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Found 436 results

  1. I want to make peameal bacon and have it for Christmas. It seems possible but there is no definitive recipe on the net and I'd love a little coaching from someone who has done it. Horrors - some recipes call for smoking - those people obviously don't know what they are talking about. I can get something called Morton's Tenderquick - is this going to give me the right texture? This expat thanks all who might help.
  2. I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a recipe for this. I live in central Wisconsin and a friend came back with a grab bag of wonderful sausage from Louisiana, (excellent boudin, garlic sausage, etc.) The most amazing thing she brought back was fresh Green Onion sausage from Rouses Grocery store. I have to say I fell in love with it immediately. Everyone I shared it with loved it as well. I make my own sausage so I have the tools and techniques to make it. The seasonings seemed basic, but I would like to try to get some direction, before trying to create my own and end up messing things up. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  3. I saw this link today to an article at npr.org on how chocolate and bacon are making more appearances than ever. Anyone ever tried things like this? I dipped some bacon in dark chocolate a week or so ago after having a number of people ask me about it. I have to say, it wasn't terrible, but not my favorite result. Comments?
  4. I still remember the porchetta sandwiches I had in Rome almost 25 years ago, a small shop with 4 tables, small glasses of red wine and paper cones with olives. The entire pg would come out of the oven, each pannini had meat and skin along with some fat, just great food I've always wanted to try this at home and the time has finally come. I'm going to do it for my girlfriends birthday. I have done the requisite searches online and come up with mostly variations involving a boned pork shoulder. One looks very good, it comes from Jamie Oliver, at least the photo looks like the real thing. What I'd really like to do is a small whole pig, just for the presentation value alone. I imagine I could do it with a 18-20lb pig, I have the skills to bone it. Would love to hear any comments, ideas, warnings, etc. before proceeding. thanks, Rob
  5. Kent Wang

    Confit myth

    This New York Times article on Nathan Myhrvold (discussion topic on his upcoming book) states: What do you think of that? I've confited duck legs several times, and I can't attest to whether the fat enters the meat and actually makes it more flavorful, but it seems that some flavor is lost from the meat and leeched into the fat as there is always a good amount of precipitated "duck jelly". Would steaming prevent this loss of juice? Nowadays, I confit with sous vide and a very small amount of fat, so it would be similar to rubbing on the fat afterwards. How about aging? A duck leg aged for a month or so certainly turns more brown, and is perhaps a bit drier. Is it really better?
  6. Pancetta Embossed Chicken My creation is no penicillin, ice cream cone, or Toll House cookie, but it could save your life if you are starving and has at least as many calories as the latter. There's nothing wrong with the "bacon-wrapped" motif, but its execution is so often inferior to its promise. The bacon is frequently over- or under-cooked; bacon is sliced so thick that it overwhelms whatever it is wrapping; too much bacon fat is absorbed; and so on. Here's a technique that avoids all of these problems and pairs bacon with one of its ideal partners: chicken skin. It started with a recipe for "Chicken with Pancetta and Balsamic Vinegar" from Mark Bittman’s column in the New York Times. I halved the ingredients and used chicken thighs, and it was quite good. But the best part by far was that bits of pancetta had been caught under the chicken while it was browning. They had become fused with the chicken skin! The crispy chicken-bacon, combined with the tender meat, made for a terrific eating experience. Again this triumph was an accident. I had been trying to avoid the bacon bits when I put the chicken into the pan, figuring I'd end up with a pancetta-laden pan sauce. Good thing I blew it. Unfortunately, because I had chopped the pancetta, these moments of glory were rare. I wanted all of the chicken skin to be bacon-infused. The solution was obvious: give each thigh its own slice of pancetta. It requires no more bacon than the original recipe, but it all ends up in exactly the right place. If you put this stuff in a plastic pouch at the 7-Eleven, it would put jerky out of business. Plus it's my recipe so I get to give it a ridiculous name. 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) 4 slices of Pancetta, round and thin 1 T olive oil salt and pepper Place the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook a few seconds until translucent. Add chicken skin-side down, placing each thigh directly onto a pancetta slice. Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 15 minutes or until bacon and skin are well browned. Turn chicken and add a bit more pepper. Cook until underside is browned and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Alternatively turn the chicken, transfer the pan to a 400-degree oven, and bake until cooked through (about 10 minutes, but check around the bone for pinkness and pull it as soon as it's cooked through). If you're using the oven, you may want to transfer the chicken to a foil-lined jelly roll pan so that you can use the skillet to make a pan sauce. For the pan sauce: pour off most of the chicken fat, deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine, reduce by half, and season with salt and pepper. Off the heat, add a pat of butter and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Pool it under the chicken -- you worked hard for that crispy skin, and it would be a shame to spoil it now just because you were feeling saucy. Serve on hot plates with mashed potatoes or egg noodles and your choice of vegetable. Keywords: Chicken, Main Dish, Intermediate, Dinner, Italian, The Daily Gullet ( RG191 )
  7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apple Serves 6 as Side. This recipe was inspired by a segment of Martha Stewart's daytime show, here's a link to the original recipe. I prefer the roast brussels sprouts. If using frozen brussels sprouts, 2-1 lb bags of the petite kind are best. If you are using fresh, you may need more than 2 lbs, because you'll have to trim the stem, outer leaves and may lose some if they are bad inside. Cut large sprouts in half or quarters, leave small ones whole. If you have to use dried thyme, as opposed to fresh thyme sprigs, add about 1 tsp with the apple & vinegar. 4 oz Bacon 2 lb Brussels Sprouts 10 Thyme sprigs 1 Granny Smith apple 2 tsp Cider Vinegar Pepper & Salt to taste Heat your oven to 400 F. Dice or cut bacon into strips. Spread out bacon on a half-sheet pan or roasting pan and cook in oven for 10-15 minutes, until mostly cooked and it has rendered fat. Remove cooked bacon and set aside. Drizzle some of the rendered bacon fat over the prepared Brussels sprouts and thyme sprigs and mix well. If there's a lot of rendered fat, you don't have to use all of it. Add the sprouts to the pan and roast for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and carefully using a spatula, turn and mix the sprouts so that they roast evenly. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. While the sprouts are in the oven, peel and dice your apple. Mix with cider vinegar (and dried thyme if you are using that instead of fresh sprigs) and set aside. After the sprouts have roasted for about 30 minutes, add the cooked bacon and diced apple, stir to combine, and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Add fresh ground pepper to taste, be careful with adding salt as the bacon adds a lot of saltiness. Best served immediately. Keywords: Side, Intermediate, Vegetables, Pork, Lunch, Dinner, American ( RG1507 )
  8. Ricotta, sausage and Spinach Calzones Serves 4 as Main Dish. This is a rough recipe for a favorite clazone of mine. I never follow a recipe for this but the following is a rough estimate. The key to those is the overnight rest in the fridge and using the best quality ricotta you can find. If you cannot find any, then make your own. Dough (enough for 4 to 5 calzones): 4 c bread flour 2 tsp Kosher salt 1 tsp instant yeast 2 T extra virgin olive oil 1-1/2 c tepid water Filling Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking and drizzling 3 Italian sausages, removed from the casing and crumbled 2 Large garlic cloves, chopped 1 (8 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted 2 c good quality crumbly ricotta, preferably homemade 1/2 c good quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese salt and pepper 1-1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese Crushed chile flakes (optional) Semolina Flour for dusting Start these the night before you want to bake them. Prepare the dough by putting all ingredients in a food processor and mix for a few seconds to incorporate. Start adding the water. Add one cup at first and process for 25 seconds, add the remaining water and process until you have a cohesive elastic dough. Let the processor work the dough for about thirty seconds to develop the gluten. It should not be too wet or sticky. It should be easy to handle and elastic. Put the dough on a floured kitchen surface and knead for a minute or so. Form into a ball. Oil a bowl with a little olive oil and put the dough in there. Roll it around to cover it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for about 2.5 hours or until it doubles in size. Make the filling by sautéing the sausage in some olive oil over medium heat until cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, do not allow it to color. Squeeze your spinach dry and add it to the pan. Saute for about a minute. In a large bowl, crumble your ricotta. Once the spinach mixture is cool add it to the ricotta along with the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and if it is a little too dry add a glug or two of good extra virgin olive oil (I always do). When the dough is proofed, cut it into 4 equal pieces, form each one into a ball. Now flatten them and use a rolling pin to roll them into rough circles about 10-12 inches in diameter. If the dough is too elastic let it rest for a few minutes and then keep on rolling. Fill each round of dough on one half, with the ricotta mixture, top it with a good portion