Sausages with a Bang!

If you haven’t tried our bangers we make every day fresh in our Meat department, this weekend is a good time to start. We make both English-style and Irish-style (difference being the Irish has the addition of ginger) with just the right amount of fat to make the sausage pop and “bang” while browning them up in a skillet.

At my house, I like to roll them around in a sauté pan with a little oil and get the casing nice and snappy. We also have some really good bangers from a company called Jolly Posh. These sausages are larger in diameter and great for a quick Irish Banger Dinner or stuffed inside one of our Bakery buns with some whole grain mustard.

Started by Nicholas Spencer, Jolly Posh was inspired by traditional Irish foods and his hunger for the classic flavors of home (Ireland). Their all-natural bangers are free of hormones as well as nitrites, nitrates, and MSG. In our stores, look for their Traditional Pork Bangers and Pork & Herb Bangers.

Or try some of their white pudding, which is seasoned pork, oatmeal, and breadcrumb mixture that is awesome for an “over the pond” breakfast experience. Just slice it up, fry it till golden brown, and serve it alongside some of our local eggs. It’s magically delicious!

Getting to the Point

Wusthof KnivesAfter 20 years of teaching the knife skills class, I am still amazed what a lot of folks don’t know about knives. It may sound strange, but learning how to hold and use a knife correctly will help you work faster and safer. Sometimes all it takes is a little forethought before you just randomly start breaking down your veggies.

The benefit of good knife skills comes with uniformity. I can’t stress this point enough! Every time you lift your knife to cut or chop, think to yourself: Is this the same thickness? Is this the same size as the last piece? Plain and simply put, pieces of food that are the same size and shape cook at the same rate. I remember my mom fishing around a big pot of boiling potatoes looking for the biggest to see if potatoes were done yet! With uniformity, you don’t have to ‘go fishing’.

Another bonus to good knife skills and uniformity is presentation. We all know that we eat first with our eyes. There is a simple elegance to perfectly cut and sized vegetables that a ”rough  chop” will never be able to give. If you’re looking to get on point, here are a couple of my favorite knives that we always carry in the Culinary Center:

I love the Chef’s knife. It can handle a lot of the everyday tasks in your kitchen. Its stable and curved blade helps promote a rocking motion that enables you to have better control and a finer dice. Available in 3 sizes (6 inch,  8 inch, and 10 inch) I like to call the 8-inch knife the workhorse of the kitchen. The 6 inch is a good one for beginners or those who are a little shy about knives. The 10 inch can cover more ground when prepping for larger quantities.

A Bread knife can do things that the chef’s knife just can’t.  Think things that squish. You use a sawing motion when using this knife, so it’s perfect for bread, tomatoes, croissants, etc. The serrated blade is not meant for chopping.

The Paring knife is handy to have around. Whether you are paring, peeling, or slicing, the small size of the blade can tackle mincing garlic to peeling an apple. Most are now available with either a serrated blade or a straight one.

When it comes to Japanese knives, two of my favorites are the Santoku and the Nakiri. The hollow edge of a Santoku creates air pockets which help prevent thin cuts or soft slice foods from clinging to the blade. The straighter, blunt, squarish shape of the Nakiri facilitates a straight up and down motion for chopping and most veggie prep.

Feel free to come in and ask us any questions you may have. We love talking knives and are happy to set you up with a cutting board so you can try out whatever type of knife you are interested in.  Or sign up for our popular knife skills class.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

The Art of the Winter Roast

Simply speaking , pot roasting or braising is cooking a tougher cut of meat gently and slowly in liquid until it becomes tender. This can result in a flavorful sauce that’s just waiting to be served with a starch or sopped up with DLM Artisan Bread.

The bonuses are plenty as not only does it make your house smell amazing but it feeds a crowd of people economically. And yes, it does tend to taste better after a day or two, so make enough for leftovers.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUT OF MEAT

Good news—tougher cuts tend to be cheaper and they make the best braises. That combo of low and moist heat turns well-worked muscles, sinews, and connective tissue into rich, gelatinous, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness. Try: Chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulder, veal breast, lamb shanks, and chicken thighs. Bone–in meat imparts even more flavor.

