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5 Things

Today I feel as though a veil has been lifted from my eyes. As I wandered the three levels of NWS HQ, observing and probing my co-workers with questions about the tasks at their hands, I realized that the small company I began working for nearly five years ago, and the small spaces I have haunted for the same amount of time are expansive and dynamic and chaotic enough that they can still surprise me. Today, I’d like to talk about my impressions and interactions while floating about pestering my co-workers, then hit you with some good ol’ advertisement. Let’s go floor by floor:

  1. 3rd floor: I entered the office and immediately saw two new faces hard at work. I haven’t even caught their names yet, they were so embroiled in their work, digging out items from the deep freeze, vacuum-sealing chunks of salmon, and taping shut fully packed boxes. The mail order department processed 87 orders this week alone, and they are still just at the foot of the mountain that is our holiday mail order season.
    Frozen bison buddies destined for insulated boxes

    The surroundings toe the line of order and chaos. Zip-tied bundles of flattened boxes are piled high in canted and zigzagging stacks top a labyrinthine arrangement of shelves. The wall of product label sticker spools is functional, if disorganized.

    This week, twenty pallets of recycled denim box-liners were delivered to DeWitt-Seitz and our off-site storage area. 4ish- by 3ish- by 6ish-foot boxes of them are stacked in the office, and various corners of the floor. We have even requisitioned a room down a winding path of hallways that I had not travelled before I began researching this week’s blog to stack our boxes and liners, which is filled to the ceiling/skylight.

    This is not my first Winter here. I know what to expect. It still struggle to imagine the extent of the activity that will occur in this small office suite over the next month-point-five.

  2. 1st floor: Upon entering the deli, I was asked to join a mini-band. Unsure exactly what that entailed, I withheld my decision and awaited their explanation. A mini-band, it turns out, is a band of individuals of any size which specializes in small instruments: mandolin, “tiny drums,” jaw harp, ukulele, kazoo etc. I was recruited as the hypothetical toy piano specialist. We probably would have had a song written within minutes had a line of customers not appeared. The future of the band is unclear, but it feels good to be exposed to these sorts of ideas on a regular basis.
  3. Loading dock: Pine bough is easily one of the best scents in the entirety of olfactory stimulus, and this week is the transition time into Winter decorations at DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, so walking through the loading dock behind our shop (a roughly one-hundred times a day occurrence) has gone from mundane task to repeated entanglement with the Sublime. Right outside of our backdoor there is a stack of wreaths. I hope they hold off on hanging those wreaths a few days longer at least, because I don’t want to be the weird guy sniffing them once they have been hung.
  4. Basement: When I made it down to the basement, the production team was setting up to handle a massive volume of cabbage. In less than two hours, they told me, they’d have begun the pickling of 150 lbs of sauerkraut. Three of them divided up into one cleaner and two cutters.
    Cutters cut, cleaners clean.

    In my assumed mode of fascination, I asked, “what do cutters do?”
    “They cut,” was the curt response. “Would you like to know what the cleaners do,” they followed up.
    I bit.
    “They cut too.”

    After a good laugh at my foolishness, I learned that before the cabbage is cut, salted and left to pickle, the heads are thoroughly cleaned so that there are no contaminants in the mix or on the cutting boards. Sauerkraut pickles for a month before it hits our shelves and sandwich line. Our kimchi ferments for a week before we package it.

    Also in the basement, I found the mop closet still under construction, and snapped a photo.

    There are many lessons to be learned in the smokehouse proper, as the folks working down there have countless hours of hands-on experience creating the amazing food we sell.

    I also found a few purple tomatoes among the heirlooms. Purple is my favorite color, so this pleased me.

  5. Good ol’ advertisin’: There is a new mail order porketta option available this season. Previously, our porketta was available online in whole 4 lbs increments. Now it is available in 3 and 4 lbs increments. This is great for those who are shopping with a budget, or simply don’t have quite as many mouths to feed. Our porketta has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and has been featured on many of my daily sandwich creations lately. It is simple to work with but highly versatile, made with the highest quality berkshire pork, seasoned to perfection and slow-roasted in the smoker.For a very limited time, we have smoked ciscos in stock. If you’ve been craving them, stop in this weekend, because they go fast.

