This is an all too common tale of things that taste good together outside of sausage casing are great when encased together. One of my absolute favorite combinations is chorizo and banana/plantain. The sweet flavors from the fruit goes so well with the deep and piquant flavors of chorizo, a vastly underrated sausage that it is terribly easy to make at home. I happened to have a few plantains on hand and, with the smoker already running, I thought to take it one step further and smoke the plantains.
There are cookbooks which you breeze through and pick things out as you flip pages quickly, never actually reading much. Then there are cookbooks where you read every word, then you read every word over again and you keep reading the book from cover to cover and accidentally forget to ever cook anything from the book despite the book overflowing with dishes that appeal on most levels. The Art of Living According to Joe Beef is the second kind. To me, it is an instant classic – mixing retro French cuisine and their own playfulness. The book exudes fun and punches pretension in the throat, but sadly I have taken only inspiration, but not any dishes. On Easter, that would change. 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 »
After nearly thirty four years of eating Japanese foods in the context of sushi and mediocre izakaya food, I had a revelatory week of Japanese dining in Chicago and Las Vegas of all places. In Chicago, a friend invited me to attend the Kyoto dinner and I was not disappointed. I had flavors and textures that I had never experienced, but I had no context. Only three days later, I took a taxi from the Las Vegas strip to Raku. We were there to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday and I had made reservatios to dine solo while the boys enjoyed a night dining on the strip. Raku was the beginning of obtaining context. Continue reading »
Shocking to most who know how close I am with my family, I have never spent Thanksgiving with my father. While we now switch back and forth between my family and L’s Oklahoma/Texas clan, my family’s Thanksgiving is an epic holiday with over 50 guests, a few state fair winning turkeys, and an amount of sweet potatoes that would floor most of the general public, but my dad, who has been married to my mother for nearly forty years has never attended. He is a hunter and the short season in Wisconsin spans over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Continue reading »
It has been a long time since I had made ice cream, but I recently came out of ice-cream-making retirement for a dinner party/book club meeting hosted by L. We had planned a breakfast for dinner theme and I wanted to finish with a stack of pancakes layered like a cake and topped with ice cream. The obvious choice would have been a quick maple ice cream, but I wanted to step left. As someone who prefers dessert than are not sugar bombs, maple ice cream was out, but what else do people put on flapjacks? Yes, butter. Continue reading »
When my parents came down to watch me run a marathon in the beginning of October, my dad brought a bag labeled “venison scrap”. When he handed it to me, he said, “I figured if anyone knew what to do with this, you would.” I was half proud and half horrified, but information that I had in my back pocket made me hopeful. The cuts valued by the people cutting the meat (my father and his cousins) are vastly different than the cuts I love, so chances were good I would get some incredibly flavorful wild venison. Continue reading »
I have never hid the fact that I am from Wisconsin. Having lived out of state for over a decade, I still consider myself 100% Sconnie. If someone asks me where I am from when I travel, the answer is Wisconsin. Being from Wisconsin means that come October, sausage becomes a staple. Let’s not kid ourselves, in Wisconsin Winter, Spring and Summer do not let sausage retreat from the limelight, but Fall is prime-time. There are many community Oktoberfests, but there are many tailgating opportunities, hunting parties, Columbus Day potlucks, Sweetest Day swap meets… The list goes on. In Fall, we make any excuse to grill up encased meats that we can. Continue reading »
Green tomatoes and country ham skin. These are things most people throw away. Hell, a few years ago, I would have thrown them away. My wife would get great pleasure from throwing these types of things in the trash, but I love taking these types of things, an unripe vegetable and the typically inedible part of a cured meat, and turning them into something delicious – together. It makes me feel creative, responsible, and utilitarian. Using the ends and fallen fruit and veg can be done a number of ways, but among my favorite is as a component of the mighty sausage. Continue reading »
Due to a peculiar series of events, I was left with an extra side of salmon early in the week. With that extra salmon on the brain, I got to idea generation. I kept coming back to curing the salmon with liquor. The only things was that I had done that a number of times. I could feel a rut coming on, but then I decide that it was time for me to try my hand and rolling sausages using cling-wrap. With a broken terrine replaced, the need to hand roll a terrine was gone, but a salmon sausage was something I wanted to explore. Continue reading »