11/16/14

Move Over Mr. Pépin

There's a New Cat in the Kitchen



Of course, you know of Jacques Pépin's peerless definitive treatise, La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking.

Well, now we have Cooky Cat putting his paw into these culinary waters.

Behold. And, introducing . . . 

"Duh! Technique"

Cooky Cat Got Something New in the Kitchen 

Here is a peek into a whole new category of kitchen methods from that Cookiest of Cats. 

Super thin slices? Of course you could use a knife. If you have an hour to do it. Why not employ Duh, Technique. So simple and obvious. But, Cooky Cat came up with it. 

Duh?





11/5/14

Haitian Chiquetaille

Recipe + Photo Source: cookinginsens.wordpress.com

Photo Source: Baron Ambrosia

Ingredients:

1 lb of salted cod
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
5 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups of young green beans, cut in half, vertically
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green jalapeno with seeds or 2 scotch bonnets, thinly sliced
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup olive oil
3 or 4 whole cloves
Salt and pepper
Preparation:
Soak the cod in cold water in the refrigerator for 24 hours, changing the water 3 times.  In a large pot, bring to boil enough water to cover the fish and boil for about 20 minutes. Drain in a vegetable strainer and when cool, remove skin, bones and any unsightly fish parts.   Shred by hand.
Mix the shredded fish with the vegetables, olive oil, cloves, salt, pepper and vinegar.   Refrigerate for at least 4 days.  Serve spread on baguette slices for cocktails or as a salad with lettuce, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs.

10/11/14

How To Write a Recipe

If you cook you use cook books. And, if you’ve used a lot of cook books, no doubt you are more than aware there are many different ways to organize the presentation of recipes. Not to mention the wide variety of approaches to any given recipe. It seems that every cookbook author has to come up with their own unique style. Some better than others.

Cooky Cat is rather minimalist in his approach. Like some people, who shall remain nameless. (Shout out to the Queen of the Peasant Pot.) His acclaimed work is for the cognoscenti, not the hoi polloi. It's his choice. We've attempted to persuade him to become more universal, but he lives in his own "pussyfied" realm. He's rather, ahem, taken with his own writing approach, so he tends to the "readerly" style.

The main peeve we have with a lot of cook books out there is in the way they are formatted. Many are beautiful vanity pieces, making for better reading in a chaise lounge than for instructions to follow in the kitchen. In the kitchen, as in during the actual preparation, when the fat is on the fire, so to speak.

For actual use, in the kitchen, many cookbooks are just plain difficult to follow. Have you ever had your hands full and messy and then be forced to take extra time to scrutinize a recipe to find your place for the next step because it was written like a novel? In paragraphs, that is. Long sentences. If so, then you know what we’re talking about.

This is a no fail, user friendly template for delivering a recipe that is easy to follow in the kitchen. The beauty of this suggested approach is that it gives the cook, all at once, 1) an easy take on the ingredients with amounts for each and 2) step by step instructions right along with the ingredients list. All together!

Use separations, indents, bolds, italics (especially for Itralian), underscores, bullets, hyphens, capitalization. The formatting helps the eye locate its place.

Just always keep in mind you are attempting to be helpful. Make your instructions interesting, but always as easy to follow as possible.

A good recipe will have: 

1) a story or personal anecdote which may or may not have anything at all to do with the recipe itself. You are in a conversation with your reader after all. Dance a bit. For example, "One day I was thinking about Sir Isaac Newton, and then I had this idea drop into my head with hankering for a warm piece of apple pie."


2) A description / history / background at the head sets the mood and sells the recipe. Include that whenever you can. "Grandma would always . . . " (That's a whole sub-genre about what Grandma would or wouldn't do, and we won't get into the myriad permutations.)


3) As much ancillary information as seems appropriate and/or necessary (i.e., how to serve / how to eat, accompaniments / condiments / garnishes, other menu items to coordinate with, wine / beverage pairings). E.G.: "Best to drink lots of booze before serving this particular dish. It isn't the best looking thing that ever was put on a table."


4) Your recipe should be tested. By you. Some cooks following your instructions will be literal. So be sure to get it right to your own satisfaction first. Stand by your recipe. One of our favorite sources, Saveur Magazine, is famous with us for getting amounts wrong in some of its recipes. 

Some general rules/checklist to follow:

— (Optional) Start each entry with a story or personal anecdote.

— (Optional) Include the description / background / history.


