Monthly Archives: September 2007

Pig tacos

Sorry–one more food porn moment.
Check out the pork tacos. We’ve been making homemade tortillas (fried in lard, si claro!), then dicing up some boiled pork with some onions, more fat, and chiptotle peppers.
And while I’m talking meat: I hung my salamis at Eccolo, turned the proscuitto, lardo, and coppas. The bacon and ham is marinating in my fridge, tomorrow I take them out of their brine and smoke ’em.

NY Times

A few months ago I did this interview and the photographer came. I thought it would never be published! But here it is. The print version has two photos of yours truly. The chicken I’m holding is one of Patrick’s Australorps from Hen Waller! She’s famous now.

More meat

Left the farm for a weekend–well, technically only one night. But boy did it feel great! We stayed at Jug Handle Creek Farm near the town of Mendocino, CA. My urban farming friend Willow organized the get-away weekend. Of course we brought pork roast to share for Saturday dinner. Chris Lee and I gathered fennel and rosemary then stuffed it into a hole of the loin roast. That’s Italian style. Served it with Samin’s pepper jelly. Amazing. I spoke with one of the guests, a woman who lives in London about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the famous meat cook. “Oh, I can’t watch him, or Gordon Ramsey,” she declared. “They swear much too much.”
We swam in the ocean, slept in the woods, and picked blackberries. Now that’s a break. We returned home late Sunday and the rabbits were very hungry, the duck quacked his head off when he saw me, and even the chickens came out for a midnight snack. Simon, the buck, escaped but I found him this morning, visiting with the turkeys. Dear sweet animals.

Pork Turkey estuary

Sausage. Making. Too tired to take photos. Mixed up a lot of ground pork with paprika, salt, sugar, pepper, fennel, basil, and oregano then funneled it into some poor hog’s casing. I’ll admit that when Sylvia said she killed the pigs and didn’t save the insides, I was semi-relieved that I wouldn’t have to clean the small intestines to make the casings. I hear it’s a smelly, poopy task. But I do wonder too, who first saw a poop filled intestine and thought: meat should go in here. Is it some kind of whimsical folly? In any case, they tasted good–fried up and served with sauerkraut.
Now–I’m so sick of writing about food, I don’t know how you food bloggers do it. Back to the farming….
Here’re the turkeys! They’re glad the pigs are gone so they can wander around freely in the animal area. There’re three Bourbon Reds and one Royal Palm. I think it’s three ladies and one guy. I love the sounds they make and they follow me around everywhere. Trouble is, they get distracted and then confused. Poor silly birds. Those are the pullet chickens in the background–there are twenty. I’m keeping the Marans (beautiful French chicken that lays chocolate colored eggs) and selling the rest.

Pork marathon, part three

The heads.
Samin and Chris waxed poetic about the time when Dario the Tuscan butcher came to Berkeley and made this very same dish: pigs heads, pig trotters (feet), carrots, orange zest, and some ancient kind of alcohol. After cooking the heads all day, one then picks out the teeth, peels the tongue, splits the cranium to get the brain, and then stuffs the whole shebang in a linen sock. In a few days all of the flavors meld, the fat congeals, and there you have a Tuscan head cheese: aka Sopressata.
Not to belabor this point but, hanging out with the pigs heads today, like their butts yesterday, made me appreciate them so much. To know how they come apart, to use every bit of them to make something delicious, to make something with a deep history. It felt right. And they don’t look too pissed, do they?

Pork marathon, part two

And on the second day, we made salami.
Can I repeat how pleased I am to be working with (well, basically watching) Chris Lee. Look at this shot of him skinning the pork shoulder! Total rockstar butcher. And Samin is so talented and beautiful. How is that I’m so lucky? We started the curing process for 2 coppas, which is basically trimmed pork shoulder stuffed into a beef intestine. We applied a salt cure (nitrates), dextrose, and salt to the meat and put it in the walk-in. Then, with the trimmings and fat from the shoulder, we made salami. Sorry, top secret recipe.
Tomorrow: head cheese. Stay tuned.