Inspired by the wafts of mint coming from our little mint bog My daughter and I found the time to squeeze in a batch of perfect little chocolate mint cupcakes on Saturday afternoon. The easy 1 bowl batter and the coconut milk gnache both were laced with peppermint essential oil, and then we topped them each with a whole fresh mint leaf. They are triple threat kind of mint muffins! read more »
My wild take on the classic mushrooms on toast… With our little stash of morels I decided to pan sear a them with some onions, garlic and kale in butter, served atop a thick toasted slice of my own homemade caraway rye bread, adored green onions and a soft boiled egg, ready to ooze yoke all over the toast! like so…
Not so much of a recipe today… rather a tidbit of inspiration. Make a simple lunch stunning, seasonal and freshly foraged.
So much foraging happening this time of year, wild food abounds! We have been eating nettles like crazy, also drying a good lot of it, same with the mint, fresh in teas and dishes and drying it on mass to keep us cozy in the winters to come. Also the dandelions have been sunny and singing out to be made into another stellar batch of that dynamite dandelion jelly I made last year! And just today a tiny stash of morel mushrooms from the woods out back started to trickle in to the kitchen!
With such a big crew of folks to both help forage and keep well fed, the wild hunting is such a treat for all of us.
Today I tried my hand at a couple firsts:
1) I made a cheese and nettle souffle, my virgin souffle, and it was lovely, golden and perfectly poof-ed and rich with nettles and a hint of sorrel.
2) I made two pretty darn nice looking loafs of caraway rye spelt bread.
No bake – vegan- gluten free cookies AKA; monkey poo balls, haystacks, cocoa drops, etc…Whatever you call them, this is a redo of an old and easy classic. I made these with no dairy, and no wheat, they take about 10 minutes to make and about an hour to set up in the fridge, they are not to sweet at all, just perfectly balanced with coconut and chocolate. read more »
Seriously folks this dish is sooooooo amazing, and delicious you have to try it. I just happen to have for the first time in my life some pork in the freezer (a whole pigs worth in fact), and as I am not really adept at cooking pork I had to Google myself some inspiration this evening. And when I entered pork+ cabbage+Chinese in my search engine, Mu Shu arrived and instantly I was gun-ho to create a noodle hybrid of an old favorite of our families – My Shu Pork. I Love Mu Shu… although I have never had a pork version of this as I always had to order it sans pork, I was pretty sure that my happy little piggie would taste great in this dish I was already drooling over in my mind. I read a few “authentic” mu shu recipes before settling on being inspired by the flavors of two, which I combined along with rice noodles rather than the traditional mu shu rice cake wrappers.
I used two huge thick fatty pork chops to make this dish, along with cabbage, dried mushrooms, celery, eggs and my favorite brown rice noodles, all finished with hoisin sauce and chives fresh from the garden. Yumm. Who knew pork was so delicious when you raise it with love and let it live outside and feed it good food and let it do what pigs want to do!??
My veggie friends I have not abandon you, In fact this dish I know will be just perfect without meat. Maybe add some bean sprouts instead or tofu if you feel you need it, but the mushrooms are really meaty and rich. read more »
I have been subbing out butter in recipes in exchange for coconut oil for some time, but more recently I am leaning on coconut milk instead, which offer’s another coconut flavor component to anything baked, or raw for that matter. Today I used my goto coffee cake recipe but opted to omit all the dairy (our latest farm intern is lactose intolerant). In place of sour cream and butter I used grapeseed oil and coconut milk, I made sure to add coconut into the cake batter as well as the streusel layer, and the result (although it took much longer to bake than usual), yielded a soft coco-nutty cake with the perfect tooth, and just the right sponge like spring, balanced with crispy deep dark crumble line through each slice. read more »
Yum! Tonight I whipped up the most fabulous peanut-y satay sauce and it was the perfect addition to some quinoa, tofu, veggie bowls. I wish I had thought to make a cold peanut satay style sauce before now! This stuff is fabulous, I will certainly make this again and again. read more »
We did it… a whole hog (or rather 2 hole hogs) broken down join by joint, cut by cut, by our fabulous group of 22 participants! Our Back Road Butcher Ben lead us all through a super informative and engaging hands on day of all things pig. Not only did the participants enjoy the headcheese and pate I slaved away on, but we also seared up some lovely bits of pig heart as well as a really great sweet & sour pork hock dish… I will post the recipes for the heart and the hocks early next week.
We turned nearly 400 pounds of pork into neat little bundles of sirloin butt and leg roasts, thick chops, tenderloin, ribs, and best of all the charcuterie: We rolled up the bacon sides and next weekend we will get smoking, and I am looking forward to sharing all that smokey goodness with you guys in the future. Our pigs legs have a fine destiny having been carefully packed in salt in a “meat coffin” destine for pruscuttio goodness next year, we also set aside the capicola strips from both pigs and will have our butcher do a dry cure of those! YUM. We also made dozens of sausage and learned to link and tie them off, which was really fun. I opted to season one batch with maple syrup and rosemary for our breakfast link (which we all enjoyed this morning), and the other batch was a hot chili (surprise surprise) pepper and sage sausage.
All and all we had a great day, learned a ton, shared some delicious odd bits with the group and helped propel local food resilience one step further.
… a little reprieve (at least for the day from the pork-ness of the pig)
Our newest intern got a gold star cookie request for doing an ungodly task which saved me (and my flake-y constitution) from a barf-fest. His request was for peanut butter cookies, he also has a keen interest in learning how to preserve food. So I combined today’s jam making lesson with peanut butter cookie dough to make this really lovely peanut butter and freshly made jam tart with a sprinkle of sea salt and toasted peanuts.
Dave and I made two batches of jam this morning; the first was a double batch of saskatoon berrie jam, In the attempt to free up freezer space for our little piggies arrival, tomorrow. We used up the last of June’s frozen saskatoon harvest , and then we did a triple batch of raspberry jam, made with a trade-sie bag of berries from my best back road girlfriend. I think we got all of 4 raspberries from our new canes last year.. looking forward to a better yield this time around.
Well I can say the pig ears were a HUGE success, in fact we were fighting over the last of the crunchy salty ribbons of ear. Weird right? But really nice and yes I would make those again and again, given the opportunity provided itself. It was also nice to have hard crunchy bits to contrast the soft and spreadable bits. As for the haedcheese and the pate, they looked lovely. But I must confess the pate smell was far too fresh in my mind to enjoy this experience as much as I had hoped to, and none of the diners of this charcuterie plate had ever eaten or enjoyed pate before, so it was a unique experience for all. Luckily I have lots of leftovers packed up nicely to share with pate enthusiasts and I will report back with more expert opinion (or in the least the opinions of folks who didn’t do the processing work)!
If I am totally honest this whole experience was still a little to close and fresh in our minds I think for anyone to really enjoy this pretty spread.
If you find yourself with a pigs head in future refer to my last post this little piggy for my recap of head cheese making, also I would recommend watching River Cottage Pig-in-a-Day for Hughes head cheese recipe, which is how I made my way through the process. Now if you find yourself with a fresh pig liver, and you want to try your hand at this recipes, hats off to you: read more »