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Pancetta and Egg Pizza

A near and dear Smokehaus tradition: the Pancetta and Egg Pizza

First off, the method in which you cook it is everything for this pizza, we’ll get to the recipe later… We cook this pizza at our staff parties in a wood-fired oven at our boss’ house, and if you’re not familiar with those, they reach a much hotter temp than a conventional oven. The intense heat and the fact that you’re cooking the pizza right on the ‘deck’ of the oven, which is lined with firebricks and gets really hot, is the way that we can put this pizza together from all raw ingredients and still have it cook uniformly. If you have a wood fired pizza oven, this is the optimum way.
A Weber grill with lump charcoal and a ceramic tile or firebricks is probably the second best way to achieve these results. If using that method, I would light up a chimney of lump (don’t use briquettes, they don’t get hot enough) and once they’re ready, make a rim around the perimeter of the grill with them (if you have an extra firebrick or two that will fit in the center on the bottom between the coals, that will help retain even more heat). Then place your grate as you would to grill normally and place firebricks or tile on top and in the center. Try to leave the lid on with the vents slightly open to keep the heat in and oxygen flowing until it’s time to cook. If you use a laser thermometer, you would want the cooking surface to be around 700 degrees F give or take 50 degrees.
With two of the methods I describe here you will need to build your pizza directly on a pizza peel or an inverted sheet pan. You will want there to be quite a bit of cornmeal under the dough in order to let it slide off easily onto the cooking surface, and try to build it close to the edge of the pan or peel for optimum sliding. In the wood fired oven our pizzas are cooked in less than 3 minutes, so figure a few more minutes on the weber. You could also build your pizza directly on a sheet pan and just cook it on that, but it is not optimum.
If you’re using your kitchen oven, you will want to crank it up as high as it goes and hopefully use a pizza stone or ceramic tile in it and again ease the pizza from the peel or pan onto the stone. Quick vibration while simultaneously sliding the pizza off is the best method. It’s a little tricky, but you can figure it out with a little practice. If you’re using your home oven, it definitely won’t approach 700 degrees, so the cooking time will be hard to determine. You just have to look at it and decide. I would guess at least 10-15 minutes at 500 degrees.
Also, if you’re using the oven, it probably would work better to at least par-cook the pancetta on a sheet pan before topping the pizza with it. You want it to be a little rendered but floppy enough that you can make a nice little nest for the eggs. I would not recommend par cooking the crust, because actually the egg is the last part of the pizza to cook.  Hopefully you like a runny egg (recommended by me!) because it would take a long time to cook the pizza so that the eggs are cooked through. Nothing is impossible, though!

So, here’s the basic recipe:

The dough (about one pizza, or a softball sized ball of dough) can be any you choose… They’re all pretty similar, but I would recommend using 00 flour if you can. Otherwise AP flour will work just fine. Here’s a basic recipe if you don’t have one:
—10 ounces flour (two cups)
—6 ounces water (if it’s warm the yeast will work faster, if it’s really really hot you can kill the yeast)
—Big pinch of yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
—2 big pinches salt (1 teaspoon )

 Well before you want your pizza (at least two hours and up to a week), combine the flour, water, yeast, salt.  Mix and kneed the dough till it’s smooth and elastic, about ten mintues (this is easiest to do by hand because there’s so little of it). A standing mixer works, too.

 

Put it in a bowl, cover it and leave it alone for at least 2 or 3 hours or up to a week (a finger indentation should not bounce back but nor should the dough be slack with air, but for pizza this isn’t really critical).

 

Once you have your dough ready, I recommend hand stretching it rather than rolling it out (but either way works). Hand stretching preserves the gasses in the dough better, I think, so you get big chewy air bubbles. To hand stretch, just basically take the dough, flatten it a little and then grab it by an edge and let gravity stretch it while you turn it.

 

Once your dough is stretched thin enough, place it on the corn meal coated peel or pan.

