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In Scott's Kitchen Recipe

Miso-Rye Caraway Sables, #Baketogether

OK, I’m on a Miso-Rye tear. It’s my new thing. It will pass, but I’ll certainly make these delicious crackers again! They’re really terrific. Thanks to Abby Dodge again for another good recipe we can mess with. I used a pumpernickel flour, because my local bulk food co-op place was out of rye flour. The help told me pumpernickel is just coarse rye flour. It worked well.

Miso-Rye Caraway Sables (adapted from Abby Dodge’s Spicy Parmesan Sables)

1/2 all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Rye or Pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-2 tablespoons white miso (red miso would be fine too)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 slices, well chilled
3 tablespoons very cold water, maybe a little more
Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)

To make the dough:
1. Put the flour, cheese, and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and miso and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses depending on your machine. Add the caraway seeds. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that are just beginning to clump together, about 8 or 9 more pulses depending on your machine.

2. Dump the moist crumbs onto the un-floured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of you hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. (This is called fraisage. See Abby’s original recipe for pictures) Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears.  Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a log, fatter for bigger crackers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days. (I threw mine in the freezer for 30 minutes)

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time,  until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
4. The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables in a heavy duty zip top bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325°F to refresh the flavors.

Scott’s Notes: The miso makes these brown very nicely, but be careful they go quickly to burnt. I lost track of how much water I used at 3 tablespoons. It wasn’t a whole tablespoon more though. The rye flour is pretty dry. My parmesan was fairly dry and I grated it on the large size of a box grater, so chunks of it survived the mixing process. That turned out to be a good thing. I have no idea what made the white dots that show in the photo. Let me know if you have ideas/theories about that.


Pistachio Cheesecake for #BakeTogether

This month’s challenge for #BakeTogether was cheesecake. I love pistachios and have some pistachio oil on hand thanks to our trip to Paris. It was a good time to use some.

The first one I made was a bit of a disaster. My cookie crumbs were “gone over” as they say, but I didn’t notice until the whole thing was baked. I also think I used too much pistachio oil in the first one, the taste was kind of overpowering. But then fully chilled it might have been fine. I threw it out and started over.

We had the second one last night for dessert during the Academy Awards party we attended. I won the Oscar statue for getting 18 of 24 awards right! Everyone was very complimentary about the cheesecake. I thought it good, but I must admit my favorite is still the one my mom made growing up: Luscious Lemon Cheesecake, from Suburbia Today magazine November 1964.

Pistachio Cheesecake (Adapted from Abby Dodge)

For the crust:
 2 cups (9 ounces) finely crushed crisp chocolate cookies
•    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
•    6 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter, melted or unsalted butter & a pinch of salt

For the filling:

▪    3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
▪    3 tablespoons all purpose flour
▪    Good pinch of  table salt
▪    1 1/3 cups (9 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
▪    1 cup of hulled pistachios
▪    1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
▪    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste
▪    1 tablespoon pure pistachio oil
▪    4 large eggs, at room temperature

To make the crust:
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a piece of aluminum foil and clasp the outer ring over the foil so the edges hang outside the ring. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, & sugar until well blended. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix until well blended.

2. Dump the crumbs into the springform pan and cover with large piece of plastic wrap. Place your hands on the plastic wrap and press the crumbs about 2 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.(The plastic wrap will keep the crumbs from sticking to your hands.) With the plastic wrap still in place, redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and firmly press down to make a compact layer. I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat bottom for this task.. Bake until the crumbs are fragrant, about 12 minutes and set on a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

To make the filling:

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt until very smooth and no lumps remain. It’s very important for the cream cheese to be lump free at this point so stop and scrape the beater and sides of the bowl frequently.

Put the pistachios and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind together until fine.

Add the sugar and nut mixture, sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and smooth, stopping to scrape beater and bowl several times.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended, stopping to scrape beater and bowl before each addition. (Don’t over beat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Tap the bowl several times on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Using the tip of a small knife or a toothpick, pop any air bubbles on the surface.

2. Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like jello when nudged, 60-75 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight or up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen up to 1 month. I served mine at cool room temperature, but would probably prefer it right from the fridge.

To serve:

Have a flat serving plate ready and close by. Unclasp the pan’s ring, remove it, and using the excess foil, gently nudge and lift the cake to be sure it’s released. Using the foil, carefully lift the cheesecake and slide it onto the serving plate and center it.. Tear off one side of the foil close to the cheese cake. On the opposite side of the cake, gently pull the remaining foil  out from the cheesecake. (If you are topping the cake with something yummy, do so now.) Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.



French Macarons are all the rage here in the Bay Area. I actually never tasted one until we were in Paris and then I only had one or two. There were so many yummy things to get around to eating there. In retrospect we should have gone in Laudrée, the bakery known for macarons, when we walked past it. I just never imagined they were as glorious as they are. I guess mainly because I’ve never found meringues that interesting.

I set about learning to make these delectable cookies when we got back from Paris. I’ve tried three different recipes and finally have one that works for me. I’ve read dozens of them to get to this point. I’ve kind of gleaned a little here and there.

