Charcutepalooza – The Year of Meat

In previous posts I have mentioned my goal to make real pickle-brined pea meal bacon. This charcuterie itch obviously is spreading quickly because not a week later I received a birthday gift that included the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman as well as all of the ingredients for making duck prosciutto from my sister and brother-in-law. They also gave themselves the same gift.

My new bible


In the card there was a link to two food blogs, Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy, which have jointly created Charcutepalooza – The Year of Meat. (Twitter hashtag #charcutepalooza) The object being to learn, in a community, the art of charcuterie by undertaking one charcuterie challenge a month for the entire year. The first challenge is duck prosciutto, of course! 

The duck breasts are now thawing and we will keep you posted as we progress.


New Year – New Blog

A trip to the St. Lawrence market in Toronto was the inspiration for this blog. The famous peameal bacon sandwich at the Carousel Bakery left me once again bemoaning the fact that we are unable to buy authentic peameal bakery in Calgary.

Peameal Bacony Goodness!

Any of the supposed peameal bacon that we buy here is actually just smoked and processed back bacon as opposed to the pickle brined real-deal and just does not compare.

That’s when we decided enough is enough! Why don’t we just make it ourselves. And of course what better way to document this journeyand all of our culinary and oenelogical adventures than with a  blog.

This year is going to be a great one for food and wine and we plan to follow all of the action here.

Sausage Party


15 Lbs Ground and 25 to Go

What better way to spend a Sunday than with friends drinking wine and making 40lbs. of sausage?

That’s what we recently did with 2 other couples at our house. We had been talking about it doing this for months and finally bit the bullet and made the plans.

Each couple were to bring the ingredients for a sausage with the plan being that we would all pitch in and then split the 3 different kinds amongst ourselves. We would provide the sausage casings.

We had to call around to local butcher shops to find natural pork casings but found them on the second try and ordered enough for 45lbs. of sausages. When we saw them measure out the casings we asked them to give us about 50% more. (It still wasn’t enough!)

On the Sunday, everyone arrived ready to do battle. We were making a Chorizo sausage, an Andouille sausage and an Assyrian lamb sausage. We were outfitted with one large hand crank meat grinder with a sausage stuffing attachment as well as a  meat grinder and sausage stuffing attachments for a Kitchen Aid mixer.

In head to head comparison we found the Kitchen Aid meat grinder worked faster and more easily than the old fashioned meat grinder but in the sausage stuffing old fashioned was way faster and easier. As I mentioned before we ended up being short about 10-15 feet of casing so made meatballs with the remainder.

This #@$% Thing Doesn't Work


The recipes:

 Chorizo Sausage (based on a recipe at

2.5 lbs coarse ground pork butt
2.5 lbs coarse ground chuck
1 cup cold white wine
3 Tbsp spanish paprika
2 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all, mix well & stuff into hog casing
Andouille Sausage (based on a recipe at

2 lbs finely ground boneless, skinless turkey breast
2 lbs finely ground boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 lbs finely ground pork loin
2 Tbsp browning-and seasoning sauce
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp rubbed sage
1 Tbsp ground marjoram
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground bay leaves
2 Tbsp minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine

Combine all, mix well & stuff into hog casing

Assyrian Lamb Sausage

5 lbs coarsely ground lamb shoulder
½ cup pomegranate juice
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper

Combine all, mix well & stuff into hog casing

Wine Auction First Timer

I am now addicted to Wine Auctions!

I always enjoyed the excitement of a live auction but when combined with my love of wine, this auction was an adrenaline rush.

The auction was billed as Calgary’s first single cellar auction and with over 500 bottles mostly from France and Italy. Featuring many famous Bordeaux wineries such as Chateau Margaux, Haut-Brion, Petrus, Lafite and Mouton Rothschild.

Belle of the Ball

What interested me were the many Brunellos and Super Tuscans including some large format bottles. My thought was there would be some bargains there since (I hoped that) many collectors would be there for the high profile french wines.

I researched the auction catalogue on which lists current retail and auction prices for most vintages as well as ratings from most major wine publications. With a few hours work I was able to identify some possible targets.

In order to stretch the budget and win a selection of wines, I enlisted a few friends who agreed to share any purchases made that night. (within reason!)

The night unfolded according to plan with people bidding up the high profile wines but leaving quite a few bargains. We bid on about 20 different lots and were successful on 4.

At the end of the night we ended up with:

  1. Magnum of 2000 Taylor Fladgate port
  2. 3 Litre bottle of 1998 Castello Banfi Summus
  3. 6 Bottles of 1997 Coldisole Brunello
  4. 8 Bottles of 1997 Altesino Borgo D’Altesi


What a haul! But of course we split our purchases 3-4 ways so it didn’t hurt the wallet too badly.

 The port will have to cellar for at least a few more years but everything else is ready to drink. The plan is that we are going to plan a dinner around the jereboam of Summus first, so we will review it soon.