 

We use a mixture of minced garlic and olive oil on the crust. Not too much, just a couple of spoonfuls drizzled on it. Then top with mozzarella or provolone SPARINGLY (as with all pizzas, you can’t put large amounts of toppings on it or it makes it soggy). Finally, curve your pancetta into four little nests atop the pizza, then carefully crack an egg into each of the nests. This should contain them pretty well, but some may spill out and that’s ok.

 

Another party favorite of ours is a pizza topped with the olive oil mixture, some thin slices of our smoked pork loin, and pepperoncini. Our dry cured salamis are also killer on any pizza, if you haven’t tried them. Our staff pizza parties are pretty epic with just the range of potential toppings that we produce here.

 

Also, when I’m doing this, I always make extra pizzas (not the one with the egg, I don’t think it would work too well) and wrap them up and freeze them. They are the best frozen pizzas you will ever have, especially when kissed with fire!

Written by Greg Conley. 

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From TK’s Desk: Rush Creek Reserve

When we get new, exciting cheeses in the shop, TK writes us a memo detailing how to describe it to customers. These write-ups have frequently inspired me to serve and experiment with these cheeses. Here are his notes:

Uplands Cheese Company’s Rush Creek Reserve, is a washed-rind, raw, cow’s milk cheese that is an Autumn exclusive.

As the cows begin to change their diet from the fresh pastures of Summer to the Fall and Winter hay, their milk becomes rich and silky.

Rush Creek Reserve is made to show off the rich, unctuous texture of his hay-fed milk. This delicate, soft and seductive cheese is beautifully hand-wrapped with spruce bark, then aged 60 days.

Rush Creek Reserve is made in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
Each wheel is 12oz and is retailed for $35/wheel. They will not be cut into smaller portions.

We are fortunate to bring in this extremely seasonal and small batch cheese.. We will be getting only 16 of these wheels in from now until December.
A few words from its maker, Andy Hatch, “…savory custard, as it exudes a very soft, delicate texture with a savory, rich finish likened to cured meat…”

Since the cheese is produced in the fall and only available in November and December, it is typically served during one sitting and not stored for any extended period of time. If you do not finish the cheese in one serving, shame on you. Just kidding… Simply wrap it up in its breathable wrap and store in the coolest part of the fridge.

To properly eat this cheese, let it settle to room temperature (approximately 30 minutes of sitting out), then slice off the top rind, exposing the custard-like, soft center that has a paste-like consistency. This can be scooped out with a spoon and applied in healthy-sized portions onto a cracker, slice of bread, or any other face-stuffing vehicle.

Pair with sparkling or dry white wine (think Sauvignon Blanc, chardonnay, or a flowery riesling (German rieslings are a perfect seasonal fit). Rush Creek’s flavor also complements stone fruits, braised red meats, pates, and Smokehaus salumi (saucisson is my favorite with this, but pepperoni is also amazing).

Thanks, TK. Rush Creek Reserve is available in the deli now until it’s gone.

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A 2018 Gift Guide

 

 

All Season Fillet- 

This one is a no-brainer for me. This elegant fillet of smoked salmon showcases our Traditional flavor, Pepper and Coriander, Cajun, and Dill. It makes a stunning gift or an eye-catching party platter. To make it easier to serve your guests, score the fish diagonally.

 

Smoked Salmon Dream Box

This gift box is the perfect way to sample all our flavors of Smoked Atlantic Salmon at your next get together, or to wish someone well on their happy occasion. It’s also fun to split them up as little hostess gifts.

Salami Gift Box

Maybe it sounds strange, but salami is my comfort food. I grew up taking salami sandwiches with me to school, sneaking into the refrigerator late at night to steal a few pieces of rolled up salami, and watching my dad trouble deli workers for perfectly cut salami – “paper thin! I want to be able to see through it!”. Our dry-cured salumi is the elevated version of what I remember as a kid. I simply can’t show up to a family gathering without salumi – it’s the blessing and curse of being a Northern Waters employee. This gift box includes 3.5 lbs of dry-cured salumi from our shop – a feast fit for even the most sophisticated snacker. 

