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.
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:
First off I need to say to my vegan and vegetarian readers the next 3 or so post are likely not going to sit well with you, the images that follow are graphic and this is the story of taking a life to nourish a family, a community and a million little critters along the way. A few months back we set out on a pork culinary adventure with the purchase of this cute fellow, and yesterday was the day that our “little piggy went to market” as they say.
The past 24 hours have been a whirl wind of processing and pushing through comfort zones and mental barriers, but let me step back a little. This little small holding adventure started a few years back with chickens and food in the ground, we have been through raising chicks, and setting hens, dispatching roosters and even raising and enjoying meat rabbits. Along the way we have helped friends with butchering cows and goats, we have been enjoying raw milk and cheese, foraging, fishing, smoking and canning, all with the intention of connecting to our food systems, all of them, even the unpleasant bits. This adventure is by far the most real, the most challenging, and for me as a cook the most humbling. When we first decided to get a pig my intention was to honor the entire animal, and to challenge myself to use every part of it, and reconnect to my humble roots where using all and wasting nothing wasn’t an ethical decision, it was simply the way of life.
So I sit here exhausted 24 hours after our pig departed his pasture, and this is how the snout of this nose-to-tail story begins…
I promise these are way better for you than they look! These also happen to be extremely quick to make and are a pretty rewarding dessert to serve and enjoy. Inspired by that crazy vegan coconut mousse I made for valentines this year I decided to play off that formula to create these coconut milk and peanut butter chocolate truffle balls.
It’s a funny time of year hear… we are excited about growing and have greens started and sprouting all around us, we are prepping beds for the upcoming season, and have been finding food all over, in tiny amounts. This lovely egg and potato salad features all sorts of spring time finds; eggs scavenged from the hen house, potatoes found in the soil along side yellow carrots, the tiny snipped tips of wee onions starts, chives and micro greens all delicately clipped from the window seed starting racks. This found salad was then slathered with a vinaigrette that used up the last of my homemade grainy mustard. A true Easter weekend egg hunt done right!
I just spent the last couple weeks back in the prairies taking some farming classes and meeting with farmers and chefs alike, it was really nice to see just how connected some pockets of the culinary world are becoming… farm 2 fork is contagious and it’s about time it start catching on!