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  1. Ahrash (andalusian sausage bits) Serves 8 as Appetizer. This is loosely based on a 13th c. Andalusian recipe Trranslated by Charles Perry. A honey-mustard sauce called Sinab is a traditional accompaniment. 1 lb ground lamb 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp ground coriander 1/4 tsp caraway seeds 2 eggs 2 T soy sauce 0.3 c flour 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 tsp salt Directions (such as they are) Mix the ingredients together. (I use a fork, but if you want to use something high tech that's fine too) heat some oil in a frying pan. drop meat by spoonfulls into pan, smoosh down a little with the spoon to make little flat patties. Fry till nicely golden, flip and do the same on the other side. Drain on paper towels, serve with a honey mustard sauce, or what you will. Keywords: Appetizer, Lamb, Easy ( RG1541 )
  2. I don't expect it will surprise anyone to hear that I had a great lunch at Salumi, in Pioneer Square, today. I met my dad (who works downtown) there. He had the porchetta sandwich, which consists of sausage-stuffed butterflied pork on a baguette that has been slathered with a garlic-herb oil. Peppers and onions are optional but recommended. It's a pretty incredible sandwich; the pork is juicy (the sausage and oil keep it plenty moist) and really tastes like pork. I had the same meat, but baked into a lasagna with peperoncini and cheese. Do I need to go into detail about how good this was? While in line we got free samples of hot soppressata and garlic salami. Outrageous bursts of flavor. Maybe next time I'll get the salami sandwich. If anyone here hasn't tried the place yet, let me know, and I will meet you there. They're open for lunch Tue-Fri from 11-3.
  3. I always thought a confit was a way of preserving meat in fat,mainly found in areas of Southern France. Last night,at Cantina Vinopolis in London, my rib eye was accompanied by "confit tomatoes".What arrived appeared to me to be a cooked tomato with a clove of garlic on top. I've also noticed on menus "confit of vegetables" ,"confit of onions", "confit of beetroot" etc. Is this just modern menu-speak (as in "pan-fried") or is there a special cooking technique being applied?
  4. Sausage Diary, Day 1 I have a hot smoker and I’ve smoked a lot of different meats. However, I am getting to the point where I am reaching the limits of what I can do just short of expanding the scale upon which I smoke. That is except for smoking my own sausage. I've smoked sausage before, but never my own and never for the pure interest of smoking sausage. The beauty of sausage is that you can use very economical (but still high quality) cuts of meat and transform them altogether into a new art form. Plus, it runs in the family. My great-grandparents on my mother’s father’s side used to be butchers in the Polish section of Detroit. You could visit the store, go into the back yard and pick out a fresh chicken and my great-grandmother would run it down, kill it, pluck it and dress it for you all while you were waiting. They also made the best the best kielbasa in the city. They gave the business to my Grandparents and they took over and after they got older, they eventually they sold that to an uncle and eventually he sold it (behind everyone’s back) because the liquor license that went along with it went against his wife’s theological beliefs. Of course that famous recipe is now long gone, but I’m hoping to duplicate it with the help of my grandparents while they are still here. As a side note, my grandfather’s name is Skomski, and as the last male in his family alive, when he goes, so does the name. Reviving the family’s kielbasa is my way of lengthening the legacy of his name. At one point though, my mother did ask for the recipe from Uncle Ed after a few mellowing drinks on his part. He was very ready and generous to share it with her. He told her to get a pencil and paper and then sat there holding an unlit cigar and swirling it on his lips in his typical, happy fashion and says: “OK, here goes, are you ready? Good, get 400 lbs. of pork butts and…” Mom: “WHAT? Four hundred pounds?!?” So this basically means I’m starting almost from scratch. I have made sausage only once before, about two weeks ago with a buddy of mine who used to work in a local sausage shop, Schultzy’s here in Seattle, for three years. We had just come into some fresh venison and I was able to help out. We made some spicy venison sausage, some mild pork and some chorizo. We chopped up the large cuts into small cuts and seasoned them. After the first grind (coarse), we tasted the initial results, seasoned again and then went through a final grind (still on the coarse setting) and stuffing at the same time, all the while the meat was kept as cold as possible without freezing to avoid gumming up the works. Natural casings of medium size were used. For the most part, they were good though I don’t think there was enough pork fat in any of them, especially the spicy venison as we only relied on the natural fat of the shoulder