of the shredded mozzarella and some crushed chile flakes if you like them. Fold the dough over, like a half moon and press the edges with your fingers. Chances are you will have a lot of extra “edge”. Trim this with a sharp knife leaving no more than 1/2 an inch. Crimp the edge with a fork to seal properly or fold the edge over itself to give it a more cool look. With the trimmed edges you can probably make a fifth calzone. Dust a baking sheet heavily with semolina flour and lay the clazones on it. Brush them with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Heat your oven to 400F. When the oven is heating remove the calzones from the fridge, dust them with semolina (this is optional, but it gives them an extra layer of texture that is lovely), and make three vents in each one with a sharp knife or scisors. Bake for about 30 minutes or until GB&D, golden brown and deliciouse. Let them rest, if you can, for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Keywords: Main Dish, Dinner, Intermediate, Bread, Cheese, Italian, Lunch ( RG1466 )
  9. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo It all started when I went to the meat market this morning and bought 3 lbs of chicken thighs. These are not Tyson's Plastic, but real chicken cut by real butchers. They are very good. I got 2 lbs of Richard's Pork Sausage and made a couple of stops to fill my vegetable needs. Sausage from Richard's is great --looks like cased ham! This stuff is just awesome. If you can get it I highly reccomend it. They make (imho) the best commercial pork products in the US. For a photo play-by-play, click Here. And, here's the definitive EG thread on Gumbo. Gumbo cooked 'round the world. 3 lb chicken thighs 2 lb pork sausage sliced, into about 1/4" coins Dusting: 2 c flour 1 T salt 1 tsp paprika 1 T cayenne powder 1 tsp cracked black pepper Peanut oil Roux: 1/3 c all purpose flour 1/3 c peanut oil Trinity 2 green peppers (one green and one red or yellow), diced 4 ribs celery, diced 2 medium onions, diced 8 cloves of garlic, minced 1 T dried basil 1 T dried oregano 2 tsp cayenne 2 tsp black fine crushed black pepper 1 T salt 6 c chicken, turkey or pork stock Partially skin the thighs (I like to leave a little fat, adds to the flavor when browning). Dust with spiced flour. Brown the dusted thighs in peanut oil. I like peanut oil as it can take a pretty good beating, adds a nice nutty taste, and you can get it very hot without burning. Turn once and hardly move while they were browning. Remove thighs and place on paper towels. Brown the sausage coins. I like to get it a little toasty. It adds both flavor and texture to the dish. Time to make the roux. You may wish to review my photo essay (linked above) to see the process as it colors. The pan has been drained, but not scraped after the browning of the sausage and chicken. It is placed over very high heat (wide open on a normal burner, Flour and oil added; this mixture is stirred constantly. Scrape up the remainder of the meat as you go. Scrape hard and get it all loose or it will all burn and you will have to start over. First you will have the light roux. Sort of the color of a skinned almond. Medium Roux. Very light brown. At this point I have been stirring about 5 minutes. It is getting very hot. WARNING-This method of making Roux was popularized during Paul Prudhomme's stay as Head Chef at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. The kitchen staff came to call this type of roux "cajun napalm". If you splash and get it on you it will stick to you and burn you badly (if you try to wipe it off while it is hot the burn will just spread) so BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL. Dark Roux. Darker brown; approaching Hershey's chocolate syrup. Now we've gotten there. At this point (maybe 10 minutes in) the oil is just starting to smoke a little bit and I am ready to stop the process. Onion, celery, bell pepper and in. This stops the browning process with the flour and the oil. Stand back as you dump-it can be a pretty lively thing. You are, after all, pouring hot water into oil. At this point I have just mixed the veg and the roux evenly. The bottom was carefully scraped, as were the sides. Then I add the garlic and I turn the heat to medium low and slowly simmer with the top on, stirring and scraping occasionally. By adding now these spices will incorporate nicely with the veg mix and basically melt into the mix. Getting the veg to the right point will take about 15 minutes. Now is the time to add the garlic. Taste at this point and adjust spicing. (some like it hot, some not. I find that with this type of gumbo I do not prefer it so spicy. The veg, sausage, and especially the chicken all stand out on their own and don't need to be bammed to heavily with spice-but as always it is a matter of personal choice) Add 6-8 cups of stock, the chicken, and the sausage. It is all stirred well and brought to a boil while uncovered. Once it hits a boil, let boil for 5 min or so on low boil, cut the heat back down to medium low and simmer for one and a half hours with the lid on. Skim fat occasionally if you wish. There will not be much grease if you did the first two steps right and bought quality sausage. About ten minutes before finish of simmer time, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsely and 6 or 8 chopped green onions (tops and bottoms). Ready to plate. Yessir Buddy! That's the stuff I was looking for (I wouldn't have showed it if I had screwed it up). It is a very nice color, thick but not too, and has a nice spicy tang to it while not being overpowering. You should be able to taste the veg, chicken, and sausage nicely and the three really are working together the way that they are supposed to. A nice spicy tang while not overpowering. Fit for Royalty. A bargain at any price. Keywords: Soup, Main Dish, Intermediate ( RG1186 )
