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本当に、本当に、と言いたいが、すべてを放して、勇敢なやってみるかというよりは、かつてのがすばらしくて中と思い出によりてあれらのずっと嫌がってたかもしれないが、結果は本当にないじゃあないで、また多くの意外な喜びかもしれない……

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Only use the very freshest ground lamb

I took a charcuterie class a few months back, and have been obsessed with making sausages ever since. I've pored over Ruhlman's Charcuterie, Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail Eating, and a zillion blogs to feed my obsession. Of all the sausages I've made, the merguez is the one I reach for first. It's quick to cook and pairs with so many side dishes. The secret to great merguez is in the harissa. There are many recipes on the web, and many varieties on the shelf. I'm partial to the harissa at Whole Foods - full of hot chilis and not too tomato-y, but that's my taste. Only use the very freshest ground lamb. Grind your own if you can. I use a KA meat grinding attachment and sausage stuffer. Some report good results with the food processor.

Leave it to MrsWheelbarrow, one of the masterminds behind Charcutepalooza, to remind us how simple making your own sausage can be -- you don't even need to fuss with casings. And this one is so good: perfectly spiced and perfumed with MrsW's custom spice blend (we halved it and had plenty) and ready to join poached eggs and toast or get stuffed in a pita with tzatziki and fresh veggies. Since harissa brands can vary, we recommend starting with the minimum amount of cayenne and salt and searing off a patty to taste test (lucky you!).

Serves 1 lb. of bulk merguez sausage, or a coil to feed four

Spice Mixture - will make plenty

1 tablespoon coriander seed, dry toasted
1 tablespoon cumin seed, dry toasted
1 tablespoon anise seed, or fennel seed, in a pinch, dry toasted
1 tablespoon cinnamon, I like Ceylon
1/2-1 teaspoons cayenne, depending on your harissa
2 teaspoons turmeric

Sausage

1 pound fresh ground lamb shoulder
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon spice mix
2 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4-1/2 teaspoons Salt, to taste
iced water, as needed

Combine the spice mix ingredients and grind fine using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. The extra can be stored in a glass jar.

Using a mixer, combine all the sausage ingredients. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is well combined. If you have ground the meat yourself, you probably won't need much ice water.

Form a little patty and cook it off, taste and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.

Cover and chill this mixture overnight if you can. This will help the flavors develop. If overnight is impossible, chill at least an hour.

Dip your hands in ice water as you form the sausage patties. Chill the patties again if you are not going to cook them right away. Grill the merguez coils for 10-12 minutes, total, turning once.

I make large coils to serve four. They make a spectacular dinner party offering with lentils du puy, crusty bread, and a green salad with figs and marcona almonds.
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Cowboy Rubbed Rib Eye with Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce


Author Notes: I started making this rub after reading about cowboy food, they carried with them coffee, salt, pepper and sugar Dream beauty pro...and they grilled their steaks in cast iron pans...since I do not often find myself on the open range I have to make due with either my grill or during wet yucky weather, my oven. I've added a couple of spices and few non cowboy type extras.. though I'm pretty sure if the cowboys had chocolate stout they would've enjoyed it too. ... on the rare occasions when I have been forced to camp outdoors I've brought pre rubbed steaks with me to get a taste of the old west... If you have no chocolate stout available any dark beer will do, you can also sub red wine, but it will be very different. I like to use a pre heated cast iron pan because in conducts the heat well...and you don't have to turn the meat over.

Ground coffee, smoked paprika, cumin, ancho chile and brown sugar form an earthy, flinty rub that smells appealingly of wood smoke. Aliwaks borrows a smart technique from Indian cooking and has you toast the spices over low heat before rubbing them on the steak. Then it's just a matter of searing it in a very hot iron pan and finishing the sauce with some chocolate brown stout, beef stock and a lump of butter Dream beauty pro hard sell. We recommend some corn pudding on the side.

Serves 2

1 Nice, thick rib eye, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, big enough for two
1 tablespoon ground coffee
2 tablespoons kosher salt (we used Diamond Crystal -- you may want to reduce the salt to taste, especially if using Morton's Kosher or other finer salt, see comments)
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (preferably Ancho chile)
1 cup chocolate stout (you'll have to drink the rest)
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 sprig thyme
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if you are the type to save bacon fat, by all means use it!)

Mix the coffee, salt, paprika, peppers & cumin together and toast lightly in pan until fragrant (alternatively you can toast whole spices then grind). Mix the spices with the sugar to make the rub.

Spread the rub all over the steak and let sit for awhile, if you do it the night before you'll have stronger flavor but if you do it right before serving it'll be good, too. (If you pre-rub and set it in the fridge, be sure to bring it up to room temperature before searing, so you do not shock the meat.)

