Pickles go fast in our house – like “a jar in a weekend” quick. The brine usually goes into BBQ sauce or a vinaigrette, but in an deliberate effort to try new things, I brined chicken parts in pickle brine. This isn’t some audacious new idea. Google has a pickle brine chicken hit from nearly every major food publication. A well-talked about short-lived menu item at a not-so-talked about Chicago tavern (The Monarch) was Dill Pickle wings. Continue reading
A few years ago, I made a dry-cured, long aged lamb ham. Results were mixed. It was delicious, but a little dry. My opinion is lamb ham, which has gotten a big press push this Easter season, suffers from a lack of rind. It dries a little more quickly than I’d like and works better aging in humid atmosphere. Once I took down the smokehouse for the Spring/Summer season, my hot smoker was back up and running, and waiting to be used. Thinking about what to make for the first hot-smoke of the season, I thought a city ham would be simple choice, but with the pure mass on a pork leg created a reluctance which pushed me to a city lamb ham, city hamb.
The phenomenon of being bombarded with packaged, mass-produced junk food likely is not limited to those of us parenting, but it sure seems like I am fighting to push back chicken nuggets, fish sticks, yogurt in capri-sun type packaging and capri sun a lot more now than five years ago. You can program yourself to believe these things are bad, it is likely better for you if you do and it is most definitely bad for you. However, if you watch a kid devour chicken nuggets with comparatively ten times the vigor that they do roasted chicken legs, it is hard to deny their appeal. Continue reading
Everyone is on year three of bacon fatigue. I mean, if someone is wrapping pepperoni pizza in bacon, and not pepperoni or better yet, nothing, we are not in good times. With that in mind, when you read “Corned Beef Bacon” in your mind, or if you read aloud to yourself, please read it is as “CORNED BEEF bacon” and not “corned beef BACON”.
No matter how you say it, while evaluating St. Patrick’s Day dinner at our house, I lamented having to cook, and eat, boiled meat. Realizing corned beef IS boiled meat, I frankly wanted corned beef and cabbage to happen without boiling. Continue reading
Around 8 PM on New Year’s Eve, we were in the midst of the second course of our annual lower-case-b bacchanalia at The Butcher and Larder. A cast iron skillet was piled high with pig’s tails and another with Beef Tendon ‘Duk Bokki’ – a take on the Korean rice/fish cake dish, but in this case topped with beef tendon. With hours to spare in the year, I was eating something which could qualify as the best thing I ate in Chicagoland in 2014. Continue reading
With the February temperatures dropping below zero, I changed the cold smoking set-up to be a Lil’ Smokey Joe grill in the cinder block smokehouse with a shelving unit beside it. After trying to simply pipe smoke into a frigid smokehouse, I was getting nowhere. Even with a grill in the smokehouse, the temperatures reached 80 degrees only once over a two week smoking period. Even with putting the heat in smokehouse, the temperatures were a little low for smoking a country ham, but perfect for smoking food which would liquify at warmer temps.
I had spent a late evening paging through the most recent Noma cookbook (the journal was a fascinating addition to the cookbook, seriously) when I read a recipe for smoked marrow fudge. With temps where they have been, smoked marrow was an achievable project. Continue reading
There comes a time in your life when Valentine’s Day might happen on February 1, February 28 or even May 5. For us, it was February 21. And yes, I realize the following:
- Valentine’s Day is a greeting card profit-center
- Not everyone currently participating in a relationship participates in Valentine’s Day
- Not everyone, maybe not anyone, regardless of relationship status cares.
Yet, there I was preparing our Valentine’s Day meal, as one of our few remaining traditions dating back to, well, dating and I was doing so a week late and trying, and failing, to be judicious about not going to excess.
Spending time in airports lately, I have been thinking back to our trip to Japan. After an hour waiting for a plane, the thoughts invariably go to the ramen we had. One of things that has been eating away at me is how the use of aroma oil, whether is be the black and bitter māyu or the light scallion oil, most places we visited had house oil which along with the tare would create bowls unique to their makers. The oil also works to keep the bowl near a boil. Continue reading
‘Ndouille has been percolating in my head for a few years. Andouille in the form of ‘nduja. Smoky, spicy and spreadable. When it came time to put the idea into action, it did not work. It was smoky, spicy and spreadable. I could check off the boxes and it was not bad. It just was not good, either. It was not great and it was not a so bad as to require tossing. It was in the terrible, awful, no good middle ground. In addition to middling sausage, an outdoor guest was brave enough to take a bite out of all but one of the chubs left to hang in the garage for three months. Continue reading
By now, many people who have at least a half dozen bookmarks devoted to food websites on their browser are at least casually aware of David Chang and his Lucky Peach quarterly magazine. Recently, Lucky Peach added an online presence leading with a nice feature on the regional ramen which was featured in Issue 1, but has been otherwise unavailable. I have been tinkering with ramen throughout the winter, but I had just traded emails with one of my favorite stateside ramen cooks when I read the bit on tsukemen in the regional ramen piece. Continue reading