salt

Blue Moon Braised Pork Cheeks Basquaise

Beer braised pork cheeks BasquaiseA few weeks back I was at the butcher shop and picked up some various pork parts, 2 pounds of cheeks being part of the haul.  They were really inexpensive at $2.49 per pound and I had intended on curing them but ended up putting the pork cheeks in the freezer to save for another day.  Last week that day came and the pork cheeks turned out to be Thursday night dinner.  Originally I wanted to make them for Wednesday Date Night dinner but we ended up going out instead.  With pork cheeks thawed and my creative juices flowing, I decided to make a kind of Basque style beer braised pork cheek.  (more…)

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Pollo alla Milanese Vestito (Breaded Chicken Cutlets)

Pollo alla Milanese vestitoSorry for more Italian but I’ve been on a roll lately and couldn’t resist making Pollo alla Milanese this week.  Cheryl’s been swamped at work and this is one of her favorites.  It’s also her birthday week so I thought this would be a nice weeknight dinner to prepare for her.  That and pollo alla Milanese is simple, simple, simple to make.  And what do we know about simple things in life?  They’re usually pretty damn tasty and this is no exception. (more…)

Lucky Lentil Soup with Garlic Sausage for New Year’s

Lentil soup with garlic sausageHappy New Year!  Around the world you can find people eating lots of different foods in order to bring good luck and fortune.  In Italy the good luck dish is lentils and cotechino (a sausage).  No cotechino laying around la mia casa, but I did have some lentils and some of my garlic sausage so perhaps some lentil soup with sausage will bring us a great 2014.  (more…)

Filetto: Fennel Pollen Cured Pork Tenderloin (Mini-Lonza)

Curing chamber filetto on the left; pantry hung filetto on right.

Curing chamber filetto on the left; pantry hung filetto on right.

When we’ve traveled in Spain (and France and Italy for that matter) I’ve always been awestruck by the different kinds of cured meats I see in the markets.  There’s no grinding and stuffing, in fact the process for curing whole muscles is relatively simple and they are very easy ‘starter’ projects for the budding home charcuterist.  Basically you salt the meat, cure it for a period of time, rinse off the cure and then hang to age and dry in your meat curing refrigerator. Hang on you say, a WHAT…?  Yeah that’s right, we’re kicking things up a notch going into 2014. (more…)

Happy Thanksgiving! One Last Bite, Homemade Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie for ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!  Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dessert, ever since I was a little kid.  As I was making this the other day I was reminded how quickly pumpkin pie can be put together.  The dough takes about 2 minutes to make and 20 to chill.  In that amount of time you can have the filling all prepared and still have time for a cup of coffee.  I know a lot of people buy pies but there’s nothing like baking your own. (more…)

Guancialini – Homemade Cured Pork Cheeks

Homemade Guanciale - GuancialiniThings have slowed down a bit work-wise and as you may have noticed I’ve been doing some adventurous stuff lately.  One experiment I was eager to try was curing some pork cheeks into guanciale.  It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list but I always kept forgetting to ask about pork cheeks when in a butcher shop.  Well, I remembered, but instead of whole cheeks I ended up with a package of pork cheek meat.  So instead of gunaciale, I ended up with guancialini!  That’s improv Italian for mini-gunaciale. (more…)

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce (ou en Francais, Lapin à la Moutarde)

Rabbit with mustard sauce - Lapin a la moutardeWednesday nights are reserved as date night for Cheryl and me.  Most of the time we go out for dinner but occasionally she lets me cook a ‘fancy’ mid-week one for her.  The whole point is to spend some quiet time together while trying something new.  I’m pretty sure the idea for rabbit came up while we were in a butcher shop (What’s that? Rabbit. Can you cook it? Sure).  So, when I was in my favorite butcher shop last week I picked one up.  While I was pretty confident I could successfully cook rabbit I still needed to figure out how to present it, and present it well enough for date night. (more…)