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  1. guajolote

    Duck Confit

    I have my legs salted and am rendering the fat from the trimmings. It doesn't look like I'll have enough fat to cover the legs. What should I use for the rest of the fat? Schmaltz? Olive Oil? Clarirified Butter? Or where can I buy duck fat in Chicago?
  2. Last night I tried out Arthur Swartz's recipe for pasta fazool. He's fairly insistent that one brown whole sausages by starting the sausages in a cold pan with a bit of oil & then browning them over medium-low to low heat. The fresh sausages I used were "arced" so it was quite difficult--but still enjoyable--to keep moving the sausages at weird angles in order to get the middle & ends of the sides that were arced. Any techniques to make browning whole "arced" sausages easier?
  3. I have been craving biscuits with sausage gravy. I can figure out the biscuits, but can't find anything about how to make the gravy. Anyone have any ideas or places they can point me? I thank you in advance. My arteries - not so much.
  4. Last night I made a pasta sauce with some Italian sausages bought in Prato (just out of Florence). These were plain sausage 100% pork meat, no obvious flavouring (eg. No fennel seed, garlic, wine etc) except for salt and pepper. No the thing is they taste fantastic, with a very rich pork flavour and great mouth feel. Why is this? Now it could be the ingredients, but many countries produce great pork (Not Australia sadly), so it must be something else. These sausage most certainly contain saltpetre (or a similar agent) as the meat turns bright pink upon cooking and has a slightly firm granular texture that you get when using saltpetre. But again many fresh European sausage contains saltpetre. Could it be the fat content and the way that it is distributed through the meat, so that upon cooking the meat is based, by the melting fat, but the fat drains away form the sausage? Certainly the sausages are contain much fat and taste very rich, but on eating the item there is never the impression of greasiness that you can get with eating a British style sausage that contains a significant amount of ceral content. What's it all about then?
  5. Does anyone know any mail-order or online delis in the UK that sell a good slab of pancetta. At the moment all I've been able to find is the pancetta type lardons that the supermarkets sell. Thanks Ian
  6. We had a chicken with chinese sausages and black mushrooms from "Staffmeals from Chanterelle" yesterday for dinner. As recommended by the book i bought sausages containing some duck liver. As i sliced them to put into a pan for cooking i tried one piece, and it really tasted funny, almost coconut-sweety, but i decided to proceed. The dish came out pretty well; chicken, mushrooms (i used fresh oysters) and braising liquid (contained oyster sauce, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger and scallions) were very tasty, but i still was not thrilled by those sausages. The dish is really worth trying again, but what's with sausages? Should i try some other brand? My store carries about ten of different kinds.
  7. Does anyone know of a place in Manhattan whereby one can pick up fresh uncooked sausages? I'm looking for garlic-heavy pork sausages in particular. Italian or Spanish style if possible. thx, SA
  8. I'm not easily alarmed, but I do know that the word "botulism" comes from the Latin for "sausage." So I'm looking at a sausage recipe (for an upcoming column, so I don't want to give away the whole story, but it contains rice) that calls for the stuffed links to be hung at room temperature for five days to give them a nice fermented tang. No curing salts are called for. How risky is this? Would curing salts make it safer? If so, would the curing salts change the flavor a lot? I'm looking for a lot of lactic acid production and not a lot of botulinum toxin production.
  9. He invented it, so he gets to name it. +++ Be sure to check The Daily Gullet home page daily for new articles (most every weekday), hot topics, site announcements, and more.
  10. I grew up eating Italian Sausages, usually home-made ones made by my Italian grandmother or her neighbor. These were wonderful sausages filled with fennel seeds, garlic and other spices and the ones my mom bought from the store tasted similar (though not quite as good! ) I just found Italian sausages for the first time in Japan and as I was looking through various cookbooks on ways to cook them I noticed they all specified sausages with out any spices added. Quite surprised I ran to my freezer to look at my sausages and sure enough no fennel seeds, no garlic, nothing! How can you make sausage without fennel seeds? Is this just some regional differences in Italian sausages? What happened to the fennel?
  11. I have made a few trips to Lancaster, Pa and done the Amish country tourist thing. Among the memorable experiences was a Saturday morning visit to the Central Market in the center of Lancaster. Several vendors there sell cold cut type meats, but what pleased me most were some smoky sausage-type links, tasting a little like pepperoni, but a little softer and much smokier. These links are about 3/4 inch in diameter, and about 4 inches long. They are tied together. They are ready to eat, no cooking. I often dream about these little tasty links, but I live in NJ, and Lancaster is a long ride. Can anyone better identify these links for me, and is there a place maybe in Philly, or anybody in the Amish country that will mail order? (I did not see them at the Reading Market). Thanks very much.
