Tag Archives: meat

Spaghetti, Meatballs and Lady and the Tramp

meatballs spaghetti tastefood

Valentines Day and … Meatballs?

You might be surprised to hear this, but I am not a sweet person. That is, I don’t eat lots of sweets. I prefer savory dishes, and if I indulge in any one department it usually involves salt, not sugar. So, this Valentine’s Day when I found myself thinking of a special meal to prepare for my family, a rich chocolate cake was not at the top of my list. Instead, I will make delicious comfort food, something sating and homey, pleasing to the entire family – and savory, not sweet. So, this is on our menu for the big day: Spaghetti and Meatballs. And don’t tell me that isn’t romantic either;  you need only to look to Lady and the Tramp for inspiration…

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Makes about 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Serves 4.

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti
Whole basil leaves for garnish
Finely grated Parmigiano cheese for serving

Combine the pork, beef, garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano, salt pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Add the egg and  mix in with your hands. Lightly form into 2-inch meatballs. Place on a plate, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, turning gently with tongs or a spatula. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. When all of the meatballs are browned, pour off the oil.

Make the sauce: Without cleaning the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and saute until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by 2/3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Return meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook unitl al dente; drain. Serve spaghetti with meatballs and sauce ladled over. Garnish with basil leaves and grated cheese.

And here are a few sweeter suggestions for your Valentine’s Day from TasteFood:
Chocolate Brownies
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Pots de Creme

Beef Stew with Cognac and Red Wine

Beef Stew TasteFood 1

~ Spirited Beef Stew with Cognac and Red Wine ~

For many days I’ve been saying that it’s Beef Bourguignon weather, so I finally stopped the talk and got cooking. I made this stew over the weekend, and the weather did not relent, gifting us with a deluge of rain worthy of an ark – and a cognac and wine infused beef stew. If you have to experience a torrent of rain, I dare say this kind of food makes it enjoyable – especially when accompanied by a creamy potato gratin, a robust bottle of Zinfandel wine, and a crackling fire.

Beef Stew with Cognac and Red Wine

Ideally start the stew a day ahead of serving. Not only does the flavor improve with time, it allows the fat to rise to the top as it cools. The next day, lift off the solidified fat from the surface before you reheat the stew. Serves 6.

Extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cognac
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (750-ml) bottle full-bodied red wine
1 cup beef or chicken stock
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar

10 ounces pearl onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, halved if large
2 to 3 large carrots, peeled, cut on the diagonal 1/2-inch thick
Fresh thyme sprigs

Pre-heat oven to 300 F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the beef to the pan in one layer without overcrowding. Brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all of the beef is browned. Add cognac to the pot and deglaze, stirring up any brown bits. Reduce by half, then pour the cognac over the reserved beef. Add 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onion, and garlic to the pot. Saute over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften without browning, 3 to 4 minutes. Return beef and cognac to the pot. Add wine, stock, thyme, bay leaves and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake in oven until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Strain the liquid from the stew into a saucepan. Separate the chunks of meat from the vegetables. Return the beef to the dutch oven and discard the vegetables. Boil the liquid until the sauce is reduced by about 1/3 and somewhat thickened. As the sauce boils, skim the fat from the surface (if you are making the stew one day in advance, you may skip this step since the fat will be removed after refrigeration). Stir in the sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the beef. (At this point the stew may be made one day in advance. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. One hour before serving, remove from refrigerator and proceed with recipe).

One hour before serving the stew, prepare the vegetables. Blanch the onions in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute; drain. When cool enough to handle, remove skins; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until light golden, about 3 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Steam or saute the carrots until bright in color and al dente. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Skim any collected fat from the stew. Heat over medium-low heat on the cooktop. Add the onions, mushrooms and carrots to the stew. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until stew and vegetables are hot. To serve, ladle the stew into warm bowls and garnish with fresh thyme.

If you like this, you might enjoy these storm-friendly recipes:
Pork Stew with Prunes and Armagnac from TasteFood
Spanish Red Pepper Stew from Honest Food
Lentil Soup from TasteFood
Farro and Bean Stew from 101 Cookbooks
French Onion Soup from TasteFood

Lambs + Clams: A new contest and a recipe for Moroccan Spiced Lamb

I was delighted to be asked by the folks at The Charleston Wine and Food Festival to participate in a food blog event and contest called Lambs + Clams.  This event will promote the annual festival while celebrating the purveyors and farmers who supply their products to the Charleston region. Four monthly recipe contests will be held in the lead up to the festival which opens February 28, 2013. Each contest will spotlight either lamb, clams or oysters supplied by Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters, both of whom provide their quality products to top chefs and restaurants all over the Eastern seaboard. Each month a winner will be selected by a panel of judges and “fan votes” on the Festival’s facebook page (so feel free to vote, if you like!)

