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Northern Comfort – A Barn Dinner with Northern Waters Smokehaus

On July 22, 2017, we welcome you to another Smokehaus/Hemlock Preserve collaboration at the barn in Esko.

We can’t help but reminisce.

It’s August 2015, a heady day amid a heady summer, and I am slogging through piles of prep in the Smokehouse. There are smokers, dishwashers, managers, prep people, and miscellaneous fishermen who need their fish custom-smoked endlessly pouring in and out of the long oblong space, slipping on the moist bricks of the kitchen floor and talking as loud as they can in order to be heard above the clamber of our industrial fans and Daft Punk. Fresh smoke is in the air from a recent truck (a large, rolling cart that has little shelves to load perforated racks for smoking) of smoked pork shoulder, which is cooling magnificently in the center of the room, a white-handled Dexter knife placed on the top rack beside a chunk that has been hacked off and savored. I’m “supervising” cornbread: Eric’s recipe, which includes lovely fresh corn off the cob and lovelier butter and cream, needs to be backed in batches and served while still warm to guests 45 miles and 2 hours away. We have heirloom tomatoes to delicately dismantle, Octo-Vin (fresh and unashamedly from the pages of the Momofuku cookbook) to make, herbs to pick, pasta salad to season, servers to wrangle, and the almighty “gather” list to attend to. I’ve got an empty stomach, a torn t-shirt and filthy apron, and it’s about time to load up.
On the way to Esko, just as we crest Thompson Hill, I get a frantic call from my partner in crime, April. She can’t account for the Octo-Vin – and neither can I, so I scramble to the back of my Volvo as my husband continues speeding towards our destination, and I’m digging through towels and warm (read:hot) cast iron skillets of cornbread and adorable menu cards that Flo magically whipped up and I touch a mystery Cambro, extract it from its nesting place – and voila! – our not-so-secret sauce. “Good news,” I tell April over the Volvo’s failing muffler, “I found the Octo-Vin.” “We need ice!” April laughs. We’re pretty used to these situations – we kind of live for them.
There’s a little cloud of dust as we turn down the dirt road toward Hemlock Preserve, obscuring the brambly ditch weeds and meandering path for a few minutes, but we make the turn toward Sue Watt’s estate and everything becomes clear. Two straight rows of pale pebbles guides our tire, a manicured strip of hyperactive green grass down the center. Our kitchen – a ten-by-ten foot tent that we use during farmers markets along with a propane-powered set of turkey fryers and a few folding tables smartly lined with Epicurean cutting boards – is pretty much ready for action and we pull up to unload. I leave the Volvo empty handed in order to get the lay of the land and walk toward the barn.
The barn – white, stately, adorned with Rhododendrons – I haven’t seen it for a few months, when it was closed off for the season. Now it is in full blossom. It is elegant and country, mismatched and perfectly appointed, it is the Henri Matisse of barns – it is natural but it is secretly, expertly organized. Every nook and cranny is a still life. The sunlight is somehow captured in the vaulted holiness of the barn’s wooden ceiling arches, and I get the feeling I am smelling hay from pre-war Minnesota. There is twinkling from the silverware and creaking from the floorboards. Ned has started to tune up his guitar and starts playing a Pavement song gently to himself. This is perfect. I think this to myself, but I’m saying it out loud, and everyone else is saying it too.
The food that follows has no choice – it is also perfect, as are the guests, the drinks, the wacky chauffeur, the soft ice cream, the distant lightening. This place is like that – inexplicably, effortlessly glorious. The day’s preparations, anxieties, arguments and oversights have vanished into the evening, drifting down the meadow into the St. Louis River Valley with the embers of our bonfire, soaked up and overturned by our guests and their laughter.
We invite you to join us once again to Hemlock Preserve. Dinner will be served – fried chicken and fixings – as well as drinks and dessert. We figure we all deserve a little Northern Comfort.

Hemlock Preserve barn with table by Sue Watt, dinner by Northern Waters Smokehaus, and menu cards by Flo.

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Top Five Boursin Recipe Ideas

boursin jars

Boursin is a versatile, flavorful, creamy addition to many meals. We started making Boursin at Northern Waters Smokehaus on a whim and it has now become one of our most popular cheese case items. Over the years, we’ve learned to concoct some simple dishes with our Boursin, adding an herbal, lemony lift to veggies and meats alike. Our Mother’s Day Gift Box is a favorite – the combination of smoked Sockeye salmon, crispy crackers, and fluffy cheese is an elegant, binge-worthy snack. Here are the top 5 Boursin recipe ideas (so far) for you. For more exact recipes, email creative [@] nwsmokehaus.com and we’ll do our best to get you cooking with Boursin to mathematical perfection!

