Growing up, we always had a garden and, alongside the garden, we also had an enormous mass of concord grape vines. When we were there in early October, there were pounds and pounds of concords bending the vine, so how could I resist bringing home a bunch? One of my first thoughts was making raisins with the concords, but the problem I found was the enormous number of seeds. Continue reading »
We started construction today. Better said, we started deconstruction today. This means we went from having a dysfunctional kitchen to a completely non-functional kitchen. The difference being a single gas burner which is always hot, even when not in use, is no longer at our disposal. Given the relatively limited use we were accustomed to, most of my cooking has been grilling, but when a door closes, others open. We now have a garage and, from an earlier garage project, I have nearly a gallon of magic ramp kraut juice. Like the yogurt whey used earlier this summer, kraut juice works well as a fermentation starter.
In the second of three installations of ham experiments made by hamming non-pork legs, I present mole cured goat ham. This ham was inspired by Goat Boy himself, Jonathan Zaragoza. Zaragoza helms Masa Azul on Diversey just West of California in Chicago, but has been in the goat business since he was a zygote. He is part of the Zaragoza family who runs my favorite restaurant in Chicago. While Jonathan has expanded his reach past birria, he still brings the goat from time to time and when he does, I make sure I am there. Continue reading »
For the past three Novembers, I have been bugging my father to get me a full deer to butcher. Oddly, we used to butcher deer together when I was a kid each year, but then it was him both butchering and “butchering” the deer – no care taken to cut the deer into primals – just similarly sized scraps. With the promise of giving him his choice to meats, I asked just to get a whole animal to butcher. Well, not just the butchering opportunity, I wanted a leg. I wanted to make venison ham. This year, I got a leg and I made a ham. Continue reading »
There are a ton of limitations to making charcuterie in a non-commercial kitchen. There are even more when you live in an apartment in an urban area, so when you look at projects that you want to try, but have no space to do so, you have to get a little creative. I have wanted to try making speck for some time but the thought of buying and storing another hog’s leg (who in their right mind, would do that?!?) was something that I was not quite ready to undertake. I did have a jowl. While not lean like a leg, it was just the right size and it was beautiful. Continue reading »
After a twitter rhyme regarding ham jam, I knew that I was going to try, but didn’t know when. Just before bringing last week’s country ham home, I realized that I needed to clear fridge and freezer space to make it happen. I had just a bit of some beautifully fatty country ham from Cypress left in my fridge and I had an idea of how to piece a batch of ham jam together Continue reading »
In an era when people are working endless hours trying to reduce the actual work time needed to make food and publishing books that brag about being able to complete every recipe in a time period shorter than a commercial free episode of Dora the Explorer, this project took well over a year. As a parent, I understand the draw of found time, but if this isn’t your first time reading these posts, you know my tendency to go the long way. Continue reading »
Given that we’d be out of the house a lot over the next few weeks, I thought it might make sense to make some shelf stable snacks to bring along with us. An exercise in utility turned into a little of an odd and ends charcuterie project coming from multiple points of inspiration.
First, I had no fat back, but I had slabs of cured lardo. Last year, while in Charleston, I had some salumi studded with cured lardo at Cypress. Figuring the goal here was to keep a shelf stable product, why not start with lardo that was already there? Continue reading »
One of my stated goals for 2013 is make things a little easier – make things simpler. One of the ways that I found as a good stepping off point for that goal was to use what I have in the house in creative and simple ways before going out of my way to make things more complex. Continue reading »