Tag Archives: Food

Preserving the Harvest

When we butchered our half-pig, we planned to do some preservation.  Since the internet terrified me into not attempting a cured ham at this time of year (too hot!  and the words “Bone Rot”), we brined it instead.

Attempt at a container, #1
Attempt at a container, #1
Much better!
Much better!

Of course, one should never leave the meaty part out of the brine, and we weighed the ham down with glass jars and left it in the coolest part of the house for a few days.

Several days later, we hauled it out, coated it in a mix of brown sugar, mustard powder, and diluted jam, and cooked it.


Is this the Meat Of Our Doom?  Our handling of the meat was careful, but not exactly foodsafe, and I’m sure that leaving meat in salty water for a few days is not Recommended Practice for germophobic sorts.

I’d feel a little more comfortable if we were doing this in the late fall, with our own pig.  All my Italian ancestors rejoice in the preservation of meat, however, and this delicious ham feels wonderfully completing in my belly.

Tomorrow morning, we try the bacon.

Practice Butchery

We ordered half a pig, and had the option to have it come to us completely un-cut-up.  Since Jeremy had, most astutely, taken a course on butchery from Farmstead Meatsmith, we thought we could take this project on.

It's a Big Pig!
It’s a Big Pig!
Primary Sous-chef enjoys the idea of MEAT.
Primary Sous-chef enjoys the idea of MEAT.

Over the next eight hours, we butchered this lovely pig.  Parts went into a seasoned salt mix for bacon, and the ham went into a tub of brine.  We ate the pork chops the next evening, and they were roundly declared the best, juiciest, most tender pork chops in the entire history of food.  We borrowed a meat grinder and sausage stuffer (thanks, Streetbank!), and made sausages the next day.

Gory Stuffer
Gory Stuffer
sausage party!
sausage party!

Making sausages did not at all enable the proliferation of jokes about anatomy, because as adults we are past all that adolescent nonsense.

Home butchery filled our freezer without completely draining our pocketbook, and the work felt good and soul-nourishing.  We will definitely do this again.

(though next time, we’ll make sure to have a smoker, and even perhaps one of our own pigs.)

Pizza (and wheat)

We are reducing our consumption of wheat, though not eliminating it.  Most of us feel swollen and yucky when we eat a lot of wheat, but no one feels enough of a difference that they have given up wheat entirely.

Good thing, because my attempts at gluten-free pizza crusts have been edible, but not awesome.

Here’s the recipe I use:

In a big bowl, mix 1 Tbsp yeast and 1 Tbsp salt with 3 cups warm water.  Add 5 cups white flour, and 1.5 cups spelt/whole-wheat/rye/whatever-other-kind-of-flour-is-around.  Mix, cover with a pot lid, and let sit in a warm place for at least 4 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.  Do not knead, do not concern yourself with it in any way until you’re ready to use it.  When you’re ready to make pizza, turn the dough out on a floured surface, and mix in enough flour to make it the appropriate texture.  Stretch it into the right shape, then add toppings and cook until done at 450 (15-25 mins).  I find that if one doesn’t oil the pan, it sticks dreadfully, and that thinner crusts work out better than thicker ones.  And sesame seeds on the crust are really nice.

For the gluten-free crust, I just substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free flour mix. It was fine, just not quite as nice. It needs to be patted in place like a giant cracker instead of rolled and stretched like a wheat crust.

I recently ran out of white flour, and so I used 1 cup of white and the rest spelt flour, and it was fine. More stretchy and squishy with the white flour, but overall it was something I’d probably do again. Once we get a grain mill, I plan to make it with 100% whole wheat – I’ll keep y’all updated.

Happy pizza!


For the past little while, we have been taking care of the animals on a farm nearby while their people are away. Every morning, someone goes to the farm, lets the chickens and turkeys out, and distributes appropriate quantities of food and water.

We bring carefully selected compost for the chickens to pick through, muscle our way through the turkey scrum, and hold still-warm eggs in cold hands.

In the evening, as it gets dark, the chickens put themselves to bed and make sleepy chicken noises as we check for eggs. The turkeys are lured back into their shelter using yet more food.

And it’s fun.

(of course, I know that there are days that I will not be interested in getting out of bed to let out my own annoying chickens, but for today, it’s fun to pretend.)

