After about 6 months of working hard every weekend, we finally almost have a kitchen. It has been a lot of hard work but so worth it.
We began with just an idea and a garage. We talked to the health department, building department, zoning and neighborhood committee. We got permission and the OK from all of them. We drew out plans, got permits, hired contractors where needed. We framed, we wired, we plumbed, we hung drywall and taped it, we painted it. We made dirt and cleaned it up. We bled and cursed and laughed and joked…. and finally we are getting down to the final stages of finishing up our kitchen.
We still have some painting to do, some lights to hang, and we still need our plumber to plumb all the sinks. BUT.. we are so close. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I am so excited.
It won’t be too long now and we will be finalizing recipes for our MAC and our BACON. We will begin building our website and putting together our marketing campaigns. Keep your eyes open for more updates.
In the meantime here are some pics of our progress.
I’ve been researching bacon from around the world. I mean, the U.S. is not the only place that cures pork into the delicious awesomeness that is bacon. The Italians have pancetta, the Irish have rashers, and evidently the French have ventreche.
What is it and what makes it different than all the other bacons? Well, I am glad that you asked. Apparently, in Gascony they have a lightly cured bacon called ventreche. Unlike the bacon we are used to here in the U.S., ventreche is lightly cured using salt only. No nitrites and other herbs and spices during the curing process. It is very simply pork belly rubbed with salt, placed in a cool place to cure for 2 to 4 days, rinsed, rubbed down with black pepper and then smoked.
Ventreche is used in many recipes in Gascony from soup bases, to vegetable dishes, for searing meat like duck breast, or wonderful things like mushrooms seared in the rendered fat… although I see no reason why we can’t use it in New England clam chowder, or on a pizza, or maybe even fried up crisp along-side some sunny side up eggs. MMMmmmm mmmm good.
So, I tried my hand at it. Admittedly, I had to borrow a recipe I found online here. It was very simple to cure and I love any recipe which enhances the flavor of the main ingredient.
After curing, I smoked it lightly with hickory and cherry. I then let it cool and sliced into it. I fried up a slice in a skillet and tasted it…. wow, so good. Unlike what we think of as bacon, it was more like really good roasted pork belly.
Gonna have to try some recipes using it as a base… render it down and saute some veggies or something.
BTW – the picture is of the ventreche that I made.
I received the new vacuum sealer in mail today. Since I sliced up the bacon yesterday I figured I would go ahead and vacuum seal and freeze what the wife and I would not use in the next couple of weeks.
I have to say, I really like the sealer. Very easy to use. AND, it makes the bacon look cool, like I bought it from the store or something. 🙂
I purchased an inexpensive Rival vacuum sealer from Amazon. Here is what I bought. Rival Seal-A-Meal It worked great. Super easy to use. You can get all sorts of pre-sized bags or a roll of the seal material to make your own custom sized bags. I used the pre-made 8″ bags today.
I am not going into any great detail with this post. I am just going to post some pics of the process. They are pretty much self explanatory.