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A charcuterie board doesn’t follow a recipe, but is instead a lesson in composition. Put together the perfect charcuterie spread with diverse textures and flavors using this easy cheat sheet.

Whole-Muscle Cuts

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Whole-muscle cuts of meat are shaved into slices, usually paper-thin. Common examples are proscuitto, lomo de cerdo, a cured pork tenderloin often just referred to as lomo, and bresaola, beef tenderloin that’s been air-dried and salted.

Dry-Cured Meat

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When using dry-cured meat such as salami or mortadella on a charcuterie board, mix it up with complementary and contrasting flavors. For example, a chorizo with a strong garlic flavor or a spicy sopressata should be balanced by something with a sweeter flavor profile, like mild and buttery saucisson sec.

Cheese

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When pairing cheese with charcuterie, it is all about opposites. One element needs to contribute a sensation of tart, citrusy, mouth-watering brightness to cut the fat and protein of the other. Charcuterie board staple cheeses are soft creamy blue or Brie, a pungent washed-rind variety, a hard aged salty cheese, a tangy goat cheese, and something sharp.

Pickled Vegetables

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Pickled vegetables complement the rich and salty flavors of meats and cheeses. Pickled items like red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, olives and red onions are a palate cleanser in between bites.

Bread/Crackers

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As a textural contrast, serve crusty bread, plain crackers, plain breadsticks or plain crostini. Mellow tasting items allow the flavor profile of the cheese and charcuterie to be at the forefront.

Mustards

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Mustards, made with a variety of sweet and savory herbs and spices, add complex flavor to a board. The tangy and spicy flavors also balance the richness of the cheeses and meats.

Something Sweet

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Add a sweet component like an infused honey or jam to counterbalance the salty and fatty cheeses and meats. Dried fruit like apricots, cranberries or figs are also a nice complement to a charcuterie board.

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Written by Daniel Puma

Bacon Bloody Mary

Bacon. Not much more needs to be said. Many of us have a love affair with bacon, and it can be difficult to comprehend those who don’t. It’s meaty, salty, smoky and depending on how you like it cooked, crispy or chewy. The meaty treat comes in numerous styles from Applewood smoked to hickory smoked, thick cut to center cut and low sodium to pepper crusted. It knows no boundaries – bacon is seen on breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert menus.

American bacon comes from pork belly. Yes, the same pork belly that has been trending on restaurant menus for almost a decade now. Pork belly is characterized by large streaks of pork fat intermittent with the flesh. A slab of pork belly is cured with either a dry or wet brine. From there it is normally smoked. During the curing and smoking, most bacon makers can customize and flavor the pork belly slab to their own unique specifications.

The beauty of bacon is it can be the feature of a dish, or a flavor component. The creativity potential of bacon is endless as seen by chefs and connoisseurs around the world.

To celebrate bacon and all of its awesome porkiness, we have compiled a list of our favorite recipes.

 

Bacon Weave for Sandwiches

Have you ever bit into a bacon cheeseburger, only to not get any bacon because it wasn’t covering every inch of bitable real estate? Enter the bacon weave. By using this technique, your next sandwich will have bacon – and happiness – in every bite.

 

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Honey Mustard Glaze

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One of the wonderful things about bacon is the ability to be wrapped around foods, surrounding it in a warm embrace of porky goodess. This salt and smoke of the bacon permeates the dish, but is balance by the sweet honey and acidic mustard.

 

Praline Bacon

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This sweet snack is perfect for the holiday season. Smoky, crispy bacon holds up to the sweet brown sugar and crunchy pecans. You could eat this for dessert, or as a snack.

 

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

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Maple and bacon; a match made in heaven. It’s the new peas and carrots, the modern peanut butter and jelly. These cupcakes are a beautiful medium to bring these two flavors together in harmony. Pillowy cupcakes topped with sweet maple frosting and a crispy bacon topping will be enough to make anyone shed a tear of happiness.

 

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

Bacon Wrapped Dates

These are a great crowd-pleaser party food. The sweet dates are stuffed with tangy goat cheese before being wrapped in bacon and cooked until the bacon is crispy. It’s a balance of textures and flavors wrapped up in delicious, bite-sized morsels.

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Written by Daniel Puma

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and it’s time to consider how to prepare your dinner’s coup de grace, the big kahuna, the showstopper – The Thanksgiving Turkey.