More food: Eggs Ranchero (WCH Style)

It might seem that eating is all we do here!  It is the biggest part of our budget, for sure; 10 people eat a lot.  With little kids, we need to make three square meals a day.  Not everyone takes part in all the meals, but we mostly eat together.

And breakfast mostly involves eggs.  Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs in pancake batter with eggs on top.  Eggs.  We get about half of our eggs from Inishoge Farm (http://www.inishoge.ca/), and half from whichever farm gate we happen to be driving past (or The Horrible, AKA the grocery store).

When I was a kid, my father used to make Eggs Ranchero: toast, with salsa on top, a poached egg on that, and melted cheddar on top of that.  Delicious!  In 2005, Jeremy and I went to Japan to travel and WWOOF (www.wwoof.net), and I came home with what we termed a ‘rice hole’; if a meal didn’t include rice, I didn’t feel full.  I found all kinds of ways to include rice, including Modified Eggs Ranchero.

As you gaze long into the breakfast, the breakfast gazes also into you.
As you gaze long into the breakfast, the breakfast gazes also into you.

Eggs, on top of salsa and rice, with cheese melted on top.  Even though it does’t have any Braggs sauce or tahini, I labeled it West Coast Hippie (WCH) Style. That’s mostly tongue in cheek, due to the short-grain brown rice and locally-sourced ingredients.  Sometimes I add homemade nettle gomaishio, for extra WCH++.  Delicious!


The remains of dinner…

Well, everyone who knows me knows I love Lasagna.  So, for the past little while, as part of the dinner preparations for our little group, I have been creating my favorite meal.

Feeding 10 people 3 meal a day is a lot of work, usually covered by Tony or Erin. I usually cover the dishes afterwards, since our rule of thumb is that if you cook, you shouldn’t have to clean. Tonight is my night off from the dishes!

I made a double batch. Here is what was left by the ravening hordes:

Reminders of dinner
Reminders of dinner

This is the fourth double batch Lasagna I have made. Most of the kids came back for (kid sized) third servings, and I’m sure JS would have kept going if we let him.


Anya should be visiting tomorrow, so we will save some for her. She can comment after she has had a taste.


I used the Clueless in the Kitchen cookbook’s recipe, doubled so we can actually feed 10 people. The only changes I made were to add a grated potato to the carrots (also grated), plus some basil with the oregano. The cheese was all goats milk based cheeses, making this safe for E, who pukes on contact with processed milks and cheeses made from same. That would have been a sorry waste!

I wonder if this would have been Kendra safe too?!?

(My first try at posting this from my phone failed, I’ll have to try that again, on some other post.)

Good night, from a well fed Scott.


Neep Noodles

We’ve been eating a lot of root vegetables, because they’re seasonal and CHEAP.  Plus, I love them, and when we’re feeding more than two adults it makes sense to make a dish that is mostly just for us.  We do roasted roots (we call them Rude Vegetables, or ‘Neeps [turnips] and ‘Nips [parsnips], depending on the constituents), Bashed Neeps, and roots cut into wedges and dipped in coconut oil before roasting.  Turnip saurkraut.  So good.

Tonight, we have something new to add to the roster: Neep Noodles.  Tony took a raw turnip, peeled it, and then kept peeling long strips with the vegetable peeler so that the pieces resembled long, flat noodles.  We boiled them in salty water for a scant few minutes, then served them with butter, salt and parmesan cheese.  I think it’s my new favourite way to enjoy turnips.  You may ask, “Isn’t anything good, covered with butter and salt and cheese?”, and you may be right, but there was a certain turnipiness that comes through.

All hail the noble turnip, oft-scorned, but deserving of toothsome adoration!

(Next time we make it, I’ll take pictures.)

Pressure-cooker Dahl

The pressure cooker has become an essential part of feeding 10 people cheaply.  At first, I was a little concerned about explosions (and associated people becoming drenched in super-heated soup), but as it hasn’t happened yet, I’ve lowered my guard.

Tonight, we’re trying a dahl recipe, to eat with baked potatoes.  Due to the variety in people and palates, we often serve two meals that have a DIY component to them: build-it-yourself burritos, and baked potatoes with lots of fixings.  To mix it up a little for the sake of the adults, sometimes the potatoes have a chili option, and sometimes a dahl option, but the kids usually prefer yoghurt and bacon bits.

Here’s what we’re trying tonight: http://norecipes.com/masoor-dal/ .