ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

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


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.



Dog Mountain Financiers

We spent the afternoon at the Dog Mountain Summer Party. There were 50+ dogs, and ripe blackberries all over the mountain. 

Some background, Dog Mountain is the former home of Stephen Huneck, an artist that did woodblock prints and sculptures with dog themes. His black Labrador retriever, Sally, featured prominently in his work. He bought land in St Johnsbury Vermont, built studios and a home. He built a dog chapel and designated the land as an off leash dog park. Dog Mountain is pretty darn awesome. 

We took the dogs for a long walk around the mountain and found hundreds of blackberry bushes with beautiful, plump, ripe berries. What is a locavore to do? Pick berries into any available container and make blackberry financiers!

(Blackberries in the dog’s collapsible water bowl.)

Blackberry Financiers (they’re rich!)

7 tablespoon unsalted butter

1¾ cup sliced blanched almonds

½ cup granulated sugar 

½ cup powdered sugar

5 tablespoon flour

⅛ teaspoon salt

4 large egg whites

½ teaspoon almond extract

6 ounce blackberries (or raspberries or blueberries

1. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven
to 400 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin. (I use mini muffins instead.)

In a skillet, heat the butter until it begins to sizzle. Continue to cook  over low heat until the edges begin to darken and the butter gives off a  nutty aroma. Remove from the heat. 

In a food processor, grind the almonds with the granulated and
powdered sugars, the flour and salt. While the processor is running, gradually pour in the egg whites and add the almond extract. Stop the  machine, and add the warm butter, pulsing as you pour until the batter  is just mixed.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the buttered muffin cups and poke 3
or 4 berries into each cake. Bake for 18 minutes, (14 minutes for mini muffins) until puffy and deep
golden brown. Let stand a few minutes then remove them from the
pan and cool on a rack.


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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The best pie… EVER

Strawberry Icebox Pie from Cooks Illustrated is the best pie I have ever eaten. Icebox pie is a gelatin-based pie with fresh fruit in a pie shell, topped with strawberry whipped cream. It has all of the qualities of a perfect dessert:

  • Ripe strawberry flavor really shines through
  • Pieces of real fruit
  • Cold, refreshing and you eat it when its hot outside.
  • A positive uplifting note at the end of the meal.

I do one minor variation. I substitute goat cheese for cream cheese in the whipped topping. The slightly goaty and tangy flavor is unexpected in the topping and is a wonderful complement to the fresh strawberries.

My mom used to make these pies when she worked at Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant in Dayton, OH. Seems like it’s still on the menu. No way it can be this good.


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Mise en place- pasta with asparagus

Today was the first CSA delivery from Root 5 Farm. We got fresh asparagus. Definitely a day for Pasta with Asparagus.

The trick to pasta with asparagus is to build up of flavorful sauce to coat the pasta. Otherwise, the dish turns out kind of boring. I’m going to use leftover chives butter (green paste on the left), and chopped green onions (glass jar on the right). Additionally, we want some protein. So I’m adding tuna in oil. However, the tuna can overpower, so I drain off any extra oil or liquid. I also toss in the tuna at the very end so the flavor doesn’t spread around too much.

Not shown, but critically important, Parmesan cheese. The salty umami flavors complement the tuna and vegetables. I made Sam stop at the grocery to pick some up. Tip: use the vegetable peeler to get long strips that don’t melt into the background. 

Next year – I’ll be able to make pasta with asparagus hopefully from my own garden.


I’m on a roll… 2 weeks. 2 cakes.

2014-09-14 16.12.44Much to the dismay of my waistline, I seem to be on a roll with baking cakes. This week? Chocolate and vanilla marbled bundt cake. I based my cake on this recipe at I thought the marbling would be difficult, but it just involved making the batter, splitting in half, then mixing cocoa powder into half. I spooned big dollops of alternating flavors of batter into the pan, then ran the back of my wooden spoon through the batter to create the marble texture. The batter texture was very thick, I think to allow the chocolate and vanilla to stay separate. To top the cake, I dusted the whole cake with powdered sugar, then cut a slit in a piece of parchment and used that template to coat the narrow strips with cocoa powder.

Pro tip: Before filling your wire mesh strainer with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, run it through the flame of your gas burner for 5-10 seconds to make sure it’s very dry.

This cake baking binge is starting to eat away at our store of butter. With the price of butter expecting to spike, I may have to stock up if this cake binge is going to continue.

What’s next week? I was thinking apfel kuchen. Other ideas?

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Bookmark this! King Arthur Flour Baking Conversion Chart

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.56.14 AMBookmark this!

King Arthur Flour has this super-useful chart on their website to convert volume to weight. Importantly, their flours have different weights for a 1 cup volume, and you can find that specific info at this page.

I can’t say enough about baking by weight. It’s always difficult for me to bake by volume anymore – I hate sifting dry ingredients and, when it matters, I don’t want to skip the step and have overly dry baked goods. I still turn to the tablespoons and teaspoons for things like vanilla, salt, or baking powder/soda but everything else – give me weight to give me cake!