 

An Extra Hygge Box 

This curated box is filled with the best of the historic Dewitt Seitz Marketplace. You’ll find some of our most popular products like salumi, traditional salmon, and Castel Vetrano olives – in addition to products from Amazing Grace Cafe, Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe, and the Blue Heron Kitchen Co. It’s the perfect spread for your next gathering or the homesick Duluthian. 

 

 

 

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Smokehaus Guide to Thanksgiving

Maybe you’re the person who effortlessly hosts dozens of guests without a shred of anxiety. If you are this unicorn, this isn’t for you. Also, I resent  you a little. This is for the folks simultaneously creating Pinterest boards, flipping through Bon Appétit, and watching the Food Network.

Now, I am that person psychotically researching to prep for turkey day – but let me explain why. My home is 600 square feet (my husband and I used to live in an actual tiny house, so we call this our “big” house), my oven is tiny, my refrigerator is tiny, my dog will be distracting me the entire time I’m cooking and he is NOT tiny, and for the first time in my life … I’m hosting Thanksgiving for my family. EEK.

But! There is hope. I don’t actually know if you can win Thanksgiving, but dammit I’m going to win.  Follow my tips below to avoid the meltdown on game day (I’m talking about cooking … not #sports).

The Turkey:

My teeny tiny oven can’t handle the full bird (and to be honest the thought of attempting to perfectly cook a 10 lb turkey terrifies me). I ain’t taking any chances so I got myself a couple turkey breasts from my favorite Smokehaus (ours – duh).  Here’s a link so you can get your very own beautiful bird.

Smoked Turkey Breast

Bonus! We will be offering a FREE 8oz Crayo for those purchasing their Mail Order turkey breast November 1-19th. Stay tuned! “What is Crayo?” you ask? A beautiful marriage of mayo, dried cranberries, walnuts, and garlic, blended to creamy perfection. It’s what you need for the day after Thanksgiving for leftover turkey sandwiches.

Crayo

Dessert:
I don’t (can’t) bake. I love intuitively cooking and measuring ain’t really my thing. Aka … if you’ve ever eaten anything I’ve baked – I’m sorry. You were kind to lie to me and tell me that it was good but I know the truth. Some of you will also lie to me after you read this and personally tell me that I’m a capable baker. And you’re still a liar.

I plan on purchasing (or maybe even begging  a guest to do it) store bought pies. And I don’t even feel bad about it, and neither should you if baking isn’t your jam.  BUT! I know the perfect way to add a homemade touch – whipped cream! It’s a crowd pleaser and dead simple to make with your stand mixer. Here’s what you’ll need :

-1 cup heavy whipping cream (this is NOT the time for low fat health nut junk, trust me)
-1 cup confectioners sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pro tip, make your own! Vodka + vanilla beans + time = vanilla extract doesn’t cost 7 million dollars an ounce)

If you can, stick the mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer for a bit to cool them down. Just beat the cream until stiff peaks are about to form. Beat in the vanilla and sugar until peaks actually form. Try not to over-beat, as the cream will get butter-like and lumpy. Make the whipped cream a day or two before and store in the refrigerator. And … make more than you think since you have no self control and will eat half of it right out of the bowl. Or maybe you’re better than me. Stop bragging.

Entertaining the guests while you finish cooking:
Here’s the dilemma – you’re trying to finish up the last bits of cooking and your guests arrive. You’re torn between saying hi/chatting with your loved ones and finishing your masterpiece in the kitchen. Your guests sense this … and these beautiful morons whom you love (who have NO boundaries or sense of personal space) come into the kitchen, stand in your way, and small talk you to the point of insanity. Mother, I love you.

I’ve devised a genius plan that is kind to your guests and keeps their smiling selves out of your freaking way  Each year I decorate my home with garlands of cranberries around the Holidays. It’s a fun, eco friendly way to add some jazz to your house for the holidays. All you’ll need is a few pounds of cranberries (check your local health food store to see if you can buy them in bulk), thread, and sewing needles.