roast to compensate completely for the lean venison. The proportion of pork to venison was about 60/40. But even the mild sausage with just pork was too dry. The only other thing I would change besides the seasonings is using a fine ground for the final stuffing. It’s my turn now. For my kielbasa, I’m going to use a basic recipe of 80% pork, 20% ground beef, roughly a 2 to 1 ratio of meat to fat, lots of garlic, some mustard seed, salt and pepper. Perhaps other spices as I see fit before the final stuffing. I have the use of Kitchen Aid and the accompanying sausage grinder attachment as well as my hot smoker. Instead of the large casings, I will use the medium casings as the Kitchen Aid grinder only has small and medium. I’ll use cherry wood because that is what I have on hand and I will smoke the links first at around 100F for around an hour and then finish them off with 225F for half an hour. But before I smoke them, I will let them dry overnight in the fridge, hanging from a contraption that I will build either tonight or tomorrow and then use in the smoker so I won’t get grill marks. I understand it’s wise to let the liquids drain from the links so they don’t “shrivel” and they look better as a final product. Since these temperatures put the links in the “danger zone” I will use an agent to reduce the possibility of botulism. I’ve read that salt is a tried and true method, but enough will make the end result too salty. As a diner, I prefer my food to be saltier than the average bear and I will salt the links for taste, will that be enough? I plan on sending my results to my grandparents in Detroit for advise and confirmation. I have one of those vacuum food savers and plan on sealing the links immediately after they’ve been pulled out of the smoker. I am also aware of sanitation theory since I used to be a home brewer, but am still learning the ropes when it comes to food preparation, especially sausage preparation. Tomorrow will be the actual grinding and stuffing of the kielbasa, and Friday I will smoke them. I’m about to leave right now to pick up my pork fat and later tonight I will coarsely chop the pork and brine it. Since this is my first time I appreciate any and all help and advise. I should point out that this is only the beginning of a large investment in time and energy in what could be a giant meat empire but at least it will be an homage to my heritage. I will be keeping an ongoing diary here and I will also be taking as strict notes as I know how on my methods, ingredients and times of each processing step. I also appreciate advise that might not mean much on the home or hobby scale but relates more to the small-scale sausage production, the more I learn, the happier I am. Hope you enjoy this as much as I will! Next Installment >>
  5. The other day we were over at some friends' house for breakfast. We were preparing a feast: pancakes, eggs, home-fried potatoes, toast, and bacon. They have a four-burner DCS range. It's actually the exact one I have at home, which was strange to see in someone else's kitchen (first time for me). Over two burners went the griddle for pancakes. The third burner had the skillet for the potatoes. And burner number four was reserved for the scrambled eggs. Toast would go in the toaster. That left the bacon. My friend's plan was to cook it on the griddle, then clean the griddle, then do the pancakes on the griddle. I said, "Why don't we do the bacon in the oven?" He looked at me like I had two heads. But he consented. I turned the oven to 325 degrees (F). I took a half-sheet pan and laid the bacon strips out very tightly packed -- overlapping a bit in places -- so that a one-pound package of sliced bacon fit on the tray. I put the whole thing in the oven and waited. After about 15 minutes -- and during all this time we were able to make stuff on the stovetop -- I opened the oven and turned each piece of bacon over with a fork. By now the bacon had shrunk a bit so it no longer overlapped. Back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. The bacon was ready around the same time as all the other food. I took the tray out of the oven and put it on the counter on a couple of cork trivets and took the pieces off to dry on paper towels. At the table, my friend's wife, who was not involved in the food preparation, asked "How did you get the bacon to come out so good?" Another convert to bacon in the oven. Not only is bacon in the oven incredibly convenient and efficient -- it leaves your stovetop burners free and if you have room for three half-sheet pans in your oven you can cook three pounds of bacon at once no problem -- but also the bacon comes out great. I'm not really sure why. Perhaps being surrounded by warm air is better for the bacon's flavor development than the unilateral heat of a stovetop skillet. Perhaps the oven just enforces the low-and-slow approach better than the stovetop. Or perhaps it's because, all of it cooking at once, the bacon comes to the table "fresher" than multiple batches in a skillet or two. In any event, bacon in the oven is the only way to fry.