  10. Guest

    1hour Onion Confit

    1hour Onion Confit This is a great accompiament and goes with all sorts of grilled meats as well as a simple topping for canapes,bruschetta or pizza. This technique is also alot quicker than the traditional one, a bit more labor intensive though, same amazing flavor though!!! 6 white onions,sliced about 1/2 inch wide 2tbsp butter 2tbsp olive oil pinch of salt 1cup white wine 1/4cup sugar 7cups chicken stock Saute white onions in a large heavy bottom pot, stir occasionly until very dark brown about 15min, don't worry if the bottom is getting dark this is where the rich sweetness comes from. Deglaze with the wine, wait till almost evaporated then add the sugar along with one cup of stock, keep trying to scrape up as much browned bits as possible. Let the stock completely evaporate until onions are just wet. Continue adding stock one cup at a time, waiting till one cup as reduced until adding the next.Test the onions around 5 cups keep adding stock till they dissolve in your mouth. Keywords: Vegetables, Side ( RG976 )
  11. Bacon Cheddar Toast Points 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese 3/4 c mayonnaise 1/2 c cooked, crumbled bacon 1 French baguette Mix the cheese, bacon and mayonnaise together. Slice the baquette on the diagonal into 24 slices. Spread the cheese mixture on one side of each slice. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Keywords: Hors d'oeuvre ( RG880 )
  12. Blue Cheese Creamed Spinach with Pancetta Serves 4 as Side. This is a popular side at our place. It serves four moderately, 2 generously. 4 slices of pancetta 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 T pine nuts 3 oz cream cheese 2 oz blue cheese or similar 1/2 tsp salt 6 oz baby spinach, washed and patted dry In a large, heavy frying pan cook pancetta till crisp but not brown. Remove pancetta from pan, reserve. Add onion to pancetta fat in pan, saute until transparent. Add pine nuts, salt and cheeses. Stir a bit, 1-2 minutes, then add spinach. Stir untill spinach is wilted and chese is completely melted. Serve immediately, topped with reserved pancetta slices. Keywords: Easy, Vegetables, Side ( RG870 )
  13. Butternut Squash with Corn, Spinach, Bacon, Onions, and Basil Serves 8 as Side. Thanks to MatthewB for turning me on to this simple recipe, which originally appeared in the November 1998 Bon Appétit. I'm sure that it's a given on eGullet, but I'd still like to emphasize that the fresher the ingredients, the better. (The original recipe specified packaged spinach and frozen corn.) Proportions can be adjusted at will. I made this for the 2003 Heartland Gathering in Grand Rapids using thick-cut farm bacon, with the other ingredients coming straight from the GR Farmer's Market. Outstanding! ½ lb bacon 1 large onion (about 2 cups chopped) 1 large butternut squash 9-10 oz spinach leaves 4-6 ears corn or 1 lb frozen kernels ½ cup or more chopped fresh basil salt and pepper Prep: Chop bacon crosswise, ~1/3-1/2" wide. Chop onion into fine dice. Peel squash (and seed, if using round segment) and cut into ~1/3" dice. Wash and coarsely chop spinach, if needed; baby spinach can be left whole. If using fresh corn, remove husk and silk and cut kernels from cob. Wait to chop the basil until it's time to add it. Cook: In a large pot or sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is just getting crisp. Add the onion and squash and sauté until the squash is just tender (10-12 min.). Add the corn. If using frozen corn or older fresh corn, cook for a few minutes before adding the spinach; if using very fresh corn, add the spinach at the same time. Cook until the spinach wilts. Chop, then stir in the basil. Add salt (careful!) and pepper to taste. Keywords: Side, Easy, Vegetables, American ( RG737 )
  14. Bacon Cheddar Toast Points 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese 3/4 c mayonnaise 1/2 c cooked, crumbled bacon 1 French baguette Mix the cheese, bacon and mayonnaise together. Slice the baquette on the diagonal into 24 slices. Spread the cheese mixture on one side of each slice. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Keywords: Hors d'oeuvre ( RG880 )
