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 »
On the grill. Everything is on the grill.
We are without an oven for an extended period, so we have adapted. It is summer, after all, so timing could be worse to be forced to cook over fire regularly, but it has taken me some time to adapt. Gone are the days of baking bread for my ladies or cooking overnight in a low oven. It is probably for the best anyway since we do not currently have counter or cabinet space to spare. 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 »
When someone has an entire ham’s worth of skin, they look for uses in every corner. One of my favorite uses for pork skin is in cotechino. At our annual New Year’s Eve dinner at The Butcher and Larder, we had a zampone with dirty lentils. I loved the traditional New Year’s dish of a trotter stuffed with cotechino and when we finally got settled, I thought a great twist on the zampone would be curing the trotter in a ham cure, stuffing it with cottechino made from ham skin and then smoking it. It was a zampone, but one letter different, a hampone. Continue reading »
We have moved. We are still in boxes, but we are in our new home. Before we left though, there were things I had to take care of. I went to some of my favorite restaurants, I ran my old running routes, and I cleaned out our fridge. In the meat drawer of our fridge sat a glass container that had been there so long I barely recognized it. A week before we left, I was reminded what it was – smelt, little fresh water fish with a small, but fervent following in Chicago. A few days before we left, I finally tried the smelt I had been salting and preserving like anchovies for over two years. Continue reading »
One bowl from my first two gallons of homemade ramen and I was hooked. It was not the best, but it was mine and it put the bug into me. Tinkering on the recipe to improve it, or in some cases make it worse, was a new “hobby”. From the order of operations to the ratio of bones to water to the time boiled, the process is set up to make it your own, but the part of the process that pleases me the most is the fabrication of the seasoning, the tare. Continue reading »
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.
Twitter again has proven to be a petri dish for ideas. I have been using this salt for four months or so when it was suggested that you might be able to cure meat using preserved lemons. I suggested one better, use the residual salt to actually do the curing. It takes the guess work out of how much to use. Continue reading »
Inspiration and ideas are great things, but without execution, they disappoint. This was an idea from a long time ago, but sloppy execution took it from the must-have-again list to the must-try-again list.
It was last fall, as I tossed a bunch of concord grapes into my brussels sprouts with lamb bacon, when the trigger was made. The concords were roasted with the sprouts and the lamb to where you could get a little bit in each bite. Despite being a huge fan of sprouts, I kept pushing them aside to get bites with only lamb and grapes. It was a combo that was unfamiliar but amazingly good. Continue reading »