Michael Ruhlman

Coppa – Here’s Where Curing Pork Gets Serious

Home cured CoppaCoppa. This is the one where I’ll look back and say ‘that’s where it really began.’ Of all the curing I’ve done in the past year this coppa is my best. I’ve wanted to make some since I first got Salumi but had to learn how to walk first with some smaller, quicker cures. I’m now jogging. As I slowly progress to bigger, more flavorful cuts, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a whole leg hanging in the curing fridge. When that time comes please remember, it began with coppa. (more…)

Pork Breakfast Sausage Success

Ginger and Sage Pork Breakfast SausageNew year, new sausages.  So far in 2013 I’ve tried my hand at making two different ones.  The first was an initial attempt at dry curing which unfortunately didn’t turn out well and had to be abandoned.  In order to regroup and give myself a boost of confidence I went back to an easier “ready-to-eat” sausage and made some sage and ginger breakfast sausage from Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie.  A perfect recipe for washing away the stink of failure and a nice addition for our breakfast menu. (more…)

Getting Colder Outside, Make a Hearty Vegetable Garbure!

Your first question is what the heck is a vegetable garbure?  Short answer: a ham and vegetable French peasantry stew.  Long answer: a French stew I found in Ruhlman’s Twenty which enabled me to use up the bacon rind I’ve been saving in the freezer from the last time I made bacon.  Doesn’t it always seem like the peasant dishes you find turn out to be intensely hearty and sustaining?  This is what makes them really good for fall and winter.  They’re typically dishes which use scraps and leftovers, are simmered for hours, and develop intense flavors.  Vegetable garbure is one of those peasant dishes I’m adding to the rotation whenever I cure some bacon. (more…)

Homemade Garlic Sausage – No Turning Back Now!

I did it.  I made some sausage.  The old saying goes something like: “you never want to watch laws or sausages being made.”  Having lived and worked in our nation’s capital for over a decade before moving to Chicago I can honestly say making sausage is much easier than making laws and absolutely tastier.  If you’ve been following me (you haven’t?  why not?) you know I’ve been trying to teach myself some advanced kitchen skills lately and my new subject is the art/craft of charcuterie.  As with every adventure you start off by putting one foot in front of the other so I began slowly with some home-cured bacon and duck prosciutto which both turned out well and encouraged me to continue through the looking-glass to my real goal: sausage.  This next step became inevitable with the arrival of a meat grinder last month for my birthday from my in-laws.  Giddy-up. (more…)

Curried Apple Fritters – Fall Flavors

We’re all moved in and the kitchen has been unpacked so I’m back!  We’ve changed seasons since we closed on our new home at the beginning of September and I couldn’t be more happy about it.  I love fall.  One of the reasons I love it so much is apples.  Nothing says fall to me like the overflowing bins of apples in the markets.  There are so many things you can do with apples.  Since I’m just getting settled in the new kitchen I thought I’d ease back in and try my hand at something extremely simple: curried apple fritters.  Simple, yet reflects the new season.  And yes fritter batter is one of those easy to remember ratios. (more…)

Simple Homemade Dill Pickles Using Basic Brine

As you may have been reading, lately I’ve become a bit obsessed with curing food.  I’ve made bacon (and successfully done it a second time) and duck prosciutto which both turned out well.  From reading through Ruhlman’s Charcuterie I’ve found it amazing what salt can do.  Behold the power of salt!  Ok, next up in the salt lessons, simple brine.  Salt and water.  And yes, there’s a ratio for basic brine.  What can you do with brine?  Lots of things, but for starters since I’m easing my way into this whole curing thing I thought I’d make some simple dill pickles.  All you need is salt, water, cucumbers, some dill, and patience. (more…)

Home Cured Duck Prosciutto – Part 2

A week ago I buried a duck a breast in a pile of salt for 24 hours then wrapped it in some cheesecloth and hung it to cure for seven days.  As you can see by the photo it looks pretty good.  What you can’t tell from the photo is how it tastes, and I can honestly say this home cured duck prosciutto tastes pretty ducking awesome! (more…)