Five time-tested, Smokehaus-approved recipe ideas for our Boursin:

#5: Boursin and Endive Bites

Belgian endive is almost always available at the grocery store, even here in the Great White North. These delicate little torpedoes of green are crisp, sweet, and very slightly bitter – a perfect foil for creamy, citric, floral Boursin. Simply trim the endive ends and gently separate the leaves. You will find a delicate little shovel – a great conduit for many mediums, and excellent for a dollop of Boursin. Use a teaspoon to smear the Boursin or get fancy and pipe it (with a pastry bag or clipped plastic one – up to you). We garnish ours with jolly little Sweetie Drops, or pickled Peruvian peppers, but feel free to use your own favorite garnish – paprika, parsley, anything pickled – or go au naturale and let the bite speak for itself.

#4: Steak and Boursin

What can we say? Compound butter + grilled beef = heaven on earth. Useful on any cut, but especially the fatty, interesting ones, like New York strip, Boursin will be the equivalent of a Valentino gown on Sophia Loren: it will cling to it in all the right places. Salt and pepper your steak, let it get to room temperature, cook it over or under hot flame for your desired temperature, let it rest for 5 minutes, dollop with a Tablespoon of Boursin, and let rest for at least another 5 minutes. Devour, with or without starch to sop up the resulting incredible juices.

#3 Chicken and Boursin Surprise

The real surprise here is that this doesn’t exist at every fast-casual American eatery on the planet. This is a simple yet luxurious meal that is quick to construct, satisfying, and actually makes great leftovers for sandwiches. Pound chicken breasts to a ½ inch thickness, spread an even layer of Boursin approximately ¼ inch thick,  and add a layer of cured muscle meat, like prosciutto, jamon serrano, or copa (if you live near the Smokehaus deli or are a member of our Smokehaus of the Month Club, we recommend asking for our Speck or Lonzino). Roll the cutlets into wheels, secure with toothpicks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and fry in good oil until golden and cooked through (165 degrees). Great with buttered, Parmiganno’d pasta, roasted asparagus, or sliced after cooling and served on a leafy green salad.

#2 Boursin Toast

Inspired by a local business that boldly decided to exclusively offer coffee and toast (we miss you, JPH!), we salute the simplicity of a crusty, magnificent slab of Duluth sourdough stuffed into the nearest (and most accommodating) toaster, grilled to pedal-to-the-metal blackish-brownish, and smeared with enough Boursin that it qualifies as a “barge.” Extra points for those who first slather their toast with butter, but enough Boursin will certainly do the trick. Top with sun-ripened tomatoes, crumbled bacon or pancetta, a raisin smiley face (probably gross, but pretty kitschy, no?), or nothing at all.

#1 Boursin and Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

At the risk of redundancy, we here at the Smokehaus are really into sandwiches. We live sandwiches from the moment we flick on our meat case lights and start cutting cucumbers in the morning to the end of the day when Jerry ushers out the last stray customer with a flourish of his vest and stamp on their sandwich card. We fully realize that many would place a steak at #1 on this list, especially considering that a lowly turkey sandwich had secured the top ranking. But we are not many. We are sandwich people. Our original intent for Boursin was on a turkey sandwich, but we quickly realized the delicious nature of said sandwich would backfire and we would have to hire a whole separate person in the summers to exclusively make Boursin to keep up with demand. So here is the catalyst for the hundreds of cute little medicine jars of Boursin we sell, revealed at last, The Green Meanie: buy or make some naan (we use Stonefire, and it’s really good), and warm it in the oven. Slather liberally with Boursin. Aim the point of your naan to the left to orient the sandwich. In a vertical line down the center, place an even row of cucumber slices, basil leaves, pickled jalapenos, and as much smoked turkey as you like (but don’t get crazy, you need to roll this up). Starting at the wide end, roll the sandwich, tucking stray ingredients as you go. Slice in half and savor a Smokehaus secret.

 

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Can You Help Us With Four Questions?

We started a survey to gauge our performance company-wide. It’s been a week and we already feel improved – won’t you help us get even better? Four short questions could mean everything to us!

 

 

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Phones Have Gremlins

What a day! Our phones are down, but delivery is up, up, up! You can place your order online via email: catering @ nwsmokehausdotcom ! Just leave your phone number and we will call you back on one of our faithful cell phones.

Thanks for bearing with us, and enjoy the snowy day.

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Duluth Winter Village

Season’s Greetings from this side of Lake Superior.

We are gearing up for the Holiday Season and we’re thinking about extra opportunities for you to have access to our products that make any gathering, extra special.

We will be at the Duluth Winter Village on December 3rd and 4th from 10 AM to 5PM.