  15. Creamed Spinach with Bacon Serves 6 as Side. I first started making this after tasting a similar dish at Colonel Sander's original restaurant west of Shelbyville, KY. The Colonel and his wife used to stand in the yard of their home next door to the restaurant and greet diners there. The Colonel's menu included four entrees: fried chicken, steak, country ham and lobster. With these, he served mashed potatoes and gravy and SEVEN vegetables, passed family style. One such combination I had there was the creamed spinach, tomato pudding, mock oysters (eggplant), carrot souffle, corn pudding, green beans and Harvard beets. Instead of fresh spinach, you may use one 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, but it won't be as good. Sometimes I add the onion, sometimes not. 1 lb fresh young spinach 4 slices bacon 2 T butter 2 T flour 1/2 c milk 1/2 c heavy cream Salt and white pepper 1 T grated onion (optional) Wash the spinach, remove stems and drop in briefly into a large pot of salted boiling water over high heat. When it returns to a boil, drain in a sieve and let sit while you make the sauce. If you are using frozen spinach, let it come to room temperature, you don't need to cook it. Fry bacon crisp and drain on paper towels. Melt the butter in a 1 or 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. If you are using onion, add now. Add flour, cook and stir for several minutes to remove raw taste. Add milk and cream, salt and white pepper, and stir with a whisk until it boils. Lower heat. Crumble the bacon into very tiny pieces and add. Squeeze the spinach well, with hands or in a ricer or however you prefer, and add to the sauce. Leave over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. For best flavor, refrigerate overnight and reheat. Keywords: Side, Easy, Vegetables, American ( RG730 )
  16. Linguine with Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon Serves 4 as Main Dishor 6 as Side. I stumbled on this while looking for recipes with goat cheese. It's from Real Simple (and it is!). I couldn't imagine the combination of flavors, but it was wonderful. 6 slices bacon 1 2- to 2 ½-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded, and diced (4 to 5 cups) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1-1/2 c chicken broth 1 tsp kosher salt 4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled 1 lb linguine, cooked 1 T olive oil 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble or break into pieces; set aside. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the squash and garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked through and softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Add half the goat cheese and stir well to combine. Place the cooked linguine in a large bowl. Stir the sauce into the linguine and toss well to coat. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the reserved bacon, the remaining goat cheese, and the pepper. Serve immediately. Keywords: Main Dish, Easy, Vegetables, Dinner ( RG2158 )
  17. by Chris Amirault Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like 'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you? - Nora Ephron I attended a training last fall at which we were asked to share an object representing something important about mentoring, our focus for the week. I suspect that few in the workshop had difficulty coming up with their tape measures, baby photos, and flower pots, but I usually find this sort of assignment challenging, preferring simple denotations to forced connotations. On the drive home, I rolled down the windows, sensing that the air was turning slightly crisp and cool. I savored that harbinger of autumn in New England, when my thoughts turn to braises, stews and charcuterie. After a summer of keeping the oven off in my non-air-conditioned kitchen, I dreamed of daubes, considered new curries, and generally jonesed for the promise of meat to come. And then I realized that I had a perfect metaphor for mentoring: my 5 lb. vertical sausage stuffer from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. The next day, I lugged the apparatus to the training, hiding it behind a door for fear of ridicule. When my turn arrived, I hauled it out and clunked it down dramatically on the center table. "Good mentoring is like a sausage stuffer," I said, "for at least ten reasons: One. When you make sausages, everything -- utensils, machine, meat, fat -- has to be properly cool. If you've got warm meat, you can't make sausage, so don't try. Heat will prevent for a good bind. Two. It takes two people to make a sausage stuffer work. [Note: That's not entirely true, or at least it's idiosyncratic to my situation. My sausage stuffer is mounted to a free-floating piece of particle board and not to a countertop, and thus someone has to hold the thing still while the other person cranks away. But, hey, cut me some slack. It was overnight homework and I was trying to get to a round number.] Three. Contrary to popular belief, you do want to know what ingredients are in a sausage. What goes in determines what goes out. Reflecting on the stuff makes the product much better. Four. To fix a sausage that isn't working, you tweak it slightly; small changes can have big results. Trying to fix everything at once with bold gestures is doomed to fail. Five. You don't find out whether your sausages are good while you're stuffing them. The proof is in the blood pudding. When you apply heat, good sausages bind unlike elements; bad sausages break and separate. Six. The sausage stuffer takes something messy and encapsulates it, bringing order where there was chaos. Seven. You never know everything that there is to know about sausage making. Hubris is your enemy, humility your friend. Ask around and make friends with experts. Eight. You will never perfect