Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Laudable Knish!!!!

"The Laudable Knish...". I have eaten every kind of Knish under the sky!! Well that's not exactly true. I have eaten my fair share of Knishes over the years and I have a favorite and I am here to share it with you. My favorite Knish is a Short-Rib version combined with potato and onions topped with a rich beef gravy.  

What puts my Knish over the top and makes it stand apart from other Knishes is the addition of Schmaltz and Gribenes. If you don't know what Schmaltz and Gribenes is click on the link. You cannot make great Jewish food without it. For you to understand what I mean I offer this analogy "Schmaltz and Gribenes is to the Jew as Lard and bacon bits is too the Goy"  "Therefore this is the Chosen Knish"

Before we move on to a recipe we need to define what a Knish is. It's the perfect Jewish snack food. 

A Knish is an Eastern European nosh created by the Jewish people. The Knish is covered by dough and is normally filled with some type of filling.  From savory to sweet it's all good. 

However if we want to explore the the Origins of the first Knish we look no further than NYC.  Yonah Shimmel's Knish Bakery  is a NYC landmark that sells the original Knish that started in 1890 on a pushcart. Yonah Schimmel was a Romanian immigrant who started it all using a pushcart to start his now acclaimed Knish Bakery. I was fortunate to have eaten here as a young boy because my grandmother only lived a short distance away.  To read more about this wonderful Knish landmark click the link above. 

Most Knishes are filled with some sought of potato onions and combo of ingredients. They can be baked, deep fried, or grilled. 

From broccoli, cheese too sauerkraut and of course the potato a Knish is only limited to ones imagination. 

can be round, square, rectangular or any shape one can think of. Some are completely sealed or some have an opening at the top. 

Lets talk about the stuffing. I love Short-Ribs.!!!  Short-Ribs have incredible flavor and benefit from a long slow cook. My Short-Rib recipe is simple to make. Short-Ribs can be purchased boneless or on the bone. You can choose what ever you want but consider this, bones provide better flavor for the broth. I purchased my Short-Ribs at Costco. Basically all you want to do is braise the ribs in a mirepoix until the meat becomes fork tender. Of course you want to reserve the braising liquid for later use (the gravy of course). 

After I explain how to braise Short-Ribs I will discuss how to put it all together. This is very simple to pull off. Next of course is the dough. You can use almost any good dough for a Knish. Store bought puff pastry works great too.  

Simple Braising Short-Rib recipe follows. I usually do this in advance.  If you do it more than 4 or 5 days out consider freezing.  

2-4 lbs of Short-Ribs (bones or not its up to you). 
Salt and pepper
Canola oil for frying.  I like canola because of high smoke point. 
Mirepoix as follows:
1 large onion, 3 large carrots, 6 cloves of garlic, 2 celery stalks (Medium chop)
1 cup of Red wine
2 tbl tomato paste
1 Bouquet Garni Place in a cheese cloth bag 1 bunch of fresh thyme and parsley , 2 bay leaves and 12 pepper corns. 
Water, beef or chicken stock to to cover. 

Season ribs with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven coat bottom with canola oil and get super hot. Brown short ribs until nicely caramelized than set aside. If too much fat renders spill it out.  

Coat pan with canola oil if needed. Toss mirepoix in pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until very caramelized while scraping fond (brown bits on bottom of pan).  After everything is caramelized add tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes. Toss in red wine and scrape the fond off the bottom of the dutch oven. Reduce by half.  After everything has reduced by half. Add add short ribs, broth or water just above ribs. Throw in the Bouquet Garni. Cook covered for a total of 3 plus hours on a very low flame on simmer. Turn the ribs halfway through cooking process. After meat becomes fork tender and almost falling apart remove pot from heat source.  Strain broth through some type of strainer lined with cheese cloth and reserve. You can DE- fat the broth if you want too. 

This is what the Short-Ribs look like after they have been shredded and DE-boned. You can do this whole step a week or several weeks out. Just freeze than defrost when you are ready to put together your Knish. The Short-Ribs you see in the picture were made 2 weeks ago and are being heated through with some of its own broth. 

The Shredded Short-Ribs in the picture weighs exactly 2 lbs. I am going to add to this an equal amount of Mashed Potatoes and 2 large caramelized onions.  

Two very large onions caramelizing with garlic. 

