Monday, January 22, 2007

New! Spam!

The spammers have finally found my blog! I've arrived!


Blogger Helen Haridon, MD said...

Was that the salsa thing? I always feel an odd desire, when I see spam, to find the spammers and disembowel them.

But enough about me! I made sausage this evening, but I had no fat, so I minced a slice of bacon and used that. It tasted very good, but it was still a bit dry. I had planned to eat a sausage from the store, but after lengthy consideration, I decided that on the twenty-second, eating a sausage with a sell-by date of the ninth was not a model of caution. But I've been keeping ground pork in the freezer to make taco-esque quesadilla things, so I hauled out the Joy of Cooking and gave it a try. The JoC's recipe is for American breakfast sausage, which isn't my favorite, but if you back off on the sage quite a bit and lean on the marjoram and black pepper it's quite sound.

It snowed again today, but I will buy some fatback as soon as the roads are clear, and repeat the experiment.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Helen Haridon, MD said...

P.S. I made a quart of your Green Slime two weeks ago (with jalapeƱo), and have been eating the heck out of it ever since.

Also, I was unhappy with my last few batches of garlic oil, until the last one: It seems I was undercooking it. The tolerances with that are very fine. But it is sooooo fucking good with bread. Language fails me, gentlemen.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Yeah, like 3 salsa items, then I guess I got on some kind of a list, I've been getting totally untargeted posts calling this site "a great resource" every couple of days. Needless to say, this site is not a resource at all. So like any compliment, I take that as a declaration of hostile intent!

Re snausage. Cool. It sounds great. It also reminds me of some unrelated subjects!

1. I just came back from visiting Sean, and his girlfriend uses black pepper in guacamole, of all things. It's awesome! Her recipe is: avocado, salt, pepper. It's a little fussy to get the pepper adjusted right, but it can be surprisingly good.

2. At this time of year You might want to try the new furry white Monsanto "snow avocados." They have Polar Bear genes pre-spliced in for the convenience of home cooks (no phages necessary!).

3. Scrapple can be kind of yummy once in a while. But never buy it two weeks in a row.

4. Wal-Mart has Smoked Pork Necks. They are exerting a powerful force on my mind. I don't know how long I can resist.

5. I don't think I know your Garlic Oil recipe. But I have been eatin a lot of bread. Care to share?

6:30 AM  
Blogger Helen Haridon, MD said...

Black pepper is wonderful stuff. It goes in that pizza I made.

Dude, I would so totally never eat scrapple. But head cheese is worse. Smoked pork necks, however, those I might take a look at.

The garlic oil is trivial except for managing the heat: Skin a head of garlic and slice finely (<1mm-ish) with a mandoline (this Kuhn-Rikon unit appears to be a variation on mine). Put garlic in one or two cups of olive oil and cook slowly, just so you get some bubbles and the garlic cooks but does not brown. The flavor cannot survive more than very slight browning, if any. Keep this up until the garlic fragments lose all harshness. Half an hour or forty-five minutes, or something like that, is the ballpark.

Temperature management can be a problem. If you start out with small batches, the stakes are lower if you overheat. If you get too many bubbles that'll turn dangerous after a bit, so get it off the burner and dissipate the heat as appropriate. Too low heat (basically, no bubbles at all is too few), and the garlic will never mellow properly and the oil won't pick up any flavor.

Crushed garlic burns more easily than minced or sliced. You want to balance surface area against the burn-vulnerability of very thin cross-sections.

My experience with gas was that it could be very finicky getting the right heat without the burner guttering out. There was only one burner on my last stove that would do it reliably. Piling up two trivets gives you a little breathing room. You can also briskly mix in a very little water, which leaves the end-product a bit murky but controls burning very well. I've halved the cooking time that way, with, I think, maybe the flavor not being quite so good. But I haven't tried that since I started making the stuff in bulk and refrigerating it.

It's spaghetti aio e oio without the spaghetti, pretty much.

Also, one of my more triumphant innovations: Make a tablespoon or two of the above oil, but adding two bay leaves at the outset -- the leaves gotta be there from the word go, and they are critical to the dish. When the oil is ready, throw in 1/8 tsp (or 1/4? It's eight grinds with my default grinder) fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and one cup dry "French" couscous (the little yellow kind, not the big pale kind). Stir to coat couscous with oil, add 1.25 cups chicken stock (or however much liquid that much couscous needs), bring to a boil, cover, off heat, etc. When the liquid is absorbed, mix in 2 tsp dry toasted pine nuts. This goes gratefully with fried lamb steaks (salt, black pepper, marjoram) and a sangiovese. Deglaze the lamb pan with water for a simple sauce to go on both the lamb and the couscous.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Helen Haridon, MD said...

...but so a dish of that garlic oil, with the "balsamic" [sic] pickled onions, roma tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, finely shredded peccorino romano, and bread, that's a tasty thing. A little prosciutto and capicola, too. You put everything on a big tray, grind some black pepper over the tomatoes and mozzarella, slice up a baguette or two, and let everybody make little sandwiches of varying composition and wash 'em down with (yet again) a toscano or chianti or whatever. M and I used to do that for dinner.

11:02 AM  

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