Dear Blog Protection Services, Please don’t take my blog away. I promise I won’t neglect it ever again. Or leave it in a car with the windows rolled up in the middle of summer.
How did it come to this?! The first birthday came and went. Not even a cupcake to celebrate! Tsk tsk. One measly little blog entry in January and *pooooooof*! CuMu abandoned on the world wide web. Thirsty and hungry for more recipes. On a side note, CuMu is a cute little monicker for my blog that my cousin from Chicago gave. Nifty, eh?
So here I go again, on this road of good intentions and false promises.
My second attempt but first chronicled adventure with charcuterie. I never even entertained the notion of curing meats until we started doing this at the restaurant earlier this year. All of a sudden I was mummifying armies of duck breasts and labeling them for their after-life. The process is really quite simple. The only hard part is twiddling your thumbs for about two weeks until they’re ready.
There are lots of super science-y explanations for making your own cured meats but had I read them before making my own, I would have been intimidated to the point of no return. Luckily, my chef made it look so easy breezy that I couldn’t wait to make some at home. For a more detailed account, check out Salty Seattle’s prosciutto recap.
But here’s how I learned it at the restaurant:
– Cover the breast entirely in coarse sea salt. It’s all you need for a basic cure but we threw in a few extra spices and mixed it with the salt. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
– Rinse the breast and pat dry. Wrap it up in cheesecloth, tie it and hang in the refrigerator. Now set it and forget it! Okay not literally but you get the point.
– So how do you know they’re done? Some people weigh the duck before curing and then weigh it after two weeks and multiply the square root of pi to the ninth power and plug it into the quadratic formula. But that’s just too much thinking for me. I’m old skool (with a k, nonetheless) so I just squeeze the breast for firmness (insert immature snickering here).
Simple enough, right? Just make sure you get a good-sized breast (insert more snickering). Not too small. Like, if I were a duck, I would be no bueno. Not too big either so Pamela Anderson es no bueno. Try to pick out a Jennifer Aniston-type duck. Catch my drift?
I’m on day 1 of curing so let’s see how it goes.
And before I sign off, let me just say a huge THANKS to the talented Chef Einat Admony who has been awesome enough to let me cook alongside her for the past year at Balaboosta.
As if owning 2 restaurants and a food truck while running around after 2 toddlers with her husband isn’t enough, Chef Einat has decided to take up writing once again. She just landed a book deal to publish her first ever cookbook AND she started her own personal blog!
So what am I doing to help this chef who clearly has way too much time on her hands? I’ve been providing food porn for her blog as well as helping turn her Hebrew musings into English (inside joke–I don’t really understand Hebrew). As for her upcoming cookbook, we’ve been diligently testing recipes to make sure they are in tiptop shape for everyone.
Lots of exciting things to come and this time, I swear on my 8-inch chef knife and brand-spanking new Tokina macro lens, that I will keep you posted!
|1||Duck Breast (I used moulard)|
|4||cups coarse sea salt|
|2||Tbsp white granulated sugar|
|2||tsp ground cardamom|
|2||tsp ground cumin|
|2||tsp ground coriander seeds|
|2||tsp ground szechuan peppercorn|
|1||tsp ground anise|
|1||tsp ground cloves|
|1||tsp ground black pepper|
- Combine all the ingredients except for the duck breast. In a container just large enough to fit the breast, spread a layer of the salt mixture on the bottom. Place the duck breast in the container and burry it in your salt mixture. Make sure to smother the breast entirely (tee hee). Cover and refrigerate for a full 24 hours and no longer!
- Remove duck breast from salt mixture and rinse. Thoroughly pat dry dry dry (any excess moisture will slow down the curing process). Wrap it up like a mummy in cheesecloth, secure with some kitchen string and hang it in your refrigerator until ready.