Tag Archives: the yummy mummy

Charcutepalooza. Let’s make meat.

(Let’s just drop that pesky ’11 or 2011 or whatever.)

The Co-Creators: Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy

Twitter Hashtag: #Charcutepalooza

We’re kicking off the twelve months of meat so aptly named Charcutepalooza by Kim.  This is a remarkable opportunity to learn as a group, to share experiences, and to explore far and wide how we approach the elegant “craft of salting, smoking and curing.”

There is little doubt it’s time to think about the meat we eat. How we use the animals raised for consumption. How we treat them. How they are butchered. And how the whole beast is used to feed our families.

Stories of meat tainting and commercially farmed animals in hideous circumstances are far too common. Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate the appropriate, thoughtful consumption of meat with a year long exploration of the age old craft of charcuterie?

Charcutepalooza (say it with us, “shar-coo-ta-pa-loo-za”)

We want to make it easy and fun to participate. If you are in, send me a message using the contact form on this blog. Include your name and your blog address. Everyone participating will be listed (with links) on a page linked to www.charcutepalooza.com.

If you don’t know where to hang meat in your studio apartment, don’t worry. There will be plenty of projects that do not require hanging meat. Duck prosciutto aside, each month’s project will be crafted with a wide range of applications in mind.

We’re using Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing as our guide. Michael Ruhlman has said he’ll be involved. More on that soon.

Already it looks like an amazing community of talented cooks will be involved. Watch for posts from GlutenFreeGirl and The Chef, Last Nights Dinner and A Dash of Bitters, Heathy Green Kitchen, TasteFood, The Peche, NotDerbyPie and Hedonia, to name just a few.

If you’re not a blogger, you can still participate. Post your experiences on the round-up post in the comment section, and share photos at our Flickr site. Or just read along and watch what happens. I’m hoping for a few good stories.

Hang on to your hats because there is more to come. Punk Domestics wants to run with this, showcasing blog entries from our Charcutepalooza. And Kim and I are brainstorming all sorts of fun and games. More on that later.

For now, let’s get on with it.

The Ruhls

  • Let’s celebrate the age-old talents and skills of charcuterie with contemporary takes on techniques, flavors and presentation.
  • Let’s agree to use humanely raised meat, sourced as close to home as possible.
  • Let’s write about our experiences. Not just how the charcuterie is made, but how we use it, serve it, flavor it.
  • Buy a copy of  ‘Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing’ by Michael Ruhlman.
  • Cook along as often as practical. There’s no obligation.
  • Post about your experiences on the 15th of the month.
  • Display the Badge, if you are so inclined; here’s how: Copy the following code into a widget on your website:

<a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/2010/12/charcutepalooza-lets-make-meat/”><img src=”http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/charcutepaloozaSMALL2.jpg”


Right click on the badge to the right and save it then insert on your site and link it to: http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/2010/12/charcutepalooza-lets-make-meat

Please, let’s not post the charcuterie recipes. However, recipes that use what you’ve made – that’s what we hope you will post. And presentation. And the photos. We know we’re going to love the photos.

How it will work

I’ll post a monthly charcuterie challenge on the 15th of each month. This will kick off the project and offer some tips for success. You’ll have one month to complete your take on the challenge.

Kim will post her take on the monthly challenge on the 15th, also. She’ll be addressing the charcuterie from her never-done-it-before point of view.

We hope our two perspectives will give you plenty of help and information to get on with some meat-making. We’re also hoping to get some expert help at a monthly twitter talk. More on that later.

(January is a special circumstance. We’ll start with Duck Prosciutto, for posting January 15th. That post is coming in a day or two. As soon as I catch my breath.)

We’ll post a round up of links on the 30th of each month. If we can find some sponsorships, maybe we can figure out some contests or giveaway. More on that later.

And each month, Kim will post her experiences, as a newcomer to meat-crafting. I can’t wait to see what she will get up to. Last I heard, she was looking for nightclothes for her duck breasts. No, not kidding.

We’re terrified and thrilled to set off on this project. Can’t wait to see how the charcuterie is served in your homes.

More on that later,

XO Cathy & Kim

Charcutepalooza. The Year of Meat.

Update: Throughout the year, you’ll find all the challenges here.

Eating Other People’s Food

It’s been a dreadful few days of computer drama. All self-inflicted, actually. Somewhere in my brain, I decided I needed to back up my data, photos, and who knows what else resides on this machine. And from there, into the land of software updates I ventured, only to take down computer, network, and ultimately, my sanity.

It’s still not completely fixed. I can get connected while sitting in one room of the house – neither the kitchen nor my studio, mind you. It’s like the olden days before wireless.

