Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

HOMEGROWN Life: Adventures in Sausage Making

Thursday, August 20th, 2015


HOMEGROWN-LIFE-LT-GREEN-150x150We’ve got so much rabbit and so very little freezer space right now, with more rabbits on the way. We needed to do something with all this rabbit and let’s face it, I’m getting a little tired of just braising it.

Rabbit’s a very lean meat and can be quite tough if it’s not cooked right, which usually means either cooked very quickly or cooked for a very long time at a low heat. Since Tom is rather squeamish about rare or even medium rare meat, we have to go with the long cook time.


However, there is another way you can prepare tough meat. Tough cuts from any animal whether it’s beef, pork or rabbit lend themselves very well to grinding.

the grind

Not really wanting to make rabbit burgers and being that the current Charcutepalooza challenge is stuffed sausages I decided that rabbit would be the meat of choice for this challenge.


But of course it wouldn’t just be rabbit. Because sausage needs 25-30% fat I needed to add pork fatback. But I didn’t stop there. My goal was a very flavorful sausage so it had to have asiago cheese and porcini mushrooms. But wait! It needed something more! Garlic! Yes garlic.

cheese and mushrooms

Unfortunately, Tom proclaimed that it smelled like a foot. He said the cheese smelled like a foot. The mushrooms smelled like a foot and now the fridge smells like a foot. Tom does NOT like stinky cheese, which, in my opinion, is quite a shame. I’m hoping this recipe works for him.

meat mixture

Unfortunately we’re out of fresh garlic, but we have some really good dried garlic. So here’s my recipe:

Rabbit Sausage with Porcinis, Asiago, and Garlic:



  • 2 Whole Rabbits (3-3 1/2 lbs each), de-boned and cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 1/4 lb pork fatback, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb Asiago cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs dried minced garlic
  • 3 Tbs Kosher salt
  • 10+ feet of pork casings (optional)


1. Rehydrate mushrooms in 2 cups hot (not boiling) water. Put mushrooms in water into fridge overnight to chill.

2. Drain mushrooms reserving 1 cup of liquid. Return liquid to fridge.

3. Combine everything but the liquid in a large bowl and put in freezer until very cold, just short of freezing solid. Also freeze the detachable parts of meat grinder that will be coming into contact with the meat.

4. Reassemble meat grinder and run meat mixture through and into a bowl set in ice (I use the bowl to our stand mixer). I use the smallest die that came with the grinder.

5. Using my stand mixer (mine is the smaller Kitchen Aid mixer so I have to do this in batches), I quickly mix half of the ground meat adding 1/2 of the reserved mushroom liquid to evenly distribute the spices. I repeat with the second half and then combine it all in one large bowl. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with an emulsified sausage – mix just enough to distribute everything evenly.

6. Cook a small patty to check and adjust seasonings as needed. Return to the freezer to chill again.

7. You can choose to stop here and use it to make breakfast sausage or you can stuff it into casings.


I have to admit, or more like my husband has to admit, smelling like a foot can sometimes be a very good thing. The porcinis I feel are a bit overpowered by the garlic and asiago though, so I think next time I’ll save my money and omit them.

So what did we do with the sausages? We’ve added them to spaghetti sauce and lasagna. We’ve eaten them on homemade rolls with homemade sauerkraut and eaten them as snacks when out and about. I even add them to soup. Sometimes you don’t need a special recipe to use them because they are the special recipe.


Rachel-Dog-Island-Farm1Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!


Accepting Submissions for the End-of-Season HOMEGROWN Fair!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Recently I traveled back to my roots in rural Connecticut to celebrate an annual agricultural tradition – the Durham Fair.  The Durham Fair is the largest agricultural fair in Connecticut, and growing up as a local, I’ve never missed a fair season! There’s something magical about fair season; a wonderful communal culmination of a year of agri-culture that connects us all back to our roots.

Photos courtesy of Caroline

The beauty of agricultural fairs is the celebration of a rich farming history and homegrown skills.  Family farmers who have worked the land for hundreds of years come back annually near harvest time to show their animals, crafts, art, baked goods, preserves, and plants, share traditional skills and demonstrations, and to eat amazing food and enjoy the exhibits.  Community groups and schools work behind booths to sell their products and their food – much of it local and in support of community-building initiatives.  The spirit and culture of these fairs reminds me very much of the philosophy of – a space for folks to come together and share their knowledge and skills with one another and to enjoy a lively conversation about good food and good living.

Photos courtesy of Caroline

As we approach the end of the harvest season and prepare for winter (here in the Northeast, anyway!), we can all take a little time to look back on a year of progress in living HOMEGROWN.  Share your successes, failures, thoughts and experiences with the HOMEGROWN community – fair-style. Anything new that you’ve done, built, created, explored, or learned, share with us!

