Thursday, December 9, 2010

Drinking is Getting Hard: Hooked on Hard Cider

Way back when I was in Culinary School, I took an elective class on Fermentation. One suggested read was Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation. I quickly picked it up and have tried only a couple recipes from it (tempeh, mead). But recently I decided that with so much delicious apple cider coming into Chicago from Michigan, I wanted to try my hand at a homemade Hard Cider. The recipe is really only quite simple instructions, so I doubt it would violate any legal grounds to simply explain it in my words:

Grab a gallon of fresh cider, without any preservatives or any over-modifying procedures. All ciders sold around here are pasteurized. Many contain preservatives. So look for those with one ingredient, apple cider. I found Hy's Cider from Romeo, Michigan at Whole Foods for $5.99 a gallon. I had a couple old empty "Louisiana Hot Sauce" jugs so I washed and sanitized one well. I then poured the cider into the jug and covered the opening with some cheesecloth for a couple days while storing it in my pantry at 65˚.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Latest Leg of the Journey

So if you follow my tweets, you already know what I was up to today. Otherwise: I went by the new pick-up point here in Chicago for Slagel Farms meats, Chicago's Downtown Farmstand on Randolph (a great source for locally/regionally sourced products). I picked up my Easter ham. After a 9 hour day in the kitchen that should have been plenty. But since I still needed the goods by which to brine that 25 pound hunk of natural porky goodness, I stopped at Whole Foods. Whew, just getting there wore me out. So I stopped at the bar inside WF and grabbed a tasty Goose Island Bourbon County Stout to warm me back up and relieve some soreness. I picked up the goods I needed to make my version of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Cider cure for the ham. I also grabbed some extra cider for another version (number 4) of hard cider that I am excited about since finding a nice local cider. It is fairly easy to make, I only hope that it turns out as well as I imagine it will! (hope to post more on this soon)

(Scotch Olives filled w/ homemade sausage on right at Bristol!)

As I write this I am eating quite low on the hog, er, cow. As a child I loved taco night with my mom. A pound of ground beef, a McCormick's spice packet, some cheese and tortilla shells. Tonight that's what I am enjoying since I have to fend for myself as Rebecca is in New Orleans on business (oh how horrible, I know. <20deg here right now)! I switched it up a bit by adding some Adobo sauce from the chipotles I included in my first batch on 'nduja long ago! Let's just say Sandra Lee would be proud.