—Include, as appropriate, photos of finished dish and the (Optional) intermediate preparation steps.

— (Optional) Include video if available for online recipe entries.


— List serving portion numbers / sizes and yield.


— Indicate preparation time


— Advice on sourcing hard to find/rare/unusual ingredients.


— All the ingredients are listed in bold with bullets / hyphens for visual separation (or some other separating mark).


— List the ingredients in bold in order of handling.


— We like to capitalize food / ingredient names. (Optional)

— Suggest alternative and additional / optional ingredients.


— The amounts are indicated alongside each ingredient, non-bold.


— The preparation for cooking (e.g., wash, peel, dice/slice/mince) of the item is listed with the item or just below, depending on length of instruction. The preparation of the ingredients is a step in itself; prep is a set of steps prior to assembly, and the (good) cook will want to have that chore(s) completed before going to assembly.


When an ingredient does double duty in a recipe and has different prep styles (e.g., onion half-slices, onion small dice) these will be listed separately and in what amounts; such as, a) 2 Cups-half slice and b) 1/2 Cup-minced. And, so forth.


Cooking / Assembly is a separate section placed below ingredients in italics and indented.


— Serving / Eating suggestions (especially helpful with unfamiliar dishes; e.g., Escargot, Borlengo, Ortolan Bunting [search “How to eat Ortolan Bunting”])


— (Optional) Accompaniments / Garnishes. 


— (Optional) Menu suggestions


— (Optional) Wine and beverage pairings



The recipe below is for French Onion Soup. (In typical Cooky Cat fashion, how to make beef broth / stock is not explicated. The Internet provides.) 


The headers are to show you the structure, not included in an actual recipe.


1. Recipe Title

Traditional Classic French Onion Soup


2. Description/Background/History

The French are a nation of traditional cooks and once they have a good recipe, they see no need to update or change it simply for the sake of change. 

Classic French onion soup is a great example of how a relatively basic yet perfectly balanced traditional dish has stood the test of time and is just as popular today as it ever was.


There are lots of easy recipes for French onion soup and you can alter the soup ingredients or topping ingredients but the photo shows how a classic traditional French onion soup recipe should look. Perhaps you have enjoyed this delicacy before in a restaurant but it is easy to make your own French onion soup at home too.

The trick to making the best French onion soup is to begin with a good broth. Beef broth, also known as beef stock, is usually used in easy recipes for French onion soup and you can make beef broth from leftover bones when you have a roast. 

It is also important to caramelize the onions properly when making the best onion soup recipe. You have to allow them at least half an hour of slow cooking over a medium heat to bring out the natural sugars. This makes the onions extra sweet and juicy. A pinch of sugar to move things along is optional.

This easy French onion soup recipe is best served in French onion soup bowls. These bowls are deep and keep every drop of the soup warm until you have finished. This rich brown colored French onion soup recipe is topped with a layer of bread and creamy Gruyere cheese for an authentic finish. 

The following easy French onion soup uses the traditional steps and techniques for the very best results.


3. Servings

(Serves 8 - 12 ounce servings)

4. Preparation Time

Preparation Time: 1 hour (Beef broth / stock not included)

5. Ingredients Amounts/Preparation/Assembly

 6 large Sweet Onions thinly sliced (approximately 6-8 cups)

 3 T Olive Oil

      — Sauté the onions in the olive oil in a big, heavy bottomed pan, over a medium heat. Cook them for at least half an hour, until they are well browned, but not burnt.

  ¼ tsp. Sugar (optional)
     — Add the sugar about 10 minutes after you start the process to help with the caramelizing.

  2 cloves minced Garlic (optional)
     — Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

  8 cups of rich Beef Stock (Prepared previously)

  ½ cup Dry Vermouth, Dry White Wine or Dry Sherry


  1 tsp. Fresh Thyme (1/4 tsp. dried thyme optional)


  1 Bay Leaf

     — Add the beef stock, wine, thyme and bay leaf.
     — Cover the pan partially and let the soup simmer for half an hour, to allow the flavors to blend.

  Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
    Season with salt and pepper and discard the bay leaf.

  8 slices French Bread, toasted

  1 ½ cups grated Gruyere Cheese


     — Ladle the soup into ovenproof soup bowls and top each one with a piece of toasted French Bread.


     — Sprinkle the Gruyere Cheese on top of the bread and broil for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F or until the cheese is bubbling and melted.


    — Serve immediately.

