Month: June 2012

Part 2 of the Making Bacon Experiment – Success!

Home Cured Bacon

If you read Part 1 you know I recently decided to up my game a little bit this summer by doing a Rumpelstiltskin on some pork belly and turn it into bacon.  For seven days I waited, kept rotating the pork belly, and watched.  Day 7 ended on Wednesday so I eagerly pulled the bacon out of the refrigerator and rinsed off the cure, which incidentally, smelled pretty awesome.  So far so good.  Ok so now what? (more…)

First Attempt at Making Bacon – Part 1

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to try my hand at curing meat and making sausages.  I’ve been following a couple of charcuterie bloggers and have been fascinated by what they’re turning out.  Since I spend less time in the kitchen during the summer I figured now would be a good time to cross the cooking Rubicon and start.  Gotta begin somewhere and so I thought I’d start with something which seems fairly straightforward and simple: bacon. (more…)

White Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I warned you there’d be more than a few cold salads during the summer.  This is one I’ve been cultivating for a few years and it’s getting very near perfect (for me at least).  Many different kinds of bean salads can be found on picnic tables throughout the summer; sweet ones, vinegary ones, baked beans (ok that might be stretch but a big crock of cold baked beans at a summertime BBQ is delicious).  This white bean salad is a snap to make and is one of those rare dishes that is even better a day or two later after the flavors meld together. (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…)

Summer Lentil Salad

Hot summer days require something cool to go with whatever you’re grilling.  Cold salads fit the bill nicely.  As you’ll see, I like making a lot of different salads in the summer.  They can be made ahead in bulk and chilled in the fridge, ready to be served or packed up and taken on a picnic (along with those deviled eggs).  This lentil salad is an awesome one for the summer and Cheryl’s usually pretty happy when she sees it in the fridge. (more…)

Decadent Truffle Deviled Eggs for a Movies in the Parks Picnic!

We’ve had Memorial Day, the official summer kick-off.  Here in Chicago another summertime favorite starts on Monday, June 11 : “Movies in the Parks”.  Dinner and a movie outside!  These are a fun way to get together with some friends (or a romantic evening for two), have a picnic, and watch a movie.  Chicagoans are all about being outside during the summer and we are a city blessed with a lot of public park space, so we take advantage of them!  One picnic item I always try to make is deviled eggs.  They’re a small, simple appetizer to make but one which you can get very creative with.  (more…)