Pancetta Overload

Right now, as we speak, four two-kilogram hunks of pancetta are hanging in my basement.

4 x 2KG = yummy!

“WTF?” you may ask. Well I’ll tell you WTF. Once you’ve had real, hand-made pancetta, you’ll never go back to that factory-made crap you think is so exotic. And here’s the secret: making your own pancetta isn’t even difficult.

No indeed. You only need two things: (a) a friend who’s a big fan of Michael Ruhlman’s book Charcuterie, and (b) a cool and dry place to hang the stumps of meat to let them dry and age (two weeks minimum). In this case, His Nibs buys the pork bellies and does the salting and rolling, and I do the tough part; letting it hang in my basement, which is rather perfect for the task.

When it has hung sufficiently, we divide the spoils. There will be much slicing and bagging (fortunately, it freezes very well), and then the pancetta festival will begin:

Etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps there will be pictures.

Suburbaland Who’s Who

The rare Black Snowy Burb Panther spends most of the winter climbing in trees.

The Mini surveys his kingdom from on high

With the onset of daylight savings time, the Black Snowy Burb Panther descends from the trees and seeks meltwater with which to slake his enormous thirst.

The Mini has a drinking problem

For more information on the Black Snowy Burb Panther, contact the Canadian Mildlife Society.


Wait! Don’t take me out of your RSS feeds just because of last weekend’s pizza FAIL. I had two small balls of dough left over, so tonight I redeemed myself by making two small but beautiful pizzas.

This time I let the dough rest out of the fridge all day long. (I had no choice, as both Martine and I were out of the house all day). It worked perfectly; the dough was soft and elastic in only one direction — as in, it didn’t insist on springing back from every stretch.

I fired up the oven and after about an hour of pre-heating, assembled the first pie. It was a re-make of Saturday night’s prosciutto and arugula pizza (with simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, of course). It was pretty small (about 10 inches), but significantly thinner than Saturday night’s version . In other words, it was the appropriate size for the amount of dough I was working with. As usual, I added the arugula and the sprinkle of Parmesan cheese after the pizza came out of the oven.

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The second pizza was composed of the usual simple sauce, some oregano, mozzarella cheese, and Moroccan black olives and white onions. (This is the only arrangement in which I like olives on a pizza, but that’s a whole other discussion.) Voilà!

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I’m back in the saddle again.