I am flattered and honored to be selected to compete with 7 talented food bloggers (listed below) from around the country in this event. By now you should know I love a good challenge, so I did not hesitate to accept. Let the games begin!

This month the contest kicks off with a challenge to create a recipe for a leg of lamb from Border Springs Farm. You can imagine how excited I was to receive my lamb – the anticipation felt like Christmas. It arrived in a BIG box, and I eagerly unpacked a gorgeous, glistening boneless leg of lamb weighing in at 5.4 pounds. Christmas came early this year.

I love to travel, and when I am not traveling, I bring my bucket list of destinations home to my kitchen for cooking inspiration. With that motivation, I decided to create a lamb recipe fragrant with the heat and spice of northern Africa and made a thick fiery marinade heady with Mediterranean spices, garlic, lemon and mint. One deep whiff made my fingers and toes tingle and transported me to Morocco, the sands of the sahara and an aromatic souk. It was all I could do to keep from slurping it up with a spoon.

I smeared and massaged the lamb with the marinade – yes, that’s right: massaging helps to work the spices into the meat. I could also just say “work the marinade into the meat with your fingers” but massage sounds so much nicer. Then came the hardest part – waiting. The longer the wait, the better. The lamb should marinate overnight, or even for 2 days if you can stand it. (When time is truly an issue, 8 hours will do, but overnight is best).

Once you’ve mastered the waiting part, the recipe is very easy to prepare, and the results are outstanding, yielding a succulent, exotically aromatic leg of lamb with a subtle kick of heat. To serve the lamb, I roasted an assortment of late summer vegetables (chinese eggplant, sweet peppers, onions and zucchini) with olive oil, garlic and salt and scattered them around the meat. There was plenty to share, so a few friends joined us as well,  and we all enjoyed this wonderful pre-Christmas gift of lamb.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Lemon, Mint and Yogurt

Ground cumin and coriander may be substituted for the seeds, however the flavor is best if you toast and grind your own seeds. Serves 6 to 8.

Marinade:
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro sprigs (or Italian parsley)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
Zest from one lemon
1 tablespoon Sriracha or harissa
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3-4 pound boned leg of lamb, butterflied

Yogurt Sauce:
1 1/2 cups Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the marinade: Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar with pestle and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add remaining marinade ingredients and whisk to blend. Make small incisions in the fat and meat of the lamb. Rub the marinade all over the lamb, massaging it into the meat and folds with your fingers. Place lamb in a rimmed baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

One hour before roasting, remove the lamb from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. If grilling, prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat. Grill the lamb for 10 minutes over direct heat to sear, skin-side down, turning once. Move to indirect heat and grill, covered, turning once or twice, until medium-rare (a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part will read 130 F), 20 to 30 minutes. If roasting, place lamb in a roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 425 F. oven, skin-side up, for about 30 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Finish under a broiler, skin side up, for a few minutes to brown meat. Allow lamb to rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before carving.

To make the yogurt sauce, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Arrange the lamb on a serving platter. If you roasted vegetables, scatter them around the lamb. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with the yogurt sauce.

For more Lambs+Clams inspiration, visit my fellow food bloggers and check out their recipes:

Peter @ A Cook Blog
Olga @ Mango Tomato
David @ eat drink RI
Gwen @ Bunkycooks
Heather @ Farmgirl Gourmet
Cecilia @ One Vanilla Bean
Vivek @ Vivek’s Epicurean Adventure

Sunday Supper: Braised Short Ribs and Sweet Potato Mash

~ Braised and Glazed Beef Short Ribs ~

Never mind that September is the “real” summer in San Francisco. As you may know, in the Bay area our summer months are characterized by mist and fog and accessorized with fleece. September and October are the glorious weather months, brandishing golden sunshine, warm days and air as soft as butter.

Even still.

Once school starts up and Labor Day is crossed off the calendar, I can’t help myself. I start fingering my woolies, eyeing the fireplace, and reaching for my Dutch-oven. Sundays become slow-food days, meant for braises, stews and roasts, accompanied by squidgy mashes and bubbling gratins, with the aroma of meat and spice wafting through the house. It may be warm outside in San Francisco, but the smells of fall are in the air – and in the kitchen.