BROWN & SEAR LIKE THE BEST

This step creates the foundation flavors for the entire braise, resulting in gorgeous, deep golden-brown coloring. Browning takes time and space, so don’t crowd your pan as it may take multiple rounds! Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven with a little fat to start. Then, complete the following steps.

STEP 1: Remove browned meat from pan and start the next round of browning mirepoix, additional veggies, aromatics, etc. 

STEP 2: Deglaze pan using liquid. This helps those browned bits become liquid, reinforcing the dish’s foundation flavors. Use enough liquid to partially submerge the meat. More liquid yields a stew-like consistency while less results in a more concentrated, richer sauce.

STEP 3: Cover dish and either place in a low-heat oven (325°F or less) or low simmer on the stove. Note that the oven tends to be more consistent. How long? It depends on what you’re braising and the size of the cut. That’s the thing about braises—it’s done when it’s fork tender.

STEP 4: Season sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a splash of acid, such as lemon juice or a glug of wine to brighten things up. Want the sauce thicker? Remove the meat and veggies and bring liquid to a strong simmer. Reduce until desired consistency and season.

POT ROAST 3-WAYS

GUINNESS BEEF STEW

Meat: Chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, leeks, potatoes.
Deglazer: Guinness Stout.

BEEF IN BAROLO

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, pancetta, fennel, tomato.
Deglazer: A hearty dry red wine (try Barolo).

AMERICAN POT ROAST

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix and potatoes.
Deglazer: Beef stock.

Sweethearts Out There – Ditch the Reservations and Cook at Home!

Planning on going to an expensive steakhouse for Valentine’s Day?  Before you blow a whole lot of money hear me out.  I love to go out and eat. I appreciate everything our local restaurants do, plus I don’t have to cook or clean up.

One of my main pet peeves is that you go out and spend a fortune on what is quite frankly a pretty simple meal (plus wine and tip of course). Face it – the mark up on that bottle alone of wine costs you a pretty penny when you can spend the same amount of money and get a serious upgrade at retail.

DLM Shrimp Cocktail

It’s one thing if you are spending some serious time cooking from scratch say a good beef bourguignon and a chocolate soufflé that can be a little tricky but if you are going for that classic steakhouse kind of thing you can save some money and really ramp up the quality!

Let’s break it down – First course shrimp cocktail? It can’t get any easier to replicate this at home. Our fresh cooked plump shrimp cocktail can rival any local restaurant with its quality. Keep it nice and chilled and customize the cocktail sauce just the way you like it.

DLM Salad Bar

 

 

I know you all can handle making a good salad with what is available here at DLM every single day. You can even skip the prep work and make one exactly with what you want in it at our salad bars complete with from scratch housemade dressing (plus our new butter and salt DLM Croutons!)  Baked potatoes are easy enough to master but in case you want to cheat a little swing by and pick up our loaded or stuffed potatoes with the “works”.

DLM Natural Beef Rib Steak

Steak – You simply cannot find a better tasting higher quality one than right here. Simply season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Need some info on steak? Click here or ask one of our experts in our meat department.

Chocolate Mousse

Cheese Course and Dessert?  Think of the options here –  cheese, fruits, and nuts from all over the world. The best French pastries, chocolate-dipped strawberries, decadent cheesecakes, and even chocolate mousse. Best part? No tipping, no designated driver, and the music playlist has all of your favorites!

Geeking Out Over Cookbooks

I have a cookbook problem. I’ll admit it. It’s been going on for longer than I care to admit. Gone are the days of just buying a book for 1 recipe. I have gotten much smarter over the years with buying only the new ones that offer something truly different whether it’s recipes, techniques, history, or just good food stories. My purchasing of cook books has slowed down a little because now I spend an amazing amount of time reading recipes on the computer. I know that a lot of great recipes are “free” on the internet, but it is not the same thing. I still find myself craving books! I want to hold them, read them, cook from them, and most importantly share them.

I love paging through ones that belonged to my mom. Seeing her handwriting makes me miss her even more. I like trying to find that one recipe in an old book on my shelves that I haven’t looked at in a while. Opening it up, I can tell which recipe pages were more well-loved and it brings back warm memories of a certain time and place.

What’s really cool is that I just so happen to work with a bunch of people who have the same problem. In fact, our last staff meeting we had a potluck of our favorite “vintage” recipes. Needless to say, we had a ball! I am not sure we will ever be able to compete with Amazon in selling books, but the one thing we can do is use our passion to help you find some true gems.

