charcuterie

Carnivore Club: What Was in the Latest Box?

by Anne Maxfield on November 7, 2016

accidental-locavore-carnivore-club-october-boxWhile you may think it’s way too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping, someone you know has probably gotten it all done already.

Here’s a terrific idea and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your keyboard.

Carnivore Club is a subscription service that delivers all kinds of delicious charcuterie—from prosciuttos and salamis to all kinds of jerky.

What’s great about it (and what makes it an excellent gift), is that you can choose how many boxes to get.

If you just want to try it for a month, you can. If you want to go all in (or be a really generous friend), do it for a year.

The Accidental Locavore’s first box (given to me by Carnivore Club) was filled with jerky and while I’m sort of on the fence about beef jerky, the bacon jerky was incredible!

Accidental Locavore Carnivore Club Beef JerkyIt disappeared in a couple of days and will get reordered (or I’ll try making my own).

The newest box (also given by Carnivore Club) arrived a couple of weeks ago and features salami, ‘nudja and pancetta from Alle-Pia in California.

If you’re new to ‘nudja (pronounced n-DOO-ya), it’s a very trendy salami spread.

The first time I tried it, I was underwhelmed, but this one is very different. It’s a blend of salami mixed with sundried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and red chile peppers, so it packs a bit of a kick. Yummy with crackers or possibly, as they suggest, as a pizza topping.

accidental-locavore-carnivore-club-contentsThere’s a nice hunk of pancetta that we haven’t broken into yet, but might inspire a pasta carbonara dinner.

And two salamis; Tartufo and Cacciatorino.

Of course, the one we dove into first was the Tartufo Salami. Being a total truffle fiend, I couldn’t wait to try it! The truffles are not overwhelming, more of a whisper, which made Frank (who overdosed on truffles one fall in Umbia) a fan. Since I’m never convinced that there is such a thing as too much truffle, I would have liked it to be a little more assertive.

The Cacciatorino, or hunter’s salami, had a mild taste with hints of juniper and Chianti—a terrific combination! According to the brochure that comes with every Carnivore Club box, the name comes because they’re small salamis, easily carried in a hunter’s bag (and good in case you come home empty handed).

So, if you’re looking for a good gift for yourself, or a loved one, treat yourself to a box (or two, or three) from Carnivore Club. If you order by December 15th, they guarantee delivery by Christmas.

I have it from a very reliable source there’s more ‘nudja in the holiday box. Enjoy!

 

 

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2015 Revisited: The Best Things I Ate or Cooked

by Anne Maxfield on January 4, 2016

Accidental Locavore 2015As the Accidental Locavore revisits the year that was, I was trying to think of how a year-end roundup should go this time around (because one sort of has to do one-search engine optimization etc.). The most commented on? The recipes I cooked the most? The recipes I liked the most? Best cook books? And then I remembered the trip to Croatia, and the food and wine discoveries there, and other great meals so here goes … and they’re not numbered for a reason.Accidental Locavore Dangerous Duck

  • Dangerous Duck at Café Miranda in Rockland Maine. There were so many reasons this was the perfect meal. A truly horrible day with no chance to eat anything but a mini bag of Doritos from a vending machine, hugely hungry and this miracle of a dinner. I’ve thought about asking for the recipe, but it’s nice to have it as a treat (and I don’t have to cook and clean up). However, the next batch of duck confit I make will definitely have some Sichuan influences!
  • Oatmeal Caramel cookies from Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market (30th & Lex). Speaking of recipes, we have asked for the recipe for this amazing cookie and sadly have been turned down. I never expected to fall in love with this sad little hockey puck of a cookie—all that was left by 4:00 – but it just goes to show how truly amazing butter, oatmeal and sugar can be! If I was more of a baker (or more of a confident baker), I’d have tried to figure this out a while ago (and put on 30 pounds in the process). Until then, like Dangerous Duck, these cookies will have to remain an occasional treat. Unless someone can get the recipe?????Accidental Locavore Istrian Fritaja
  • The last dinner in Croatia. Not only was this probably the most beautiful meal I’ve ever eaten, it all tasted as good as it looked (and those were pretty high standards). Add the Presidential Suite at the Kempinski Hotel Adriatic and Venice across the sea and this was one for the record books (and year-end roundups). The best of the best? I’m still fantasizing about the “Istrian new fritaja with black truffle”.Accidental Locavore Pig Roast Charcuterie
  • Charcuterie from two experts. At our pig roast, along with the pig, there were two competing plates of charcuterie that were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. If I had to pick two favorites, it would be Mark’s pepperoni (pepperoni taken to a whole different level!) tied with John’s salami (absolutely the best ever!). So good that I ate it all before Frank could even get a piece (well, it would have been mean to just leave him the two slices that were left…). If you get lucky, Mark might have some pepperoni at his store (weekends only) and if I get really lucky, maybe John will make some more salami (hint, hint).Accidental Locavore Drinking Gazpacho
  • Drinkable gazpacho, from the New York Times. Smooth, cold, delicious and so much better than the cold “salsa” version. If you are anything like me, you ate/drank all of this before any could make it to the freezer. That will make both of us sad (and resolved to set some aside next summer), especially since we’re about seven months to more…

Runners-up:

  • DIY fruit roll-ups. Took me back to my childhood and were as good as remembered (if not better). Luckily apricots are in season sooner than tomatoes…Accidental Locavore Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Another DIY—hot chocolate mix. This one you can make and enjoy now (unless the weather pops up to 70° again). Use good chocolate and cocoa and make it exactly how you like it.Accidental Locavore My Baguettes
  • 4 hour baguettes. There’s nothing like a hot baguette and if you’re hours from France (or Maison Kayser), it’s going to be your best bet.

