Last night I made up a batch of Ruhlman's Peperone. The line for the freshly ground beef at the meat counter was way too long (end of school vacation here so everybody's back with nothing in their fridges), so the wife got pre-ground beef, 'packaged under a protective atmosphere.' I figure the sausage you buy in the grocery store is made with worse, so no biggie.
This is my first time doing 'real' cured sausage, i.e., no cooking at all, leaving it downstairs for 2 weeks, load it up with 6 grams of Prague #2, so nitrite and nitrate. Spices were paprika, cayenne, allspice, and supposedly fennel. I say supposedly because we don't have fennel in the supermarkets here, so I had to use a 'breastfeeding mother' tea, composed of fennugreek, fennel, and a few other herbs. That'll be interesting.
First time using lactic culture, too. Apparently I was supposed to keep the packet in the fridge... Ooops. It was downstairs in the cellar, which is about 55 degrees, so somewhat 'cold.' We'll see. If all goes well I'll post some pics in two weeks.