  6. I made it this weekend to the Distinti Salumi festival in Cagli. Had I been more aware of its breadth, I would have posted an alert. In addition to the multitude of vendors, there were talks, exhibits, and related events. There were also four tasting rooms set up, one each for salumi interi, cotti, crudi and particolari. Great handouts and signage. It was just a really well done festival. There was an unbelievable bounty. I took home lots of fat – a creamy lardo macellato from Lecce, herby pestàt from Fagagna in Friuli, and a beautiful piece of lardo di colonnata from, well, Colonnata (so now I know that Colonnata is a place, not a style -- I usually see it without the "di"; the vendor had a great book showing the traditional vessels used to make the lardo). Plus a nice hunk of guanciale from a local Cagli producer, lamb salame from Holland, and a spicy, chunky bad boy from Abruzzo. Diverse selection of cheeses (mostly pecorino), too. I bought a piece of delicious pecorino trombaitolo, which the Puglian vendor had enticingly labelled the "viagra di una volta". Also various grilled meats. I had some very slow-cooked cinta senese from a local farmer that was unbelievable: just about the opposite of porchetta, it was soft as butter and virtually unspiced. Berkel had a display of restored slicers from the early 1900s. And then there was the exhibit "Women and Pigs". If only the photographer would have found a way to include my other two food groups: cigarettes and gin . . . (glossy format made for fuzzy pix). Cagli's a picturesque town, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. It's worth the trip. I'll try to remember to post a reminder for next year's fest.
  7. A friend made a wonderful dish of roasted almond-stuffed dates on a piece of candied bacon. I'd like to make this for a friend's party but wonder if it will be tasty after 20 minutes in the car. I have a hot/cold cooler for the car that keeps things pretty warm. Maybe a bacon dish is not the way to go. I saw quite a few raves about bacon wrapped parmesan stuffed roasted dates when I googled roasted dates and wondered how that might work. The advantage being that I wouldn'' have to assemble the dish when I get there since the bacon is already wrapped around the date. Just not sure that these are dishes that work best when served right after roasting. Since our host is also cooking for the party I really don't want to intrude and ask to use her oven. Any thoughts here?
  8. The last few years I've been making pheasant confit, using the legs and thighs of pheasants. I'm using the basic recipe from "Charcuterie". In that recipe, after the meat has simmered in the fat, one removes the pieces to a container and covers them with the fat for aging. Left is the pot is the pinkish liquid which, if left with meat can sour it. It is recommended to strain this liquid and cool it which, because of all the natural gelatin it contains quickly comes together into a sort of aspic. In the book the authors recommend using it in a vinaigrette for salads, but no much else. I've tried that and it did nothing for me. I've reduced and clarified the amount I had, sort of like a demi-glace, does anyone have any other ideas for it's usage? Thanks, Rob
  9. Reading through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's instructions about making salami (I'm really loving his books BTW), I noticed he uses what he calls simply "Acidophilus". He says it comes in powder form or tablet and can be bought at any healthfood store or pharmacy. The reason? To promote fermentation and a powdery mold. He uses no starter culture. So, a product that is readily available, is shelf stable, ferments and creates mold?? I did some research and Acidophilus is basically the bacteria that makes yogurt (well, mostly) Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It can be used as a food supplement or as an addition to sausages to aid fermentation and "good" mold. You can buy it from your local drug store for a very reasonable price, like at walgreens. I am sure this is not as good as it sounds. Is it? Has anyone tried using it? If it works as good as the Bactoferm stuff or even close to what Bactoferm does, then why bother paying for Bactoferm? Thoughts, ideas, suggestions. Am I totally off the mark here?
