Monday, October 20, 2014

Zombie Brain Headcheese! ... with Herb Focaccia, Neon Relish and Russian Godzilla Spread















     Hubby:  "What's for Halloween dinner?  I hope its a macabre favorite of mine!"
     Wifey:  "I made a new zombie chef surprise, Dearest!"
     Hubby:  "Wow! ... Well, what in the hell is it???"
     Wifey:  "Its a fresh made Zombie Brain Headcheese !!!" 
     Hubby:  "... mmmm !!!  I'm the luckiest zombie in the whole wide world !!!"

     Tis The Season ...
     According to statistics behind the scenes at this website, Halloween Cuisine seems to be more popular than Autumn Season Food or Oktoberfest Food.  In fact, there really is no comparison.  There are plenty of recipes for all three of these cuisine styles in this food website, yet the amount of Halloween Food viewed each week this month is the winner by a wide margin.  This gives me the inspiration to whip up a few more macabre creations, before the October 31st deadline nears!

     A few more Halloween recipes and fun cocktail creations will be published this month.  Most will be posted this week.
     Yesterday, I did an "easy to make candy product" testing evaluation.  The product actually is user friendly.  The finished product will please guests.  The product is relatively safe for children to use, as long as an adult does the solitary cooking step in the recipe.  Making fresh candy for Halloween is a cinch with this product, so viewers that are pressed for time, just might be interested.  This product review will be published this week too.

     Headcheese Information
     • Headcheese is made with the meat scraping from a pig's head.  Brains or organ meat are not used to make head cheese.  The meat is usually scraped off of the pig head after the pig head is boiled.    
     • Whole pig heads are rarely sold at grocery stores or specialty food markets.  A whole pig head can be ordered at a butcher shop, but delivery takes time.
    • Head cheese gelatin is usually made from slowly simmered pig feet that are cooked for a lengthy time.  The gelatinous substance in the pig feet transfers to the simmering liquid.  After clarifying or filtering the liquid, the liquid is simmered and reduced, till gelatinous substance is condensed.  When cooled, the gelatin will have a firm rubbery texture.

     Souse Information
     • Souse is headcheese that is made with pickled pig head scrapings or pickled pork meat trimmings.  It takes 2 to 3 days for pork meat to pickle in a curing salt brine, if the pieces are cut into a small bite size shape.  The bigger the pork pieces, the more time it takes to pickle the meat.
    • Pork meat becomes a bright pink color when it is pickled.  The pickled pork meat does have to be boiled, before it is added to the head cheese gelatin.

     Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine:
     Zombies and Headcheese are definitely scary horror movie topics.  Anybody that has seen "The Night Of The Living Dead" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II" will know exactly why!
     Making headcheese from scratch is a project that many home cooks will avoid at all cost.  There are alternatives!
     A Headcheese Style Terrine is a good choice for a Zombie Brain presentation.  A terrine can be made that resembles headcheese.  It will not be a true authentic headcheese, but it is acceptable for a Halloween Zombie Brain food presentation.
     A Zombie Brain Gelatin Mold like the one in the photos above can be found at the Amazon internet shopping website or at seasonal Halloween Costume Stores.
     These two methods can be used to make a Zombie Brain Headcheese Terrine ...
     
     Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine Method #1: 
     • Purchase a piece of headcheese or souse at delicatessen, that is the same volume as the Zombie Brain Mold.
     • Place the headcheese in a pot over medium low heat.
     • Add about 1/3 cup of water.  (To compensate for evaporation.)
     • Gently simmer till the headcheese gelatin liquifies.
     • Remove the pot from the heat and allow the contents to cool to almost room temperature.
     • Place the headcheese meat and its gelatin in a Zombie Brain Mold.
     • Refrigerate overnight, so the gelatin becomes a firm texture.
     • Dip the outside of the Zombie Brain Mold in hot water to loosen the gelatin.
     • Invert the Zombie Brain Mold onto a serving platter and remove the mold.
 
     Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine Method #2:
     This entire recipe yields enough Pickled Pork Aspic Terrine mixture for a 4 1/2 cup capacity Zombie Brain Mold!  The entire mold does not need to be completely filled.  The Zombie Brain in the photos above is a little less than 4 cups in volume. 

     Pickled Pork:
     Cut 3 1/2 cups of raw pork trimmings or pork shoulder meat into small to medium bite size pieces.  Trim off all of the fat.
     Place the pork in a 2 quart capacity plastic container and cill till later in the recipe.
     Place 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt.
     Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1/4 cup of cider vinegar.
     Add 2 laurel leaves.
     Add 6 whole dried allspice berries.
     Add 1 teaspoon of whole fennel seed.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whole mustard seed.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Brazilian peppercorns.
     Add 6 cloves.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Turn off the heat and allow the pickling liquid to cool to room temperature.
     Add the pickling liquid to the chilled pork in the plastic container.
     Chill at less than 40ºF for two to three days.
     Place the pickling brine and pork in a pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the pickled pork is fully cooked.  (This only takes a few minutes!  Try not to overcook the pork or it will become tough.  The pork pieces will shrink in size and this is okay.  The total volume of cooked pork will end up being about 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups.)
     Pour the pork and brine into a colander strainer and discard the liquid.
     Rinse the spices off of the pork under cold running water and place the pickled pork in a container.
     Chill the pickled pork in a refrigerator.
   
