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Journal

Healthy Blues

Healthy Blues

We're on a major health kick over here...so it's smoothies and salads galore to refresh for this new decade! Give this one a whirl:

Ingredients
2 frozen bananas
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon of spirulina
2 tablespoons of coconut cream (thick version of coconut milk)

Blend until smooth and creamy!

Photo credit: feedfeed

 

 

 

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Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday snacking is almost more fun than the feast, and a show-stopping charcuterie board can be the perfect centerpiece. Holiday butcher board offerings have become a unique tradition in my house, and a way to celebrate culture, sustainability, and community at the most joyful time of year. Here are some tips for assembling a beautiful and tasteful board, with a little help from some friends.

Start with the meat
A well-built charcuterie board is varied and bountiful, which bodes well for different taste buds. Think beef bresaola, made from the eye of round, a lamb merguez salami, a cured ham in the style of prosciutto, pâté, made mostly from pork, but also including rabbit offal and chicken liver. This combo of at least three meats: a dried sausage, a whole muscle preparation, and the pâté incorporating offal, all from different species, give the perfect variation of flavor and texture. 

Nick Ponte, head butcher at Marrow in Detroit, builds his charcuterie program off of this same premise. “Everything at Marrow starts from the whole animal, and charcuterie is an important part of how we make that possible.” He recommends combining beef, pork, and something spreadable “like a pâté or a mousse” to give broad representation of the full flavors of fat and quality meat. Jeffrey Weiss, author of Charcuteria and co-chef at Valencian Gold in Las Vegas, agrees, and for a Spanish-inspired board recommends a jamón from La Tienda, paired with a sobrasada spicy spreadable salami.

Animals raised outdoors and allowed to express their natural tendencies will produce meat and fat that reflect the terroir of their lives, much like a fine wine. This is where sourcing and fine craftsmanship come into play to make charcuterie unique and delicious. Bill Miner, founder and owner of Il Porcellino Salami in Denver, says that the animal’s fat is the biggest contributor to flavor in the finished product. “Good sourcing proves itself in the end,” he adds. I recommend Il Porcellino’s holiday salami box (be sure to get at least one of the spiced juniper!).

Play colors off of each other, and vary textures and shapes
I favor a bountiful spread, without a lot of space between items. Experiment with piles versus stacks, neatly lined or fanned cheeses, and geometrically sliced pâté. The color of cured meats lends nicely to warm hues, which are perfect for a holiday spread. Be sure to slice as thin as you can manage, especially for rich cheeses and salt-cured meats. Cooked pâtés may be served in chunkier portions, but on the whole, charcuterie is meant to be eaten in small portions. This allows it to melt in the mouth and prevents its complex flavors from overpowering your palate. Small servings also play a role in retraining our palates and our expectations around portion sizes, which is a crucial tenet of sustainable meat.

Acid cuts through
Acidic and pungent components like pickles and mustards are classic, and necessary to cut through the rich flavors of charcuterie. On this board, fennel pickles with chile and orange zest complement the pâté’s hazelnut, and orange. If you don’t want to brine your own pickles, Mouth.com has fun options. My favorite mustard this season is from Mustard & Co.

Make sure to add some crunch
Here, candied pecans with a touch of cayenne balance the spice of merguez salami. Last but not least, cheeses both hard and soft round out the offerings. Visit your local cheesemonger for recommendations on what will pair with your dominant flavors. The center cheese on this board is Ridgeline from my neighbors at Looking Glass Creamery. Both beautiful and mildly funky, its clean and milky taste pairs well with the bold flavors of salumi. The other cheese you see is a simple and fresh-tasting fromage blanc, with a mild sourness to compliment the boldness of the meats and pickles.

Article courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

Picture by Snixy Kitchen, plus fantastic other charcuterie board tips abound.

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Spatchcocking a Turkey

Spatchcocking a Turkey

We're still recovering from the amazing turkey overload that took place on Thursday. But we know for some of you, Thanksgiving was just the start of many, many holiday meals that may or may not include poultry...

If you're interested in mixing it up, try spatchcocking a bird, Anya Fernald, the founder of Belcampo Meat Co. can teach you via this recipe link. Plus, we think she looks lovely seasoning her turkey in our Geometric Apron.

