We’re back again with another valuable technique, the water bath, essential for gentle cooking. The water bath uses the miracle tool, water. Water makes life as we know it possible. It’s one of the only substances that expands when it freezes rather than contracts (if it didn’t, ice would sink, not simply ruining your gin and tonic, but rendering the gin and tonic moot, as most of habitable earth would be flooded). Water cannot go above 212°F in normal circumstances (it can if you heat it under pressure or, with less pressure, specifically at high altitudes, it turns to gas at lower temperatures). And importantly, it cools as it evaporates (which is why sweating cools our body). In this video we use it to gently cook emulsified shrimp and cream, mixed with whole chunks of Read On »

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If you are in London, Ontario check out local cheesemonger and charcuterie maker Erin Harris, via Cheese Poet.    

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Say you have a whole ham and your wife, named Donna, doesn’t want the thing hanging in your closet for a year, drying out for prosciutto. Or you live in a fifth-floor walk-up in Manhattan and don’t have a wife named Donna but you also don’t have a closet, let alone a drying room. Or you have a whole ham but do not have a holiday dinner to prepare and fourteen people to feed. Such is usually the case, in fact, so what do you do with a whole ham? I get this question all the time. The answer is that you break it down into smaller, delectable parts. Here’s what one butcher, Rob Levitt, of Chicago’s The Butcher & Larder, does with his ham. It’s difficult of course to put into words exactly where to draw a Read On »

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Today my Friday cocktail will be a daiquiri here in Palm Beach. Or you could instead sit down with a Lagunitas IPA and a few homemade chicken sausages; this recipe originally appears in Charcuterie.   Chicken Sausage with Basil and Tomatoes 3 1⁄2 pounds/1.5 kilograms boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed 1 1⁄2 pounds/675 grams pork back fat, cubed, diced into 1-inch pieces 3 tablespoons/40 grams kosher salt 1 teaspoon/3 grams freshly ground black pepper 1 1⁄2 teaspoons/9 grams minced garlic 4 tablespoons/24 grams tightly packed chopped fresh basil 1⁄2 cup/100 grams fresh diced roma (plum) tomatoes 1⁄4 cup/60 grams diced sun-dried tomatoes 1⁄4 cup/60 milliliters red wine vinegar, chilled 1⁄4 cup/60 milliliters extra virgin olive oil 1⁄4 cup/60 milliliters dry red wine, chilled 10 feet/3 meters hog casings, soaked in tepid water for at least 30 Read On »

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I had one of the most inspiring days of my life Monday, watching Austrian farmer/butcher Christoph Wiesner kill and dress a hog. See video below of evisceration shot by Austrian journalist Jürgen Schmücking, covering Pigstock TC and Michigan wines and beers. We met on Marc Santucci’s farm, on a warm fall day, surrounded by leaves, apple trees, and tall grass. The pigs were rooting in an open-air pen, where the slaughter took place. Christoph stunned the pig with a bolt. He explained that it was important to do this with the pig in its natural position—less stress on both animal and muscle, which can be harmed by the acidity produced by stress. He was nervous and I could see it, his own heart pounding, taking deep breaths. He petted the pig and made loving noises to Read On »

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