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From TK’s Desk: Raclette

Its Alpine cheese season.

Welcome this magnificently melty cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland: Raclette!!

Raclette is the cheese of legend, based on the story of a man from Valais by the name of Leon. One cold day, with food scarce in the open pastures, Leon heated up a piece of cheese on the open fire to ease his hunger and keep warm. He found the melted cheese had a transcendent flavor. It not only complemented other foods – it made a great, satisfying meal for his family. Popular since the Middle Ages, Raclette is still produced with milk from cows that are fed fresh grass in the summer and meadow hay in the winter.

The word raclette stems from the French verb racler, or “to scrape.” This cheese is a staple in the Swiss & French Alpine culinary culture and has to follow strict regulations from the cows to the creamery to the finishing process (the affinage). Each raclette has to have an official quality mark AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée) which is reserved for traditional products with long-standing regional origins.

Melt this cheese and serve it on top of anything from bread to cured meats, potatoes, pickles, or just about anything else.

Enjoy raclette with a glass of Alpine wines, such as the Swiss Fendant, French Savoy, rieslings, or pinot gris. Not into wine? Try it with warm tea or other warm beverages.  

Sold in our deli for $23/lb.

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Sandwich Lab: 7 Things You Should Know About The Breakfast Club—Number 5 Is Pretty Self-Explanatory

The Breakfast Club is…

  1. …the first of nine sandwiches discovered during Sandwich Lab which will be offered as monthlong specials.

  2. …available through the first week of February.

  3. …haus-smoked turkey & pancetta with red onion, cilantro & cream cheese on a Lake Superior Bakehouse bagel.

  4. …a  delightful variation on the classic Smokehaus Club.

  5. …described by its creator as “unctuous, balanced and pretty self-explanatory.”

  6. …the perfect sandwich to prepare any individual for a long day of detention.

  7. …eligible for “double-stamps” (in-store purchases only).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Resolutions: A 5 Things™ New Year’s Special

New year, new blog formatting. My New Year’s Resolutions are to incrementally upgrade my blogging skills, and 1080p.

The Intro

Welcome to 2019! There are many exciting announcements ahead this month alone, but we’ve been working so hard lately, that I’m just going to hit you with some fluff. I present to you: New Year’s Resolutions. With my commentary, of course, for clarification and jokes.

The Body

  1. Joe — Joe has been a perennial seasonal employee of the Smokehaus for many years. This was offered to me at the end of his last NWS shift for the season: “I want to learn ‘Never Going Back Again’ on guitar. Oh, and run a marathon.” Joe presented a reasonable, goal-oriented approach to the topic, which is nothing less than I expected of him. We could all learn from Joe. However, I will never run a marathon.
  2. Mary — “Complete the cookbook.” With the Winter product catalog under our belts, she is referring to the as of yet unwritten Northern Waters Smokehaus cookbook that has been haunting our dreams for years. This is very exciting news for me, since it means I’ll have a bunch of writing projects ahead of me and it effortlessly keeps this blog’s deeper marketing purpose on point. When I informed Mary of the latter detail, she seemed reasonably bummed that I wasn’t just concerned about her life and wellbeing. It’s a cold world we live in, Mary.
  3. Greg — “Do more stuff with music. Instead of nothing.” Greg is a local music legend*, so there’s likely a bunch of people hoping he keeps up with this resolution. *command+f conley
  4. Nic — “Wake up every day at six a.m.” Have you? “No. I’m kind of working up to it. Yesterday, I woke up at six-thirty. Today, seven-thirty. So I’m kind of regressing, but I’m trying. The alarm went off at six and I turned it off.” This sort of rambling, rollercoaster ride crash of an answer that toes the line between honest assessment of the shortcomings of such exercises and blatant off-the-cuff lie designed to entertain is precisely the reason I included Nic in my interviews.
  5. Lucy — “What’s the context? What did the others say?” I let her know some of the other responses. She considered: “Consistently produce music: Now that I have the means to, I have no excuse.” This resolution was challenging to punctuate, but I am pleased with my work, and I’m always pleased to hear about people making time for art. What I’m trying to say here is I am pleased.

