A Tasty Carboniferous Terroir

October 12, 2008 in Food Porn, Local Food, review, seafood

Smokehouse Scallops, pancetta, smoked cheese soup

See what this does for your taste buds – Smoked Scallops, Smoked Cheddar Bourbon Soup, and artisanal smoked pancetta, all brought together as part of a larger smoked, bourbon tasting menu.

Yeah, my tastebuds almost fainted, I almost fainted, my family was inarticulate as they simply scarfed their share of our samples.

Brian Treitman, of BT’s Smokehouse, who you know I have blogged about before (An improbable meat nirvana in a BBQ wasteland, Criminally Good Smoked Salmon and Bacon – B.T.’s Smokehouse, Food Photo 101: Shooting BBQ) shared a delightful sneak taste of this scallop dish recently when I stopped by for my latest fix of his smoked salmon.

Wine connoisseurs speak of terroir – the notion that a particular wine has a unique taste that is gained from the ecology of a very specific location.

The wiki defines it as such:

Terroir (/t̪εʁwaʁ/ in French) (Spanish: terruño, pago) was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon them. It can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place” which is embodied in certain qualities, and the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product.

I am sure that this concept is nothing new to most of you.

Today I would like to suggest that there is another sort of terroir, one which is more complex in some ways, more fascinating to me (perhaps because I do not drink wine and I DO eat BBQ).

I think that each well-seasoned and well-used smokehouse smoker has its own distinct terroir. If you get close to the gaping maw of Brian Treitman’s smoker you will notice the build up of solid smoke and smoked meat essence.

Brian adjusting the pork roasts

It coats the interior and the racks.

B.T.'s Smokehouse: Slow roasted pit BBQ beef brisket, pork butt, chicken

Brian uses applewood from the MANY orchards that surround us in this region. He does a dry rub on many if not most of the meats (and tofu!) that he smokes. The smoke and the slowly cooking meat react and meld in a way that seasons the smoker to its own unique terroir.

This terroir is the lively organic memory of the many ribs and chickens and pork butts and bacons and salmons and turkeys of the past.

You can choose to utterly submerge yourself in a tongue electrifying miasma of smoke as you nibble on the bark of a long smoked pork butt.

BBQ pork butt

You can get a wholly different but BT Smokehouse specific smoke essence when you eat one of the smoked scallops shown in this post.

Smokehouse Scallops, pancetta, smoked cheese soup

This particular assembly of ingredients can be a part of a larger tasting that Brian can provide to foodies in the Massachusetts area. He works with you to identify a seasonal menu that also leverages the unique terroir of his smoker as well as local microbrew beers and smoke-friendly spirits like bourbon.

You can call Brian at 1-617-251-6398 to talk about your tasting. There is a minimum of 8-10 people, likely max up to 50 depending on your home situation. There is a 2-4 week lead time so plan ahead.

Here are the salacious details of this fantastic dish.

Moist plump scallops were cured in Brian’s spice rub and brown sugar for 4 hours and then cold smoked with applewood. You can special order these and their price is pegged to the scallop market price. Call in to get the details.

The soup is made with a sharp white cheddar cheese that he smoked as a block and then spiked the soup with bourbon. This alone would delight you in its mixture of the smoky terroir and the bourbon. He sells this at $8/pint.

The pancetta was cured for 5 days, lightly smoked, and then dried for 4 months. This goes for $10/lb.

Smokehouse Scallops, pancetta, smoked cheese soup

The soup and the scallop, while both smoked, have a distinct flavor from one another. It may come from the lack of cure on the cheese, it offers a lovely layering of differentiation.

Smokehouse Scallops, pancetta, smoked cheese soup

This is such a fantastic variation from the heavier beef and pork BBQ. I am just in love with it and I hope that you get a chance to work with Brian to bring a tasting that includes this offering to you and your loved ones this holiday season!

KD eating pancetta

Five year old KD really enjoyed it all, could hardly wait for the shoot to be over. Notice that super mod hair cut? Yeah, she got a hold of some scissors and decided she needed to do the do.

Reach Brian at 1-617-251-6398 (Tell him Nika sent you)

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Making chevre cheese from our home-milked goat milk

June 24, 2008 in cheese, Food Porn, Humble Garden, Local Food, recipe

(This was cross-posted to Humble Garden)

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

We are enjoying our independence from the food chain. We get our eggs and our milk (and now cheese) from our backyard. We eat our salads from our backyard.

If you don’t now, what are you waiting for?!

If you think food prices are high now, you will be pale with shock soon enough. Think oil-based fertilizers, oil-based pesticides, oil-run tractors and trucks, think floods, think drought, think 2008.

secret egg

(One of our hens, Jennifer, escapes the coop every day and lays her beautiful egg in the shed where the hay is)

The seed companies are reporting a 40% rise in seed sales this year (they were shocked, didn’t see it coming, these people need to get on the web more often).

Now that the baby goats are not such babies and are fully weaned, we have more goat milk to work with. We go through less than 1 gallon of fluid goat milk a day for Baby O (who adores goat milk and is sensitive to lactose in pasteurized cow milk).

Can't have him, McCain

(Baby O with new hair cut, growing lots of muscles from that goat milk!)

Our milking doe, Torte, gives us about one and 1/2 gallons of milk a day. Over two days, we then have one extra gallon of milk, works out nicely.

torte being milked

(Torte in her stanchion)

You may or may not know that it is hard to make cream or butter from goat milk because the fat doesn’t separate out (because the fat globules are smaller and stay spread out, like its been homogenized). We could make it if we bought a $400.00 cream separator but thats not going to happen! I love goat cheese just fine.

torte being milked

(Q milking Torte)

We will be getting a jersey cow/calf to have super high quality milk, cream, and butter. I can wait for that.

Back to the topic for today.

It is VERY easy to make chevre but it takes a few days, you simply have to be patient.

We are using milk we pasteurized for this batch, we may go raw with he next batch.

We used a chevre starter from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, I can not recommend them highly enough.

Making chevre with our home-milked goat milk

(All in one chevre starter)

This little packet is enough for one gallon of milk. This could not be easier, you just bring your milk up to (or down to as the case may be) to 86 F and sprinkle the starter in. Mix well and let culture at room temperature for 12-20 hours.

The curd sets up and excludes the whey.

You then slice it up a bit so that the mass of curd is broken up and more whey is excluded.

Remember that all of the equipment being used must be sterilized.

We bought the plastic chevre molds from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company which I cleaned very well.

These are well worth the cost and will last a long time.

Making Chevre: plastic molds

(Chevre molds)

Using a sterilized slotted spoon, you scoop out the curds and begin to fill the molds.

Making Chevre: curds out of the pot

(Curds and whey)

Making Chevre: scooping in the curds

(Pouring curds into molds)

One gallon of milk yielded three molds worth of cheese.

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled mold)

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled cheese molds)

Once they are filled they go on a wire rack over a pan or bucket to catch the dripping whey, cover the tops and let sit at room temperature or in the fridge for 2 days. They will shrink a lot.

Making Chevre: 2 days to drip

(Covered and dripping, on the counter top)

After the two days, the cups were no longer dripping and the cheese was quite firm and much dryer.

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

This cheese tastes unbelievably fresh and, I think, uniquely ours. Its a fantastic feeling to sit down to a salad that we grew topped with chevre we made from our own goat. I watched Torte munching on tree bark in our backyard as I nibbled on the cheese.