Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Calling all tattooed folk! I want your food tattoos!!

Garlic Plant Tattoo
All mine!

  And farm tattoos, and drink too! Before you break out your razor blades and rubbing alcohol, what I mean to say is, I want pictures of them. As you can see, I have recently added my first food related tattoo to my collection of bodily art. You have also hopefully had the pleasure of viewing my man's latest as well.

Chad's tattoo
Looks a little something like this

  But now I want to see yours! I think it's only fair really. I will even throw in a neat Whiskey Chicken sticker for all of your efforts. All you have to do is shoot me an email ( in my profile ) with your name, an attached photo of your lovely ink, and an address you would like your sticker sent to. I will then be showing them off in a future post for all to see! So get to it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

3 of the best things in life...Combined

  It has occurred to me that making charcuterie may just be slowly evolving from interest to obsession. I often find myself fantasizing about grinding pork and smoking large quantities of meat, and scheduling days off not for socializing or relaxing but for experimenting with lard and hog casings in the kitchen. The more I dabble in the homemade, the more addicting it becomes. The only things I need now are a few pigs to raise and a bigger meat grinder.
  Lately, everything has been about sausage. The combinations and flavors one can make are endless. While bacon is a divine creation, it is not nearly so varied in styles. So what happens when a beer drinking cheese monger starts crafting sausages? Well, you get a Cheddar Beer Sausage. A power trio of superior foods. I refrained from adding any bacon (the 4th super food) to the mix for fear I might marry it.

The makings of a very good night

   This sausage is a bulk fresh sausage like the others I have made so far, but half is destined to become links after this weekend. I kept the seasonings fairly simple so the cheese and beer could shine through, just a hint of caraway and red pepper. I used an English farmhouse cheddar and an awesome smoked Marzen as the main ingredients. And just so I wouldn't feel completely ridiculous about having sausage and beer for dinner, I threw in a little spinach and spring onions as a green bed for the tender patties to rest on.

Cheddar Beer Sausage

  I can think of a certain Mr. Dean who can take a hike.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

CharcutePalooza: The Grinding

Sausage's partner in crime
Good Morning

  Oh the shame! It has been nearly one month since my last post! While I could say that my distractions have consisted of only work and chores, I did manage to sneak in a tiny bit of downtime. A short weekend in the North Georgia mountains can do wonders for the soul. Just look at those wonderful fresh eggs! Those on some crisp toast, a cold beer, and a babbling brook equal the perfect morning (What...you don't drink beer in the morning?).
  Yet one cannot live on beer eggs alone, at least I can't. So, I figured this would be as good a time as any to debut some homemade sausage. Before this challenge, I had never once attempted something as seemingly complicated as ground sausage. The funny things is, once you try it, you feel like a fool for thinking it would ever be hard. I can see how that way of thinking could hold anyone back from handmade cooking. But I can honestly say I have not had that much fun making food in the kitchen at midnight by myself before.
  I decided to take up both challenges and make breakfast sausage and Chorizo. I am very glad I did. I was also surprised to find that fresh sausage was easier than some of the previous tasks of this Year of Meat. It simply consisted of a fresh pork shoulder beautifully marbled with fat, diced and seasoned, thoroughly chilled, and then ground. For the breakfast sausage I added sage, lots of fresh garlic, and dried blueberries. The Chorizo included many different dried chilies, garlic, oregano, and tequila.

Soon to be Sausage
Ready for grinding

  The diced meat was then chilled very well, and ground using my new and magical Kitchenaid grinding attachment. It ground quickly and efficiently. So efficiently in fact, that I barely had time to snap a photo. And that was all there was too it. To make links, I could have stuffed the fresh sausage into casings, but this was strictly to test the water, nothing more. I made both sausages the night before leaving for the camping trip.


After a night of rum and allergies, nothing was more satisfying than blueberry sausage, toast, and eggs. The Chorizo was reserved for a late night concoction of sausage, onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, and rice stewed together into a rich improv gruel.

Blueberry Breakfast Sausage
Cure for the common hangover

Chorizo and veggies
Meal prior to common hangover

  Before now, I had not given much thought nor appreciation to sausage, as I have always been a bacon freak. But having experienced the joy in making it, as well as the comfort in consuming it, sausage has certainly been elevated to new heights in my book, and I cannot wait to construct my next grind.

campfire cooking