Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lots more Pork and some Lamb for good luck


Yes, that is a Peep in my glass of wine. We spent the day processing meat that we needed to preserve. We were clear headed and on a mission. That is until our friend Denis stopped by and brought a bottle of wine with him. While rendering fat (I really think I have to make soap out of it) we may have drank a couple of bottles. I got bored and dropped a peep in my glass of wine to see if it would soak up the wine like a sponge. It didn't. I think it might have been the sugar that acted like a barrier.


We had wine with some pretty good "snacks" I might add. Denis was a good sport and tasted the headcheese. I think he liked it but really was taken with the Filet Sec.


So, this leads me to a rant. Me rant you say? Here it goes... Lately on Twitter I have been seeing snarky comments about people who cook from RECIPES and blog about it. IMAGINE that? Not inventing things like Quail Eggs with Peanut Butter and Nutella. Or not inventing a NEW Whoopie Pie. I say that all of this snarf is just a bit more self promotion which also has me baffled. I hear about people being "Nervous" that they haven't posted on their blog. Is everyone getting paid except me and I just don't get it? For 99% of us isn't this just for FUN? I have to say that I cook from recipes that I tweek to my liking. The fact of the matter is that most things are not new and if they haven't been out there it is probably for a good reason. When did food become a popularity contest. If it has I vote for Eggs. Eggs are good with everything and easy to make.

Ok enough.


We hung up my prized Guanciale after a week of it in salt. I didn't invent this recipe by the way. I think a caveman did. (Hey Dr. Food you got your big ole finger in my shot).


Another picture of the Filet Sec because it was so pretty (it is all gone now).


Then there was the lard. Good old lard that took 2 days to deal with.


This was after we just made it. It is white as new snow. (See, I have lived in MA long enough to know that not all snow is white. Once it gets old it is dirty and ugly).


Smoking happened this weekend. That is a whole other post though. MMMM...Tasso!


Back to our regularly made dinner. This is from a RECIPE that I have posted before. It is Mark Bittman's (yes, he invented lamb and chickpeas I am sure) Crisp and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas with Lamb

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blood Orange Marmalade with Rum, Jaggery and Vanilla


I decided that I wanted to make Blood Orange Marmalade. I had made it in California and I loved it. Annie gave me the Blue Chair Jam Cook Book for Xmas and I thought that I would try out a recipe. I found the Blood Oranges at Trader Joes and I was ready to go. I couldn't find a recipe that I really wanted to make so I took the recipe for Seville Orange with Rum, Vanilla and Piloncillo and changed it up a bit. I didn't have Piloncillo but I had Jaggery and I think they are pretty much the same.


I also had some real vanilla so I used that instead of extract. I also used Blood Orange instead of Seville Orange because I knew there was no way that I would find Seville Oranges here. This marmalade takes three days but it is well worth it. I would use this method again and I would say that anyone that is into making jams and marmalades should own this book.


So, I did the whole canning thing. It was lots of work.


The dog was disgusted that there wasn't anything good dropping on the floor.



The color was amazing. It thrilled me every time I looked into that pot.

Let me stop here and tell you that I never have had a canned good go wrong except once when I tried making grape jam and it turned into fruit leather. I can lots of stuff. I really do.


I made this jam and did the jam test thing and it seemed done and then I canned it and well. It didn't jell. It tasted so good though.


I could have thrown it all back and redid it but that isn't my style. I pout. But I had so many jars of this beautiful liquid that I was determined to come up with an idea. I did.


Yes, she knows I am crazy. I have a cold but I needed to come up with a fix for this "marmalade" conundrum. It was bothering me and in case you didn't notice I am a bit obsessive.


A blood orange Daiquiri


I thought it was going to suck but it didn't. It was good. Even with a cold and it snowing outside. Yes, snowing in March. I am pretending it is summer with a blood orange daiquiri.

1/2 Jar (about 1/2 C) Uncoagulated Blood Orange Marmalade
1 Limes worth of juice
1/4 C Light Rum
2 Cups ice cubes

Blend in badass blender.

