Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Prosciutto update

A little over two weeks ago I was inspired to try my hand at making duck prosciutto.  I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs Michael Ruhlman's Blog.  He posted a quick blurb about these two ladies, Kim and Cathy who are putting on a Charcutepalooza - or a year of "making meat".  Their first project was duck prosciutto which is suppose to be one of the easier meats to cure.  They used Michael Ruhlman's and Brian Polcyn's book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, which I just happen to have in my cookbook collection.
Well, a couple weeks later, plus a few days, I decided to unwrap my duck breasts and see what I had.  I was so upset when I saw this.  I panicked!
Well, after a little panic time I calmed down and did some research, including reviewing my Charcuterie book - No need to panic.  The mold, both green (bad) and white (good) was only on the surface.  It hadn't gone any further.  I good cleaning with some white vinegar and patting dry and wrapping and refrigerating and we were good to go.  I got brave yesterday had a little taste.  Yum!  Perfection! 
So today I fixed myself a nice little prosciutto lunch - prosciutto, garlic jack from Loleta Cheese Factory and some 3 bean salad. 

It was sooooo good!  My oldest daughter decided to give it a little try.  I love when I feed her something I made and her eyes roll up in her head with pleasure at how good it tastes.  She's hooked!  So, the duck prosciutto turned out to be a success.  What next?  Bacon maybe?  Hmmmm.

1 comment:

ED BULEY said...

I like your site. Thanks! Here is a true story in return.

The cattle truck showed up an hour late but at least it did finally arrive. We grabbed a long strong rope, some feed and a four-wheel drive Ford Tractor that had a bucket loader on the front of it.. The man in the truck followed us over to the other barn which was across the road from the main barnyard.

The bull that we were after was almost as big as the tractor but he was white with some light brown spots and the tractor was blue. Many men have been mauled and even killed while trying to remove a bull from a pasture but this bull was good natured and like all cattle, loves feed.

Coaxing cattle with feed is an old trick and more often than not it serves the purpose perfectly. I've seen whole herds of heifers chase a quad down the road when a man sat on the back with a five gallon bucket of feed for them follow.

But, we weren't driving cattle this time, so we tried to lasso the bull and separate him from the heifers. The man who brought the truck was following the bull around a feed trough that was out in the middle of the pasture while trying to toss the looped end of the rope over the big bulls massive head. The first attempt failed because the rope only grabbed one-half of the bulls head so we had to wait for the beast to shake it off before we could try again.

The idea was to lasso the bull but to let the rope go once we did. Once the rope was finally around the bulls neck, the plan was to recapture the loose end of the tether and tie it to back end of the tractor while the bull was being preoccupied with the feed. It would have worked if the rope had fell just right on the first try but since it didn't the bull was spooked and wouldn't come close enough for us to try it again.

One has to be calm and quiet around cattle because they can spook easy. Seeing that we had no chance of capturing the bull under the circumstances we decided to relocate the feed trough and get a longer rope. We moved the trough from the pasture up to the lower level of the old barn and started shaking the feed bucket again. The cattle answered the dinner call and as fortune would have it the bull went into the barn behind a heifer whereupon we closed the two in by shutting a metal gate.

Once inside the barn, the bull was preoccupied with eating feed so we were able to lasso him correctly this time. The bull was tied close to the back end of the tractor and then led to the cattle truck which was parked down by the road. I held the tether tight while another fellow operated the tractor. I rode on the tractor by standing on a running board and secured the animal by wrapping the rope around a solid bar that was attached to the tractor.

The bull came quietly but at one point it seemed like the bulls massive head was going to get jammed in between the back tire and the tractor's frame so we halted and readjusted the rope. The ramp up into the cattle truck was already down and the side gates had been attached so we pulled the bull up to the ramp, loosed the rope and prodded the bull up into the truck.

Well that was one down and another to go. The second bull was back in the main barnyard. So we repeated the process again, over there. The second bull was younger but he seemed to be more dangerous which is unusual because generally it's the other way around.

I was the youngest of our crew of four. George was the oldest at 88 years old, his brother Bob is 84 and John is about 70 years old. I am 55. Bob has breathing problems and he can't walk around to good so he operates the tractor. Bob has poor circulation also. I took my glove off and held his frozen left hand in mine for a moment so that it would warm back up. I overlooked the snot that had been wiped off onto the wrist and grabbed it anyway.

We all know how cold noses can run in the winter time. It was zero today.