Monday, February 20, 2012


So I decided that I needed to try Limburger cheese, since I'd never had it before. It was something of an adventure, but honestly one I think you should try for yourself.

First impression from smell: no where near as bad as I expected, though it does kind of smell like the treats I feed my cat.

Eating a thick slice on a cracker: OH MY GOD the ammonia. It's rich and creamy, but it's also bitter, a little sour, and has that ammonia punch that hits you right in the nose hairs.

Eating a very thin slice on a cracker: Rich and creamy seems to predominate, though there is a little bitter/sour on the aftertaste. The nostril burning ammonia seems to be completely missing, and it's generally a rich and complex flavor that you could easily grow to love.

Overall, a good cheese for snacking, just make sure to eat it in small amounts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

A slow cooked Italian-American meat and tomato sauce for pasta. It takes some time with all the browning, simmering, and lots of ingredients, but it's the kind of thing that you can do while reading a book or watching the game and not putting a lot of work in to it. This also makes more than enough for you to freeze some for easy future meals. You could make it without the smoked tomatoes, but they really add a richness and depth to the sauce.

1 lb hot Italian sausage
1/4 lb ground beef
2 oz salt pork, in small cubes
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
heavy pinch dried basil
pinch dried oregano
2 bay leaves
scant pinch nutmeg
2 28 oz cans crushed san marzano tomatoes
1/3 C cream
1/4 t ground pepper
~1 t dried rosemary
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/4 C chopped Italian parsley
handful dried maitake or porcini mushrooms
handful dried smoked tomatoes, or somewhat more oil packed smoked tomatoes
3/4 C beef stock
1 C water
crushed red pepper to taste
salt to taste

Soak the mushrooms in hot water, when soft mince, and save the soaking water.
Render salt pork over medium low in olive oil and butter until crispy. Remove, leaving the fat in the pan.
Thoroughly brown the sausage and beef on medium high, remove, leaving the fat in the pan.
Add the onion and brown thoroughly over medium heat.
Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and mushrooms, and saute thoroughly over medium for 8-10 minutes.
Add everything (including the reserved mushroom liquid) except the cream and the salt and simmer for at least two hours, covering or uncovering as necessary to get the right thickness (it may thicken when you blend in the next step, so it's okay to leave it a little thin, but you don't want to cook much after the blending).
Blend with an immersion blender to get the right consistency, add salt, and allow to cool somewhat.
Add cream, mix in, and adjust salt.
Serve on spaghetti.