Heritage Red Wattle Smoked Pork Chops – Fatted Calf Newsletter

Guess what? The smoky, brined pork chops are here this week! The above image is from a while back, but nearly the same product. I wanted to let ya’ll know cause I was lucky enough to work a day at the Fatted Calf stall in Berkeley a few weeks ago. There were 2 people that came up to see if we had any chops this week? Nope, and they left! While I was pretty taken aback considering what that day’s menu had to offer. I thought it was pretty cool that they wanted that specific one thing and nothing else. A Meat Shark.
Fatted Calf’s customers are generally a nice lot. I’ve seen them each week making their way up and back through the market with their sacks bulging with swag. They’re interested in what’s what and always willing to buy one new thing they haven’t tried. There was a woman and her husband or boyfriend that were clearly newbies. They asked questions about this and that. I laid it down best I could. I don’t make the stuff, so individual spices and procedures elude me from time to time. They felt bad for holding up the line, but I urged them on with juicy descriptions of the completed food stuff. I didn’t mind taking time with them because they liked hearing about the meat as much as I enjoyed talking about the meat. I know they’ll return for something new each week. I could see the twinkle of pate and sausage in her eyes.
There were a few who wanted a lean product. One poor woman wanted “lean” bacon. I presented her with 4 packages and she noted quickly, “These are NOT lean.” I deal with the public from time to time, so I smiled and dug a little deeper. It was at that moment I turned and mentioned to her, “You know this is ‘bacon’, right?” There was nothing lean enough and she left. A few hours past and while there were probably 7 customers poking about, a young woman with her “doctor” (read: Grampa) asked for something made without so much fat. Everyone within ear shot chortled. I turned around and looked at the Charcuterie sign just to make sure I was at the right stall. She left with beef jerky. See! Something for everyone!
And that’s just about where we are going to be for this coming Saturday morning. A place where you can find something for everyone, the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Please come out and enjoy the changing seasons and fill your grocery sack with fresh goodies. Let me take you out with a pretty picture of Fatted Calf’s lamb brochettes grilled while covered with their smoky bacon.

Don’t eeeven ask me if they were any good. Cause they were, nyah. Please read on to the newsletter not written by me.

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Cattail Creek Lamb Sirloin Roast stuffed with olive tapenade – Fatted Calf Newsletter

Fatted Calf Merguez Sausage over a Maple fire.

Yeah, okay I ain’t been posting about cooking, deal with it. Sure I’ve been grilling 2, 3, 4 times a week and even fired up the smoker this last Saturday. But it’s been my normal, every day type of food and nothing worth posting. At least in my estimation anyway.
This isn’t to say I haven’t had a few most excellent moments though. A few days ago Taylor emailed me and wanted to know if I’d be willing to work the Fatted Calf stall this coming October 14th. Me? Selling meat and talking to people about said meat products? SHIT YEAH. I won’t be working for actual money, but I’m sure I’ll come away with a crepinette and a mowf full of jerky. It’ll be like a mini-vacation. I can hardly wait. Have you ever smelled a 100 quart cooler filled with fresh sausage? HUH? HAVE YOU !?! Well I have and it’s a slice of heaven. I am so ready. Mark your calendar and come for a visit, ya hear?
As far as an update on finding a grocery store with a meat counter? Nothing yet. I’ve been back to the Mercadito San Juan a few times and done well. But nothing solid yet.
This week’s Fatted Calf Newsletter is sportin’ a lamb sirloin roast stuffed with their own olive tapenade. Not sure how big they were, but last time they were about 2 pounds, barely enough for 2 people. Unless you add in a set of crepinettes, this is how I do it. The newsletter’s slant this week points to some people’s aversion to pate and terrines and the like. Odd since it’s basically French meat loaf. I think maybe each one of you that will always pass on the loaffy goodness, should stop this time and buy a portion. Take it home, open the package and observe. Take a little whiff, ready your fancy mustard and have a slice. All I’m asking is to try it once, just once. If you can’t deal with it, no loss. Give it to a friend. But if you do enjoy? Oh how wonderful it will be to add a foodstuff to your list. Then, when asked you can hold your head high and exclaim, “Yes! I have eaten pate, and I love it!” Nothing wrong with that, says I.
Please venture onward to the newsletter not written by me. And hope to see you at the market this coming Saturday.