I’ll point you to One Vanilla Bean’s blog post for details on how to make good macarons. I must say I vary on a couple of minor points: fresh eggs work fine for me, right from the fridge. I have backyard hens, and used their eggs both times I’ve made the recipe. I always run my almond meal-powdered sugar through a sieve. I swear not doing so messed up one of my earlier test runs.

Getting everything folded together is the most challenging part for me. I tended to under mix. That’s better than over mixing, but getting it just right gives you nice feet, but not running feet. Cecilia’s picture of the mix falling off the spatula is particularly helpful.

I also have a cheat. I bought this silpat like item from, the Mastrad Small Macarons Baking Sheet. It sure helps me make all the shells the same size. I’m not that good with a piping bag. I spray it with a little canola oil to make doubly sure no sticking.


For the filling I took inspiration from Mardi of She very recently filled some macarons with Meyer Lemon Curd and a special blackberry jam. I made lemon curd from our Meyer lemons and I already had a jar of blackberry jam from Amber in the fridge.


I pity the boule. #BakeTogether

I liked the #BakeTogether Peasant Boule I made last week well enough that I wanted to make it again. It was so tasty as sandwich bread that I decided to vary the recipe slightly again and make it into a traditional loaf. It was barely cool before I sliced off the end and ate it with European butter. Mmmm!

This time I did much the same, but left out the baking powder. Not sure I notice a difference.

It did take a bit longer to bake, but that was probably due to me setting the temperature at 350°F accidentally.

Update: I did this again making it rye. See the note at the bottom.

Whole Wheat Loaf (adapted from Abby Dodge)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/3 cups warm water (about 110°F)
1 tablespoon butter melted

1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water, add yeast to proof. Wait until you see a foamy top to continue. If you don’t after 10 minutes your yeast may not be alive. Don’t proceed unless you yeast is doing it’s job.
2. In a large bowl of electric stand mixer, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder. Clip the bowl into the mixer stand and fit the mixer with the dough hook.
3. With mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the water/yeast into the flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. It shouldn’t be too sticky at this point. Slight sticky is fine.
4. Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly oil a rising bucket (or mixing bowl) and pop the dough, rounded side down, turn over. Cover the top securely. Let the covered dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Punch down the dough, smooth it out and let it rise in the bucket again until doubled, another 45 minutes or so.
6. Oil or butter a standard loaf pan. I use olive oil spray.
7. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and press to deflate it. Shape the dough into a flatish oblong shape. Pull the sides and ends towards the middle, pinching to get them to stick together. Turn over and place in loaf pan.
8. Let the dough rise covered in a warm spot until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the dough is rising. Brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter. Bake 40 – 50 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you knock on it’s bottom and be nicely browned all around.

Rye Variation:  substitute dark or light rye flour for the whole wheat flour and add 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds. Mine turned out fairly dense, but tastes good. It may take a bit longer to rise.


Peasant Boule #BakeTogether

As Barbara of Creative Culinary just noticed, there seems to be a treatment facility for #CharcutePalooza addicts and it’s called #BakeTogether. Abby Dodge has been heading the project for a few months now. I just heard about it through other paloozers. The idea is to take Abby’s recipe, modify it and post your results. Come and go as you like, not a lot of rules. I need motivation to post more often, so I thought I’d take a stab at her boule, the January project.

It all starts with her recipe. I made some modifications, mainly switching out some for white flour for whole wheat, and active dry yeast instead of instant. I was dubious about the baking powder, originally leaving it out and then deciding to put it in. I’ve never made a yeast bread with it before and I’ve been baking bread for 40 years. (Eek, maybe I shouldn’t admit that number.) I’m not exactly clear on what it’s role is here. If I was a real food blogger, I’d make it again today without and do a blind taste test. But, that ain’t gonna happen.

I rise dough in a plastic bucket like thing from the restaurant supply place. Over time theses are replacing my plastic storage containers. They’re inexpensive, like $3.49 plus $1.49 for the lid, and perform better. I have several sizes. You can buy them from King Arthur online at an exorbitant markup.

This is the picture after the first rise. Contrary to the original recipe I also went for a second rise.
My final change to the recipe was to do the final rise in my brotform proofing basket. I sprayed it lightly with olive oil spray, dusted it with flour and that’s what makes the pretty spiral on the top.

I served it at a dinner party last night and it was a big hit. Just the right amount of whole wheat to give it some flavor, but not to weigh it down. However, I think it was best this morning as toast. Super yummy, the expensive European butter probably helped too.

