Cudighi

IMG_1518My sister-in-law introduced it as another fine Yooper culinary treat. I had never heard of it. As a self-proclaimed Yooper (born, and raised until 8 when we moved to the land of trolls), I had only ever hard of and consumed pasties (not including the Polish food I grew up with). She described it as a sort of Italian sausage, half beef, half pork, with some seasonings… but different. She said you eat it on a bun, like a burger. She enticed, “There are even cudighi buns you can get at the grocery store.”

We were intrigued. We were game. We found the cudighi buns. There were two sizes. Sister-in-law asked for the thinner ones, and we obliged. At home, brother and sister-in-law prepared our meal and gave us the loose guidelines. It basically goes like this:

  • Bun
  • Cudighi in a patty with provolone (or Swiss) cheese
  • Sautéed green peppers and mushrooms
  • Pizza sauce

The cudighi was like Italian sausage, but spicier. And, the combination on a lighter ciabatta bun was fantastic. Sister-in-law gifted us two pounds, and this Labor Day, we recreated the meal with the benefit of a bit of research.

We found out that cudighi arrived about the 1920s with a wave of Italian immigrants. The speciality is found mostly in Negaunee and Ispheming. I grew up in Marquette, so that might make sense while we never heard of it. That and we didn’t go out to eat much. Here are some recipes we found.

recipe 1

1 (6lb) pork butt
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ to 1 cup of dry red wine
6 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove

recipe 2

3 pounds ground venison
7 pounds ground pork
6 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons black pepper

recipe 3

6 lb coarsely ground pork butt
1 clove garlic chopped fine
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
6 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons fennel seed

basic instructions

A few instructions said to grind it yourself, twice, so we’ll include that. More generally, just mixing up the ground meat and spices, then forming into patties or sausages is the key. Again, though, grinding the meat, and together if your using, say, venison and pork. Then, add the spices and grind again. The cudighi we had was very fine in appearance, which suggests to me a double grind. Also, the cudighi we consumed came from the Ishpeming Township fire department, and a fundraiser at that.

We read that you have the burger and eat with “the works”. So, tonight, this is what we did:

  • Ciabatta loaf (rolls were sold out)
  • Tillamook smoked provolone cheese slices
  • Sautéed red, yellow, orange, green peppers with yellow onion, and mushrooms
  • Homemade simple marinara sauce
  • Optional condiments included ketchup, mustard, and pickles

Cudighi was grilled on a charcoal grill. Reviews have it tasting quite yummy.

Resources

Cudighi recipe

Venison cudighi

Homemade cudighi sausage

Using Oils Internally

One of my favorite ways for getting the benefits of any oil in me is through internal use. When I started using the oils, I added orange oil to my water. At the time, I was locked into an 8:30 am – 5 pm desk job. I was a main point of contact, so my mobility was limited. Colleagues would often walk to the nearest convenience store, and they would generously ask if they could get me anything. I routinely asked for something sweet, like a brownie.

Now, here’s the thing. We weren’t talking about a quality brownie. There was no richness. There was no delectable quality of cocoa and flours coming together to satisfy an intense chocolate craving. No, we are talking about the most replicable, boxed, processed thing in all its unhealthy glory.

And I would eat one, every single day. Every single day.

Until the oils were introduced. And I noticed my cravings weren’t calling out to me. My water tasted bright and uplifting, and I wasn’t relying on a sub par dessert to get me through my morning.

Here’s another great resource on using the oils internally.

A great summary of the benefits and some uses of Wild Orange.

Renewed Whole 30

Two full Whole 30 plans. The rest of the year was a loose 80/20 following, lowering our grain input, but not saying “no” to prohibited foods like Oreos when cravings arose.

What does this mean? When we focused on eating right, managing stress, and getting that nutrition right, our bodies shifted. We slept better, our hearts got right, our waists got thinner, and doctor visits were radiant.

Separately, during the 80/20 time, we noticed stress rise, then our waists got thicker, and movement got harder. So, another plan was in order. We attempted to do it during Lent, mocking last year identically. But, we didn’t. We enabled each other towards cravings. Until the husband had it with the tightening belt, and we started again on March 27. Frankly, it’s been a hard week. We’re hungry and relearning what we can eat.

The boy had a sleepover, so we cheated (completely against the rules) on Saturday with a compliant meal peppered with a very non-compliant Mimosa.