Set the table with the ingredients each guest will need to make the garlands in a cute lil paper bag (plastic is for tossers) and set them to work. When dinner is ready, recruit the most eager helper (hi mom!) to gather the garlands and set them aside. Then you roll up to the table with all the peacefully executed food and your peeps are already sitting down  (yay for not having to wrangle them). They all say “WOW!” “We were so busy loving our activity that we forgot you were even cooking!” “This is great all over again!” “You’re the best!” Maybe that doesn’t happen, but maybe it does. Either way, you’ve made tasty food and kept your guests happy.

They feel like they’re helping (and they are helping), they’re making decorations for you, they’re out of the way, and everyone is happy. They can even make their own to take home!

Bonus: this encourages community while giving those who are a little more shy something to do with their hands to take the social pressure off.

World peace, one cranberry garland at a time.

^^Actual cranberry garland in my actual house because I am an actual human who is telling you the actual truth. 🙂

And my final tip: say yes to whoever offers to do the dishes. Sit back, sip a glass of wine, gaze lovingly at your fabulous guests, and smile knowing that you are the greatest f****ing host that ever existed. 🙂

 

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In Remembrance of 5 Things Past; or, Searching for Lost Things

Happy Friday, everyone (and Happy Birthday, Eric Goerdt!), though I’m writing this on a Wednesday, since tomorrow/yesterday is/was my birthday, and I’m really trying to take some time for myself, for once.

Mother Superior is angry.

I’m here, in the past of your current present, at Amazing Grace Bakery and Café, at 7am, sipping on dark roasted coffee, slowly picking apart a chocolate espresso muffin which we’ll call my birthday cake (I don’t particularly enjoy cake–hold your pitchforks, please! Preferences are allowed), watching a red-tailed black shark bully or maybe just play tag with the rest of the aquarium; and you’re existing sometime in my new future, reading this blog post, thinking where is Ned going with this, is this setting of the scene really necessary for a blog post about five things that happened this week at Northern Waters Smokehaus; though you might have had a realization like I have, on occasion, that often some of these five things of which I write happened on another week, or are happening over a span of time that includes previous weeks, this selfsame moment, and will continue on into the future weeks, and furthermore that reading a piece of written language often involves a detachment of oneself from the standard temporal flow in which we have entrenched ourselves; and that, in reality, every week we have found ourselves in this wibbly-wobbly, time-wimey ebb-and-flow of thoughts expressed and received.

(I realize in this moment, after having written that sentence, that I must go back and change a number of those commas to semicolons.)

Folks, it’s my birthday week, so I’m not holding back. You’re going to get the trains of thought that I normally reserve for the quiet aloneness of floating downward from the waking world into the valley of dreams—yes, for me, it’s a valley; and last night there was a robin hatchling for whom I tried and failed to find some seed, dice that I mistook for my own that belonged to my very disappointed therapist, and thousands of resplendently beautiful and terrifying spiders in that valley—and in some ways, you already have.

What was I going on about? Oh, yes—
Here are the five things we came up with to share with you. Hopefully nothing too noteworthy or exciting has happened, because it is out of my hands.