  12. Okay, I know this is normaly done in a broiler.... However I was wondering if anyone has any tips to getting the bacon crisp using a flattop grill. I have been just rolling them around for a minute or two but that seems like the least efficient way possible. Would it be possible to parcook the bacon just short of crisp or something along those lines? Any suggestions would be welcomed.
  13. I just finished curing my first lomo, and all looks/smells/tastes great except a couple sections inside the lomo that could be black mold? I kept the exterior clean from mold (I had mostly white and some green pop up during curing, but wiped with vinegar to keep clean). This picture shows one of those spots closer to the edge in the fat, but there was a second near the middle of the loin that I cutout already. Unless I find more substantial sections, I think I'm good just cutting away those parts, but would love second opinions.. Thanks.
  14. Coppa is a classic italian delicacy of matured cured meat. Not as widely known as prosciutto and, in my opinion, not justifiably. The curing time takes weeks, as it should for a well matured and multilayered flavour. Good things come to those who wait, but while you do, why not treat yourself to a quick fix of cooked coppa? Here is what I do: Salt the meat in 2% dry rub (nitrate salt and regular salt 50/50) in a vacuum bag for 5 days; Rub dry herbs and spices (whatever comes to mind). The meat will be sticky, so it's easy; Cook on rack above a tray in the oven on fan setting at 80 celcius to internal temperature 67 celsius. This will take a couple of hours. When internal temperature reaches 60 -ish I add some boiling water in the tray to speed up the heat delivery; Cool in the fridge overnight; Enjoy. This is a seriously moreish ham.
  15. I'm looking for guanciale, preferably in the Sonoma County area but am willing to travel a bit or order online if necessary. Any ideas?
  16. I made a quick chicken confit this Sunday. Here is an idea of the recipe: curing chicken thighs for an hour or so straight in the baking dish that holds thighs snugly; baking them covered in 325F for an hour skin down; baking them covered in 325F for an hour skin up; roasting them in 450F for 20 minutes or so skin up until skin is browned and crackling. The end result is divine. Now here is my question about this thing that is left after confiting. There is a layer of fat and whatever other pan juices. It's really a pity to throw this away. But how can i use this stuff? Thank you.
  17. The middle child has been yammering all summer for "brisket like we used to get in Texas." I don't have a smoker, but I've got a reasonably-sized (~ 22" x 36") grill. I'm pretty accomplished at ribs and chicken and the usual stuff, but I've never done a big hunk of meat on the grill, and I've never cooked fresh brisket in any form. Make my little girl happy and pass along some tips--I know there's some heavy smokers out there.
  18. 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 >>
  19. Short of purchasing a professional deli slicer for several hundred dollars, devoting half your kitchen counter space to it, and spending an hour cleaning its parts after each use, what options are there for cutting deli meats super-thin? Even with my best knives, I can't do it. Can a sushi chef do it? Is it even possible to do this without a rapidly spinning blade? Is there some cheap device I don't know about that accomplishes the task with aplomb, or even without aplomb? Of course you can get things sliced when you purchase them, but in my experience they degrade rapidly once sliced. So I'd love to be able to do it to order at home.
  20. As my man is out this weekend, i'm free to continue with my cooking experiments. I failed miserably on gnocchi (my first time ever, but this is another story), but i succeeded to confit two things: chicken gizzards and mushrooms. Gizzards confit recipe was from Loomis' French Farmhouse Cookbook, but i used olive oil (where can i get 3 pounds of pork fat anyway). Mushroom confit was by Emeril; i used shiitakes and creminis. I can report success on both tries, and i definitely like the technique. Anything is left there to confit beyond obvious poultry? (i did salmon and tuna before). thank you.
