madbaker: (joyful Wulfric)
I will get my first-ever no-longer grand-apprentice!
madbaker: (Giants)
2012 wasn't a bad year for us. I got officially laid off when the parent company wrote off our start-up. That wasn't great, but we had money saved against this possibility. I continued working with them while looking for a paying job, and when our business improved a bit they brought me on as a partner. I'm still underpaid, but it's getting better. I doubt my equity stake will ever make us dot-com rich, but for the moment it's enough to live on and I still mostly enjoy my job and the people I work with.

On the one hand, we didn't do a lot of SCA stuff. Despite the mostly meatloaf-free environment after May, we weren't really feeling it and didn't go to a lot of events. On the other, we did go to West-An Tir and I went to many more than we normally would after Zanobia asked me to be Laurel Counselor. That's been interesting and mostly fun - but I'll be glad it's over next Saturday.

The apprentice and I are continuing to work on charcuterie stuff. One of my goals for 2013 is to clear out a space in our oubliette for another curing chamber. I want one I can use for long-term curing, like an 18-month proscuitto.

No major health problems. Still happy to be married to each other. Still not King. But if 2013 is no worse for us than 2012, it'll be a decent year.

madbaker: (demons of stupidity)
Having failed to find wheat starch at any of the local Asian markets, I am giving up. Ordering from Amazon.
(Yes, I know that I can make it. The wife has made it, many times. I want to try a dessert custardy sausage thickened with wheat starch, and I want to reduce the number of potential misfires for the first attempt.)

madbaker: (Saluminati)
The apprentice came over yesterday for our monthly work day. We had good chattage, beer, and stuffed and cold-smoked about nine pounds of Fish sausage of Bologna. This recipe, done properly as a cured sausage, is one of the finest things I've ever made. This time 'round I bought fresh salmon rather than using (relatively) cheap Trader Joe's frozen. Also, for the smoked salmon I hacked off several pieces and hot-smoked them overnight (no additives). So I have high hopes that this will improve it further.

We did cut the salt down a bit, and the pepper and cinnamon in approximately half. Last time we used just-freshly-ground pepper, and it was ground pretty finely - and the sausage was assertively peppery. I liked it, but pepper was the dominant front note. So besides cutting the quantity, we used half white pepper and half white peppercorns, coarsely cracked.

I should probably get the Bactoferm surface mould culture going. I hadn't needed to use it in a while; the oubliette was nicely inoculated and keeping things going on its own. But the last few batches didn't mold up much, so I did a heavy dip on the batch and they are covered in a heavy coat. I'll cut it back this time and see how they mold.

madbaker: (charcuterie)
This week's Resolution Recipe: Red-Hot Beef Sausage.
"These sausages are an ode to the famous Texas red hots. They are really rich, with a beautiful, full flavor and a lot of heat."
The apprentice and I don't limit ourselves to medieval charcuterie. Sometimes modern is fun too. )

What I'm reading: Toby Lester, Da Vinci's Ghost

madbaker: (charcuterie)
Sunday, the apprentice and I spent much of the day with [livejournal.com profile] ysabella_dolfin at her cafe to help make some sausages. It was fun, productive, and he and I learned some about how the commercial world makes product.
I have appliance envy, though.

madbaker: (dyslexic zombie)
Last night's outing to Smuggler's Cove for the curvy upstairs neighbor's Significant Birthday was a lot of fun. The place is small but has great ambiance and many, many excellent rum drinks. The best I had was the Black Prince, but I'd happily return to try others. Herself got exceedingly giggly on cocktails.

Beforehand, Jean Guillaume and I made 11 pounds of finocchiona, a fennel salame. The test bit we fried up was very tasty and I can't wait for the rest to be ready. In three months, alas. The batch of lonza I sliced up from three months ago was just about perfect. Unfortunately the paprika-dusted batch I made at the same time doesn't taste much of paprika. And the coppa (lonza made with shoulder) was too salty, even though I went through the same process. I guess the shoulder holds salt more than loin...

Today is about doing more dishes and relaxing, though.

madbaker: (charcuterie)
Friday Jean Guillaume and I drove out to Lodi; [livejournal.com profile] ken_albala was teaching a salame-making class at a local cheese shop. The drive was relatively uneventful and we arrived in time to have a beer at the local brewpub. The cheese shop has only been open seven months; I wish them well but I wonder how much demand there is in downtown Lodi for gourmet cheese. That's part of why she's hosting classes, of course.