Heat a cast iron pan until it's really really hot -- a drop of water flicked into the pan should sizzle and bounce. Add vegetable oil, wait a few seconds until the oil heats up, then place the steak in the pan. It should sizzle; leave it there Dream beauty pro hard sell, do not touch it at all for 3-4 minutes. It should be browning on the bottom. Then place it under a hot broiler and broil to medium rare or desired doneness.

Remove the steak and let rest on a warm plate, cover with aluminum foil.

Add the thyme sprig to the pan and let it saute a bit till it gets nice and fragrant. Pour in the chocolate stout and deglaze the pan. Add the beef broth, whisk together and reduce by half over medium heat.

Remove the thyme sprig and whisk in the butter. Season to taste.

Slice the steak on the bias and drizzle the sauce over top. This is YUMMY with creamed spinach and hash browns or baked potato and a nice big salad.

Quick Strawberry Sherbet


Author Notes: I learned this technique with the food processor years ago when I taught consumers how to get the most out of their Cuisinart food processors. This works with all fresh fruit in season, and is best with lusciously ripe fruit like the Tristars in this sherbet.

All we can say is: thank goodness ChefJune was given an assignment to teach people about the wonders of their Cuisinarts. Not only is this simple dessert packed with intense strawberry flavor, but it takes all of five minutes to make. We'll admit we were a bit skeptical about the technique, but it works perfectly: you purée frozen berries in the food processor with sugar and lemon, leave the motor running while you pour in a little cold milk, and voila -- you have a lovely, loose sherbet. Since strawberry season is over, we used store-bought frozen berries. You can make this sherbet with pretty much any type of frozen fruit, but if you buy it ready-frozen, we recommend that you be judicious with the sugar.


Serves 4

1 pint strawberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cups superfine cane sugar
1 cup whole milk
fresh mint for garnish (optional)

wash and hull the berries and freeze for 40 minutes to 1 hour
Chill the work bowl and blade of your food processor.

Put the frozen strawberries, sugar and lemon juice into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to chop berries coarsely, then run machine continuously to create almost a purée.

With the machine still running, pour the very cold milk through the feed tube into the strawberry mixture until the mixture is JUST blended.

Spoon into dessert dishes, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, and serve at once!

Cocoa Fudge Sauce, Glaze, or Frosting


Author Notes: Easy peasy and versatile—my favorite bittersweet ice cream topping also makes a superb and easy to marble glaze for cakes. - Alice Medrich

Makes about 2 cups

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 cup (90 grams) unsweetened natural or alkalized cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 or 2 pinches salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa. Gradually stir in the cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Use warm as a sauce or glaze, or let it cool and spread like frosting. Store leftover sauce covered in the fridge. Reheat gently in pan of simmering water, or in a microwave on low.

NOTE: To crumb coat a cake before glazing, let the sauce cool to a soft frosting consistency. Spread a very thin layer of it over the cake to glue to the crumbs and provide a smooth surface for the glaze. Refrigerate the cake for just 5 or 10 minutes to set the surface. To glaze the cake, reheat the remaining sauce gently, stirring until it is smooth, glossy, and pourable. Pour over the cake.

Knock, knock...

is there anyone still there?
 
I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't many of you dear readers left, seeing as how abandoning a blog for over four months is poor form. Very poor indeed. I will not bore you with excuses, about months of traveling and poor internet connections and the like; I will only say thank to those who sent me kind messages asking where I had disappeared to, wondering if I was ever coming back.

And to the three readers I have left (hi Kathy!), hello. How are you? It's good to be back.
 
We did indeed do a lot of traveling, eating tiny chicken dumplings stuffed with pistachios and chicken jus, cream-filled baklava at Ramadan, and enough felafel, schwarma, and hummus to feed an army. The highlight culinarily was Istanbul, the marvelous walkable city, which we visited at the height of hamsi season, hamsi being the gorgeous fresh anchovies from the Black Sea. We had lightly fried hamsi and hamsi pilaf and hamsi stew. We had fantastic caramelized quinces and delicious Turkish wine and the best roast chicken I've ever had (roasted in a salt crust and set aflame at the table). We have two recommendations for the next time you're in Istanbul: buy the Istanbul Eats book or app and make all your eating decisions based on it, and be sure to stay in Beyoglu.
 
I gave a lot of thought as to whether I wanted to continue this blog after such a long absence. Perhaps, I thought, I had moved into a new phase, lost momentum, I thought that all the reasons I started this blog for were no longer resonant with me. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this blog has always been just for me. A place to record things that I enjoy eating, it's as simple as that.
 
It should be clear to any reader that I don't write this blog for fame or fortune, I don't post often enough and I don't take advertising or sponsors. So this space is really just a space for me, a space for recipes and reflections and thoughts, and anyone who wants to come along for the ride is welcome.

We are moving abroad in the spring and so I hope to keep posting, chronicling the recipes we like , the new foods we try, and our adventures in the kitchen and out. Maybe you'd like to come along.

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