#charcutepalooza

Pastrami Made From Scratch

March 14, 2011
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When I saw this month’s Charcutiere Challenge, “to brine, and then corn, a piece of beef” I admit I was disappointed. Not in the challenge part of it, but by the fact that I really don’t like corned beef. Its saltiness and flaccid texture has never appealed to me. My mother agreed and suggested we try making pastrami which is basically brined beef taken one step further by applying a dry rub and smoking it after the brining process.

This is not a single day, cook-to-eat process. It’s a multi-day, you-have-to-really-want-it project. However, like most things which are cooked from scratch at home, the end product is worth it, significantly better than anything you typically buy in the grocery store. I still think pastrami is too salty for my personal preference, but I really enjoyed the sandwiches I ate with it on the home made rye bread I made …

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How to Brine and Roast a Chicken

March 12, 2011
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Sometimes I assume things which I consider to be easy about cooking, things which are common sense to me, are the same for everyone else. But we all know the platitudes about “assuming” and “common sense.”
There I go, doing it again…
They say if you “assume” you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” They also say, “common sense is anything but common,” but who are these mythical “they” people anyway? I digress…

This concept was brought home to me recently while talking to friends, all of whom enjoy eating, but don’t spend as much time cooking as I do.  I was trying to explain to someone about how easy it was to roast a chicken. They looked at me as if I just suggested they consider making their own bacon.

I said, “All you do is get a whole chicken, throw it in the oven, roast …

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Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, Making Guanciale, and Charcutepalooza!

February 15, 2011
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Rome is one of my favorite cities on the planet. Each time I go I’m captivated by the beauty, the thousands of years of history around every turn, and of course by the food. If I had to pick a place outside the US to live, Rome would be in the top three.

One of my favorite dishes to eat in Rome is a pasta called Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. Ironically, this is not technically a “Roman” dish. As the name implies, it’s bucatini pasta in the style of the town of Amatrice, which is about 100 miles from Rome. Still, the Romans have made this dish their own and it can be found on almost every trattoria menu, which isn’t to say it’s common or boring. It may be a simple pasta with few ingredients, but it’s one of the most satisfying and tasty and I find myself ordering …

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