Today, we’re out of food and pay-day is tomorrow. So, I’m scrounging in the fridge to find enough food to stave off hunger. I purposefully used up our store-bought mayo a few months ago. Our protein source is down to a dozen boiled eggs or canned tuna. What’s a girl to do? No real mayo, no eggs… Google to the rescue and it gave me Jane’s Healthy Kitchen recipe. Having all the ingredients, I had to try it. I desired to make it Whole 30 compliant, so I withheld sweetener, but all I tasted was the apple cider vinegar. So, I added about a tablespoon of local honey to cut the acid.

My nutrition friend Leigh, crediting ATP Science, added, “the ACV will help manage the insulin response… so that’s a good addition. If you added turmeric in, the vegetable oil will convert to DHEA omega 3 like fish oil.” Definitely try for next time!

I am an emotional eater

We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.
We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.

When I started the Whole 30, I started it as an experiment with my body. I started it to see if there was any reactions to food that I could weed out. I didn’t start the Whole 30 to see how I used food to confront emotions. In the third week of the challenge – the second week of March – I had a terrible day, and then week, at work. And, in that week, my emotional eating was crystalized.

I had a bad day at work. One bad day turned into a terrible week. I’d like to get into the details, but it’s too personal and too close. I’ve gotten congratulations and compliments on this thread of personal posts, but previous emotional confessions have happened so long ago that there has been time for healing. That is, the emotional incident occurred so long ago that I’ve had time to make sense of the emotions, so sharing the feelings is cathartic and hopefully helpful to others with similar issues. While sharing my feelings on recent incidents could be cathartic and helpful, I’ve also found myself in situations where it became uncomfortable to discuss the thing that happened so recently. So, we’ll leave it at as a bad day that turned into a bad week.

The first bad day, when I came home, the only thing I wanted was a brownie. A rich, fudge, chocolatey brownie. But, I was doing the Whole 30. I was committed to the Whole 30, and sweets are strictly prohibited. There is no cheating, and there is no slipping. To the point you are not to eat fruit if you are craving sugar. So, I resisted.

It was painfully clear though (as if I hadn’t realized it before *hear the sarcasm*) that I am an emotional eater. I take comfort in comfort food when I don’t or cannot deal with whatever emotion surfaces.

I vented, in this instance, to my husband instead. Declaring loudly, “I am an emotional eater!”

So, I’ve known for a long time that I take comfort in comfort food, but it wasn’t until that moment that I knew that was a barrier for me in dealing with emotions. Realizing it, so clearly, because I committed to no cheating through Easter.

Emotions arose, and I could not cheat with a brownie. I had to figure out what was bothering me. It has taken me now maybe 6 weeks to figure out what really bothered me about that bad day and bad week. I figured it out without resorting to sweets to help, but I have not finished my end of the deal – I have not confronted those whose actions I found so offensive. So, I sit on the edge of artificial harmony because I’d rather not go for the jugular.

But, I have realized that I am an emotional eater. And, now this recognition brings choice – to succumb or to confront. And, I can do this, eyes wide open. And, I should thank the Whole 30 for helping to bring about that realization.

How do you deal with difficult emotions? Do you take comfort in rich, chocolatey brownies, or do you face the emotions head on?

Daily prompt: A plot of earth

Farm Shot
My brother carrying his daughter on the Farm.

You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Simple. Acquisitions. You see, there is a book, and it explains who all the owners are. They are neighbors to the plot of earth. They are longtime, and sometimes new, residents to the area. They might have had kids grow up and move away. They might be treating the space as their vacation home.

Regardless, I thought the earth was infinite as a youth, and it’s my dream to make it seem more so.

There is something that churns at my stomach when I consider those who have second and third homes. On one hand, I am envious. And, perhaps that’s the only hand. Because, then I consider all those who have nothing.

Peter is fond of saying, lately, that he does not think Levi will have the resources when he is an adult to purchase his own plot of earth. That is, the housing prices will have increased so dramatically, that Levi will be Out of Reach.

Growing up, I always felt out of reach. I suppose I was vaguely aware of aunts and uncles who owned versus those in our predicament, seemingly to always be on the cusp of another’s wishes.