     Aspic For The Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine:
     This recipe yields 3 1/2 cups of firm aspic!  This is a little bit more than what is needed for the terrine project. It is better to have too much aspic, than not enough!  Any extra aspic can be diluted, chilled and served with salad.
     There are three types of gelatin that can be purchased in grocery stores or from restaurant food purveyors.  Vegetable based gelatin, animal based gelatin and seaweed agar.
     Standard powdered gelatin and standard sheet gelatin are both animal based gelatins.  Animal based gelatin is made from pig feet and cattle hooves, just like headcheese gelatin.  Standard powdered gelatin is used to make today's Zombie Brain Headcheese Terrine. 
     Aspic is a flavored gelatin.  Consommé or bouillon is used to flavor the gelatin in this recipe.  As a convenience, canned Consommé or dried bouillon is fine for this recipe.  Ham Bouillon Cubes are the best choice.  Pork Bouillon Cubes are the second best option.  A 50/50 mixture of Chicken Consommé and Beef Consommé is also a good choice for flavoring the gelatin.  
     If dried bouillon is used, follow the directions on the package for making 3 1/2 cups.  Bring the bouillon to a boil, then cool the bouillon to room temperature.
     The aspic has to have a fairly firm texture, or the Headcheese Terrine will fall apart when sliced.
     Place 3 1/2 cups of a consommé or a bouillon flavor of of your choice in a stainless steel sauce pot.  The liquid should be at room temperature.
     Rain 26 grams of powdered standard gelatin over the liquid in the pot.
     Allow the gelatin to bloom.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer till the gelatin dissolves.  Stir occasionally.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the liquid to cool to almost room temperature.

     Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine:
     Select a Zombie Brain Mold that has a 4 cup to 4 1/2 cup capacity.
     Place the mold on a curled up kitchen towel in a roasting pan, so it sits evenly.  Place the towel around the base of the mold to prevent it from tipping over.
     Pour enough of the aspic into the Zombie Brain Mold to make a layer that is about 1/2" deep.
     Chill the aspic in a refrigerator till it becomes firm.   (About 20 minutes)
     Place the chilled pickled pork pieces in the Zombie Brain Mold.
     Add enough of the aspic to cover the pork with an extra 1/4" of liquid.
     Cover the mold with plastic wrap.
     Chill the aspic overnight, so the aspic completely gels.

     Herb Focaccia:
     This recipe yields enough dough for two medium size flat round shaped loaves!  
     Any herb mixture can be used to make this bread.  I used a generous amount of Herbs de Provence to make the bread in the Photos above.  
     Follow this link to the recipe in this website:
     • Seasonal Herb Focaccia

     Russian Godzilla Spread:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup!
     The word "Godzilla" refers to the Wasabi and the green color.  
     Potent strong Russian Mustard is used to make this extra zesty tasting sandwich spread.  Russian Mustard can be found at Eastern European food markets.  
     Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Russian Mustard.  
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Wasabi Powder.  (Asian food markets stock Wasabi Powder.)
     Add 1 or 2 drops of green food color, to give the sauce a creepy green look.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the Russian Godzilla Spread in a large ramekin.  Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed.
     
     Zombie Brain Headcheese Platter:
     Dip the outside of the Zombie Brain Mold in pot of tepid hot water to loosen the gelatin.
     Invert the Zombie Brain Mold onto a Halloween Theme Serving Platter and remove the mold.  (Dollar Stores stock nifty looking Halloween platters!)
     Cut a Spanish Onion in half from from top to bottom.  Cut several thin demi-lune onion slices.  (half moon slices)
     Overlap the demi-lune onion slices on the platter around the Zombie Brain Head Cheese.
     Evenly space several thin heirloom tomato wedges around the Zombie Brain on the onions.
     Place an Italian parsley sprig on each tomato slice.

     Herb Focaccia, Neon Relish and Russian Godzilla Spread Platter:
     Cut a loaf of Herb Focaccia into sandwich slices and overlap the slices on a large serving platter.
     Place the ramekin of Russian Godzilla Spread on the platter.
     Garnish the Godzilla Spread with a swirl of organic ketchup.  Drag a chopstick through the ketchup to create an artistic effect.
     Place a ramekin of Chicago Neon Relish on the platter.  (Neon Relish is available at Amazon or a Chicago Hot Dog Stand.)

     Three Halloween Zombie Brains are better than one!  This is the third Zombie Brain that I have created for this website.  "There is always room for more brains!" ... mmmmm!

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