  1. Birthdays! October is a birthday-heavy month for us. I’m sure to miss one, in addition to me and Eric, we also have Nic, Jeremy, and Jacob finishing their lap around the Sun this month. What else is there to say? A birthday is really just like any other day, except certain people might treat you a little differently if you’re friends on electronic social media and they happen to notice your name next to a birthday cake icon. For a fun time, try wishing everyone you encounter at the Smokehaus this month a happy belated birthday. You can wish someone a belated happy birthday all but one day of the year and be right on the money. Them’s good odds.
  2. We’re going to The Wedding Fair! This year, we have refocused no insignificant sum of our energy into the catering side of our business. From weddings upon weddings, to the Glensheen gala, to Best of the Wurst, and so many pop-ups—not to mention (but hey, here I am mentioning it) our 20th Anniversary Party—we have had a heck of a year outside the charming confines of our deli storefront. The Wedding Fair, this Sunday (October 14th) at the Minneapolis Convention Center, is an exciting opportunity for us, since it will put us face-to-face with a large audience that potentially isn’t already following our business, and perhaps has never heard of us. We’re bringing a modest sampling of what we can offer—ham and pimiento bites, salmon and scallion cream cheese bites, a sweet brochure whipped up by our design team—and preparing ourselves to discuss virtually anything anybody wants to talk about (related to our food and catering services). Those who have experienced events we’ve catered know that our culinary skills extend far beyond what we offer in the deli.
  3. We got a new power outlet! Another installment in the Series of Capital Improvements. We needed more power, and we got it. Bonus Thing™: We’ve cleared out the design/mail order office in preparation for what I believe is our final reflooring of the capital improvements season. Perhaps whomever I can convince to edit this post post-reflooring will supply a photo of the new floor, and if they don’t, this is a fun and awkward sentence for you to have read.

    Check out that new outlet on the left!
  4. We smoked chickens! This past weekend, we catered Hoops Brewing’s Okoberfest celebration, and as Eric just informed me is traditional for Oktoberfest, we served smoked chicken alongside our brats and sauerkraut. If you’re bummed that you missed out on this opportunity, don’t worry: The chicken was evidently so good that we’re working to bring it onto our menu in the near future, as a half-chicken basket special for two.
  5. Hummus! Our prep team made eight quarts of smoked poblano and ancho hummus, just to see how it would turn out. We had an extensive tasting session at our weekly Dungeons & Dragons gathering, and I can say that the hummus turned out quite well. It has a very gentle bite and rich, smoky undertones, and pairs extremely well with fragments of hot naan, and a cold pilsner lager. There is still some room for perfecting the recipe, but soon enough it will be available from our grab-and-go case and might make its way onto our sandwich line—perhaps as a vegan substitute for the cream cheese on our Fuzzy Bunny sandwich.

That’s all for this week. This has been a wild Wednesday, which you’re reading about on Friday, with high-speed winds, a murderous Lake Superior battering the shore and flooding large segments of our basement and forcing our delivery/prep department home, and somehow still a steady stream of customers—who must love to suffer in the cold wetness of it all—gracing our shop with their presence. I’ll catch you, dear reader, next week as I pull a similar write-early-in-the-week-so-I-can-take-Friday-off stunt. Hopefully—and totally within my control—with fewer trips through my self-created wormhole, because I have re-read this piece a dozen times, and am still not sure where or when I have ended up.

#imaginecanalparkunderwater
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5 Things™ First Week of October Edition

October is here. It’s my favorite month of the year. Despite the gloomy forecasts every day so far, I’m still pleasantly surprised by the gradual slowing-down of life, the turning of the trees, and the shifting priorities around the Smokehaus. And on top of all that, our company D&D cohort is back on track to the primary campaign, and had an excitement-laden October 1st session that leveled us up. I’ll leave the details up to your imagination, but thanks to a dragonborn paladin, an Aussie-accented dwarf bard, a tabaxi arcane archer, and an efreet trapped in the physical form of an iron golem who lives to serve those who know his true name (and as such, ended up doing a lot of damage for both sides), the fire giant nation is less a king and queen, and Faerun is a little bit safer. Now, on to the five things that I came here to write—

