A friend’s family has what I understand to be a long-standing annual sausage making appointment on their calendar. While our family has its own traditions I love and appreciate, I can barely help but be jealous of the family sausage party. Making sausage is a process which has not changed much over time and continuing to do it the same way year-in and year-out would seemingly be a great way to connect with older relatives. When he smoked some of the excess Mexican chorizo they made, I was curious why Spanish chorizo was traditionally smoked while smoked Mexican chorizo was completely new to me, so I made some for myself (and the family). Continue reading
After the shio koji finished fermenting, I had a few ideas on how to use it. The initial idea was sausages. I was going around and around trying to find a way to make a sausage with enough simplicity to taste the shio koji which still being interesting enough to want to eat. After filtering through ideas, this sausage was based in the skewered chicken eaten while in Japan. Continue reading
After a recent trip to Madison for a visit to the Dane County Farmer’s Market, I have been longing for food from my home state. We sat across from the market at the Old Fashioned sharing cheese curds and Lazy Susan #6 filled with smoked trout, salami, herring, Merkts and other meats. It reminds me how well made food doesn’t need to be fancy. There does not need to be a handmade label with “artisanal” scrawled on it. Continue reading
In most cases when one wonders why something does not exist there is a reason – usually surrounding feasibility. However, I like to tinker and try. I like to extrapolate and interpolate. When looking at a photo of a pork pie, I wondered why there are not actual pork pies or tarts, open-faced like pumpkin or apple pies. To me, a pâté en croûte is a fancy pork pie and a little too crust forward. I wanted something a little lighter. I was going to find out if a pork tart was possible by trying to make one. Continue reading
Ramp season is upon us and with it comes the sometime over-the-top ramp fervor and almost always over the top ramp prices. Luckily I accidentally ran into a ramp patch. I mean, I literally ran into a patch of ramps by accident while trail running. This pushed me to go running later that week carrying a hand shovel and backpack and also led me to bringing home a little over a pound of ramps. Continue reading
In round two of turning venison scrap from my father into something more edible, I made a dangerous choice – a sausage of great familiarity. Summer Sausage. It is easy to cook without context when the only question is “Does it taste good?” I guess easy is relative, because it seems easy in comparison to when you are cooking something familiar and add “Does it taste right?” to “Does it taste good?” Venison summer sausage is, when combined with Ritz crackers and cheese, the most popular pre-dinner, post-lunch food in Wisconsin. When given venison scrap, how could i have ignored the opportunity to stock the pre-dinner, post-lunch larder for the year, or more likely, the remainder of April?
I am a sucker for the milky, porky tonkotsu ramen broth which is super-charged with porcine collagen. It is one of the few opportunities one gets to drink gravy without being scapegoated, and let’s be honest tonkotsu broth and gravy are not terribly different when either are done well. You could understand my surprise when, upon trying both tonkotsu and shoyu ramen at a new local shop, I favored the shoyu. Had I overlooked shoyu ramen just because it was not the John Bonham of broths that tonkotsu is? Continue reading
Missing my Irish breakfast on or around St. Patrick’s day was a mistake. Diverting from my daily oatmeal for a plate full of sausages, rashers, and eggs requires a good excuse and St. Patrick’s day is a great excuse. I had even acquired a bit of black pudding from the Butcher and Larder for this very purpose. I missed my chance for a full breakfast and I can own that, but I still had the blood sausage and a hankering for a fry up.
Remember when pork belly was an off cut? Those days are gone. Long gone. While it is good for butchers and good for hog farmers (and really good for diners) how the belly and other former off cuts have moved closer to the mainstream, it is not so great for home bacon makers. However, our local market purchased a few acorn-fed Tamworth hogs and while the chops and ribs flew off the shelf, the belly was not even put out for sale. Moving to the burbs means living in the safe-zone much of the time, food wise, and the belly has yet to reach full market saturation here. When I asked if they had the bellies from the hog, they commented “yes” and “what are going to do with them?”. I mentioned bacon making and it got their attention enough to wrap a big belly and give me a price that I had a hard time believing. Continue reading
It is the time of year where I remind myself by reminding you how this is not a recipe blog. The most noteworthy thing about our dinners is how positively uninteresting they are. Protein, green vegetable, non-green vegetable, and pickles/condiments. This year, the annual reminder that I am not an interesting recipe provider comes after tinkering with our weekly roasted chicken.
Time after time, I noticed the copious schmaltz at the bottom of our cast iron pan after roasting the chicken and wondered how to best keep the fat with the chicken. It is incredibly tasty but, while it is useful when reserved and reused, why not use it to make the bird better, so I stuffed absorbent pumpernickel crumbs under the skin. Continue reading