    Clip art image of guitar requested by Lucy

A Conclusion

So there’s my top five, in no particular order, and based on who happened to be around and open to answering my question.
Here’s some honorable mentions.

  1. Olivia — “I don’t do those.” Hey, I’m in the same boat. Maybe drink more water, but that’s sort of an every day resolution.
  2. Sam — “I don’t really do those. I’m perfect how I am.”That’s the attitude (~*almost*~) all of us should take into 2019!

 

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5 Things: End of 2018 Edition

Here we are, at the final 5 Things™ of 2018. Due to intense holiday exhaustion and an increasing desire to fall deeply into sleep and live off my fat reserves for a few months, I was just going to list our mail-order bestsellers and wax slightly poetic about each, but I remembered that we had an exciting year at Northern Waters Smokehaus, and perhaps this blog would be a perfectly suitable place to talk about it.

So because I am very tired and don’t want to choose between the two, here’s my compromise: For each bestseller, I’ll share an unrelated anecdote about our eventful year.


#5 — Salmon pâté. In the Spring of 2018, Casey Webb and the crew of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food stopped by our deli for a day. As an employee, I really enjoyed the experience, because it reinvigorated my sense of pride in my work, but mostly because the spectacle distracted our customers and made for a very relaxed shift with a distinct lack of bad vibes (or, for the optimists out there, an abundance of good vibes). Leif made a Cajun Finn so beautiful it probably brought a tear to the camera operator’s eye, but it was at 6am, so I was not awake to verify that claim. I witnessed a minimum of eight takes of Casey popping up into the frame jiggling a whitefish side-to-side. Movie magic in action. The episode aired in June.

Leif!


#4 — Lake Superior lake trout. In August, we had the great honor of being selected to cater the Glensheen Gala. I’m going from memory here, but the gala’s theme was a sort of low-fantasy English garden party, and we brought down the house with lamb hand-pies, boursin endive boats, watercress & butter sandwiches, and an assortment of cheese and desserts. I spent most of the night making tiny dessert pies with chocolate, a whipped cream topping, and raspberry jam, but as the night died down, those of us staffing the gig got to stroll around the mansion grounds to carouse and enjoy the sights. 10/10 would love to do this again.


#3 — Traditional salmon piece. Eric started Northern Waters Smokehaus in 1998, which means we are doing what we do well enough to have celebrated the business’s twentieth anniversary this year. We did so in style with a double-header celebration which began at Hoops Brewing (featuring a line to the free food that wrapped around most of the bar and didn’t slow down) and ended at Rex Bar (featuring a lineup composed entirely of Smokehaus-affiliated bands). We are grateful for our community, which embraces us, supports us, and parties with us.


#2 — Salamini. The first official NWS product catalog is out, and it is sexy. The design team did such a great job that people think we must have outsourced our work, but the Smokehaus is packed so full of talented individuals that it was just bound to be good. Now that we’ve crossed this threshold, it won’t be long until a cookbook hits the shelves. Check out the catalog online here.

Cake by Lake Superior Bakehouse

(I said these were going to be unrelated anecdotes, but you should know that the holiday season completely cleared out our salumi stock, so we’ll be out until mid- to late-January. We offer our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.)


#1 — Whitefish.
Our 2nd-annual Sandwich Lab was such a rousing success that we will be sharing nine new sandwiches and a new vegetarian (optionally vegan) salad with you throughout 2019. Sandwich Lab is a time to relearn and polish our sandwich making skills and to share our personal flavor creations. There will be more announcements coming very soon and plenty of social media content to absorb over the year, but I will say that the new salad changed my life, and while the sandwiches will be monthlong specials beginning in January, the salad is a new permanent fixture on our menu.

This is how we make decisions.

It has been a pleasure writing for you today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself, and I hope your resolutions for the new year are reasonably attainable, and that you attain them all.

See you next year!

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5 Things™

Welcome back to my blog of many things.

