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Jambon, Speck, Proscuitto, Virginia Country Ham, Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico

Meat has been cured since ancient times.  Dry cured hams have been a favorite in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal for centuries.  Americans, particularly those in the South and the names Smithfield and Surry are legendary in this area, carried on this tradition with smoked hams, fattening them with tasty peanuts, beech nuts, hickory nuts, acorns and fruits.    

All of these hams are salt cured and aged.  Some are smoked over fragrant hardwoods.

While we love everything French and American, and whilst the Italian prosciutto is the best known the world over, we prefer Spanish ham which usually has a more uniform texture, more intense flavor and is usually less moist than other cured hams, because of the long curing stage.  In fact, every European country seems to have its own specialty on cured hams.  But pig rearing is Spain dates back to antiquity and once the pig was harvested, it was dry-cured to last the family for an entire year.  Jamón serrano is a type of jamón (dry-cured Spanish ham), which is generally served raw in thin slices, or occasionally diced for use in cooking.  Today, Spain is the world’s leading producer of dry-cured pork.  Serrano means from the tierra or the mountain range, where the European white (it’s really pink) pig is curred.  Jamón Ibérico comes from the black Ibérico pig, which has smaller litters and is more difficult to put weight on quickly (compared to the white pigs), hence its higher price and gamier flavor, which we prefer.  These Spanish hams are often thinly sliced and served on a slice of pan tomate.

The German Black Forest ham is commonly available world-wide and is smoked over pine and fir and coated with beef blood to give it a black exterior. Very lean and tender, it […]

By |October 1st, 2011|Cuisine, Recipes, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Jambon, Speck, Proscuitto, Virginia Country Ham, Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico

New Posts

Please check out all my new posts…which are hidden under separate pages and therefore don’t show up here. 

Kohlrabi

Mardi Gras

La Buche de Noel

Noel

House Wine

Hungarian Partridge with Gin & Juniper Berries

Pheasant Confit

Four-legged Friends
Gary Ruppel
Rim Chung

Friends from the Sporting Road

Jim Fergus

By |September 22nd, 2011|Cuisine, Dog Training, Fishing, Fly Tying, Recipes, Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Posts

The Ultimate Field Picnic

I was sent a copy of this article on the ultimate picnic party wagon, which is a proper English wooden trailer converted for tailgating for polo matches.   Polo Magazine- Party Wagon Article. I then discovered Christy’s auction of Patricia Kluge’s estate in Virginia, and found that after the Kluge divorce, John Kluge remarried and built another house nearby.  This incredible picnic hamper is the piece de resistance  of the auction.  click article from the New York Times which appeared in December 2005.

Apparently in the 1980’s by the Kluges commissioned the London firm of Asprey, jewellers and silversmith to the British Royal Family, to fashion this picnic hamper containing a full service for sixteen. The wicker trailer holds some 15 wicker cases, each fitted with brass handles and leather straps, with battery-powered hot and cold boxes and a water pump, cases for Bernardaud Limoges china, Baccarat crystal, Asprey silver cutlery, a staghorn bar service, two folding mahogany tables and 16 chairs, complete with the “K” monogram.  The set was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 and sold for some $144,000.

Although  wicker carryalls have been used since the 1700s, the picnic basket was born in 1901, when British luxury-goods retailers like Asprey started stocking hampers filled with tableware for motorists to enjoy on country drives.  See more at http://driven.urbandaddy.com/2011/08/17/meals-on-wheels/ and http://www.finesse-fine-art.com/Picnic/PicnicArticle.htm.

By |September 13th, 2011|Cuisine, Fishing, Foxhunting, Picnic, polo, Uncategorized, Wingshooting|Comments Off on The Ultimate Field Picnic

Peace Maker American Bourbon

 

Peace Maker American Whiskey (it’s really Bourbon, so don’t let the name fool you into thinking it’s just for cowboys).  This stuff competes with Maker’s Mark.  Pour it into a glass of ice and enjoy.  No burn, no bad taste, and it’s half the price.  Dress it up for the Kentucky Derby in a julep, or just pass it around as a shot at the shoot.   It makes a great stirrup cup at the fox hunt.  Devised and distributed by local kids here in Colorado, but made in Kentucky, where all Bourbon should be born.

