Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tails and Trotters Bacon and Lardo - From Farmers Mkt to the Cure

So I found myself on a Sunny Sunday morning with nothing planned and needing to get my little nugget out of the house for a bit while my wife's group of cackling hen friends come over for sunday brunch.   I've been a bit neglectful in my Hazlenut finished pork buying the last few weeks so decided to go visit my new friend Morgan Brownlow, proprietor of Tails and Trotters at the Irvington Farmers Market to rectify that.
I purchased a few Flat Iron and Coulotte steaks ( which are perfectly sized for 2-4 people and grill up perfectly ), and then I asked for the good stuff.   He didn't have a whole belly on him when I asked, but he grinned and said "will this do?".   "This" being a 6 pound behemoth of Pork Fat and belly meat.  Yowza!!!  That was one happy pig.   He also knows how much I love Lardo, so snuck a 3lb hunt of backfat in the bag.. Thanks Morgan!!!
On the menu for today:   Bacon and Lardo.  

Bacon is pretty easy.. see my previous recipes for cure.   I'm now almost exclusively using my "base cure" for all of my whole muscle curing needs, adapted as desired with different spices.

Coat the belly down with cure and rub it in really good.. Put it in a ceramic container, cover with wrap and check on it in 2 days.  ( Note.. I put this in Sunday night, checked on it Tuesday night, flipped it over and drained off the liquid that had accumulated.  I'll take it out Wed night or thurs morning to rinse and refridgerate, then smoke thurs night so we have some good bacon to take on vacation )

Lardo goes pretty much the same way with a slight difference.  I'll let this cure untouched until we return from vacation on July 9th.. then I'll give it a really good soaking ( 1-2 hours ), the coat it heavily in a very fine dice of rosemary, thyme and crushed red pepper.   Then I'll hang it in the curing chamber for 2-3 months.

Stay tuned.

PS.. Tails and Trotters delivers High Quality Hazlenut Finished Pork all over the USA ( luckily I have the man in my own home town ).  Check out their website and give them a call.   Morgan knows the farmers who raise the pigs ( and the pigs themselves ) all personally and watches every detail from feeding to slaughter to the whole pig being put on his butchers table to divide into small pork-loving packages.
Tell him you're a friend of the PCP and he may even give you the "family and friends" discount.  Trust me folks, this is ONE area you don't want to skimp on.   With every piece of charcuterie I make I'm learning that it all starts with Quality Meat... and there's nobody's meat I'd rather have in my mouth than Morgan's.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Sausage with Pence & another pic of our new puppy

I bought a sausage maker from Northern Tool ( approx $100 plus shipping )

I'm going to use it to make fresh sausage and Salume, but haven't gotten around to making anything yet.

My buddy John Pants ( pence ) called and asked to borrow it for a dinner he was doing at caprialandjohnskitchen .   I brought the tool over, and we proceeded to make some fennel/spice sausage (well, he made it and I drank beer and took pictures )

Not much to say: The Metal parts were frozen for a few hours, John ground the meat, seasoned it, mixed it, then extruded it into beautiful sausage.

peaking of beautiful sausage.. check out our new puppy....

Smoked Salmon- From Cure to the Smoker

Now our beautiful Coho fillets have sat in the cure in my manfridge for 3 days, then rinsed off very well and given a really light dusting of black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Now it's off to the smoker.   I've mentioned it several times in my previous posts, but here's a pic.

This is the Little Chief smoker from Smokehouse Products in Hood River, OR.   This is a pretty common home smoker and ubiquitous here in the Pacific Northwest.  It retails for about $70 new, although you can find them often on Craigslist or in the paper for $20-$30 in good shape.

This one belongs to my good friend JDub.  Now that Mr. Fancy has a Traeger ( Teachers... overpaid and underworked!!), he's sort of "loaned" the little chief to Pence and myself.   I'd love a Traeger, but this thing works and meets our need, so I'm going to suck it up.

Now onto the Coho.  Check this beauty out getting placed in the smoker.

I smoked this baby using applewood chips for about 6 hours...

Absolutely beautiful!!!

I usually cut each fillet into three pieces for individual serving sizes.. but this time I kept them whole, which allows for a great presentation on  a long platter with a sourcream/horseradish/dill sauce, surrounded by sliced baguette ( wish I had a pic ).