Whole Wheat Peasant Boule (adapted from Abby Dodge) Makes 1 round loaf

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups warm water (about 110°F)
water bottle for misting the oven(optional)

1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water, add yeast to proof.
2. In a large bowl of electric stand mixer, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder. Clip the bowl into the mixer stand and fit the mixer with the dough hook.
3. With mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the water into the flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. It shouldn’t be too sticky at this point. Slight sticky is fine.
4. Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly oil a rising bucket (or mixing bowl) and pop the dough, rounded side down, turn over. Cover the top securely. Let the covered dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Punch down the dough, smooth it out and let it rise in the bucket again until doubled, another 45 minutes or so.
6. If you have a proofing basket get it ready. Otherwise grease up an 8-inch round cake pan with some room temperature butter.
7. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and press to deflate it. Shape the dough into a 7-inch-wide round and place it, smooth side up, in the center of the prepared basket or pan.
8. Let the dough rise covered in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the dough is rising. If using the rising basket you’ll need to have a pizza stone in the oven to invert the boule onto. Or you could put a cookie sheet in the oven to invert it on. When ready, mist the oven with your water bottle, invert the boule onto the stone and close the oven. Bake 5 minutes and mist the oven again. This will give you a crisp crust. Omit the misting if you want a softer crust. Bake and additional 30 – 40 minutes. The boule should sound hollow when you knock on it’s bottom and be nicely browned all around.


Showing Off, #CharcutePalooza month 12

Bresaola, Lonzino Style Pork Leg Ham, Salami, Duck Breast “Proscuitto”


Showing off? I can do that. I’ve been doing it all year; serving my homemade Charcuterie to all our dinner guests. Well, except for the occasional vegetarian meal. I planned a dinner for eight. It went off without a hitch Saturday December 3, other than it might have been a tad too much food. Everyone left stuffed.

English Pork Pie
English Pork Pie
Bucatini ala Gricia
Bucatini ala Gricia
Andouille Shrimp & Grits with a Sopressata Beignet(recipe below)
Andouille Shrimp & Grits with a Sopressata Beignet(recipe below)
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Thanks to Cathy and Kim for putting #Charcutepalooza together. Thanks also to our sponsors D’Artangnan, Trufflepig, Kate Hill & Food52. Big thanks to Michael Ruhlman for his year long support, answering the questions of the masses. Thanks also to Brian Polcyn for his part in the book that inspired all this cured meat making. Finally, thanks to Josh, Howard’s nephew, for the awesome camera and lights that helped me take much better photos.

What a year of meat it’s been. I’ve learned so much this year and will use many of the techniques going forward. At first, I thought dealing with hog casings was kinda gross. That is, until I met my first bung. I now know that it was also my last bung. I know my limits.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never made any Charcuterie, go make some Duck “Proscuitto” it’s super easy and you really don’t need anything specialized to make it. Its just duck breast, salt, cheesecloth and time. Michael Ruhlman’s online recipe is here. A more detailed recipe is at WrightFood. If you don’t have a basement or cool place to hang it, just hang it in your fridge. Weigh it before you hang it and it’s ready when it’s lost 30% of it’s weight. If you don’t have a scale, just wait a week or two and squeeze it. If it’s firm and no longer squishy, it’s ready. It’s buttery delicious and you’re friends and family will rave about it. Go. Cure.


Sopressata Beignets

4 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 – 1/2 cup Sopressata cut into small pieces
Oil for frying

Make the choux pastry: heat the butter and water in a heavy saucepan until the butter has melted. Add the flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms and the mass no longer sticks to the sides, about a minute. This cooks out the flour taste too.

Off the heat, beat in the eggs. You can do this with a mixer or by hand with a whisk. Either way, add the a little at a time to prevent scrambling. Mix in Sopressata.

Fry in hot 375°F oil until brown and cooked through. Small ones for about 3-4 minutes. Break one open to make sure they’re done all the way through. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle while hot with salt.

They may be kept warm in a 200°F oven for a few minutes while you fry up the batch. However, they’re best served right away.

Recipes in: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.


Binding, #CharcutePalooza month 8

In the past year or so I’ve helped “harvest” our Thanksgiving turkey, had to cull a sick chicken from my flock and dealt with pig intestines and cow stomach like pouch that smelled funky. All of these have tested me. They’ve all been challenges that I’ve faced, gotten through and felt good about. However, I’m not ready to boil a pig head. From what I understand, it’s not the most pleasant smell. Usually, it’s smells that bother me the most in these situations. 

So, I chickened out and made a mousseline for this month’s Charcutepalooza Challenge. I had grand ideas of taking the recipe in the book and modify it to stunning results. I didn’t quite have that in me this month either. Last month’s challenge kind of took the wind out of my enthusiasm. I know it shouldn’t have, but some other factors have been weighing on me too. But, you don’t come here to hear about my problems, so I’ll get back to making the mousseline.

There’s just two of us in the house and the two big terrines that the book’s recipe makes was going to be way too much. I had procrastinated so long that there was only a few days left in the month, with no dinner parties on the horizon to use the terrine for either. So, I made a half recipe and used it two ways.

I have this great little metal French mold who’s bottom comes off and it’s sides detach and the finished product from it fitsIMG_1107 perfectly on a cracker. It’s been in my collection of kitchen gear for a long time, originally getting it for an all hors d’oeuvres party that I prepared recipes mostly from Martha Stewart’s Hors D’Ooeuvres Handboook. It’s actually one of my favorite cookbooks to consult when having a big party.