    One final note before you go: Monday, November 19th is the last day of our mail-order turkey special. Any purchase of a whole turkey breast made by Monday will come with a free 8oz tub of crayo.

Catch you next week, Thingerinos.

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A Practical Guide to Northern Waters Smokehaus: Samples, Part 1

I have been mulling over the concept of a “Practical Guide to the Smokehaus” for a few months now. The task is daunting. It requires a vastness and depth of focus that could end up too vague or underdeveloped, and a precision of information that could lead us to conclusions that are not necessarily earned—a bunch of disconnected data gathered from anecdotes and opinions, leaving everyone wondering “why should I care about this?” As the weaver of this web, I find the task of creating a concise and comprehensive guide to your Northern Waters Smokehaus experience beyond my present resources and abilities. So, a thought occurred to me: I could save myself a great deal of concern over quality of output, I could generate a steady stream of content in digestible morsels, I could use this marketing-based writing as a means to connect with my co-workers and fellow human-beings; I could make it a weekly column, and I could get real answers to a variety of frequently asked questions from my esteemed colleagues. What follows is my first attempt:

“What goes well with this?” “Could you make a sample platter with the best stuff?” “What should I get?”

These are but a few of the daunting questions my co-workers and I engage with every day in the deli. I usually default to asking customers what they tend to like, then customizing my recommendations based on their response and my knowledge of our products. This doesn’t always work out. I am human and sometimes my preferences don’t line up with the customer’s. Sometimes the customer just wants someone else to do the thinking for them (which is very valid, and to which I often relate). And sometimes it is best just to judge by taste.

Today’s topic: The ideal sample-platter. (Note: complex sample platters at Northern Waters Smokehaus will still be made primarily at our employees’ discretion, but you are always welcome to sample individual finished products.)

“What would be on your ideal sample platter?” This is the question I asked my co-workers. Given the time and resources to prepare an inspiring combination of flavors or a greatest hits-style spread to share with our customers, what end result would we see, by each deli employee.

Leif “Pork loin Squealy Dan samples. No, wait. That sounds like a lot of work. I don’t want everyone to come in expecting me to have those prepared,” At this time, I assured him that this is just a thought-experiment, and that he wouldn’t be required to make these, though we discuss whether to make them as sandwiches that are then slivered into samples, individually assembled/toasted open-face sandwich bites, or topped saltine crackers. We also discuss deep-fried saltine crackers—unrelated. “Oh, and I changed my mind: They’d be porketta Squealy Dans.”

Michael — Michael had just finished telling me about why salmon tails are his favorite product we carry, when I sprung this second question on him: “Tails, pancetta, a mix of the salumi, and a Jerry bread [Jerry bakes several of our breads in-haus],” Which kind of Jerry bread? “Definitely the rye.”

Hyland — “Saucisson sec with slices of pear or apple or cucumber. And a really nutty Brie.” Cele: You’re a really nutty brie. “Your mom’s a really nutty Brie,” Cele: No she’s not. She’s a really nutty T—. “I’d also put out castel vetrano olives.”

Cele — “Olivada, chèvre, pork loin, salamini, cajun salmon and black pepper salmon,” Any crackers? “Yea. Ritz. Because we’re fancy.”

Lucy — “Probably ham, pepperoni, saucisson, traditional [salmon] and bread.” Lucy grew up around Northern Waters Smokehaus food, and offered that the glue of this hypothetical sample platter is nostalgia for her childhood. She didn’t say that exactly. I am just trying to paraphrase her poetically.

Jacob — As I described my task, a light brightened behind Jacob’s eyes: “I already know what I’d make. ‘Lutheran Sushi’ — Is that offensive?” For those who don’t already know, Lutheran Sushi is a term which I am not going to research the origin of at this moment, but which I have come to understand as sliced meat, spackled with a binding condiment and wrapped around a pickle spear. When pressed on his preferred variety, he replied, “Pork loin, for sure. With mayo.”

Sam — “Hedonist bites. Saltine crackers spread with a bite of country pâté, a dab of mayo and mustard, a slice of onion, and a cornichon pickle slice. They’re great for tipping people who are on the fence about country pâté or the hedonist.”

