SMORGASBORD: Soothing sipper ... Rachel to the rescue ... Homemade salumiAdd Pumpkin Spice to your lineup of favorite fall teas. It’s new to The Republic of Tea’s expansive line, with a mellow, richly flavored brew (black tea, ginger, nutmeg, etc.) that earned raves from tasters turned off by some tea’s harsh faux flavors.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Add Pumpkin Spice to your lineup of favorite fall teas. It’s new to The Republic of Tea’s expansive line, with a mellow, richly flavored brew (black tea, ginger, nutmeg, etc.) that earned raves from tasters turned off by some tea’s harsh faux flavors.
A tin (50 tea bags) is $11.50 and is available aAt stores nationwide or at republicoftea.com.
Rachel to the rescue
Rachael Ray is donating $500,000 to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help pets and families who are struggling to rebound from Superstorm Sandy.
The Emmy-winning chef said that her pet food brand, Nutrish, also is shipping 4 tons of wet and dry dog food for Sandy animals, and her Yum-o! organization is donating $100,000 to City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City.
“When you make your living in food, you have to give back in the same way,” the host of “Rachael Ray,” the syndicated CBS Television show, said.
The ASPCA had rescued more than 250 animals and treated or provided supplies to nearly 6,000 in New York City and Long Island. It will use the money to lease a building that can be used as a central shelter for Sandy animals and to continue searching for lost pets, provide mobile veterinary services and hand out supplies.
The donation is the largest single gift made by Rachael’s Rescue, whose nearly $4 million in donations to date are funded by the sale of Nutrish products.
“I hope this becomes a center of very happy endings,” Ray said.
Should home cooks really try making their own lardo, pancetta and prosciutto?
If you read “Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing,” Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s elegant, clear and inviting descriptions of home meat curing, you might be convinced this might not only be doable, but advisable.
With Ruhlman and Polcyn’s direction, curing meats sounds nearly foolproof. (Ruhlman, a food writer, and Polcyn, a chef and charcuterie professor, co-authored “Charcuterie,” one of the first comprehensive English language texts on cured meats.)
The authors say it’s really safe for the average home cook to be hanging raw chunks of meat in their homes.
According to Ruhlman, it’s fine if it’s a whole muscle, so the bacteria can’t get into the center of the meat. “As long as it dries properly, nothing is going to happen except on the outside. So as long as the outside is taken care of with mold or held in the proper conditions, it’s fine.”
Polcyn adds: “The center of the meat is sterile, and the surface area is treated with salt, which pulls the moisture out and creates an inhospitable environment for microbes to grow. And so the outside becomes sterile in itself. So when you hang it at the right temperature of about 60 degrees with the right humidity, then the dehydration continues. And then as you lower the water activity, the flavor intensifies and you also have preservation.
“What I am most proud of,” Polcyn says, “is that the book breaks down what seems to be a complicated subject into its component parts. There are basically eight things you need to know and that is what I try to do with all my books, simplify things so people are not intimated by cooking.
“The second thing we do is Brian describes how to break down the pig the way the Italians do, which is much different from the way they do in America. And we have illustrations of both the Italian (and American) breakdown because a lot more people ... are going in with friends and buying half hogs. And it’s really not that hard … if you know what you’re doing.”