Thursday, December 1, 2011

A little bite of summer in the winter. . .

Curing - curing - curing - my heart!

I love curing meats. This time was the first time I have cured in my house! I was spoiled at my former job having a wine cellar. It provided the ideal 60% humidity and 55 degree environment to stash all of my experiments in. Nearly every endeavour was a success story!

This time was tricky. I am well known for my creative and cheap nature. True to form I was bouncing around this Fall and happened upon an estate sale. While my friend Julie walked with 2 awesome full sets of china I opted to rummage through the pile of "FREE STUFF." There I found a cooler that most likely had housed the same murky water since 1970. Since the vessel was already attune to aging water I thought it was lend itself nicely to aging meats! 

I pitched the 1970 vintage water and soaked it with bleach solution for about 4 days.

This cooler would be my curing house.  I inserted a jar of salt water to pick up the humidity.

While most people in this competition sought out garage spaces and hallway corridors to achieve their ideal curing conditions. I didn't need to look further then my kitchen. Yes my apartment is cooled.

  First I made the loinzino. Since Halloween was just around the corner I decided to cure a Frankenstein version of loinzino. I chose the cut of the loin with some of the neck muscle attached so that I could enjoy a a hybrid loinzino and coppa.

A generous rub down with salt and pepper then into the fridge for 48 hours.

Thankfully the inside of the cooler was perfect for makeshift shelves! Some butchers twine and scrap backer board did the trick.

A few days later I tackled my saussion sec! I was stoked!

I was decided to use a hickory salt that I smoked myself.

I am so proud!! I didn't really want to cook the sausage at all and have been eating it every day with just bread and cheese. However then it dawned on me. My recipe would be an alternative to eating a charcuterie board.

Admittedly I would love to eat seasonally and locally all year round but alas my brain developed in such an American way that allows me to think that eating a tomato cucumber and pepper salad in the winter time is acceptable.

So I have made some compromises this time around.

The Menu Tonight:

Panzenella Salad - Bread salad with house made pickled peppers and sauacisson sec in Dijon vinaigrette.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

shake your tail feather it's fall!

I love fall. The pumpkins, chanterelles, and hard cider are just some of my favorite fall time bounty. Yes hard cider counts in my “bounty” book and I even made a batch this year to boot!

Fall was part of my inspiration in this challenge, perhaps the hard cider played a part as well, it’s hard to say.

The menu tonight:

Homemade pizza with roasted chanterelles, truffle cheese, and duck confit. (Served with home made

Chicken, artichoke, olive, and feta galantine served on a risotto style toasted Israeli couscous

Oh and just for fun I’ll tell you I made a gram cracker crust “Chai” tea pumpkin pie

First to make the pizza you must make your crust. For this I turned to my other Michael Ruhlman go-to book Ratio:
20 oz bread flour
12 oz water
2 t salt
½ t instant yeast
1 oz olive oil

I mix the ingredient and rolled to my “desired thickness” then left in the dough out “beneath a kitchen towel for 10 minutes” as instructed. While I was waiting I shredded my duck confit and sautéed my chanterelles. I started them in a high heat pan once they were 50% cooked I added a couple tablespoons of minced shallot and garlic. As they approached 75% doneness I used some of my chicken stock from the galantine to glaze them up. Not entirely cooked I arranged my chanterelles, duck confit, and truffle cheese on the pizza dough. 

Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees. 

Oh and by the way I followed the duck confit recipe completely. Well actually I tossed in some extra fresh ginger and galangal root for an interesting twist to duck confit. I also had the time to grind and render fat on the range to cook the legs in. 

The galantine was fun to make! I even timed myself to see how long it took me to skin and breakdown the chicken.

I followed the instructions except I added dried dill weed and basil in place of the pate season. I also added some olive oil marinated black olives, artichoke, and feta to the mix when stuffing the bird. My only regret is that I once again did not roll tight enough to form a solid forcemeat cylinder. Shucks!