your sausages. The greatest charcutiers in the world stress the impossibility of perfection. Forget about it. There are too many factors beyond your control. Strive for making them as good as you can make 'em. Nine. The only sane approach to sausage-making is to take the developmental long view. After all, this isn't Plato's cave in which you're hanging the links; it's your unfinished basement. Since you can't get perfection, you want improvement each time. Ten. Despite all efforts to the contrary, sometimes your sausage turns out really lousy. Flavor dissipates; binds break; good mold flees and bad mold flowers. When sausages go awry, don't wring your hands. Just do the best you can to figure out what happened, toss 'em, and take another crack. I mean, it's just sausage. Thank you." + + + That's the article as I started writing it. But over time, Nora's words came to haunt me. The whole shtick began to smell a bit fishy, and I began to fear that, like many tropes, this metaphor turned attention away from a trickier, worrisome truth hiding in plain view. But unlike many tropes, the worrisome truth I was hiding is in the object, and not the subject, of the metaphor. That is, the metaphor wasn't really about my relationship to mentoring. It was really about my relationship to sausage. Imagine the scene: I whip out my sausage maker and give ten reasons why my metaphor is bigger and better than everyone else's. (I did mention that I was the only man among three dozen women in that training, didn't I?) Laugh if you want, but one's sausage is important to many a man. A quick perusal of this topic reveals that I'm not alone. (You did notice the gender breakdown in that topic, didn't you?) Last weekend, while in the unfinished basement of a chef buddy, talk turned to our sausages, and before long we four charcuterie nuts were looking at our feet and commiserating about our failures. We shared a bond: our sausages had the better of us, and we knew it. Pathetic though it is, are you surprised that I felt a deep sense of relief, even of control, when I walked through my ten reasons? My metaphor afforded me a rare opportunity to feel superior to the process of sausage-making, and believe me, that doesn't happen often. My name is Chris A., and I have sausage anxiety. Read that list up there about my sausage maker, the instrument that I describe with distanced assurance. It's a ruse, I tell you. No matter how often I try to buck up, no matter how definitive a recipe, no matter how wonderful a pork butt or a lamb shoulder, when it comes to making sausages, I go limp with worry. Can you blame me? Look at all the places you can screw up, where your sausage can fail you utterly and leave you in tears. You grab some wonderful meat, hold it in your hands, appreciate its glory. Chill. You grind it, add some fat, and sprinkle some seasoning, whatever the flesh requires. Chill again. Slow down, contemplate the moon or something. You paddle that meat to bind it, melding flavor and texture seamlessly. Chill some more. What's your hurry? Toss a bit into a skillet, ask: are we ready? and adjust as needed. Stuff away. Then relax. If you can. I can't. You need to keep things cool to take care of your sausage, and it's challenging to stay cool when I'm all a-flutter about the prospect of a culminating, perfect, harmonious bind. If you read the books and you watch the shows, everyone acts just about as cool as a cucumber. But that's not real life with my sausage. It's a frenzy, I tell you. I know I should chill and relax, but I get all hot and bothered, start hurrying things along, unable to let the meat chill sufficiently, to take things slowly. Hell, I'm sweating now just thinking about it. I have to admit that I don't have this sausage problem when I'm alone in the house, have a couple of hours to kill, and know I won't be disturbed. I just settle in, take it nice and slow, not a care in the world, and everything comes out fine. But with someone else around, forget about it. Despite this mishegas, my wife is as supportive as she can be. She humors me patiently about these things, gently chiding, "Slow down! The house isn't on fire. It's just your sausage." Though I know she loves me despite my foibles, that sort of talk just adds fuel to that fire -- I mean, she can speak so glibly because it's not her sausage we're worrying about. Even if I am I able to relax, the prospect of sudden, precipitous sausage humiliation comes crashing down upon me. Think of it. All seems to be going so well -- a little too well. I'm keeping things cool, making sure that I'm taking it easy, following the plan step-by-step, trusting my instincts. I smile. I get cocky. And then, the frying pan hits the fire, and within moments I'm hanging my head: instead of forming a perfect bind, my sausage breaks and I break down. I want a firm, solid mass, and I'm watching a crumbly, limp link ooze liquid with embarrassing rapidity. Given my gender, in the past I've tried to subdue sausage anxiety with predictable contrivances: machines, science, and technique. If there's a tool or a book useful for perfecting my sausage, I've bought or coveted it. I calculate ratios of meat, salt, cure, sugar, and seasonings past the decimal; I measure out ingredients to the gram on digital scales; I poke