In the spirit of not making my co-workers bear the entire burden of producing content, I’ll give my take on the week’s subject at the end:

Ned — “I sure hope we continue carrying our Sogn Tomme cheese,” This is my inner-monologue. “I had no idea what it was before we started selling it,” It’s a fatty, crumbly sheep’s milk cheese. “But I sure enjoyed the time I served it with smoked Alaskan King Salmon and blueberries, drizzled in honey, atop Carr’s water crackers.” This inner monologue is extrapolated from my frenzied mental short-hand.

From here on out, y’all can expect these practical guides on a variety of subjects, returning to some topics (like this) to eventually document all of my co-workers’ suggestions, and musing on new ideas as they occur. Hopefully, you’ll receive sagely advice from myself and my co-workers to guide you through your NWS experience, inspire you to try something new, or enhance your old favorites.

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A Smokehaus Beginner’s 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 free-range Minnesota Turkey Breast

“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. 🙂

Written by Olivia Mesedahl

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One ham meatball, many options

 

Baby, do I love ham! But let’s say that you cooked a ham for a special occasion and had A LOT of it left over.  Ham is great (pro tip: it also freezes really well), but if your ham leftover contingency arsenal consists solely of ham sandwiches… you’re going to become incredibly tired of ham sandwiches. One delicious option that it seems hardly anyone knows about for ham is making it into a meatball! You can use basically any old meatball recipe that you like and just substitute ham for part or all of the ground meat. The sauce recipes are also just guidelines, so add or subtract things as your taste dictates. What follows here is a basic ham meatball recipe that can be served in any style that you deem solid. I’ve given you the recipes for a Swedish gravy or a sweet n sour sauce , but I am positive that these meatballs would also land favorably in a soup, skewered up with peppers on the grill, in a stir fry or as a topping on a pizza. As with any meatball, I recommend making a whole bunch of them at once if you have the ingredients and freezing the excess balls raw, which will make for quick and easy meals in the future.

 

For the meatballs:

½ lb ground beef (or any ground meat)
½ lb Northern Waters Smokehaus Berkshire ham,  ground up in a food processor or meat grinder
1 large egg
1 slice of white bread, crust removed
¼ C milk
½ cup onion, minced
4 T olive oil or any neutral oil ( I recommend using 4 T butter for the Swedish version)

Place the milk and the slice of bread in a small saucepan. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer until it is absorbed by the slice of bread (a couple of minutes). Using a fork, shred up the bread and milk, then place it in a mixing bowl. Add the onion and the egg to the bread, mixing it into a loose paste. Add the ground meat and ground ham last, mixing it by hand until just combined (try to gently incorporate all ingredients until they are just holding together enough to form your meatballs). The meatballs can be as large or as small as you would like. Once the meatballs are formed, bring a large skillet to medium heat with the oil or butter in it, and brown your meatballs on all sides. At this point, you can continue cooking them until they are cooked through, or finish them in whatever sauce you are serving them in.  Either way, once the meatballs are ready to come out of the pan, drain them first on a paper towel, paper bag, or on a rack. Do not completely clean out your pan- you may need it to make your sauce in! Makes 4-6 main course servings.



For sweet and sour sauce:
1 ½ C water
¼ C distilled white vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
3 T cornstarch (you can substitute all purpose flour)
3 T soy sauce
(Optional) diced pineapple, peppers

Scallions to garnish

Whisk the water, vinegar, ketchup, cornstarch, soy sauce and optional vegetables together and add to a large sauce pan (you can do this in the same pan you cooked your meatballs in but be sure to drain off any excess oil). Bring the sauce to a simmer for 3 minutes or so. Add meatballs to the sauce and simmer until cooked through.
Serve as a stand-alone appetizer, over rice, or lo mein noodles. Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.

For Swedish gravy:
4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ t nutmeg
½ t garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

chopped parsley to garnish (optional)

In the pan you cooked your meatballs in, add 4 T of butter and bring to a medium heat until foamy. Try to use the butter heating time to scrape the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spatula or fork. Slowly incorporate flour, whisking until it turns a light brown color. Slowly whisk in broth and heavy cream. Whisk in Worchestershire, Dijon mustard, nutmeg and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add your meatballs and heat until cooked through. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles and garnish with chopped parsley.

 

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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 salad or 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.

