It’s been a while!

Hello to the couple readers out there- It’s been quite  a while since I posted. Mainly, it is because of some rather significant life changes. Over the past few months, I said goodbye to my old Sous Chef position at Cafe Flora, the restaurant I had been working at for 5 years, and embarked upon my new job opportunity, opening and running the kitchen as Executive Chef of the new Central District bar and restaurant, The Neighbor Lady.

It is every chef’s dream to be given creative domain to write a menu from scratch, purchase equipment, design a kitchen line, hire a crew, organize ordering lists and purveyors, sample products, test recipes. To start a brand new kitchen. It’s also a TON of work. It has been a delightful, exciting journey so far. I have been given such a wonderful gift to have my own professional kitchen. It has detracted some from my hobbies and endeavors of cheese making and charcuterie at home- though there will be much more to come.

We are currently working to improve our tiny apartment kitchen and have purchased an additional fridge to turn into a sausage cave. Cheese presses are made and we are able to consistently mold larger batches of cheese. And spring is finally here, which allows us more time outside to forage- nettles, fiddle head ferns, devil’s club shoots. And hopefully soon, Morel Mushrooms…

So for the few and far between that have been wondering where I’m at, there it is. Thanks for checking in!

The May Charcutepalooza Challenge- Grinding

Merguez or chorizo, merguez or chorizo…hmmm. How ’bout both?

This month, for the May Charcutepalooza challenge, we grind. The wonderful, balanced combination of meat and fat. Merguez, a North African inspired yet French influenced lamb sausage rich with red wine and roasted red peppers. Chorizo, of the Mexican variety and not Spanish, smoky and flavorful with Ancho chiles. With two wonderful things to choose from, we ended up making both. The Merguez was frozen (not before we sampled a bit- wonderful!) and will be cased later.

With the chorizo, we made simple tacos topped with an avocado-tomatillo salsa and home made 7 month old cheddar. A squeeze of lime, the pop of cilantro, these tacos were proof that great food doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple meal of hand made ingredients shared with friends is a great thing.