Ken is an engaging speaker with a lot of knowledge and passion for historic food. There were a dozen of us sitting around sipping local wine while he gave us background. Then we started in; the owner had told us only that morning that we needed to bring cutting boards and knives, so it was a good thing I was working from home that day. I was the only one with a thick wooden board, amusingly enough. Hand chopping meat on a thin plastic board doesn't work as well because it bounces.

We each chopped about a pound of meat, then added in salt, sugar, curing salt, and various other spices (I used pepper and fennel). Then we hand-stuffed into casings, no funnel required. That was interesting although I think a funnel is easier and quicker. The shop owner provided dinner, and eventually we made the long drive home. Saturday I hung my salame up to cure and we'll see how it is in a couple months.

It was lots of fun. While I didn't learn a huge amount, it was inspiring for both of us. I still prefer measuring and weighing ingredients to Ken's "Throw a pinch on" method. I brought one of my Bologna sausages, which people enjoyed -- although after a few e-mails back and forth from Ken I found out that the translation I was using for the recipe was flawed. Oh well, it's still a good sausage as it is.
The final result? )
What I'm reading: Lev Grossman, The Magician King

madbaker: (Saluminati)
This week's Resolution Recipe was our corvee project: Saveloy Sausages.
Read more... )
What I'm reading: Jeff Somers, The Final Evolution

madbaker: (Saluminati)
Jean Guillaume came down for a field trip to Penzey's. Neither of us escaped empty-handed. We then went for a pint at the BBC. We noticed they had a braised pork belly on their appetizer menu, which became a moral imperative to try. It was good, as was the beer and chattage. The rest of the day involved more chattage, slicing and trying the lonza, arranging a dinner with [livejournal.com profile] aastg to seal our contract, and general discussion about our next work day - which will be a Sunday barbecue with the upstairs neighbors. Jean and I will attempt hot dogs. I've never made them so it should be fun.

Meh.

Jun. 26th, 2011 09:20 am
madbaker: (charcuterie)
I've been sporadically reading LJ, but I haven't been inspired to post. This may be due to working from home, where other time-wasters are more easily obtainable.
Yesterday was productive: the wife and I made a gallon of pesto (yum!) and I did a lot of other things around the house. I need to smoke bacon today.

Last week's Resolution Recipe, which we genuinely made last week but I never posted (see above): Thai Turkey Sausages. This was what Jean Guillaume and I made for our work day last week. That was also a good day - he'd had a hellish work week, so we sat at the top of our yard and drank beer for a while to decompress. Then we made this easy sausage, because the work days don't always have to be difficult or period. Heck, one of them might simply be a road trip down to Penzey's, followed by beer at the BBC...
Read more... )

What I'm reading: F Lee Martinez, Monster

madbaker: (Bayeux cook)
This week's Resolution Recipe, which Jean and I made yesterday for our monthly work day: Liuerings of Veale or any other yong flesh.
Caul of the Mild )

What I'm reading: Tim Akers, The Horns of Ruin

madbaker: (Saluminati)
I really like the Cloverdale site in April/May. It's still green and lush; the hills surround the camping area with trees and there aren't any semis whizzing by. When you are looking at pavilions around the eric, it's easy to get your medieval on.

Camping with St. Calixtus worked well - I would have been shocked had it been otherwise, but still. We had a very pretty encampment of pavilions and gear. Even if our new banners entangled themselves rather quickly.

I think [livejournal.com profile] ysabella_dolfin was the one who originally suggested having a Saluminati meeting at Beltane. I thought we might get four people to show, and at most eight. We had over thirty at various points! Including TH (Mists) and Her Maj. Quite a variety of cured meats, veg, cheeses, booze. It was all really, really good and people seemed to enjoy themselves. I know I'm inspired. As long as there's interest I suspect we'll do it again next year.

Two non-food standouts were Jean and I signing our apprentice indenture - [livejournal.com profile] aastg did a wonderful job clerking; and [livejournal.com profile] acanthusleaf presenting tiny Saluminati pewter buttons that she cast on site that morning.