6. Serving/Accompaniments

— Serve along with crusty baguette and a leafy green salad. Pair with white wine. dry-to-sweet scale to preference.



"Lucky Strike Extra": How to Eat Ortolan Bunting

10/10/14

Bench Knife


Singing high praises for the bench knife. 

If you don't have one, stop reading and go get one! Ours came from Amazon for less than 5 bucks. Dishwasher safe.

If you cook a lot, or for a lot, you prep ingredients. That bench knife will make short work of the pick up and transfer from chopping board to bowl or skillet or pot. 

If you are a baker, or a tortilla maker, your bench knife will cut your dough into portions, just like that.

It'll also save that knife blade you may be using as a scraper.

Now, go get one. And, in advance . . . you're welcome.


9/30/14

Homemade Sauerkraut


Fall time is for making Sauerkraut. If you are Korean, then it's Kimchi. If your Italian, forgedaboutit. 

This about two things. Making Homemade Sauerkraut. And a nice recipe from Polish mother Wronski, Sauteed Sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut

Please search to get the specific ins and out on preparing Sauerkraut at home. Here are some overview comments. It may seem intimidating at first look. It's not. Just you don't know from nothing yet on fermenting vegetables. Once you get into it, it's a snap. A whole world opens.

The crock. Really, you don't need a crock. Any non-reactive vessel will do. Here's something similar to what we use. Yields about 3 quarts. 



You can even make small batches in quart jars. But, if you like Sauerkraut, you'll probably want to make a good amount. And, if you really like it, invest. Then crock it!



For the basic preparation you will use 3 Tablespoons of Kosher or Pickling Salt per 5 pounds of cabbage. Do not use any salt which is iodized. Fermentation will not occur.

Shred the cabbage finely and place in layers into a large container, salting each layer and tamping down as you go with a large spoon or potato masher. 

Let sit overnight. The shredded cabbage will have wilted and reduced in volume, releasing a good deal of liquid. Fermentation is an anaerobic process, so we want to keep the cabbage submerged under the liquid. A plate with something to weight the cabbage down. If necessary add brine (2 T Kosher/Pickling Salt: 1 Quart pure water) to cover. We make our ferments in a large 2 gallon glass jar, so a sealed plastic storage bag with brine water goes in and keeps the vegetable in its place under the brine. If you need more liquid, make a brine with pure water and kosher/pickling salt. Ratio 2 Tablespoons salt : 1 quart water. If using tap water, be sure to boil first to remove chlorine, which prevents fermentation.

You can add flavorings such as juniper berries and caraway. Other vegetables, slivered carrots are nice for color. Plain, however, is just fine. Try that first. Fermentation of vegetables is a broad subject. You can try Kimchi next. Brine cured pickles are a fave.

A week or so at a cool room temperature (60-65°F) should do it. Periodically check and skim any white scum that may form.The longer it stays, the more sour. Pack tightly into sterile jars, filling to cover with brine. Refrigerate. Should keep until Spring.

So now you have all that Sauerkraut. Try it straight, as a salad. But, unless you like it to taste like human tears, do rinse thoroughly before serving to remove excess saltiness. Plain, or with whatever mix ins you like. 

Sauerkraut is an ancient food. There are plenty of recipes out there to try. Here's what Mama Wronski prepared:

Sauteed Sauerkraut 

Thoroughly rinse and drain Sauerkraut. Sauté thin onion slices in butter, maybe with some garlic. Add a bay leaf and pepper. Since the Sauerkraut has been rinsed, it should be salty enough. Adjust for taste. Add the rinsed/ thoroughly drained Sauerkraut with more butter and sauté turning mixture frequently to prevent scorching. 

Optionals: Add some reconstituted Dried Mushrooms for flavor. Finely grated Apple. Prepared white Horseradish.

The dish is ready to serve when the Sauerkraut is heated through and excess moisture has evaporated. You may also leave it longer to get a little browning. But, a little. This is simple stuff.

Serve with potatoes and whatever smoked type meat you like. 

Beer would be nice.

9/25/14

Dosa
Latkes?

Latkes?

I'll see you, your "Latkes"!



And, raise you a . . . Dosa!

Homemade Dasa, Let's be Clear



I was raised by Polish parents. My mother Catherine cooked mainly from scratch. Homemade chicken soup with finely hand cut egg noodles. Accompanied by her reliably regular boast about the large number of eggs yolks which went into the noodle dough.