  10. No where near kosher, but never the less interesting... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/dining/2..._r=2&ref=dining Dan
  11. FYI - for all those in the Chicago area interested in whole-animal cooking or charcuterie, Mado Restaurant in Wicker Park has a series of demonstrations: hog butchering, pate/terrines, sausage making and headcheese. I went to the butchering class and came out with a much better understanding of how the animal fits together - and how to make porchetta! Worth a look. Cheers, Ian
  12. My battles with green mold are well documented here. For example, I present a few sticks of particularly memorable sopressata: Following the advice of basically every book ever published in English on the subject, in which green mold = deadly, horrible failure, I tossed them out. There are a few exceptions out there; members here mention washing it off and rehanging it, but only at the early stages. Shortly after that disappointment, I went to Barcelona, where I had this experience: Still no answers. Fast forward to August 2009. Chris Hennes and I are hitting the outer boroughs in search of good food, and we arrive here. The justly famous Calabria Pork Store, on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The place is the holy shrine of cured pork on the east coast, and it smells hog heavenly. Hundreds of sausages, sides of pork, hams, you name it are hanging overhead. However, when you walk a bit closer to the product, you see this: These sausages weren't speckled with green mold; they didn't have a bit here and there. Most of the product in room was coated 40-50% with fuzzy, green to blue mold. Our jaws dropped. We asked the counter person three or four different times what the story was, and he looked at us like we were nuts. We got the sort of reaction you'd get if you tried to ask a crab on the ocean floor why it was so humid around here. Meanwhile, Hennes and I ate about as much of the free sample plate as we could eat without being arrested. The stuff is fantastic: funky, rich, deep flavor that only the best cured pork gets. And we're not dead. Something, clearly, is going on, and I'm hellbent on getting to the bottom of it. Here are my questions: 1. What, exactly, is this "fuzzy green mold"? What distinguishes "fuzzy green mold" from "chalky white mold"? 2. What effects do these molds have? How do you determine which effects are detrimental, beneficial, or both? 3. If, as all the books indicate, this "fuzzy green mold" is so terrible for you, why in the world is a premier salumeria displaying it overhead for all the world to see? For starters, does anyone have any access to actual facts?
  13. I started curing some lamb belly but its awful thin. Can I roll it or something? I wanted to try lamb bacon but it seems too thin to slice. (Since I got it from the local Islamic market, it came skinless.) Anyone have an idea? Thanks Kevin
  14. Today, The Minimalist column by Mark Bittman extols the joys of homemade flavor-infused oils, without regard to the food safety issues inherent in taking foods known to carry C botulinum spores and placing them in the low-acid, anaerobic environments in which they thrive. Do they not have fact-checkers or nutritionists or someone check these articles? This is a basic issue covered in the ServSafe exam, and in health code requirements in most US states. HERE is a link to more detailed info, written by scientists.
  15. We were listening to a story on "Marketplace" today about Wurstkuche, a hot new sausage restaurant in LA. (My son-in-law, who is hip to word of mouth about restaurants and technology , threw my daughter's birthday party there Way back in February and gave it good marks.) They serve sausage, many many varieties, and so we had to discuss sausage at length. Is there any such thing as a good vegetarian sausage? My mind boggles at the likelihood. But if there is a good recipe out there -- light on the tofu, please -- I know that the eGullet community is the place to go.
  16. Way back when, in my early college days, there was a small startup deli whose salami sandwiches I absolutely loved. Just white bread, some mustard, and a nice mound of very tender, moist salami. I've been looking for that meat ever since. I would say the texture most resembled the better deli corned beef or pastrami - but of course with the salami flavor. But all the salami I've sampled since is simply not going for that effect, whether it be called Cotto, Genoa, Hard Salami, etc. Is there a name for this sort of salami, or is it just one particular maker, or what?
  17. Food & Wine has now published two blurbs in two episodes about some hippie restaurant in California which is serving vegan "charcuterie". One mention is ranked as one of teh best restaurant dishes of 2010. Read the article here. Seriously, can you really possibly call any vegetable charcuterie? Am I the the only one that thinks this is completely stupid?
  18. Found in the bottom of the fridge: a package of duck confit that I made at least 6 months ago, maybe longer. I did them sous-vide, and they're still in the sealed plastic package. No sign of decay or leakage at all. Not fully covered in fat as you can get away with very little when sous-viding them. I did not use any preservatives - no pink salt or the like. So... do I use them? They look OK, they're definitely still sealed, and I'm tempted. But would rather avoid food poisoning if there's a risk. I ate another package made at the same time maybe 3 months ago, no clue how this package got lost in the bottom drawer, under the bacon and cheese and various other cold-storage items.
