Thursday, June 23, 2011

Making of the Bacon

So, it is a second attempt at making home made bacon.  It was a bit salty... but still very yummy.

The most important thing I've learned is that the type of pig makes a huge difference.  The first go we bought Yorkshire (I think) and this go it was a Berkshire.  The first attempt, the bacon didn't hold form and ended up as a yummy shredded pork belly versus getting bacon.  This time, we got BACON! yea!

 The recipe I found was at Daves Cupboard and I used the dry cure as the base.  I did reduce the amount of sugar and skipped some ingredients (mostly because I didn't have them).

So here is my base for curing:

3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme (actually I think I put a bit more)

Rub the cure all over the pork and put it in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for 7 days.  Turning about once a day, squishing it a bit as I did so to get a feel for how the meat was curing.  You are looking for the meat to be feeling a bit firm to the touch, you will see some liquid in the zip-lock bag as the salt is pulling out water from the pork. 

Once you have cured it for a minimum of 3 days to a max of 7, you pull it out of the fridge and wash off all the curing spices on it.  I then placed it in the oven at 200F for about 2 hrs - to both dry it out and 'smoke' it.  I would like to try out properly smoking it out in the backyard with my old smokey-joe grill.   But right now, I have to say, aside from the salt issue - it was yummy!

One of the things I've seen to try to reduce the salt taste is to submerge the bacon after curing in a cold water bath for 4  to 24 hours. ( see here)  But, I haven't tried it to say if it will work or not.

Ron - if you do make this - let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Indian Resturants and resources in Chicago

This is for the girl from World Market today.

Just know that I haven't been to a lot of Indian restaurants in a while.. so this list is based on what I recall as being good.

  • India House - 59 West Grand Avenue, Chicago - I was there a few weeks ago and the buffet was pretty good. 
  • Hema's Kitchen - 2439 W Devon Ave  - Chicago (Devon Ave) - I use to love this place but haven't been in about 7 years.  Still gets great reviews .... so, I'm thinking it's still good.
  • Udupi Palace -  2543 W. Devon Ave.  - Chicago (Devon Ave) - this is the veg. place I was telling you about  - the masala dosa's are amazing!
  • Cumin Restaurant -  1414 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago - it's a Indian and Nepalese restaurant.  I haven't actually been there but my boyfriend has and said good things about it. 
  • Tiffin - 2536 West Devon Avenue, Chicago - I haven't been there in a while but last time I went it was very good. 
Spice Resources: 
  • Patel Brother's - 2610 W Devon Ave, Chicago- I can only vouch for the one on Devon.  I've been to the one in Schaumburg (I think) and the product wasn't as fresh.  
  • Spice House - - I've only been to the one in Evanston, but I know there is one in the city. 
  • Whole foods (of course) - pricey but you can get a lot of stuff there
Cook Books / Authors: 
  • India's 500 Best Recipes - (amazon link) - some great recipes - especially Balti (regional section that has Butter Chicken). 
  • The Best of India a cookbook ( - really simple stuff, very small book - kinda a good starter book
  • Book's by Madhur Jaffrey (the English actress I was telling you about)
  • Also - check out Chicago Public Library - they have a huge section of cookbooks and you can request some from other libraries as well. 
 Websites: honestly, I go to so many that I have no idea what to suggest.  Searching in Google for Indian recipes might help.  But, it also depends on the style your aunt (I think it was your aunt, right?) wants to eat/try.  Most people in the US eat North Indian food because most restaurants are North Indian.  Udupi is one of the few exceptions, as is Mysore Gardens (but I've never been there to say if it is good or not - also on Devon).

Good luck on your quest for Indian food... I do love the hunt for a good restaurant or recipe.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crepes - Grain free - OMG good

So, I finally figured out how to make grain free crepes.  I've seen and tested out a lot of the recipes out there but nothing quite worked for me.   A few were too egg-y.  Some were too thick or oddly grain-y textured. 

So, this does taste like crepes and usually holds together well.  This is a general guideline as it depends on the cashew butter that you get.  We are very lucky in that one of our wholefoods has a nut grinder where you can grind your own nut butter.


1 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
butter or ghee for pan

Mix cashew butter, milk and egg until you have a thin batter.  You do not need to add sugar to this as the cashew provides a sweet taste - but, if you haven't lost the taste for overly sweet add some to meet your needs.  You can add cinnamon, a pinch of salt or whatever you would put in for a "regular" crepe.

Place butter in a non-stick pan (yes, it's the only time I will use a non-stick pan because even with a ton of butter a regular pan doesn't seem to work quite well).   Once pan is heated - on medium heat, place about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan.  Take the pan and give it a quick turn, to spread out the batter.  Cover it and let cook for about 2 or 3 min.  The edges should be a brown a bit, flip over (carefully!) to brown the other side.  Plate.  You can add jams or chocolate or cheese or whatever filling you want.