Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Shipkas Olive Tapenade

Back home from taking Grandma to her first West Hollywood Halloween carnival. She's been eager to attend one since seeing a slide show of grandson Elliott's success as Lady Gaga in 2009. Quite the trouper for someone in her mid-seventies - she hiked down from the parking lot on Sunset and almost the entire length of the event - and of course back up again.

And so October is now minutes away from exiting the stage. For all the experience of acceleration this year has entailed, this Fall has packed a lot in. For starters we rediscovered (recovered) a couple of seasons - just days apart - from blazing recording-breaking heat a few weeks back (the official weather service thermometer in downtown went offline or "broke" upon reaching 113F) to a 5-day patch of monsoonal soaks. And that's leaving out the gorgeous "segues" between these weather events - stunning skies that capture your attention when you least expect it.

Halloween is the bow on this package and I finally got around to making more black olive and Shipkas pepper tapenade. I finished a cache of a green olive version (a not unsuccessful experiment, but no rival to the original) a week or so ago and have made my lunches with German mustard and Avjar.

While pitting the semi-cured black olives I decided to "go large" and doubled the recipe. The orange and black was just so damn Halloween!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brining, Curing and Smoking

The results of my third weekend in a row of brining and curing pork and turkey. Sunday's batch included a turkey breast (with bone) and drumsticks brined for 48 hours, and pork tenderloin with a dry rub for 56 hours, smoked for almost 2 hours at 230-300F. This was a little hotter than planned but they still came out juicy and tender. Previous Sundays saw brined pork tenderloin and turkey breast brined for 24 hours.

This weekend is "smoke free" as I need to do some more thinking about what meats to tackle next. I also need to order some "pink salt" aka "InstaCure" aka "Prague Powder" which contains sodium nitrite (6.25%) and is essential to many recipes involving curing and canning.

Teresa has been baking sourdough almost daily and is already maintaining 3 starters. The acknowledged favorite so far has been the buckwheat with it's wonderful grayish color. As with other living foods, experiments are essential and it being Fall pumpkin was an inevitable choice. Quite good! I've toasted and enjoyed slices of it with chunks of blue cheese as a rustic late afternoon snack.

Pumpkin sourdough bread - how can you tell?