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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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5 Things To Do With Porketta

porketta

5 Ways to Cook Smokehaus Porketta

So, you’ve got your beautiful hand-rolled slab of heaven – now what? There are many ways to cook Porketta, including a straightforward, roast til it’s hot approach. But for the creative-hearted and culinarily curious we have assembled a short list of preparations for your dining pleasure.

 

 

  1. Low and Slow: Roast Porketta at 325, covered and doused with a cup or so of liquid (white wine, lager, chicken stock or even a mild fruit juice such as apple will do). Keep it covered for the first hour and a half, then uncover and continue to roast until fall-apart tender (maybe another 45-60 minutes). When ready, take the roast out, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then shred like your life depends on it. You can use forks, tongs, or even gloved hands (but be careful – it will be hot!). Eat the whole delicious mixture over mashed potatoes, with your favorite pasta, or on a hard roll.
  2. Grill it: Because the Porketta is fully cooked, you need not worry about finessing your fire too much. You can reheat the Porketta in your oven at a higher temperature (say, 375) and when it because hot to the touch, transfer to a hot grill to crisp up the exterior crust. The results will be crunchy, smoky, and oh-so-meaty.
  3. Cute it Up: Cube it up? Cube your Porketta by cutting it into ½ inch chunks. Sprinkle with paprika and gently fry on a medium-heat skillet until the sides are crispy. Skewer them with other bite-sized cubed items like potatoes, cocktail onions, fennel, or sweet peppers (or our favorite – all of the above!). Serve on your holiday menu, or as an appetizer for a dinner party, or as a very high class midnight snack.
  4. Take it to the Club: Make an incredibly savory club sandwich by layering thin slicesof Porketta, right out of the package (it’s fully cooked, you know) with shaved fennel, sundried tomatoes, and crispy pancetta, and lemon basil mayonnaise (you can just amp up your Hellman’s with a dusting of lemon zest and handful of shredded basil or you can make your own). You can serve it on stirato or focaccia, but if you’re feeling sinister might we recommend a triple-decker with slices of your local grocery store’s most pillowy version of Italian bread, toasted.
  5.  Go Full Holiday Roast: Place your Porketta on a rack in a large roasting pan, uncovered. Begin roasting the Porketta at 375 while you prepare your other ingredients. Wash fingerling potatoes or quarter them, quarter fennel, rutabaga, and or sweet potatoes. Toss all with olive oil and light salt (the Porketta is going to help flavor them all) and arrange them in the now-hot roaster when they’re ready (make sure you take the roaster out of the oven to accomplish this – safety first!). Cook all until vegetables are soft – around 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with something green, like Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, or green beans. Buon appetito!

 

 

porketta

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Cooking up the beaut of a Porketta

Porketta [por’ketta]: A roasted MN Berkshire collar-butt is adorned with plenty of garlic, parsley, fennel and red pepper flakes to engulf your home with aromatics and water your mouth. Some people, like those from the great country of Italy (where the recipe originates) spell it porchetta.

We are still quite astonished with the amount of orders and new customers we have received since our appearance on the Holiday Bon Appétit issue and online “6 Stunning Mail Order Food Gifts That Won’t Reveal You Can’t Cook”.  We are still blushing and beaming in glee. 

So it’s still a little frozen (or a lot frozen)?

You can defrost your roast in your fridge with a sheet pan underneath it. This will take less than 48 hours so plan accordingly.

So you want to cook this beauty up?

Here are two ways in which you can achieve a soft roast or a crispy crust.

Crispy Crust

Heat Porketta in a 425F degree oven in a an uncovered baking dish, on a rack, until internal temperature reads 150F degrees. 
Let rest for approximately 10 mins before slicing.

Softer Roast

Heat Porketta in a 350F degree oven in a covered baking dish with 3/4 cup liquid, such as beer, stock, or water for 60-90 mins. Uncover and continue to roast until it reaches an internal temp of 165F degrees- approximately 15 min. 

Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing, or chop the Porketta into the liquid and serve accordingly.