Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pig Day, Part 1

Pig day, as a coincedence, happened to also be my wife's birthday. She was in Wisconsin on a job interview, and wouldn't be back until early evening. My kids were at their Grandparents house. So I woke up, made my homemade pizza dough recipe, prepping for dinner, and got ready to go pick up the pig. A nice layer of fresh snow had covered most of eastern Iowa, so I was going to have a beautiful drive. As I was pulling out of Iowa City, I pulled behind a car displaying a bumper sticker that seemed quite appropriate.

As to "know your farmer" was really the main motivating factor in buying the pig. Sure it's economical, sure I want to make sausagey experiments, but I wanted to know more about the source of my foods. The pig that I am cooking (as much as I can of, except for head cheese, next time my friends, next time) was raised in a humane fashion by farmers that live 20 minutes from my house. Farmers named Lois and Bill.

The rest of the roughly 80 mile drive from Iowa City to Edgewood, IA was rather uneventful. The Iowa farmland and rolling hills covered in a fresh coating of dusty white snow was achingly goregous. Hazy and dreamy as I cruised by lots of rolling cornfields and Iowa farms. It went well with the dreamy Galaxie 500 I was cranking on the stereo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

1 More Day!

We are currently at P-1. 1 more day until Pig Day!

I'll sleep that Christmas eve sleep of anticpation and longing. With visions of sugar pigs dancing in my head.


That is all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Lazy, just waiting...

I'm not being lazy, I've just got little to blog on until I pick up my pig on Saturday. I believe that puts us at P-4. 4 days until Pig-Day!

I did make a dish for dinner this evening with Edgewood cured Lois-bacon. A simple pasta dish that I was quite happy with. I adapted a recipe in this month's Real Simple for my own devices. I fried about 4 oz of bacon, pulling it out before it got too crunchy (if it's crispy, it's overcooked!) I fried 1/3 cup sage leaves in the bacon fat for 2 minutes, then pulled it out. Then threw about a 1/2 head of cauliflower chopped into small florets into the pan with the bacon grease and a 1/4 cup of water, cooking covered for 3 minutes or so then removing the cover and cooking for another 4 or so until the cooking liquid evaporated and the cauliflower was cooked through and started to brown. Meanwhile I boiled some linguine, reserving 3/4 cup of the boiling liquid. Dumping that in with the pasta, along with a big handful of grated pecorino romano cheese, mixed it in along with the cauliflower, bacon and sage.

A pretty tasty dish. I didn't not have anything to drink with dinner tonight, though I'm currently working my way though a glass of Lopez De Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva 1998 on day 2, and even though I decanted for 2 hours yesterday before putting it back in the bottle, it was nowhere near as open and rocking as it is right now. I really wish I'd had a bit of this with dinner this evening. The perfumey-violety flavors are really singing right now, rising above the denser-tarry notes. Some of the aged-oxidative (not oxidized) notes are coming through as well. Good stuff.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pork Cut Sheet

I'm having my pig processed at the Edgewood Locker in Edgewood, IA. Here's a link to the cut sheet. The main parts of the pig are the loin, ham, belly, shoulder butt, and picnic.

I got the loin mainly cut into 3/4" bone-in chops. I got them packaged into packs of 6 chops each, which I think should be just about right, I have a family of 4 and I like to bring leftovers to work for lunch. I got a sirloin roast and prime end roast on each end of the loin.

The hams I got completely smoked and cut into 1/2" ham steaks (should be mostly close to a pound a piece.) except for 1 2-3 pound ham roast on the ends. I got the hocks smoked as well.

Shoulder butt and picnic I had packaged into 3ish pound roasts. I intend to use much of this for sausagey things, so 3 pounds a shot is a good for size sausage/salami experiments.

Now the belly, which on my pig should be I'm thinking at least in the vicinity on 10# per side, I got completely uncured. Thinking back on it, I probably did 2 things wrong. I got the bellies completely uncured and had them cut the into 1 pound pieces. I probably should have had them smoke a little bacon, because their bacon is very good, and I should have at least gotten some of the belly in slightly bigger chunks. Oh well, there's always next time.

I did have to call them back the next morning and ask them to keep the jowls separate so that I can make guacianale, and to keep the leaf lard separate.

Now the only thing I'd wished I'd done is to ask them to keep the back fat either intact or in 1-2 pound chunks.