Caramelized onions and Shredded Short-Ribs combined. 

Mashed potatoes. I make my mashed potatoes with Salt, pepper, cream and butter. 

Everything starting to pull together.  I added the onions, scallions, parsley and potatoes. 
 I added the Creme de creme (best of the best) and none other than Schmaltz and Gribenes  that sets this Knish apart from others. 

How much Schmalz and Gribenes to add is a personal choice.  Add some and taste.  Does the Knish mixture taste good. Oy, if not just adjust and move on. It is now complete. 

I used the reserved Short-rib broth and added to this extra beef bones and made a very beefy rich broth. I sauteed mushrooms and onions and a made roux. To this I added the broth, cream, parsley and this became my topping. 

Looks Beautiful topped with sour cream doesn't it. 

Below we will explore the different dough options. 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Salumi filetto di manzo

Salumi filetto di manzo. Just a fancy way of writing in Italian Salumi beef tenderloin. I am spending so much money on this I wanted it to sound fancy. This is the center cut of the mighty beef tenderloin!!! Not know for its flavor but its tenderness. Also a very lean piece of meat too.  

What is a tenderloin? The tenderloin is
an oblong shape spanning two primal cuts. 
The short loin and the sirloin.  
The tenderloin sits beneath the ribs next to the back bone.  It has two ends, the butt and the tail. The center cut is used primarily for the very familiar Filet Mignon.  It is also used for Chateaubriand and the famous Beef WellingtonWe are interested in the center cut or at least I am because I am going to make a very expensive Salumi from this piece. I purchased my Tenderloin from Costco.  

This Salumi project came to me in a dream.  I wanted to make something different , something knew and something I have never seen or read about. 

As I put my thoughts to this blog the Center cut Loin is sitting in
my refrigerator curing. It will cure for 14 days. As of right now I have know idea how it's going to turn out. 

I started this Salumi project started on Jan 4, 2014 which just so happens to coincide with my birthday(finished curing on Jan 18). This is my present to my self. Check out the big bad boy Tenderloin, it's huge. 

I have to trim down the whole Tenderloin to just the center cut.

Again all I need is the center cut and rest will be incredible stew meat or maybe a small roast.

To be honest I have never butchered a tenderloin before so I turned to YOU-TUBE to learn how to do it.  

After I butchered it this is what I was left with.  I will be using the additional meat for a scrumptious beef Hodgepodge that I am planning.  So what did I learn from doing it my self.  
That I need to do it several more times.  I did OK for my first time out but I could have done a better job!! 

The Final numbers were as follows. The whole untrimmed Loin weighed 7.29 lbs or 3298 grams.  After trimming the center cut weighed 2.16 lbs or 980 grams. Based on my estimates I think this Salame will cost me about 43 dollars a pound. I hope it's worth it. 

I did not want this Salame looking or tasting like a Bresaola so I decided to come up with my own unique flavors. Again while sleeping (yes I dream about food) I started brainstorming while I was sleeping and than it hit me.  I love Italian sausages and their flavors so why not use some of those ingredients in this Salame and that's exactly what I did. 

Note: No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Example- Meat weight 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 X 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 X 3.5 =83.755 grams. 

I combined all the above ingredients and placed them in a container.  I than massaged the meat with mixture.

The meat is all vacuumed up and will sit in the refrigerator until Jan 18 which will give it 14 days to cure. 

Today is Jan 18 and the curing process is complete.  I am going to rinse off the Tenderloin and get it ready for the drying process. 

All rinsed off ready to get vacuumed sealed in side my UMAI drybag

All vacuumed sealed and ready to be tied.

It weighs 980 grams and must lose at least 30% of its weight.  30% of 980 is 294.  Target final weight for the Salame will be 686 grams. 

Today is Feb 9, 2014 and the Salame filetto di manzo hit the magic number of 686 grams which came out to a 30% weight loss.  If you look closely you can see the dark mahogany color that the filet took on and the obvious weight loss. 

Now on to the taste profile. One of the best tasting whole muscle Salamis I have ever eaten. Now I am not just saying this because I made it either. If it tasted like crap I would be honest about it. The Salame melted in my mouth and the flavor was subtle and smooth. Moister than my Bresaola and richer too. The most delectable Salami I have ever eaten. 

