2014 - Week 37 Cooking Results

Coppa Americana Grilled Cheese (trying to do it right this time)

So I used a bit of Miette and a bit of Coppa, and some whole wheat (South Union) and it came out to be a pretty good sandwich.  Next time I think I'll dice the Coppa, so you don't accidentally pull out a whole slice (not that it's bad, but it's just leaves a bit of the sandwich without Coppa).

Pizza, with roasted tomatoes (delayed from last week)

It was the fresh tomato that added the extra brightness to the sauce.  So probably the best thing to do is to mix a bit of roasted and a bit fresh.  That being said, I was pretty furious at my pizza dough.  I was pretty sure I made it right, but it failed to rise...hardly at all.  Perhaps it is because I may have selected the normal yeast, instead of the rapid rise yeast (right next to each other).  I honestly don't remember.  But it ruined it for me.


Good, as always.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw

Using a rotisserie chicken this was an easy, but a bit time consuming meal.  I suspect the flavor of this would change quite a bit based on the BBQ sauce (I used the Big Daddy's Applelicious).  I used some of the bollios that they make at South Union, and it worked out pretty good.  

Sausage and Peppers

Used a number of the peppers I had and some delicious sausage.  Put it on a roll and called it diner.  I also added some roasted tomatoes too.  Ended up pretty good.

Thai Fried Omelet

So these are really simple.  The fun part about it is the cornstarch and what that does to the way the eggs cook.  Just fun to watch.  folded the eggs and put them on the Bollios, and topped with some peppers, sambal oelek, mayo and arugula.  Good stuffs, and simple and quick.

All Pork Hot Dogs from Crooked Gap

Good stuffs.  After chatting with Ethan for a good chunk of the summer, we finally got these last time he was in front of the Cheese Shop.  So I had one with just yellow mustard and another with this garlic dill kraut that I've been loving recently.  Just by itself it had a good flavor and smell, and the kraut added a bit to the other one.  I'm happy they finally came out, but wish they would've been here earlier in the summer.

2014 - Week 36 Cooking Results

Coppa Americana Grilled Cheese

So apparently I left the Coppa, sliced, for far too long in the fridge.  So no coppa, just grilled cheese.  Still good, but I'll have to get some Coppa to try this again.

Pizza, with roasted tomatoes

So I roasted tomatoes, but because of timing the Pizza got delayed to today.  We'll see if this gets the right flavor combination of flavors, without the ripe tomato in the mix.


Good stuffs.

Chicken Fajitas with Red Pepper, Onion & Lime

Even though I added a bit too much lime juice at the end and I didn't have chili powder (used jalapeno instead) these were delicious.  Simple, quick and good.  Those are often the perfect combination for a weeknight dinner.

Sausage, Potato and Onion Hobo Packs (in the oven)

Added some fresh fennel to the "pack"  (roasting dish covered in foil), and other than the salt, pepper and Olive Oil, the furthest thing for this was Just outside of Knoxville.  Anyways, it was delicious.

2014 - Week 35 Cooking Results


They turned out well.  running low on bacon.  I've only got bacon ends left.

Banh Mi Inspired Breakfast Sandwich (modified, simplified)

Used the Canadian Bacon, added some tomato slices.  Didn't use Miso (didn't want to buy it).  I think it had quite a nice flavor.  The mildly pickled shredded veggies, sriracha mayo and a nice runny egg.  Good stuffs.

Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Arugula

So I didn't make the Tzatziki exactly right (not enough draining), but it was still pretty good.  Basically it's like many other Lamb burgers we've had, except for adding Tzatziki on it.


Shannon wanted some pizza.  She wanted me to use some of the La Quercia Borsellino Sausage.  So I thought hey, I could roast some tomatoes.  So I bought a couple of pounds of tomatoes from Butcher Crick Farms, roasted them with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then pureed them and moved forward with my normal pizza sauce recipe.  Now the only issue here is that I didn't have quite a pound and a half of tomatoes, which was probably fine.  But I added a whole fresh tomato anyways.  So I'm not sure if the slightly sweet and bright flavor was from the fresh tomato or if it was the freshly roasted tomatoes (or a combination of both).  Either way it added a nice combined flavored.

Anyways, I'm totally going to have to do this again, what sucks is I'm not sure how many more times I'll get to do this before tomato season is over.

Mac & Multi-Cheese

So I was planning on using some combined cheese leftover from a Cheese & Boulevard Beer class.  Cause you know...cheese.  Anyways, I brought it home and it didn't sound like Shannon wanted it and that's where the plan formed.  But apparently she did eat them (which is perfectly fine) but then I was left struggling to find cheese to use.

But I'm still me.

So where to find 1.5 pounds of cheese.  I had some leftover blue, Gorgonzola Dolce, couple of half used containers of chevre, I bought some extra cheeses at the Cheese clase, and when all was said and done, I cut some mozzarella out to make that last couple of ounces.  I did that to avoid using Robiola.

