Posted on

5 Ways We Save On Waste

Improving sustainability and reducing food waste should be a goal of any restaurant (or deli), and with the proper planning and creative thinking, isn’t terribly difficult to accomplish.

In your home kitchen, you’ve surely found that certain undesirable or inedible parts of food—carcasses, stems, papery vegetable skins, et cetera—make some of the best broths and stocks, and the burnt bits clinging to the pan are the basis of the most flavorful sauces. And of course organic material properly handled eventually yields nutrient-rich soil. One can extrapolate this philosophy to many areas of food production and life in general.

We need to move away from the idea that the unaesthetic, or not immediately necessary, parts of food are bad, or “waste,” or in some capacity destined for the trash. Today, let’s look at the ways we at NWS make the most of our food production. We’re not a perfect example of sustainability and optimization in food production, but we’re always looking for ways to innovate and improve.

Crostini/Croutons.

Bread—it’s gotta be fresh, right? For a sandwich, we wholeheartedly agree with you. That’s why we methodically cycle through frozen loaves of our haus-baked Pullman rye and white bread loaves, and bake off hero rolls and haus-baked ciabattas steadily throughout the day.

But sometimes there’s a slow few days, or too many heroes and ciabattas for a slow evening. Sometimes the closers like to bring a few rolls home, but relying on that just isn’t sufficient.

The solution was simple—throw them into freezer-ready bags, and let them dry out in the deep freeze. The moisture-sapped bread, though somewhat tedious to cut through, is primed for making crostini and croutons. 

Cut them to the appropriate size and shape, spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan, dress them with olive oil, garlic powder, coarse salt, and dry thyme. Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes (know thine oven!) rotating the pan once at the halfway mark. Guess what: You’ve got crostini (or croutons!)

Smoked Salmon Pâté.

We could make our smoked salmon pâté exclusively with whole pieces of smoked salmon. That would be fine—in fact, it would be good. It would also mean we’d need to order and process twice as much fish.

Somewhere along the line we found an elegant solution to this problem. We prep Cajun, Traditional, and Black Pepper & Coriander smoked salmon daily for our sandwich line. Only the finest slices of that smoked salmon end up in sandwich portions.

(An adjacent category is the salmon that, during the kippering process, just becomes overwhelmingly moist and practically falls off the skin. This salmon is great for eating, but doesn’t look as nice as a gift, or on a platter, or as we’re placing it on the scale to weigh it.)

This is more for ease of use on our end of things than it is for the customers receiving the sandwiches. It all tastes roughly the same, and some would even argue that the seasoned belly-fat scraps taste a little bit better. 

That’s why they end up in the pâté. The “scraps” of “waste” from prep are oily and have a steeper ratio of seasoning to meat, and most importantly, they’re not going in the garbage. Additionally, we have the flexibility of making smoked salmon pâté on a daily basis (if need be) without needing to take salmon out of our fish case.

By the way, our debut cookbook, which is currently in development, will feature a recipe for making NWS Smoked Salmon Pâté from a single chunk of Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon, so you can take matters into your own hands!

Snack Stick Ends.

The main problem with selling our non-fish snack sticks (Bison Buddies, Big Jims, and Royales With Cheese) by unit price ($3/per, $2/per, and $2/per respectively) is the need to make those units a consistent side. This means we cut about 1/2” off of each stick. These ends get vacuum sealed and tossed in the deep freeze. To combat this mountain of cured meat nubs, we’ve implemented a handful of plans. 

1.) When we have cheese curds, we package cheese curds and meat nubs and sell them out of the Grab & Go case. 

2.) Sometimes we just package meat nubs with each other and sell them out of the Grab & Go case. 

3.) Frequently, Patricia will have an awesome pasty idea that utilizes some of the meat nubs, and I bet you can guess where we sell them.

4.) And, of course, they make great fodder for sample platters in the deli. 

Dip Sauce.

The zesty three-pepper sauce we serve alongside our Big Dipper sandwich is not only delicious—it is also very clever. Preservative liquids may not make the tastiest beverages, but they’re basically water, salt (sometimes sugar), vinegar, and seasonings, so they can easily be repurposed. 

Our Royale With Cheese snack sticks include pickle juice in the recipe to emulate the pickle slices on a bacon-cheeseburger. The dip sauce contains a sacred/secret ratio of the following—liquid from the roasted red pepper can, liquid from the pepperoncini (pickled sweet yellow peppers) tub, and a healthy dose of sriracha.