In Martha’s book she also makes terrines in it. The cooked leek greens are overlapped on a piece of plastic wrap and it all fit very nicely into the mould. Onto the scallop and crab mousseline. IMG_1010The cream is heated with saffron and cooled. Then in the food processor you puree the scallops with the cream and egg whites. The scallops were still very icy and the result was basically scallop ice cream. Hmm. There’s an idea there somewhere, but I didn’t have time to pursue it.
The chives and crab are folded in and then put into the mould. I saved enough on the side for my second recipe. The leeks are folded over and trimmed. Then the whole thing goes into a hot water bath and the oven. This small of a terrine didn’t take long to cook, somewhere around 30 minutes. The book’s recipe has you weight it down at this point, but that wasn’t really possible with the mould so I skipped that step and you’ll see some air holes in the resulting terrine. Nothing too dramatic though, I certainly didn’t think it detracted much from the final product.

The un-used mousseline was augmented by a little bit more crab for texture reasons andIMG_1036 I stuffed ravioli with them. I took the shortcut of using round pot-sticker wrappers for the ravioli, something I do quite often. They’re a bit thicker than won ton wrappers so I like them better.

I felt they needed a fairly simple preparation so as to not cover up the delicate flavors of the filling. I browned some butter in a pan, added some chopped leeks leftover from the terrine and threw in a handful of crab. The ravioli cooked quickly in boiling water and were tossed into the pan. I sautéed them for a couple of minutes letting them get a bit brown and crusty on the outside. They were outstanding.

Yesterday I had the chance to serve the terrine as an appetizer at an impromptu dinner that we got invited to. It was delicious. We ate it on crackers and just slices by themselves. Both were really good, but all alone the subtle flavors were highlighted better. Crackers on the bland side worked better and I imagine toast points would have been optimal.

I’m definitely going to use this recipe again as a ravioli filling. Then next time we have a big hors d’oeuvres party the terrine may well make an appearance too. When I’m feeling more flush and creative I’d like to substitute lobster for the crab.

Scallop & Crab Mousseline Ravioli in Leek Brown Butter

Scallop & Crab Mousseline
Pot-sticker wrappers or other pasta for ravioli
Chopped leeks, white & light green only
crab meat

Add a bit more crab to the mousseline if desired, it adds a little more texture. Make the ravioli by putting about one scant tablespoon of the crab mixture on a pot-sticker wrapper. Run a wet finger around the rim of the pot-sticker so that the top one with stick. Seal by pressing down all the way around or pick up and squeeze the two sides together all the way around.

Brown the butter in a large skillet, toss in the leeks and a couple of minutes later some crab. Sauté until lightly brown.

Boil ravioli until they float and then toss into the pan with the butter and leeks. Sauté to lightly brown the ravioli. Serve on hot plates.

Recipes in: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

Comments from previous commenting system:NIC Looks delicious! I shied away from this one for fear that it would be too fishy for me but yours looks really good. I also love the bonus ravioli!
Monday, August 15, 2011 – 02:22 PM

MARDI@EATLIVETRAVELWRITE Scott this is absolutely inspired – I love what you made and the raviolis. A perfect summer Charcutepalooza challenge!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 – 04:12 AM

CATHY  First of all, I WANT that paté mold. Second, I want the ravioli. Third, I think you should just adopt me.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 – 06:39 AM


Stuffing Sausage, #CharcutePalooza month 6

This month’s challenge built on the skills we learned last month in sausage grinding, asking us to stuff that sausage into casings. I choose the poultry category and started racking my brain. I do want to try Michael Ruhlman’s professed favorite from the book, Chicken Sausage with Basil & Tomatoes, but I wanted to also try and create something of my own. It took me several days to think to look at my favorite chicken recipes for inspiration. When I finally did, one jumped out as the exact dish I’d try to re-create in a sausage: Moroccan Chicken. The recipe I follow to make the dish is from The New Basics, a cookbook that has gotten a lot of use since I got it in 1989 or so.

I looked at a few more online recipes for Moroccan Chicken for further inspiration. I tweaked the ingredient list from the original recipe a few ways and forged ahead. I started out with some nice organic chicken thighs and good long list of other ingredients. Making the filling was easy, grinding everything together. Stuffing was another story. I had several problems, including having trouble putting the casing onto the stuffer, air bubbles, burst sausages, but I learned several things.

1) Put the stuffer onto the Kitchenaid before trying to put the casings on. For some odd reason it’s easier, I guess because it’s more stable.
2) Don’t tie the end off or you’ll end up with air bubbles.
3) When you twist up the links, give it more twists than you might think. Mine seem to come undone when cooking.
4) Don’t overstuff, they’ll burst both when stuffing and when cooking
5) Blanch for a few minutes in boiling water or beer to keep them from bursting when frying or grilling.
6) Prick the sausages all over to help prevent bursting too.
7) Get someone to help you when the stuffing part comes. It really does take more than two hands. It’s not impossible to do, but it gets frustrating by yourself.