  21. Sausage Diary, Day 24, 11/22/2002 I’ve now had three weeks to think back on my kielbasa project and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, my local friends were all really pleased with the outcome as well as my grandparents and the recipients on the East coast. If it wasn’t for the fact I’m moving this weekend (don’t worry Pac NW folks, just to another part of Seattle) I would have already have done another batch or two. But don’t worry, more sausage and my new smoker is eventually on the way. So this diary entry basically summarizes the results of the first batch of kielbasa. First will be my thoughts then I'll follow them with a professional's opinion. I felt that the unsmoked kielbasa’s flavor wasn’t strong enough and this feeling applies to the smoked links as well since the smokiness was the most predominant flavor even with the second batch and soaking the first batch. Now for a comparison: a week later all of my cased sausage was gone (this is a good thing) so I purchased some commercial “smoked” kielbasa for some red beans and rice. If the package didn’t say smoked I never would have guessed, but this is a national brand that is produced and distributed on a national level and I’m sure they comply with whatever regulations stipulate the minimum amount of smoking to be declared “smoked.” Anyway, the biggest difference I could detect aside from the smokiness is the strength of pepper. My kielbasa was definitely under peppered; I credit jhlurie for noticing this on his own. And of course, I thought that my kielbasa could use at least 50% more garlic and will probably use 100% more garlic in the next batch. Hopefully I can overshoot! As for the rest of the sausage, I thought the texture of the ground meat was perfect though the first batch’s casing/skin was too tough. But the tough and wrinkled skin was due to smoking that batch too long, resulting in the pork fat rendering out and leaving too much casing. I was quite happy with the mouthfeel of my kielbasa and am quite proud of how smooth it was. But forget the amateur’s opinion, my Grandfather received some of my kielbasa and my Grandmother prepared it, both of whom used to make kielbasa back in the day. Here’s his response: Not only that, my Mother and I have been talking about the kielbasa as well: As she has always told me, the kielbasa was basically pork , beef and garlic, but here’s her most recent email regarding the kielbasa: Great, NOW she tells me. (sssh! she’s reading this, don’t tell her!!!) So in summary, I had a tasty product but a product that wasn’t exactly kielbasa. I still have at least 2lbs of uncased kielbasa sitting in my freezer and (hopefully) the week after Thanksgiving I’ll start on my second batch of sausage and I’ll make an attempt on round 2 of the kielbasa chronicles as well as take a stab at a whole new sausage paradigm which is at this point Italian sausage. Oh, I really don’t have any new pictures but I thought I’d at least show you where I’ve been writing all of these journals: That and this picture taken less than 15 minutes from where my parents live in Upper Michigan, an area that is serious about it’s deer hunting: FYI the new deer hunting season is about to start! << Previous Installment edited for content, basically somebody didn't like the fact I was drinking Black Velvet so it's been replaced with Rum and Crangerine.
  22. I LOVE BACON Im cooking bacon right now actually...how do you all cook it - do you flip it, cook until crispy or not...etc... I cook my bacon in a non stick fry pan ( all-clad) and flip often on medium heat until almost crispy - I make sure that the fat, however, has gotten brown...
  23. Where do I find really really thick disposable paper towels? Unless someone knows a better way to do this.... I cook bacon in the microwave. I put 7 double-ply paper towels on top and bottom of the bacon and sandwich it in between 2 plates and nooook it for 3 to 4.5 minutes depending on the bacon's thickness. The point of this is to get rid of as much fat as possible. I know, I know, what a waste, the taste leaves something to be desired, but it's ok (especially using gourmet brands) and healthy, or healthier than the alternative. But I spend almost as much on paper towels as I do on the bacon!
  24. Wilfrid


    One taste which does vary hugely between cultures is what kind of bacon to eat, how to cook it and how to eat it. I was raised in England on medium thick rashers of bacon, fried only until just cooked through and still tender, with just a slight crunch to the outer strip of fat, or rind. I am vague on the correct terminology (and I am sure others here can fill me in), but we rarely ate what we called "streaky bacon" - the thin rashers with several strips of fat. In the States, of course, this is the most popular kind - as far as I can see - cooked absolutely crisp. I have been instructed that the correct way to eat this is to drop your utensils and use your fingers. Thick cut, meaty bacon can be found in New York. The excellent butchers on the Ninth Avenue food strip always have it, as does the considerably pricier French Butcher on Third. In a desperate pinch, I have sometimes bought a chunk of pancetta and cut makeshift rashers myself. So, lots of options: meaty, fatty, soft or crisp, smoked or unsmoked. I am scratching the surface here. Do people have strong views - I am particularly interested to know if crisp-bacon-eaters find the tender stuff aversive? I prefer tender, but will eat both.
  25. Is this french sausage available in US? Or can be substituted by some other sausage?
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