So, my dream is to acquire the plot of earth. Rather, aid in its tending, and grow it. Currently, it sits at 160 acres, divided by a highway. I’d like to pick up the properties adjacent, one at a time, until everything is owned abutting the state and federal lands. Then, I would like to purchase the land Mead used to cut down trees when I was a teenager. Then, I would like to buy out the second homes. All the land would go in a preserve, an extension of the existing trust. And, we would learn from it.

“Land is to be loved and respected, is an extension of ethics. Land is ecology, ethics, and history.” – Aldo Leopold

My uncle told me that my grandfather is the first tree hugger. My uncle told me that he nurtured a certain grove of trees on the land the entire 40+ years he lived there and was able to care for it. My grandparents, in my estimation, were kind of like the original homesteaders. (Granted, this is not possible since they were born of the 20th century, but to me, this is what I’ve known.) They gardened. They husbanded animals. They churned butter. They pasteurized their own milk. They made bread. They shoveled. They tended. They nurtured. And, they grew. They grew with each other, on the land. They grew their family, together, on the land.

I want that legacy to live on, but showing it to others.

Once our food buying club coalesced into an amazing group purchasing food together, it was very evident how much knowledge was within the group. It was also evident how much we had to learn. We needed to know how to cook with the food we were procuring. We needed to understand its nutritional value. We needed to understand the land that fostered its growth. We needed to understand how to preserve it for the off-season. And all those things require a space in which to sit around, learn, do, and teach.

In this plot of earth, I would create that space. We would resurrect the old barn into a community kitchen. Perhaps we would do some sort of agri-tourismo, though not in Italy. Perhaps we could have interns from the nearby high schools and colleges, and from far away. I don’t envision a strict back-to-the-land curriculum, more farmsteading. We would study how to plan, plant, tend, and harvest a garden. We would discuss the benefits of farm animals and varied ways to husband them while also nurturing the earth. We would explore cottage industries and economies. We would make soap together. We would make bread together, and we would break bread together. We would share knowledge, and meals in this preserve so that our children don’t have to worry about whether they can afford the next thing. They would have a space, in the family, that would help them take care of themselves.

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Okay, well, not YOUR birthday – rather it was Levi’s.

It began in January, when after we more or less moved in, and after we attended a friend’s party that I thought – oh goodness, we haven’t talked about Levi’s party.

A few days later, I remembered to call the Bowling Alley. They had space, so I was able to reserve the room. I counted the kids, divided it in half then cut a few, adding a few from last year. I hoped it wasn’t that many, but I hate being surprised with cost.

I pulled the invitations from last year, redrafting and reformatting to fit four on a page. I printed, cut, and copied the graphic into an email to send off to the friends who weren’t in class. Two weeks before the secured date. My lack of planning is within what I’ve been told is standard etiquette. Victory!

The RSVPs rolled in, and didn’t, so a reminder was sent, upon which more RSVPs rolled in. Then some changed. We ended up with a manageable number, and because I forgot to update the RSVP with the bowling alley – we ended up with 5 tables and corresponding lanes! That meant the kids were able to spread out, comfortably. There was a year of maturity in which we had a calmer, quieter bunch.

The kiddos had a good time. Only one smashed finger (Levi’s), and I’m still not sure what happened. The adults were calmer too, likely picking up on the calmness emanated from the kids. And, for the first time – Levi even reported that he had a good time.

A word on the cake. I used the same chocolate cake recipe as for Elisa and David’s wedding. The 8″ cake also sported the yummy strawberry filling. The chocolate cupcakes had a cherry inserted, instead of strawberry filling. Now, this bit was done the morning of his party. This is not how I go about prepping for birthday parties. I did make a cake the night before. However, it’s been many months since I made an 8″ cake, and I forgot to measure the batter instead of just dumping the whole product in the pan. I ended up with an overfilling cake pan, burned oven, and singed actual cake. The next day, when we remade the cake, Levi was able to help. This tickled his funny bone to no end, which was likely the better option all around. I repeated the overfill pattern, though, with the cupcakes and we had at least four casualties. And, for the firs time ever – I made enough (not too much) frosting! Cream cheese, of course.

Sunday Kitchen Stories

Tonight feels successful. Let’s hope this sets us up for a good week.

Accomplished:

  • Icing the foot, twice
  • Soaking three bowls of beans
  • Cooking three types of beans
  • Baked two loaves of bread (whole wheat, barley flour, unbleached white)
  • Visited Meat Market (food club meat on hiatus via lack of fridge space)
  • Cooked chili
  • Prepped lunches
  • Crock pot roast slow cooking

Sustainability in Coffee

Sustainable Peet's
A glimpse at Sustainable Peet’s, my beans, and my method of brewing.

