Here’s your weekly chance to unload on life with The Unloading. This week the crew attempts to guess date-of-birth and other relevant back-of-baseball-card stats for Jim’s future son. Mary orders a giant tub of melons from a local street vendor, Pete discusses his future marriage plans and also tells a tale of woe about his job hunt. Stephanie once again attempts to sell Pete on McDonald’s coffee. All that plus Olympics and Dark Knight Rises spoilers on episode 6 of The Unloading.
Better late than never for episode 5 of The Unloading. The fallout from Pete returning home last week with a Scoochie T, a sample of some of Jim’s homebrew and Pete’s full accounting of CHIRP softball’s shellacking of the Time Out Chicago team. Also an attempt to review The Dark Knight Rises without spoiling it for Stephanie, who for some reason hasn’t seen it yet. Enjoy!
A perfect companion to homemade sausage is homemade pizza. Here’s my recipe.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of smashed garlic or minced (depending on preference)
- 1 32oz can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 2 ½ tsp dried basil
- 2 ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp marjoram (or add more basil if you don’t have it)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Pour olive oil into large sauce pan and heat on medium. Add garlic and sautee. Then add tomato puree, spices and sugar. Bring to a boil (watch out for splashing sauce!) and then reduce heat and simmer for a half hour. If you went with smashed garlic you can fish those pieces out before using the sauce/freezing the sauce.
- 3 cups bread flour (or 2 cups bread/1 cup unbleached AP)
- 1 packet (or 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 (give or take) cup of room temperature or warm water
I use a KitchenAid mixer when making dough. Using paddle attachment mix flour and yeast together. Add in sugar and then olive oil, making sure olive oil is even mixed into flour. Add salt while mixer is running and then slowly add water. Mix until fully combined and little to no dough remains on sides of bowl. The dough should feel tacky but not sticky and coming off in your hands. Attach dough hook and mix dough ball on medium speed for 15 minutes. Dough should have a smooth appearance. You can also break off a small piece of dough, flatten it in your palm and then slowly pull it apart from the center, holding it up to the light. If you can see light through it and it doesn’t break apart it’s ready. If not continue kneading.
After dough is dough place the ball on a clean, slightly damp counter. Form it into a dough shape and then slowly roll it around on the counter using both hands. Put the dough ball in a large bowl coated with a thin layer of olive oil. Roll the dough ball around in the bowl to make sure it’s full covered in olive oil. Let it rest with a towel over the bowl until it doubles in size.
Punch the dough ball down, divide it into too pieces and then repeat the step from above of forming each piece into a dome shape, rolling it around and letting it rise until it has about doubled in size. From here there are a couple of options. You can stretch the dough out (always by hand) and place it on a floured or corn mealed (is that a term?) pan or pizza peel. You can put your toppings on and throw it in the oven. Or you could cover the stretched out dough with towels and let that rise for a little longer, to get some more bubbles in there. If you do this just be care about the dough sticking to the peel or pan. Before you put the ingredients on make sure you can still move the dough around and that it will slide off into the oven. I use pizza stones and crank my oven as high as it can go. The pizza will cook in no time. Let it rest after taking it out because it will be very hot.
As requested, here is the Italian sausage recipe. It was my great grandfather Salvatore “Sam” Cangelosi’s recipe. That’s where my grandpa Al got the recipe. Then Uncle Ray made some changes to it, adding in extra red pepper flakes, red wine, Parmesan or Romano cheese and sun dried tomatoes.
- 5-6 pounds medium ground pork shoulder
- natural sausage casings
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (obviously more or less depending on your feelings about spicy food)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (optional)
- 1% non-iodized salt by weight (weigh ground meat in grams, divide by 100, and add that many grams of salt)
There are some excellent sausage making tips in an article on Serious Eats Chicago featuring Butcher & Larder’s Rob Levitt. In particular the amount of salt, although the original family recipe of 1 tablespoon of salt is about 1% of the weight of the meat. A good butcher will have casings and will also give you the right amount of casings for your encased meat project. I use the KitchenAid mixer with the sausage stuffer attachment at a medium speed. Grandpa Al learned the hard way that the convenience of an electric sausage stuffer is outweighed by ground pork flying around your kitchen at a high rate of speed. Also make sure to put the casings in a bowl of cold water and just slosh them around in there. The sausage I made for the crew did not have sun dried tomatoes in it either. Get yourself some nice crusty Italian bread and a bottle of Pagliacci giardinera relish and you’re ready to go. Or don’t stuff some of the sausage and fry it up for pizza! Happy sausaging!
The Unloading is a day early this week and we also had our first in-studio guests (human division). Stephanie brought along Daveon and Harris, who were still drunk and also wearing Scoochie tanktops. They also made Pete a Scoochie tank top out of the shirt he was wearing. Enjoy!
The Unloading is back after a one week hiatus and we’re loaded up with stories from our time apart. Mary’s attempt to quantify the death of Andy Griffith lead us to our first ever phone call guest. Pete gets into yet another fight with a dog owner. Stephanie undertakes an epic journey to get home from the Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney Show and Jim grills up some homemade sausages.