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Top 5 Ways to Devour Ham

smoked ham steak

If you’re like me, you could eat ham pretty much any time and any old way. I’m not even picky about the quality – when I was a vegetarian, I still ate the really cheap ham because I figured it was mostly just ham-flavored water product (just one of my many vegetarian loopholes). I’ve had a taste of most of the world’s best hams – from Iberco to Benton to Parma – though I’d love to sample the Chinese varieties and have yet to try true Austrian Speck.

I also enjoy preparing ham at home (though less is usually more) – it is a resilient and helpful culinary substance that translates across cultures, mealtimes, textural impulses, and flavor profiles – and I almost always have it on hand. Here’s a few ideas and a recipe or two to kickstart your ham frenzy.

1. Burnt Ham Ends: Take a small ham (a partial picnic ham works great for this) and cut it up into uneven chunks. Toss the chunks in a mixture of molasses, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for up to 2 hours. The chunks will become blackened on the outside and stay moist and hammy on the inside. Eat with large portions of cheesy potatoes (a Minnesota staple involving frozen hashbrowns and cheese aplenty).

2. Ham Shred: Like the above, this one involves annihilation. Braise the ham for 4 hours at 300 degrees, covered, with the liquid of your choice (ham or pork stock is nice and subtle). Take the lid off and using two forks shred the meat (it should be extremely yielding at this point). The shreddy meat should soak up all the residual fat and liquid. Tong up mountains of ham shred onto the platform of your choice: hamburger buns with mustard and Swiss; bowls of rice and furikake, tortillas with pineapple salsa; or large portions of cheesy potatoes are all suitable candidates.

3. Ham-n-RamenKeep it simple with your favorite instant variety or make your own, but garnish with perfect strips of thick-cut ham rectangles that have been marinated for an hour or so in miso paste and soy sauce and then seared until dark and irresistible. Bonus points for garnishing with a coddled egg or a dollop of cheesy potatoes. You’ve never had a cheese element in your Ramen? Neither have I. I bet it’s good.

4.  Double-Smoked Ham: This is a scam that I see sometimes – a business will advertise their ham or bacon as “double-smoked,” but it’s really just pre-cooked stuff a company will purchase and then run it through their own smoker to claim it as their’s. All the hard work of curing, resting, and cooking has already been accomplished, but the company gets to slap a sticker on it and profit off some unnamed smokehouse’s work. And they charge you more for this ruse. Might I suggest you DYI this scheme and double smoke your own damn ham? Simply fire up your charcoal grill (preferably with hardwood, but you can use hardwood charcoal  if you prefer), plop the ham on the grate, cover, and let her rip. Greg Conley, the Grill Zsar of Superior Street, has a more technical set of instructions:

For charcoal grill:  Use lump charcoal, charcoal briquets, or ideally, a combination of the two. You don’t need to use a lot of fuel, as you don’t want it to get particularly hot. Once the coals are ready to go, dump or shove them all to one side. Remember, you can always add more fuel as needed. The idea is that you go at a pretty low temperature (200-250 degrees Farenheit is ideal) for as long as possible without drying out the ham. A cast iron pan of water can be added to the grill next to the coals, which will help regulate the temperature and also keep humidity on the meat. Once you have your coals situated, wrap the bottom of the ham with foil and place it on the opposite side from the coals. You will need to check the temp to make sure the ham is not scorching. If it is getting scorched, you may need to remove some coals. When the ham is placed and the coals are regulated, you will want to place some soaked wood chips, moist sawdust or green wood  (maple, any fruit wood, hickory, mesquite) directly on the hot coals. You will then want to just crack the bottom and top vents on the grill so that you have minimal oxygen going over the coals. Your soaked wood should start to smolder, and you will see white smoke billowing out from the vents and lids. From there, give it at least an hour on the grill (you can use an internal thermometer if you want the ham to be warmed up and served immediately) or more based on how smoky you want it. You’ll need to replenish your soaked or green wood every 15-30 minutes or so, depending on how quickly the smoke is depleted. You can go as long as you want as long as the heat is regulated and how much fuel and green or soaked wood you have.

For the gas grill: Most gas grills have at least two burners, often situated side by side with separate controls. The method for using your gas grill to smoke ham is the same as using a charcoal grill, except MUCH EASIER. In this case, rather than shove coals to the side, you just light one burner on one side and put the ham on the opposite side. Everything else is the same.