Everytime I bring this to a party, or serve it at my house, I get rave reviews, and this is super quick to put together at last minute

Give this one a try... and Enjoy!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smoked Salmon- Coho in the Cure & Puppies

Ahhh... Summer in Oregon.. Hot sunny days, cool nights, great BBQ's.   


Well, at least not the sunny days.   We've had plenty of cool nights ( and wet days )... but dire predictions aside, summer IS coming and the weather will turn nice soon.   Nothing goes better at a BBQ than a whole side of smoked salmon with Grand Central baguettes and a homemade horseradish Dill spread.

In case you're not from the Pacific NorthWest, I have to let you know that we have Salmon coming out the wazoo... you can't swing a dead cat without running into a native fisherman or store selling fresh salmon out of the columbia river ( we don't eat the salmon out of the Willamette, but that's another story ).  Unfortunately, I'm so swamped with work due to my new slavedriver of a boss ( Hi Harry!! ) that I can't seem to find time to swing a dead cat or get fresh Salmon.

So here we are:  two fillets of Coho, Fresh from the waters of QFC Supermarket ( previously frozen so we don't get any nasty parasites ).  Each one is about 1 1/2lbs and beautifuly colored.

Cure is simple ( Ella wanted to get in the blog, so there you go baby )

2cups kosher salt
1cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp pink salt( sodium nitrate )
1tsp cayenne pepper
and for something totally new
2tbsp roughly ground wild fennel seed.

Into the manfridge for 3 days, then for a good rinse and sitting in the fridge for 24 hours to develop a good pellicle.    I'll be smoking them using either cherry or hickory on Saturday or Sunday, if Pence can get off his butt and get the smoker back to me.

Oh Yeah.. We're getting a puppy too.  Say hello to the newest member of our family, Rainy.

She's a 7 week old Chocolate lab pup ( named by Ella of course ).

She's being weaned at the Breeders, but Amy's picking her up tomorrow and after a checkup at the Vet, we'll be bringing her home.

This is going to be a huge lifestyle change for us, as we haven't had a puppy in years.   We've even had to change our summer vacation from a tour of southern oregon and california, to a week in Sunriver, so we can bond with our new girl.   We're really excited and looking forward to having some fun with her.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Lamb Proscuitto and Cured Pork Shoulders in cure-and in curing chamber

Life has been good at SE 20th ave lately, and I haven't had much time for blogging... but that doesn't mean I haven't had time to make some good new charcuterie.

As you all know, I started another lamb proscuitto a month or so back, and now it's in the curing chamber... I'm going to let this one sit in there until Thanksgiving, then some of my friends are going to be VERY happy.

I decided to try something different  and after giving the leg a good hour long soak, I coated the thing in a mix of 2 types of powdered mexican pepper, along with an ethiopian spice called Berbere... has lots of good stuff in it and this is going to be awesome... super spicy, with intense flavor.

Here's a pic of it hanging in the Mancave for a few days ( to give it a chance to shed a bunch of water quickly before putting it in the curing chamber ( temp is about 58-60F, with an RH of about 65-85&.. window is open and it's rained every day in may )

Then i did the same with the 2 pork shoulders in Netting that have been curing for the past month... long soaks, followed by coating with spices and wrapping in twine.
You can see from this pic that the month spent in the cure is going to really make this one good.

Heree's what they look like.  I used a "ham bag" to put them in after coating in spice, then tied them up with butchers twine to let them hang.   Each one is about 3lbs and will end up at about 2lbs by the time they're done curing ( around mid july  or so ).

And finally.. this blog is supposed to be about more than just meat... I wanted to let you all know that my garden is doing great and I'm looking forward to pickling LOTS of stuff this year.   I was going to use a commercial kitchen to do my stuff and be able to legally sell them, but I think I may go "underground" again this year.   Stay tuned.. there will be lots of good stuff available at the end of the summer.

I'm ready to pickle some beets.. stay tuned for that one.

I'm also going to start talking a bit about wine.. I LOVE Oregon Pinot Noir, especially from small artisanal producers and I'm going to start sharing some of my finds.  I may need guest bloggers to help with this, as my palate descriptors are "good" and "yuck".

Here's a pic of me and the Ball and Chain the weekend before Memorial Day at a pickup party at Solena Cellars .  Great wine, and a very cool winery.  I highly recommend you visit.