Chef Pardus blew through Cleveland a couple weeks ago, and with summer in full swing we had loads of little cukes on hand (we also did veal heart again, got it on video, stay tuned).  While there was much to do in getting dinner out (tongue salad with new potatoes, calves liver and onions, corn relish, cucumber sunomono, grilled foie gras (grilling foie takes some serious attention!), and the grilled heart with an herb shallot vinaigrette—Pardus found time to get my pickles on the cure.  Because of time constraints and other issues, he didn’t add aromatics.  What he did was make a 3% brine. I have for years been using a 5% brine for everything, pickles, chicken, pork, etc.  But this 3% worked great and I’m thinking that if you’re not going to be removing Read On »

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I’ve long wanted to post a chicken trussing video because there are so many silly videos out there that make it seem incredibly complicated.  Of the many good ways of trussing a chicken, Brian’s method here is solid and simple.  Brian of course is the co-author of Charcuterie and chef/owner of Forest and Cinco Lagos outside Detroit. I must clarify something here—it was noted to me by Bob del Grosso, who documented it at the Culinary Institute of America—that the main reason you truss a chicken is to ensure a juicy breast.  That’s what the even cooking part means. If the chicken isn’t trussed, hot air circulates in the bird’s cavity and will overcook and dry out the breast before the legs and thighs are done.  If you do not want to truss the chicken, Read On »

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On our trip to Italy, Brian Polcyn and I saw a lot of new cuts we weren’t familiar with, so as soon as we returned, we made plans to break down a couple of pigs Italian style, bringing in chef Jay Denham, who was recently back from five months staging in Italy.  We wanted to see how he broke a half animal into primals and we also wanted to learn the culatello cut.  Jay had spent many weeks staging at Massimo Spigaroli’s operation, learning this technique for producing what some consider to be the finest version of prosciutto di Parma there is. Jay and Brian arrived Tuesday evening and we started with a salumi tasting from American producers.  We tasted salamis from Knight Salumi in San Diego, I had some Mangalista belly and lardo from Read On »

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Earlier this spring, my high school pal, JD, called and asked if I wanted to make sausage on Saturday. It’s much easier with a few folks to spread out the work, but I wasn’t prepared for something like 50 pounds of sausage. Nor did I expect JD to film the event.  But, ever the overachiever, he did. Our other pal, Mac, the bearded one, joined us. So please forgive the Saturday shadow and numerous chins and the unscripted nature of the video and my limited editing skills, but do follow the basic steps to awesome sausage.  There are five, follow them all, keep your meat really cold, and you’ll have great links (or skip step 5 and make patties or use it loose).  It’s summer grilling season and there’s nothing better to sizzle on a Read On »

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[Please note additional thoughts following comments here and on Twitter] Elise emailed a couple weeks ago to ask if I’d posted on Hollandaise.  She’d posted the blender version, first popularized by Craig Claiborne in the 1970s in The New York Times, and wanted to link for contrast to an old-school version.  The blender version is unquestionably a no-brainer and results in a delicious Hollandaise-style sauce, a lemony yolky butter, thin enough to pour. A classical French Hollandaise sauce is an emulsified butter sauce that is almost like a mayonnaise, nearly that thick, and, as I was taught it, includes an additional flavoring step, a vinegar reduction.  It’s considered difficult and temperamental but it’s neither, as long as you pay attention and don’t let it know that you’re afraid of it.  Emulsified butter sauces can sense Read On »

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