Eric Braddock and Adrienne Novak coming at you with the elements of our life at the bakehouse, baking delicious gluten-free goods, as well as all the adventures in between. We #roadtripgypsies couldn’t be more excited about the warming weather and upcoming camping season…our new Rockwood RLT2507S Mini Lite Travel Trailer (we named her DreamCatcher) has been polished and ready to hit the road since right before COVID hit the U.S. So while our gypsy dreams had to downshift, the time in our home kitchen got to increase! One of our favorite things to do together is to break out the smoker…and this month did not disappoint. We cured and smoked two pork bellies using a couple of Chef Braddock’s proven bacon recipes, so please enjoy that savory trip down taste bud lane. And of course, what better way to use that bacon than on Chef Braddock’s FIRST bacon and peanut butter sammie, laid out on Eban’s gluten-free Cranberry Walnut bread! He loved it and can’t wait to share with you all how those flavors floored him! We also delve into our community garden, our friends over at North County Charcuterie, a fine summer cocktail, and a new Q&A feature where you can ask us questions! Please enjoy the following updates on our lives as proprietors, chefs, best friends, nomads, and worshipers of Mother Nature.
No Gluten, No Regrets!
BUNS IN THE BAKEHOUSE
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment we knew we would start producing gluten-free buns. It seems like once the word was out on how delicious our bread is our customers began requesting a hamburger style bun. We started putting the plans into motion over a year ago, and once our Reiser automated-production-line-machine arrived, the rest was history. Baking the shockingly delicious bun you enjoy now took some time and creativity on our end to get it right. There were many challenges that came with the crafting of our bun but we absolutely refused to admit defeat! We’re almost one year into the production of our artisan buns now and demand for them continues to grow. We love the pictures of the burgers and sandwiches you all make using our products, from cheeseburgers to tuna steak sandwiches to sausage, egg & cheese breakfast sammies, and gorgeous BBQ, so please keep those pictures and fresh ideas coming! As we head into summer grilling time, an email we received last year comes to mind from a mother in Pennsylvania. She wanted to let us know last year how devastated her daughter was when (having been recently diagnosed with Celiac disease) she thought that eating gluten-free meant she could no longer share in the cheeseburger ritual she and her father had established. Mom went on to say they are very close and do most of their bonding while grilling together - Dad being quite the grill master and passing on what he has learned to her. Before she came across our buns her daughter had practically accepted that a great tasting gluten-free burger was no longer an option… our buns proved to be the missing element! Their beloved tradition will hopefully continue on deliciously (with a little help from Eban's Bakehouse) for years to come! . As chefs we both understand that food is much more than what’s on the plate. It’s generations of memories and traditions, and it’s so cool to hear when we’ve become a small part of yours.
Curing meat is something that has always interested us because of the incredible product that emerges, and the time it takes to perfect it. When spending that much time with a cut of meat a relationship forms between man and meat, and just like all relationships in life, you must invest time and skill into crafting a great product. With this pork belly, we are already a month into it and will most likely have some in our freezer for months to come. I find it fascinating that you can take a regular, everyday cut of meat and just by combining it with your own creation of seasonings and sauces, a completely different product emerges. The final product is savory, smoky, salty, and incredibly satisfying. Please enjoy my take on bacon curing and smoking. I would love to hear back from those of you who give it a shot, and remember...to cure…you must care! -- Eric_____________________________________________________
I love bacon! It’s one of those salty, savory, perfect ingredients that goes so well with just about any other food! One of my favorite bacon pairings is with peanut butter as the bacon compliments and brings out the natural sweetness of the peanut butter. Here is my riff on Elvis Presley’s favorite Bacon & PB Sandwich served open-face on a slice of our Cranberry Walnut Bread toasted to a crunchy golden brown. You could add sliced bananas too! Our Cranberry Walnut Bread is one of my favorites! Give it a try now and then think ahead to Thanksgiving Dinner this Fall (it makes amazing gluten-free Dressing)! -- Eric
_____________________________________________________OUR HAPPY HOUR
Whether it’s the scene from Pee Wee Herman in the biker bar, or Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as witching, margarita-drinking sisters in Practical Magic, it doesn’t take much to give us a hankering for some fine tequila, mixed in an even finer margarita. After a particularly long day at the bakehouse last week it was awesome to come home and mix up this beauty, while sitting on the porch watching spring arrive.