By |June 15th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Peace Maker American Bourbon

Chef’s Knives

CHEF KNIFE RECOMMENDATIONS:
 

My favorite chef’s knife is a Togiharu Molybdenum Gyutou 9.4″ (24cm) – Right handed (if you are right-handed, otherwise get the left handed one) : $66.00 when I bought it in 2009, but now a whopping $179 in 2017.  I guess it is has been discovered by more aficionados than just me.

Prior to this, I had been using mostly Victorianox or Wusthof, both of which are good, but not of this caliber.  Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wusthof for the explanation of the various Wusthof lines.  Though I own some expensive Wusthof knives, I still prefer the Classic series because I like their heft, but many chefs like the Cordon Blue series.

As for German knives, you should seriously consider the Messermeister, which cost around $120 and you hardly ever see them discounted.  These are popular with chefs, but are relatively unknown to the home chef.  In German knives the two I’d pick from are Wusthof Classic and Messermeister Meridian Elite Knife (ex. 9″ chef’s).  The latter has a different edge (smaller edge angle) than the usual German knives.

In Japanese knives, MAC Mighty (MTH-80), Tojiro DP Gyutou, Togiharu G-1 Molybdenum Gyutou, or the cheaper Togiharu Molybdenum Gyutou, and the Bu-Rei-Zen Gyuto 9 1/2 in leap to mind, as favorites.

My friend is something of a knife aficionado and he is salivating about the last one.  Check this out: http://epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=85486

The thing to keep in mind about Japanese knives is that the good ones are made of much harder steel and hold their edges longer than German knives–as long as you use them what they were designed to do.  If  you’re careless with them, you may chip their edges easier.  Many of  the are only sharpened on one side, resulting in a more acute edge.   They have left and right handed knives.  The Japanese chef knives follow the shape of French chef knives, […]

By |May 29th, 2011|Cuisine, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Chef’s Knives

Nabulsi Cheese Starter

Nabulsi (or naboulsi) is one of the white brined cheeses made in the Middle East. Its place of origin, Nablus, is well-known throughout the West Bank and surrounding regions of Lebanon. It is the number one cheese consumed in Jordan.  Produced primarily from sheep milk, goat’s milk is also used, and I just loved some made of cow’s milk.  Nabulsi cheese is white and rectangular in shape. It’s texture is similar to feta, but it is very salty from the brine and it becomes soft and elastic when heated, as is often used in deserts, including the Palestinian dessert knafeh.  It is seasoned with salted brined and blacked coriander seeds and stored in cans which last months.

While there are many dessert recipes featuring Nabulsi cheese, and some calling for it in salads of tomatoes and chick pea salads, I opted for something of a Mediterranean version of this great starter.

4 oz. Nabulsi cheese cubed

2 tomatoes cubed

handful of olives

a few tears of basil

s couple of peporcinici

Sala andfreshly ground pepper

By |May 18th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Nabulsi Cheese Starter

Mighty-Lite Shotgun Shells Are a Thing of the Past

Modern factory shotgun loads are often labeled in “drams equivalent” or “dr. eq.”   A dram of black powder is 1/16 of an ounce.  Dram equivalent means the powder charge in the shell is supposed to produce the same shot velocity as the listed dram equivalent of black powder. So if the box is labeled 3 drams, that means the velocity will be the same as a black powder shell containing 3 drams of powder.

In 12-gauge, 2 1/2 dr. eq. s is a very light or low recoil load, 3 is typical for skeet and 3 1/2 or more is common for high brass hunting loads.  This does not include shells greater than 2 3/4″ in length, which is a whole ‘nother story.  In 20 gauge, 2 1/4 dr. eq. is a standard load. 