So, how did they turn out? The flavor is spot on. They’re delicious on aIMG_0295 toasted bun with a little mayonnaise and chutney. It’s like the dish, in a sausage. Just as tasty. My one disappointment is with the texture. The recipe probably needs something more as a binder. The sausages don’t hold together if you wanted to cut them open to grill. The filling tends to fall apart. If anyone has suggestions on how to modify the recipe to fix that, I’d love to hear them.

Moroccan Chicken Sausages

2 lbs. 12 ounces chicken thighs
1/4 lb. pork fat
1/4 cup diced apricots
1/4 cup diced dates
1 Tbl. almond flour
1 red onion diced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
about 1 cup mixed black & green olives, pitted & diced
1 Tbl. honey
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger powder
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c dry white wine chilled
1/4 c ice water (optional)

hog casings

Soak hog casing in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse several times before using.

Put meat grinder parts into the freezer. Cut the thighs into chunks and put into the freezer while preparing the rest.

Toss diced apricots & dates with the almond flour. This keeps them from clumping together.

Measure and chop the remaining items. When ready, remove the meat from the freezer and toss everything but the wine together. Grind through the large holes on the grinder into a bowl that’s sitting in ice. After grinding, mix with the paddle of a stand mixer, adding in the chilled wine. You may add a little additional ice water to get it to bind correctly.

Cook a small piece and check the seasoning. Adjust as you see fit.

Chill the meat in the fridge until thoroughly cold again, up to overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Stuff into hog casings and twist into links.


Recipes in:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

These comments are from the previous commenting system.CATHYwow. i love that recipe!

i might omit the almond flour, and add more liquid?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 – 08:35 AM


Excellent tips!  And your coil of sausages is lovely!!! Well done!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 – 01:01 PM

In Scott's Kitchen Recipe

Grinding, #CharcutePalooza month 5

I’ve had the grinder attachment for my KitchenAid Stand mixer for many years. It gets drug out when I’m making giblet dressing at Thanksgiving, but aside from an occasional extruded pasta, that’s about it. This challenge was a good excuse to haul it out.

Merguez, a spicy northern African lamb sausage, was my goal. I got some very nice local lamb shoulder from Ver Brugge, a great butcher shop on College Avenue near the Oakland/Berkeley border. Their friendly butchers are always accommodating. Back at my car I realized I had forgotten the pork backfat. In and out again, $1.53 poorer and I was set.

Back at home I set about chopping the large chunks of boneless shoulder into more manageable size and adding all the ingredients Ruhlman & Polcyn have in the recipe to the bowl. I had written the amounts for half a recipe in the book and when I got to the roasted red peppers I didn’t find the open jar in the fridge I just knew was there. Luckily, the pantry had a jar of roasted piquillo peppers in it. The jar ended up being just the right amount. I used smoked Spanish Paprika, sure that it would add some great flavor. Fresh oregano from the garden was the last item I added. It looked pretty already. Everything got tossed together and then thoroughly chilled in the fridge. Actually, I put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes.IMG_8986

Next came the grinding, which took quite a while. I was actually glad I was only making a half recipe. I was however satisfying to see the grinder getting used and doing a good job.

When it was all ground and mixed with the wine and ice water in the bowl, I fried up a test piece. Spicy? No. Not at all. Maybe my red pepper flakes are getting old. I added more and tested again. Still not spicy. I added some cayenne, even IMG_9014tasting a little to verify it was hot. I tested again and only got a minor hit of heat. I added a little more cayenne and called it a day. I didn’t want to overdo it. Maybe it would get stronger as it “aged.”

A recipe from my standard rotation, that I’ve been making forever, was the perfect use of the merguez. It’s a simple pasta recipe I learned from Jacques Pepin. It’s very adaptable to what’s available and is even good with frozen and/or off season vegetables. Cherry tomatoes are often the best choice of tomato off season. The finished dish is pictured at the top of this post. It was terrific with the merguez, but the merguez never did get very spicy.

Penne with Sausage & Vegetables          Serves 2
Adapted from Jacques Pepin

4-6 ounces sausage, Merguez, Italian, Chicken Apple, any kind
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
6-8 ounces penne pasta (ziti, rigatoni, farfalle, whatever.) Whole wheat works well.
1 stalk broccoli (1/2 pound total)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 – 2 cups of corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/4 – 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/4 teaspoon salt
1- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring salted water to boil for the pasta.

Heat 1/2 of the oil in a wide saute pan over medium high. Add the sausage, and cook until brown and mostly cooked, breaking it up as you do.

Separate the broccoli into flowerets and stalks. Cut both into 1 inch pieces. If the broccoli stems are fibrous you may want to peel them first, I usually don’t. Add them to the pan with the sausage, stir in the garlic, lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook until the broccoli is tender, 5 – 10 minutes. You can add a splash of the pasta water to speed things along.

Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al-dente or your desired doneness.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage and broccoli. Add in the reserved water, the corn, tomatoes and the rest of the oil. Boil for a minute or two to meld everything together and warm the corn and tomatoes.

