Souvlaki on the Grill

Tonight’s dinner spawned from my original idea of simple pork chops.  While there is nothing wrong with a basic pork chop, the idea just wasn’t sitting well.  What could I do with pork that would be a bit different?  How about one of my Greek favorites, Souvlaki!

The Marinade:

1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil (I used some extra virgin from Crete)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (I used Italian parsley)
2 tsp dried oregano
1.5 lbs boneless pork chops, fat trimmed, cut into 1.5 inch squares

Place the meat in a large zip-lock bag, add salt, pepper, and parsley.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour into the bag.  Remove air and seal.  Let this concoction sit for at least 4 hours for the best flavor.

I then threaded them on to 4 large metal skewers and grilled them over high heat; about 4-5 minutes per side.  With this I served some diced tomatoes, homemade tzatziki, roughly chopped Boston lettuce, and thinly sliced onions.  Placed all inside of a wrap, it was like my own little Doner Kebab-esque stand!

And a fun up-close shot of the Turkish skewers and the meat:

Weißwurst/Weisswurst – Homemade Sausage Attempt #1

The time has come to try my hand at making sausage from scratch.  Since this is my first attempt at sausage making I am not making any promises to family or friends about the shape, texture, taste, smell, and overall quality of said sausage.  As with most of my first attempts, this will most likely turn out to be less than perfect, but perhaps with some diligence and research I will be able to pull of a masterpiece.

So what do I want to make?  I know it needs to be German, it can’t be smoked, and must be a fairly simple recipe.  After pouring over dozens of recipes I decided I would try the southern German favorite, Weisßwurst (pronounced: vice-vurst).  A staple at Oktoberfest, Weißwurst is a mild sausage made with veal and pork and usually served with a sweet mustard and some bread.

I found the following recipe on a blog called recipesbycindy:

5 lbs. veal(I used shoulder)
1 oz. ground mustard seed
5 lbs. lean pork butt
1 Tbsp. ground white pepper
3 1/2 ozs. non-fat dry milk
1 tsp. ground celery seeds
3 1/2 ozs. salt
1 tsp. mace
3 1/2 ozs. soy protein concentrate
1 oz. powdered dextrose
1 tsp. American Spice onion powder
1 qt. ice water
1 tsp. dry parsley

Step 1: Grind the meat.  I put the partially frozen chunks of veal and pork through the fine grinding plate.
Step 2: Mix in the herbs and seasonings.
Step 3: Emulsify in the food processor.
Step 4: Rinse the salt off the hog casings (hog intestines, boo-yeah!) and soak in water.  After a bit, rinse the inside of the casings and then soak in water again with a touch of white vinegar.
Step 5: Put back through the grinder with the sausage stuffer attachment.
Step 6: Load the casings on to the stuffer.
Step 7: Get your stuff on.
Step 8: Twist off links (my links varied in size)
Step 9: Cook in 160F water until internal temp of the meat reaches 150.
Step 10: Cool in ice bath.
Step 11: Look around the kitchen at the huge mess you just made and wish you had maid service.

Here are a few pictures:

By the end of the process I was not even in the mood to try them.  Go figure!  However, the next day I sampled a link and was happily surprised.  It actually tasted like bratwurst you could get in Germany!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  With that said, it didn’t remind me of Weißwurst as much as it did the regular style of Bratwurst you would get at any local Imbiß.  I froze a few pounds and will take them out to the Poconos to grill sometime in February.

Pork Chops with Leeks and Mustard Sauce

After a long week, the thought of staying in and having a nice meal and a bottle of wine is quite possibly my version of nirvana.  Brie made pork chops in a lovely leek, mustard, bacon (oh thank you!) and yoghurt sauce featured in the May, 2009 Bon Appetit magazine. The Chobani brand of yoghurt that she used is so thick it easily replaced the sour cream/crème fraîche that the recipe called for.  Along side the entrée was a side of steamed broccoli and roasted butternut squash from the Door to Door organics delivery that arrived earlier in the week.  With the stronger flavors of mustard and bacon I decided to go with a lighter red and chose a 2006 Saint Joseph Domaine Faury Rhone Syrah.

It was a great meal and a decent bottle of wine, although I don’t think I would buy another bottle again: it was fair, but it didn’t deserve the price tag.  To top it all off, Brie is pulling out a loaf of banana bread from the oven.  Happy place, happy place, happy place!