(Hold on. There are a few byways in this writing. If you don't want to read all the lead up to the heart of the matter, as illuminating that it is sure to be, just scroll down to the near bottom of the page. But know, culinary sojourner, you'll have to make it up to Cooky Cat some time or other. The writing all goes into the potage he be cookin'. And, besides, just what the heck have you got better to do? Remember, wherever you go . . . there you are!)

She also made Gołąbki (Stuffed Cabbage), enough to fill a large roasting pan, braised with a tomato sauce. (Tip: Some cooks include sauerkraut in with the sauce.) 

Czarnina, duck blood soup. My mother would get a fresh killed duck at the poultry market and have the blood collected into a scrupulously clean jar she brought from home. Probably illegal now in most states. So, the work around? Kill the duck yourself, silly. Mother would do that. The cut up duck pieces would then be simmered the same way you would for chicken soup. Careful, though, not to overcook the duck. The pieces would be removed at some critical point and finished by roasting in the oven. 

Into the seasoned broth were added raisins, prunes, and maybe some dried apricots. Not too many, just enough to add some sweetness; but enough for bits to show up in every serving. Also, some vinegar. At the very end the duck blood would be added and brought to a boil to finish. Serve with those homemade noodles. Polish heaven!

On Polish Catholic meatless Friday's the staples for the main course would be either a fish dish, Pierogi, Naleśniki, or Potato Pancakes. 

Pierogi, by now, almost everyone knows. But, try some fruit filled, garnished with Sour Cream. Plum or prune filled, really excellent. But, don't forget the Sour Cream. Perfect, as they say, foil for the sweet filling. 

Naleśniki are large Crêpes typically rolled around a filling of Cottage Cheese (drained. Or, cream-moistened Farmers Cheese) and chives, fried seasoned sauerkraut, or jelly. And, you may have already guessed . . . Sour Cream. 

And, last, but not least, Potato Pancakes.

As you probably know, staple items in any cuisine have as many variations as there are cooks. Think Chile con Carne, or Spaghetti Sauce. Some better than others. Mostly, though, all good, but different. For example, no one in my family made drop noodles for soup (Spaetzle) quite the same way. My mother would simply drop random globs of sticky batter into boiling salted water. My aunt Adele was fussier. She would drop the dough into water, carefully cutting measured bits from a spoon with a knife. 

Potato Pancakes, it is arguable, have the widest range of interpretation. My mom would hand grate large potatoes then form into a pan fried pancake. And, by the time they got to the plate, they were golden crispy on the outside, and rather grey on the inside. (Oxidation.) And, yes, with Sour Cream. But, also serve with Apple Sauce. Unless she made them savory with onions; then only Sour Cream.

Are you thinking that Sour Cream is a Polish cuisine staple? Maybe. You could even add some to finish the aforementioned Czarnina.

But . . . and finally . . . we get to the point of this piece. 

The other day M'Lady made Dosas. Crêpes, Indian style. A Dosa is made with a batter of fermented rice and fermented  black lentils (dehulled). Often, Dosas are served with a filling. Take Masala Dosa . . . Please!  That's a Dosa wrapped around a filling (= Masala) of potatoes, fried onions, and spices.

You may know if you go out and order a Dosa you'll get a crispy ultra-thin and ultra-large round crêpe. So large in fact, it'll come to the table folded twice or rolled, and overlapping the plate. Usually also, with some savory/spicy accompaniments. "Accoutrements" is more fitting a term for the kinds of things you will be served in the Indian idiom.



At home our Dosas were crispy on the outside, but slightly pancake-like moist. Hence why those Potato Pancakes came to mind. We were hungry, so rather than rustle up a Masala filling, we scrambled eggs. The result. Eye openingly scrumptalicious! Those Dosas ate like Potato Pancakes. Truly memorable. Sure to go on the "Let's Have That Again " list in the recipe box. 

If you don't know from Umami, those Dosas got it, for sure. 

Oh. Mommy!

Check out the general recipe for Dosas. Also, preparing and fermenting the batter. The website in the those links also has a recipe for traditional Dosas. 

As the seedy fellows on the sidewalk on Broadway during the time of Massage Parlors, then Rap Parlors, would say as they pressed a calling card into your hand . . . "Check it out!"

Oh, and if you are from back in the U.S.S.R., Dosas instead of those Blinis your Babcha made. Hey Frenchy, you too! 