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Fatted Calf Newsletter – Berkshire Pork Brochettes with Lavender, Rosemary, Garlic and Bay

Pretty sunflowers in my sunflower garden this year.

I give up, the season is changing. I’ve been fighting it for the last few weeks. Sure I read other blogs, you bet. And some are talking about the food and weather that comes along with autumn. Well, I wasn’t having any of that. I am not ready for cooler weather, no sir. Dammit, I still require some warmth with bright mornings and beautiful lazy evenings. I’m not done coming home to fire up the grill and hang out with a cool refreshing beverage after work.
Yeah, well it’s changing whether I do battle or not. The light in the morning and after lunch is diffused and gold. The smells are dewy wet in the morning with a crisp bite to the nostrils. The cool temperatures come quick now in the afternoon and the windows go closed. I figure we got a little time left before we’re grilling in the rain & snow & sleets. And what perfect timing for Fatted Calf to present us these fine Heritage Berkshire Pork Brochettes with Lavender, Rosemary, Garlic and Bay.

Who doesn’t love meat on sticks? I sure as hell do, especially these. Opening up the package, especially with the lavender is going to be heavenly for sure. You need to enjoy every last bit of daylight we have left and right now is the time to get moving. Take no prisoners!
It looks as though the Rind On bacon is here this week, still an excellent cured meat choice. While the Rabbit Crepinettes with Roasted Shallots are no slouch either. Oh, here’s something, Linguica. I think everyone knows about this fine Portuegese sausage, I don’t quite remember seeing it before. Sounds like a nice start for something stewy! MmmMm, stew.
FC’s menu is quite full this week and I’m sure the rest of the market will be as well. The sheer volume of gorgous chile peppers and ripe tomatoes last week bring me back this week with huge anticipation. Take some time out of your busy schedule and come have a visit. Take care and hope to see you at the market.

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Fatted Calf’s Rind On Bacon – Fatted Calf’s Newsletter

Before you ask what the hell are you looking at and then you think you know, let me fill you in. That is most certainly not a clever plug-in for photoshop to make your digital image look like an Polaroid picture. That my good people is a good ol’ polaroid picture. I was without a digital camera last night and absolutely needed to get a fast picture of dinner. I was quite lucky and had a half dozen prints left in my Polaroid 680 SLR camera.
It was kinda fun attaching the old beast to a tripod for the this and the next shot. I even grabbed my 500 watt UV balanced photo flood for these shots, ya gotta have light for photography ya know.
Okay, why bother with all this? Holy fnorking pigmeat Batman, this bacon was fricken amazing. This, of course, is Fatted Calf’s Rind On Bacon. Why is it different from the last time? Why bother with yet another damned Bacon post?

2 reasons right off the top. One of which being the wonderful rich and deep smoking this batch received. While the cure seemed a little less sweet than the last, this one had a more pronounced smoke flavor. Just in case you don’t know, I’m a huge fan of that fancy rich and deep smoky love. The second reason is just LOOK. Check out the fricken shape and size of that bacon. That’s not a little city cut of metrosexual bacon, that right there friends is a huge ass rustic cut of bacon that only allows 2 slices in the pan at once! This, is why, I absolutely needed something to take a snapshot with for you today.
Just when you thought you had it all, I have one more little juicy treat. As a semi-general rule, I don’t cook the crap out of my bacon. But this time I took the last 2 pieces a little farther than I normally do. The heat came up just a tad and got things jumpin’. If you look, you can tell when the bacon is browning and getting crisper by the second, this is what I did. Then pulled and patted dry with a paper towel. I used to use a cloth one, but Mama put a quick stop to that. If you cook Rind On bacon this far it turns the rind in to cracklins, hard & snappy cracklins. So, now not only do we have a good smoky piece of bacon, but each bite has this insane smashing sound as it works around your teefs. SMASH, CRUNCH, KERPOW !!! I had chewy bacon, I had crunchy bacon and I had explosionny bacon in my mouth all at once. Man, just when you think you’ve done it all with bacon. Bacon is most certainly a multifacited meat.
I feel like a used tube of toothpaste. Time for a smoke.
This week’s Fatted Calf menu has the Porchetta pork roast back. It’s better than you remember, just buy one please. You certainly won’t regret it, that’s for sure. And if you have anything that you absolutely must have, please visit their web site and order it ahead of time. Remember, don’t wash it, it’s ready to enter your oven or smoker or grill.
One last thing before my mind shuts off, they’ve got Boudin Noir this week. This prized sausage only shows up once in a while and if you’re a fan, preorder right now. Please continue on to the Fatted Calf Newsletter that I didn’t write. This one sets the records straight as to when and where Fatted Calf’s store is opening, cool eh?

