Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Fun In the Kitchen

All you regulars know that I like to cook and learn new 'food things'. I've shared my adventures in bread baking, cheese and butter making, homemade pickles, kraut and all that. The thing is that once you start making your own mozzarella and ricotta(the easiest cheese in the world to make) the store bought stuff just pales. My latest adventure is to learn charcuterie(the craft of curing, smoking and preserving meats). I just received my copy of Michael Ruhlman's  Charcuterie and I am off and experimenting. I'll start off slow with making bacon and pancetta but I intend to go the whole route including dry cured sausages. The challenge is going to be finding a local source for the meats such as pork bellies and back fat. The book has Internet resources for the supplies such as nitrites and nitrates and bacterial cultures and casings but the high quality meat required is going to be tough. We have one artisan charcuterier here in Atlanta the Pine Street Market but I want to be able to do it myself. I love bacon, pancetta, dry sausage, summer sausage and all that so it is a natural next step in becoming as self sufficient as possible. This time next year I expect to have at least one home cured ham hanging in the basement. Stay tuned.

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