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
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
With a large and growing cookbook collection, I get asked by friends who may not have the same cookbook issues, “How do you choose which book to cook from – much less what to cook from the book you choose?” This has to be a common question. My answer – I will grab a book based on what I have at home or based on what the season is. Sometimes, I will see something online which will push me to get back into a book. When I do find a book, the driving force behind picking a recipe is almost always a new technique or ingredient I want to try. In this case, there was a technique which included boiling beef tongue after smoking it. I was skeptical. Won’t you boil off any smoke flavors? Wouldn’t the other way be better? I had to try it for myself. Continue reading
Fourth of July means a lot of things to a lot of people. Spending most of my mid to late twenties and early thirties with a dog then kids, it rarely meant huge fireworks. In recent years, it has meant a trip to a cabin on the lake and cooking projects which seemed to be born from the idea of creating more work than needed. Some, like the bone-in brisket and BBQ porchetta di testa, were hard fought victories. Some, like burying a cow’s head in underground coals, were massive defeats. Going into this year’s vacation, I wanted cook something over wood fire and not bury anything in the sandy soil of Northern Wisconsin. Continue reading
There is flashy food travel – New York, San Francisco, Charleston, but this year I’ve been to some places that do not scream fancy. Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. I am not saying the fancy places are undeserving of their praise, but these other towns have shown me great things, food-wise, as well. On our recent trip to North Carolina, we had shrimp and grits at Crook’s Corner, chaat at Lantern, chicken biscuit (this was a revelation) at Time Out and, during a random stop at Rose’s Meats and Sweets in Durham, we bought some pastrami. Continue reading
If you read enough about food, and I read far too many things about food, certain things begin to stick in your craw. I understand you might still be thinking about your meal again. For the third week in a row your mind is blown? You notice certain writers lean on the same crutch over and over again. You notice phrases like “figured out what men crave”. Continue reading
We host a dinner party periodically which is actually just a book club to which my wife belongs. Typically those types of groups are simply drinking clubs, but this one adds food and actual books. About a week before book club, I realized my original plan of serving cassoulet had been done before. By me. Last winter. It seems as when the weather grows cold, I cook beans – large pots of beans with sausages and off cuts.
Actually I should have never been surprised. Beans and meats are fantastic and this weather has forced my hand. Only, I am not a repeater. Knowing fabada is a not-so-distant cousin to cassoulet, I figured there must be more cousins. I just needed to look. Continue reading
One of the key lessons of buying two whole cow’s heads in a two month span is each head has a tongue, so you have a few options at your disposal. First, you could leave it in its head of origin and cook it surrounded by its cranial neighbors. Or, you could embrace your inner “Game of Thrones” villain and remove the tongue for a separate application. Recently, I made beef sausages studded with tongue, but this time, I focused more on the tongue. Continue reading
Every year around the fourth of July, we head North for a good bit of time and every year I bring a prize cut of meat along with. This year I brought a huge cow’s head hoping to make barbacoa the old way, in a pit. Once I got there, I dug a big pit, lined it with stones and started a huge fire in the hole. After the fire was down to embers, I lowered a chile-slathered, banana-leaf wrapped cow’s head into the hole and pushed a load of dirt around it. Eighteen hours later, I unearthed it and it was merely warm. I tried to cook it in on a grill then in an oven. In the end, I was not convinced the head was safe to eat, so I scrapped it. Continue reading