We love our apartment community, and even more so when they put in a community garden several years ago! We have taken advantage of this amenity to its fullest for three years now and look forward to growing a little bit of our own food every season. Each plot is just 7’x5’ but you’d be surprised how much produce you can pack into a tiny space! And I know I’m not alone when I say that gardening is like therapy for me! I can spend hours working outside, digging in the dirt, tending to delicate plants, weeding, watering... escaping the stresses of the world for just a spell to nurture a bit of beauty where I call home.
This year’s garden is underway, but the cold spring weather had pushed back the usual Mother’s Day planting a bit as a recent cold snap would have threatened young plants. I kept them indoors under grow lights until the weather warmed. Going in the ground this year in our plot are 4 varietals of organic heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapeño peppers and shishito peppers (last year our shishitos were so prolific that we probably had 15 lbs of peppers from two plants!). We buy starters from Swainway Urban Farm and they never disappoint!
I was excited to see “surprise” onions already coming up in our plot! Last year I planted sets of “Candy” onions and a few stayed hidden all growing season until just a couple weeks ago. I pulled them up and found over 40 beautiful onions to separate and pop right back into the earth. These onions are so delicious roasted on the fire and served up in salads, a topper for a grilled steak, or in Mexican dishes (think Fajitas, tacos).
This year I also planted from seed, sugar snap peas, French-style string beans, beets, black radishes and several varieties of sunflowers for around our apartment building and patio garden. Our perennial herbs and strawberries in our patio garden are thriving. I always add annual basil, dill and parsley (we adore cooking with fresh herbs) as well as two large planters of mixed salad greens and annual flowers to attract pollinators and hummingbirds.
Eric is the caretaker of our fruit trees. We have a Persian Lime, a Meyer Lemon and a Fig tree all in large pots on casters that can be moved around to follow the sun on our patio in the summer and then rolled back inside under grow lights during the cold, dark Midwest winter months! Two years ago we had such a large crop of lemons that I made homemade Meyer Lemon Limoncello (it’s delicious but potent!). -- Adrienne
Q&A With A&E
Adrienne & Eric have the solutions to your culinary quandaries!
Q: Hey guys! So my question is about making my own salad dressings. I find them so much more tasteful when I create my own using fresh ingredients, and there’s nothing like a crisp vinaigrette on my summer salads! BUT, my problem is that while the dressings are always good, they are never as thick as the store bought ones. They are quite thin and come off more as a drink I’ve poured on my salad instead of a nice robust, thick dressing. Is there some magical ingredient I need to add to thicken my dressings that I am not? Please help!
- Amber Y., North Carolina
A: Hey Amber and thank you for emailing us! My first thought is how you are mixing the ingredients once you’ve combined them. I would suggest using a mixer, namely a Nutribullet or some other type of immersion blender. This helps the oil to separate into smaller globules and emulsify and give it a creamier texture. Also, if you are doing flavors other than a summer vinaigrette, you should try adding a little bit of yogurt to the creamier dressings! It will work wonders in the mix and will add another dimension to the flavor profile! -- Adrienne
North Country Charcuterie is a top notch, family run business coming out of Columbus, OH. Chef James Forbes, his brother, and their mother, have created an incredible selection of handmade cured meats and salamis. The North Country Charcuterie team brings a myriad of business experience, all of which combine to bring you a product infused with the finest old world craftsmanship. All of their pork is locally sourced and humanely raised from nearby farms. Other ingredients they use also come from fellow Ohio makers including local cheese, wine, craft beer, herbs, and spices. At the moment they have a featured Charcuterie Kit available that really speaks to the essence of who they are.
No. 1 Salami, Fino Salami, Oveja Negra Cheese and Tart Cherry Preserves
With the creamery also based out of Columbus, OH and the honey farmers hailing from a hop skip and a jump away in Alexandria, OH, it’s easy to see that North Country takes #locavore to a whole new level! Their charcuterie works perfectly served up on our Seeded or Oat Bread toasted and cut into cracker-size pieces. The great people over at North Country aren’t just our friends because they are excellent foodies with a talent for the craft, they are also a business with a heartbeat, rooted in family, tradition, and that fluid...je ne sais quoi.