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 »
That is my favorite food place to be – nestled between Italian slow food and deep Southern soul food. This cured belly was an attempt at a way to cure something country ham-like in a shorter period and it was not until I told someone about it did I realize that I had essentially made pancetta, only smoking it and using a modified cure. It was somewhere between country ham and pancetta with a smidge of lardo. Continue reading »
Keep it simple. It is the rule that I have the hardest time following. It is not that I have not been trying, I have been trying hard, but the need to tinker is often times the cause of some of the “lessons”. Not just in the kitchen either. Trying to squeeze every last thing into a weekend or an errand run or trying to fancy up my running music mixes drives me nuts. I am learning though. Through odd channels I am learning. Less is more. Keep it simple, but simple is not easy.
Through Allie Levitt’s shortbread cookies and Mark Mendez’s suckling pig, I am reminded that my favorite foods are not dazzlingly manipulated works of art, but rather ingredients expertly prepared and transformed into something that simply could not be made better through tinkering. Thinking about that idea and ideal flashed as I tasted this lardo for the first time and realized that this was not something radically manipulated, but rather guided to readiness with patience and care (do not mistake me for the great cooks that Allie and Mark are, but the fatback that I started with was so beautiful). I did not do anything radical to make this delicious, but it started that way and I just walked alongside as it got there. Continue reading »
It has been a long while since going all out in a meat festival. Over two years since hosting a bacon-tasting, a few of us have entered into a sacred ham sharing arrangement. It only makes sense. Country ham is the king of cured meats. Bacon is delicious, prosciutto and serrano are delicious, but country ham is like the best of both worlds. The only issue with country ham is how in the hell do you choose where to get yours – if you even have room to store an entire ham. The solution is easy. Find other ham lovers and diversify your ham portfolio. Make a Franken-ham. Continue reading »
With country ham epicness ahead, I wanted to use the last of the Benton’s Country Ham gifted so generously by Mr. Schleifer (remember, the connoisseur of anchovies, country ham, and laksa?) before that whole business started. It is those kind of thoughts that often get me into trouble. I want to use random, free small bits, so I go out of my way for days to find supplies to “use it up”. This was no different. I was paging through Momofuku and saw that Chang uses country ham in place of Yunanese ham while making XO sauce. After reading the recipe and description of XO sauce, despite never having it, I knew that I was going to make it. Continue reading »
Charucterie making is a hobby best undertaken by ravenous eaters or restaurants. Making small quantities of these things is often not worth the time or money. Despite fat and salt being easily frozen and preservation not being a major issue since, well, most of charcuterie was started as means to preserve meat for times far from slaughter, there are not many ways to incorporate the amount of charcuterie required for making it to be both time and cost effective that would not lead you to an early grave. However, a guy likes what a guy likes – and I like curing meat. Continue reading »