It tasted like a cross between a Genoa salami and an Italian sausage but much milder. I was shooting for the Italian sausage and was not planing on the Genoa salami profile but it came out delicious.  

In the end this thing cost about $62.44 (just the meat) dollars a pound to make and I think it was worth it. I may try a different cut next time out of curiosity.  I might try a whole Loin next time.  

About the cure.....Next time instead of mixing the cure and spice/herbs together I think will apply the cure first than the spice/herb mixture. There were so many herbs and spices I had concerns that the cure did not reach the whole muscle but in the end it did. To alleviate my concerns I will apply cure first just in case. 

Bresaola parte seconda ricetta!!!

So why another Bresaola? I love cured meats!! There is a science and mystery about curing meats and a love for the process.  

Think about it for a moment.  You are in complete control over what happens to a piece of muscle or for that matter sausage.  From start to finish you have the ability to transform it into something it was never intended to be. 

My Grandfather on my Dads side was Sicilian and I grew up eating a lot of cured meats.  I.E Capicola, Cacciatore, Motadella, Pancetta, Prosciutto, Salame and Sopressata.  I have not touched the stuff in 14 years for religious reasons.  Suffice it to say I did not stop eating Italian cured meats because they tasted bad, Oh contraire.  Anyhow I decided to to make my own non Treif versions so here we go again. 

In an earlier blog Bresaola using UMAI Charcuterie Bags I made my first Bresaola and the picture above shows how beautiful it turned out.  I am changing up the recipe a bit by reducing the salt levels.  Although it came out perfect I am hoping with the reduced salt I might get a beefier taste.  In a few months I will create two Bresaolas with two experimental recipes and compare them side by side.  Note: I am using  the Eye of round for my Bresaola. 

Note 1: The weight of meat plus fat is 100%. All ingredients to be added are expressed as a percentage of the weight of meat plus fat. Percentages can be used to standardize recipes regardless of batch size.  All weights are metric. 

Note 2: No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Example- Meat weight 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 X 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 X 3.5 =83.755 grams. 

Eye of Round weight before trimming  7.15 lbs or 3243 grams. After trimming 5.28 lbs or 2393 grams.  Curing started on Dec 10. 2013 at 7:45 PM. I will cure for 21 days (to Dec 31).

After meat is cured I will cold smoke for 6 hours.  This is 4 more hours than last time. I will than dry the Bresalola until meat loses 30% of its weight. This translate to 1675 grams 3.686 lbs.  Last time I dried until 34% was lost. 

Mix up the spice mixture after grinding the cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries, chopping up the rosemary and crushing the black peppercorns.

  Take the mixture and really massage it into the meat. You really want to get the meat and salt nicely worked into it.  
After meat is thoroughly covered and massaged with spice mixture Vacuum seal.  

Place in refrigerator for 21 days and rotate and massage everyday.

See ya in 21 days.  Today is Dec 12, 2013.    

Dec 31, 2013...........They  say second time around is always better.  In this case we will have to see.  It has been 21 days and my Eye of Round is all done curing and now on to the next phase. 

I am spending my New Years
Eve cold smoking my Bresaola.  Last Bresaola I made was cold smoked for 2 hours; this time I chose 5 hours.  Hmmm,  this should change the the flavor profile. 

  • Eye of Round turning into Bresaola started on Dec 10 @ 7:45
  • The Bresaola weighed 2393 Grams 
  • After Cure weighed 2413 Grams 
  • I want it to lose 30% of its original weight which will be 723.9 Grams
  • Final weight to achieve 1689 Grams
  • Something new.  I tied it on the outside of bag. 

Today is Feb 9, 2014 and I have completed my second Bresaola.   

34% loss in weight
This is the first Bresaola I made 34% weight loss
The Bresaola weighed 1685 and had lost just enough weight to achieve what I was looking for which was 
30% weight loss
second Bresaola I made with a 30% weight loss
30%.  The first Bresaola I made lost 34% of weight and after comparing them both I prefer the one with the 30% weight loss. Much better than my first one I made. If you look at the pictures to the left you can see the difference in the rings.  

The second Bresaola was awesome.  Using less salt played a big part in the exceptional taste. Smoking it an additional 3 hours made a little difference. Next I will shoot for a total of 6 hours hours cold smoke.