ribs

Accidental Locavore PigThis year, not only was there a pig, but also a lamb…

This is a re-run of my post after the event last year in case anyone wants to attend week 2. We talk about nose-to-tail eating, but how does it really work? Come and see what happens when two chefs take on all the parts of a whole pig.

We’ll be focusing on using all the parts of the pig–smoking ribs and bacon, making a variety of sausages and stuffing the head to make headcheese (one of my favorites from last year!).

There’s still time support Slow Food Hudson Valley and get tickets for the second part on Saturday, March 25 from 10-4.

Saturday, the Accidental Locavore and about a dozen people watched three chefs tackle a pig. It was part of a two-day program Slow Food Hudson Valley put on to promote snout-to-tail eating (which reminds me–what happened to the pig’s tail?) or “butchering, preserving and sausage making a heritage pig.

Accidental Locavore Tom and Half PigWe were in a freezing cold farmstand on Kesike Farms in Red Hook NY, watching Chef Tom work his way through half of a hundred-pound pig. He did it with very few tools, and the ones that he’d chosen were all easily acquired, if not already in your arsenal. For the whole pig all he used were two boning knives, two hand saws and a sharpening steel. One of the hand saws, a Japanese, flexible bladed one, was a recent purchase from Lowes. In case you’re interested in breaking down any sort of animal (bigger than a chicken), remember knife first, then saw.

As he went through the pig he used a technique he referred to as “seam butchering” or finding the seams between the bones or muscles and using them as reference points. Between American and various European methods, there are a lot of ways to butcher a pig—choices you get to make as you cruise along.

Once Chef Tom got through cutting the pig into his basic cuts, he went back section by section, boning almost everything except the baby back ribs. He showed up his way of tying up various hams and roasts. While he was working, there was a lively discussion of the best ways to use each of the parts. Neck bones (which I forgot to ask for) are supposed to make your regular tomato sauce just amazing! Cumin, for some reason, played a major role in almost everything—it was simply the joke of the day.

After Tom was finished with his business, Chef Dan whisked away a lot of pork for stew and got to work, with help from some CIA students, on our lunch, a southwestern pork stew/chile, which was great and might actually have had some cumin in it…

Accidental Locavore John and TomThen Chef John stepped up to demo how to prep the various pork products for bacon, sausages and headcheese (yes, you use the whole head). He made a brine, using some for a loin and injected another piece with brine, explaining when you would inject versus when you would submerge. The liquid injected, should be 10% of the weight of the meat you’re using. The head and feet also went into the brine. We’ll see what happens to them next week.

Accidental Locavore Injecting BrineAfter the brining, John showed us how to do a bacon cure. It’s essentially a dry rub with salt, sugar, and whatever spices you want to add to the mix. You coat the bacon with the cure, cover it (or put it in a Ziploc) and refrigerate. Every other day, you need to flip the meat so it gets cured evenly. Another thing to look forward to next Saturday!

Accidental Locavore John Making SausagesFrom there we went on to making sausages. When you make sausages, it’s really important to cook and taste the meat before you stuff it. I always thought you just made a mini patty and fried it. No, no, no. Chef John said it’s not a good way to see how the finished product will actually taste and the texture is completely different. His way? Make a sausage-sized log, wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap, and poach it until it’s done. Then taste and adjust the seasonings. We ended the day, tasting his sweet Italian sausages and a southwestern green chile sausage. Both were really great and even better? We got to take some home.
Accidental Locavore Testing SausageI can’t wait for next Saturday! Lots of smoking going on next week. And we’ll get to try our bacon, make some tasso, have some ribs, even some headcheese. Sound tempting? There are spots available so come join us–Slow Food Hudson Valley has all the info.

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Shopping My Freezer: 8 Weeks and 23 Meals

by Anne Maxfield on May 2, 2016

Accidental Locavore Freezer InsideYou know that moment when you open the freezer and the last thing that was shoved into it drops on your foot. You howl in pain and vow to clean it out—pronto! That was the state of the Accidental Locavore’s freezer. As a challenge, I thought I’d see how long we could go eating what we already have, buying vegetables and perishables only.

The unofficial start was March 12th – with a grape leaf “pie” from Ottolenghi’s Nopi cookbook (delicious!) made with ground beef and a marrowbone from the freezer – and is still going on as we reach the end of April. We have eaten out several times, and I haven’t really counted the nights we ate leftovers, but so far it’s been over 20 meals created from what we had on hand.

Accidental Locavore Grapeleaf PieI have bought fish three times, some (extraordinarily tough) chicken thighs and a couple of pork tenderloins, but that’s it for the meat and seafood section of the market in eight weeks. Needless to say, our grocery bill was significantly lower too.

So what does a month of shopping the freezer look like?

  1. The aforementioned grape leaf pie
  2. Albondigas I made for Frank before I left for France and an avocado with dressing.
  3. Lunch of salad with feta (homemade), and leftover steak
  4. Indian chicken, basmati rice and roasted broccoli
  5. Guests for dinner of pulled pork and mac and cheese
  6. Pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage (from the pig class)
  7. Moroccan lamb shanks with artichokes, butternut squash (from freezer), dried chickpeas (balance now in freezer) and couscous
  8. Leftover grape leaf pie
  9. Chicken with cilantro chutney
  10. Meringue cookies with chocolate from freezer, cornflakes from cupboard, egg whites from hollandaise sauceAccidental Locavore Freezer Door
  11. Broccoli soup with stock from freezer
  12. Lamb stew with spinach and basmati rice
  13. Lasagna, sauce and Italian sausage from freezer
  14. Pork roast with hoisin sauce
  15. Cod wrapped in banana leaves (from freezer) with cilantro chutney
  16. Amazing Tartine Bakery bread for toast
  17. Lamb-stuffed grapeleaves
  18. French onion soup
  19. Another batch of pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage and a couple of meatballs
  20. Lasagna with the leftover Puttanesca
  21. Chocolate salted-caramel mousse with chocolate from the freezer (and some tuiles I whipped up
  22. Rao’s meatballs with ground beef we were going to make burgers from
  23. BBQ spare ribs

Accidental Locavore Sealded FoodMy verdict: Without my FoodSaver (sealer) almost all of this would have suffered from freezer burn–it is worth the money! All the pork, lamb and beef we got locally was either sealed or well wrapped in butcher paper. Even with all these great meals, the freezer is still pretty packed. We could/can go at least another month and let me tell you, shopping from my freezer is a whole lot easier than running out to the market every other day! Besides, I like the challenge of working with what I’ve got. How long do you think you could go shopping your freezer?

