Friday, August 10, 2012

Putting the kitchen to use...

I love my friends. I love having people in my life who will try anything - who get an idea in their heads and then follow through.

Rachel and Tannaz are the all-stars of making good ideas happen. Months ago, we were riffing about our shared love of cured meats...and thought, WHY CAN'T WE DO THIS!? And our club, which we named "Panacea" was born. (Apologies in advance for any photos that may be NSFW!)

Our first attempt was simple - curing salmon to make grav lax and some homemade ricotta. It was quite a success if I do say so myself. Check out Tannaz's blog - All Kinds of Yum - for pics from that glorius evening.

This time, we got a little closer to our dreams of cured sausages and animal legs (I need to get a thermometer and see if a dark corner of our basement might be right for hanging meat!) and ground up pounds of pork and fat with a lot of herbs and spices to make spicy italian sausage.

Our day began with an email chain about where to get pork back fat and some pig intestines as sausage casings. (One of the grossest things I've ever purchased.) Then we met, over white whine and some homemade potato leek soup, and started grinding and mixing.

Using Michael Ruhlman's great book CHARCUTERIE, which I'd given Rachel as a wedding shower gift, we used my kitchen aid attachment to grind the pork, fat, basil, oregano, garlic, paprika, chiles...

...mixed it up with water and vinegar, and began the process of stuffing.

Yeah, not that pretty, but man was that stuff tasty!

Rachel manned the stuffer like a pro.

I have to say - this was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. (Warned you about potentially gross photos.)

Take the finished, um, tube of sausage and give it a twist every six inches. VOILA!

Thanks to Jared Mark for the photo of his dinner last night. Grilled up with a salad. Mmmmm...

What's next ladies?