Serve with topped with the grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Scott’s Notes: The variable amounts in the recipe are to let you make this dish a more meaty one by upping the sausage or a more veggie one by upping the vegetables. The amount of pasta also depends on the people you’re feeding. We’re quite happy with 3 ounces per person, but if you’ve got field hands or teenagers to feed you’ll want to up that.

Recipes in:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

In Scott's Kitchen Recipe

Brine, #Charcutepalooza month 3

The #Charcutepalooza challenge for March was brining. Brining isn’t new to me. I’ve brined turkeys, chickens and pork before. However, I’ve never brined beef. So for this month’s challenge I chose to take on corned beef and pastrami.

I purchased about a 3 pound brisket from Marin Sun Farms at Market Hall in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. I didn’t want anything too big because it’s just the two of us in the house. Plus, neither of us is that excited about the standard corned beef boiled dinner. It’s nice once a year, but even then we’re not that into it. I’ve taken to preparing corned beef a different way over the last few years, but more about that later.

I cut the brisket into two pieces, knowing I’d use the bigger end for our preferred pastrami. I followed the recipe for the brine, including making the recipe for pickling spice. Only later did I realize that I already had a jar of it. Just as well, the homemade looks fresher and better anyway. Once the brine was chilled, the brisket pieces went in and I put a small plate on top to keep them submerged completely. They sat in the back of the fridge for 5 days, with me checking in on them occasionally. Not that they really needed that.P1050758

Out of the brine and washed off, I spread the recommended mixture of cracked coriander and pepper all over the bigger piece and put it into our new smoker. The pastrami recipe stresses that you should try to get as much smoke into the meat as possible. The smoker runs a little hot for cold smoking, so I had to babysit it way more than I like, turning the burner on and off every 15 – 20 minutes so that it didn’t get too hot. Doing so I was able to smoke the pastrami for about 5 hours before it reached the final 150°F temperature. It looked pretty when it came out and smelled heavenly. You can see it sliced in the picture at the top.

As the pastrami was smoking I put the other end of the brisket into the pressure cooker with water, peppercorns and bay leaves. I cranked up the heat under it and cooked it under pressure for one hour. Opening the lid I was shocked at it’s diminutive size. I forgot how corned beef shrinks. It was a good thing just the two of us were having this for dinner.

At this point the corned beef gets studded with whole cloves, smothered in a mustard sauce and baked for one hour. It’s quite different and I’ve come to prefer it to the boiled version. My favorite part of the boiled dinner though, is the potatoes and cabbage and you can still cook them with the juice leftover from the pressure cooking. The baked corned beef recipe follows.

So far the #CharcutePalooza challenges have produced products at home that have been well worth the effort. I’ve never tasted better pancetta than mine. I’m already running low on it and have plans to make another one. I do love the pastrami, and the corned beef turned out fine, but I doubt I’ll brine my own beef again, until maybe next year around this time.

Baked Corned Beef

3 1/2 lbs. Corned Brisket of Beef
2 Bay leaves
6 peppercorns
Whole Cloves

Mustard Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 – 3 Tbsp prepared mustard to taste
1/2-cup brown sugar
5 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp vinegar

Wash beef.  Cook under high pressure in pressure cooker for 1 hour with 3 1/2 cups of water, the bay leaves and peppercorns.

Alternate Method: Cover with cold water and add bay leaves, peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 min. and then remove scum. Cover kettle and reduce heat, simmer 3-4 hrs, until tender.  Proceed as follows.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Put beef into a shallow baking pan.  Dot beef with whole cloves.  (or lightly dust with ground cloves)

In a saucepan combine remaining ingredients.  Cook until blended.  Pour evenly over meat.  Bake in oven for one hour. Slice and serve.

Recipes for both in:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

These comments are from the previous commenting system.
MARDI@EATLIVETRAVELWRITE Your beef is absolutely superb looking!  I couldn’t agree more about everything tasting wonderful that we’ve made so far and it’s all SO EASY!!!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 – 08:53 AM
LEAKY SPOON (PAM) Scott, that recipe sounds heavenly! Your photos are great this month 🙂
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 – 09:47 AM
SKIPTOMAOU I had fun doing this challenge too and my hubs agreed that I should make it more often.  Next time though I I’ll bake it just as you suggested.Thanks Scott!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – 05:24 PM
MRSWHEELBARROW I love the idea of baked corned beef and the mustard sauce is inspired! Thank you for such a fun post. Best, Cathy
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – 05:36 PM
In Scott's Kitchen Recipe

Cheddar Cheese Straws

I’ve seen several chefs on television make ‘quick puff pastry’, but for some reason I’ve never tried it myself. I was always worried that it would end up far inferior to the frozen stuff at the grocery store. A few months ago Martha Stewart had chef Nick Malgieri on her show and he made Food Processor Quick Puff Pastry. I printed out the recipe right away and it’s been in my stack of things to try since.

