April 17, 2010

Sausage fest

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Once again a group of us reconvened in a house in the boonies, for a day of home cooking and non-stop eating.  It was sausage day today, and we would be making three different types of sausages.

I arrived in time to sit down for a bowl of Korean dumplings and rice cakes in soup.  Very yummy, and light enough to prepare us for what was ahead.  There was of course plenty of kimchi, with two batches having been aged for different lengths of time.

Then we got down to business... three separate batches of stuffing were being prepared.  First was the Italian sausage, with fennel seeds and peppers.  I started the film the process of the first team stuffing the sausage casing, with the male elf carefully (or was it lovingly?) massaging and stroking the ever-growing sausage.

Having cleaned the stuffer, a second batch was loaded in - this time with filling that included diced kimchi and chili pepper flakes for the kimchi sausage.  The male elf relinquished his place to someone new, who kinda flipped out and yelped at the sight of the protruding and growing mass.

A little while later, bags of coagulated pig's blood were broken out and mixed into the bowl with steamed rice and vermicelli.  This would form the contents of the soondae (순대), the Korean blood sausage that I love so much.  The casing was checked for leakage, but it was something that we had to live with.  Our most experienced team quickly realized that using the stuffer was going to be impossible on this one, and a piping bag was brought out to do the job.  The soondae came out shorter, without linking, and were quickly put into hot water bath or steamer to make sure the blood becomes solid and fuses with the other ingredients.

As we started to get hungry in the afternoon, the soondae was sliced up and eaten as snack with the usual dip of salt, chili pepper and green pepper powder.  I must say that this was better than any soondae I've had in Korean restaurants in Hong Kong.

We all helped with the preparation of the other dishes for dinner.  Shortly before sun down, we moved the party up on the roof and ended up dining in the middle of our host's real-life FarmVille.  Our grill chef quickly went to work and grilled up the sausages as well as lots of kalbi.  At the end of the meal, the pork neck was brought out and put on the grill also.

There was, of course, way too much food to go around.  We started with a dip of eggplant caviar - à la Robuchon - on thin slices of Robuchon baguette.  This was way better than any baba ghanoush I've ever had.  The Moroccan carrot pavé was nice and refreshing, with the taste of orange blossom water and a touch of coriander.  The gnudi was interesting... while it's meant to be like gnocchi, it tasted more like a buttermilk biscuit with a very moist and wet center.  Céleri-rave rémoulade, cherry tomatoes, and greens picked from pots right next to us (including chrysanthemum greens) rounded out the cold side of things.

We also had quinoa with braised fennel, thyme & toasted almonds; very yummy chapchae;  and a salad of asparagus, peas, and fingerling potatoes.  The skins on the peas were removed by hand through group effort, and the elves - aka Sous-Vide Monsters - put the asparagus under a human vacuum and cooked them sous-vide.

We were stuffed and done with dinner pretty early, and went back downstairs to digest.  It would take us another three hours before we moved on to desserts.  The two batches of caramel corn donuts were both yummy, but I preferred the second batch with the sugar on the outside instead of the caramel.  The apple pie came out pretty late, baked with Granny Smiths and served with homemade caramel ice cream.  We also had two different cakes brought in by air: a pandan chiffon cake from Bengawan Solo as well as a red bean, pine nut and mochi cake (松子玉露) from I-lan Cake (宜蘭餅).

I managed to polish off a few bottles of wine, too... The 2006 Grosset Chardonnay Piccadilly wasn't bad; the 2006 Mollydooker Shiraz Blue Eyed Boy drank pretty well, maybe because I was doing the Mollydooker shake... The Henri Bonneau Les Rouliers was  nothing to write home about, but then again it IS a vin de table...

We went home very late, with our stomachs still full and wondering when we will get hungry again...


Little Meg said...

Lovely dinner! And the time spending with good friends and good food - priceless!


Jimmy Ming Shum said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!


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