat that no one even mentioned or missed the beans. Thanks for everyone's great ideas!
  6. Thank you! Tomato juice is a great suggestion.
  7. The pot is a large, good quality Calphalon. It's not non-stick (it's stick?), and it has been notorious for over cooking brisket. (Same brisket cooked in Le Creuset was moist and delicious!)
  8. In anticipation of a pig roast this weekend, I made 3 lbs of barbecued baked beans last night (a la Cooks Illustrated recipe). The flavor was spot on, but by the end of the process, all the juice had dried up, so it is more like refried beans (but not smashed) than juicy baked beans. (I am choosing to blame the pot. It has dried out briskets before that should not have dried out based on cooking time and temp. I think it just gets really hot. But regardless, I'm looking for a solution for my beans, not to point fingers at my pot. Clearly there was some user error going on!) Is there anything I can do to rescue the beans? Add a last minute thin sauce of chicken broth and bbq sauce? Suggestions? This is my first try at baked beans and I would hate to lose them like this! Thanks! Melissa
  9. There hope for all us apartment dwellers that don't have access to a smoker like (what feels like) the rest of the lucky folks here! I made Canadian Bacon this weekend and simply mixed 1.5 Tbs of natural liquid smoke in with the brine, then after curing and rinsing and drying, but before cooking, I rubbed it down with a water/liquid smoke mix (1:1 ratio, I think I used 2 tsp of each) and it turned out gorgeous and smoky delicious!
  10. Not to sound like an idiot, but what is the proper storage for air dried sausage? Fridge? Freezer? Counter? I sliced some and brought it to work and it turned dull brownish all over... Is that from it not curing the entire 18 days? (It lost 50% of it's weight in 14 days so I took it down and threw it in the fridge.) I used all the recommended amounts of the bactoferm and curing salt #2, but now I'm insecure about my work and don't want to harm anyone that samples it! Does the brown mean rot? (There were a couple brown spots when it was "cured" and I cut those off, assuming they had something to do with unpricked air pocket.) Did I do something bad by not letting it cure for the right amount of time? If I cook it (in paella) will it still be OK? Please enlighten me oh experienced dry curers!
  11. I weighed my Spanish chorizo this weekend and it was 50% less than the initial weight! It wasn't even supposed to be ready yet. (It's target date is this Thursday.) Is that bad? My closet has maintained a consistent 65 degrees and 70% humidity. The flavor is fantastic and the texture is great, but now I'm a little worried something has gone wrong. I took it down and put it in the fridge because I didn't want it to shrink too much. Is time (18-20 days) more important than the target 30% weight loss? Thoughts? And lovely, lovely photo essay, Chris! I also adore my grizzly. I think it was around $60 + shipping? Thanks! -Melissa
  12. The sausage stuffer finally arrived and I completed my first air dried sausage -- the epic Spanish chorizo. (I was lucky enough to find delicious smoked hot spanish paprika at the store when I was browsing...) They smell fantastic and I can't wait to see the results. Terrarium dials read 65 degrees & 70% humidity. Cross your fingers for success! And now for the winner of the jankiest drying closet in the universe: Having no dowels and not enough space to create a separate drying structure, I decided to use the coat closet! I put the towels in there as temporary spacers to keep the sausages from touching. And made a paper towel "hammock" to catch the drips. (And the coats that used to occupy the space have been tossed on the floor.) I am going to (hopefully) have more sausage than I know what to do with in 18-20 days. Too bad there is no barter system built on sausages!
  13. After much frustration with the KA stuffer, I just ordered a 5 lb crank stuffer (per the sausage stuffer thread -- thanks again egulleters!). I have already ground and mixed the spices, Cure #2 and bactoferm for air dried spanish chorizo, but not yet stuffed it. I'd like to use the new stuffer, but it won't be here for a couple days. Can I hold the mix in my fridge for a few days before stuffing? (It's currently in a bowl on ice.) Or can I freeze it? Will that kill the bactoferm? Any suggestions? Am I forced to again use the KA stuffer? Thanks! -Melissa
  14. Operation Lamb Sausage I attempted my first sausages. With the lamb sausage recipe posted upthread, meat and casings from the Golden Gate Meat Company, borrowed food Grinder , and KitchenAid sausage stuffer attachment I went to town. I improvised and added part pork shoulder, kalamata olives, cumin, and a little bit of bacon. Due to empty/old spice rack syndrome/laziness, I omitted the roasted garlic, oregano and rosemary. I started with meat cubes, seasoned and chilled. And got all my bits ready. Then I attempt to use the KitchenAid food grinder and got really frustrated because it kept clogging up. Whatever could be the problem? Let's check all the parts we got? What's this blade thing? Perhaps it will help? Ah! Yes! Something to actually CUT the meat rather than just pushing it through the holes of the die. Brilliant! Then I successfully ground the remaining meat. (In my elation, I forgot to take a picture.) I lost about 25% of the meat and 15% of my pride (I'm still making sausage from scratch -- I'm allowed to be a little proud!) in the process of trying to push the meat through the grinder without the blade. (So very smart I am! In my defense, the assembly instructions don't actually mention the blade. But I should know better. I digress.) Then I added some ice cold wine (that we call the "Bacon wine" in our house because of its smoky overtones) & did the primary bind. Then I tested the seasonings with an itty bitty test patty. (Flavors were spot on. Excellent recipe!) And stuffed the casings full of lamby goodness And formed myself a giant sausage ring Twist, cut and cook The flavors were EXCELLENT, but the texture a little dry and crumbly. (I think I over cooked them a bit.) But it was really really fun to do, so thanks to all you forum folks that made the process that much less intimidating. (The pictures really do help!) It was so much fun that even the puppy wanted in on the action when I left the book on the couch. Unfortunately she hasn't learned that picture of sausage ON the book doesn't mean sausage is IN the book. Terrarium thermometer and hygrometer arrived today! (For my sausagearium?) And I'm going to try my hand at Spanish Chorizo as soon as my package from B-P arrives. Hopefully all these orders haven't set mine back! I need my Bactoferm!!
