ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

A locavore moves from Wisconsin to New Hampshire and rediscovers what "local" means.


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Dirt Oven Cooking?

I caught this interesting description of Dirt Oven Cooking from Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham (not related to the Hunger Games sequel… which makes it a difficult book to find on Amazon searches.)

“…the Aranda of central Australia [way of cooking meat] involved digging a hole, filling it iwht a pile of dry wood, and topping that with large stones that did not crack when heated–often river cobblestones that had to be carried from a distance. When the stones were red-hot and fell through the fire, they were pulled out with sticks and the ashes were removed. The hot stones were then returned and covered with a layer of green leaves. Cooks liked to wrap meat in leaves to retain its juices before placing it on this layer, sometimes on top of a plant food such a roots. More green leaves and perhaps a basked mat would be laid on top, water was poured on, and some people added herbs for taste. Finally, the hole was filled with a layer of soil to retain the steam. After an hour or more–sometimes it was left overnight–the meat and vegetables would be ready and superb. The meat was laid on leave branches, carved with a stone knife, and served. The even heat and moist environment made earth ovens efficient for gelatinizing starch and other carbohydrates, and they offered effective control over the tenderness of meat. This sophisticated cooking technique doubtless increased the digestibility of the meat and plant foods” (pp124).

So, backyard pot roast anybody? Gristly beef chuck roast, fat potatoes, sweet potatoes, maybe some onions and herbs. I’d eat that.

Should I try it out in my backyard? Anybody have some river cobblestones that I could carry from a distance?

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Pig Tails, Part 7: Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

What else are you going to do with a 5 lb pork shoulder? Pulled pork, of course. Earlier, I used the other half of the shoulder to make carnitas. Today, I put the second pork shoulder into the slow cooker, added some onions, garlic, spices, stock and ignored it for 7 hours. Voila! Pulled Pork.

Today, we added barbecue sauce and had pulled pork sandwiches. Tomorrow, I will use more of the slow-cooked pork and the cooking liquid and beans to make a hearty pork and beans soup. I’ll probably make cornbread too. I deserve good cornbread.


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Kimchi is done. Time for Korean BBQ.

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I declared that the Kimchi had fermented and was ready to eat! That means a celebration with Korean BBQ. I put the grill basket directly onto the charcoal to generate maximum heat.

The side dishes were:

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Korean Barbeque

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We got a lot, but still not enough heat putting the grill basket on the grate above the hot coals. So instead, we put the grill basket directly on the coals and got the heat we wanted. (Photo credit @MichaelERea)

It seems that korean BBQ is all the rage right now. I watched an episode of Mind of a Chef with Korean BBQ, then this month’s Bon Appetit magazine had a section on Korean BBQ, and lastly, a friend emailed me a feature piece from CNN on making kimchi. I guess I’m getting a pretty strong signal from the ether to make some Korean BBQ.

The components were:

  • Rice
  • Thin-sliced beef marinaded overnight in garlic, ginger, onion, pear puree, soy and sesame oil
  • Ssam sauce, a mixture of fermented soy paste (like miso), Korean hot chili paste, sesame seeds, onion, green onion, and sesame oil
  • Lettuce leaves for wrapping meat and ssam.
  • My home-fermented kimchi. SO GOOD!
  • Carrots quick-pickled in rice vinegar, sugar, and salt with black pepper and cardamom
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The banchan – the sides that go with the meat. I made quick pickled carrots, my home-fermented kimchi, and ssam, a dipping sauce.

We ended up having eight total for dinner. My guests brought Georgean (the country, not the state) walnut and chard balls, caprese salad, homemade fruit and chili salsa. And, of course, lots of beer. In cans.

Apologies for not taking more pictures and many thanks to my guests who did take pictures!