Oh can I ask you a question? Ok good...

I got this beautiful assortment of salts for Xmas a while back. I have saved this in my kitchen because it is so pretty. It has every kind of salt in it. Would you just use it? I am the type of person that saves certain things and am afraid to use them up. I realize that when I die I can't take it with me but still....

Would you use it?


Maybe you better come over and help me through the phobia.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lots of Pork and a recipe for Trinidad Black Cake


I am not sure where to start. I know you know that I am a bit (yes, a bit not a LOT) crazy. I mean I sorta get Dr. Food into a lot of trouble and leave my family shaking their heads and thinking to themselves "I won't say anything". I had the incredible honor of getting to spend the day at a farm with lots of incredible people. I took part in the Charcuterie thingy at @Podchef's farm. Uh, yeah that is a Twitter name but ok just follow along. You know that I am doing this Charcuterie thing, and I just took it a step further. I bought a pig. Not only did I buy a pig but as luck would have it I got to take an amazing class. Ok just go here to read what it was.


Look at the artistry.


Sausage wrapped in Caul. Makes me all weepy just looking at it.


The food we got to eat was incredible and once again I lived in the moment and didn't get pictures of the cassoulet or the people that I met (looking through my magic mirror and waving to David, and Neal, and Iliana, and Leslie, and uh oh forgot other names) shit. Ok, and another thing is I am really tired so just look at the pictures and know that I was working my tush off all day packing this stuff up and curing and hanging and I have a cold and am sick too.


Brining and...


Rolling and...


Tying stuff and...


Sealing meat and...


Smoking and...


Shoving in the freezer. I can't do anymore today. I do have to stop here to say that the experience has left me a changed person. It was intense and eye opening to see where our food comes from and the loving way that animals CAN be raised. I have always wanted a farm and seeing Neal and Cathy's farm was just how I always imagined mine would be other than the fact I never knew how much work it really was. Ok, so Dr. Food who has lived on farms keeps saying to me "YOU could never do it!". He may be right. I still wouldn't mind owning my miniture cow though. How hard could one little cow be?

Anyhow, I am indebted to Neal and Cathy and Kate and Dominique for everything that I got to learn from them in 2 days.

Ok now as promised here is the recipe for the Jamaican Black Cake that I brought to the farm but didn't get any pictures of.

Oh wait...I did get a picture of fruit soaking in booze


Oh and of the browing the sugar.


That is it but you have to believe me that it taste good.

Trinidad Black Cake
Adapted from Sarina at Trini Gourmet

1 lb butter (use margarine for pareve)
1 lb sugar
8 eggs
1 tsp lemon essence
2 tsp lime rind (zested)
2 tsp almond essence
2 tsp vanilla
1 lb all-purpose flour (use 1/2 cassava flour + 1/2 lb rice flour for gluten-free)
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Fruit Base:
1 lb pitted prunes
1 lb raisins
1 lb currants
1 bottle rum
2 tbsp Angostura bitters

1 lb brown sugar (I used Jaggery)
1/2 cup boiling hot water

Have on Hand:
1 more bottle of rum

Three to Five Days Before:
Up to 5 days before you make the cake, chop up all the fruits for the fruit base. Place in a large bowl, pour in Angostura bitters and rum. Leave in a cool corner, covered, to soak up the liquor. As I said 3-5 days (or longer)

On the Day Of:

Blend Fruit Base:
I pour the soaked fruit and juices into a blender and blend until thick and still a bit chunky (like tomato sauce). Note: If you have been macerating your fruit for a minimum of a month in advance you can skip this step

Prepare Browning:
Burn sugar until caramelized, add hot water gradually. Mix well and leave to cool.
Please be extra careful at this stage as a ‘browning’ burn is NOT a fun thing! (When I left it to cool it hardened in the pan. I would suggest putting it on wax paper or pouring it before it hardens. If it hardens I would grind it back into something that can incorporate into the batter.