 

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Another Pig, Another Lunch, Another Country

by Anne Maxfield on May 18, 2015

Accidental Locavore Billy Joe's RibsWhen the Accidental Locavore singled out Billy Joe’s Ribworks as being my favorite chili (as well as Frank’s) in the recent Chili Cook-off, Jonathan Gatsik, one of the owners, sent me an invitation to come and have lunch, so the other day Frank and I set off for the Newburgh waterfront.

Accidental Locavore Billy Joes DeckBilly Joe’s is a huge place perched on the edge of the Hudson. There’s a large patio with a stage for summer concerts and a beer garden for exploring their large selection of local craft beer. During the summer they serve over 3000 diners a week, which means their three smokers are going non-stop from May through the end of September. The smokers are immense, with a capacity of 13-1400 pounds of meat each.

And we sampled a good amount of that meat! Starting with some smoked chicken wings that they then toss on the grill to crisp up. They come to the table with your choice of dipping sauce and blue cheese dressing. Whether you choose “Devil’s Revenge” or their own barbecue sauce, everything is made in-house. Frank’s reaction (“the wings were a revelation”) pretty much sums it up—they were!

Accidental Locavore Billy Joe's WingsWe tried not to stuff ourselves solely on the wings (although they would have been a fine lunch) because we knew Jonathan had ordered a lot more food for us to taste. There were three types of ribs: baby backs, St. Louis and beef. All were great, but my favorites were the beef ribs. Huge and naked except for a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, they were smoky and beefy and delicious! The baby backs were cut with the tenderloin, which made them super tender and both types of pork ribs were dusted with their special rub before the trip to the smoker.

Accidental Locavore Billy Joes BrisketAlong with the ribs there were three types of smoked sausages, both sweet and hot Italian and some spicy andouille. Definitely one of Frank’s favorite foods, he was happily devouring all three types. Not to be overshadowed by the ribs and sausage – some really great pulled pork, wonderful brisket and smoked chicken! And if you’re not into meat but find yourself there, the “Good Ol’ Grilled Salmon” is perfectly prepared (I stole a bite of Jonathan’s) so you won’t be left out!

Side dishes included homemade corn bread, some wonderful smoked baked beans, very good coleslaw and exceptional mac & cheese! My favorite mac & cheese is always really cheesy and creamy and this fit the bill completely! From now on, if I’m craving it, I know a trip to Newburgh will be just what I need!

Accidental Locavore Billy Joes CrewJonathan calls Billy Joe’s a “very, very happy place” and it ‘s apparent the minute you walk in the door. His chef, Kevin, also deserves a shout-out for all the great food. Managing that kitchen has to be a herculean task and they both do it with a big smile! Jonathan says “I love it every single day of the week” and you can too!

 

Thanks to Jonathan and crew for a great lunch and to Frank for the photos!

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Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course

by Anne Maxfield on January 28, 2013

Accidental Locavore Gordon RamsayYou might think that someone like the Accidental Locavore would spend any and all TV time staring at the Food Network. And you would be wrong. It’s not because they turned down the Accidental Locavore show three times – really, it’s not. It’s because most of the programs just aren’t terribly interesting. I’m never going to make an appetizer from gummy worms and liver, coated in crushed Cap’n Crunch, are you? Nor am I looking to replicate the two types of fried clams (good as they are) that Guy Fieri turned up at Bob’s Clam Hut, one of our favorites on the way to Maine.

When I watch food shows I want to see beautiful food, food I’d want to eat and food that I want to eat enough to seek out the recipes and ingredients. Until recently, this was a very hit-or-miss proposition. However, now from a surprising source, there’s a new must-watch show (and no, it’s not the Taste) and a steady entry on the DVR’s to-do list. It’s Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on BBC (added bonus, it’s on right when I’m eating lunch).

Until this show, Gordon Ramsay was on my short list of chefs I could care less about. Humorless and abusive, listening to him tell any number of people to f–k off is not my preferred form of entertainment. On this show he’s charming, laid-back and informative. There are lots of useful tips, the recipes are easy and straight-forward and the food looks delicious!

You’ll want to book a trip to England, if only to go hang with the terribly British butchers in the most immaculate shops, or the potato expert, slicing open a potato to reveal an amazing midnight-blue interior. Actually, all the food shots will have you drooling, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Accidental Locavore Rosti PotatoesI’m definitely going to try the pork spare ribs. The leek and potato rosti looks like it would be great with a roast chicken (whether I roast it or buy it). I like that Gordon advises you always to cook extra potatoes, which you can always use for gnocchi or the rosti – advice I will surely act on! Since the show is British, all measurements are metric, but don’t let that bother you, so far nothing I’ve seen looks like an extra gram or two would make a huge difference and Chef Ramsay is always encouraging you to taste, taste, taste. Where you will need to convert is on oven temps and there are plenty of sites for that.

For videos of the episodes, click here and to find out what’s on each episode, Wikipedia has a great run-down. Let me know what you think.

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