Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Dog Preparation

De-boning beef short ribs
I bought my short ribs from my favorite, local USDA butcher.  They use their own farm-raised cattle so no hormones or antibiotics.  Indeed, their place is very pastoral in the summer with the cattle grazing and lazing through the summer days in the meadow in front of their business.  I'm very proud that I saved myself $3/pound by buying the bone-in short ribs instead of the de-boned ribs.  Also, I needed the butchery practice.  I love practicing butchery which I have learned only from books and  It does intrigue me and although I'm not professional, I think I do an okay job.  I'd love to be an apprentice to a professional but between teaching and everything else, I don't think that will be happening any time soon....  Unfortunately, my knife sharpening skills are really atrocious, so much so that I need to use a knife sharpener.   But I do know what sharp is and I cannot work without sharp.  Maybe if I butchered more often....  Anyway, it was really easy taking the bone out.

So, I put the meat through the small grind and added my water and salts just like Ruhlman and Polcyn told me to do.  Now it's in the refrigerator, busy "...develop[ing] the myosin protein that helps give the hot dog a good bind and a good bite."  Go myosin, go!  Tomorrow or Saturday, I'll add the rest of the ingredients and make hot dogs!  It should be interesting....

I hadn't intended to make Ruhlman and Polcyn's hot dogs, but given the scant directions for making a good Sw√§bische Rote Wurst, I decided to learn from the Charcutepalooza heroes before embarking on more ambitious endeavors.  I cannot wait!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I know, I know, my photo abilities are limited, as is my camera, but that is a 10" x 15" tiramisu.  And yes it sits on the ugly, vinyl tablecloth that is used for all messy activities.  But it's good and the size is perfect for the occasion.  Like the shape?  My friend, Fred, who is also the local Democratic Committee vice-chair, owner of fifty head of Scottish Highland Cattle, and mechanic par excellence, made me a stainless steel 10" x 15" mold for this cake because I had to make five of them for a wedding. 

I've made many, many different recipes for tiramisu but this one is the best.  Simple pure flavors.  From Nick Malgieri to Franco Galli, I have tried many recipes and in the end, I think I've put together ideas that really don't make my tiramisu unique, but it sure tastes good!  I used to make it all the time at Papa Byrd's Bistro and everyone loved it.  That's why I was asked to do it as (multiple) wedding cakes.

I use Malgieri's Pan di Spagna made, of course, with farm fresh eggs.  I brush the cake with a coffee/brandy sugar syrup, then top it with Green and Black's Organic Cocoa Powder.  Then I layer it with a mixed filling of zabaglione (classic, with eggs, Marsala, and sugar), whipped cream, and marscapone cheese, followed by more cake with coffee syrup/powdered cocoa, and more filling, until I have three filling layers.  I finish with a somewhat heavy topping of the cocoa powder.  It's simple and easy and I think that is what makes it taste so good.

If there are any secrets, well, it must be the quality of the ingredients.  I didn't make up the recipe, I just learned from the best!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Charcutepalooza Throughout The Year

Moroccan smoked pork loin with beluga lentil vinaigrette
We were not able to eat all the smoked pork loin at once so I cut the rest into two-person portions so that just the two of us could have a quick and easy dinner some summer night.  Although summer has barely arrived here in the northwest, I did need that quick and easy dinner so I took some of the Moroccan smoked pork loin out of the freezer, defrosted it, and later gently warmed it in the oven, covered with foil and a few drops of water to kind of steam warm it.  I served it with beluga lentils with a bit of mirepoix in a Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette.  It was delicious!  The sweet tanginess of the vinaigrette married well with the smokey spiciness of the meat.  Yummy!  Charcutepalooza all year long!  And to think that I made it myself...well...with the inspiration of many other Charcutepalooza fans.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Japanese Peanut Butter

Yes, that's my empty jar of Japanese Peanut Butter.  Well, I haven't cleaned it out completely, but I will. Isn't it sad?  I can't find it anywhere.  Not even in Seattle!  Not even at Uwajimaya.  So I'm posting this in the hopes that someone can tell me where to find more.  Below is the front of the jar:

Followed by a list of ingredients (I think):

Where oh where do I find this delicious peanut butter????

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bangers And Mash

Bangers and Mash

Well, it wasn't just any sausage, it was my garlic sausage.   And, of course, I also changed the mashed potatoes by adding a bit of parsnips.  For sweetness.  And, I'm addicted to mashed potatoes and parsnips.  Finding a British beer in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, was nothing short of a miracle.  Bass.  At Safeway.  Wonders will never cease.  So began my multiple usages of stuffed sausage.

Given my weakness for sausage,  my first four different sausages didn't make a dent in my freezer so I decided to go for even more.  Top left is Charcuterie's Smoked Andouille recipe.  Below is Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Merguez Sausage.  On the right, both coiled and in links, is Charcuterie's Venison Sausage.  I feel like I'm on a sausage mission, trying more and more kinds of sausage-making, but maybe I'm just filling a junk food addition.  Be that as it may, as long as I had extra minutes in the day, a love of sausage loomed overhead.

At first I wasn't crazy about the Andouille, so I used and froze it without smoking it.  I figured I could smoke some of it, if I wanted, after defrosting....  I may be completely wrong but I had no choice because life is like that....  I didn't think it had enough pepper a first, but after freezing and then defrosting a few links, I changed my mind and really liked the flavor. Andouille Sausage is really good whether smoked or not, and it lends itself to many different dishes.  I used it in a risotto and it turned out very well.  I also made a cream sauce with peppers, onions, and zucchini and served it over egg noodles, as shown above.  Now I think that smoking it would really bring out the flavor even more.

Garlic sausage and peppers

So, every summer I look forward to the County Fair in late August (and yes, that is way too early).  I often enter some of my canned goods and have won a number of blue ribbons.  But what I really look forward to is the food booth from Coeur d'Alene because they serve coils and coils of homemade Italian sausage.  I can smell the sausage and pepper, onion, garlic, and oregano mix on the grill before I even see the booth.  The server cuts a long chunk of the coil, sticks it into an oversized sausage roll, covers it with the pepper mixture, puts it onto some serving paper, and hands it to you.  And, in a truly disgusting fashion, I also put yellow mustard on top - it must be some childhood thing.  Occasionally, throughout the year, I try to emulate the flavor, and although I didn't add the disgusting yellow mustard to the above sandwich, it came close to county fair memories.

I've used my sausages in a number of ways.  For dinner one night my husband and I had rigatoni with chicken sausage and peppers in cream sauce again.  I love how the cream absorbs the flavors of the peppers and sausage as well as the changing herbs that I add.  To me, it's comfort food.  I also made a risotto with my chicken sausage removed from the casings and I added some cut up broccoli.  That was delicious!  The hint of tomato from the sausage blended well with the broccoli, onions, and garlic.  My own chicken stock just added more flavor.

I haven't had the venison sausage yet.  I'm thinking I'll like it more in winter....  However, once those root vegetables come up in the fall, I may be tempted to serve them with venison sausage.  Hmm, what kind of beer would go well with venison sausage?  Maybe on a gusty, windy fall day, red wine would match the sausage better.  So many choices!  And tomorrow, a new Charcutepalooza challenge!  I'm ready!