instant-read thermometers into piles of seasoned meat; I take the grinder blade to my local knife sharpener to get the perfect edge. (We've already covered the stuffer above, of course.) I've got a full supply of dextrose, Bactoferm, and DQ curing salts numbers 1 and 2. The broken binding of my copy of Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie has xeroxes and print-outs from eight other sources, and the pages are filled with crossed-out and recalculated recipes. It's the sort of thing that I used to do when I was younger: arm myself with all things known to mankind and blast ahead. It hasn't helped. I've learned the hard way that my hysterical masculine attempt to master all knowledge and technology has led, simply, to more panic and collapse. There is, I think, hope. I'm older, and my approach to my sausage has matured. I'm in less of a hurry, I roll with the challenges, and when the house is on fire, I just find a hydrant for my hose. If things collapse, well, I try to take the long view, recall the successes of my youth, and keep my head up. I mean, it's just my sausage. * * * Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
  18. I have a chance to buy a 30-lb box of Niman Ranch Applewood Bacon Ends and Pieces at on $1.99/lb. This is originally destined for a professional kitchen. What can I reasonably expect to get? Do I surmise that these are the trimmings off of bacon slabs that get packaged up as bacon strips and therefore are grisly and mostly fat? Don't want to get something that can only be used in limited circumstances. Bacon is chancy as it is sometimes when the ends are grisly and you can't chew them. On the other hand Niman Ranch is supposed to be a top brand. Any feedback is appreciated! doc
  19. I am planning a trip to new york in the near future and was wondering your thoughts on who has some of the better house made charcuterie in the city.
  20. I have several batchs of fermented sausages going. Everything seemed fine, all covered with pennicilin mold, losing weight on schedule. Over the last few days I have noticed a strong odor of ammonia when I open my curing cabinet. What's up with that?
  21. I had a friend who was living down in Natchez, MS bring back 20 lbs of Garlic Sausage from Passbach meats. It's a smoked beef sausage made with beef and offal meats (heart, tongue, head meat, glands...etc) It has a stronger offal type flavor and the couple links I have cooked have a more mealy texture. I am supposed to make red beans and rice with it. I have a good recipe for red beans and rice, but I can find no recipes using this type of sausage. I am either afraid of it being too overpowering, or turning to mush. Is anyone familiar with this type of sausage that could offer a couple tips in using it.
  22. Stayiing at the apartment of friends in the Upper West Side of Manhattan last week, I was curious to try the new salumeria in the area owned and run by Cesare Casella, Salumeria Rosi. having heard a rumor that the shop/restaurant had opened I arranged to meet my brother and sister there for lunch. While the Marketplace of the salumeria would be open later in the afternoon and they were planning on serving their opening dinner that night, unfortunately they were not yet open for lunch. Instead we wound up at the not too far and still quite new Shake Shack UWS. Suffice to say that we enjoyed each others company, but this post is not about Shake Shack. After our lunch, I headed downtown for some business and returned to the UWS later in the afternoon. 2Since the marketplace was supposed to be open, I decided to return and check it out. Still a bit late from the time we were told earlier, but clearly closer to fruition, the marketplace was just about to open, but only in a soft sense. They were not quite yet doing business, but Casella and his staff were there with samples of their wares for prospective customers to try. Though small and with a low-key storefront located to the also low-key, small storefront of the new Jacques Torres chocolate shop, the shop/restaurant was very nicely appointed with the salumeria counter at the entrance and some tables to the side and the rear. With prosciutti hanging from the ceiling in front of the wall behind the counter, the offerings looked fresh and delicious. Freshly imported mozzarelle di bufala and burate along with other Italian cheeses lined part of the glass enclosed refrigerated cabinet.A variety of salumi were to the left of the cheeses as one peered into the glass, while a number of prepared products along with olives and other items lay to the right of the cheeses from the onlooker's perspective. The presentations were colorful and beautiful in the glass cases. Cesare Casella himself cut some Prosciutto di Parma by hand for me to taste, while the countermen sliced some more of that as well as prosciutto cotto, Mortadella and Prosciutto di San Daniele to sample. The samples were delicious, my preference in this case being for the Prosciuuto di Parma over the San Daniele. The Parma was, in this instance, more complex and with deeper flavor. Another time, I would love to return to try the many other items available. This should be a fine addition to that neighborhood. For more photos, please see my photo album on my new blog, aka "Docsconz - the Blog."