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Fatted Calf Newsletter – Basque Coils, Pork Crepinettes with pine nuts, currants & herbs and Cattail Creek Lamb Sirloin Roasts

Fatted Calf’s Berkshire Pork Brochettes from a few weeks ago. These were exceptionally tasty.

Wahoo! Lookie, I got a mention in the Fatted Calf Newsletter, neat. Not only am I famous on the internet, now via newsletters as well. You’re most certainly welcome Taylor, Toponia and The Team. I wouldn’t have done it any other way and consider myself a greater person knowing you. XO.
This week looks exceptionally great and I can hardly wait to smell the lamb roast. No, not while it’s cooking, but raw in the wrapper. Taylor has this way with meat that not only allows wonderful wafts from the grill, but directly from the wrapper as well. You’ll see, this coming Saturday open the package and give a sniff. It’ll make you smile.
WOW !!! I haven’t seen these for a while, sausage coils. Basque sausage coils to be exact. Mama said they smell of garden fresh vegetables and fruits, very bright. I agreed, “Of course, it’s sausage.” What gives this sausage is rosey color and warm flavor is the Piment d’ Espelette (Basque chile pepper). That’s some pretty fancy ingredient usin’ there. I’ve already placed my preorder along with the lamb roast and a few other goodies. Hey, they’ve got the Knockwurst listed too. You should really try these if you haven’t. They’re smoky, smooth with a little spicy action. I boil them for 5 minutes in gently boiling water, pull and serve with a hot German mustard. I figure 2 per person is fair, at least for me anyways.
Hey, have you ever taken their Breakfast Sausage, made it in to a patty and grilled it? Served on a good bun like a standard beef burger? You should you know. Breakfast sausage isn’t just for breakfast anymore.
While the Pate and Salumi departments certainly hold more than a few treasures, the Rind On Bacon draws me to the bottom each time. The wonderfully rich flavors and nice chewy texture to this already smoky pork product are something I wait in anticipation for each time. I remember a few weeks ago this version was gone in about 5 minutes, no kidding.
It’s September 1st and I suppose the summer is winding down. Kids are back in school and Labor day is upon us. Start the weekend off right and head out to your local farmer’s market and get cooking. I know that’s where I’m headed. I hope to see you there!

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Fatted Calf News – Rabbit Crepinettes with Nicoise Olives & Heritage Berkshire Pork Brochettes with Herbs de Provence

I FINALLY FOUND IT !!! While this isn’t the original, it’s fricken’ close enough (a scan of the print). This here was my inspiration for naming this web site, Meathenge. I took this in the way way early 1990s, probably 15 years ago, eeek. If you want to read About Meathenge, click on the about link to the left there. As soon as I can, I’ll be putting it up there, some place. You bet.