Barbara Kingsolver talked about her coffee methods in Small Wonder. She and her husband indulge in this one non-local treat, but source their beans from a well-managed farm that focuses on shade grown beans. Prior to reading that some years ago, I never considered the sustainable factor of coffee.

I have been buying my beans from Peet’s Coffee & Tea for about 10 years now. I will switch off between Peet’s, Cafe Mam (a roaster in Eugene, Oregon), Stumptown (another local roaster), and local coffee shops (The Arbor Lodge) that also focus on locally roasted coffee (Coava Coffee).

I don’t know the particulars from each, but common themes include well-managed forests, fair wages, and farmer controlled prices. This isn’t necessarily found in all roasters – just themes I look for and note when I can find it.

My favorite, by far, though, is Peet’s. I enjoy the experience of walking into the store. I have a friend who has worked their longer than I’ve been choosing their beans. And, the coffee is fantastic. I started with their signature blends (Major Dickinson and Arabian Mocha Java), but as I tried more coffees my preferences have tightened to specific origins: Africa and the Americas. A kind barista suggested I have a sophisticated palette, yesterday, when I thanked him for giving me a chance to review the offerings.

I love my smooth, bold flavors that wake your mouth up with every sip. I love making the boldness creamy with half-and-half. I don’t mind drinking it black. I love the smell. I love the concept.

When I consider that I started drinking Folder’s Crystals, based on what my mother was drinking at the time, my indulgence has certainly turned into an investment. I sometimes feel guilty about that – comparing what we indulge in today versus other times – thinking that I’m bathing too much in a lap of luxury. But, my coffee is like other food. I want to make sure we are putting good quality into our bodies and the people who work really hard to get this product to us are paid and treated fairly.

So, I was thrilled, yesterday, when I walked into the store and saw the stand advertising their Panama Reserve. The storyboard explained that the family who produced these beans are dedicated to preserving the Rain Forests of Panama. By securing ownership of the land that buffers the rainforest, they protect the sensitive habitat there.

I continued walking around the counter to collect my drinks (one for me and one for Levi), and was pleased to see a resurrected brochure describing the Sustainability Initiatives Peet’s enacts. A recent initiative is ensuring their roasting is done in a Gold LEED certified building. One of the reasons I started drinking the coffee is their direct relationships with their farmers. And, I was surprised to learn about their targeted philanthropy that focuses on education, kids, and the grounds around coffee.

It oft surprises me the push back sustainability gets, because it’s not supposed to be something that takes away, in the end. What sustainability is trying to make sure is that we all have enough for us and for our children and for our children’s children. In this one brochure Peet’s captured that sentiment: take care of the families that produce the product, make a great product, and take care of the land that is important to the people and the product. Et, voilà, a sustainability plan that makes sense is born.

Here’s to your sustainable morning cup.

And, now we wait for Daddy

It’s July. It’s Saturday. It’s actually a significant Saturday, though all told I treated it as quite normal.

In the morning, after I left the house and parked my car, I walked by the sign that read, “Portland’s Museum of Modern Art” on a 2 story clap board building, across from Cherry Sprout Produce. I felt like I was walking into an episode of Portlandia. [Note, Sunday, Jun 21: I just checked my bank account, and the charge came through, not as Sweedee’s, rather Cafe Portlandia.]

We had an incident of sauerkraut tasting salsa, but besides that we weren’t Portlandia.

Later, we got our hairs cut.

Levi and I finished the day washing the windows in the car – after a much-needed nap.

And, now, we wait for Daddy.

Hating Food

I’ve figured it out. We hate food as a nation. We don’t savor it. We don’t enjoy it. We don’t love it for its properties other than nourishment. This isn’t a new topic, but something that I’m coming to realize.

What we do like to do with food though is restrict it, dissect it, portion it, and engineer it.

Clearly, this is an oversimplification. But, let’s look at it from that 50,000 mile view. What do you see? Engineered corn that serves as a food additive and fuel for our cars. A system that’s so broken we penalize small farmers who sell the good stuff while rewarding pig farmers that literally allow the sow to run around in her own shit. We clip birds instead of letting them run free so we can have unlimited chicken wings.

Clearly, we hate food.