5. Easter Ham, Perfected: I like this particularly with our Smokehouse Berkshire Ham.

Set a half ham face down on a rack in a large roasting pan, and score the outside with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Stud the diamond points with cloves for an old-fashioned come-hither ham look.

Pour enough beer (lager) into the bottom of the pan so that it is about an inch high. Take two sticks of lemongrass and cut them into three-inch lengths. Toss them in. Cut three inches of fresh, peeled ginger into 1/2-inch chunks and add them to the mix. Slice up 2-3 shallots and have them follow suit. Cover the whole shebang in foil and place it in a 325 degree oven for about 70 minutes (for a 7 pound ham).

After the initial bake, take the ham out, remove the foil, and glaze the ham with a mixture of the following:

  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  •  ¼ cup xiaoxing wine

The mixture will be runny, so scoring the ham at the beginning will really help capture it. Put the uncovered ham in the oven for another 20 minutes or so, or until nicely colored. Voila: a really tasty ham is made even tastier! Serve with cheesy potatoes, miso-glazed carrots, or nothing at all.

 

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Low & Slow Corned Beef and Kraut

Ingredients/accoutrements bought beforehand:

  •  Seeded Rye Bread (I prefer Levy’s Real Jewish Rye)
  • Butter, for toasting bread during sandwich assembly
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Russian Dressing
  • Pickles (venture from the standard dill pickle. If you haven’t tried half sour pickles, you’re missing out.)
  • Sauerkraut (We sell our kraut in 16 oz jars. For this recipe I suggest two jars, 32 oz worth of kraut. We will be braising down the kraut with the corned bison.)

The Low & Slow Corned Bison:

Our corned bison comes typically in a 3-4 pound shoulder cut. And remember, they come fully cooked so we are just reheating while we are cooking down the sauerkraut. Typically we portion our sandwiches with  ¼ pound of protein – so with a full 4 lb corned beef, you’ll yield about 16 sandwiches. But the best thing about it is the kraut and corned beef keep refrigerated well for those many late-night sandwiching opportunities.

During the reheating process, we will be adding the sauerkraut to the corned beef, allowing it to braise down very nicely.   


Cooking Equipment:

  • Deep roasting pan or large dutch oven with lid. Pan should be at least 6 inches deep.
  • Tin foil for baking pan.
  • Sheet pan for toasting cheese and bread.

Reheat time is on average 45 minutes per pound.

Reheating Instructions:

  • Reheat Smokehaus corned bison:
  • Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F.
  • In deep roasting pan, place corned bison
  • Fill with water until the corned beef is submerged.
  • Cover and place the pan in the oven.
  • Check every 45 minutes to see if liquid needs replenishing and use a thermometer to temp the corned bison. 
  • Continue this process until internal temp reaches 165.
  • After the appropriate amount of time has passed, pull pan out and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  • After cooling time has passed, pull corned beef out of pan to carve. Remember to always carve against the grain. Cut into 1/8th – 1/4 inch slices.

The Reuben 06

Sandwich assembly:

  • On a sheet pan, butter one side of each piece of bread. Place bread on sheet pan.
  • Apply Russian Dressing on each slice of bread.
  • Pile the cut corned bison on on side of the bread.
  • Add sauerkraut on top of corned beef.
  • Put a slice of cheese on top of corned beef and kraut and one slice on other piece of bread.
  • Turn oven on to broil and place sheet pan/sandwich in oven.
  • Broil/bake until cheese and bubbly and melted.
  • Pull out when finished and assemble.

Enjoy the sandwich cut in half and with a pickle!

Store leftover corned beef and kraut  for up to two weeks in the fridge.

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Simple Syrups Three Ways

Life in Duluth revolves around the lake. Whether you think it cheesy, inspirational, mundane or not; Lake Superior rules. The water is calming, refreshing and gives vitality. We drink the best water in the world (it’s our world) every day, so it’s not surprising that this city on the banks of Lake Superior has attracted Vikre Distillery (a lauded and award-winning company) to hand make its delicious spirits  here.
The following recipes use Vikre Gin (you can sub with your favorite London-dry gin– but you should trust us and try Vikre), Lake Superior Water, and some terminology that you might not be used to or maybe you are. Either way let’s define some words so that we’re all on the same page.