As for the Italians. They have that Borlengo. And, if you know from Borlengo, there's nothing comes close as a substitute. 


Cooky Cat Watershed Moment

Announcing a change of intention and direction for Cooky Cat. 


We have passed through that period of exuberant intoxication where in the early times on this blog we were willing to share just about anything, just to see what our words looked like all posted there in cyber space. And, admittedly, who would take notice. Then, there was the period when, like all food lovers and lovers of food preparation do, we scoured the shelves of all kinds of stores and the pantries of all kinds of cuisines to share about the little known, but fabulous. Remember "Borlengo"? 'Nduja? Solomon Gundy? Żubrówka?

Basta!

From now on we'll only be writing as the Spirit moves. No more just to keep putting our face forward. If you are one of the fortunate who automatically receives the Cat's postings, then be reassured you'll only be getting the best of the best. Gone are the days when anything could get this Kitty to paw the keyboard. He's matured, and now must take his natural place in the stratosphere of culinary greats. He leaves the likes of Mark Bittman (That Bittman!) and Martha Stewart ("I-Do-It-ALL-From-Scratch") to slave away filling the time and space they've been regularly allotted in the various media. 

In other words, if it doesn't get the Cat's attention, it doesn't get his mention.

Stay tuned. Keep the Faith.




7/24/14

From David Wronski . . .

It's Springtime in Polonia.
 
The Sap is Flowing.
 

 Drink Birch Blood!
 
Na Zdrowie!

For centuries after Winter broke and during the few weeks beginning around mid-March my Polish ancestors traipsed into the birch forest to tap trees for collecting its magical sap. Birch Water. Birch Juice. Birch Blood. The lore is endless, as are the many claimed healthful properties. Think, purifying and rejuvinating.

And, let's just say . . . It's the kind of stuff that made my ancestors want to ride buck naked, bareback on wild horses galloping at full tilt through the dense forests of Old Polonia on a Springtime full moon night.

A search on the subject yields quite a lot of information. Evidently, collecting and consuming Birch Water goes back quite a bit. In pre-Christian times the Birch Tree "The Tree of Life" was one of the most sacred trees and its sap was only to be used in ritual settings. After Christianity arrived the restriction eased over time, and now the slightly sweet/sour woody nectar is an everyday drink.

Health-wise, think of it as a tonic. There are enough claims made for its health benefits to turn into a doctoral thesis; which I am not about to do. Here's a paper you can read for the ethnobotanical skinny. And this one on Birch Folkways.

We found Birch Water at our local Polish store. Supposedly they sell it year round. $3.70 USD for a 750 ml bottle. Interestingly, word is that in Japan it can go as high as $70 for a liter!
Anyhow, it's good, and good for you. Get some yourself.

PS The inimitable Baron Ambrosia has, once again, raised the bar. In more ways than one (See below). He now produces a sparkling birch sap wine.

If you dare . . . And, of course, pair it with a "good cheese".

 



Here's a nice link to the full story.












4/24/14

Egg Fresh Test


3/17/14

Chocolate Egg Cream



First of all you should know there's no egg, and no cream. The egg is just a picture pun on the name. 

Egg and cream aside, what you see are the makings for a delicious and refrescantissimasso cool drink. Some living west of the Hudson River may not know of it since it is kind of a New York City thing.

One Louis Auster, a Brooklyn candy store proprietor in late 19th Century Brooklyn, New York is credited as the originator. Click for chapter and verse on all that. 

The Egg Cream is the generic name since you can make it with vanilla or chocolate syrup. 

Also, a key to understanding how to make a proper Egg Cream is to know that the original was a soda fountain drink; i.e., using fresh seltzer. "2 cents plain," as the expression goes. So, if you proceed on your own to duplicate this simple and refreshing beverage, think fresh seltzer; as in, open a new bottle of seltzer, please. If you have one of those fancy syphons, then the seltzer may stay longer after you charge the unit. We don't have one, so you tell us.

Here's what to do . . . 

In a tallish glass fill to around one third with cold whole milk. This is not chocolate milk; most of the volume is from the seltzer. 

Pour in some "Fox's u-bet" syrup. A good fat finger's width or more for a largish glass. If you can't find this brand, Hershey's will do. But, just do. Try to go old school. "Fox's u-bet" is different; and definitive for this quaff.