Once that is done…
1. Preheat oven to 250F (no that’s not a typo)
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate
4. Add lemon essence, lemon zest, almond essence and vanilla
5. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg.
6. Gradually add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture
7. Mix in fruit base puree and ‘browning’
8. Pour batter into greased tins that have been doubly lined with brown paper or parchment paper
9. Bake for 3 hours
10. Once removed from the oven soak the tops with equal portions of the remaining bottle of rum.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is that your Charcutepalooza or you just happy to see me.


This is Challenge 3 of the Charcutepalooza fun. This has taken over my life. I swear. It has me doing all kinds of weird things BESIDES the meat stuff.


It has me charting the pig for a project I am making. It has me thinking up ideas of what I can do next. I have to say that I was already going to make a tongue when this challenge came along. I had a tongue in my freezer from a local farm. I had gotten this tongue at a farmers market a couple of weeks before this challenge was announced. So, we went with corning the tongue.


I will spare you the pictures of the corning of the tongue. Besides they were already posted on here. So, what was I going to do with tongue? I wanted to do something a little different.

Since I had the tongue already, I cooked potatoes with the tongue to brown it all up. Then I did what was natural to do. I made Corned Tongue Hash.


I put an egg on it! It was awesome tongue hash. But WAIT there is MORE! There was no way that I would let any challenge that included Pastrami go by without partaking in it. Pastrami and I go way way back. It has really been a thread that has woven through my life.

After the brine it went into the smoker. I have to give it to Dr. Food that he put that smoker together and took it outside in the snow to do this. He also had bronchitis at the time and is a real Palooza trooper. I love the word trooper... Sounds like something that Lucy or Ethel might say. Ok Fred lets move on.


Back to Pastrami. Deli's have always been in my life. I come from a Jewish family so of course they do. Some of my earliest memories were having pastrami at a Deli near my house in Culver City, California. It was called "Roll N Rye" MY kids grew up going there.


Hey Evie... You are in your Roll and Rye shirt holding a chicken. Mommy loves you. **Waving to Evan when he was little**

Pastrami from Katz

There was the trip to Mecca (well Katz Deli, same thing) for a Pastrami sandwich. My sis and I almost cried when we tasted this. I think there were tears in Dr Foods eyes too.


So we made our pastrami. I decided that I would make a rye bread too.


Ok, and so we needed some coleslaw to go with it and I whipped up some of that.


I started saurkraut a couple of weeks before but Dr. Food said he wouldn't eat it because he was leaving for India the next day and if it made him SICK it wouldn't be good. Sick? Ha! He doesn't know my skills.


And now boys and girls comes the part of the post where I get really personal with all of you. Most my real friends (wait, that didn't sound right) most my not pretend internet friends? Well, most my friends know this story. It is THE PASTRAMI story.

My mom either went away somewhere for a few days or was in the hospital getting her gall bladder out (Mom, didn't mean to get so personal about your missing body parts) anyhow, she told me to watch my dad and make sure that he had stuff to eat because he couldn't cook. I mean it. He made a mean ice coffee, but that was it, he could not cook. So, I told my mom (hi Mom) that I would have him over to eat and watch out for him. So one night I called to see what he was doing for dinner. We made plans to go out to dinner together. He sorta talked me into going to Johnnie's Pastrami another Culver City institution before Culver City got all hoity toitey My dad loved pastrami. He knew my mother didn't want him eating it because it wasn't good for him.

Anyhow, time goes by and sadly (more sadly than I could ever tell you here) my dad passed away. I thought *I* killed him. For a long time I thought that letting him talk me into that pastrami sandwich was what did it. Good thing when I finally confessed to my mother she laughed and laughed at me. So, to this day I love pastrami even more because I remember how much fun I had eating it behind my mothers back with my FATHER and we both thought we were being so sneaky.


I love you dad. This pastrami is for you!