  15. Questions re: smoking I don't have a smoker of my own, but a chef friend offered to let me use his big ole guy. Since he's going to have to bring all the way it to his restaurant for me to use, I wanted to be prepared with plenty of stuff to smoke. Can I make a bunch of different sausages and freeze them and defrost/smoke them? What about the pellicle? Should I dry, then freeze? Freeze, defrost then dry? (I have vac sealer so I can protect them a little.) Do the sausages need to be defrosted prior to smoking? Also, there is some running of cool water over sausages mentioned in the book. If I'm doing this in an alley near the restaurant, can I throw them in a cooler or something? And finally, is it bad to refreeze a previously frozen sausage after it's been smoked? Thanks for everyone's feedback and comments! I've found this forum to be quite helpful in my adventure into Charcuterie.
  16. Another silly question... I'm thinking of getting a Hygrometer, but am not ready to fork over the big bucks. Has anyone tried the small hygrometers for reptile terrariums (like $3 or something)? Is that going to give me a close enough reading or do I need something with precision? What are the +/- on the humidity and temp that still makes conditions acceptable? (I know the actual answer to this is “it depends” but if anyone can add a little more guidance it would be greatly appreciated.) Also, does the room smell sausagey when it’s hanging? (Not that I have a problem with this, just looking to manage my & husband's expectations.) And do I need to put some kind of drip pad under it to catch the water? (All the jamon serrano I saw in curing Spain had the little fat hats on the bottom of them to catch the drips, but I didn’t know if that was specific to ham.) Thanks for all the pointers!
  17. Thanks! I will get me some official fat back for my sausages. It's unfortunate that you can't use other fats. How decadent would it be to have a bacon dripping sausage? (Although I'm sure the sausages are decadent enough as is...)
  18. A really silly question... can I use fats interchangeably? I have a block of lard, bacon drippings and some chicken fat. Do I need to buy fat back (back fat?) to make sausage or am I OK subsituting with fat I've already got? Does the rendering of the bacon drippings make them not as useful for a sausage? Thanks! -Melissa
  19. It looks like you were using foodsaver bags...did you just seal or did you vac and seal? Looks awesome.... I vacced and sealed. I'm not sure if it helps, but I figured the more I can get the flavor to penetrate, the better.
  20. As promised, the next series of bacon: Starting product from the good people of Golden Gate Meat Company. I got one 6 lb pork belly and asked them to split it into 3 pieces so I could try different flavors with minimal risk. For some reason, I thought it best to make a stout jello first. Something in my mind about making it less wet? I just sort of made it up, so no real rhyme or reason, but that's what I did. The three mixes (honey mustard, pepper molasses, chocolate stout) Rubbing honey mustard in: All three bagged and ready to go: After a week in the fridge, molasses pepper was much darker than honey mustard. Chocolate stout got another couple days because it was so wet still. It was still pretty drippy by the time we put it in the oven. All in all, honey mustard seemed to be the crowd pleaser, although pepper molasses was still quite good, just a little more savory and strong flavored. Chocolate stout was apparently quite good, but tasters for that were pretty much already in their cups, so to speak, so they weren't really providing much worthwhile feedback other than "mmmm... bacon". More after chocolate stout has been retasted by sober folks. Ingredients (sorry, no amounts, I just kind of portioned the measurements out as I saw fit): Honey Mustard - honey - dry mustard - sugar - salt - pink salt Pepper Molasses - molasses - black pepper - sugar - salt - pink salt Chocolate Stout - Guiness jello - chocolate (sweetened powder) - brown sugar - salt - pink salt
  21. My first attempt at Charcuterie bacon (and my first eGullet post! of course it's about bacon...) We did savory bacon sans nitrite and found it to be not-so-much. Too meaty, too savory, not enough smoke flavor. But it looked good. So, I broke down and ordered some pink salt and did a sweet version, adding a little liquid smoke to make up for it not being in a smoker to cook. (Apartment living... alas.) I also added some honey to the party and it turned out deeelicious. Um. Yum-a-rama. Next on the docket (in the fridge) is a pork belly divided into 3 test bastardized Alton/Charcuterie combo recipes. I know they sound odd, but no harm in tryin'... 1) honey mustard 2) molasses pepper 3) Guinness & chocolate (two great tastes -- they must taste great with bacon, right?) Will post about the results when they are ready!
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