Many families have a long line of turkey recipes, passed down from generation to generation. A few families like to buck the norm, hence the rise in popularity of the deep-fried turkey. There are so many wonderful options and it’s tough to go wrong with a tried and true recipe, but is your turkey the best it could be?

I think we can all agree on what is most desired in a successfully cooked bird; flavorful, tender and juicy meat. Additionally, I think we can agree that the most common complaint about improperly cooked turkey is dryness.

I suggest brining. In one fell swoop, this simple preparation method will increase the moisture content and flavor of the meat in your centerpiece dish. How is this possible? What is brining and how does it work?

A brine is a saline solution, and brining is the extended submersion of a protein in said solution. The solution affects the protein fibers in the bird and through the process of osmosis (thank you 10th grade science class), allows the muscle fibers to absorb some of the solution. Not only is this absorption beneficial to the moisture content in the meat, but whatever flavors present in the solution are absorbed as well.

Slicing Turkey

Boom! Moisture and flavor problems solved with one method. The cooking method is going to withdraw approximately the same amount of moisture whether the turkey is brined or not. By starting off with additional moisture on the cellular level, we ensure there will be additional moisture in the meat after it has finished cooking.

There is an endless amount of brine recipes for turkeys, and they are easily customizable to your flavor preferences. But there are some common measures to keep in mind.  It is important to balance the salt content with sugar. If you only use salt your bird will end up entirely too salty. Additionally, if you use iodized salt, the bird will take on too many metallic flavors and the iodine will shine through. I’ve never heard anyone use iodine as a positive flavor descriptor. A balance between non-iodized salt and a sugar product (sugar, honey, agave syrup, fruit juices, etc.) will result in a perfect harmony.

Salt and Sugar

When making a brine, the salt and sugar is dissolved using heat. It is a bad idea to immediate pour this boiling hot liquid on the bird to start brining, this would result in parts of the bird cooking and the entire concoction coming into the temperature danger zone, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. Most brines are made at a concentrated level and then rapidly cooled with lots of ice. This brings the temperature down, while also adding water to the solution and reducing its concentration.

The last obstacle to overcome is how to fully submerge your turkey into the brine without having to make gallons upon gallons of the solution. The goal is to have the liquid surrounding the bird. Popular options are to use a very large stock pot or a five-gallon bucket from your local hardware store.

Stock Pot

After an overnight soak in the solution, take the turkey out of the brine and completely dry the surface. Coat the skin in a fat like oil or butter and roast your bird like you normally would each year, as long as the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 °F in the thickest part of the thigh (the internal temperature will continue to rise to the required 165 °F as the bird rests before cutting).

The possibilities for flavor combinations are nigh infinite for your brine. Find that base recipe and start tweaking, adjusting and playing with it until you find the flavor profile best suited for you and your family’s taste buds.

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Written By: Tom Platten

Every week we publish our weekly ad with a wide variety of products on sale. We understand that planning your shopping list every week can be overwhelming at times. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 most popular items in this week’s online ad along with popular recipes you can cook at home!


 

1. USDA Choice Certified Angus Beef Fresh Boneless Rump Roast

The rump roast is the a cut of meet from the round section of a cow. The firm texture can be dry and tough if over cooked so it’s best to braise the meat or prepare it in a slow cooker. Check out one of our favorite Rump Roast recipes!

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2. Schnucks Natural Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

One of the most popular items people add to their weekly shopping list is chicken breast. It’s an affordable source of protein. Chicken breast is great, but all too often it’s prepared in a boring way. Here is a fresh and tasty way to utilize your chicken breast!

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3. Driscoll’s Season’s Finest Blackberries

The peak season for Blackberries has finally arrived! Add a little zing to your drinks this summer with this refreshing Blackberry drink. Perfect for poolside parties or brunching with friends!

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4. USDA Choice Certified Angus Beef Fresh Boneless Round Steaks

Much like rump roasts, round steaks can become tough if overcooked. For maximum quality, braise or slow cook in marinade. Here is one of our favorite recipes!

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5. Crimson Queen Tomatoes

Stacked Caprese Salad

This recipe pairs perfectly with any summer time meal. Simple, healthy and most importantly, delicious!

 

Visit our Weekly Ad to add more great products to your shopping list!