The pig is coming along and I have been documenting most of the proceedings. I've gone a little simpler this time. I decided not to do any fermented sausages because I don't have a proper drip room. Last winter/spring I was able to get away with a very makeshift solution involving a ladder, a 1" dowel, and enclosing the whole thing in plastic trash bags. During summer though, we're too busy to have that set-up taking up half the dry storage for a day or two. Plus they have to hang for about 2 months and we're going to have to dismantle our keg fridges in about a month in order to install a floor in our wait station and the keg fridges are where they would have to hang.
So, hams are the order of the day. I've got all 4 legs brining, along with the head and trotters. The loins we serve on the menu anyway, the bellies are mostly being made into bacon although I'm braising one of them tomorrow. The skin goes into cotechino. Man I love that stuff.
I'll post the details (along with pics) when the hams are close. Should be about 2 weeks, maybe a little less for the forelegs. I'd still like to do a country ham but again have no practical place for the aging. Maybe someday when I'm a big cheese like Paul Bertolli I'll have my redwood lined walk-in carved into the hillside below my house holding many hams in various stages of readiness. Or maybe I'll just have a funky home fridge that I've converted to be my equivalent.
Right now dear friends I need your help. Where the hell can I eat in Anaheim? Or Glendale? My mom and I, along with my friend of longest duration, (that's how us older folks say it) are going to see what's left of the NY Dolls on Wednesday in Anaheim. Long trip for a rock show but hey. My pal lives in Glendale so it's not a big deal for him.
At the risk of this turning into a rock and roll blog rather than a food blog, I distinctly remember seeing their Too Much Too Soon album with my mom when it came out in 1974. Food content: we saw it in a supermarket. I want to say she bought it, but I'm not sure. We definitely loved the way they looked regardless and certainly had little idea that within 3-4 years I'd be routinely sleeping on singer David Johansen's floor and having him and Sylvain look out for me (and slip me cash) like they would an obnoxious little brother.
I haven't seen either of them in over 25 years and don't know if I'll get a chance to say hi. I think I will but who knows.
So, anyway, help steer me to a decent meal if you can. Probably nothing too challenging as neither my mom nor my friend are tremendously adventurous. I'll look on Chowhound also, but it's so much crap to wade through and I'm hoping one of you knows the perfect place.
In the summer reading department I've made it through a few more of Kudzu's loaners. The Vintner's Table Cookbook was an interesting take on food and wine pairing. I enjoy reading books by people with definite opinions, even when I don't agree with them. Tried her recipe for walnut shortbread and it didn't do it for me.
MFK Fisher's annotated edition of Fine Preserving was interesting for two reasons. One is she claims to like the book, in fact getting it reissued through casual conversation with a publisher but then proceeds to poke and prod at nearly every recipe in the book. If this is how she treated things she liked, yikes. The other interesting thing is her mention of Charmoon the mushroom man. I deal with him yearly during the production of one of the food and wine festivals up here and had no idea he used to drive Mary Frances to the market weekly. I'll have to ask him a few questions this year.
Plantation Feasts and Festivities is a weird one. Recipes by the great Edna Lewis, celebrating slave owner hospitality. Hmmm...not sure how I feel about that one. The food sounds good but the issue of slavery is pretty well buried although mentioned once in very glossed over terms.
Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme was a quick read and I tried the Deep Chocolate Cream (essentially a pudding recipe) and it was pretty damned good. I'll definitely try a few more things.
I'm mid-way through Authentic Vietnamese Cooking by Connie Trang and everything sounds really wonderful. I'll let you know after I try something.
So send those So Cal recommendations now, because after I leave Tuesday morning I won't be checking in.