Thursday, May 28, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Just realized recently that there is a sausage debauchery sans sausage. So, in honor of the upcoming holiday that is typically synonymous with grilling......we have sausage! Nothing really exciting. This sausage is 80% lean pork butt, 20% back fat. Flavored with Pecorino Romano, fresh parsley, crushed coriander seeds and black pepper, some fresh garlic, salt and white wine. My first opportunity to work with casings from Butcher/Packer. While they are expensive, you can actually feel the quality being so much better than the rubbish purchased in the grocery store. Still managed to pop a link. Fried up a small piece, great flavor. Gonna grill me up a boatload this weekend.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Bought a smoker last week. Purchased exclusively to make bacon, a I've had several requests to make some. But, life outside my little Italian box is verrrrry frightening. I've never smoked anything before, so, I went for an economical version in the case that I just had no patience for it, or I just plain old sucked at it. Anyway, the picture is bacon #1. It is a loose interpretation of Alton Brown's hot pepper brine. I added pink salt and extra hot pepper. It brined for 4 days, instead of the recommended 3. As for the smoking.......I think I need a little more experience, unless this sub $30 smoker is just a bit hard to get down. The smoke would stop every 20-30 minutes when the wood chunks would ignite. I would douse them with water to get the smoke going again, this was the dance for over 2 hours, running out every 10 minutes, to either add more wet wood or douse with water. There has to be an easier way. So, this slab was smoked to waaaaay over 150 degrees, closer to 170. I left the smoker for 15 minutes, when I returned there was no smoke, but flames shooting out the sides. I removed it, cooled it overnight and sliced and ate some this morning. It is still delicious, so, no harm, no foul. Looks like I need more work in the smoking department, good thing I have 2 more bacon slabs to smoke(the 4th way is a pancetta). A little guidance would be appreciated.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Here is the finished product from the previous guanciale post. Cured for 1 week, dried in the regular refrigerator for 3 weeks on a rack. Looks perfect, smells excellent. Fried up a piece............ outstanding. In my opinion, pancetta doesn't hold a candle to this lovely beast. Going to use some this weekend in a pasta dish with rosemary and dried apricot.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This was removed just this morning. It looks great, smells wonderfully and tastes pretty good, too(I just ate about 2 oz and had to put it away). I cured this with fresh sage, juniper, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dextrose and cure #2. It was cased in a 90mm collagen casing, then fermented for 48 hours @ 70 degrees. It was then placed in my drying chamber on 4/6. It was removed at about 39% weight loss. This was the first time I used fresh sage in a cure, and certainly not the last, it is really quite delicious. I'm not a real back patter, but, I'm going to go ahead and pat myself.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
This is a pork loin a tad over 3lbs. I went outside the box a little bit here. I used fresh oregano, fresh garlic, dried hot pepper powder from Calabria and lemon zest, along with salt, sugar, black pepper and cure #2. I have no explanation for my recent citrus zest fetish, just hope I haven't ruined a 3lb. lonzino. As you can see, it's thrown off quite a bit of liquid in just 12 hours. My real worry now is that liquid combined with the lemon zest making that liquid acidulated. If that's the case, I'll have 3lbs. of pork loin ceviche instead of lonzino. Keeping my fingers crossed that this cures correctly. I have another lonzino to be removed this week, stay tuned.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Second chance for these same recipes I previously posted. I had issues with both salami, so, I figured I should tweak them each a bit. With the oregano, cardamom, lemon zest, it was the overwhelming cardamom. So, cardamom was decreased by 2/3. Sicilian wild oregano was increased from .33% to .5% and some fresh oregano was added as well. The only change made to this recipe was the welcome find of blood oranges at the supermarket, so, I used blood orange zest in lieu of lemon zest and blood orange juice in the place of the lemon juice.
With the Porcini, sage salame my problem was with it's consistency. It never hardened the way it should have. In fact, my 60mm I made was hung on 3/23 is still hanging, while the 60mm oregano salame hung the same time was removed a week ago. That being said, the taste was so terrific it had to be made again, correctly this time. Looking over my notes, I may have accidentally omitted the dextrose last time, other than that I can't see why it would never harden. Both these salami were stuffed in 70mm collagen casings, sprayed with M-EK-4 mold culture and placed in a tupperware container with the lid closed. The tupperware was placed in the oven with the light on and door ajar where they will stay for 48 hours. The temperature fluctuates between 70-75. The porcini salame is pictured on top.
As requested the following are the ratios used for the porcini salame:
1/4 cup marsala(about 2.5lbs meat)
1/4 cup distilled water in which starter was dissolved