Oh thank goodness, the Fatted Calf Newsletter just rolled in. It’s been a painfully dull week here in regard to food or anything food related. And I haven’t had the time to head out on a Meat Adventure, nope. I can say a Wood Adventure is coming soon though. No, not like that. Fancy cooking wood, that’s what I’m talking about. But I haven’t taken ownership of it yet, it’ll be a few days.
Until then I would personally like to thank the FC Newsletter for making my day brighter. While I sit in my office, I get visions of warm Saturday mornings walking up and down the farmer’s market. The pace is one of leisure with moments of inspiration as I notice new and fresh goodies. The maters have finally begun to show up tasty and the melons are still juicy, sweet and fragrant. Up at the top of the market I find my pals at Blue Bottle Coffee toiling away at water science and calming the jittery crowd. Tracy is always spot on with a cup o’ fresh drip, slurrrp. My pace usually slows at this point cause my coffee is really hot and I have 2 full bags of treasures that I need to balance, carefully. Up around the tippy top I get to put my bags down and hang out with Eric the Knife Guy. He’s got this little wobbly card table with all his tools, display and Mountain Dew linearly placed. It’s fun to see what knives, scissors and shears roll in. Last week he had an English slicing knife that was probably 80 some odd years old. One of the interesting points on this blade was that it had scalloped edges, like the newer kullen type knives. Eric said it was popular back then, but quickly fell out of favor. So, if you think that Kullen edge is so new and fancy, it ain’t. It’s been done and done 80 years ago by the English. HA !!!
On my way back I like to see what Ted from Highland Hills Farm is up to. His stall is usually piled high with meat and ice and more meat and ice and a scale. I search high and low for bacon, you know me. And I check out the menu for fresh goat, I love goat. Since Ted is a rancher and the rancher that ranches his heard, you can ask him all kinds of ranching questions. Such as, “Hey, it’s really hot, how are your cows doing in this heat?” And, “how’s the grass growing? It’s there enough for the cows?” You get the idea.
While Fatted Calf is always my first stop at the market, it’s also usually my last. Why? Because I get so giddy the first time, I can’t concentrate. Or I’m not awake yet and need some fresh cup o’ drip. I’m usually calm enough by pass #2 I can figure out what I need or want or really neeeeeed. Such as a carefully cured stick of salami, man love that stuff.
These are the bright day dreams the Fatted Calf Newsletter brings to me on these Thursdays when I’m a few days out. It speaks to me and says, “It’s okay Biggles, just a few more days until your rabbit crepinettes. You can make it, just a few more days.” Thanks again Newsletter, you’re the best.
Now please read on to the most fabulous FC Newsletter not written by me.

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Fatted Calf Newsletter – Herb stuffed Cattail Creek Lamb Sirloin Roasts & Duck Crepinettes

You gotta know, I get to the market just about when it legally opens. That’d be 10am every Saturday morning. I arrived at the Fatted Calf stall a few minutes after and I’m not talking 11:30, I’m talking about 10:05. Toponia was erasing the crepinettes and the rind on bacon right off the board, sold out. So, if you’re looking forward to something specific this week, order now. Got it?
I would really, truly recommend picking up the lamb roast. Taylor has a real knack for finding excellent cuts and they’re painfully fresh. He uses organic herbs and stuffins. I know what some of you are thinking, “I’m not so concerned with everything being organic, just tasting good.” This is something to be thoughtful about when at Safeway and buying their own branded organic milk or produce. Their definition of organic ain’t mine. It does make a difference when you get to know your farmers and ranchers and how they raise their stock and produce. The fruits, veggies and herbies are organic at the Berkeley farmer’s market and I can’t reproduce the goodness at my local Safeway, not even remotely. Taylor grabs all these things and more and introduces them in to meat. What do we get? The best damned lamb roast ever, that’s what.
“Okay Biggles, you talked my poor ass in to buying this hunk of gorgeous lamb, but now what?” Says you. “Cook it and don’t screw it up, foo!” Says I. Use grill or smoker or find someone who does. And that’s how I’d recommend doing it. Sharing is caring.
Don’t wash it! There’s most certainly pepper dust on the outside that needs to stay. It’s ready to be cooked. Be gentle though, sear it directly first. Then remove off coals, close lid and cook indirectly until an internal temperature of 138 to 140 is obtained. This will probably be within an hour or so for these little dudes. Pull and let rest 15 mnutes. Eat.
By the look of the menu this week you have all kinds of good things to choose from. I see Spicy Beef Links. I know previously these were best cooked in a smoker for a few hours. I would ask when you show up and see if that is still true. Either way though, the spice blend and the meat flavors really come through on this link, try a package and see. The duck crepinettes will most certainly be on this coming week’s menu for Meathenge Labs. They got brandied prunes man !!! Duck and brandy? Oh yes.
Please read on to the Fatted Calf Newsletter not written by me. And I hope to see you at the market, I can hardly wait. I saw some grapefruit the last few weeks and I want to try.

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Fatted Calf Newsletter: Heritage Berkshire Brined and Smoked Pork Chops & ‘s Gulch Rabbit Crepinettes with Roasted Shallots!

