Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sausages, curing and cheese

I have been in a cooking frenzy the last week or so. I am beginning on my cheese making journey. I have a little success and a little failure. Therefore I won't be posting recipes about it until I am satisfied they will work out for you. There is defiantly a learning curve. Then there is sausage making, I am having great success here. I enjoy making sausage it is very gratifying. Earlier this month my friend and I made damn good <a href=""> Jalapeño cheddar brats. </a> the only thing I would change is the caraway I'm just not sure I like it. That did not stop me and everyone from consuming them at supersonic speeds. 

With that success under my belt I set out to make 2 more batches of links. This time I made breakfast links and hot Italian. Again success, holy smokes I'm getting addicted to sausage making. I also cured 5 lbs of buck board bacon, it is meaty and really good, more like ham than bacon. At least this recipe was. I did a very simple cure with no spice except pepper just before smoking it. I have some odd sized scraps that are going into split pea soup just as soon as fall soup weather hits. 

This is the equipment I use for sausage making:
Kitchen aid  I have a very old, probably 25 or more years old commercial model so it is a little bigger and it claims on the front attatchment a are not available. Wrong, I took a chance and bought attachments they work just fine. 

Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment or another meat grinder with small and medium plates. 

Lem 5 lb sausage stuffer I had been using the sausage stuffing attachment for Kitchen Aid but I was not thrilled with it. It does work but it is slow, the meat gets warm as it works it's way through the tube and your covered in sausage while you try to shove it down the tube. In sausage making everything need to be very cold all the time. Freezing either stuffer before begging is a good idea. I really like the Lem model because it hold a full five lbs and the sausage just comes out as fast as someone can crank it. Another thing I like about Lem over affordable kitchen aid is you can operate it alone, the Kitchen Aid stuffer requires a partner. 

Two big bowls, I have a nice stainless 13qt I just picked up at Costco for less than $9.00 and a million year old Tupperware bowl that is about 8qts. 

A few prep bowls to premeasure ingredients into.

Casings I use hog casings and sheep casings, I have not tried any other kinds. I soak up about 8' sheep casing for a 2.5 lb recipe and 4-5 ' hog casings for 2.5 lbs. they need to soak for at least a half hour before you clean them. Clean them by running water from faucet through them a few times removing all the salt they came in. When storing the excess casings, add more kosher salt and keep them in fridge. 

Curing salt aka pink salt not needed in basic sausage making but used in cures. Pink salt is not fancy salt it is salt and sodium nitrite (6.25%). You use it as per manufacture instructions it is measured out in increments depending on the weight of your meat.

Food scale I have one that weighs up to 20lbs although I don't know how on earth I would balance that much on top. I am really happy to have this in the kitchen I use it all the time. I plan to get a smaller one for measuring spices and whatnot. 

Food saver found one at the Goodwill for $8.00 it is old but works just fine for now. If you don't have one wrap your links in plastic wrap twice then freezer paper like in the good old days. 

Sausage poker that is what I call it, this to pierce the links if you get an air bubble. I made one from a really heavy duty needle shoved  into a cork it works great. 

Let's get started I'm posting both recipes ingredients and then the common instructions for grinding mixing and stuffing. You can double, or  triple if you want. I have even did some fuzzy math and made 8 pound batch. You should always do a fry test before you stuff them up. Then you have the opportunity to make changes to the spices. 

Breakfast sausage
Yield 2.5 lbs or about 26, 4" links. 

8' sheep casings 

2.5 lbs pork butt, it is known as Boston Butt as well as pork shoulder. Boneless if possible not to lean you need the fat you will want this frozen for at least a half hour so it is stiff and easy to cut. It also grinds better if slightly frozen 

1 TB kosher or coarse salt do not use iodized salt. 
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried onion powder
1 tsp granulated garlic not garlic salt ( as a matter of fact stop sing garlic salt altogether use granulated garlic in recipes and salt to taste) 
3/4 tsp pepper 
3/4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
1/8 tsp cayenne if you want a little spicy touch  

Italian style sausage 

Yields 13-14 4" links

4 to 5 feet hog casing 
2.5 lbs pork butt boneless and not to lean you need fat. Partially frozen so it is easy to cut into cubes. 
1 TB kosher or coarse salt do not use iodized salt. 
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1tsp crushed red pepper or more for spicier blend
1/2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
1 tsp paprika
Dash of cayenne for more heat if you desire. 

Instructions for making sausage 

Gather up your supplies and ingredients. Sanitize your cook station and all your equipment. 

Place your grinder, sausage stuffer and bowls in freezer to keep them very cold. The importance of keeping your product cold cannot be stressed enough. Warm fat does not grind well, and does not mix up like we want in the sausage. 

This is how I proceed it uses time wisely since you have to let things rest in fridge or freezer between actions. 

Cut your meat into walnut sized pieces, weigh it up and adjust seasonings to the amount of meat you are using. Put the cut meat into your very cold bowl and place in freezer until firm but not a rock. About 20 min to 1/2 hour 

Now using a prep bowl measure out all your spices and set aside. 

