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learning: bacon & sausage making class

thanks to the magic of groupon, myself, my husband and moonbeam (otherwise known as the tricycle of fun) embarked on another food learning adventure.
this time; to learn to make bacon and sausages.

the sausage part was intriguing, but not an oh-my-god-i-have-to-do-this thing… i mean, i love sausages (non sexual, i swear) but i feel like i could make sausage myself, i just don’t have the equipment. (again, so not sexual, lol)
so it was more a this-will-be-neat-to-make-my-own-and-if-i-ever-have-room-i’ll-buy-a-meat-grinder thing…
and lets face it, it’s hilarious to manhandle large quantities of sausage. (sexual jokes allowed now)

anyways.  our class took place at the landmark Save On Meats on hastings street.
this is a place i’ve eyed up all my life and not once set foot in.
but clearly, their signage is among the best in the city.

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we received an apron, a nametag and a doutang of recipes.
thumbs up for this idea.  it was great to just watch and learn without being worried about remembering the correct ratios and recipes.
we were divided into 2 groups.  one went to bacon first (that was us) and the other did sausage.
then we switched.

our friendly, knowledgeable and easy on the eyes chef/teacher/butcher introduced us to a big pile of pork belly and we got to making bacon.  (teehee – again)

basically we just mixed pre-measured spices & salt and coated our bacon and stuck it in a plastic bag where it will hang out for the next 7 days.

definitely not *hard* but it was interesting to learn about various bacons and how to make your own smoker and such.

we then moved on to pancetta making.  basically the same thing as bacon.  you salt & season it, let it hang out for 7 days and then roll it up, tie it and dry it to cure.

it was so easy that i can’t believe i haven’t been doing this myself all along.

so then we moved over to the sausage station.

our sausage guide went through the whole process once so we could see it start to finish and then we got at it.

first step was to weigh our meat and then double grind it.
there was a hand crank and an electric one.  i went electric.

we then mixed in the pre-measured spices and loaded it into the sausage pump thing (what the hell do you call that?) and got down to business.

again this was easy.  but fun.
and we laughed and make dirty comments about cranking meat and squeezing sausage.
obviously.

all in all, it was a lot of fun and i was satisfied with the experience.
if i was going to make any comments it would be that the groupon said it would be a 3 hour class and it definitely was not.
we started at around 6:45 and we were gone by 8:30 and people left before us.
so total, it was less than 2 hours.

i don’t feel like we needed to be there for longer… in fact, i think 3 hours is too long possibly…
but if you say 3 hours, it should last close to 3 hours.
maybe they should have incorporated another element or maybe done a tour of the facilities or something else to add content. i don’t know…

anyways, we’re headed back to save on meats for a cheese making class in May and i’m really looking forward to that.
i know how to make cheese, but its been a long time since i did it and i’m looking forward to learning about aging cheeses because that’s a new thing for me too.

and now i have bacon, pancetta and sausages to eat from my class which i am very much looking forward to.
yey for learning!

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food: delicious cured meats

on sunday my husband and i went on an impromptu adventure for meats & beer.

we decided to head to granville island and find inspiration in the market… easy to do, but dangerous if you’re not focused. distractions are plentiful.

after a delicious shared lunch and some coffee, we headed to our favourite place for all things meat. oyama sausage company. this place is ridiculous. http://www.oyamasausage.ca

i’ve sampled some delightful cured meats, including from the famed bocalone in san francisco… but this place is always on point. and they have EVERYTHING.

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with a spread like that (and that is one case of 5) it’s easy to see how one could get distracted… and say… spend $60 on cured meats. (whoopsie)

it’s hard to say what i was most excited about, but i may have to say it was the wild boar prosciutto.

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honestly, this is probably some of the best prosciutto i’ve ever eaten. it was rich, incredibly salty and so so tasty. it had very little fat, which was a big selling feature for me… and the flavour of wild boar is just so much deeper and complex than a run of the mill pig prosciutto. we bought 100g of it and pretty much inhaled it. lesson learned: buy more next time.

my husband, however, was most excited about this:

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now, he said this is called grelots and after some extensive googling, it looks like they may be called “grelots noisettes ” in french, so roughly; hazelnut sweetmeats.

ummm… yes.

so, as we were waiting for our meat to be put together, a lady came bounding up to the counter, visibly excited that they had these grelots since apparently they only have them once a year.
at $4.50 per (and they’re about the size of your thumb), she bought 10. she was kind enough to ask the clerk to cut off a little piece of one so my husband could try it, and bam. he was sold. we bought two… and wow.

the creamy salami-esque meat with the tender hazelnuts and the sharp moldy rind… so. fucking. good.
but, let it be known that i’m a total sucker for the moldy bits. they’re always the yummiest, yes i am that girl that only eats the rind of the brie.

but this is good. like, definitely worth $4.50 each and we regret not buying 10 as well. there may have to be a mission back down there this week to rectify this oversight.
and really… look how beautiful this is:

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so, we put all these treats together with their “country ham” – like a prosciutto but more mild and a dry aged wagu beef which was freaking unreal… and created the meaty masterpiece you see below.

yup. $60 in cured meats well spent.

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i will also say that we got 10% off a delicious beaujolais with all this meat purchases. which was excellent and perfectly matched with the above plate.

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