Braised and Glazed Short Ribs
Serves 4 to 6

8 4-inch short ribs with bone, 3 1/2 – 4 pounds
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium daikon radish, peeled and chopped, about 1 cup
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 750-ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce

Heat oven to 325 F (170 C). Sprinkle the short ribs all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy oven-proof pot with lid over medium-high heat. Brown the short ribs on all sides, in batches, without overcrowding the pan. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot. Add onion, carrot, daikon and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat, scraping up brown bits, until vegetables brighten in color and begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, coriander and chili powder. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to blend. Return short ribs to the pot, submerging in the wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off. Remove from heat and cover. Transfer pot to oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 F. Transfer short ribs to a roasting pan or baking dish. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Brush the meat with the reduced sauce. Place roasting pan in oven and roast ribs until they are glazed and beginning to crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve with Sweet Potato Mash.

If you like this, you  might enjoy these recipes:
Beer-Braised Chipotle Short Ribs from TasteFood
Korean-Braised Short Ribs from Appetite for China
Beef Bourguignon from TasteFood
Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Ginger and Scallion Beef from Rasa Malaysia

Spiced Meatballs with Cranberry Compote, Yogurt and Dill

It’s time to get fresh and meaty. I created this recipe for an upcoming class I am teaching at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, California on Scandinavian cooking. While traditional Scandinavian cooking may be heavy and meat focused (especially in the winter) it delightfully tips to an abundance of fresh produce in the warmer, brighter summer months. This recipe marries the Nordic climate extremes with a spin on the Swedish meatball, which is traditionally pan-fried and then napped with a warm cream sauce. These ground meat patties are transformed into fun finger food, freshened and brightened with tufts of parsley and dill. The heavy sauce is replaced by crisp lettuce leaves for wrapping  and a sweet-piquant cranberry compote and a dab of yogurt.  Continue reading Spiced Meatballs with Cranberry Compote

Irish Beef Stew

I admit that I usually don’t get all hyped up about St. Patrick’s Day, but I do get excited about unique ingredients for cooking. So, as promised, here is the second post inspired by a bottle of Guinness Stout (that we somehow managed not to drink this week) which is a wonderful excuse to cook an Irish-themed meal for St. Patrick’s Day. Irish Beef Stew with Guinness is a no-nonsense kind of stew that you would expect from your mother or grandmother. Fortified with stout beer and sturdy root vegetables, this hearty no-frills stew will warm and comfort you – just like a woolen fleece on a misty grey day.

Irish Beef Stew

As most stews go, this is a humble and forgiving recipe. Add your favorite root vegetables and serve with mashed potatoes. Serves 6.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups stout beer
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large rutabaga, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
1 large parsnip, cut in 3/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches to pot in one layer, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef. Return beef to pot and add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook stirring, one minute. Add stock, beer, thyme, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock or beer to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Transfer pot to oven. Bake until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
While the meat is cooking heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet or large pot over medium heat. Add vegetables and lightly sprinkle with salt. Saute the vegetables until they brighten in color and begin to take on a golden hue, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove beef from oven. Skim any fat on the surface of the liquid with a spoon. Add vegetables to the beef, stirring to combine. Return beef to the oven, uncovered. Bake one hour, stirring once or twice, until the sauce is slightly reduced, the vegetables are tender and the meat is fork-tender. Remove and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with mashed potatoes.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes:
Cassoulet from TasteFood
Senegalese Lamb Stew from Leite’s Culinaria
Pork Stew with Prunes and Armagnac from TasteFood
Polish Hunters Stew from Simple Recipes
West African Chicken and Peanut Stew from Kalyn’s Kitchen

The Grand Finale: Charcutepalooza Cassoulet

~ Duck, Sausage and White Bean Stew ~

Finally the finale. The year of meat has come to an end. This month is the last Charcutepalooza challenge, which requires a menu, platter or composed dish incorporating 3-4 of the charcuterie items prepared over the year. My first inclination was to prepare a platter, because, frankly, this is how I best prefer to enjoy charcuterie – on a large wooden board with an array of little bowls filled with pickles, mustard, black peppercorns and sea salt, accompanied by slabs of country style bread (and just a little cheese.)

~ Caramelized Home-cured Bacon, Boar & Pork Pate, Pork Rillettes ~

But this is the finale, so something more substantial and celebratory than a charcuterie board is in order. December is holiday season, and nothing speaks more to our Danish family than duck at Christmas. And what better way to celebrate duck than with a cassoulet – a French white bean stew brimming with duck leg confit, sausage and bacon. This version is not an authentic cassoulet, as I had to use whatever homemade charcuterie I had in the freezer or could make on short notice. So, I am calling it a Charcutepalooza Cassoulet – or a Duck, Sausage and White Bean Stew.

