Saturday, January 8, 2011


1. Sausages, ham, pâtés, and other cooked, processed, or cured meat foods.
2. A delicatessen specializing in such foods.

   Do you DIY, eat copious amounts of cured meats, and like anything that has "Palooza" in the title (I know, me too!)? Then man oh man do I have a fun project for you! Welcome to CharcutePalooza (shar-koo-ta-pa-loo-za)! This year is officially The Year of Meat thanks to Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy, and everyone can get in on this fascinating year-long project.
   Based on the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman, each month will feature a new recipe to try out, photograph, and document. To join in the fun, send your name and blog info to Mrs. Wheelbarrow, who will add a new recipe on the 15th of each month. You will have one month to complete the challenge and blog about it if you so desire. Just send a link back to Mrs. Wheelbarrow and she will post your experience in a round-up of links on her site on the 30th of each month. You do not, of course, have to blog about or document anything if you choose not to (but why not?), you can simply follow along and try some great recipes you may not have tried otherwise. However, if you do join in this online community challenge, here are the rules according to Mrs. Wheelbarrow:

  • Let's celebrate the age-old talents and skills of charcuterie with contemporary takes on techniques, flavors, and presentation.
  • Let's agree to use humanely raised meat, sourced as close to home as possible.
  • Let's write about our experiences. Not just how the charuterie is made, but how we use it, serve it, flavor it.
  • Buy a copy of 'Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing' by Michael Rulhman.
  • Cook along as often as practical, there's no obligation.
  • Post about your experiences on the 15th of the month.
   The first recipe is already out, which I admittedly am a little late getting to. But I intend to start it at once, and blog the results anyway. What is the recipe you may be wondering? Why, Duck Prosciutto of course. Yes, you can make this at home. Even better is it really isn't that difficult. Can you imagine serving homemade duck prosciutto at your next dinner party? Yeah, that's like instant rock star status. I plan to start the recipe tomorrow, which will take 8 days to complete. Check back soon to read all about it. I ordered my copy of Charcuterie this morning, which has been on my Amazon wish list for quite some time. I highly advise you to do the same, in it you will find all of the recipes to come in this Year of Meat.

psst...if you buy from this link, I get Amazon credits!

   For those of you who revel in the unusual and delicious, I can't think of a better commitment to make than this one. What a great feeling it is to realize that all of the foods we consume can be made easily by our own hands, with the ingredients and flavors we choose. Frying a piece of bacon you cured yourself  is a truly liberating experience. Now get to it!

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