Thanks to my cousins for the plethora of cookies spelling out 2015 and Happy New Year to all!

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A Big Pig (Roast)

by Anne Maxfield on July 20, 2015

Accidental Locavore Mark and PigIf you’ve ever been to a pig roast, you know it’s always a great feast with a golden brown pig taking center stage! Center stage in this case was a very large grill where the pig was perfectly roasted for hours until it was falling off the bone tender.

Accidental Locavore Pig Roast GuestsThe Accidental Locavore and Frank decided to celebrate a couple of birthdays ending in zeros, with the pig, a tent, and a large group of friends. As the invitation said, “the pig needs accompaniments, so please bring a dish…” and everyone stepped up to the plate. It helps that quite a few of our friends are great cooks, so we had no doubt that we’d all be eating well.

The pig was left in the hands of Mark, of Hudson Valley Sausage. Our chef friends, threatened to boycott the pig roast if Mark wasn’t doing the pig, so that was a no-brainer. He arrived early Sunday morning, towing the roaster with a 100 pound pig. The dog happily followed him up the driveway, eagerly licking anything that dripped from the roaster.

Accidental Locavore Pig Roast CharcuterieWhen Mark returned to finish the pig, he brought a big platter of some of his charcuterie. Early arrivals, sitting around chatting or waiting to play tennis, were treated to a wonderful variety of soppressata, pepperoni and salamis along with some provolone. All delicious with the pepperoni, being my personal favorite! Now, we’ve got to go over to Highland and check out his store.

But wait there’s more…and more amazing charcuterie! John, one of our chef friends, who also teaches at the CIA, brought a platter with his selection of prosciutto, ham and salami (and a copy of his book on charcuterie, which I can’t wait to dive into). Now, I don’t want to start any cured meat wars among friends, but this was also some spectacular food! The salami, which I got to enjoy the following day, was one of the best I’ve ever eaten anywhere!

There were lots of other great side dishes, including some wonderful Asian style baked beans, a bunch of terrific cole slaws, and what looked like a pasta salad with goat cheese but turned out to be thinly julienned squash. I’ve got to get the recipe for that and some of my other favorites!

Accidental Locavore Rif With an EarAnd not to leave out the star of the show—the pig was wonderful, tender and juicy, cooked to perfection. Several of us, jumped right in and grabbed chunks of the crunchy skin to munch on. Even Rif was happy, munching on one of the ears (his favorite treat).

If you still had room, there were lots of desserts! Great brownies, a citrus tart that everyone demolished (so I never got to taste it), along with cakes, tarts, cookies and watermelon cut into spears-easy to pick up and go!

We had a wonderful caterer, As You Wish, who took care of everything, so Frank and I got to sit back and enjoy the party. It was such a good time, we’re already thinking about next year—maybe a lamb roast?

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My Problem With Preserving

by Anne Maxfield on June 15, 2015

Accidental Locavore Saucisson Wrapped I don’t know how much preserving you’ve done, but the Accidental Locavore is pretty much a novice when it comes to anything more than some simple pickles. And preserving meat through drying has always been difficult, mostly because there aren’t any safe (meaning free from potential hungry rodents) places to hang things where there is some sort of temperature control. But there are a few nooks and crannies for me to play with when it’s cold out.

Accidental Locavore Saucisson CuringWhen I saw a recipe recently from Jacques Pépin for saucisson of pork, I thought it might be worth a try. It was early March, the temperature in my tool room is pretty consistent and there are places to hang meat where it should be safe from marauders. Made with pork tenderloin (and coming from Jacques) it seemed so incredibly simple that I was willing to sacrifice a tenderloin to the charcuterie gods.

You cure the pork in a salt mixture overnight, wipe it dry, sprinkle it with Cognac and Herbs de Provence, wrap it in cheesecloth or muslin and hang it to dry for 5-6 weeks. Nothing to it, right? So I left it hanging from a light fixture and forgot about it.

Accidental Locavore Saucisson SecSearching for a light bulb, I saw my saucisson dangling, a sliver of its former self. It had been a little over a month, and it seemed firm (Jacques says “I like them when they are still a little soft, not too dry”). I cut it down.

Accidental Locavore Sliced SaucissonFirm is an understatement! This thing was really dried. Slicing it, even with a really sharp knife, was close to impossible. I managed to get a few slices so we could taste it. Chewing it was almost as hard as cutting it was! Now, all of this would have been workable if we were tasting something delicious (and you know we love charcuterie), but it was unbelievably salty! Somewhere in the directions, Jacques forgot to say to rinse the pork really well before wiping it dry. Going against my instincts (I’ve made the salty charcuterie mistake before) to rinse it and actually following the recipe proved to be a huge mistake!

If the dog wasn’t supposed to be on a diet, he might have been the beneficiary of what we were calling pork jerky, but sadly, it made a quick trip to the bottom of the trash can. Even more sadly, now that the weather is finally getting better, it’s going to be too warm to try another for at least another six months. Oh well, I’ll just have to go hit some golf balls.

 

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