Duck, Sausage and White Bean Stew

Start with uncooked white beans for best results – canned beans will turn mushy. If you don’t have access to duck confit, then substitute with an additional pound of duck breast. Serves 4-6.

1 cup dried cannelini beans or northern beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound duck breast (1 large), skin removed and reserved for another use
1/2 pound mild pork sausage
1/4 pound bacon, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (15 ounces) plum tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 confit duck legs, boned, meat shredded

Bring beans and 4 cups (1 liter) of water to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof pot with lid or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and duck breasts in batches without overcrowding. Brown on all sides. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, halve each sausage and cut duck breasts in 2 inch chunks.
Add bacon to the pot. Saute until lightly brown and fat renders. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery.  Saute until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any brown bits; reduce by half. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. Stir in beans and return sausage and  duck breast to the pot, submerging in the stock. (If necessary, add more stock to cover.) Cover and transfer to oven. Cook until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and stir in the duck confit. Return to oven and cook, partially covered, for an additional 1 hour.

What is Charcutepalooza?
An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and partnering with Food52 and Punk Domestics. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.

The Boar and the Pig: Pâté de Campagne

~ Boar Pâté with Cranberries and Pistachios ~

Any excuse I have to make pâté is a gift, so this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge (packing) was a bit like an early Christmas. In charcuterie terms, packing involves jamming a terrine with ground spiced meat, spirits, eggs and cream and baking it in a water bath.  The resulting baked brick of spiced and fortified meat is weighted down and banished to the refrigerator to sit for a day or two to become comfortable with it’s brash flavorings while anticipation builds –  just as it would the day before Christmas as you eye unopened presents placed beneath the tree. When the time is right (2 days at least) the terrine is retrieved from the refrigerator and its wrapping discarded, uncovering a rich, meaty country pâté, chunky with nuts and fruit.

I have fiddled with this recipe over the years, and lately become enamored of wild boar. Boar reminds me of Europe, where it is a frequent ingredient in charcuterie. It may be purchased in specialty stores, through a butcher or mail order. Boar is a flavorful meat, kind of a cross between pork and lamb, that lends depth to the pâté. Since it’s so lean, it’s important to combine it with a fattier cut of meat such as pork shoulder.

Country Pâté with Boar, Cranberries and Pistachios

This pâté is a perfect appetizer or easy dinner with cheese and salad. Begin at least two days before serving to allow the flavors to develop. (Veal may be substituted for the boar.)

Serves 20

1 pound ground boar shoulder (or veal)
1 pound ground pork shoulder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus extra for greasing terrine
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Calvados
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Coarsely ground peppercorns for garnish

If you are grinding your own meat, then cut the boar and pork in 3/4 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, coriander and cloves. Mix to thoroughly coat the meat. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Grind with a meat grinder before proceeding.

If you are using ground meat, combine boar and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, coriander and cloves. Mix thoroughly; refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Remove meat from refrigerator. Add bacon and return to refrigerator while you prepare the onions. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent but not brown, 6 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir into the meat.
Combine eggs, cream and calvados in a small bowl. Add to meat and mix well.
Butter a loaf pan or terrine. Press one third of the meat into the terrine. Sprinkle evenly with half of the pistachios and cranberries. Press another third of the meat into the terrine. Top with remaining pistachios and cranberries. Cover with remaining meat. Cover terrine tightly with foil. Prick 2-3 holes in the foil. Place terrine in a baking pan. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake in oven until meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 155 F. about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and remove terrine from the water bath. Place a terrine press over the pate (or a cutting board with cans on top) and cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator and let sit 1-2 days before serving. To serve, un-mold pate. Scrape off any congealed fat. Cut in slices, ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with additional peppercorns if desired. Serve with cornichons, Dijon-style mustard and fresh French baguette or peasant bread.

What is Charcutepalooza?
An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and partnering with Food52 and Punk Domestics. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce


~  Marinated Skirt Steak, Chimichurri Sauce and a Grill ~

I swore I was going to try to eat a little less meat. Well, I guess I shouldn’t swear. And I certainly couldn’t plan on a last minute summer trip to visit friends in the wild west earlier this month. As they say, never look a gift horse in the mouth, and when the gift is a generous invitation to visit not one family but two families at their respective homes in Wyoming and Idaho, you must seize the moment, thank the lucky stars for your friendships, and buy lots of wine as hostess gifts. And make that red wine, because, in the west, you will be eating copious quantities of delicious red meat.

