Punk Domestics's blog

Review: The New Charcuterie Cookbook

For a period of more than a decade, I was nearly completely vegetarian; when I did partake of flesh, it was seafood exclusively. I ate no chicken, pork, or beef during that entire time. The chink in the armor came during my first trip to Italy.

Unlike most lapsed vegetarians, the temptation that pulled me to the dark side was not bacon. It was salame. 

We were standing there, on the cotta floor of a wine cantina in Montepulciano. On the counter was a wooden board with a chub of salame, a few thin slices lay flat next to a rustic blade. "You should try it," said my Roman cousin, "they make it on premises." I eyed the glossy cubes of fat embedded in brick red meat and thought to myself that I had not flown 6,000 miles not to eat it. I gingerly picked up a slice and slid it into my mouth, resting it on my tongue like a eucharist wafer. 

My mouth filled with a complex blend of salt, black pepper, and a deeply savory meat. Fat slicked my palate and lips. There was no turning back. 

Salumi and charcuterie have seen a renaissance in the US in the past few years. It's not uncommon for even small restaurants to have house charcuterie programs; some have even sprung up as their own product lines, like Chris Cosentino's Boccalone. Long-established brands like Columbus are still going strong, and producing high-quality, classic salame. 

Back in 2010, Cathy Barrow of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen and Kim Foster of The Yummy Mummy unveiled Charcutepalooza, a year-long blogging event wherein people made recipes from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie. The response was bigger than anyone expected. And then I brought a group to Italy to work with a local norcino to break down a 200 kg pig and turn it into salumi

Ruhlman and Polcyn ended up creating another book, Salumi, focused on the Italian traditions, and then folded much of that material back into a new edition of Charcuterie in 2013

Three San Francisco Bay Area chefs rolled out meat-themed books in the last year: Taylor Boetticher's In the Charcuterie, Ryan Farr's Sausage Making and Jeffrey Weiss' Charcuterìa, the Soul of Spain. All are great resources, but all dig deep on the classics. 

And yet, lest you think there's nothing new under the sun, there's still room for innovation. Chef Jamie Bissonnette enters with something a bit different. (Disclosure: The publishers sent me a copy of the book gratis for review.)

Bissonnette is a firebrand, a relatively young chef who has risen the ranks swiftly, winner of the James Beard Best Chef Award, and now at the helm of two restaurants in New York (Toro, Coppa) and one outpost of Toro in Boston. He's a bearded, bespectacled, heavily inked former vegan turned nose-to-tail cook who listens to punk. In other words, he's my kinda guy. 

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Six Ways to Put Up Corn

Sweet and crunchy corn is best eaten within minutes of harvest, but if you want to keep the last lingering taste of summer through the shortening days, there's a few ways you can put some by.

Frozen Corn, found on PunkDomestics.com
Frozen Corn
Cut off the cob andgiven a quick blanch, sweet corn retains its texture and flavor for months to come. (Image via Girl's Guide to Guns and Butter.)
Corn Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Corn Salsa
Chips dipped in corn salsa benefit from the complementary corny flavor. Whip up a batch to keep fresh, or delve into shelf-stable recipes suitable for canning. (Image via Local Kitchen.)
Corn Relish, found on PunkDomestics.com
Corn Relish
Crunchy and tangy corn relish is a natural for dogs fresh off the grill, but also delicious in nachoes and more. (Image via Foy Update.)
Corn Chutney, found on PunkDomestics.com
Corn Chutney
Fresh corn makes for a tasty chutney, along with yellow wax beans, green tomatoes and golden raisins. (Image via Spectacularly Delicious.)

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Three Things Thursday: A Rose Is a Rosewater Is a Rose Geranium

Once again it's Three Things Thursday, where I highlight three things that ran on the site recently that inspired, intrigued or impressed me.

Sunny Summer Herb Jelly, found on PunkDomestics.com
Sunny Summer Herb Jelly
This jelly has a gentle aromatic quality to it, thanks in part to roses, and is paired with a spunky zip of lemon zest. It is a great preserve to save for the dark months of winter when you need a little summer pick me up. Via Backroads Rebellion.

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Punk Domestics Meets About.com

Sean Timberlake

It is with equal parts pride and trepidation that I announce that I have taken over as the Food Preservation Expert for About.com. For my inaugural piece, I took a look at three small-batch fermentation kits that are in or about to be in the market. Read More >

Several Things to Do With Green Tomatoes

As the days shorten, those last tomatoes on the vine may stubbornly stay green. But that doesn't mean they're not good eating. Here's seven ways to preserve those green tomatoes.