I didn’t quite make it to the research phase of writing this blog this week. Things are busy, so some things take a sideline. Here’s some things off the top of my head.

  1. The special that started it all!
    I acquired this bit of information recently, and it has to be one of my favorites: During preliminary research for a piece about the history of our daily specials, I learned that the first NWS daily special was a polish sausage braised with Frostop root beer and “some [okay] sauerkraut we didn’t make.” I haven’t tried this yet, but when I get to it, I’ll share my findings.
  2. New sandwiches!
    Don’t we have enough sandwiches on our menu already? I don’t know. Probably not. In 2018, our Sandwich Lab was too good, so in 2019, we’re adding 9 sandwiches (and a salad) to our menu, for a limited time only. Sandwiches with names like “The Breakfast Club,” “The Spinderella,” and “The Bloody Mary” will be making their NWS debuts as month-long specials throughout the year. The salad (which I have eaten my last ten shift breaks) will have a permanent slot on the menu. There may be some sort of voting at the end of the year to find a new permanent addition to the menu. Again, I don’t know. We’re kind of playing this by ear and trying to have fun with it. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming promotion for this year-long event.
  3. The recipes are being gathered!
    We have barely come down from our catalog release high, and we’re already plotting another major endeavor into the printed medium. I cannot say too much, nor would I like to create any unnecessary expectations, but the near future (at the very least geologically speaking) holds an official Northern Waters Smokehaus cookbook. If you can’t hold in your excitement and need something like this in your life now, stop by our shop, pick up some of our complimentary recipe cards, write a few notecards of your own musings, observations, and anecdotes, then cleverly bind the stack with string to create your own Unofficial Northern Waters Smokehaus Cookbook.
  4. Bison is back!
    It’s been back for a while—both as our corned meat of choice (the ’06 with corned bison is unreal), and alongside our beef pastrami—albeit in limited quantities. We source our bison from North American Bison Cooperative. For our pastrami, we’ve switched from the eye of round cut to chuck roll, and in my humble opinion, it was a wonderful decision. The fat marbling and flavor in that large hunk of muscle is phenomenal, and is well-complemented by our haus-baked Prince Myshkin rye.
  5. Something smells fishy!
    If you have noticed that something seems to be afoot, or felt as though you may find a clue around our deli, it may be due to the Cedar Island Conservancy rainbow trout and brown trout we’ve had in our fish case. They’re smoked whole (like we do with whitefish and ciscos) and they’re beautiful to behold and delicious to taste.

    brown trout

    rainbow trout

Thanks for stopping in. Smell ya later.

Oh, and don’t forget that our new gift cards look awesome and for every $100 worth of gift cards you buy before the end of December, you’ll receive a bonus $20 gift card.

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Smoked Maple-Sage Turkey Breast Heating Instructions

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 Smoked Turkey Breast up?

Heat Turkey at 375 degree oven in an uncovered baking dish, on a rack, until internal temperature reads 140 degrees.
Let it rest for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.

The lower the temperature and longer you roast, the more tender.

Want a fennel kick? Follow this link for our fennel braise recipe. 

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Smoked Berkshire Ham Cooking Instructions

 

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?

Heat ham in a 325 degree oven in an uncovered baking dish, on a rack, until internal temperature reads 140 degrees.
We recommend 18 minutes per pound. Let the ham rest for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.

Are you looking for more creative and adventurous ways of cooking your Smoked Berkshire Ham? Follow this link to find five ways to devour Smoked Ham. 

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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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5 Things December 7th

Today’s post will be a serious one. We’re already a week into December and there’s already been a post about “x things pertaining to mail order” on our blog, but the 5 Things™ this week are still going to pertain to mail ordering our products during the month of December. There’s so much to cover.

