ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

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


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Pig Tails Part 5: Arista

Arista is a Tuscan style pork roast with pepper, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. My father taught me how to cook this roast.

Recipes

I started cooking the pig with the bone-in loin roast. This is a tender and well-marbled cut with plenty of connective tissue and tasty bones for gnawing (See pictures below). Typically this roast is cut into pork chops, but a better way of cooking it is to roast it.

I make a paste of rosemary, black pepper, garlic, salt and olive oil, then slice into the meat diagonally across the grain at 1/2″ cuts. I stuff the cuts with the paste and tie it all up. 400F until 150F. Rest for 30 minutes. Slice. Gnaw bones.

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Pig tales, Part 1. Inventory

I got half a pig!

I found out on the Upper Valley Mailing list that there was a half of a hog available for sale. YES! I drove up to Bradford, VT to pick up my slaughtered, processed and frozen pork, with dreams of tasty tasty things. From the hog farmer, I found out some unfortunate soul had to back out of their pork order. Their loss.

I had to fill out a complex sheet for the butcher to process my pig. I do NOT want a bunch of ground pork and pork chops. We just don’t eat them. I want my pork in large roasts, which allow me to make roast pork, or, if I so choose, cut down the roast into smaller pieces. When I put food by, I want it to be as versatile as possible.

(That is not my pig, but is one of the porcine brethren that was raised with my pig.)

Here is what I got:

Bacon and Bacon Ends

Ground pork

2 bone-in rib end roasts

Shoulder roast

2 butt roasts

2 loin roasts

A ham

Spare ribs.


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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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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.

 

  • 2016-07-02 18.35.142016-07-02 18.35.50


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Cold Soba

When it is hot outside, I love to eat cold soba noodles. We dunk them in an ice-cold strong broth made from mirin, soy and sake. The trick to good soba is to cook them in just-boiling water, then cool them in multiple changes of cold water. I also “scrub” off the excess starch as they cool so the noodles don’t stick together. 
Other dishes on the table are pickles, broccoli raab in mustard and chili sauce, steamed egg with wakame seaweed, and Chinese style pork with hakurei turnips and hoisin sauce. 


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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 Allrecipes.com. 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!