Huitlacoche & Smoked Corn Pate

We moved out of the city almost a year and a half ago. It seems like ages ago, but really has not been. However, what we found in the burbs from a dining perspective can be described most nicely as “limited”. Coming from Chicago, where we could stumble down the street for any number of great things to eat and having dozens of great places to deliver food to us, it was a shock. Since moving, we’ve adjusted. We have bought a second car. My garden has grown exponentially. But, some adjustments will never be made. We usually travel into the city to eat out and go in to do so as frequently as we went out when we lived in the city. Continue reading

Duck and Black Trumpet Salumi

Duck is delicious. It has a rich and complex flavor. It should make great sausage. However, I have made duck sausages multiple times and never once liked them. Every time, the classic flavors I paired with them taste too sweet – maybe they are classics because their sweetness balance the richness of the duck, but either way, they are not suitable as sausage flavors. When I happened upon a stewing duck at a farmer’s market, I grabbed it and stuffed in the freezer. Continue reading

Schwartenwurst

What, you have never heard of Schwartenwurst (formerly hautwurst, see below)? Do not worry a bit because it is made up. With football season upon us, I wanted to make a batch of bratwurst, but make the standard recipe a little more “mine”

The start of this sausage is a basic bratwurst recipe, but adds an addition is ground bacon rind. The rind has gone through the curing process and then was smoked. Finally it was boiled until it softened and then was ground into the sausage mixture. The skin would bring flavor, but also, the texture and juiciness would be improved with the addition of pork skin. Continue reading

Alkaline Noodles

After returning from a week in Japan, I have stayed away from ramen. We had it daily and I was spoiled by the quality. While the broth is what I base my judgements on (I am a rookie and Gaijin), as we ate ramen on a lunchly basis, I began to notice how noodles could easily be more obsessed than the broth. We saw different shapes, doneness and texture at each shop. When I look at even the best places to get ramen in the Chicago area, the noodles are less than great generally. Sun Noodle is the best I have had here. When I went back to read Lucky Peach #1, their issue on ramen, I noticed a recipe to make your own noodles using baked baking soda. Continue reading

Worcestershire Sauce

Making condiments at home is tricky. Hot sauce, barbecue sauce, vinegar – all can be done better at home with a little tinkering. Ketchup – a total disaster in flavor, cost and mess. Mustard – somewhere in the middle. I had been using a ton of Worchestershire sauce lately and thought making it at home would be worth a try. Continue reading

Barbecue in Brioche

Labor Day has come and gone. Whites are in the closet, but I refuse to put away the smoker. BBQ is a twelve month season, but, as I tend to do, I filled the smoker with ribs and an entire leg of goat to make sure I took advantage of the bag of coal and chunks of wood. This left us with a meal of ribs (and then some) and about seven pounds of smokey, rich goat. As I put all of the goat in the fridge, I was forced to stack  some random fridge goods a top a bag of the goat. When I checked in the next day, all of the gelatin and collagen had then the pulled goat leg like a terrine, but in nearly sausage-ish form. Continue reading

Smoked Beef Tongue

“Italian Beef” Tongue

With a large and growing cookbook collection, I get asked by friends who may not have the same cookbook issues, “How do you choose which book to cook from – much less what to cook from the book you choose?” This has to be a common question. My answer – I will grab a book based on what I have at home or based on what the season is. Sometimes, I will see something online which will push me to get back into a book. When I do find a book, the driving force behind picking a recipe is almost always a new technique or ingredient I want to try. In this case, there was a technique which included boiling beef tongue after smoking it. I was skeptical. Won’t you boil off any smoke flavors? Wouldn’t the other way be better? I had to try it for myself. Continue reading

Bison Liver Gogigui

As noted in a recent post discussing supplementing andouille with lamb’s heart, I happened upon a treasure trove of odd bits while walking through a Wisconsin farmer’s market. In addition to the lamb hearts, I found a pound of bison liver for a dollar. I had no idea what to expect. I figured it would be similar to beef liver and I was concerned with what the animal ate while it is was upright. I had an idea of the answer when I saw the prices of the more desirable cuts, but the grass-fed provenance was confirmed by the farmer, so I picked up the pound. Continue reading

Umeboshi

Clockwise from top left: Honey umeboshi from Tokyo, my homemade umeboshi ready to age, Small umeboshi from Kyoto

In early 2013, I picked up a dozen umeboshi for a princely sum to make a batch of pickled cherry blossoms. As i sat in my seat on my flight to Japan, I earmarked umeboshi to bring home. The salted plums are pretty amazing little bombs of flavor. At Nishiki Market in Kyoto, I was on the lookout for umeboshi to bring back to Tokyo then Chicago. We arrived at the tail end of ume season, butas I chowed on takoyaki, my partner saw a vendor who was still selling green ume. Continue reading

Lamb Heart Andouille

A fifteen minute walk through a small-town Wisconsin farmer’s market yielded some of the finest variety meats I have had in some time for prices so low I could not fathom how there was so much to buy. In a state where offal is less flashily portrayed and truly ends up on your grandma’s dinner table rather than on a contrived dish using her as a prop, I was surprised to see offal from seemingly pristinely raised animals being ignored. Even so, there was an old man in traditional Amish garb selling what appeared to be some great lamb. I asked about offal and he brought out what he had. For a couple dollars (literally), I bought every last lamb heart the guy had with him. Then some ground lamb as well to make it worth his while. Continue reading

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