Tag Archives: food

Starting the New Year Right

After last year I needed all the help I could get so I looked up lucky foods and found this article http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/slideshow/foods-to-bring-good-luck-new-year

Doughnuts, really? Don’t have to ask twice. I had a momentary freak out when i thought I was out of pork. How?! That young gilt i decided to keep for a breeder was looking tastier and tastier…Turned out my pork chops were just in the other freezer

I don’t have a doughnut cutter so I made due with a Mason jar lid and a pastry tip

In the mean time I made a maple glaze for some sweet pork chops

Later in the day I enjoyed the traditional pomegranate 

Here’s to hoping!


Sausagemaking and a Recipe


I mixed up two batches of sausage for Christmas gifts yesterday. One was bratwurst the other my own recipe that I need a good name for…


When making sausage make sure you taste the stuffing to decide if you need more salt or anything.


I used mostly jowl meat as it has a nice quantity of fat. For my mix I also added a few hearts to get the fat content to about 30%. The bratwurst were made with two jowls and a pound of lamb.


After letting the mixture rest for a day so the spices could really meld and the meat cool off again. I stuffed the sausages into natural hog casings.



Not the best at tying off my sausages…


And finished! Yum!

Here’s my recipe for my tomato basil garlic masterpiece (maybe I should keep it a secret? Nawwww…I can’t do that)

Summer Garden Sausage

6 lbs pork approx 4lbs lean meat 2 lbs back, belly or jowl fat
1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs basil, chopped
1 small head of garlic, ran twice through meat grinder
2 tbs salt (may need 3…taste it before adding 3rd tbs)
2 tsp fennel
2 tsp white pepper
2 whole eggs (for binding)
1 cup ice water

Corse grind meat. Keep cool while grinding. Add spices, eggs, water and tomatoes, mix.  Cook a small piece to make sure salt is to taste. Let rest for a few hours and stuff into hog casings. Enjoy!

** I used pesto I had frozen and tomato paste to give the fresh summer taste in fall.

What do you think of that name “summer garden sausage” hummm… Not sure. What would you call it?

Nothing to Waste

I wish i didn’t waste any part of my pigs, but there were a few bits of offal I let go curbside, however this time I did take more of the “waste.”
fat trim

all this is fat trim. I also took home a box of bones, kept the jowls, hearts, livers, trotters and sold the ears and one stomach. I used the majority of the “waste” products I believe.

Now the fat has a purpose that is demonized these days: lard. I personally don’t have experience using lard, but I had an abundance of fat and didn’t want to waste my (not so)little Dot. I also have been approached by folks who want pastured pork lard, so i figure it would be good to keep on hand.

First step is chopping the fat up.

Chopping Pig Fat

I tried rendering small chunks of fat and didn’t get all the lard out, so I switched to a meat grinder like your Grandma (Great Grandma for some of you!) had. I still had to chop so it fit into the tiny grinder, but look at those lovely nuggets of fat!

Gound Pork Fat

Next you cook it. some folks start with a tiny bit of water in the pot, but i found it was warm enough outside that fat was oozing out of the little nuggets already. I used a crock pot for one batch, stove top with a heat disperser on the other. Both produced nice white lard. I rendered, strained out the fat and cooked the fat up a second even third time. In the end I got 5 quart jars full and 16 pint jars for a total of: 3 and a quarter gallons of lard! Wow, and I didn’t even use all the trim! I’ll definitely render again.

A Pantry of Lard

After the liquid fat is rendered out you still have little fat nuggets. If you are brave you can fry them up, add salt and its almost like bacon bits! I was very surprised to see my health conscious mother cook up some “cracklins'” and gobble a bowl of fried fat nuggets. Guess you can take a Southern Gal out of the south, but you can’t take out the Southern!


I live alone, so i doubt I’m going to use this much lard anytime soon, but i will be able to share with friends and family. I’m looking forward to some good pies and biscuits, myself.

Quick Processing of Tomatoes

I had planned to make salsa with my tomatoes this summer…didn’t get enough tomatoes at one time OR time to do it! So I looked at my 4 pound of tomatoes slowly creeping towards over-ripe I knew I had to do something.