  1. Cutoffs for holidays!
    This is all I want in my stocking this year. Full-length jeans that have been turned into short jeans. Free the calf. I am kidding, and apologetic. This was supposed to be a serious post.What I’m really talking about is cutoffs for shipping our products based on holidays which affect shipping or might be your reason for ordering in the first place.
    Here are some relevant dates & times and how they pertain to shipping:Tuesday, December 18th @ noon: Cutoff for placing orders to be shipped nationwide before Christmas.
    Wednesday, December 19th @ noon: Cutoff for placing orders to be shipped within Minnesota before Christmas.Wednesday, December 19th: Last day of regular shipping before Christmas.
    Thursday, December 20th: Last day of MN-only shipping before Christmas. At this point, it is overnight shipping (not flat-rate) only for any last-minute nationwide orders.

    Wednesday, December 26th: Last day of regular shipping nationwide before the end of the year.
    Thursday, December 27th: Last day of MN-only shipping before the end of the year. Last day of overnight shipping nationwide.

  2. A note about receiving orders!
    Although “end of the day” for many businesses is somewhere around 5pm, for UPS deliveries, it is 9pm. How might this affect you? Let me break it down:•Orders placed with us before noon on a given day will be shipped out the next day.
    •Shipped orders arrive two shipping days later. (Orders shipped on Tuesday arrive on Thursday; orders shipped on Wednesday arrive on Friday).
    •Orders arrive based on UPS delivery schedules, which means anytime between X am and 9 pm. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee specific delivery times for our standard shipping orders.Say you want an All Season Fillet for your holiday party on Wednesday, December 19th, hypothetically speaking, at 7pm. If your order were shipped out on Monday, December 17th, it could arrive on Wednesday at 5pm, but it could also arrive as late as 9pm. Your party was probably still a hit, but the All Season Fillet arrived too late.The best way to circumvent this requires just a little bit of planning ahead: Have the order delivered the week prior.

    Imagine the same scenario, shipped ahead of time: You place your order at 11:55 am on Tuesday, December 11th. It is shipped on Wednesday, the 12th. It arrives Friday, the 14th—perhaps at a convenient time, but perhaps at 9 pm. You refrigerate your All Season all weekend, and into the next week. On the Wednesday, the 19th, at 6 pm, you lay out a gorgeous array of edible art, centered around our fillet and your party guests rave to their friends and family about the delicious food at the holiday party for months to come.

    TL;DR All of this more succinctly here.

  3. Keep up with the latest deals!
    Sign up for our newsletter. Any online or mail order deals will be tied to a coupon code, and our newsletter is the first place to receive those codes.When you subscribe to our newsletter, you will immediately receive a code for 15% off any order. Active subscribers (those of you who regularly open those newsletter links) receive additional deal offers. There’s a form to sign up for our email newsletter located at the bottom of our website homepage.

  4. A note about our staff!
    December is a hectic month around Northern Waters Smokehaus. The sheer volume of production that goes in our facilities, the sometimes Summerlike lines of patrons rounding out their holiday gift shopping, and the hundreds of orders that ship out each week between Monday and Wednesday. Sometimes it can all feel like a blur.If some error does occur with your order, or you aren’t totally satisfied with our product or service, let us know, be patient with us, and we’ll do what we can to make sure you are. We’re all in this together. Like High School Musical, but with more smoked fish.

    porketta
    here’s a lovely photograph of our porketta, to ease your weary eyes from this wall of text.

    5. We have been included in a number of holiday gift guides!Thank you, everyone who included us in their gift guides! Check them out below.

    Twin Cities Business Magazine 2018 Corporate Gift Guide

    Hemispheres Eat, Drink, & Be Merry

    City Pages Ultimate Minnesota Gift Guide For Foodies

Happy Friday, friends. Until next time.

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5 Things: December

December is the most exciting month (IMHO) to be at Northern Waters Smokehaus. Our mail order department swells with seasonal employees and processes hundreds of boxes each week; the smokers might process several hundred pounds of porketta or atlantic salmon in the same time; the line to our deli might look like a Summer day, if not for the heavy clothing; our deli staff has had a month to catch our breath and are in top form. December is a good month for our business.