  1. We have yet another new floor! This is becoming a bit of a theme, isn’t it. While it seems like our business has no ceilings, we have plenty of floors, and we’re trying to remove the carpet from all of them, to further increase our workable, food-safe areas. This has led to a lot of comically-placed desks, and really more heavy-lifting than any of us signed on for. All’s well that ends well, however, and the floors are turning out beautifully. Enjoy some smartphone photographs.
  2. Our party and afterparty were a blast! Truth be told, I’m a bit socially anxious, so I didn’t last long at the party, but from the moment the party officially began, there was a line wrapped around Hoops Brewing to cash in on our panoply of free food. About forty-five minutes in, Eric had to run over to the Smokehaus to re-up the All Season Fillet stock. A few unsuspecting Hoops patrons were even overheard saying, “we should really hire them to cater [our upcoming event].” Everybody won, it seems. The afterparty, which featured several Smokehaus-affiliated bands, was also a blast. Folks bought a grip of raffle tickets for Together for Youth, and good times were had by all.
  3. We attended the Minnesota Hospitality Expo! Ever seeking to be more hospitable to our awesome customers (and coworkers), we sent a battalion of desk-jockeys*, owners, and managers to the Minnesota Hospitality Expo. Ari Weinzweig, co-owner and founding partner of the legendary Zingerman’s, was the keynote speaker, and I know Eric and the others have taken a lot of inspiration from the ethos of that business. If I had been there myself, I could perhaps tell you more about their experience and lessons learned, but suffice it to say that you can expect a lot of it to be put into practice in our own business. Stop by (or continue to stop by) in the next few months to enjoy an extra-specially hospitable Northern Waters Smokehaus.
    *(See: awesome H.R. legend, Greg, and design aficionado, Flo.)
  4. Eric made prepped chorizo with Nick! For the first time in a long, undisclosed amount of time, Eric rolled up his sleeves for the task of Spanish-style Chorizo prep with smoker Nick. While photographing part of the process, I was able to glean some terse, very Eric-style lessons about our history, the tricks of the trade for cultivating various wursts and salumi, and what processes we use to give ourselves an edge over your standard mass-produced meat products. Eric is a gem and a true expert of his craft, and alongside Nick’s skilled hands, they made quick work of processing the chorizo. That reminds me: Do you know why the scarecrow became world-renowned? Because it was outstanding in its field.
  5. Our offices are forever evolving! I know, I know! I have already mentioned the floors being redone, but more importantly, I want you to know about the new jungle corner that has taken hold of our marketing and design office. These plants came from our patio, but the encroaching cold weather had made them very sad. We took them inside, and put them by a window, and now they are alive and well and doing their part to purify our air. Thanks, plants!
    Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Rihanna

Thanks for tuning in. Have a great week, or if you never return to the 5 Things™ blog, a great life.

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5 Things That Happened At NWS: First Week of Autumn Edition

This week’s edition of 5 Things™ contains fewer photos, fewer hyperlinks, fewer pop-culture references, and a higher word-count. That’s just how I’m feeling this week. Therein is the power of blogging.