Ever wonder what the inside of Fatted Calf’s quail stuffed with sausage and a fig looks like? Smoked? Wonder no longer.

Holy cow, or rabbit as the case may be. The Fatted Calf Newsletter just rolled in and man, do they have a full menu for this coming Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. The special this week would be Heritage Berkshire Brined and Smoked Pork Chops. These are legendary in the San Francisco Bay Area and have been for years. You’re a silly bird for not reserving yourself a few. A good method for preparing these beasts (and easy) would be to preheat your oven to 400 degrees, rack at center position. Heat up your cast iron or stainless skillet good and smoking. Install chops for maybe 2 to 3 minutes a side. I put a bacon press on each for even caramelization, but it isn’t necessary. Remove press after both sides are complete and install in to hot oven until they reach an internal temp of maybe 140 degrees. Check temp at 8 minutes, cook accordingly. Pull when ready and set on cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Either serve whole or sliced all pretty like. I prefer doing this versus the smoker or grill because the chops are already smoked. And giving them the searing really brings up the flavors like a rocket. Plus, if you do it right, you’ll get little bright crusty pieces! MMMmMMMM.
The sausage list is pretty huge today, Savory Pork Sausage with Greens, Basque Links and Toulouse just to mention a few. While the savory pork is quite fine, I really enjoy the peppery goodness of the Basque links. So good, so nice, so damned perfect on the grill! Ooo OoOo, MORTADELLA. Go for the mortadella if for nothing else, I do. Reading this menu is making me crazy, I gotta go eat lunch.
You go check out the menu yourself and come out to the market this Saturda at either the Ferry Building or in Berkeley. Either one will render you some wonderful choices. Take care and see you at the market!

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Lomo en Adobo, Pork Crepinettes with Summer Chanterelles and and and … — Fatted Calf Newsletter

I have no idea what or where a Lomo is. Good thing they put something in italics below that reads, “Heritage Berkshire Double Rib Pork Loin Roasts.” That right there told me what I wanted to know. And I have had these before. Do you know where they belong? In our smokers, that’s where. Why? Because it’s too damned hot for roasting in doors.
Listen up, if you don’t have a grill or smoker, go get one. You can find them at any Mega-Lo mart, club type store and our local Raley’s has them. Even the lowest of the lowly will out cook, out flavor any propane rig. At the same time git yourself a grill brush, heavy leather gloves, bag of some charcoaled wood (mesquite or hardwood lump) and a starting device that doesn’t include liquid fuel. Okay, so get 2 bags of charcoal. Go home and practice making a few fires. Read the instructions that came with the grill and/or bag of wood. Run a few fires through it, get to know the fire. See what’s hot and what’s not. Make sure you set your coals so you have a cool side and a hot side. Then for crissakes throw some meat on there! Through some onions,mushrooms and marinated eggplant. GO !!!
Next up we have some wonderful Pork Crepinettes with Summer Chanterelles. There’s no match like pork and mushrooms, no sir. The richy goodness of the fancy pork and the heady love of mushrooms do a number on your buds. You will be happy. When grilling the crepinettes, be careful. That fatty webbing can really turn your fire in to a smoky gush of flame. Put your meat to the cool side and put the lid on your grill, vents open. If it’s really bad, close the upper vents for 10 seconds or so, then reopen. Leave the lid on for 10 minutes or so until the fire cools down. The crepinettes may or may not be done by then. If not, toss back to direct. See? It’s easy. Oh yeah, don’t forget to wear your gloves, foo.
Ya know what’s really good on the grill? As a nice patty? Is the breakfast sausage. I’ve done this many times and it comes out smoky wonderful. Not quite as breakfasty as you’d think. Aromatic Porky Patty, that’s APP in the grill world.
Ah, this is a good week for getting outdoors and enjoying the garden. And what’s better then standing in your garden while it’s being flooded with real wood charcoal smoke interleaved with meat fumes? That’s right, nothing.
I hope to see you at the market on Saturday. Take care,

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Ode to Sugo di Carne

As I sit to write, the knot in my stomach tightens. The aroma still lingers on my hands, in my beard, I fear not wash. Dear Sugo, do not leave.
You and I met summers ago, at a market, at a stand. This container of careful meat stewing. Your master, ever smiling knew it would entice, steer me back for more. You Sugo, are my crack. Week after week, year after year your flavors never wandered. Warmed on toast? With fresh ‘maters added? You even replaced my meat sauce, never looked back. The delight in the eyes of the children each week, guaranteed dinner splendor. Tiny E never tried, but he knew the lineage and was calmed by your presence.
Everyone loves you, everyone cares. Dear Sugo, do not leave.
I leave you today in tears. Farewell to thee dear Sugo.