Set up your meat grinder, and grind your meat using a fine disc. Place your other frozen bowl under the grinder and grind up your partially frozen meat. Don't take to long you want everything to stay cold. The action of the grinding worm creates heat so be as quick as you can.

Place meat in fridge

Clean your casings, I run water through them multiple times 

Add spices to meat mix with a big spoon, then use a paddle attatchment on your kitchen aid to mix it fast for 20-30 seconds. You want the meat to look sticky and be sticky, but not over whipped. You should be able to pat a small amount onto your palm and it won't fall off when you try to shake it off. 

Fry up a patty and taste it, the flavors will meld after the mixture sets a while but you get the general idea and will know if you need to adjust the seasonings. 

Back to the fridge with the meat. 

Clean up the equipment from all previous steps and set up your stuffer, gently thread the casing onto the appropriate sized tube, small for sheep , medium for hog casing. Tie up the end. Load the meat and stuff the sausages go as slow or fast as you can handle all the while making certain to pierce air bubbles and do not over stuff. You have to be able to twist your links and it really sucks when they burst open because they are to full. When I have a little to stuffed of an area I make a thin area with less stuffing so I can squeeze it and even it out. When you are done twist the end up real good. 

Now at 4-5" intervals pinch the casings then twist 5-7 times away from you, link one done. Pinch 4-5" further on and twist 5-7 times toward you. Now alternate away and toward twist it's until your links done. This alternating to and fro is so links do not come untwisted. This will be easy after a couple of batches. I really pinch the casing so there is an empty spot for the twist. I like my twists to be long enough that later when I cut them bothe links have a little twist on the ends. 

Now refer to the pictures above, place your links on a paper towl, tea towel something absorbent and clean, you are going to dry them in the fridge a few hours. 

After they are dry on the outside you can cut them apart. When they are dried enough your twist will be a little dried, will cut easy and won't come untwisted. If any come untwisted just twist it back up. 

I hope you have fun and great success in your sausage making, go forth and impress everyone you know with yummy sausages. 

Bracelets beads and bling!

Larimar stone, pearls, iolite and beads. 

Red and gold, 49ers inspired for a dear cousin.

Pirate bling. 

One in the works, and two fantastic carved horn skulls for a future project. 

Go create!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bead embroidery.

Addicted to seed beads. There was a time when I could not be inspired by a seed bead. Well I can safely say, they are now my addiction, my wallet suffers a huge hit if I walk into a bead shop. 

Below you can see a finished red and gold commission, the commission was for three red and gold, (go 49'ers!) bracelets. 

I want to share the process of how I create each one. It is free form working from side to side. I also am just a wee bit tired of red and gold so I'm making an earthy green one for either me or my beautiful child. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Little Fox is finished.

Here is the finished little guy, cute if I do say so.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Woodland Fox

Good morning, today I get to indulge my whimsical side and make a little softie. I have a birthday party to go to for a two year old, and I figured what two year old doesn't need some soft cute animal to love. 

I usually always just make up my own pattern, but Pinterest again has influenced me. I saw an adorable fox and the pattern was available for a very reasonable price, proceeds go to help Japan. Easy to decide what to do. The pattern is the woodland fox pattern by Gingermelon on Etsy. She has a bunch of adorable patterns and even more exacting for me she also sells merino wool felt sheets. Once you use real wool felt you just can't go back to the craft acrylic kind. 

I'm using my iPad to post this, and I can not figure out how to imbed a link to this adorable shop, so I'm just posting a screenshot. 

Well I'm going to finish this cute little fox and enjoy the morning. I will post a finished picture when I'm done. 

Happy crafting friends. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cabins and Swallows

A peek at a quit I am working on. 
Sort of log cabin, modern fences and appliquéd swallows. I'm in the phase of deciding how to embellish my birds. Lots of half formed ideas are floating around in my mind. 

Update on the last post I wrote 2 years ago.

I wanted to show you what became of the quilt I was working on two years ago.

I was very inspired by the colors, the graphics and Alfonse Mucha. I had lots of feedback about adding the swath of color and bubbles.. My mom was not for it. But in my mind it was exactly what I wanted to do. So I cut the center right out of my quilt and inserted color, lots of bright color.

I broke my camera somewhere along the way, so this is a overly bright photo, but you get the idea.

Here is detail of my quilting.

I entered into the 2012 Pacific International Quilt Show, New California Quilters and got it in! That was so cool and such an honor. Better yet, I went to the show and was blown away and completely inspired by what people are capable of. I felt my quilt was made by a novice and it was like a personal challenge for me to try to do better.


Hello Again Friends. It has been almost two years to the day since I last posted, lots has happened in my life. Needless to say details are not important, what is important is that everything is right agian and my muse has returned! She returned about mid summer and I have been busy trying to balance my new life with my artistic endeavors.

I miss my Blog, I have lots of fun project to show, I hope you can find lots of inspiration here for your muse.

These are few of the things I have made in the last few months. Soon I will post new photos of projects in the works.