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!

Advertisements

The hunt for mushrooms…

It was a long day, hiking around, in search of what spring in the pacific northwest has to offer. We went looking for Morel mushrooms, and while we found  a lot of false morels, we were only able to find a sparse couple of the choice edibles. I found one, though! My first official foraged mushroom, in all its glory.

Morel
Morel
Morel, June 2011

 

It was delicious.

June Charcutepalooza Challenge: Stuffing

This month, the Charcutepalooza challenge was to case sausage. Poultry sausage, to be precise.

Now all you dear readers know I love me some duck, so I figured what better bird to bind than that. Duck sausage, ground with pork fat and cased in flavor. I like the sound of that.

Duck Sausage

 

These duck sausages are very special indeed, prepared with love from the Pacific Northwest. And this is a special day, since yesterday I foraged my first morel mushroom! With the excitement of mushroom hunting still fresh in our minds, we utilized some beautiful Chanterelle mushrooms that were stashed in the freezer from the fall (thanks to my partner in crime). The addition of carmelized onions sauteed in Chantrelle butter and fresh Douglas Fir pine needles makes this a duck sausage a thing of beauty.

The meat was ground last night, the mushroom, onion and herb mix rough chopped and folded into the meat mixture. It’s been sitting overnight for the flavors to meld, and tonight, on the 15th of the month (surprise, surprise), we case the sausage, juuust in time for the June deadline.

I can’t wait to try these. Some of my favorite ingredients, made with my favorite man, these sausages truly embody the flavors and energy of the Pacific Northwest.