What's Belcampo Meat Co.? Read more about this unique company by reading Anya's Founder Letter below:

"Like many of you, I’m concerned about eating clean food and making sure my kids eat the healthiest food possible—as well as doing the right thing by the environment and our planet.

Like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know in my teens and 20s. I happily ate every type of meat and food out there, never thinking for a second that they might not be the best choice for my body and for the environment: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the meat industry and food in general, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed (and encouraged via subsidies and legislation) to produce and sell products that don’t put human and animal health first.

And so I co-founded Belcampo, a company devoted to making it easy to make the best choice. We have built our own supply chain founded in 25,000 acres of pristine farmland at the base of Mt Shasta with full ownership of our own processing facility right through our own retail shops.

Because we think we all deserve better.

Our vision is bold; our ambition is to build an alternative meat supply system; real solutions are never simple fixes. Help us put health, taste and transparency first. Help us build a better cleaner world through meat."

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Banh Mi Dogs

Banh Mi Dogs

Happy National Sandwich Day! We're sandwich fanatics over here, so we were smitten with these twists on banh mi to mix it up a little. Check out all of Bon Appétit's dog concepts here, and if these are a bit much, you might like to scope out their list of 38 sandwiches they love. Finally, we highly recommend this quick homemade topping recipe, which can be added to any sandwich (or salad) for a little zest!

Pickled Carrots

3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Special Equipment
A heatproof 1-pint jar

Pack carrots into jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and ¾ cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour brine over carrots, seal jar, and chill until cold.

Recipe by Claire Saffitz
Photo by Gentl Hyers

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Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

Crisp and fragrant, mildly sweet and the color of liquid sunshine, the lemon liqueur known as limoncello is a simple combination of lemons, sugar and alcohol, but its intense citrus flavor makes it so much more than a sum of its parts. Native to Italy’s South, where it is enjoyed as a postprandial digestif, limoncello has been popular in the citrus-growing regions along Italy’s Amalfi coast for more than a century.

Commercial brands are easy to find, but for a fresher-tasting liqueur, a homemade limoncello is well worth the effort. This recipe from Katie Parla’s latest book, Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes, is inspired by how they made limoncello at a now defunct Brooklyn-based Italian restaurant called Franny’s, where they suspended the lemons in cheesecloth. This allows the alcohol to absorb the citrus aromas by osmosis and makes for a cleaner final product, Parla says in the book, adding that she uses Everclear instead of vodka per the traditional Sorrento style.

Homemade Limoncello

This recipe makes enough for 8 cups and takes about five weeks to prepare.

4 cups (1 liter) Everclear (190 proof)
Zest of 5 untreated organic lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler
5 untreated organic lemons
4 cups water
5 cups sugar

Place the alcohol and lemon zest in a large glass jar. Using cheesecloth, suspend the five whole lemons (not the zested ones) in the jar above the alcohol, taking care not to let them touch the liquid. Seal the jar and let rest in a cool, dark place for 30 days. Agitate the jar every few days.

On the last day, combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, strain the infused alcohol into a clean jar, discarding the zest and lemons. When the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes.

Add three-quarters of the syrup to the jar with the alcohol. Taste and adjust the sweetness, adding more syrup as needed. Seal the jar and allow the liquid to rest in a dark place at room temperature for 1 week.

Serve very cold or over ice. The limoncello will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least 6 months and in the freezer for well over a year. (Due to the high alcohol content, the liquid will not freeze.)

Note: Since the lemon zest is the main flavoring ingredient here, only use untreated organic lemons. You can substitute mandarins, bitter oranges, or any other citrus for the lemons—just be sure they’re organic and untreated, too.

Copy courtesy of Imbibe Magazine.

Recipe: Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla; Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random Home, LLC.

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Hate It or Plate It | Part 3

Hate It or Plate It | Part 3

Rashad takes on anchovies in this episode and his Roast Chicken with Anchovy Chimichurri Sauce dish looks fabulous. This recipe was inspired by Jonathan Waxman, one of his favorite chefs.

The anchovy chimichurri is perfect as a dipping sauce, but it also makes an amazing marinade for steaks or fish. A dish like this requires the best ingredients, so Rashad recommends sourcing the freshest stuff you can possibly find.

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