We’ve put together a curated cookbook selection at the Culinary Center. Some are the most popular and trending new releases, others are tried and true favorites that offer something special, and a few are obscure gems that we would love to share with you. One thing is certain, all of them have a good reason for being there and taking up shelf space.

Come visit us at the Culinary Center–we can geek out together!

Feast like a Gourmand with Duck

Looking for an alternative to everyday protein choices? Let’s talk about duck. When I was a kid, my only experience with duck was a whole roasted one that was usually greasy, overcooked, and drowned in overly sweet orange or cherry sauce. Did you have the same?

My experience and attitude changed when I first tasted Pekin duck in Chinatown as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of it and then promptly fell in love with hoisin sauce. Fast forward to the 70s and 80s when duck was suddenly everywhere—from California-style pizzas to amazing chopped salads.

At DLM, we carry Culver Duck from Middlebury, IN. Their ducks are antibiotic free, sustainably raised, fed a vegetarian diet, and are free roaming. We like their strict standards as the quality really shines through in the flavor.

What has changed since my early experiences with duck is how easy it is now for the home cook to actually prepare it without having to roast the whole thing and smoke up the house. We carry smoked and fully cooked breasts along with legs and whole or half birds. So whether it’s the main dish, tossed in a salad, or carved tableside, branch out a little bit and taste how good duck can be.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Try smoked duck breast sliced thin on your next charcuterie platter. A boneless breast can cook up in 15 minutes or so and is simply delicious. As an added bonus, that skin gets so darn crispy it’s almost addicting!
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t brag about the recipe-ready duck confit. It’s wicked good and so much time is saved by getting it already perfectly cooked. Heat in a hot pan and voilà, so much flavor.
  • Try shredding a little duck confit over a winter salad or stir into a bubbling pot of lentils or beans for added depth of flavor.

Get Our Duck & Wild Rice Salad Recipe Here!

Give the Gift of a Culinary Adventure

Cooking classes, interactive food, wine dinners, and themed events make excellent gifts for anyone who is really into food or wants to be. Do you have someone like that in your life? Make their day with a DLM Gift Card. Your friends, family, and colleagues can choose classes that fit their interests and their schedules.

Our Winter/Spring Schedule is hot off the press, so come and pick one up at your favorite DLM location. Or easier still, you can view them all at your convenience online, anytime. Be sure to register early as classes fill quickly. https://www.dorothylane.com/classes/

We have plenty of comfort food classes to help you survive the winter months—including one on how to use that Instant Pot Santa will leave for you under the tree. We’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with both an indulgent Valentine’s Day Dinner and our popular food and wine class, Girls’ Night Out; Galentine’s Day. Many of our students will be rolling up their sleeves, learning how to make pasta from scratch and excellent pie. We’ll explore through wine and food the French Alps, regional Italy, Eastern Europe, Spain and Latin America. Or just come in and relax for one of our Seafood Suppers on Friday nights in the early Spring.

We think sharing good food is at the heart of every memorable occasion, so come and join us as we celebrate the love of food and the pleasure of sharing it.

Register here for the Culinary Center’s Winter/Spring classes:  https://www.dorothylane.com/classes/

Get Nutty This Winter!

Every one that is familiar with Marcona almonds already know how good they are. If you aren’t familiar – Marcona Almonds, also sometimes referred to as the Queen of Almonds, are imported from Spain. They have a distinctive shape that are flatter, rounder, and a little sweeter than the Californian variety. First they are blanched, than roasted in olive oil, and finished with a good dosing of sea salt resulting in a crispy texture that is just plain delicious.

A couple of years ago we tossed them in our blend of Herbes de Provence and knew we had a hit on our hands. Truffle flavored Marcona almonds are here just in time for the holidays! They’re so perfect as-is with a glass of Champagne. Or, pile a handful onto a charcuterie platter or as a pairing with a wedge of your favorite cheese. Stop by and try our newest addition to the lineup.

Take a Trip to Funky Town—Burgundy Truffles

Arriving soon: Burgundy Truffles will be available tomorrow, November 16!

