Charcuterie Continues


Guanciale, salami, kielbasa and schinkenspeck… Not normal English vocab, but oh so delicious!

Guanciale – cured pork jowl with Italian seasonings similar to pancetta…

Kielbasa… Texture in the past has been a bit coarse, so I ran 2/3 of the meat through the food processor before stuffing. I also skipped the smoke this year and baked in the oven at 175 to try something different.

Ground pork…


Seasoned ground pork…IMG_2858

Chopped in the food processor…IMG_2859

Stuffed, baked, chilled and vac sealed in the freezer…IMG_2865Salami… I made 2 flavors again this year: picante and mushroom parm. The picante included Cameroonian pepper from Jordan and the mushroom parm included hen of the woods mushroom from our yard. I used the UmaiDry bags again this year. I thought I’d prick the bags to get rid of the air holes like you are supposed to with natural casings. This completely backfired and the bags did not bond to the surface of the salami. My back up and punt plan was a vinegar wipe followed by a liberal coating of olive oil. Let’s hope that does the trick.


Black Forest Ham…


Salami and Black Forest Ham in the drying chamber after the drybag snafu…


Only a few more weeks to get the salami dry enough to vac seal… cross your fingers that my olive oil trick works out… I really don’t want to lose 20 pounds of salami!?@#$%

That’s it for 2014… Happy New Year to all three or four of you that actually read this in the next 3 1/2 hours!


Christmas Food Fun

Our family tradition for Christmas eve is Italian… dad’s legendary antipasto and my ragu. This year, we added homemade pasta with Spencer’s help. Of course, he thought he was the focus of the photo until he saw my strategic framing 🙂 The antipasto weighed in at 17 pounds this year, a pound off of the 18 pound record.




The picture of the antipasto doesn’t show the 2-inch thick stack of sliced meats and cheeses underneath!

You know your kids have grown up when you make it to 10:30am Christmas morning and trash the kitchen cooking breakfast BEFORE anyone has touched the stocking stuffers!


Last year we fixed fresh prime rib (sorry Craig… oven roasted bone-in rib?) and I fixed a dry aged rib for Superbowl Sunday. Mom was jealous, so I upped the ante this year with a dry-aged grass-fed prime rib. We served schinken spärgel (asparagus wrapped in Black Forest Ham with Manchego cheese) and potatoes au gratin. Incidentally, we looked up the difference between potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes. My take is that scalloped potatoes have a cream sauce and potatoes au gratin have a cream sauce with cheese (hence the name, au gratin).

The roast straight out of the dry aging bag…


Trimmed of all the dried bits…


Seasoned and tied up, ready to roast…IMG_2828


Fresh out of the oven…


Side dishes…



And the plate…


A little bit of smoked sea salt flakes and mom’s roll finished things off. I decanted a 2003 Clos Apalta for 2 hours before dinner to top things off.

My quote from that day… “Merry Christmas to my belly!”

Lausanne, Hornstaad & Tuttlingen

I was lucky enough to be able to sneak in one more trip to Europe before the end of the year courtesy of a customer R&D meeting. Rough life I lead, I know…

This was my first trip to Lake Geneva although we didn’t make it to Geneva proper. We were in the Lausanne area for this visit. Thanks to a beautiful 50-degree day, I enjoyed a nice run along the lake shore and stopped for a few photos.



Pete and I enjoyed a great Italian dinner at Ghiotto’s in the cathedral square, cobblestones and all. We thought we’d go for dinner early and couldn’t find a restaurant open before 7pm. No early bird specials there!



After a successful customer visit, I stayed at the Gasthaus near Pete’s town, Hirschen Horn. The restaurant served us an amazing dinner and I enjoyed the European spa. The Swedish sauna thermometer showed 87 degrees C or 188 degrees F!?! That’s hotter than my previous record of 143 F in Kuwait in August of ’96.



No trip to Tuttlingen is complete without some good Swabian food at Hauser or without some local sightseeing in town.



The church is right across the street from the hotel and the bells are wonderful to wake up to instead of an alarm clock.

No more travel until 2015!