Before we begin, a few tips for the busy month:

Skip the line, order delivery/pickup. Delivery and pickup hours are 10am-5pm daily. We deliver sandwiches as well as groceries and gift boxes. You can order online or over the phone, but online is easiest.
Place your mail orders early. This ensures that we have what you want in stock. In the late Fall, we incentivize early orders. Basically, as with most things, it is better to plan ahead.

Now, five more things for you.

  1. Catalog Launch Party! We finally did it! We assembled a highly-skilled team and created our first official product catalog, which some have called “beautiful” and others have remarked “looks like it was made by professionals,” which only stings a little bit, because we are so dang proud of ourselves. The catalog contains lovely descriptions of a large swath of the products we carry, charming anecdotes about life at Northern Waters Smokehaus, insights into the guiding principles and philosophy of our business, and abundant visual splendors. Oh, and prices. Sure, it’s a product catalog, but it is also something more than that, and we really hope you enjoy it. If you want to pick up or peruse one, stop into our deli and ask us.In honor of the catalog’s release, we put together a small gathering in our office on Wednesday night. I missed the first hour, but hear it was shoulder to shoulder. By the end it was almost entirely Smokehaus employees, just lingering and enjoying an opportunity to hang out off-the-clock and eat packing peanuts. This week, I learned that the packing peanuts we use for mail orders are basically popcorn.

    The catalog is also available as a PDF
  2. Waterdeep! Well, we’ve done it. Dino-Force Five has saved Faerûn from the terror of the giants and gone it’s separate ways. I wasn’t sure if our weekly D&D sessions merited another Thing™, but the end of one campaign and the beginning of another feels noteworthy enough, and our group has added on two new members. The new cast of characters is an ex-cop half-orc barbarian with anger issues, a rock gnome rogue and a wood-elf druid who have been BFFs for about a hundred years and who specialize in cultivating, refining and distributing herbal *ahem* medicine throughout the city, an eladrin wizard who is a friendly rival to the druid, and mysterious and gregarious tiefling bard who aims to please but seems to have a hidden agenda all residing in the coastal city of Waterdeep,. The scenario seems to be leading toward a heist, but for now I am suspending all assumptions. We meet most Monday nights in the Smokehaus office, though realistically we’re going to have to relocate while the mail order department utilizes that space.
  3. Terrine! Smoked duck breast terrines will be available in our grab&go case this weekend. A terrine is a layered preparation of meat/vegetable/fruit/et cetera contained within aspic or another gelatinous solution. Our smoked duck terrines are set with duck confit, red wine cranberry jam (with hints of anise, clove and black pepper) and sliced candied orange as a garnish, set with agar-agar. The flavor is reminiscent of a holiday meal. Serve alongside dry red wine, a very soft cheese (like Rush Creek Reserve) and a nice crusty bread or cracker.

    Sorry, I didn’t have a photo of the smoked duck terrines.
  4. Winter Village! This weekend, we’ll be at the Glensheen Winter Village, selling salumi, cheese, and cracker bento boxes, salumi, swag (t-shirts, posters, stickers, and such), and gift certificates. The Winter Village is a magical event, and one of three of its ilk going on in the area, alongside the Julebyen in Knife River and the Washington Artists’ Co-op craft sale. I am told there will also be llamas and a sauna on the premises at Glensheen. We’ll be running a gift certificate special in the month of December: buy $100 worth of gift cards, and get a bonus $20 gift card. Once, I helped a customer purchase $900 of gift cards, and receive $180 in bonus gift cards. It felt epic.Also in December: If you have purchased one of our tote bags, bring it with when you come to our shop in December and receive 10% off your order, all month long. If you don’t have a tote already, purchase one and receive 10% off your order. We’ll be running tote specials in the future.
    smokehaus tote bag
  5. Record-breaking Pigs In Space!!! We had a successful Cyber Monday here at Northern Waters Smokehaus. Our second annual Pigs In Space promotion left us with 75 new orders to fill. Pigs in Space, for those who just walked into the room, is our promotion run every Monday-after-the-fourth-Thursday-in-November which offers free shipping on online orders over $150.

 

 

That’s all, folks. Happy Friday.