Sure, it’s easy enough to just dump such things down the drain, but next time you’re thinking about dumping your kimchi juice, or pickle juice, or what have you, down the drain—think again. There’s seasoning potential with which to experiment.

Fish Skin Dog Treats.

The skin of your smoked fish is not garbage. We used to compost them, but recently we’ve had a change of heart. Pets love fish skins—certain mushers in the area have even come to us asking for fish skins to feed their sled dogs.

However, keeping those skins around in our cooler is poor management of space. Again, the solution is simple: Bake them. You can do this quite easily with your own leftover fish skins.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Scrape the excess fat and meat off of the fish skins and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer, scale side up. Bake them for 10 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

After they cool, you’ve got some shelf-stable snacks for your pets. They break into smaller, bite-sized pieces easily, and animals love them.

If your animals have plenty of treats, or if you’re living in an animal-free zone and still want to make the most of your fish skins, just salt them (with coarse sea salt) right out of the oven, while they’re still hot. Now, instead of animal treats, you’ve got a nice little salty snack, or salad topping, or whatever you might want to do with a crispy, salty fish skin.


How do you save on waste in your kitchen? We’d love to know. Leave some love in the comments.

Posted on

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

Posted on

Top Five Boursin Recipe Ideas

boursin jars

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

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

#5: Boursin and Endive Bites

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

#4: Steak and Boursin

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

#3 Chicken and Boursin Surprise

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

#2 Boursin Toast

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

#1 Boursin and Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

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

 

Posted on

Smokehaus Recipe: Roasted Fennel Salad

The rumors are correct: the Smokehaus can make salad. Occasionally, the Smokehaus makes a tremendously delicious salad, even, and this is one of them. 

It pops up from time to time on our catering menu and we shift the recipe to include fried copa or not, depending on the vegetarian population at any given event. Also, this salad does well with many types of dressing – I’m giving you a recipe for the standard roasted red pepper sauce, but feel free to use the vinaigrette of your choice.

Roasted Fennel Salad with Coppa

Smokehaus Roasted Fennel Salad

For the Dressing:

2 Cups Roasted Red Peppers (do it at home – always a good time – or buy them by the can)

Squirt of Lemon 

Olive Oil 

Salt and Pepper to taste


4-5 Fennel Bulbs

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


Mixed Greens

1 Cup Cashews or Marcona Almonds

1 Cup Sweetie Drops


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Make the dressing by pureeing the red peppers in a food processor or blender with the squirt of lemon while slowly incorporating enough olive oil to create a runny dressing. When smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and quarter the fennel, discarding (or saving for later) the feathery tops. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, put in an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Tousle, and continue cooking (and tousling, if need be) for another 30 minutes or until evenly brown. Remove and let cool slightly. 




Combine all ingredients (we prefer greens, then fennel, then nuts, then sweetie drops, then a drizzle of dressing). Top with fried, crispy Copa if desired.

Makes 4 big servings or 6 smaller ones.





Posted on

Smoked Salmon Chowder

The cooler weather gets us in the mood for a warming soup, and smoked salmon works especially well in a white chowder.

There are countless adjustments you can make in a chowder recipe, but don’t scrimp on the smoked salmon – it’s the best part!

 

Smoked Salmon Chowder

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup small-diced carrots (about 1 large carrot)

1 cup small-diced onion (about 1 onion)

½ cup small-diced celery with leaves

½ cup chopped green pepper

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups good quality clam juice

2 cups milk

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (2 large cloves)

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of nutmeg

1 16 oz. can tomatoes

1 ½ cups diced, cooked potatoes, such as Yukon Gold

1 lb. boneless smoked salmon

6-7 slices cooked, crisp Pancetta for garnish

Flake and strip skin from the smoked salmon. Reserve 1/4 cup for garnish. The rest of the smoked salmon will be added to the chowder and brought to temperature.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter with oil.  When oil is hot, add vegetables except for tomatoes and potatoes.  Stir and cook until they are softened and aromatic.  Stir in flour, reduce heat to medium, and cook briefly, about 3 minutes.  Do not let the flour brown.

 

Pour in stock and milk and increase heat to medium-high.  Stir well and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Add seasonings and simmer gently, uncovered for 15 minutes.

 

Stir in smoked salmon pieces, potatoes and tomatoes.  Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender but not mushy.

 

Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with Pancetta and smoked salmon, and serve at once.

 

Yield:  2 quarts