Monthly Archives: August 2011

Trying to score some pork

When we went to the family reunion I mentioned making the ribs when we go as a family (I mean all the off spring of my in-laws) to the beach. They mentioned wanting to go out to dinner. I love going out to dinner, but I hate going out with so many people. A table of 6 maybe, but anymore and I am not a fan. You miss half of what’s going on, if you are at the wrong side of the table you are ________________ with _________________ over ____________________. (You are related to people, so you fill in the blanks.) And there is the cost. Dinner for 9 is pricey. Since Boomer’s folks were nice enough to include us, I thought we could do a little pot luck kind of thing.

I am bringing the ribs. Thank you Allison Fishman for giving me something to bring, to family dinners, weekends at the beach, and potluck dinners. The recipe is awesome, but my secret weapon is local ribs. Buy good local pork ribs, add the rub, finish with the BBQ sauce and it’s a hit. Once everyone agreed to the making food I went looking for my local ribs. I have been able to call Ikenberry’s and say “Can you get me 4 slabs by friday?” and the ribs were there. I called Tuesday and got a call back. No ribs, we cleaned Martin Farms out of their ribs. They aren’t processing anymore pigs for another week or two.

Tuesday turned into a series of calls that resembled a drug deal. Trying score some pork. Put my feelers out. Has the pork really dried up? Who can get me ribs?! I even had Boomer go over to the West Side Market to see if anyone had ribs.

I heard back from Bramble Hollow Farms, they have ribs. I had to fight saying “I will take all that you got.” I am excited to pick them up before work Saturday. I hope to also try the bacon, chorizo and sweet Italian sausage.

Baby worm

When we feed the worms, we are seeing more and more of these little guys. Nice to know that the bin is doing it’s job, taking our food scraps and turning it into compost and the worms are multiplying.

I got my freezer

Friday I was writing a blog post about wanting, dare I say, NEEDING a freezer. I really want to stock up on chicken in October so we have enough to get us through the winter…visions of us being vegetarians come February put the freezer on the front burner. The fridge/freezer we have can hold 4 containers of sauce, the door storage gets packed with veggies, 3 chickens, and enough beef and pork to get us thru about a month.

When we want something, we prioritize it. My big three these days have been small chest freezer, juicer and pressure canner. All over 100 bucks, so it has it be a decision that the whole family can get behind. I looked at all the available stores where we could get the freezer that we wanted. 5.0 cubic feet. Small enough for our apartment, but could hold at least 10 chickens. (I know I am focused on the chicken, but it seems like we won’t have access to chicken from about November thru April.) They all seemed to be priced from 170-220. Not unreasonable, and I felt a great investment in what we are choosing for our life.

We headed over to Home Depot, the GE had the best reviews and the price on the lower end. The sticking point for me was delivery. When Eddie came over and helped us he pointed out how light it was. Even saying he could lift it up using just his thumb. Boomer told me we could handle it. After struggling with the bench seats in the van for a minute or two, made enough room in the back for the little freezer. We bought it and got it home.

It fits nicely in out apartment kitchen. Bramble Hollow will be at the Grandin farmer’s market this weekend, so this will fill up quickly.

And a by product of buying an appliance in a big box?

Something for Madigan to do all afternoon. A house of boxes.

Tomato plant shadow….or art?

This might turn into a project for Madigan and I. A canvas, some paint and some patience we could save a memory of our first summer growing tomatoes on the patio.

CSA Tuesday (week 15)

It was weird day yesterday, with an earthquake hitting Virginia. I was expecting a couple pounds of garlic but no such luck. Maybe next week. This week we got onions, tomatoes, basil, beans, pepper, cucumbers squash and carrots.

Filed Under: CSA

Family Reunion

I married a man who’s grandmother has a lot of sisters. There is a family reunion every August (actually there are a few each year) that we get to attended since we live in Virginia now. As much as I love to cook for my little family, I know my cooking isn’t for everyone. So when the reunion rolls around, I start worrying about what to take. We are not the youngest generation there, but we are not expected to bring anything. Which is exactly what we brought last year…maybe we did bring something, I know Madigan brought jelly bread.

Side note about Madigan-I really do love making her happy, so when she asks me to do something that is completely doable, I do it.

When my mother in law mentioned the family reunion, I told her I wasn’t sure what I was gonna bring Madigan blurted out ham or ribs. I love my ham, I have loved it my whole life when it was my mom’s ham. Problem is with choosing to get our meat locally, from farms who treat the animals humanely, getting a ham (think typical easter/sunday supper ham) is harder and more expensive. We could get a boston butt and cook it like I do a ham, but don’t want to try and new recipe that I need to take to 40 or 50 people. So ribs it is.

Another side note about Madigan-She calls them my ribs. “Make your ribs mom.” I feel like a fraud, they aren’t my ribs, they are You Can Trust a Skinny Cook author Allison Fishman’s ribs.

I follow the recipe to a t to make sure it tastes as good as it did the first time. I wanted this cook book after making a pasta and clam recipe posted on a friend’s website and have made a dozen of the recipes in it. I am stuck on the ribs.

I don’t know if they are going to be my thing. If next year at the reunion people will think “I hope she brings her ribs.” We have moved around so much, that I am not part of the tradition of Shirley brings the fried chicken, Angie brings the deviled eggs, and Jodie brings the ribs. My goal is to leave with the crockpot empty…or maybe not. Maybe I am thinking about this wrong, with them being so good, maybe I don’t want them to get eaten. The more for us theory.

ED–Here’s what we went to the reunion with…

And here’s what we left with.

It was a hit!

Canning

Here are my thoughts about canning.

1) It is time consuming. Make sure you have dinner plans already in place. Last night I thought I would just can the peaches and then get dinner made. Problem is canning (for me) takes up all 4 burners. So after canning 3 pints of peaches at a time, once the last three were pulled out of the water bath, it was 8:30. If Boomer wasn’t a celiac it would have been a pizza night, but we headed over to Panera minutes before they closed.

2) I need better shoes. The longer I spend on my feet in the kitchen the more I wear my shoes in the house. I can’t stand for two and three hours in the kitchen cutting, chopping, stirring, baking, mixing without my feet hurting.

3) Make sure the under 10 crowd has something to do. Even if they are excited to help, it is a long process-A.LONG.PROCESS.

4) Have more jars, lids and rings ready to go than you think you will need.

5) Plan how long you think it’s going to take, then make sure you have an extra hour, just in case.

6) (This probably isn’t a problem for anyone else) Start with a clean sink, empty dishwasher and clear counters. You need space. You need to wash your hands, you need to have room for all your accessories, you just need room to work.

7) Home canning is not mass production. Each batch could look, taste and feel different. And it’s not going to look and feel like store bought. And that’s not a bad thing.

8 ) I am still worried that I messed something up and that somehow something I canned could make my family sick. I am gonna have to just get over that. I read and reread the directions. I am canning high acid fruit.

Madigan’s dream farm

We talk about everything in our family. No topic is off limits or too crazy to talk about and dream about. Madigan drew up a plan for her minifarm. I love that there is no limit to her ideas, that she thinks BIG. Now she only wants one cow, mostly for milk. She only wants layers in the chicken coop. And who knew she wanted rabbits. I also love that she made a special place for the worms.

Also Madigan dotted her I with a tomato.