A pretty wide variety of projects have been undertaken on this blog, but today’s project marks a first — dried sausage. Due to a lack of curing chamber combined with a lack of desire of botulism, I had never made it. However, after a milestone work anniversary, I picked out a wine fridge with controllable temperature with using it as a curing chamber. It only took another 2 months to make the leap and then nearly another month to dry the sausage. Continue reading
There are so many good things about having good, real butchers in town that it feels bad to complain about an aspect. The fact that my complaint is actually compliments soothes the pain, though. With a full understanding that there is only one belly on a pig, I wish that there was more of this bacon available. Continue reading
There are problems and then there are first world problems. After making three jars of pickled ramps, I had loads of ramp tops. Two Springs ago, I made sausages that, looking back on it, made no sense – they were ramp and morel sausages. I had been gifted frozen morels from Wisconsin and thought that they would make a great seasonal sausage with ramps. Now the sausages were fantastic, but with whole ramps and morels, you want to feature them a little more than hiding them in a sausage. Continue reading
It is an exciting time of year, the first ramp sighting signals the beginning of spring and the beginning of fresh, local vegetables. Wild foraged ramps are a stinky weed with a flavor like an onion and garlic crossed. They are available for around a month every spring and you see them in restaurants in nearly every corner of the menu. Continue reading
As the cliché goes, necessity is the mother of invention and as I bemoaned the lack of rye buns when I made corned beef & Guinness sausages, I finally got the courage up to not only make my own, but without a recipe, devising one myself.
While assembling dough for pork pies or pierogi, I found that I can pull off easy dough, but when it came time to make bread dough, I knew that I would working without training wheels. There would be yeast activation, cutting butter into flour, kneading, rising, etc. The words themselves give me a chill. Even after completing the buns, I can not honestly tell you that I have conquered my fears of bread baking. I haven’t. However, until I can get a good rye bun, I will be forced to make these for my bratwurst benders. Continue reading
While Carl Sandburg declared Chicago the hog butcher for the world, until recently when Butcher and Larder opened, we had not seen the whole animal butchery revival that has caught on elsewhere earlier. We had and have ethnic grocers about town, but meat from nearly every butcher came in boxes not from primals. Continue reading
Little known fact: More Poles live in Chicago than any other city in the world besides Warsaw. Hell, our public schools close for Casimir Pulaski day. With that we have a pretty good selection of Polish food. Every few months, we break from our normal rotation and grab some white borscht and pierogi.
Pierogi are Eastern European dumplings that are typically semicircular and boiled. The last time we had them, a few of the varieties were, separately, potato, farmer’s cheese, ground pork and saurkraut. As I ate the pierogi, the last two flavors made me wonder if there could be a way to make pierogi in my own way that still resembled real pierogi. Continue reading
There is plenty of time wasted each day looking at Twitter or other social media sites, but sometimes there is a big payoff. This is one of those times. Ellen Malloy, butcheress, founder of Restaurant Intelligence Agency, and font of energy, had tweeted about one of her creations that she refers to as a Canadian tradition. Rye Whiskey infused with Maple Syrup. Continue reading
Prunes get a raw deal. They are seen as utilitarian food – means to an end, and is often thought of as food for the elderly and in-firmed. However, they are an amazing dried fruit. They have a great sweetness and a slightly more complex flavor than the more popular fig or date. I have had and liked prunes in desserts, but my favorite uses have been alongside pork. Continue reading
Sometime, things just come together in strange and great ways. A few weeks ago, I started planning a trip to South Pulaski Avenue to Birrieria Zaragoza for a bunch of their Birria Tatemada. Zaragoza is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Chicago and I have been pushing visitors to fly in to nearby Midway airport instead of, nearby to us, O’Hare, but I haven’t been there for far too long. I was planning on picking up my mother-in-law at Midway Airport and doing my waiting over a steaming plate of the amazing goat stew and fresh salsa at Zaragoza, but alas her flight would arrive at O’Hare and I would be left goat-less. Continue reading