So, other than melting down over technology, I’ve been enjoying a quiet week of cooking from other food sites, using what was available in the pantry and freezer. Eating other people’s food. Food52 is the most amazing resource. It’s my go-to site when I’m deciding what to cook, because I know those recipes have been made in a kitchen like mine, by a cook like me, and they never fail to impress, expand my imagination, and solve the “what’s for dinner” question. Returning from eating gloriously (fattening!) food in New York, I craved simple tasty vegetarian fare.

Here are a few highlights, and links to some fantastic blogs, as well.

Borrachos – an amazing recipe from LastNightsDinner, a friend from food52. This easy, tasty bean recipe has been fantastic. Because Dennis isn’t much for jalapenos, I just open a jar of my pickled jalapeno slices and spoon a generous helping right into my serving of the cooked beans. The tomatoes melt away and the beer provides a nice hoppy undertone.
We had burritos the first night – one of Dennis’ favorite ways to enjoy beans. Breakfast for me was a bowl of these drunken beans, topped with a poached egg and some sriracha. And one night, I served the beans in bowls garnished with toasted ancho chili strips, avocado and creme fraiche.
I tried my hand at making corn tortillas, something I was quite good at the last few times, but this effort was a total failure. The beans, however, shine through everytime. For this particular recipe, I used Rancho Gordo Santa Maria pinquito. A tasty bean that makes me want to say Toothsome. (what a great word)

We both adored Macaroni, Cauliflower and Cheese from TasteFood. Another food52 contributor, Lynda’s twists on classic recipes are spectacular, as you can see in this simple, tasty dish. I made a full recipe, divided it into four gratin dishes, and froze two. It was the perfect dinner for Dennis when I was off in New York.

Dennis and I took a field trip to a Thai grocer in Silver Spring. What a great place – my only regret is eating lunch before I went! The food on the carryout side smelled great. A very helpful guy helped me gather all the ingredients to start cooking from Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings.

And a few other ingredients, too, the most intriguing, perhaps, is the Black Sweet Soy Sauce. I first heard of it through the fun blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen. These up and coming food world stars, Phoebe and Cara, have been around food52 and I got to know them there, and on Twitter. There was a great shout of Hooray! from the Twitterverse when their book deal was announced. Their recipes are spot-on – easy, tasty and always inventive. I made their version of Pad See Ew, and we loved it, and when Dennis tossed some chopped peanuts on top, we loved it even more.
So, New York was absolutely fabulous! Perhaps my favorite moment was walking out of the hotel into a sea of teenage girls. Yes, indeed, Nick Jonas was pulling up just around the corner. What a hilarious, noisy experience.
The baby shower was delightful, especially getting to see the gal pals from Martha’s Vineyard Weekend twice this year! Wow! (We missed you Kathleen, Carole, Ellen.) Jessie glowed. Seriously. What a gorgeous mother. Driving to and from Where-The-Hell-Are-We-Is-That-Really-Belmont-Park-OMG-and-Flushing-Meadows-Too?, Long Island, was — well, just was.

Other highlights – meeting the glorious YummyMummy for a good talk about this world of blogging. She provided great ideas and insights in her inimitable hilarious way (read her blog for some hardy belly laughs and great recipes, to boot.) We pinky-swore to go to BlogHer this August in NYC. Can Not Wait.

The food in New York was just fantastic. Our dinner at the Fatty Crab was exceptional – especially the Crispy Pork Belly and Pickled Watermelon.
The lobster rolls downstairs at the Brooklyn Flea were OutOfThisWorld.

Momofuko Ramen. YES.

No food trip to NY seems complete these days without a stroll through Chelsea Market, especially when it’s full of people and musicians and children. Beautiful fish market. Superb Italian market (fig vinegar!) Eye candy everywhere.
Dinner at Landmarc – luscious roasted marrow bones, a sharp frisee salad, highly acidic and a great counterpoint. The Union Square Greenmarket, even in the cold of January, offered gorgeous mushrooms, root vegetables, some yummy pretzels and a loaf of sour rye that made me immensely happy. Lunch at Union Square Cafe – yes, the service really is that good. And the food was perfection, as was the company, reconnecting with a mentor/friend from a million years ago.
So, to wrap up a few days of eating other people’s food, I asked Dennis if he would go with me to a class taught by Patricia Jinich at the Mexican Cultural Institute.
An evening of tamales sounded pretty darn good to me, but I had NO idea! They were spectacular. Three types – veg, chicken & beef – taught in a breezy, charming way, making it all look so easy and approachable! Yes, I will have a tamale party this year!
For now, it’s back to the kitchen. Presuming I can overcome these technology burps, here’s what’s coming up. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead bread. The Asian Dumpling experiment. And making bacon.