We will be selling Salamini, Pepperoni, Saucisson Sec and Chorizo on sight. Unfortunately, we won’t have any of our smoked meats of fish due to the small space.
However, there will be information about our Catering Services, Delivery and Mail Order.  We’ll also have gift certificates for Northern Waters Restaurant and the Smokehaus for sale on sight.

THIS JUST IN: Buy $100 in gift cards, receive a free $20 gift card.

 

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“garde manger” A Smokehaus Pantry Dinner

A first of its kind.
“garde manger”
A Smokehaus Pantry Dinner

WHERE: Northern Waters Restaurant
1600 Woodland Ave
Duluth, Mn 55811

WHEN: Sunday, November 20th

TIME: 5PM COCKTAILS
6PM DINNER

 

Will be featuring the food we have spent years researching, making & falling in love with.

ALLONS-Y, MES AMIES

Join us on this 5 course decadent carnivore friendly feast. Fromage and wine pairings. Caviar and rose.
Fall into temptation of gourmet hors d’eouvers and palate cleansers.

As Eric and team test the menu, we will be sharing more mouth-watering details.
You have been warned, Duluthians. Mark your calendar for a hearty yet delicate meal for fall.

Tickets for this event are $100.
In true Smokehaus style, no one goes home hungry.

Call the deli: 218.724.7307 for more information & ticket details.
We have 40 seats open.

20 tickets available at Northern Waters Smokehaus (218.724.7307)
20 tickets available at Northern Waters Restaurant (218.249.1957)

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HausBao

Why Berkshire?
Berkshire Pork is a driving force around our Smokehaus team. The marble in the fat and its fat content renders a soft, chewy and luxurious Pork.
We believe in using the best-of-the-best in Heritage Berkshire Pork because of its moist texture, superb marbling and juicy meat.
Did you know that the when Berkshire Pork is certified by the Heritage Berkshire Program it’s referred to as Kurobuta? Kurobuta is like wagyu beef and/or jidori chicken.

It’s no secret that the biggest inspiration comes from a quality beginning. When we begin our creative process with Berkshire Pork, we are only enhancing it’s succulent flavor by pairing it with other well(local when possible) sourced ingredients.

The HausBao

With our first inspiration being Berkshire, Our second inspiration comes from traditional Chinese roots, the contemporary food culture of BaoHaus, and our adoration for the sweet, succulent & crunchy bao sandwich.That’s just the beginning & the inspiration. We then do what the island of food weirdos does best and we add a Smokehaus twist.

TherE are two ways to achieve this recipe to maximum delicious.
Please make note that all the quick-pickle veggies must be made the day before you wish to enjoy the Bao.

INGREDIENTS

For the Pork Belly
Buy a nice slab of Pork Belly from your local co-op, butcher, or local Asian Market.

1.25 lb -Pork Belly
Salt
Pepper
2 T -Rice Vinegar
4 T- Soy Sauce
2 T -Ginger, minced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ Serrano Pepper, minced (optional)

For the Quick Pickled Veggies

1 Daikon, julienned
2 large Carrots, julienned
1 Cucumber, sliced thinly
4-5 small Red Radish, sliced thinly
1 small Red Onion, sliced thinly
3 C White Vinegar
3 C Water
1 C Sugar
1 T Salt

For the mayo

1.5 Serrano Chiles, minced  **2 whole peppers if you like it super spicy**
2 C Mayo

Accoutrements

Small bunch  cilantro, minced
2 T Marcona almonds,minced. (**lightly toasting them is optional)
1 Green onion, sliced at a bias.
Sriracha

The Bun

IMG_8567

1 bag of Buns: GWA PAO (Bánh Bao Kep) **find these at your local Coop or Asian Market.
Heat these up in the oven for a 1-2 mins, flipping these to have a hint of golden. You can use the previous 425F temperature.

 

HOW TO COOK THE PORK BELLY

salt_bao          sear_bao           deglaze_bao

Long Way

1. Season a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides of the belly –not too much. Wrap the Pork Belly in two layers of tin-foil and roast it slow for 275 F. Leave the wrapped-up Pork Belly in tin foil to rest until it reaches room temperature and it’s ready to be refrigerated.

2. Refrigerate overnight in its juices (in the tin foil).

3. Slice the cooled Pork Belly into 1/2 inch pieces.

4. In a bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce and the minced ginger, garlic and optional Serrano.

5. Heat up a saute pan, cast iron or wok with a little bit of high temperature oil (like peanut or Canola) on high heat and sear your sliced Pork Belly. Allow each side of the Pork Belly to brown and swirl in some oil as you’re adding more slices (don’t overlap slices).

