Michael Ruhlman

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…)

Home Cured Duck Prosciutto – Part 1

What’s hiding in there?  Encouraged by my initial bacon curing trip down the rabbit hole of cured meats I’ve decided more curing experiments need to take place.  Nay, MUST take place.  Next up, duck prosciutto.  It’s something you see on the menus at wine bars and gastropubs but how hard is it to make for the home cook?  Pretty simple looking by the instructions I found. (more…)

Strawberry Ice Cream – Another Easy Ratio

Having celebrated our wedding anniversary this week (the cotton one) I decided to dust off one of our wedding gifts and whip up a batch of strawberry ice cream.  Strawberries are really coming into season now and I was further encouraged by a posting I saw about how the strawberry picking season has arrived early in Wisconsin due to the milder winter/spring.  Needless to say I didn’t leave Wrigleyville and head north to Wisconsin for my strawberries but it did give me the idea to make Strawberry Ice Cream in our ice cream maker.  Cheryl came home from work on Tuesday (our anniversary) and saw me over the stove with milk and a bowl full of egg yolks and started guessing what I was up to.  She figured it out when she checked the freezer to see if the special bowl was in there and was pretty happy about it when she saw she guessed correctly. (more…)

Turkey Noodle Soup

End of the road for Thanksgiving leftovers

So we come to the last bits of the big bird.  You’ve got some meat left and the carcass.  What to do?  Of course, you know what to do…make soup!  Making any soup from scratch is easy, especially turkey/chicken when you have the leftover bones.  The most important step (in my opinion) is starting with a good stock.  I’ve tried many different ways to make stock but the best way I’ve found, and the only way I make it, is with this oven method courtesy of my personal kitchen hero, Ruhlman.

It’s such a simple way to make stock.  (more…)