Saturday, March 12, 2011

some odds and ends

hello again!

i am still cooking and we are still eating even though i haven't been keeping this ol' blog up to date. in fact, we've been eating really well as of late!!

let me demonstrate.

a few sundays ago i made an AWESOME cider and onion braised pork shoulder. here's the fixin's for a killer sunday dinner.

the shoulder braised for a few hours and i served it over a cauliflower puree with some braised kale on the side. mmm! tasty!

and look at these beauties!

the days are slowly but surely getting a little longer and the temperature is slowly but surely getting a little warmer so our chickens are laying again. we have 6 birds total now and are getting 4-5 eggs a day.

here's my girls!

my love for eggs is hard to put into words. i think my last meal would be dippy eggs and rye toast. or maybe a scrambled egg and chorizo taco. mmmm....eggs.

just look at these babies!!

and speaking of killer eggs - check out this incredible sandwich i stumbled across the other day - an egg in a hole grilled cheese.

my gawd! dippy eggs AND grilled cheese!! they are like my two favorite foods on the planet! i made them that night and they were HEAVENLY!

here's the supplies.

butter. eggs. cheese. seriously. this is what life is all about man!

sorry. no photo of the finished product due to me gobbling this baby up the second it came out of the pan. this sandwich is pure perfection. totally awesome. i wish i had one right now.

in other news the pork from our meat share arrived.

in addition to the nasty bits we received bacon, steaks, ham, butt roast and this gigantic tub o' lard!

i've got big plans for this lard. namely pie crusts and fried chicken. oh man. i am so pumped! i also ordered pork & sons from the library and am super excited to start researching.

my culinary co-conspirator and i are gonna kick that pig's ass!!

and speaking of my culinary co-conspirator (aka sister-by-choice aka soon-to-be-sister-in-law) check out her butchering skills!

this past weekend we played duck, duck, goose with one of our ducks and a duck and a goose from our meat peeps.

this was the first big butcher for both of us. i have done some plucking with our own birds but mike did all the butchering. i was intimidated and a little scared but NOT anymore!

we propped up our main man's cookbook for guidance and went to town. we each tackled a duck and then since it was my co-conspirator's birthday celebration she tackled the goose.

i think we did a helluva job!

and after the butchering - we cooked!

first of all we bagged up the carcasses and got them in the freezer. they will become stock at some point down the road.

then we rendered all of the fat from the fowl. it slowly bubbled away on the stove top while we tackled our other projects.

one duck breast became duck prosciutto (it's hanging right now and should be done by tomorrow). mmm! once it's ready we will slice it thin, pour ourselves a nice glass of red wine and sit back and talk about how awesome we are (hopefully).

all of the legs, thighs and wings got rubbed down with a salt/oil/pepper/garlic/bay leaf paste and went into a pot to rest for confit.

and then we tackled our dinner.

we seared the goose & duck breasts and then made a sauce using onions and garlic and red wine and fig preserves. mmm! we served the seared breasts over a sweet potato puree alongside some roasted brussel sprouts (sprouts i blanched & froze back in september or october!).

and we feasted!

to top it off - a lemon curd tart with blackberries and homemade whipped cream.

man oh man! this was a killer meal! i was exhausted and drunk on wine and enthusiasm by the end of it all. it was a wonderful day!

but the fowl didn't stop there!

we split up the legs, thighs and wings and the rendered fat and tackled the confit the next day (or was it two days later...) on our own.

i didn't have enough rendered fat to cover the fowl so i used some olive oil too. i should've used some of that darn lard but i didn't think of it till afterwards!

here it is at the beginning.

and here it is at the end (3 1/2 hours later at 300 degrees).

it had shrunk down quite a bit so i transferred it to my single woman's dutch oven and stuck it in the back of the fridge.

we'll revisit this confit in a month or so when my culinary co-conspirator and i regroup and tackle cassoulet. (and i know that ours will look much better than this wikipedia picture. blegh!).

and let's end on a sweet note. creamy, warm rice pudding with pure ohio maple syrup. mmm!!