Simple Syrup- Usually a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. You can make Rich Syrup or Weak Syrup by altering the ratio in either direction. You can choose to flavor your simple syrup by adding vegetables, herbs, and botanicals.

Cordial- A more ‘advanced’ version of a simple syrup made by infusing water with flowers and/ or fruits.  Cordial sits for longer than a simple syrup in the fridge and is then strained.

Coupe- A type of stemmed glass with a shallow bowl used for champagne, gimlets, martinis, etc.

Collins-  A tall and narrow glass tumbler glass (think Mojitos).

High Ball- A short and stout glass tumbler (think Old Fashioned).

Sour- 1:1 ratio of Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup + Spirit.

Gimlet- 1:1 ratio of  Lime Juice and Simple Syrup +Spirit (or Lime Cordial + Spirit).

Bitters- A pungent liquor that is made with botanicals and added to cocktails for enhancing its flavor profile.

 

Now that we have that covered we can focus on what’s really fun; making our ingredients and having the satisfaction of enjoying a home-made cocktail from scratch.

We’ll start with some simple syrups:

Lavender Syrup

3 TBSP of Dried Lavender

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and lavender to a soft boil and stir in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Ginger Syrup

1 C Roughly Cut Ginger (1/2 in- 3/4 in)

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and ginger to a soft boil and stir in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple of minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. If you want to get all of the ginger goodness, use a spoon to press on the softened ginger chunks. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Basil Syrup

1 C Loosely Packed Basil

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and basil to a soft boil while stirring occasionally and slowly add in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Now, what you do with these simple syrups is up to you. You can use them for baking, enhancing your tea, making flavored sodas or making cocktails at home. If you feel like shaking things up, we suggest some variations of sours and gimlets as a go-to for a refreshing evening. If kept in the fridge, your syrup will last about 2 months. 

Lavender Gin Sour

2 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.75 oz Lavender Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

Add the lemon juice, lavender syrup and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe and enjoy!

Basil Gin Sour

1.5 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.75 oz Basil Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

 

Add the lemon juice, basil syrup and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe and enjoy!

You can sub the Vikre Boreal Spruce Gin for this cocktail for extra citrus and bright notes.

 

Spring’s in the Air

1.5 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.25 oz Ginger Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

0.50 oz St. Germain (or sub for any Elderflower cordial)

Add the lemon juice, ginger syrup, St. Germain and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe, garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy!

 

And if coupes are not your style, these syrups lend themselves to make refreshing variations of a Tom Collins.

 

Not Your Average Tom

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

0.75 oz Ginger Syrup

1.5 oz Vikre Boreal Juniper Gin

Soda Water

 

Add the lemon juice, ginger syrup and Juniper Gin to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a highball or Collins glass. Add ice cubes to the top and fill your glass with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel or wedge. Enjoy!

 

 

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5 things: From The Shop + A Recipe!

Five Friday Fishmonger Favorites (by Reggie Asplund)

Unnecessary instances of alliteration for the offseason. 

With the madness of summer and the holiday season done our often busy deli has returned to the restful lull that is the winter offseason in Duluth. Though the cold can be a tad bit of a challenge, here are five things us fishmongers enjoy during the offseason.
 
1. Seasonal samplings of smoked savory sustenance.
We like to eat. You like to eat.
Free food is pretty fantastic, which is why we’re playing around with some pretty sweet sample plates in the shop. So if you’re stopping by and see some up on the case, please help yourself! Need another? We won’t judge. We’ve been sampling more than we’d care to admit.
5 things deli samples
2. Limited lines lead to lunacy and laughter.
The summer often yields to a somewhat serious full staff. Though we never take ourselves too seriously our game faces are most definitely on and ready for the never-ending crowds that often swarm our small storefront. When the crowd finally ends, we often find ourselves having, well, a bit of (read: potentially way to much) fun with the quietness this beautiful offseason provides. So please enjoy the banter, say hi, make a joke, laugh with us a bit, and enjoy the lack of a lengthy line with us. Let’s all beat the winter blues together!
3. Creative cleaner creates clever creature capture. 
Ah yes. The dreaded deep clean. Or is it?
Harrison, one or our beloved assistant managers, seasonally hides small animal figures around the shop to be scavenged for while we clean. This leads to some rather creative hiding but also a nice little reward while we clean every nook and cranny of our shop. So while you’re passing through or waiting for a sandwich, take a look around and you might just spot a few little ones awaiting their discovery.