Oh yeah, we also had fries. Sorry mom.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 2 of Eating MY way and also the Meat Face thing

Let me start off by a short explanation of "Meat Face". It all started when I read Salty Seattle's post and she said something about Roast Face. Being me I got it wrong in that dyslexic type of way that I have and translated it into Meat Face. Roast Face, Meat Face.... I was close. Anyhow, one thing lead to another and like the jackass I am and wanting to play with the Cool Kids I left a comment muttering about calling this blog "Meat Face" for a week. Salty wrote back that she would be impressed if I did and so what did I do? I did it. Branding of my blog? Are you kidding me? Want to see my stats?

Screen shot 2011-03-10 at 5.50.41 PM

Pathetic. That is why I love the 3 of you that are reading this. You are Troopers. I love saying that. Trooper is a good word.

Anyhow, Meat Face is only for one week and that it is back to "Bite Me New England" which isn't that hot either. Branding...


Changing the subject, this is what I had night 2 of Eating My Way. It is Roasted Root Vegetables on Brown Rice with Cheese Melted on it and some Truffle oil drizzled on it. Good. I don't have to post the recipe because it is all in the title. Not only that but I am really tired. No offense, I am sick of cooking this week. I am not going to have any more Eating My Way after this because I am having a Trader Joes Chicken Pot Pie tomorrow night and because Dr. Food is coming home. So, imaginary friends thanks for understand about the Meat Face that was suppose to be Roast Face.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day one: Pasta MY way


Yes, it is that time again that Dr. Food is out of town and *I* get to eat anything that I want for dinner. I have to say that for all the stuff that I put up here that we cook together, our food tastes are really different. Ole "Tex" likes meat. I prefer vegetables (ohshutup I DO). I am from California afterall. Home of the artichokes and strawberries and anything else you can think of. Did I ever tell you that we lived in San Jose and every morning when I woke up and went outside (NOTE: in California you CAN go outside in the morning EVEN in winter and not freeze your ass off) I would smell garlic. Yes, garlic wafting all the way from Gilroy. I loved it. Not only that but we had an Asian Pear tree and a Buddah's Finger tree and a cherry tree and apricots and a HUGE lemon tree. Now what do I have? A Keffir lime tree, a lemon tree and lemongrass. How? All inside and not happy at all. They need to go out but the SNOW is still there.

Wow, how do I get off on these tangents? It is like I am talking to myself or something but I know you are reading this. Maybe that is why I was not selected for "Food Blogs" Hell, everyone is selected for that and they have snubbed ME.

Ok, let me continue.

Where was I? Ok, so I like pasta with an egg on it. I know that Dr. Food would eat this but not be thrilled by it. I am thrilled by it. So, I went into my kitchen and pulled out my tools. If I had a tool belt for the kitchen this is what would be in it.


The BadAss Spoon which Michael Ruhlman told me to buy (well he didn't really tell ME to buy it he just sent an email to everyone and I pretended that he was talking to me. I bought towels that he told ME to buy too). This spoon poaches eggs perfectly and is my new favorite gadget. The other thing I use on everything is a rice paddle. Ok, I know that is weird but so is drinking out of my kids sippy cup from when they were 3 (they are in their late 20's now) but I do it. The shaker is obvious. How does one cook "creatively" without a Manhattan??


I started off with an egg to poach. I swear I love this spoon. I know I keep saying it but it is really a great tool.


This was really the first time I got a pretty poached egg.

I also took some of the scapes I had frozen from summer and I sauteed them with some Trader Joes Basil Pesto Turkey Sausage. Man were they good.


Boiled up some bowtie pasta.


Voila, I called it dinner.


Oh wait. I also had a glass of wine with it. No Manhattan tonight. Didn't want to be on "Girls gone wild" Especially since I was the only person here.

Pasta My Way

Bowtie pasta (as much as you need)
2 Tbl chopped scapes (if you don't have scapes which you probably don't use garlic)
1 or 2 Tbl Olive oil
Trader Joes Basil Pesto Turkey Sausage
1 or 2 eggs
Shaved parmesan cheese

Make pasta according to directions.

Saute scapes or garlic in oil. Add sausage and brown (I like it crispy brown)

Poach eggs.

Drain pasta and add to meat. Put egg on top. Put lots of shaved parmesan on it.