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Sip Snap Savor

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Check out our new website home.
I always thought web design was scary and hard.

But if you break it up into small chunks it's completely manageable. Just like with any project, take it one step at a time and before you know it hills, valleys and miles & miles of beautiful terrain have gone by.

So tip some of your 40 out tonight.
Then go tackle something, you've been meaning to tackle.
It feels TERRIFIC to accomplish and to eliminate road blocks. Even if it's a simple road block that is easy for everyone else...

G'night night friends.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bacon Curing & Sausage Making

Making Sausage, Chez Poulet Style

Walking into the Chez Poulet kitchen - it was romantically lit with diffused sunlight and the occasional bright smiles of the few people (Photographer Puck and his friend Christina along with Renee, girlfriend of Resident Rick) standing around watching the action. Poulet Resident, Neal, was slicing pork into 1/2" pieces to accommodate the meat grinder that stood at the ready.

Neal had made sausage, once before to "figure it out, cuz it seemed easy and I was curious about it!"

He'd steeped his pork in Cayenne Pepper Flakes, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Brown Sugar and Salt & Pepper, before slicing it down into smaller strips for grinding. Once ground, he'd encase the meat and eventually smoke it. In times gone by, he'd created witty food combinations like Lavendar Lamb Meat Sausages & a Red Wine-Infused Mint Sausage.

Steps to Make Sausage
1. Trim off Fat*, then trim into 1/2" to 3/4" strips for the grinder.
* You want a 70:30 Meat:Fat ratio for making sausages so that there is some adhering going on between ingredients and the fat.

2. Seperate the tendons (sinew) from the meat as well, as the tendons will jam your grinder and they don't impart much flavor, anyway.

3. Grind Meat and any additional ingredients.

4. Using an encasing* attachment on your KitchenAid mixer or an actual Sausage Encaser, begin making** your sausages.

*You can buy Encasings from any butcher or restaurant that makes their own sausages.

** Load encasings onto your kitchen machinery like you would load a condom. They look very similar.

5. Smoke* the Sausages and Store them for eating in either the fridge or freezer.
*Decide if you are going to do a Cold Smoke or Hot Smoke.

Curing Bacon for Breakfast or Dinner

Basic Cure:
-50 Grams of Sodium Nitrate (gives the meat color)
-450 Grams of Salt
-225 Grams of Sugar

Stir the ingrediants together and make a dry brine.

You need 50 Grams of Dry Cure for every 3LB Pork Belly.

1. Rub Dry Cure into the Meat
2. Then Decide if you are making Sweet or Savory Bacon.
3. Finish curing your Pork Belly after the Dry Rub with proper ingredients of your choosing to make the bacon of your liking.

Breakfast Bacon:
-125ml of good quality Maple Syrup
-Sprinklings of Fresh Ground Pepper and Brown Sugar

Blend these ingredients together and then add to pork belly. Let Pork Belly rest in a refridgerator for 7-9 days. Smoke it for 20 minutes in a smoker and then you can slice (thick or thin cut) and fry it up for breakfast.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rick & Mike's Top Fifteen Charcuterie Quotes & Tips

"It was like drinking Phil's coffee for the first time and wondering what the fuck you've been drinking this whole time" - Rick Abruzzo, comparing store bought bacon to home cured bacon

Mike & Rick, of Chez Poulet, have been friends for 10 Years. They work together to offer neighborly instructional how-to's in the kitchen. Next on the docket for them is cheesemaking and possiby pâté. They are easy to learn from, really know their subjects and are very passionate about food. They are also humble and honest. The best kind of teachers.

1. Use fantastic, amazing ingredients. It really makes a difference. Use high quality maple syrup for your breakfast bacon.

2. Cut off the skin from the pork belly, BEFORE you smoke it. It's easier to remove it before you smoke it.

3. Load casings like condoms.

4. Put a little cold water in the tray below your encasing machine, so the fresh sausages don't stick to your tray.

5. "I hate vegans and Cafe Gratitude!"

6. Twist after every other link, spin casing to create the links.

7. Get Pork Belly from the butcher and ask for the more square shaped pices. The end pieces (Tail Pieces) are more oval shaped and you can't slice them as easily into what looks like normal slices of bacon.

8. Allow flavors to really express themselves, be natural. Figure out how things are REALLY supposed to taste. Its amazing to taste test store bought, mass produced stuff (thats usually flash-brined) and stuff you can easily make at home. The difference is astounding.

9. Cold Liquid (Water or Wine) will help evenly distribute your sausage seasonings.

10. Meat & fat are like oil & water. they don't want to stick together. You'll have to really mix it up and keep blending it to get it cohesive.

11. Cold Smoke = Under 100 degree (Think: Prosciutto or Salmon) / Hot Smoke is 150 degrees and up (Think: Kilbasa)

12. Good sausages are THOROUGHLY mixed before you go to encase them. If you don't mash & mix everything you end up with an uncoagulated meat blend.

13. For an advanced bacon cure try: Coffee, Cinnamon, Cloves & Maple Syrup.

14. Warmth, is sometimes not your friend. Use ice to keep your meat cold when you are handling it. And refridgerate immediately.

15. "Don't dream too far or get too carried away. Think of something simple like a pan roasted cannoli. Always good, always easy. Take your sausage combinations from there."

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

re-purposing & the waste hierarchy

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a novelty concept from the 1990's.
The waste hierarchy refers to the 3Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability. The 3Rs are meant to be a hierarchy, in order of importance.

The waste hierarchy has taken many forms over the past decade, but the basic concept has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimisation strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.

Chicken John would like to spread a message of re-purposing. Taking items that are broken, worn or old and putting in a little elbow grease to make them working and new again. The bus (above) is a prime example. It was re-purposed to take people on fun excursions to film showings, festivals and art shows.

What are you capable of re-purposing?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chez Poulet - San Francisco, CA

Poulet Kitchen: Cesar Chavez Blvd, San Francisco CA
When you walk down Cesar Chavez Blvd in San Francisco, there are day laborers everywhere. Ironically, enough. There are also new dining hot spots, old time taquerias and colorful murals. An elementary school around the corner from the Grande Dame's house, Chicken John's Casa. An edifice that houses 7 people, a rooftop hangout area, a musical space resplendant with stage, church pews, many bicycles, theatre practice space and a large kitchen leading to a nice, grassy knoll.

This Sip.Snap.Savor took place almost entirely in the kitchen, except for a short visit with Sometime SF Mayoral Candidate, Chicken John, himself, in the foyer. He was welding and "re-purposing" a shelving unit for inside the house.

Our hosts, Matt & Rick led a tutoral on basic charcuterie (meat curing) for what started out as 20 people and morphed into at least 45 people by the time we'd left. For a $3 community donation, each person was able to use the bacon curing station and the 4 sausage making stations. Each person brought their own meats and items and waited patiently for "class" to start, with beers and wine.

When everyone was done slicing their meats, trimming fat, concocting marinades, rubs and cures, grinding their ingrediants and sluicing them into sausages -- they stored their ziplocks full of meat in the fridge (adorned with Salin Palin art). Everyone was quick to schlep their meat from ice buckets to ziplocks in the fridge to avoid bacteria growth and contamination.

Then the good times started, with bacon samples and beers being handed out across the room, hand over fist. Neighborly-like.

(anonymous vegan keepin' it real)

Stay tuned for tales of sausage making and bacon curing and a complete step-by-step guide on how to re-create this experience in your own home.

**pictures by Le Meems. Jamie G. was giving a speech (clap clap clap)!!

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