  19. Hi all, I've made some batches of duck leg confit and pork belly confit following the recipes in "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman and Polcyn. I'm pretty new to confit in general, so I'm wondering about the dry cure that is usually applied to meat that is to be used for confit. Why do we do it? It often involves significant amounts of salt, so I'm wondering if it's done for flavour, conservation purposes, or perhaps both? Would uncured, confited duck legs spoil quicker or simply taste less?
  20. Hi all, Inspired by the chapter about confits in Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie", I've prepared confits of both duck legs, lamb shoulder and pork belly a couple of times at home. Results have been great, and the confits have never had the chance to hang around in the fridge for very long before it's all eaten up. I have a question regarding the confit jelly, the dark juices that collect on the bottom of the pan after cooking. Ruhlman & Polcyn, and also Robuchon in "The Complete Robuchon", write that care should be taken not get any of these juices into your storage jar if you want to store the confit for any length of time. Ruhlman & Polcyn write that the jelly can go sour over time. I've consulted some other cookbooks, including Fearnley-Whittingstall's "River Cottage Meat Book" and Henderson's "Nose to tail eating", and they don't make any particular mention of the jelly and the need for removing it. The jelly is amazing in sauces and stocks, but how important is it really to get it out of the confit storage container? And, what's the easiest way of separating the jelly from the duck fat before pouring the fat over the cooked meat? I made some rillons this weekend, and I would like to have them around for a couple of weeks at least, to see if I can pick up "aging"/ripening qualities in the confit. I ladled fat over the cooked belly, trying not to get any of the jelly juices into the storage container, but I'm pretty sure some jelly snook it's way in there.
  21. I have a bunch of carbon steel meat grinder plates, which I despise: I have no idea how one can actually keep the damned things rust-free, they seem to oxidize in the time it takes me to dry them. I just got a catalog from sausagemaker.com in the mail, and it seems they sell a wide range of stainless steel grinder plates. Has anyone tried them, and are there other sources out there I don't know about?
  22. Hi, I've looked around for an answer for this question and I can't seem to find one. It's my first post in this forum, having hovered around for a while, so please be gentle with me I've finally started making my own pancetta recently, with inspiration from here. I've been using a pre-blended curing mix that I bought online at sausage making.org. The result tastes just fine but I need to work on my meat trussing skills ! I now have a reasonable supply in my fridge and freezer so won't be making any more for a few months at least. I was wondering what to do with the rest of the cure blend I have sitting in my cupboard. Could I use my cure mixture to corn some beef brisket that I have in the freezer, or should I simply buy a bespoke cure for my brisket and save the other mix for when I finally run out of pancetta? If it's ok to go with the the mix can I just add the other ingredients like coriander and the like?
  23. This sandwich took me a few days to make but it was well worth it. Plus I have enough lamb bacon left to make another 8 or 10 of these. And plenty of lamb bacon fat for whatever tickles my fancy. Raw, bone in lamb breast, halved, for $.99/lb. Lamb Breast - Raw (Forgive me, I don't know how to intersperse photos and text and this site so I used links) This was cured in the "basic cure" using the salt-box method with a head of fresh-pressed garlic for 2 days in the fridge. Then wiped down and smoked over pecan for 3 hours at about 165F. Lamb Breast - Smoked The lamb was then deboned, sliced, and cooked in the oven at 250F for about 30 minutes (that's about 1/3rd of a boned slab's worth of lamb bacon you see here). Lamb bacon can be tough and rubbery but slow cooking in the oven on a half sheet pan solves that. Lamb Bacon - Cooked Then assembled into a Lamb BLT with thin sliced red onion, cucumber, cheese, and mayo (as well as the lettuce and campari tomatoes). Served with garlic olives and peperoncini. Lamb BLT It's going to be hard to top this at dinner time. -sw
  24. For the baconophiles: bacon baskets and bacon placemats!
  25. I'd like to try making duck confit, but I'm wondering whether using fats other than the actual duck fat is, like, sacrilege, or something. Because frankly, where in the world do you get the amount of duck fat called for in a duck confit without roasting 40 ducks in a row first? Googling, I see substitutions such as olive oil, canola, lard, etc. Is this okay? Do they work as well in terms of preserving the duck? Is one better than another? Help?
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