Slaughtering two pigs amounts to loads of work, thankfully I arranged my schedule so I could take a few days off. Yesterday my entire day was spent making bacon, Canadian bacon and sausage. Mr Chiots helped with the sausage in the evening, that chore is easier when there are two hands. I know you’re probably sick of hearing about pork, but it’s what is filling my day so it’s what I’m thinking about and what I’m doing. I thought some of you might be interested in the recipes and techniques I’m using for curing some of meat.
Bacon, hams and most cured meats are extremely easy to make. I made bacon a few years and and was amazed at the simplicity of the process. Essentially you salt a piece of meat, and then smoke it if you want, or not. I highly recommend giving it a try if you can, you won’t be disappointed in the results. If you’re used to buying regular bacon from the grocery store, your homemade bacon will taste nothing like it.
If you are ever lucky enough to have fresh pork belly in your kitchen, here are a few recipes that I’m using. I used half of one belly to make German Bacon, the remainder was used to make . Another whole pork belly was used to make Ventreche, or French bacon. Two entire pork bellies were used to make classic bacon using the recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook. The last half pork belly was used to develop my own recipe which was made with bourbon, bourbon steeped with vanilla beans, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sweet cinnamon and nutmeg. I’ll smoke half of this and leave half unsmoked, it will be tweaked for next year and will hopefully become my signature bacon. I’m thinking this one is going to be very good.
I made Canadian bacon using this recipe, I’m pretty excited to try this out.
It’s an amazing thing to cure meat with salt. I also like knowing that the sea salt I’m using is rich in magnesium, a mineral that many people are deficient in nowadays. Being that I can be a bit of an insomniac and have a tendency to crave salt, I’m most likely a little deficient in this mineral. Making my food as nutrient dense as possible is one of the reasons I grow, raise and process my own. My pigs were fed a varied diet, along with molasses, minerals and sea salt to make sure their meat is as rich in minerals as possible.
Have you ever wondered if you’re deficient in any vitamin/mineral?Filed under Cooking | Comments (15)
Peanut butter has never really been one of my favorite things. As a kid, I didn’t really like PB&J’s – crazy, I know. I did eat a fair amount of peanut butter in college, as it was a convenient snack item. Perhaps part of the reason I never liked it is because it has a tendency to give me indigestion. When I eat peanut butter I burp it up for the next couple hours – not pleasant! I’ve never tried other nut butters as they can be rather pricey.
Earlier this week I decided to try turning my favorite nut into butter – the cashew. I used soaked nuts, which I find easier to digest (see the Nourishing Traditions cookbook for information on soaking cashews). Since I only have a blender, I added a little coconut oil to the cashews and blended it into a lovely butter. I have to admit, this stuff is GREAT. So much better than peanut butter. I don’t think I’ll ever eat peanut butter again!
What’s your favorite kind of nut butter?Filed under Cooking | Comments (12)
The elderflowers are starting to fade. Every year, when they bloom, I have great intentions to pick them for fritters; then every year I forget. This year, I finally remembered, or I suppose I was finally in the right place at the right time.
My mom has a ton of elderberry bushes in her garden. There are a few different varieties because my parents have been collecting them for years. They love the berries, my mom makes jelly and I usually make elderberry syrup.
Last week, I picked about a dozen blossoms, whipped up a quick batter. Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested: 3/4 cup of organic flour, 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, 3/4 cup water, milk, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla mixed to a batter. After letting this sit for 30 minutes, fold in a beaten egg white. The blossoms were dipped and fried in coconut oil. I learned that you should shake off some of the batter or the delicate elderberry blossom flavor gets lost.
The stems should also not be eaten, so after using the main stem for dipping in the batter, I snipped it off with scissors right at the base of the flower clusters. After removing from the pan they were sprinkled lightly with a little organic sugar. All-in-all, these were a hit. Not a bad way to get some extra coconut oil in your diet, and a much healthier version of heavy fried fair food!
Have you ever eaten elderflowers?Filed under Cooking | Comments (10)
I LOVE cilantro! Perhaps it stems from my childhood in Colombia, where it was sprinkled on top of pretty much everything, perhaps I just like it, who knows. It’s probably from my childhood though, because I like it when it starts to bloom. The ferny bits of cilantro are much better in my opinion. That’s how we always had it in Colombia, the flat, parsley like leaves weren’t seen very often.
My mom had a plant in the garden that was blooming, so I’ve been enjoying ferny cilantro sprinkled on everything. The other morning I made soup for breakfast with duck stock and freshly cut yucca.
If only I had some ripe hot peppers, I’d make the Colombian version of hot sauce that’s green from all the cilantro.
What’s your favorite fresh herb?Filed under Cooking, Edible | Comments (18)
I have to admit, I used to be among the folks that didn’t like cooked greens. Fresh salads have always been welcome on my plate, but cooked greens were too slimy for me. That is, until I cooked them myself, in the proper way.
There really is nothing better than garden fresh greens, cooked the right way with butter and garlic. Earlier this week we enjoyed cooked mustard greens. They were so good I could have eaten a whole plate full. Since I grow mustard as a cover crop in the garden, there’s always a nice crop of it somewhere. It’s quite easy to mow off the top of the patch with a knife for a meal.
How did I make them? I harvested a couple pounds worth, boiled it in salted water for 5 minutes, dunked it in cold water to stop the cooking, then into a colander it went. After a bit of squeezing to remove most of the moisture, into a cast iron skillet it went which already contained minced garlic that had been fried to a golden grown in a few Tablespoons of butter. A quick stir to warm the greens and they’re done. Easy Peasy and so delicious.
Do you like cooked greens?Filed under Cooking, Edible, Friday Favorites | Comments (15)