  23. I thought this would catch the interest of some of you after reading the interesting debate on the best way to cook a steak. Tim Hayward wrote a piece on the best way to cook a sausgage on his Guardian blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wor.../nov/11/sausage Comments?
  24. A neighbour asked me to show him how to make duck confit. We are going at it this weekend. As a starting point, I bought two Mennonite-raised (so they should be pretty natural and pretty tasty) ducks. They are currently frozen so I don't yet have a good idea of their proportions (except their weight, 4 and 4.5 lbs.) We are planning to confit of the 4 legs this weekend (and maybe the wings too? depends on their size I guess.) Question is this. These natural ducks were pretty expensive ($6 a lb?) and so I am loath to waste anything. In my experience (in France), the breasts are saved, boned, for magret that measure about 6"x3"x1". Here though I've found that duck breasts are pathetic little things unsuitable for much. (Maybe French magret ducks are specially raised?) If these breasts seem substantial enough, we'll go the magret route. But it they are skimpy, what suggestions does anyone have for making the most of two legless, wingless, breast-still-on duck carcasses? roast? other? thanks Peter
  25. I'm a bird hunter, primarily pheasants which are known to have tough legs with a lots of tendons. So much so, most hunters just take the breast meat. A few years back I tried to confit some of the leg/thigh pieces, I used a couple of the D'Artagnan containers of duck fat mixed in with rendered pork fat. I was pleased with the results. The meat was nutty and falling off the bone, a bit bland and gray, but made some nice dinners and rilletes Two years ago I saved about 20 leg/thigh joints and bought my duck fat from Hudson Valley Fois Gras. I live within a couple hundred miles so I was able to get a 7.5lb. tub, about 1 gal., of rendered duck fat UPS'd to me overnight for about $35.00. The confit turned out better, perhaps a little salty and one dimensional. I used the method from Polcyn & Ruhlman's "Charcuterie". I kept it covered in the fat for about 5 month in the back of the fridge after drawing off the clear juices from the bottom. We ate it gradually, sometimes by itself, a few pieces in cassoulet, some rillets. After it was all eaten I strained the fat back into the tub and put it in the deep freeze. Last week it was time to confit last years kill, approximately 12 lbs of pheasant legs/ thighs, close to 35 pieces. This time I used a little more spice, lots of garlic and bay leaf. I also added almost 2 tsps. of pink salt which "Charcuterie" recommended if planning to keep the confit longer than a month. I let it cure a full 48 hours then rinsed, patted dry and packed into a stainless container. I melted last years fat which already had some flavor in it and was just enough to cover the legs. I placed it in an electric oven set on warm, after two hours the temperature of the fat was taken with a laser type thermometer, it was right at 169˚K, perfect temperature for cooking. Last year I used a different oven that would only go down to 185˚F and the meat separated from the knuckles and crawled up the bone. After 8 hours of "poaching" at 169 I pulled a piece and it was perfect, just the right amount of salty spicy, nutty goodness. We had four pieces for dinner that night over an arugula salad with some crusty bread. Absolutely delicious, the thighs are meaty and it pulls right off the bone like good BBQ. The legs still have those tendons but all the meat just strips out fro between them. I removed the pink liquid from the bottom, packed the legs back into the SS container and covered all with melted fat, it is now aging in the back of my fridge, should be perfect for the holidays. The little bit of pink salt did wonders for this batch. Last year, although tasty, the legs were an unappealing gray color. This year the meat stayed pink and much firmer, also due to the longer cure. I have reduced the pink liquid, and clarified it. In "Charcuterie" Ruhlman & Polcyn say it ca be used in a vinaigrette. I tried that last year but wasn't impressed, any other recommendations for it's use? I can't recommend Hudson Valley Fois Gras highly enough, quality products at a reasonable cost, and the fat was much more flavorful than the smaller containers. I needed some extra fat to cover my confit, I called and my tub was there the next day.
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