No brain, shutting down now.

madbaker: (charcuterie)
This week's Resolution Recipe: Mexican Chorizo.
John the apprentice came over on Sunday for corvee duties. We decided to make some modern recipes as a change of pace, so we confited duck legs, then stuffed and hot-smoked lamb merguez and chorizo (both in hog casings for the practice). It was fun and the chorizo made good tacos for dinner that night, although their spice was swallowed up somewhat by the fresh tortillas. All the recipes came out of Ruhlman's Charcuterie, although we adapted somewhat freely.
Read more... )
What I'm reading: Carol Berg, Soul Mirror

madbaker: (Bayeux cook)
This week's Resolution Recipe: To make sausages.

[livejournal.com profile] nightbocci and her husband John, aka the New Apprentice, came over yesterday. She socialized upstairs while John and I played in our kitchen. Part of our contract is that John owes me a corvee of twelve work days per year - which really means that we schedule a monthly work day to focus on something. This was the first one and we had a terrific time. Plus, we both learned things.

Hand chopping the meat is the more authentic way to make the sausage. Does it make a meaningful difference, given that it is much more effort than getting pre-ground meat or grinding it yourself? That's what we wanted to find out. It was a good experiment and I'm using it as this week's Resolution Recipe since while I've made this before, we tried four different ways.

Or, four variations on a theme. )

Pig pics! )

madbaker: (scary clown)
Carrot-Chili Salad + leftover roast hippy chicken + home-made sourdough batard = very tasty Banh mi substitute for dinner last night and lunch today.

Dreams of: (slogging through a swamp + vaguely frustrating personal interactions) just before the alarm goes off = waking up bloody exhausted today.

New apprentice planning and inspiration + post-Twelfth Night free time + freezer space = huge productivity in charcuterie production. I'm going to make some Lucanian sausages for general consumption and as soon as the lardo is done, try another batch of duck salame.

madbaker: (Saluminati)
I get to re-use this tag again! I am very pleased about that.

madbaker: (joyful Wulfric)
I had fun. I thought [livejournal.com profile] ldyanna's Laurel elevation went well (even if I jumped script and released her as my apprentice early). The household looked good in their matching livery.

Having two halls with A/C made the day comfortable. I didn't spend more than a couple minutes outside at any point so I was quite comfortable in my linens.

The feast was good. Not one of my top five attended, but good and worthwhile, certainly better than a couple feasts I've run. Some of the individual dishes were outstanding - the ginger baked apples and the fried cheese curds especially. Our table sat there and debated what would make some of the dishes even better, such as lavender honey on the fried cheese. That's what you get with me, the wife, [livejournal.com profile] j_i_m_r, and [livejournal.com profile] roswtr sitting together. Congrats to roswtr on getting her 2nd QOG! I could see Their Majesties looking in our direction as the ceremony opened, and I figured it wasn't me and JIMR already has one...

I still woke up at 5:30 this morning, so I'm dragging today. In lieu of more recap here's what I wrote for my spokespeech.
Read more... )
Anna gave me a chocolate-covered bacon bar (as well as other things) as a thank you. I'm intrigued. Hmm, I guess this tag will get retired for a while.

What I'm reading: Ilona Andrews, Magic Burns

Crown

Jun. 23rd, 2008 08:53 am
madbaker: (Default)
To paraphrase Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam - Crown was hot. Damn hot. So hot I could fry an egg in my braies. A little crotch-pot cookin'.

Or, as I put it, nose-staking weather.

The Laurel elevation with Elayne's plates being broken was memorable and wrenching in a number of good ways. I wouldn't (or couldn't) have done that personally, but wow.

I thought that [livejournal.com profile] ldyanna's vigil went well, although turnout was a bit smaller than I would have liked. Between the weird court schedule, court going on for 17.4 hours, the heat, and parties - well, we still had plenty of people and the line generally wasn't too long. Lots of food and drink left over afterwards, but I can't really complain since I drank mostly ice water myself. [livejournal.com profile] allergicone, the water coolers were brilliant. Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] ldyanna got thoughts worth considering over the next three weeks. I'm sure that much of the advice was contradictory. I think we shut it down around 1 AM.

Our Saturday dinner was tasty, although we had about as small a quantity of food as we ever have had - there were virtually no leftovers. Just as well since we weren't as visible as we often are to foist food on passersby.

Borrowing [livejournal.com profile] ppfuf's half bell tent was perfect. It only took twenty minutes to unload the car. I missed having our awning and interior space (and air), but it was a good dry run for [livejournal.com profile] bonacorsi camping on her own during my hiatus. Speaking of which, maybe I should throw a goodbye party at Purg...

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