Well, I'm here to tell you I am back in action!
It's all thanks to Melissa's idea of making her own sausage. While a great idea in and of itself, if nothing else than for my selfish reasoning of "YAY, SAUSUAGE", she invited me to help. I did, and really got into it, and the whole process seems to have kick-started me back into gear.
YES! *Insert raised arms here.*
After sausage-making glory was had, I made strawberry tarts for Saturday's Beltane celebration (where I had a whole lot of mead) and made a bag for my mom's birthday (shocking due to the amount of mead I drank - seriously), so I'm feeling fairly accomplished, or at least back on the right track... since I found the missing not-ugly car bag, I wonder if that was the catalyst to all this progress!
This might even mean I get back to regular updates, you never know... try to contain your excitment.
Sausage Making Joy
Turn away now if you're a vegetarian, for there is carnage ahead...
Sausage making is surprisingly easy, and, except for the equipment, cheap! Melissa forked over $14 for a 5-pound pork butt and some casings, which amounted to about 20 sausages. That's 70 cents a link for how we did it, or 2.80 for a pack of 4 gourmet home-made sausages...that's a *whole* lot cheaper than Boulder Sausage, the local favorite that can be found at the grocery store, and trust me... ours was better! There was a bit of a learning curve, so I'm sure we'll be able to get more out of it next time, but for our first round that's not bad.
Well, I'm using "we" very liberally, now that I think about it... All I did was feed pork into the scary, scary machine and help Melissa stuff them, but she totally did all the hard work! She's a fantastic cook.
She made sage & red wine (a little salty, but good), garlic (strangely pie-like; the recipe called for cinnamon and nutmeg - really fabulous combo as it turns out) and Irish sausage (using fresh bread crumbs). All were delicious when we tested them out, so I can't wait to try them now that they're all sausage-ified! Especially the Irish Sausage. Yum!
It was surprisingly easy to do, assuming one has the correct equipment (check!).
START WITH THIS:
Mmmm, pork butt.
- Cut meat into cubes
- Freeze a bit (so you're not making mush)
- Feed cubes into grinder
- Stop and turn grinder blade the correct way
- Re-feed cubes into grinder
- Marvel at your technical abilities
- Rush to insert meat faster because OMG that thing is fast when it's put together right
This is what you get when you grind 5 pounds of pork butt...a bowl full of goodness.
MAKE SAUSAGE FILLING:
- Season meat per various recipes available
- Test for deliciousness by frying up a patty
- Test a little more
Red Wine & Sage, Irish, and Garlic sausage stuffing...
What was left when we were done testing, anyway!
Click for bigger pictures!
- Put remaining sausage filling into stuffer
- Put casing on stuffer tube (surprisingly not gross but very condom-like)
- Tie off and carefully fill until you get to the end
- Tie off again
- Form sausages and twist like a balloon animal every 5 inches or so
- Swear when the casing breaks
- Repeat steps 1-4 again but limit the amount of stuff in the casing
- Repeat step 5, marvelling at your skills with meat
- Get mind out of gutter
- Dry sausages on a rack for 24 hours in fridge
- Fry or grill or prepare in some way that pleases you
- Eat and swoon all while patting yourself on the back - this takes some advanced skill, FYI.
I hope to make more soon... we've been having fun coming up with inappropriate names for these, such as "The Italian Stallion" for the garlic one, because we have a combined age of 12.
Here's hoping for a productive week!