With our Mardi Gras Party on the horizon I thought it a good time to try out the recipe. I followed it to the letter and worried about how the dough looked, but just stuck it in the refrigerator and hoped for the best. The next day I made a very small batch of cheddar cheese straws to test it out. Looking in during baking I was ready to declare them a disaster, but in the end they were quite delicious and flaky.

I made a bunch of them for the party and they all disappeared. I still had some dough reserved though and we’re having friends for cocktails this afternoon, so I whipped up a fresh batch of cheese straws this afternoon. They’re the ones pictured above.
Cheddar Cheese StrawsIMG_0074
Puff Pastry
White Cheddar Cheese finely grated

Sprinkle the puff pastry with some cheese before you roll it out. Roll it out pressing the cheese into the puff pastry. Cut into strips, twirl them up a little and put on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Throw some more cheese over them if you like.

Bake at 400°F for 12 or so minutes. Cool at least a little before eating.

Substitute any cheese you want. Parmesan works great too.


Kale Chips

Do a Google search for Kale Chips and you’ll get a long list of food bloggers that have been touting this snack. Well, time for me to chime in.
Today when I got back home there was our first CSA organic vegetable box sitting on the front porch. It was nicely filled with good stuff and one thing inside was a bunch of this Lacinato Kale. Perfect time to make kale chips for the first time. All the recipes seem pretty similar, and although some add spices, I stuck to the plain.

They are good, especially if you like the crunchy, slightly bitter, salty combination that they are. Super easy to make too.

Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale (I used lacinato)
1-2 Tbl. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove kale from the stems and tear into bite sized pieces. Wash and spin very dry in a salad spinner.

Toss the kale with the olive oil, and transfer to a couple of baking sheets that have been lined with a silpat, foil, or parchment.

Bake 12-15 minutes until crispy and browned at the edges.

Note: some recipes have you bake longer at 250°F. I think I’ll try that next time. It may make for a more consistent dryness and less dark brown bitter edges.

In Scott's Kitchen Recipe

The Salt Cure, #Charcutepalooza month 2

charcutepalooza_LogoThe #Charcutepalooza challenge for February is The Salt Cure. The main challenge was Pancetta or Guanciale or Bacon. However, other salt cures like, preserved lemons, are acceptable too. I first tried guanciale last year when a friend got ahold of some very inexpensive jowls from Prather Ranch Meat Company at the farmer’s market. He cured it into guanciale and gave us some. We had two delicious pastas with it. I’ve been swearing I’d make it myself since then. I had not gotten around to it yet. I’ve also long been a fan of pancetta, but don’t buy it often because of it’s price. Feeling like being a little adventurous I made both for the challenge.

The pancetta takes longer, so I started with that. It starts off with a pork belly, just like all bacons.P1050487 - Version 2Pancetta is just an unsmoked bacon that is rolled after curing. The belly I used even had one nipple on it. It reminded me that this was pig not long ago. You can see it in the picture to the right. The skin was removed it and then it was rubbed all over with the cure. The cure has more spices than bacon, like nutmeg, juniper berries, bay leaves and there’s garlic in there too. I sealed it up P1050506with the FoodSaver, but didn’t vacuum out all the air. I thought that I’d like to be able to move the cure around a little. Each day for 8 days I turned it and massaged it a little to re-distribute the cure. After 8 days it was firmer and the color had changed a bit. It smelled great when I took it out of the bag.

After washing the spices off and drP1050513ying the belly is rolled up into what was now looking like pancetta. The book is very specific about tying it up at this point. You want absolutely no air pockets in the middle for bacteria to grow in. You can’t tie it too tight. I may have gone a little overboard as I got this deep blister on my left pinkie. I used a lot of string to tie it up. The ends bulged a little from my tying too.

The pancetta hung in the garage for a day or two, but the humidity wasn’t high enough and we were, and still are, having unseasonably warm weather. Into the mini fridge it went. I hooked up my Ranco ETC controller to keep the temperature at 55°F. I didn’t need to do much with the humidity as the fridge defrosted often enough to keep the humidity up in the right range most of the time.


P1050577By now the pork jowls I had ordered from Marin Sun Farms had come in. Time to make guanciale. Except for the rolling, the process is much the same. The cure is a little different too. So the jowls went into a bag with their cure and in the fridge to hang out a few days. After 6 days the were firm and ready to be hung. I’m not sure why, but this recipe calls for hanging in a cool, dry place as opposed to the cool, humid place the pancetta was to hang. The garage was staying cool enough I thought and I hung them there by making a hole in one corner and using extra pot rack hooks to hang them by.
They hung there for 8 days and seemed to qualify as completely stiff, but not hard as the recipe notes. After cutting I noticed that maybe it could have dried a little longer, but I don’t think it will make a significant difference.

So, what to do with all this luscious cured meat? Spaghetti or bucatini all’amatriciana or Spaghetti alla Carbonara springs to most people’s mind. They can be made with either guanciale or pancetta. Both are wonderful, but if you want to showcase the meat more, I prefer Mario Batali’s spaghetti or bucatini alla Gricia.

