Apr 30, 2014
Nov 14, 2012
Oct 21, 2012
This is one of my favorite dishes to serve a group of people. Partly because everything can be finished ahead of my guests' arrival, and partly because everyone loves it so much. I've been making this brown sugar glazed, oven smoked pork roast and calling it Korean Bo Ssam, though it really isn't. But I do like to serve it asian style, with a basket of coconut sticky rice, fresh basil and lettuce leaves, crisp slices of cucumber, my home made jalapeño/cilantro/garlic sauce - and the essential "ssamjang gochujang" sauce from my local asian market. No matter how you serve this super tender, salty sweet and smoky pork, your carnivorous friends will go crazy over it!
If you decide to make this for dinner, just know that once it's glazed it can be covered with foil allowed to rest for up to an hour before serving.
Oct 10, 2012
I can't believe how productive the jalapeño plant in my Hudson Valley garden has been. That little bush has produced a couple hundred peppers over the past two months! I've already frozen a bag of 'em and pickled a jar that'll last me a year. Normally I'd can or freeze salsa, but this season my tomato plants all died of blight. Which left me wondering what to do with all them peppers. Hot sauce initially came to mind, but I didn't feel all that excited to make it. Then I remembered the jalapeño jelly a friend of my dad's brought him - I loved how sweet and sour it was (and wondered what the base was made from). I decided to attempt a batch of it. The magic ingredient turns out to be apple cider vinegar. All the jalapeño jam recipes I found were basically vinegar jelly with minced peppers suspended in it. I love vinegar. When I was a kid, I regularly consumed gut searing concoctions of strait vinegar and chopped onions. I'd add Tobasco sauce if it was in the house. Anyway…it's no wonder I loved that hot pepper jam my dad's friend gave him.
I'm happy with my how my first batch of jalapeño jam turned out - though the truth is that as much as I love to make jam, I rarely indulge in the strait stuff. That's not to say that any jam is wasted in our home. It all goes into pies and tarts and cobblers and cakes. And today's jam can be used as a key ingredient in something completely different I like to make - sweet and sour oxtail. But that's another post.
Oct 3, 2012
Fourteen years of living in New York has had an enormous impact on my diet. Primarily in the sense that I found the produce so shitty there that I became determined to grow my own. I changed my whole life as a result of my dissatisfaction with the quality of food available in New York - and I'm so glad. I'm ecstatic to be starting my little Hipster Homestead in Oregon now, but there are a few food items I'll miss from the east coast. Like a real New York bagel to go with my home made Jewish style smoked fish schmear. Actually, I probably wouldn't even know what Jewish whitefish spread was if I hadn't lived in NYC. And for that matter, an actual Jewish person.
Sep 26, 2012
Considered a "trash" fish, the Northern Pikeminnow is treated with extreme prejudice by sport fisherman in Oregon. Previously called Squawfish, they're are often killed and thrown back into the river when landed by anglers hoping to hook a salmon or steelhead. The practice is supported by the state's department of fish and wildlife - with a bounty on them in the Columbia river basin of up to eight dollars per fish! This Dudette does not abide. The Pikeminnow is not an invasive species - it is native to Oregon waters and is a natural predator of young salmon. Not only do I sense irrational management of our fisheries and lack of respect for wildlife in the policy, but that kind of thinking grates against the values I grew up with. Namely, that my mother taught my brothers and I that if you purposely KILL an animal, then you EAT that animal.
So I resolved eat the three pound Pikeminnow I caught while fishing for steelhead on the Rogue river with my dad last week. I've heard that Squawfish taste bad - whatever that means. I've heard they're oily. I've heard they're too bony. I suspected the fish would taste fine. I mean, how could a fish that lives in the same waters we eat trout and salmon from - and that eats trout and salmon itself - taste too bad? I decided I'd cook half the fish the way I do other white fleshed freshwater fish I enjoy - filleted and dusted with flour, salt and pepper, then lightly fried. The other half of the fish I would smoke and pressure can along with the steelhead I caught on the Rogue.
Aug 7, 2012
Mmmm…pesto. I've never found a store bought version that can compete with home made, so I crank out about fifteen jars each summer and freeze them for use throughout the year. I usually run out of the previous years' stockpile around the time my garden is producing a ton of basil - I harvest the leaves and make pesto at least twice during the growing season. We enjoy it on pasta, pizza, eggs, toast, seared steaks, baked chicken…and I always take a jar of it when we go camping in the Caribbean for thanksgiving. Home made pesto makes a supreme gift in the middle of winter!
This recipe makes 5 half pint jars.
a huge bunch of basil (mine weighed about 6 ounces without stems)
10 ounces grated parmesan cheese
at least 6 cloves of pressed garlic
6 ounces walnuts
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Jul 31, 2012
Not everything in my home garden is doing great. The tomatoes - the first I've grown from seeds rather than starts - are a total failure. Not only are the plants being ravaged by fungi, but I made the mistake of planting them next to a six foot tall fence. I hoped the fence would offer some support for the plants, instead it's given squirrels such ready access to the fruit that there's none left for me to harvest. Cranky Frankie. Oh well…I guess I'll let my attachment to the season's most important crop go. Other crops are doing surprisingly well. Like the eggplants and hot peppers. There are so many jalapeños on the bush that I decided to make one of my favorite condiments with 'em: I love eggs over easy, smothered with a layer of melty cheddar that's studded with slices of pickled jalapeños.
For the brine I used approximately:
3 cups of water
3 cups of apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
Jul 30, 2012
Our Welsh Harlequin ducks are now fifteen weeks old. I expect them to start laying eggs any time within the next month. I can't wait! In preparation for this exciting event, I built a couple nesting boxes for the ladies. My duck rearing book says you'll need one nest for every four or five layers. I've only got four hens, so two nesting areas should be more than enough. I'm not even sure they'll use them. I think it's more likely they'll lay their eggs somewhere in our yard. I'm hoping the nest boxes - and dummy eggs I put in them - will encourage the ducks to lay in their house, where I can easily gather the eggs each day. We shall see! Here's how I made the boxes:
Jul 10, 2012
I'd never cooked duck before we butchered the drakes in our backyard flock of Welsh Harlequins. I'd barely even eaten duck before, just a couple of bad-to-okay experiences with it. When I placed my order for ten ducklings (the minimum) with the idea of keeping a few for egg production, I knew I'd eventually have to butcher a few.
Cooking with duck has been fantastic. I've been thrilled with what I've made so far, especially the smoked duck. It was so succulent, savory, delicate and delicious - it exceeded my expectations, and I hope to make it again. Perhaps a small duck farm is in my future?
Sorry I didn't photo document cooking the ducks the way I usually do when I'm presenting a recipe. I didn't know exactly what I was doing, so I can't say, "this is how you cook duck". I just want to show you a few delicious possibilities.