Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's so hard to say goodbye....

As I slowly evolve my business I find it increasingly difficult to maintain both my production schedule, my now official website, www.hgsausageworks.com and this blog and something had to give.  Sadly I believe that this blog has somewhat run it's course.  Some posts may be ported over to the new website and others may go the way of the white buffalo.  I thank you all for your continued support and hope you'll take a look at the new site.


HG Sausageworks

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm famous!! (kinda, sort of)

Sorry for the delay between posts.  I've been busy getting the business up and running.  We've secured some necessary permits and have moved our operations into a commerical kitchen (more on that later).  For the nows I just reconnected with one of my old CIA grad friends and learned that he has a podcast.  Soon after he let me in that little ol' me was mentioned in his most recent podcast and we'll be scheduling some time for an interview to be on a later podcast.  Stay tuned for more in that....  Until then, here's a link to this week's podcast which includes some awesome music!  You can also find the podcast in iTunes and Sticher, just search for Killer Food.


Friday, February 8, 2013

My Current Man-Crush...

I think I have a chefly man crush....   mad lyrics and cheffin' references... doesn't get much better than Action Bronson...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Problem with Today's Food / Advertising

Here is the problem with our food choices these days... Just saw a commercial for Pedialyte touting their Sidekicks products and isn't it so great because it has 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

Ummm, yeah... Instead, give them 2 Tbl of peanut butter... and they'll get, drumroll please......

8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Slap that shit on some whole grain bread and blammo, better than manufactured crap in a bottle and little to no preservatives!

(Unless you're allergic to peanuts, then you're pretty much fucked)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Diary of the Kimchee Grenade

If you've been reading my blog for a bit you'll likely know that I dipped my toes into experimenting with naturally fermented products a bit ago with a batch of homemade sauerkraut.  While it was very good I just haven't gotten around to making a second batch or trying my hand at an alternate product.  However, I still very much enjoy naturally fermented products include those in both liquid state (beer and wine) and solid state (pickles, sauerkraut and kimchee).  

So on a not very recent trip to my local Korean mega-grocers, Zion Market, I tossed a small jar of kimchee into my cart for later consumption.  Well, as the world turns days became weeks became a couple months (I think.... sadly I'm not 100% sure when I purchased the kimchee though it definitely wasn't this year).  Any who, as with most naturally fermented products they tend to be very hardy and when refrigerated can last a good while so I kinda forgot about it. 

Well tonight I went to pull something out of my big meat reefer and there was some sort of dried reddish liquid on the top of the container.  I followed the trail up a couple shelves and found one of my buckets of casings was puddled with the same colored liquid.  One more shelf up and in the very tip top back of the reefer I found a gallon jug of hot sauce which I had purchased for my hot links.  My initial thought was the horror of the mostly full jug cracked and piddled on the rest of the fridge as a final middle finger to the world.  Well, as I sifted past some carrots, a half bottle of cheap-ass white wine and lo and behold I ran across a bulging, foaming, sputtering bottle of kimchee.  While we're told not to eat foods from cans that have bulged because of the dangers of botulism naturally fermented products are generally regarded as safe.  You see, the natural part comes from the living lactobacillus bacteria that eat the carbohydrates in the food (in this case cabbage) and fart carbon-dioxide.  That chemical transition is what we like to call fermentation.  However, in this B-flick horror movie gone off the tracks left to it's own devices the bacteria will continue to eat and fat, all the while getting fat and happy.  But.....all that gas has to go somewhere and in the case of this plastic bottle it was slowing forcing it's way out of the lid and down into my fridge.  

I gingerly removed the jar like a bomb tech moving and suspicious package, very gingerly with slow purposeful movements.  I placed the jar on the cutting board and carefully cut away the plastic protective ring, all the while wincing like someone about to have something very unpleasant happen to them.  I had one eye slammed shut and the other barely a slit and slowly, and when I say slowly I mean tortoise-like, started to unscrew the lid.  Each little turn caused an eruption of foam to spit and sputter from under the lid akin to opening a bottle of soda that's been kicked down the block by an unrepentant gorilla.  All the while I'm giggling to myself like a school kid at the absurdity of what I was doing.  Finally I get to the last bitty turn of the lid and the lid just blows the fuck off.  And when I say blows, I mean like.....a.....fucking....bomb!!!!  That shit went EVERYWHERE.  All over my hands, shirt, the cutting board.  Frankly I found chunks of kimchee about 10 feet away.  My wife, who's not a big fan of fermented foods, was horrified.  Man did I get a kick out of the look on her face when I took a big plug of the kimchee and tossed it into my pie-hole and boy of boy was it AWESOME.  Tart, tangy, mildly spicy with just a hint of effervesce.  I can't wait to see how it tastes in a couple more months.   

Lesson to be learned, eat the kimchee faster or put that shit in a Cambro for safe keeping:


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Food of the People

What I love about this video is the honesty of the food.  There's a lack of pretension that makes me saddle up next to the cook, sit shoulder to shoulder, and share some food.... It reminds me of how I ended up where I am now, making sausage.  

Some time ago I worked at a very well respected fancy-pants restaurant in New York.  The ingredients were top notch, the cooks were exceptional but I too often found the food to be uninspired, sometimes even bordering on the silly (poached eggs draped in gold foil).  While we never dabbled in "molecular gastronomy" we sometimes combined so many ingredients in a dish that the resulting amalgam somehow became less than the sum of it's part which I'm confident was not the goal of the chef.  Prior to working at this restaurant I had a passion and desire for the unexpected and whimsical cutting edge of cuisine, from El Bulli in Spain to WD50 in NYC, but after the fancy-pants restaurant I turned a corner, one which lead directly away from the cutting edge.  

While I hadn't worked at this restaurant for years I had worked there long enough to have a solid grasp of the full menu and before returning to complete my schooling I decided to partake in a final meal there with my lovely wife.  During our meal my wife peppered me with questions, "What's in this sauce?"  "What's this puree over here?"  She wasn't complaining about the food, just curious about what she'd been served.  It was just then that an idea that had been slowly percolating through my dense numb-skull finally hit grey matter....she shouldn't have to ask.  The food should taste like the ingredients from which it's made and if it doesn't then the chef has somehow lost his or her way in the composition.  If you're eating a chestnut puree it should taste distinctly of chestnuts.  Ever better would be to taste like the nirvana of chestnutdom, the epitome of all things chestnutty.  

I have nothing against avant-garde cuisine, on the contrary I deeply respect the work of Adria, Dufresne and Achatz and what they have done for world cuisine but I decided it's not the food I want to produce.  The food highlighted in this video, the honest, approachable, hearty food of the proletariat, that's my heart and soul.  

胃口好  - Wèikǒu hǎo*  

*that's Chinese for bon appetite according to google

Ode to Bacon

Ode to bacon:

Twas the day before smoking and all through the house, 
all creatures were screaming particularly my spouse.  

The bellies are hung in the reefer with care,
for tonight they'll be smoked in the cool winter's night air.

My belly's a grumblin' and makin' a fit,
cuz it hasn't been fed in quite a bit.

But tonight we shall feast on meat, fishes and more,
and tomorrow my scale will read four pounds more.