BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘bacon

Burnheimer Meat Co. CSA Dispatch: Month One

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Burnheimer Meat Co. CSA: Month 1 Box

Omnivorous flexitarian that I am, I still find myself in an off-again, on-again, feast or famine relationship with pork. It’s not the Jewish background: my Friedberg grandparents had their kosher friends over for ham. I’ve learned that meats as unctuous as pork–and all meats really–are best experienced as a condiment (with a nod to Thomas Jefferson and Chinese cuisine), used to compliment and flavor the fresh vegetables and whole grains that make up a bulk of one’s plates. Meat is a precious and rare resource, a great source of protein and sustenance that creates environmental challenges we can’t ignore. We should pay more for animals raised in a humane and Earth-friendly way, and eat less of that meat, with more reverence. With that spirit, this spring I signed up for our first (three-month) meat C.S.A.

First, I tackled the delicate duck breasts from Evergreen Creek Farms in Philomath. Brad promises me duck legs in April, so I can try my hand at confit.

Next time, I'll cure duck proscuitto. This time, just went with fennel-and-lavender-studded "Roasted Duck Breast with Bourbon-Braised Italian Prunes (I used cherries instead)," from Seattle chef Jason Wilson of Crush, included in Ivy Manning's standby "Farm to Table Cookbook."












At first, $80 a month (a $240 check) seemed a lot for three months of meat. But GTF charcuterie wiz Brad Burnheimer promised 10 lbs. of fresh cuts, sausages and bacon, from free-roaming heritage pigs. I picked my first box at Gathering Together Farm on March 2. Enclosed was the note:

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Written by baltimoregon

March 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

Fermenting Cabbage: Kraut and David Chang’s Kimchi

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My kraut of red and mostly green cabbage.

Less than three weeks later: fermented kraut.

Shredded cabbage in pickle crock on day one.

Fermenting and pickling are my favorite of the food preservation arts. Fermenting especially, because there’s no cooking up a brine, stuffing jars, water-boiling them. I love raw fermentation, where all you do is salt and submerge the chopped vegetables in their own juices, and then the naturally-present lactobacillus bacteria transform the vegetable sugars into lactic acid, the vinegar-like natural brine that preserves your kraut.

I started fermenting my kraut about Nov. 7, so I could connect with the great Baltimore Thanksgiving tradition. Of course, I never made sauerkraut in Baltimore nor did I ever have Thanksgiving there, but I love Gertrude’s (site of our rehearsal dinner) and meant to attend their kraut festival. So I was thrilled to find Gertie’s recipe for Sauerkraut and Apples (tips on fermenting your own kraut here). The uptown version, with dry champagne and fresh ginger, graced our Thanksgiving table. The clean tang of the kraut helped undercut the grease and heaviness of the rest of the meal. Plus, those tangy probiotic bacteria (like the ones present in yogurt) really aid in digestion. Another secret to the kraut: we sauteed it with the maple-cured, applewood-smoked pork belly I just cured with Intaba at the restaurant.

Curing the pork belly with salt, brown sugar and maple syrup.

After a week of curing, plus an hour of smoking: bacon!











The same day I made kraut, I also made garlicky, gingerly, salty-sweet Napa cabbage kimchi, with the recipe from hip chef David Chang of Momofuku fame. I still need to make his Fuji Apple Salad with Kimchi, Smoke Jowl & Maple Labne before we eat all the kimchi in the fridge. If only we’d smoked some pork jowl with our bacon.

My Napa cabbage Kimchi, based on Momofuku's recipe. It does a number on your breath!

Written by baltimoregon

November 29, 2009 at 11:58 am

Finally Foraged for Stinging Nettles

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Stinging Nettles (not to be confused with wild blackberry leaves) from Willamette Park

Stinging Nettles (not to be confused with wild blackberry leaves) from Willamette Park

Spaghetti carbonara with nettles

Spaghetti carbonara with nettles

Who would have thought that something potentially harmful would be edible? Yes, stinging nettles sting, like mild poison ivy, but when cooked, they have an herbacous, spinach-like taste and consistency. Spinach has a sweeter and more complex flavor, but when Mother Nature offers up such bounty for free, I’m always up for trying it. Foraging rules! Just don’t pick them when they’re going to seed, as I almost did today.

Also, don’t mistake them for wild blackberry vines. It’s easy to do. At least that’s not a lethal mistake. Chef Intaba pointed the nettles out to me in Willamette Park this afternoon. They have two opposition leaves (rather than the blackberry’s three and look very similar to lemon balm.

We cooked the soaked nettles into our spaghetti carbonara, made with house-cured bacon from a half a pig Intaba just butchered herself. Instead of parmesan, we dusted the pasta with the sharp aged and local Willamette Valley Cheese Co. Brindisi. We topped our salad with Intaba’s house-smoked pecans and frizzled leeks and edible pansies, redolent of wintergreen, that I didn’t even realize I had in my garden.

Intaba's bacon

Intaba's bacon

Pansy salad

Pansy salad

The meal provided nice closure to a Memorial Day of wine-tasting at Chateau Lorane just south of Eugene. The Willamette Valley’s big wine tasting weekends center around Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. I really fell for Lorrane’s Baco Noir, more rich than any pinot I’ve had. All the other wines seemed like water next to this voluptuous Baco, which painted the glass with deep purple. I only know the difference between good and bad with wine. But with this one, I could sense there was something special going on.

And be sure to stop at Our Daily Bread bakery and restaurant in Fern Ridge on Highway 99W between Corvallis and Eugene.They make a mean marionberry scone.


Written by baltimoregon

May 26, 2009 at 1:04 am

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