Not open a fresh bottle of seltzer and dump, drop, vigorous pour, earnestly introduce, cascade said liquid into your glass of milk/chocolate. This produces the mandatory and absolutely necessary creamy white foam head. You'll have to learn how much to add to prevent overflow. But, if you've seen the egg cream made at an actual soda fountain you know that overflow is usual. The mess may in fact be part of the mystique. 

The with a long spoon, reach on down to the bottom of the glass and stir the milk/syrup, taking care not to disturb the foam on top.

A straw would be a nice touch. Now enjoy.

Nota Bene:


Around Passover Fox's offers a kosher version. Sweetened with sugar, not high-fructose Corn syrup. You'll know it by the seal on the cap.






2/6/14

Patience

It’s amazing the things you can learn from the preparation of food.

For example, there’s that old Oriental advice to not put in the peas and carrot until the water boils. Seems there’s something in that which translates to another of life’s pleasures.

Or, that old goodie, “A watched pot never boils.”

There’s something in both those that suggests the value — nay, necessity — of patience.

From personal experience, I never prepare fresh cilantro leaves without remembering an old grandfather I encountered once at the Yaqui Indian Center just behind Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Guadalupe, Arizona (right on the southern border of Phoenix). 


Every Sunday after Mass, besides the social at the church itself, the Indian Center hosts its own get together. Not to be missed, the homemade Menudo and fresh made Fry Bread Tacos.

One Sunday while waiting in line to place our food order, next to where the Fry Breads were being made, an old grandfather was stationed at a table, slowly hand plucking the cilantro leaves from the stems. It impressed me greatly. It was at once very fussy, but oh so respectful. Patient work, for sure. If you believe that the cook imparts his or her essence into the food, then those cilantro leaves were full of blessing.

If you use fresh cilantro in your kitchen you certainly know there are a few stems involved. Always, for me, it's a question of how much stem to leave on. Certainly for making into chutney or cooking into a sauce or stew, use it all. But for garnish, only the leaves will do. 

I still have not stepped up to the lesson in patience from that wise elder who sat there so carefully separating the leaves from every stem. In my cooking, a little stem gets in there, and I get the job done quickly. Yet every time I’m about to chop cilantro leaves for a garnish grandfather taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of the best approach. 

Also, a lesson of patience in general. As if to be saying, wherever you go, there you are. Be here now.

By the way, if you are lucky enough to get a bunch of fresh cilantro with the roots still on. Booyaa! Use those roots in a sofrito, or pureed into soups and stews. It’s all good.



1/28/14

Nduja

We want to share the joy of a recent discovery. From right out of the blue. When at the Italian specialty store buying a few sticks of Pepperoni, we thought we would be stumping/impressing the owner  Rosario  at his wonderful eponymous shop in Montclair, New Jersey when we asked if he heard of Nduja. The skies opened. As it turns out his family originates from the town in Calabria, Italia famous for that speciality. And, further in fact, that's what they made for a living. We found the holy grail of spicy Italian cured meats.



And . . . Look up, mister. That's some Nduja hanging there flanking the homemade Sopressata. Quizzed about how come we knew of this, we related how we were introduced to Nduja at the Antonio Mozzarella Factory in Springfield, New Jersey (see previous post). Turns out they're cousins. Anyway, now we have Nduja virtually right around the corner.

Nduja." Pronounced variously, In-dooh-ja, In-dooh-yah, and dooh-yahPer Wikipedia, "'Nduja is a spicy spreadable sausage made with pork. It is typically made with parts of the pig such as the shoulder, belly and jowl as well as tripe, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices. It is a Calabrian variation of salami, loosely based on the French Andouille introduced in the 13th Century by the Angevins.



All right, so how does it taste? Very, very tasty. Rosario served us two nice big bites on a slice of Italian bread. Everyone in the shop got a sample too. Everything you want in a pepperoni, all the spice, all the flavor; but with SPICE. And complexity. Serious and lingering heat. Not punishing, but it definitely speaks to you. There's a good bit of roasted red pepper in the mix and it shows itself in a nicely balanced way.

As you can already tell, it is definitive just on a slice of good Italian bread or cracker; or bruschetta, if you're not in a rush. I like to prepare my lady fair a breakfast which will include fried potatoes with a bit of 'Nduja melted in just before serving. Maybe with some thin sliced scallion to please the eye and keep to the flag of Italia colora. And, mixed with pasta. Pizza. Soups and stews. Mixed into a cream cheese spread. Give a bowl of Chili a kick. Wow!