Bucatini alla Gricia The way I make it for the two of us:

1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive OilP1050623
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
 (more or less to taste)
3-4 oz guanciale or pancetta diced
1 small red onion or half a large one
1 large clove of garlic sliced
6 oz bucatini or spaghetti
1/4 cup pecorino romano or parmesan
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Boil salted water for the pasta. Put bowls or plates into a 200°F oven to warm. Mine fit nicely in the toaster oven.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add red pepper flakes and guanciale or pancetta. Cook until the meat has rendered the fat and is crisp. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion browns. Turn heat to very low or off. Do not drain off the lucious fat.
Cook the pasta until al dente.

Turn heat up in the sauté pan and add the drained pasta. Toss to distribute everything and then add the cheese and half the parsley, tossing again. Divvy it up between two pasta bowl or plates. Garnish with remaining parsley and optionally with a little more cheese.

Note: I use only 3 oz of pasta per person. That seems to be plenty for us. Most recipes use 4 ounces per person, adjust as you see fit. I love bucatini for it’s texture here, but it can be a little difficult to find.

Recipes for both Pancetta & Guanciale in:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

These comments are from the previous commenting system.MARDI@EATLIVETRAVELWRITE Hey Scott – nice post – your pancetta is absolutely gorgeous!  I heartily approve of your choices of recipes for using the pancetta in – my list looks very similar!  LOVE bucatini 🙂
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 – 03:49 AMMOSAICA
Hi Scott,It’s beautiful & encouraging to see how nicely your cured meats have turned out.  Boy, the pancetta is just so handsome!  Reading your post helps me pass the time ’til mine is finished :-)Cheers!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 – 03:26 PMFOONGFEST
Wow, those are some really lovely looking pancetta. Fantastic!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 – 09:41 AM
Recipe Sous-Vide

Sous-vide Buffalo Tri-Tip

Sous-vide is a cooking technique that until a couple of years ago was only possible in a professional kitchen. It is simply cooking with vacuum sealed bags in a water bath kept at a constant temperature. One of my main concerns for the home cook though was food safety. This issue was addressed in a blog post that I stumbled upon. It finally convinced me to try the method. I’m quite happy I did.

The post talked about the author’s use of different controllers to turn a crockP1040890 pot or rice cooker on and off to maintain the constant temperature of the water bath that is required. I ended up ordering the Ranco Electric Temperature Control. A home vacuum sealer, in my case a Foodsaver, is the other necessary piece of equipment, which I’ve had for several years.
So, today I mixed up a marinate and sealed up a nice sized Buffalo Tri-Tip P1040889that came with this month’s meat C.S.A.* It went into the crock pot that was plugged into the Ranco ETC. The temperature probe is left in the water bath and I set the controller for 132°F, medium rare. I got this all going about 11:30 am this morning. I had meant to get it going earlier as I like to cook a tri-tip of this size 8 or so hours. The great thing about the method is that the meat will be medium rare no matter how long you cook it. The texture does transform though and too long of a bath will make for too soft of a texture. With a tough cut of meat like this 8 hours is about right.

P1040900It turned out perfectly. After removing it from the bag, I cut it in half to save part of it for the freezer and grilled the rest for just a few minutes. It was very tender, but still had great texture. The flavors of the marinate, which was miso, soy sauce, honey, garlic, onion and ginger powders, was distinct and tasty. A little salt at the table really brought out the flavors.

Roasted broccoli and fresh tomatoes from the garden rounded out the plate. My dinner plates are looking so similar in these posts! That will surely change when the tomato season ends.


Read about my fist sous-vide experience in my long dead Hawaii Blog here.

Tri-Tip Marinade
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium if possible
1 Tablespoon Red Miso
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon each, garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder


*C.S.A. – Community Supported Agriculture. I.e. buying directly from the farmer.


Indian Spiced Tomato Marmalade

Last year I had some extra tomatoes, but not enough to bother with canning them. I made a half recipe of this marmalade and it was terrific. It’s really good on hard cheese like Spanish Manchego. It’s a combination of savory and sweet. This year, again I don’t really have enough tomatoes to can. So I thought I’d try this recipe again and spice it up Indian style.

Indian Spiced Tomato Marmalade

8 cups peeled, cored, coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 5 pounds)
1 orange
1 lemon
1 Tbl. finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. garam masala
t tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne (more or less to taste)
3 cups sugar

Place tomatoes in large non-reactive heavy bottomed pot. Wash orange and lemon. Peel the thin outer layer of the orange and lemon. Cut into thin strips and add to the pan. Cut away all pith from the remaining lemon and orange. Coarsely chop and add to the pan, along with any juices. Add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until very thick and reduced to about 4 cups, about 2 hours, stirring very frequently to prevent scorching.

Ladle hot marmalade into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Clean rims, top with sterilized lids and screw on bands. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath.

Or omit processing and ladle into freezer jars or other containers leaving ample headspace if freezing. Keeps one month one the refrigerator or one year in the freezer.

This recipe is loosely based on Sunset Home Canning’s Spicy Tomato Marmalade.

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