I have never cooked Israeli couscous but have always been curious. Naturally I treated it like Arborio rice (the starch of choice for risotto) something I have cooked before.
½ T butter
½ T oil
2 T garlic minced
2 T shallots minced
½ c white wine (dry)
2 c Israeli couscous
3 c (galantine) chicken stock warm
3 T parmesan finely grated
salt/pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the pot add the couscous stirring constantly. After 40 seconds add the garlic and shallot continuing to stir. I saw very little color difference in the couscous however; I continued to stir until I smelt a full toasty smell coming from the pot. At that point I added the wine and reduced it while I stirred. At the point where there was barely any liquid remaining, finally I added the chicken stock boiled the pot and reduced it to a gentle simmer until the couscous was cooked. Right before I served I stirred in the cheese, salt/pepper, and chopped fresh parsley.

I know it was not the galantine to be served hot however, being as it is fall I preferred a hot meal so that’s what I did. Which retrospectively thinking probably did not help me in my quest to achieve a solid cylindrical galantine. Well any who....

Oh and in case you have a sweet tooth like mine this is how the pie turned out!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

We gonna pate like it's 1999. . .

We gonna pate like it's 1999. . .
I’m sitting high on my horse today! I mean Pate Gratinee en Croute and Pate Campagne. I feel like a bad-ass! Well I have more then good reasons for busting out these two pates. Tonight is Kingsley’s and Julie’s dinner party!

Kingsley is my co-worker (well former now) and my comrade for the past 3 years in Seattle. I’m excited, proud, and overwhelmingly happy to announce that she will be moving forward to bigger and better kitchens in California. Julie I am equally as proud of!  She is saddling up again after this bucking-bronco of an economy threw her off. Julie is now the smartest, most beautiful and most skilled event planner for an up and coming winery I know!  

A new era and new beginnings for these ladies meant I had to channel my inner ‘Child’ – Julia Child that is. Yes 24 year olds can throw down when is comes to awesome dinner parties too.

Tonight’s Menu:

Pate Gratinee en Croute stuffed with mushroom duxelle served with lemon asparagus and fresh greens (grown outside my window) topped with Grebiche sauce.

Julie’s Organic Hen’s egg fresh pasta served with olives, the 10 tomatoes that ripened for us this season, artichoke hearts and goat cheese.

A selection of local cheeses, homemade mustard, homemade pickles and Pate Campagne.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Flavored Cream

I followed the instructions outlined by Charcuterie in making the Pate Gratinee en Croute. However, my (Julia) Child (ish) spin was to first make a mushroom duxelle. I chopped up garlic, shallot, and button mushrooms, and then cooked them over high heat. When they just started to stick to the pan, I deglazed with white wine and cream. I seasoned them up with salt and pepper and chopped up fresh parsley and put the mix in the refrigerator to cool.


After searing and resting the tenderloin, I cut it open and stuffed the mushroom mix into the center. I re-rolled the tenderloin up in some plastic wrap and cooled the whole thing in the refrigerator again.

Last night I followed the rest of the recipe word for word. Well I lie . . . instead of lining the pastry dough with ham, I used Soppressata because it sounded more delicious.

Today I blanched the asparagus, made my Grebiche Sauce, and washed my greens.

Grebiche Sauce Recipe

1 c Egg Whites, diced 
¼ c Egg Yolks, diced
3 T Shallot, minced
4 T Dill Pickles, minced
2 T Parsley, chopped
2 T Sorrel, chopped
2 T Chervil, chopped
2 T Tarragon, chopped
2t Dijon Mustard
1 T Canola Oil

First boil the eggs for 2 minutes then rest in the water for 5 minutes then ice down the eggs. Combine all remaining ingredients – season with salt and pepper. 

Lay out your cooked room temperature pate with room temperature cooked asparagus around it. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice. Layer on your salad greens then sauce the plate and components with your Grebiche Sauce.