Pickled Green Tomatoes, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Keep 'em crisp and make 'em zingy and tangy. Pickled green tomatoes make the most of the unripe fruit. (Image via Garden of Eating.)
Green Tomato Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Green Tomato Salsa
Spicy and tangy, green tomato salsa brings a dose of summer in the colder months. (Image via Jane's Adventures in Dinner.)
Green Tomato Chutney, found on PunkDomestics.com
Green Tomato Chutney
Chunky, spicy, sweet-tart chutney elevates your greenies to new dimensions. Great with meats, or alongside spicy foods. (Image via Married ...With Dinner.)

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Three Things Thursday: Prickly, Sour and Boozy

Once again it's Three Things Thursday, where I highlight three things that ran on the site recently that inspired, intrigued or impressed me. This week, I'm going all prickly, sour and boozy.

Harvesting and Processing Prickly Pear Fruit, found on PunkDomestics.com
Harvesting and Processing Prickly Pear Fruit
Don't be intimidated by these spiky creatures. Just grab a pair of tongs to harvest tunas, and then use one of these methods to remove the spiky glochids. Image via Autumn Makes and Does.

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Raspberries! These ripe red berries are fleeting, so grab a flat while you can and whip up some DIY deliciousness.

Raspberry Jam found on PunkDomestics.com
Raspberry Jam
Cook up those raspberries quick to capture their bright flavor. Perfectly delicious on its own, it's also great with vanilla, anise, a splash of booze or anything you like.
Triple Berry Curd found on PunkDomestics.com
Triple Berry Curd
Rich and gorgeous hued, this triple berry curd includes raspberry, strawberry and blackberry. Wonderful as a simple spread on toast, bagels or english muffins, it can also be used as a filling in cakes and as a topping or swirled into ice cream.
Raspberry Liqueur found on PunkDomestics.com
Raspberry Liqueur
You could spend mucho dinero on the stuff in fancy bottle, or you can make your own for pennies on the dollar. Serve some up as an aperitif, drizzle in a glass of bubbly, or use in lique of the commercial stuff in cocktails.

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Get Figgy With It

Figs are summer's last hurrah, and the harbinger of fall. These honey-sweet fruits are both delicious and versatile, eaten out of hand or packed in a jar.

Fig Jam, found on PunkDomestics.com
Fig Jam
Figs' honeyed sweetness are a natural for jams, straight up or enhanced with balsamic, lavender, fennel or even smoky chipotle.
Fig Preserves, found on PunkDomestics.com
Fig Preserves
If you like to retain the texture of figs, put up a chunky preserves instead.
Pollystyle Fig Paste, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pollystyle Fig Paste
Made the right way, fig paste has a more complex flavor than fig jam. This is great as a breakfast spread or eaten with Spanish cheeses such as Manchego.
Fig Chutney, found on PunkDomestics.com
Fig Chutney
Homemade chutneys are a terrific way to amp up either a snack or a meal without adding too many extra calories or salt. Making chutney is easier than most jam recipes, and are a nice alternative to a bottle of wine for your host/hostess gift.

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Giveaway! Win a Kraut Source Double Gourmet Fermentation Kit Set

There's a lot of exciting things happening in fermentation right now. Since launching Punk Domestics in 2010, I've seen DIYfermented foods trend up year over year. Lately there's been an uptick in innovation around tools that aid in fermenting. Recently my friend Nicole from FarmCurious launched her FarmCurious Ferments tool, using the ReCAP; it's a tool I myself use very regularly. Another friend, Ernie Miller of Rancho La Merced Provisions, is producing truly gorgeous lactofermentation kits with fermentation locks built right into the lids of swing-top jars. Yet another friend, Karen Diggs from here in the Bay Area, has designed, engineered and is bringing to market a new tool that is truly interesting and exciting.

Dubbed Kraut Source, it's modeled after the classic Japanese pickle presses, but with a few nuances that set it apart. Kraut Source is a five-part kit that screws on top of any standard wide-mouth mason jar, allowing you to control how much or little product you want to ferment. Made entirely of stainless steel, it features a spring-loaded press that keeps foods submerged under the brine, and a moat and cap on the top that allows gas to escape without letting any unpleasant bugaboos in.

Karen's Kickstarter is already going gangbusters (go check it out!), but she is graciously offering up a gift to one lucky winner to help spread the word. You can win the Double Gourmet & Pounder Kit, which comprises 2 Kraut Source with Mason jars, 2 deluxe wooden pounders, 2 (4 oz.) packets of hand-harvested Celtic Sea Salt®, 4 packets of gourmet organic spice blends for making sauerkraut and pickles, and 2 printed how-to booklets with 30+ recipes. Domestic shipping is included when the product is ready in November. That's a $100 value, people!

So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

All entries must be logged in the Rafflecopter widget below to qualify for entry. One lucky winner will be selected at random. You've got until midnight PDT on Friday, August 22, so get subscribing, liking, pinning and tweeting!

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