Mes salaisons Wednesday, Feb 27 2013 

My salted wares

How dry I am.

How dry I am.

Rather successful  bovine dry curing.  Viande de Grisson, bresaola and saucisson sec.  Randall-Lineback eye of round for the VdG was cured in 2 stages (half the salt cure for 3 days, the other half for 3 more days), wiped clean of the cure mix, rolled in herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano,  and marjoram) wrapped in cheesecloth and hung in a refrigerated room –no need to ferment the whole muscle, just to dry it. Very nice color, sweet taste, but I don’t know how much the herbs contributed to the flavor.  Kind of musty actually. It eventually developed a bloom after 3 weeks and when it had sufficiently dried to my liking, I pressed it (to achieve the traditional pressed shape) between wooden boards weighed down with cans of tomatoes, though any canned good with equal weight would have worked just as well I suppose.  A friend of mine once pilfered in my pack a can or roasted red peppers from Buca di Beppo, whose “Pope Room” is the gold standard for Italian dining with your delinquent friends, and there is a crappy nudie bar next door  (gnudi bar, by the way, would be a very good idea for a gnudi menu themed room).  I was pleased as punch by the plucked can, though upon shaking it, it seemed like there was quite a bit of water in there.  That sloshy sound was consistent with the contents –dihydrogen monoxide.  What was most amazing, was that the cans were authentically labeled, painted on, nutritional info, imported, importer address, contents, ingredients…  A very convincing 5lb can of roasted red peppers that would fit in on any Costco shelf. Who makes such a mock product?  And what will become of the Pope busts that bless the Pope Room tables?

A square meal.

A square meal.

The bresaola was fabricated from an Angus eye of round, cured in the same manner as the VdG, put in a beef bung casing, brushed with vinegar and left to dry in the same refrigerated room.  After a week, the bresaola began to develop a healthy white bloom and 3 weeks later was completely encased in the cherished bloom which other manufacturers artificially replicate with rice flour. Very nice color and sweet beefy flavor.  Far better than the desiccated beef often passed off as the real McCoy.

Saucisson sec was more of a challenge. Lean Randall-Lineback eye-of-round was used in lieu of pork, primarily because of the abundance of the former, and pork back fat supplemented the fat.  No starter culture.  Standard procedure was applied and the pieces were incubated in a plastic tub for 72 hours.  The refrigerator conditions were not ideal for the proper curing (too cold, not enough humidity) and the ph of the meat may not have been sufficient. While the flavor was enjoyable, particularly the lucknow fennel seed, the sausage itself was a bit softer than desired in the middle, though the face of the slice was encouraging –no air pockets or festering inside, but the fat distribution left much to be desired.

Bloom County.

Bloom County.

Randall-Lineback secca (the French variety of bresaola) was successful and absolutely delicious.  Cured in the same manner as the Viande de Grisson and bresaola.  Stuffed in a beef middle.  Top notch bloom.  I could have snow angels in that bloom if I was smaller.

La Côte de Veau Rose Soignée Tuesday, Sep 25 2012 

A Cared-For Rose Veal Rib-Eye.

1% rib-eye, made by the 47%.

My unremitting compassion for animals does not extend to greedy assholes vying for feudal power at the expense of plebeian vassals.  Sentient animals and the flesh they are raised to relinquish deserve faithful veneration.  I file grievances with the middlemen who ferry abused carcasses from the slaughterhouses and when possible inform the creature’s owner in an effort to determine or establish accountability for animal welfare.  I have yet to find a fault with any of Joe Henderson’s Randall-Linebacks, and if I am to trust Mr. Henderson (I have absolutely no reason not to) the animals are slaughtered humanely –no hematomas, broken bones or feverish meat. Proselytizing vegetarians should take note that Draonian vegetarian diets are a windfall for flatulence-deodorizing corporations  and was even a ghastly liability for the chancellor of the third Reich, whose despotic flatülenz  after a blüe-plate special was astutely recorded, for posterity, by the Führer-Furzen’s kraut-quack:

“…constipation and colossal flatulence occurred on a scale I have seldom encountered before.”