6. Lower to medium-low heat and add the ginger, soy sauce & rice vinegar. Allow each slice to simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes.

**Quick way

(pre-heat oven to 425F)

1. Season a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides of the belly –not too much.

2. Brown your belly. Heat up your cast iron or oven safe saute pan to high temperature. Use high temperature oil (like peanut or canola) and wait until your pan begins to smoke to before you place the belly. Sear each side (edges, too) of the belly leaving each area beautifully brown.

3. Foil the top of your cast iron & bake the pork for 20 minutes on each side until it reaches temperature (150F). Let it rest for 10 mins and slice in ½ inch slices.

4. With your pan at medium heat,  add the soy sauce to coat the bottom of the pan & mix in the minced garlic and serrano pepper. Place the sliced pork belly in the pan without them overlapping. Add the rice wine vinegar to deglaze and caramelize the bellies. Make sure to equally flip these over.


PREPARING THE MAYO
Mix the minced Serrano with the mayo and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the Baos.

QUICK PICKLE THE VEGGIES

1. Combine all of your prepared veggies in a stainless steel bowl (it’ll help them cool faster).

2. Bring your Vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a rapid boil. Boil for 2 mins.

3. Pour the boiling vinegar mix into the veggies and refrigerate overnight.
**For faster cooling veggies place the veggies in a larger bowl with water and place it in the freezer for a couple hours (don’t let them freeze).

 

Assembling the HausBao

IMG_8542

1. Smear mayo on the bun.
2. Place your Pork Belly.
3. Add your pickled veggies (enough to fill the rest of the bun).
4. Sprinkle the minced accoutrements on your Bao.
5. Add Sriracha for spice and flavor.

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A day in the life of a Deli extraordinaire

Meet our outdoor enthusiast, effortlessly stylistic skater & photographer, Lloyd Fischer. Lloyd is a sandwich slayer and customer service sweetheart.
Greeting tourists, locals, and customers with a smile and attentiveness, he’s been kind enough to share his skills with us at Northern Waters Smokehaus.

As a summer and outdoor lover, Lloyd takes multiple camping trips a season. On a recent interview with the local website Duluth Loves Local, Lloyd expressed how “exploring the geographical beauty of the Twin Ports region” inspires and happens to be a favorite activity of his.

It’s hard not to take advantage of our geographical location. Creating by the vast Lake Superior and the closeness of the north woods, camping and beach bumming seems like one of the most appropriate activities to do.

We asked Lloyd what he takes when he goes on his BWCA adventures and it turn out he packs a little bit of everything.
In order to portage and hike the beautiful scenery of the BWCA grounds, he brings thinly sliced Maple-Sage Smoked Turkey for some sandwich fixings. He also packs our dry-cured Salumi (Saucisson & Salamini) for the perfect snacks. Our dry-cured Salumi is shelf-stable and it does not need to be refrigerated which makes it the perfect camping & hiking snack.

Catch Lloyd in the shop or maybe in the streets. He’s usually out skating around the downtown area, and check out his interpretation of our smoked Atlantic salmon with dill and saucisson sec below.

Happy camping & happy summer!

a piece of smoked salmon coated in dill on an Epicurean cutting board              saucisson sec from northern waters smokehaus on an Epicurean cutting board

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Expanded Delivery & Catering Services

We at the island of food weirdos love any excuse to get together and eat good food. Creativity has its ways of blossoming relationships and inspiring co-workers to entice both themselves and customers. Late nights lead to planning other late nights. In this case, we kept it not-so-late, but we did combine a lot of our favorite things in one place.
We are excited to invite our fellow food lovers and Smokehaus friends to our “Delivery Debut & Catering Cotillion” (for the love of alliteration) at the Red Herring Lounge.
This is your opportunity (YES!) to come and sample some bites of our slow fast food. We can’t sample our whole *brand* new catering menu, but we can sample the cult-classics and party pleasers.
What can you expect?
A showcase of our talented, creative catering and delivery crew. They’re food lovers, musicians and entertainers. Our talented Seym0ur, Ned Netzel, will set the mood as you can delight yourself with small bites and participate in our raffle that includes tons of Smokehaus $wag. Our raffle has a small price ($1 per raffle tickets) and all of the funds that are raised will be donated to the Damiano Center located in Duluth.
What kind of $wag?
Anything from our classic Rick Allen Tees that are loved by Duluthians and transplants to free All Season Platters and sandwiches.

Here’s the low-down:
When? July 7th, 2016.
Where? 208 E 1st Street
Time? 7-9pm
Cost? Free. $1 Raffle tickets.

We can’t wait to share our love for food with you!

xoxo-
Team Smokehaus