Quickest thing to do?


“Fire Roasted” Diced Tomatoes. Actually, I just heated up my cast iron skillet and burned a couple sides on each tomato. No blanching, coring, anything. just sear, chop, put it in something expandable and stick it in the freezer. Yup…gonna have some good chilli this winter with home-grown tomatoes.

Butchering My First Chicken

I was out in the barn trying to finally build the wall to the feed area so I could let my cold wet animals back in the barn when I went to borrow a tool from my neighbors. While over there they asked me if I wanted a dead chicken.

“Um…how long has it been?”

“About ten minutes.”

“What happened?”

“We killed her. —- shot her. I can’t do it, but —- is heartless.”


“She went broody again and was driving all the other chickens crazy.”

Ah, so not disease…just insane. As my neighbor put it “Imagine having to go to the bathroom and everytime you went in there someone else was ALWAYS in the stall next to you. EVERYDAY AT THE SAME TIME. Its freakin’ weird and they don’t want to be next to her.” I would like to add, she probably muttered to herself. The weirdo in the bathroom stall next to you…yeah, you too would probably think twice about laying an egg next to her.

Well, despite being in the middle of another project I won’t say no to free food. Especially not when I was about to go to the store and buy a chicken for soup because I might be fighting a cold (but I’m to busy to stop and figure out if I really am, haha!). So why not give it the old college try and clean a chicken that wasn’t slaughtered correctly in

the first place?


I always thought she was a pretty one, too bad she was driving all the other girls away from the nesting boxes and screwing up production. So I got a pot of water on the stove, dragged a 70 lb table that I think was originally used for butchery by myself across the back yard under to my back porch where I could work without getting rained on.


Into the pot she went and 10 minutes later she was plucked


It all went to hell from there.  Like, suddenly realizing since they just shot her she didn’t get bleed out…so I finally cut her head off just for a few drops on blood. Going broody often means not eating so she had hardly any muscle left. Yet oddly enough her butt was super fatty. So fatty I had a hard time finding her rectum. She was a literal fat-ass. I got to it without puncturing it and carefully started trying to pull out her innards.

But not carefully enough. I ripped a hole in her rectum an poop started falling out. GROSS.

I managed to squeeze most of it on the ground, but I still had a hold in her guts. Aw, screw being careful. I just shoved my hand in and ripped out everything I could possibly find. Then I decided not to bother with gibblets or anything else…so the pigs got the innards.

Cleaned out, great! Not much meat but i needed a stewing chicken, anyway. There were a few feathers left and according to one website “old timers used to take a rolled up newpaper and singe off the remaining hairs.” Well let me tell you.


That doesn’t work.

The lesson I learned: I can pluck a chicken, but anything else? I fail.


I’m trying my hand again at saurkraut. I did it in a crock the first time and it had no signs of mold…but did have a little bit of a musty flavor. No vinegar, just lactofermentation ie. natural bacteria thriving in a salty brine. I never refrigerated it and it lasted on the counter a few months. If finally bit the dust after my mother cooked some up and somehow introduced some mold spores. or something. Next time I opened up the crock it was all pink mold and white fluffy stuff. 😦

So I am trying again this time packing the cabbage tighter than before. I also added a tablespoon of brine from my lactofermented pickles hoping to share the bacteria a little.

Now my pickles turned out pretty good. Could be crispier, but not bad. They’ve sat out on the counter for a few weeks now and fully fermented. Now they are full of probiotics. Yesterday when I opened the crock a layer of yeast had formed on top complete with giant bubbles. The taste was tart, strong and the pickle floating on top had an almost alcoholic scent (the yeast), Time to finally refrigerate.  I moved them into a smaller crock so i could use the big one for the saurkraut. Tommorrow I am going to put the leftover brine thats full of probiotics in the animals water. The pigs will probably love it. I’m guessing the sheep will turn up their noses.

So my kitchen is full of fermentation. I’d like to try kimchi next…then we’ll see were we go next. at least with cabbage products i can make them year round since the store always carries it.


boooooring post. sorry.