  • Submit photos of your backyard livestock, chickens and pets.
  • Post recipes for your favorite dishes that use locally-grown ingredients.
  • Share planting, growing, and food preservation tips.
  • Upload instructions on creating homegrown art, crafts for the upcoming holiday season, or projects you’ve been working on all year.
  • Create a virtual skillshare of new skills learned and share with others.
  • Comment on other’s work, and foster the sense of community that we are proud to build on

While we can’t display your bountiful harvests, beautiful dishes, and crafty projects in a physical space, we want to share them with all in our community through the fall season. Upload your photos, videos, and blogs with “HOMEGROWN Fair” in the title so that they are recognizable submissions.  Of course, we will award prizes for the best of the best – a prize pack, HOMEGROWN Mix-Tape, and a few surprise goodies.  We want to showcase the work that you’ve done this year and how you’ve done it! So get those submissions ready and enjoy the first-annual, end-of-season HOMEGROWN Fair!

Photos courtesy of Caroline

A Review (and giveaway!): Artisan Cheese Making at Home, by Mary Karlin

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Artisan Cheese Making at Home, 2011

If you’re just dipping your toes into the art of cheese making, or if you have some experience under your belt, Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin should be the only book you’ll need to complete your toolkit. This detailed guide to cheese making is a gorgeously presented, all-in-one picture book, text book, recipe book and inspiration for anyone interested in getting serious with fresh dairy.

The book begins with a detailed outline of equipment and supplies available, a chart of cultures and each one’s specific purpose, and all basic lessons in the alchemy of culturing. This one is a dense chapter that you’ll reference again and again.

The beginners’ chapter is chock full of all of the information and recipes that a newbie could possible dream up – ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese, and more “exotic” varieties like haloumi, mascarpone, and goat feta.

Subsequent chapters: Intermediate (stretched-curd and semisoft, firm and hard cheeses) and More Advanced (Bloomy rind and surface-ripened cheeses, washed-rind and smeared-rind cheese and (oh my) blue cheeses!) and Cooking with Artisan Cheeses are advanced and detailed, but not to the point of wonk – you are given what you need to know – no more, no less – in a straightforward manner. For example, this recipe for a blue cheese galette:

Photo credit: Ed Anderson © 2011

Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Pear Galette

From Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin

Makes one 10-inch tart


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup almond flour or almond meal

11/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

About 3/4 cup ice water


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into narrow strips

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced into wedges

3 large shallots, thinly sliced into wedges

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 large pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 wedges each

3 ounces mild blue cheese or Coastal Blue (page 184), cut into 8 thin wedges


Reserved maple syrup mixture

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves

To make the dough, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are the size of a pea and still visible. Slowly add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and stir to incorporate, adding more water as needed until the dough comes together and forms a ball. You may not need the full amount of water. Do not overwork the dough. Once the dough holds together, form it into a 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To make the filling, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crispy and the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Remove half of the fat from the pan, add the onion and shallots, and sauté until lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. In a bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and cardamom. Toss the pear wedges in the syrup mixture to coat, then leave them to soak in the mixture.

Working on a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rough 14-inch circle. Lift the parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet. Leaving a 2-inch border, evenly distribute the bacon-onion mixture over the the dough. Place the pear wedges in a decorative pattern over the bacon-onion mixture, overlapping if needed. Fill in the center with small pieces of pear. Reserve the maple syrup mixture to use in the glaze.

Moving around the tart, fold the edges of the dough toward the center and over the filling, pleating it as you go to securely enclose the filling. Place on the lower rack of the oven and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with the wedges of blue cheese and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and very golden and the pears are caramelized.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the reserved maple syrup mixture, sugar, water, and chopped rosemary in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil and cook until the sugar is melted and a slightly thick syrup is created, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Using a pastry brush, spread the glaze over the top of the galette. Let cool for 15 minutes, then cut and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Cheese Making at Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering World-Class Cheeses by Mary Karlin, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Be sure to visit the Q&A section on the Artisan Cheese Making web site where Mary invites a further conversation about the book and the processes outlined in it.

From her detailed writing on the art of cheese making Mary Karlin is clearly passionate about artisan food. In a brief phone conversation with her, I learned that she is also committed to teaching skills like cheese making to make one’s community stronger and more empowered – something that is right up our alley, too.

Is there a place in your community where you can learn food skills like cheese making? Canning? Cooking? If so, tell us about it? If not, we want to hear that, too! Leave a comment with your response, and be entered to win a copy of Artisan Cheese Making at Home. We’ll choose a winner on October 18th!