Made the sauce, added tomatoes (had a couple left).  Clearly I probably shouldn't have doubled the recipe, but who doesn't like leftover mac & cheese.  All being said, it was a good meal.  Sauce tasted good everything came together well.

2014 - Week 34 Cooking Results

Gorgonzola pasta, with onions, peppers and tomatoes (per suggestion of the Cheese Shop)

The Cheese Shop got in some beautiful Gorgonzola, and were selling it by the scoopful.  I got a couple of scoops.  With the idea that I would make it into a pasta sauce.  I may or may not have gotten carried away with this.  So I started off with some onions, peppers and some sausage.  Then added the rest of the tomatoes that I had (From Butcher Crick), then near the end added one of the two scoops of Gorgonzola.

Since this Gorgonzola wasn't very strong, it added a savory creamy flavor to it, but it wasn't like biting into a block of blue cheese.  And because combining red with white...and a bit of blue, that well, makes an oddly orange sauce.  That being said, it was a good dinner, as shown by the fact I ate it later that night (snack) and Shannon finished it off the next day.


om, nom nom.  I'm getting dangerously low on bacon.  Luckily Ethan has taken some of his hogs up for slaughter and processing.  This means more jowl bacon, more regular bacon, and hey, even Canadian bacon.  I think I have some bacon ends in the freezer, but I took the Canadian bacon out for thawing.

Lamb Burgers

Lamby Lamby lamb.

Chorizo tacos with radishes

Look, I'm not a huge radish fan, but in some applications, their taste (pickled an otherwise) are a great addition to things.  This includes tacos.  I love me some radishes on tacos.

Ham steak with potatoes with a tomato and feta salad

So a "simple" Saturday night dinner.  I roasted potatoes in olive oil with salt and pepper (in the oven first).  Made a Diced tomato and Feta salad seasoned with a bit of balsamic...very aged balsamic.  Then seared up a big slice of ham steak.  The potatoes (Grade A Gardens) took longer than I expected to get done.  But this gave some additional time for the tomatoes and feta to marinate in the balsamic.  It was a really good meal over all.  Other than the salt, pepper and Balsamic, everything came within a short distance from my house (Pork and feta from near Knoxville being the furthest away).

In addition I went to La Quercia this week and also had a Boulevard beer and Cheese tasting both associated with The Cheese Shop of Des Moines.  Both were quite fine and even though I already had had all but one of the Boulevard beers (well I supposed the Love Child #4 is separate then #3).  The cheese pairings were quite good.  And the ranged from a quite a bit of funk to very savory.  It was a fun time.

Visiting La Quercia

Yesterday I got a chance to go tour the La Quercia ham processing plant.  Because of timing, Shannon wasn't able to join me (over lapped with her work schedule), but I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity.  I joined a group of people from the Cheese Shop of Des Moines.  So we learned a few things about the process, heard a few stories, but I'll just highlight a few things that I found interesting.

It takes about 7 times as long to trim hams after they are finished, then it does to trim the legs before they start curing.

A few rooms have specially designed temperature control units.  In the "salting rooms" (not pictured), have cool air that comes down from a passive cooling unit (no fans) then heat that comes up form closer to the floor, and is piped up to meet in the middle, which creates circulation and a consistent floor to ceiling temperature (again important for the consistency of the hams).

They try to keep the aging rooms consistent with the general seasons of the year.  This is how the hams of old were cured.

They initially planned on 3 expansions in this location and are starting their 4th (or just finished their 4th).

The location is in a U shape, so you can start in shipping, go to the start and go through the seasons, then end back in shipping from the final processing room (good work design flow).

They don't have backup generators.  The areas have plenty of mass in them to help maintain the temperature, and apparently generators are not common in the industry.  While I can see the point, and generators a expensive as hell to maintain (I remember the announced visits of the generator techs (quarterly, I think) and the diesel fuel deliveries, etc, for computer backups at my office).  I get it, but there's an amount of risk there.

After the tour, we headed back to the break room and had some Arugula, Chicory, Balsamic and tomato salad, Butter and Prosciutto sandwiches, and some beautiful La Quercia meat.  

The general smells were milder than I thought they would be, but still delightful at all points of aging.  They certainly made a rumble in my stomach.  Probably didn't hurt that I really didn't have much to eat that morning.

I would like to go back sometime to see the work in process (leg and ham trimming, general movement, meat slicer in use, etc).  Though most of the developed goodness is due to time.  I'm also curious about the mechanics of it.  Similar to the visit to the Story City Locker, where we saw them cutting up the meat, making some sausage, etc.

I really enjoyed myself, and this probably just for food or science nerds, and not really for someone that isn't that interested in where their food comes from.

2014 - Week 34 Cooking

  • Gorgonzola pasta, with onions, peppers and tomatoes (per suggestion of the Cheese Shop)
  • BATs!
  • Lamb Burgers
  • Chorizo tacos with radishes
  • Ham steak with potatoes with a tomato and feta salad

Does this sound not very creative?  I don't feel it either.  We'll see what we do.  I feel in a rut (although it's a tasty delicious rut, but a rut none the less).