Thursday, December 18, 2014

Homemade Mayonnaise

Farm Eggs and Homemade Mayonnaise
Fifteen years ago, our cheese plant was spanking new and I personally delivered cellar-aged wheels of Boucher Blue throughout Chittenden County.

One of my stops was Cheese Outlet/Fresh Market on Pine Street in Burlington – even when they didn’t make an order.

I joked that I barely broke even on those trips, because in addition to any foodstuffs I’d never tried before, I would purchase two different types of sandwiches and pick up 7Days, which wasn’t available in the St. Albans area at the time.

Why two ‘wiches?  Because I would split them with my husband Dan and enjoy eating both while reading the paper upside down – he can only read right side up.

I really miss those sandwich days.  The driving?  Not so much.

This time of year, I find myself with a lot of ingredients in the pantry and ample time to buff some rusty kitchen skills.

Homemade mayonnaise is THE secret sauce of the season. In bread spreads, dressings, dips, and tartar sauce - it’s worth the extra effort.

If you can whip cream or make butter, you can do it, too.

Five minutes to make.  Three hours to wait.  Remember Cheese Outlet with some great sandwiches, and enjoy!
Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from Food in Jars
Makes about 1 Cup

3 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
½ TB Dijon Mustard
1 – 1 1/2 Cup Sunflower Oil (EVOO or Peanut Oil)
1 - 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Pinch of Salt

Optional: Pinch of Sugar

Place yolks in a blender or food processor fitted with a blade.

Pulse for a few seconds, then add mustard and pulse again.

Begin incorporating oil drop by drop while the blender runs.

At the halfway mark, begin adding oil in a steady stream, until you reach desired thickness.*

Incorporate salt, pepper, and/or a pinch of sugar to taste.

Cover dish and leave at room temperature for two hours.

Refrigerate for one hour.
Homemade Mayonnaise
Your mayonnaise is ready.

*If your mayonnaise “breaks” into an oily mess, start the process over with another yolk, adding the broken mixture drop by drop.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cured Meat: Venison Bresaola

Venison Bresaola
Venison Bresaola
Adapted from DENTIST CHEF

1 1/2 lbs. Venison Tenderloin 
20 gr Smoked Sea Salt (about 2-3 percent of meat wt.)
1/4 tsp. of Pink Salt (optional, but keeps color of meat)
30 gr Brown Sugar
Spices: Nutmeg, Black-White-Green Peppercorns, Fennel Seed, Cardamon, Juniper Berries, Cloves
Herbs: Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Oregano, and Rosemary
2-3 dried Chipotle or Jalapeno Peppers with seeds

Trim silverskin and fat from the tenderloin, weigh for calculating salt.

Rub Mixture 
Process salt, sugar, spices, herbs and peppers until powdery, set aside.

Venison Bresaola
Rub half of the spice mix into the meat; place in a covered container or zip lock bag and flip every 12 hours. 

Refrigerate 7-10 days until firm.

Discard liquid.  Coat with remaining spice mix, place in a clean container.

Refrigerate, flip every 12 hours for 1-2 days.

Wash gently in cool water, pat dry.
Attach Notations to Meat
Double-wrap in cheese cloth and secure, note both date and weight.  It should be about 30% less than at the start.

Hang in the coolest part of the basement in a moist area (not wet, just humid).

After two weeks, weigh.  If it did not lose another 30%, put it back and check in a few more days.
Venison Bresaola (note how dark the meat is, that is because I did not use pink salt cure)
Such complex flavor from a deer taken by Dan on our property! 

Gluten Free: Scallion Pancake

Gluten Free Scallion Pancake
 There is a vendor at Burlington's Farmer's Market selling scallion pancakes for $5 a pop!  Sadly, they are full of gluten, and I've never eaten one.  How hard could it be?

Hemp Seeds!
Gluten Free Scallion Pancakes
adapted from Fine Cooking
Serves 5

1 Cup of Cup4Cup Flour
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1 TB Sesame Oil
6 TB Scallions, thinly sliced
2 TB Hemp Seeds or Sesame Seeds
1/4 tsp. Salt, more to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper
Sesame Oil
 Combine Flour with enough water to make a "raggedy" dough.  Knead until it comes together, adding more water if necessary.  Let rest, covered for 1/2 hour.

Tortilla Press
 Roll out a golf-sized ball between two sheets of waxed paper (lightly floured) OR just use a tortilla press to flatten.

Spread disc with sesame oil, a pinch of salt, some scallions and seeds.  Pepper lightly.  Roll up like a jelly-roll and form a coil.  Press again, and follow the procedure 3-4 more times.

Ready to Fry
Heat a skillet over medium-low.  Add some peanut oil (or bacon fat).

Finished Pancake
Toast 1-2 minutes per side, until browned.

Gluten-free Scallion Pancake made with Cup4Cup Flour
Serve hot with chili oil or soy sauce.  

These are crispy, and even flaky - enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Life on the Farm 120814: Bits and Bobs

Dawn and Dan
The final bell hasn’t rung on hunting season– but my husband Dan has taken a bow-doe, a very delicious grouse; and his brother Denis bagged a 6-pointer during rifle.

I ate wild harvested grilled venison heart for the first time at Thanksgiving.  I’m proud that I prepared it without freaking out.

Though, not all guests wanted to try it.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with offal, and with curing and dry-aging various meaty bits and parts. 

The most successful trials?  

Dry-aged venison loin (think, thin flexible jerky); veal ham, and venison pastrami. 

My venture into gravlax didn’t turn out so well.  It was sticky like candy, and gave me the “go-fasts” in the middle of the night.

I have sidelined ruining perfectly good fish for the time being.

(I don’t know why, but the experience reminded of when I was first married.  I would threaten Dan with “laxative brownies” whenever he tried to insert his personality and tell me what to do. “When you least expect it – expect it”, I said. I never actually did it, but I kept in in my back pocket as an option.)

The beef tongue venture was a bust.  Far too grassy in flavor – but silky smooth and so tender I could cut it with a plastic fork!  I’ll be working with that again, but as there’s only one per steer it’s going to take a while to perfect.

Now that another holiday looms, my attention was drawn from kitchen witching to: what to get a hunter hubby for Christmas?

Orange mittens?  A compass? More of those little heat-pack thingies I find here and there?

Better question: what do you get someone who buys whatever he wants and exclaims, “This is my Christmas present” at any time of the year.

Kudos to him for man shopping and easing the holiday chores, but I have to shake my head whenever I hear it - because it means another lethal weapon is coming through the door.

Not this year.

I bought him something.  Take a guess. 


Well, most likely you were wrong.  Congratulations, if you were right.

I am sending him to Pennsylvania on a boar hunt.

My reasoning is that the wild hogs – like the killer bees and the zombies - will finally reach Northern Vermont.

He should be prepared to defend me and the cats.

At the prospect of filling the freezer with pork – I’m all giddy. There are house-cured hams, bacon, and smoked ribs in my future.

He said, “I haven’t even shot it, and you’ve already cooked it!”

Yes, yes I have. (Smiles to self)

I bought my own Christmas gift.