Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

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

Food Day 2011

Monday, September 19th, 2011

It’s official: Real food will have its day! On October 24, 2011 join millions of Americans at the table for national Food Day and eat real in celebration of sustainable agriculture, local and regional food systems, and healthy diets.

Photo courtesy of


Even though there’s been a boom in the number of farmers’ markets, local food systems, and emerging food cultures throughout the US, folks are still taking the easy way out at meal times, driving up to the fast food trough to get cheap, “convenient” nourishment.  Still fueling up on salty, fatty, processed foods and high-calorie sweets, many Americans are not reaping the benefits of the wholesome foods that sustainable farmers sow and are suffering from record-high rates of food related illness and disease.  The time for change is now!

The first-ever national Food Day aims to transform the American diet and inspire people to eat real.  The grassroots campaign has blossomed into a movement to get healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food on every table in America.  Food Day not only celebrates the good food movement, but it encourages everyone to cook real food from real farmers together.  Food Day is committed to six principles:

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for farm and farm workers


Join the movement by participating in a few of the hundreds of Food Day events and grassroots actions being held across the nation, or coordinate your own on your campus or in your community!  Visit to pledge your commitment to the campaign, take action to urge your Congressmen to support the eat real agenda and to fix our broken food system, or cook up a few of the Food Day recipes for your family and friends. has a ton of great resources to get involved in Food Day! Get your hands dirty in some soil or in the kitchen with our HOMEGROWN101s on planting and growing; cooking, baking, preserving; and making, building, and crafting.  These handy DIY guides have projects for growers, chefs, and makers of all-levels.  Host a Food Day event with other growing enthusiasts and build a hoop house for planting season extension.  Open your kitchen up to fellow eaters and start canning the flavors of summer for good eating all winter long. Or, work from out handy HOMEGROWN How-To cards and make yourself some kale pesto, a self-watering container, or save the last of your tomato seeds for next year.  Jar your pesto, save your seeds, and plant your rows with’s downloadable goodies – seed packets, canning labels, and garden sticks!

Start a conversation with others in the community about recipes, themes, and tips on how to get growing and cooking seasonally for your family.  There are plenty of folks who have joined our groups with their own tips and tricks to live HOMEGROWN – it’s like Food Day every day!

However you celebrate Food Day on October 24th be sure to share your photos, videos, and events with us on  From potlucks to house parties, community fairs and gardening days, you can get involved in the movement to reconnect with food and build a sustainable system of agriculture. Together we can all join the effort to feed the nation with the bountiful harvests grown and produced on America’s small and mid-size farms, and to support the farmers that grow and raise food sustainably and humanely.  In the name of food, farms and righteous eating, Happy Food Day!