Berkshire Pork Brochettes with Herbes de Provence, Pork Crepinettes with Chard, Lemon and Pine Nuts – Fatted Calf Newsletter

Here is the opening slices of the smoked & stuffed lamb leg from the 4th. Yes, it was that good.

I feel funny. Like I had 2 Monday’s this week. Work Monday, eat Tuesday, back to work on Wednesday. Yup, 2 Mondays, this can’t possibly be a good thing. So, when the Fatted Calf Newsletter rolled in, I felt a little better and it grounded me as to where I am in the day.
This week’s menu steers towards ease of prep and no fuss. I had the lamb brochettes (meat on sticks) a few weeks ago and now they gots pork brochettes. Damned they were good, and easy. Not that grilling a crepinette is all that tough in itself. But you don’t even have to put the meat on the sticks, just my style. Open package and insert to fire, turn, eat. They good, you get.
The pork crepinettes this week is stuffed with chard, lemon and pine nuts. Heeeee, it makes my toes curl when I even remotely consider seeing them lay on my grill. Cook carefully my peoples, they tender. Do not over cook, dry pork sucks.
The newsletter mentions Ciccioli. I googled it and it seems kinda like a creamy pate deal. I’ve clearly never had it, but I’d like to stick my face in and wooly it about a little to see what the scoop is. Maybe this weekend?
I see something else looming out of the meat pile, Salami Cotto. While I know we’ve all had some of this at one time or another, I’d like to see what Fatted Calf does with it. The stuff we find at our local grocery store is usually just a bland & fatty piece of nothin’. I can’t imagine Taylor doing anything remotely like that. I’m going to try some, fer sure.
As my eyes wander around, I notice clear down there at the bottom I see something about Beef Jerky. Eh? That’s new too. What’s that about? Beef Jerky?
Ooo Ooo Ooo, hey! I nearly missed it but they’ve got the Sicilian al’ Arancia this week. This is still my favorite meat stick. It’s a little bright and happy Sicillian salami with orange zest in it. Not sure why, but it really makes my day to bite in to a little slice. MmmMmMm, citrus zest.
I can hardly wait for Satuday, I’ve got all kinds of great things planned for the day. I hope to see you at the market!
ps – If you want to have any near remote chance of picked up the brochettes this week, I would strongly suggest you pre-order your needs today.

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Fatted Calf hits the mother lode of mushrooms this week! Fatted Calf Newsletter

This here is last week’s Cattail Creek Lamb Brochettes marinated in Harissa. We grilled them nicely until done. Then we stood around and ate them. And then, we sat down.

Ick. We’re smack dab in the middle of a heat wave around these parts. I imagine we’ll see 90s here and it’ll hit triple digits inland. My fresh flower garden gets a watering twice a day and we mostly just sit around and sweat. But as the sun starts to dip, as the ocean breezes kick in about 5pm, Biggles hits the grill and it’s sausage time!
Good thing too cause this week Fatted Calf scored bigtime on some fancy porcini and morel murshrooms. The porcini are going in the quail. And brother, I can tell you these stuffed quail were built for the grill or smoker. They don’t take long and please be gentle. You will be rewarded. The morel murshrooms are going in links. Oh man I’ll bet those are rich and juicy. Get your mesquite going, toss on a handful of hickory chips and lay out your links. If the heat is blistering, let it burn down for 10 minutes or so before you install your food.
Oh man, this week are the Devil’s Gulch Rabbit Crepinettes with Roasted Shallots. Those shallots are so creamy perfect for rabbit, it’s like their sisters or something. Sister Shallot and Sister Rabbit, HAHAHAHaahhah. I think I’ve just come up wtih my first children’s book.
This is an excellent week for a visit. The weather will be nice, the sausage is fresh and I’ll bet you could find a nice salumi to fit the need. See you at the market!

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