~ Grand Teton National Park ~

I am convinced that the Rocky Mountains’ high altitude, dry air, and vast landscape will make anyone a carnivore. Bison, buffalo, elk and beef have a place on all menus. Prefer a whiter meat? There’s plenty of pork, chicken and turkey, too. (And no worries if you are not a meat eater. This is the land where the Snake River does it’s snaking – winding and looping its way along the border of Wyoming and Idaho, stocked full of bass and trout.). But this post is about the meat.  One day, we prepared this skirt steak recipe for our dinner. It was submerged in a marinade before we headed out for an afternoon of hiking and mountain biking. When we returned with a big appetite, sore muscles and a few bumps and bruises, all that we needed was a hot shower, a glass of some of that red wine, and to fire up the grill. Ingredients for a fresh, green chimichurri sauce were quickly blitzed in a food processor as a bright accompaniment to the meat. Then we sat and sipped our wine as we watched the sun set behind the mountains. This is living in the wild west.


~
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 4-5

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 pounds skirt steak

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Place skirt steak in a large container with lid or ziploc bag. Pour marinade over. Cover container or seal bag and refrigerate. Marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to bring to room temperature.
Prepare grill for high heat (or preheat oven broiler). Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Grill over direct high heat, turning once, 3-4 minutes each side for medium-rare. (If using the oven, arrange meat on in one layer on a broiler pan. Broil, turning once, 4 minutes per side). Transfer meat to cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. To serve, slice skirt steak against the grain on the diagonal in 3″ strips. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce:

Chimichurri is a traditional condiment from Argentina. It’s a great accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. There are many variations of chimichurri, but the common ingredient is parsley.  The flavors will develop when allowed to sit for an hour at room temperature.

1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Combine parsley, cilantro and garlic in a bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop. Add remaining ingredients and pulse briefly to combine.

Homemade Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pasta (and the Search for the Elusive Casing)


A recipe for Sausage and Broccolini Pasta and a tale of the Elusive Casing

Charcutepalooza Round #6
The Challenge: Homemade Italian Sausage

Should you choose to accept this Challenge, you must be prepared to traverse the county, futilely cold call farmer’s market purveyors, and face rejection at multiple Whole Foods stores and independent markets in search of the elusive casing a.k.a. pig intestines – or the sacred vessel that contains the cherished meat in the form of a sausage.

Should you choose to accept this Challenge, you shall be prepared to pay dearly for said casing when located, because either:

  • The local supermarket is flummoxed when it comes to charging for an empty casing, and, at the risk of compromising highly sensitive payment technologies, will charge you the price of a whole sausage. Yes, that’s right: You will be required to pay for a sausage without meat.
  • You belatedly order from the stalwart Charcutepalooza ally, D’Artagnan, thereby assuming full responsibility (and overnight shipping charges) due to your procrastination, in order to avert a last minute crisis and Charcutepalooza meltdown.
  • Or you flee your suburban confines for the lure and anonymity of the big city  - and the Ferry Building – which entails paying bridge tolls, parking fees, and extraneous charges in the form of lunch and shopping. (Hey, it’s the Ferry Building.)

If you succeed in obtaining the elusive casing you will be jubilant and nearly home free, until you unpack your brand new meat grinder and sausage stuffer and realize you must decipher a cryptic code to correctly assemble the tools to achieve your desired results. Your trusted assistant, a.k.a. spouse, will selflessly risk life, limb and marital conflict, while cautiously advising you on all matters of RTM (that’s code for Reading The Manual). You will soldier on and prevail, sausages and marriage in tact, another Chaructepalooza challenge met with glorious and grillable results.

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Given the amount of effort required to find the sausage casing, it’s not without irony that many recipes including sausage in pasta or on pizza, recommend discarding the casings and crumbling the meat. Well, rest assured, this recipe requires no such thing.

Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pasta with Basil
Serves 4 

1 pound pasta, such as orecchiette, penne, pipette rigate
Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage links (see below)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 pound broccolini, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn in half, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice in 1/4 inch pieces.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same skillet and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broccolini and continue to sauté until bright green but still crisp, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer 3-4 minutes, breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Add pasta and sausages to the skillet. Toss to combine and thoroughly heat through. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves and cheese. Serve immediately garnished with extra cheese and basil.

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Homemade Italian Sausage
Makes about 3 1/2 pounds sausage, or 12 links

I followed Hank Shaw’s sausage making technique in this post from Simply Recipes  and used these ingredients  for the filling:

3 pounds pork shoulder
1/2 pound pork fat
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted, finely ground
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced  fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup dry red wine

What is Charcutepalooza?

An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and partnering with Food52 and Punk Domestics. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.