4. Whimsical wizard wails wordy wonder. 
It’s been around for nearly three years, but it certainly deserves a replay.
 
5. Big bad bourbon breakfast beats blues. 
Yes. Bourbon for breakfast.
We aim to minimize waste (throwing food away is never enjoyable), and lately I’ve come to saving our leftover bread for a bountiful breakfast the following day. Recipe below: a modified bread pudding that’ll warm the soul, stick to your bones, and probably clog the arteries. Nevertheless, enjoy!
Pudding
3-5 cups day-old ciabatta, sourdough, or french bread, cubed in 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 apple
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat over to 350º.
In a medium bowl beat together eggs, melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in sugar until dissolved, then mix in milk, set aside. Finely chop apple, set aside.
To prepare, arrange a single layer of bread pieces in a well seasoned 9 or 10 inch cast iron pan. Sometimes I’ll lightly(!) coat it with melted butter, no more than a tablespoon. Top with a third of the apple and walnuts. Repeat. And again. Carefully pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread into the pan. This should get close to filling the pan but not quite. Feel free to top with extra cinnamon, apples or nuts… this is about winter survival right?
Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the eggs and milk have set. I often place foil over the top for the last 15 minutes to prevent the top bread cubes from getting too dark, but keep an eye on it.
While that’s going, go get your first round of dishes done. Do ’em quick, as we’ve got a little bit more to do.
Whiskey Sauce
Yes, I did say bourbon, though just about any whiskey will do.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whiskey (I use Jameson or Bullet Bourbon)
In a medium saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and sugar together.
Then add cream and whiskey. Gently mix and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
Let it slowly boil down for a good 15-20 minutes. We’re looking for a nice heavy, caramelly sauce.
When the bread pudding is done carefully drizzle sauce over it.
Let it cool for just a bit, then grab a big metal spoon and enjoy.
For extra winter warmth, serve with a batch of Northern Waters Breakfast Sausage and hot black coffee. Don’t worry, you can ski this off in no time at all.
5 things reggies pudding
Blog post written by Reggie Asplund
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Perfect Party Peanut Mix

A Recipe for (Snacking) Success By Deli Manager Taylor Kline

Peanut and Pretzel Mix: a football Sunday Kline family tradition, which in all reality became a requirement for every Menard’s run. By no means is this a high society party mix. It is a simple mix made for the simple pleasure of all day snacking and its often what we had in our “snack” dry pantry.

The best part about party mixes are that they can be used seasonally or as basic as desired. Think the Holiday season with almond bark-dipped pretzels or for Thanksgiving throw in some roasted pumpkin seeds.  But for snack simplicity, this is what I crave with an ice cold pilsner and the refreshing disappointment of Minnesota professional sports, minus the Lynx.

Basic necessities:

  • Pretzels 1 bag (12 oz) / Stick Pretzels – or tub (32 oz is typically what the Butter Spindles come in)
    Any basic snack-size sticks work great. But when we discovered Butter Spindles, our mix hit the next level of salty, buttery greatness.
  • Dry Roasted Peanuts – 2 containers (they typically come in 14 oz containers).   1 container of dry roasted & 1 container of honey roasted.
  • M & M’s – 1 bag (12 oz) – Regular M & M’s are absolutely fine, but come on, this is indulgent. Go for the peanut, peanut butter, or even the pretzel M & M’s.
  • Rice and/or Wheat Chex Cereal – 1 box of Rice and or 1 box of Wheat
  • -Raisins – 1 bag (10 oz)

The Mix

  • Pour into a large bowl:
    •  Full bag of pretzels ( if you are using the Butter Spindles, use half the tub)
      Each container of peanuts. 
    • Half a bag of M & M’s
    • Half a box of Rice Chex & half box of Wheat Chex
    • Half bag of raisins (if you prefer more raisins to mix ratio, add more.)

Store unused items in cupboard for the next batch.

 

There is nothing better than snacking the Big Game Day away and enjoying bevs with your friends and family. Enjoy this simple, yet delicious recipe, while watching two teams that Minnesotans dislike in our hometown stadium – No deflated footballs here!
SKOL