For the past 15 years, I have been shooting, nearly exclusively, the Mighty-Lite target load from Estate Cartridge Company, which is the shell favored by Buz Fawcett in his Wingshooting Workshop.  Since graduating from the workshop, this has been the shell in my cartridge bags.  As luck would have it, Estate Cartridge was a small Texas specialty loader and they were sold to a larger competitor who abbreviated all of their lines.  My favorite shells are now a thing of the past, but I was not immediately affected, as we purchased these shells by the pallet, so I had plenty on hand for some time and had first bought them at $3.50 a box (1997), and thought they were expensive when then had gone up to $5.  They were excellent for patterns, with high velocity, low deformity, and low recoil.

The Mighty-Lite in 12 gauge, was a 2 3/4″ shell, with 2 1/2 dr. eq., 7/8 oz. of shot in #8, at […]

By |May 17th, 2011|Uncategorized, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Mighty-Lite Shotgun Shells Are a Thing of the Past

Romeo y Julieta Cigars

I have been fortunate to try a fair number of cigars, both at home and abroad.

Cuban cigars are currently illegal in the United States, except for pre-embargo cigars which are very rare and perhaps not well stored. Technically, an American citizen cannot even legally purchase or smoke a Cuban cigar while traveling abroad, although many Americans have indulged in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe, among other places where Cuban cigars are sold.  I have to say, Cuban cigars may be overrated as the forbidden fruit.

Pre-ban, Cuban cigars were rated the best in the world–no doubt due to the fact that Americans comprised the majority of the cigar market of the world and bought all the Cubans could make. Today, Americans buy nearly all the Dominican, Honduran or Nicaraguan cigars that can be made, and they can even taste better than the previously famous Cuban cigars, which have also declined along with everything else in Cuba since the Americans left.

But being an authentic Cuban cigar does make it the forbidden fruit for Americans and, therefore, desirable to some connoisseurs. To prove the point, one can expect to pay as much for top Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars as for many mediocre Cubans.

I used to attend quite a few cigar tastings.  And, the best Dominican cigar currently available is arguably the Fuente Fuente Opus X.  And, the Padron 1926 could be the best cigar from Nicaragua. Depending on your individual taste, these cigars will likely be better than most anything currently rolled in Cuba.

Macanudu is a good cigar and has an interesting history in Jamaica and now the Dominican Republic.  The label was a spin-off from Punch, which is also a decent cigar.  Arturo Fuente has a similarly mediocre story and taste, along with Hoyo de Monterrey, which is one of the least expensive, decent cigars and mild tasting (so if purchasing […]

By |May 15th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Romeo y Julieta Cigars

Take a Little One Down the Sporting Road

By |May 1st, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Take a Little One Down the Sporting Road

No Lines

“There are no lines between
FOOD, FAMILY, LITERATURE, LIFE,
SEASONS, AND A SPORTING ROAD.”
 

As my wife’s inquiries about when I’ll will be home from shooting trips, I reply, “Hey, I am out here working to feed the family and you are giving me a hard time about when I’ll be home?”  When our daughter says it’s time to leave the stream my wife replies, “Ok, let’s just catch one more fish for dinner tonight.”  Our horses always neigh and whinny when the hunt is called.  And our travels always seem to end too soon.  But no one ever complains about the time spent in our French kitchen, nor does anyone think of leaving the dining room table before the seventh course, as this time is spent enjoying the spoils of our adventures.

After publishing a couple of cookbooks, we decided to take our adventures online, both in the field and the kitchen.  This site features evenings spent in a French kitchen, after days spent afield with paper shells, silk lines and fast horses, filled with travels and adventures.

We hope that you will travel through an invisible veil with us, into our world of the staunchest pointing dogs, fat trout always eager to take the fly, all the foxes you care to chase and good horses to follow them upon, and a bird in the oven and then some, on this Sporting Road.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If you are not looking for this site and are looking instead for

The Sporting Road by Jim Fergus click any of these links, as he is a friend of ours.

 

You may print a copy of a page from this site for personal use at home, in order to assist you in making the recipes.  A tip to printing a page is to hit ctrl-A and then cntrl-C and then open Microsoft Word and click paste.  You […]

By |May 1st, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on No Lines