  1. Imagine Canal Park comes to a close! The Option 1 temporary reconfiguration of Canal Park entered its final week and Imagine Duluth 2035 has given the public a chance to clap back. Whether you loved it, hated it, or couldn’t care less about it, there is a survey here that you should definitely take. Trust me when I say I know people love to share their opinions on things. This is a great opportunity to do that as constructively as you choose. (Breaking news: Option 1 is gone! Buchanan Street is back! My coworker informed me of this just as I was about to publish the post.)
  2. Best of the Wurst reflection! Northern Waters Smokehaus made our debut appearance at the Sociable Ciderworks “Best of the Wurst” event, and in our modus operandi, we were doing something a little bit different than everyone else. A lot of talented sausage-makers brought their A-game to the event, and we spared ourselves a lot of set-up and tear-down time by bringing a fine selection of dry-cured salumi, alongside sliced cold Polish sausage, andouille and a selection of cheeses. We took second place in a category of two, so you can just interpret that however you’d like, but you know we’re not out here for the prizes. We just love sharing our awesome food with everyone everywhere.
  3. The William A. Irvin was moved! You know the one—that big ol’ red freighter that has been moored in Canal Park longer than our business has been here. Turns out it is high-time for some infrastructural updates and cleaning of its house. The types of citizens who enjoy spending their chilly Tuesday nights wrapped in blankets, watching the slower-than-paint-drying progress of large boats being tugged away turned out in droves to watch the three-hour spectacle. The 611-foot ship, which has no propulsion mechanism of its own, currently resides at the Fraser Shipyard in Superior, WI while the renovations are underway.
  4. Duluth had its rainy season! Surely no one who has spent more than a few minutes of time in Duluth is surprised, but the weather was something else this week. During the time I have spent composing this post, I have seen sunshine, sun showers, cloudy skies, cloudy rainy skies, and now that weather phenomenon that pessimists and optimists will eternally debate calling partly-cloudy or partly-sunny. On one hand, I love the lulls our shop experiences on inclement days, and there is something very soothing about the web-like water trails cascading down our windows; on the other hand, many of my coworkers bike and walk to work, so I feel bad for them—I will certainly be keeping my distance from those early-Autumn colds they catch.
  5. Our 20th Anniversary Celebration takes place tomorrow! Regular readers of this column know I have been scraping by on rehashed stories and different angles on the same topics for a few weeks now, but for those arriving at this page for the first time, here’s the scoop. Officially, sometime in November of this year, Northern Waters Smokehaus turns 20 years old, and that is pretty cool, to say the least. Normally, this time of the year we have a big private party to celebrate ourselves by eating and drinking like royalty, but in honor of this momentous occasion, we have elected to bring it to the people. If not for you, our beloved customers, we wouldn’t be here, so we want you to share in the festivities. If you find yourself compelled to come mingle and hobnob with us and ours, we heartily encourage you to swing by Hoops Brewing from 5-8pm (all ages—free food* and beer in limited quantities), and the Rex Bar from 830-whenever it ends (free music in limitless quantities). Both events are free, open to the public, and sure to be a blast. (Note: to facilitate maximum revelry for our employees, we’ll be closing our deli down at 4pm this day).

That’s all for this week’s 5 Things™. As always, I hope you have enjoyed yourself, and leave here feeling educated and enriched. It is a joy writing for you.

*Rumor has it we’ll be serving the infamous Northern Waters Restaurant Lake Trout Chowder. Back by popular demand.

 

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5 Things That Happened This Week At NWS

Perhaps you’re a regular reader of this blog, or perhaps this is your first time. Either way, I’ll begin by saying that, by and large, most weeks at NWS end up being very similar—we work the grind. Exciting stuff happens around here so often that the extraordinary ends up feeling pretty ordinary. As such, I usually default to some sort of cheekiness in my introductions to this blog. It livens up the writing process for me. However, I’ve had a realization that some of these seemingly mundane happenings in my workplace might actually be more interesting than I had previously realized, and that maybe I take for granted working one of the coolest jobs I have had/one of the coolest jobs to be had. So, with that, here’s five things that are either pretty rad, or that I’m going to spin into radness, that happened on or around this week.