And so, as with any resource which demands resources itself to be raised, the meat in question should be treated with respect, steadfast discipline and nothing less than a proper cutting technique (clumsy woodsmen need not apply) .

A chop above the rest.

Beef rib-eyes generally conjure fat speckled, cholesterol fueled gluttony trophies for any high-pressured red-blooded Americans aspiring for type 2 diabetes  –though to be fair, food doesn’t make you fat;  lifestyle does.  Inspired by one of the pre-eminent artisan butchers of France, Hervé Sancho, the rib-eye was meticulously denuded: the Complexus, Spinalis and Longissimus Dorsi were separated to remove the sinew and any membranes.  Given the lean nature of the Lineback, fat needed to be introduced into the equation.  Jubilant fat from the kidneys (not quite suet, yet) was pounded into an even thickness and introduced into the otherwise stiff meat party.  The deckle (Spinalis) was sewn shut around the Frenched bones.  Strips of fatback barded the outside which was then proudly ornamented with lemon and orange zest because that is what a professional who gives a damn does.  In addition to providing essential flavoring, the fat retains moisture, and those variables, when applied properly, and passionately, make for an exceptional piece of meat.

Cornerstone of French quality and luxury in moderation.

The detailed rib chop was adroitly seared then gently laid to roast on a plush bedding of sweet corn, squash and small variety tomatoes at a comfortable 325ºF until done just so.  Left to rest while libations were poured, the meat relaxed, the juices redistributed themselves and a warm, sweet, roasted hush wafted over the table.  The fat itself is neither a flavor nor texture that I crave, the fragrance and moisture it afforded was exceptional for an otherwise slender, straight-laced roast.  Any muscle from a noble animal, no matter the rank or price, deserves at least half the attention of this one.  Anything worth doing, should be done right.  At least put in the effort.

Roasting Beauty.

Pâté en Croûte Porc et Veau Rosé: Édition Spéciale Raisins Trempés au Cognac et Poivre Vert. Thursday, Jun 7 2012 

Pork and Randall-Lineback Pâté en Croûte: 

Special Brandy Drenched Golden Raisins and Green Peppercorn Edition.

Golden Grapeness.

Here’s a little ditty about Berkshire pork and Randall Lineback rose veal.  Golden raisins happily dunked  in VSOP (Vestigial Secret Obligatory Pruno).  Filled with corned tongue, breached humpback whale warts, confit heart, steamed insecurities, pistachios, Cherrios, and possibly the cap of a black Sharpie.  1/3 medium grind, 1/3 smooth like iced cream, 8/5 garnish cooked a sea level without convection.

Fruit of the Loom zoom.

Pastry and forcemeat recipes are painstakingly streamlined and deliberately consistent.  While the garnish varies based on mood, measurements have been etched on the bench and are dutifully respected.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Pâté de Porc et Veau Rose: Édition Spéciale Amandes et Cassis au Gin Tuesday, Apr 24 2012 

Bershire Pork and Randall-Lineback Veal Pâté:

Special Marcona Almond

and Gin-Soaked Currants Edition.

Sane in the membrane.

Berkshire pork and Randall-Lineback rose veal from Joe Henderson’s Chapel Hill Farm out in Berryville, VA.  A garnish of corned veal tongue, confit heart, paper-clips, smoked pork belly, toasted Marcona almonds and blackcurrants soaked in gin.  Tucked in with caul fat, toasted almond slivers and some more currants, drizzle of olive oilizzle.  Sadly, the caul fat busted in the oven, the result of a dozen or so superfluous magic minutes, so no pictures.  Use your imagination if this revelatory food-stuffs diary hasn’t turned your brain into shit.  Tastes good though.  Probe thermometer with a 200ft range remote alarm has been purchased and will alert me to the proper doneness when I am buying cigarettes, pornography and liquor next door for the kids down the street.