Known as the “Autumn Truffle”, the season is dependent on the weather, is available from Europe from September through January, and now you can get your hands on them yourselves. Come and ask for them in our Produce department. We will be happy to get it for you.

Although the Burgundy truffle is similar in appearance to the Italian black winter truffle, they are very different. The Burgundy truffle does have a black exterior, but inside the color ranges from dark brown to a light tan. More importantly, this truffle has a more delicate flavor that is best enjoyed when thinly sliced or freshly grated over simple prepared dishes like pasta, eggs, risotto or mashed potatoes. The exquisite taste has a toasted hazelnut like flavor and a lighter, gentler aroma than Italian black winter truffles.

I love to hear or read about how folks describe the taste and smell of truffles, for it is very difficult to pin down. Some words that are tossed around are meaty, earthy, musky, and pungent. But the one I like best is funky. For me, it’s like an umami perfume bomb of mushroomy goodness that just begs for a shared dining experience and maybe a good glass of wine.

If you’ve never tasted a truffle, this one is a great one to begin with. Why not start this Thanksgiving? Try shaving a small amount on top of hot buttered mashed potatoes right before serving and make everyone at the table sigh with delight.  Or whip up a decadent breakfast or brunch with lightly scrambled eggs or omelet topped with a little truffle while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Naturally, a glass of Champagne would be a perfect pairing to go along with all of this. What a nice way to start the day that begins and ends with really good food and family.

Your Guide to Classic Steak Cuts

Last week, George Punter and I taught a food and wine pairing class called The Great American Steakhouse. We pulled out all the stops with a classic throwback menu of Clams Casino, Wedge Salad, Steak au Poivre, Hand-Cut French Fries, and Chocolate Mousse, plus wine pairings that were simply stunning. Needless to say we all had a blast, but we did spend quite a lot of time just talking steak.

Rib-Eye
Rib-eye

I pulled out all of our tender steak cuts and we discussed each of their attributes. If you are always buying and ordering the same cut, I would like to challenge you to break out and try a couple different ones. Different steak cuts vary in textures, looks, moisture & fat content, and obviously price.

Rib-eyes tend to be the choice of most serious steak lovers. Plenty of tender meat and lots of flavor, it is sometimes called a Tomahawk Steak with the rib bone attached, or Beef Rib Steak, Saratoga Steak, or Cowboy Steak. In my kitchen, I don’t mess around too much with this cut because you are paying for all of its natural, big flavor. Enjoy it simply well-seasoned with some good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. And a glass of California Cabernet. 🙂

NY Strip Steak
NY Strip Steak

Although Strip Steaks have less visible fat, I enjoy the firmer, slightly chewier texture better when I am in the mood for serious steak. This particular cut was made famous by Delmonico’s, an NYC restaurant founded in 1827. This restaurant offered a short loin as one of their signature dishes, and so the cut became known in the East Coast area as the Delmonico Steak. New York Strip, another name, is cut from the short loin part of the sirloin and has a fine-grained texture that has enough fat to produce lots of flavor but tends to not be as tender as a ribeye.

Call it what you want, Filet, Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, or Châteaubriand, it’s unbelievably tender and buttery on both texture and flavor. It also happens to be one of the leanest types of steak cuts. Since fat = flavor here, this is the steak I like to serve with some kind of full-flavored sauce (béarnaise or green peppercorn) or mount with some herb butter to ramp up its flavor.

 

Porterhouse

The Porterhouse is a thick, bone-in steak where you get the best of the strip steak on one side and filet on the other all in one cut. (The T-Bone is the smaller, thinner cut version.) A fun steak to share or carve at the table as one of these can easily feed 2-3 people! I like to grill this one for special occasions, seasoned well and drizzled with some Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

 

Top Sirloin

 

Love all sorts of rubs and marinades? Then Top Sirloin is for you. I tend to think of this steak cut as the unsung hero. Although it is naturally a bit tougher than the other tender cuts of steak, its grainy texture and leanness will more than make up for it in its overall flavor and price point. This cut benefits from the added fat a marinade can provide or the flavor boost from your favorite rub. I love it for steak salads and sandwiches, plus it can serve a crowd (or my family) who all want steak but are on a budget.

Vary your steak choices based on what you want on your dinner plate. Each steak cut offers different attributes and might not work for every finished dish. Remember two important things: fat = flavor and you get what you pay for!