Guanciale is Better than Bacon! There, I said it. What to do with Coconut Jam.

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Dear Fellow Foodies:

As you may be aware, the West Coast Ports have finally re-opened but the back log of imports still has many items sitting in warehouses or on the water in their containers waiting to be released by the FDA.  The strike caused many headaches and frustrated both importers and buyers.  We are waiting on many different items so we ask you be patient if you don’t see your favorite in stock right now.  In other food news, the drought in California and the failed olive crops in the EU will cause olive oil to increase in price this year. Cacao crops have also been having trouble with blight in many different areas of the world so yields are much lower causing shortages.

Luckily, I was able to get my shipment of Guanciale.  The following is a classic recipe which uses this cured pork cheek.   Better than bacon!!  Guanciale is pronounced GWAN-CHALL-AY

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

 Serves 4

  • 3/4 pound guanciale, sliced in long, thin pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (we like to use the sweet red pepper flakes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 package bucatini pasta (approximately 17 ounces)
  • Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano, for grating

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.

In a saute pan, place the guanciale slices in the pan and cook over medium-low heat until most of the fat has been rendered from the meat.  Remove the meat and reserve.  Pour half of the fat off.  Add the onion and cook until soft (about 3 minutes) add the garlic and the red pepper.  Add the cooked guanciale back into the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and simmer for about 12 minutes.

Cook the bucatini in the salted boiling water according to the package directions, until tender but still al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Increase the heat to high and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed bowls. Top with freshly grated Grana Padano or Pecorino.

We also just got back in stock the Hey Boo Coconut Jam.  Similar in texture to a curd but made with Coconut milk, this Coconut Jam is great as a filling for a cake. Just keep yourself from eating the jar with a spoon before you start.  The following cake uses Key Lime Avocado Oil in the cake which adds a nice flavor and great contrast with the Coconut Jam filling.  Go ahead, start singing. . . . “you put the lime in da coconut and shake it all together” you know I did.

 Key lime Coconut Cake with Coconut Jam Filling

2 1/4 Cups cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup Key Lime Avocado Oil

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons Coconut Extract

1 Jar Hey Boo Coconut Jam

1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping cream

Grated coconut – toasted in the oven for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.  Stir in the oil and milk, mix completely (approximately 2 minutes).  Add the eggs and coconut extract beat for 2 more minutes.  Pour into the prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto the rack.  Cool completely.

To make the filling:  Whip the cream until medium peaks.  Fold into the Coconut jam and fill the cake.  Top with some of the filling and sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chef Constance

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