Monday, January 17, 2011


Charcute-a-what?!  First of all, charcuterie is the realm of food production devoted to preserving meats, by salting, smoking, and curing.

CharcutePalooza is a challenge to create your own yummy meats, using those techniques in your very own kitchen (it's pronounced “shar-coo-ta-pa-loo-za” in case you're curious). The challenge was created by a food enthusiast in D.C. who has earned a bit of fame for her cooking, and it's based on the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.

Here in Ithaca, Garden Gate Delivery owner Marlo has challenged her customers (myself included, and anyone else, for that matter) to get in on the action. Here's what she has to say:

"Can you imagine yourself experimenting with making charcuterie (prepared meats, especially cured meats) in your own home? Here's a home challenge by Food52 (online cookbook) to make one kind of charcuterie each month.  I just learned about the challenge this week so we'd be a bit late in joining, but since it's monthly who cares when we join?  I'll be starting with the duck prosciutto (duck breast is defrosting in my fridge as I write!) and moving ahead with the online group as they go.  A few of the ingredients are specialty items (like curing salts), but I'll be ordering them for myself and can order extra for anyone who wants to join the challenge.  Garden Gate is also planning monthly tasting parties so participants can share their experiments and compare notes on successes and failures.
As an incentive to take the challenge, Garden Gate will help anyone who joins to find the ingredients they need and even deliver challenge ingredients to your home along with your delivery.  I've found a source in NYS for duck, the meat in the first challenge, so if you'd like to join the challenge and want help getting duck, write me.  If you don't need help finding ingredients but want to cultivate a community of people to bounce ideas off of, write me and I'll link us all up. Hope to hear from you!"
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