  1. We got a new POS! For the uninitiated, that’s point-of-sale, not piece of [excrement], though sometimes technology feels like that, doesn’t it? Xevious Stevenson, our awesome Client Success Manager (nabbed that title from his business card, since it seems very fitting, considering the work he put in on our transition day) spent a very full workday installing the system, fielding our plentiful (excessive?) questions, reprogramming the system to our specifications, and cracking jokes alongside us as if he had been a part of our team for years. Transitioning to the new system happened on a very busy Thursday, so we’re grateful to our customers for bearing with us. Our hope is this new system allows us to fully integrate all of our departments seamlessly, to limit the confusion between our several distinct departments we have recently come to know. As a nearly five-year employee, I have been amazed every year by our continuous growth and success. Hard work and commitment to quality appears to pay off, friends.
  2. We have new employees! I’m not sure how shy they are yet, so I’m not going to start dropping names to the masses, but it seems like we’re hiring the cream of the crop. New coworkers are great, because they tend to have very positive outlooks on what a jaded, bitter old soul like me considers tedious work. All jokes asidecough*where’s the joke?*cough—it’s great to have more hands on deck, because the workload has not slowed down for us here at Northern Waters. It’s also always exciting to add to the wall of heights.
  3. We have a tomato surplus! Inventory/ordering/production is a challenging speculative enterprise. Sometimes you’re slotted in a tight barrel of tomato-heavy salads, sauces, and sandwiches, and the next week you realize the weekend crew was totally skunked, and now there’s twelve full racks of tomatoes and nowhere to put half of them. Yes, I just googled surfing slang, and no, there will be no glossary at the back of the book. Anyway, I was very amused by my coworkers’ reactions when the order came in on Monday, doubling our tomato supply. Today, the prep department has been hard at work on a 160-sandwich pickup order, so hopefully that puts a dent in the inventory. And if it doesn’t, I’m crossing my fingers for the return of Meatball Mondays at NWS. Relevant to the topic, here’s a favorite song of mine. The only thing that’s wrong with it is its <2 minute duration.
  4. Olivia sliced a ton of bacon and was pretty excited about it! To be honest, there’s a few people I’ve met in my life who probably dream about slicing and handling this much bacon, so her excitement doesn’t surprise me. This is part of the Sisyphean preparation for the infamous Mail-Order Season, which never really ends, but has vague terminal points in the middle of November and the beginning of January. Back to the bacon—she even provided me with a photograph. Enjoy.
  5. We are on the cusp of two awesome weekends! As I have previously mentioned, this weekend we are heading down to Best of the Wurst, hosted by Sociable Ciderworks. That in itself is pretty cool, but I have no doubts the following weekend is going to top it. On September 29th, at Hoops Brewing and then at Rex Bar, we are throwing a big ol’ public hootenanny to celebrate twenty years of smoking something (mostly fish and meats). There will be free food (provided by us), free beer (provided by us in conjunction  with Hoops), and free music (provided by bands featuring members of our team—curated by myself, Greg the H.R. wizard, and dynamic design duo Jacob and Zac). We’ll be closing the shop’s doors at 4pm, so that all of our employees can party down with you. I didn’t know Eric when he began this business, but just a few moments of interacting him will give you an insight into how proud he is of this little deli.

So, there you have it. Count ‘em up, because you just got six things (and some slick anecdotes) for the price of five. That’s what they call extra value. See you at next week’s five things blog, unless my in-progress exposé on bison pastrami, or the first installation upcoming Practical Guide to Northern Waters Smokehaus series hits the web first, or if you come in and talk to me while I’m working in the deli. Anything is possible if you follow your dreams.

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We’re Celebrating 20 Years and We’re Throwing A Party

20 YEARS OF SMOKING SOMETHING
FREE FOOD & MUSIC
Saturday, Sep. 29th, 5pm-12am
One Night, Two Parties!
5pm-8pm
Free Food!
With a Hausmade playlist by Smokehaus DJs.
Enter a raffle to win Smokehaus gift cards & march!
(All proceeds go to Together for Youth)
9pm-12am
Free music!
Featuring many Smokehaus artists:
LEIF HINKEL
BRIAN RING
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Turkey and Fennel Recipe

Ingredients:

1 whole Smoked Turkey Breast
2 Bulbs Fennel
1 Yellow Onion
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1.5 Cups Dry White Wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)

Method:

  • Preheat Oven at 325 degrees.
  • If there is skin on the turkey, peel it off. You can shred and fry this in oil and sprinkle on a salador discard – up to you.
  • Dice veggies and sauté with oil in a large coated (or not coated) cast iron Dutch oven until
    fragrant and translucent. Add Turkey Breast and wine, cover, and put in the oven for 60
    minutes.
  • Check the turkey at this point – it should have an internal temperature of at least 140 and should
    be tender to the touch. If so, uncover and roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Remove turkey to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes and then carve or chunk and place
    back in the Dutch oven to soak up residual sauce and veggie flavors. Serve with fresh buttered
    pasta, crispy potatoes, or on crusty bread with fresh butter and/or provolone.