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By its very nature, Charcuterie is a slow food. Preparing to make it takes time, actually making it takes time and it takes time to wait until it’s ready to eat. There is nothing about the process that can be considered quick. Just think about it, even making the least time-consuming sausage takes a couple hours, lots of energy and counter space.

This past year has been a year of enlightenment and great tactile pleasure in the creation of our own Charcuterie. Even the failure of the first Duck Prosciutto taught us a great lesson on procurement and quality of the starting ingredients…after all, without a good start, the end can be no better.

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This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge was all about curing a hunk of meat. Fully convinced that I didn’t have an appropriate space to hang meat for 3-4 weeks, I figured I was finally unable to complete a challenge. Right at the end, too. Rotten luck.

However, in thinking it out amidst all my whining, I realized I did have the perfect place to cure it, I’d just have to be organized (that’s not as easy for me as it is for others.) My husband had recently gotten a keg/fermenting fridge and had vacated my single door, glass-front fridge in our garage for his own, greener pastures. We hooked up a temperature controller and a hygrometer (something to measure humidity) and I got to work. Knowing full well that I would need that fridge by Thanksgiving, I naturally waited until the last possible minute to get my meat curing.

And cure I did, after all I had the whole refrigerator to myself. Continue Reading »

I saw her from across the room. She was perfection. Studying her grace, elegance and beauty, I wanted her. Badly. I didn’t care if she was alone and I didn’t care that others wanted her; she would be mine. Mine to ravish.

I reached her side as she quietly sat there, in the coolness of the morning. She was covered in goose bumps as if she were shivering; as if she knew she was out of place. I knew I could help her…I knew I could make her feel more comfortable in her own skin.  Most of all, I knew she and I were meant to be together. It was kismet. Continue Reading »

A duck walks into a bar. And he says to the bartender “Got any cherries?” The bartender says “No, I don’t have any cherries.” The duck walks out, sorely disappointed.

So the next day, he walks back into the bar, asks the same question, gets the same answer.

The day after, he walks back into the bar, and again, asks the bartender, “Do you have any cherries?” The bartender, having still not figured out why this duck seems to think he may have some grapes, says to the duck, “No, and if you come back in here tomorrow and ask me if I have any cherries, I will nail your bill to the bar!”

The duck frowns, turns around, and walks out of the bar. So the next day, the duck walks back into the bar, and asks the bartender “Got any nails?”

The bartender says, “No.”

So the duck says, “Got any cherries?”


Silliness aside, ducks and cherries are perfect together. Just like ham and cheese. Just like fall and pumpkins and just like football and snacks. Football and snacks. A perfect match and two things my family takes very seriously. We don’t just watch games, we live them. Football watching is verbal, aerobic and darned near a contact sport. We wait for football season all year long and mourn its end every February. Such passion needs great snacks and this month’s challenge fit perfectly with the beginning of football season.

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Nearly every month, the Charcutepalooza challenge becomes a challenge just getting the proper ingredients. Nowhere in my town is pork belly, fatback, beef bung or duck breasts. Not this month. This month, the main ingredient is easily found …

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A Pie for Mikey

Click here: A Pie for Mikey

Indelible.

Indelible … that which cannot be eliminated, forgotten or changed.

Here we are, a bit over halfway through our “Year of Meat,” or “Charcutepalooza.” Less half is left in a challenge that has already left an indelible imprint on my life.

The learning curve has been steep in spots. The results have been sometimes sketchy, sometimes awful, occasionally stunning and always fun. Take this month’s challenge, for example. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that I could make Mortadella and that it would turn into something we could eat.

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