Turkey day planning in full swing and Pancetta is in the freezer

It’s that busy time of year, you know, when you rush off to Chicago for a long weekend of eating and drinking with friends, then you rush off up North to help butcher your pig Pancetta and then to top it all of, Thanksgiving is this week. I have been planning for a month already, but it doesn’t seem to reduce the stress of all the last minute stuff. I have a list of what to prep on what day, starting today with bread baking (with my new cryovac food saver, I can make it ahead of time now) and ancho chile roasted garlic paste making. There is a little extra stress in that my boyfriend’s parents are coming to this holiest of holy food days and I haven’t met them yet. So this year, I am going with my old standbys. A brined and charcoal grilled SW ancho chile garlic roasted turkey (this bird is so fantastic – I have made it about 8 times now) and SW cornbread stuffing.

More about the menu later. I realize that I am way behind on my Pancetta the pig postings. I hope to have some spare time with the long weekend approaching to catch up. We did go up and give her some final yummies, pears! Then we chose to participate in watching the entire process, from death to dressing out (degutting) and skinning. We were there for the butchering and I cut the tenderloin out myself. Now this might gross a lot of you out, I thought it would gross me out, but it didn’t. I feel that if I am going to eat meat, I should be a part of the whole experience of what brings my pork to the table, at least once. I really feel that I should be able to kill my own meat, but I am not ready for that step, yet. We split the pig with my brother and sister in law. I think we have about 200 pounds of pork. The bacon alone from our pig was 40 pounds or so and is now sitting in a smokehouse in Leland – Carlson’s. I will post some pics very soon of the event, with a warning should you not want to see all the events.

Ok, time to hit the road and go visit some farmers. Work stuff. Yes I do hold down a full time job that takes me on the road at all times of day or evening. Sometimes all that work and cooking makes it tough to get the blog time in, because there are 5 knitting projects that need a piece of me too. Luckily for me, these farmers live very close to both Ann Arbor’s Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Lucky for me that I have a flexible schedule and can take time off to prep for Tday. I am lucky in lots of ways, those just to name a slight few. It’s that thankful time of year – Thanksgiving!

By the way, Pancetta tastes fabulous. I made a roast and a Thai dish with some of the pork last week. Fresh and flavorful. I am thankful for her sacrifice and for the opportunity of a pig “share”.

i’m out

Menu of the week or at least mid week

It’s about time I started doing this, so here is my first shot at it:

Monday: Turkish pide with meat and mozzarella (kind of like a folded up pizza with pita dough). We were in Chicago last weekend and my BF ordered this at a wonderful Turkish restaurant called Cousins. It looked soooo good and he raved about it so much that I attempted to copy it with a spelt crust. I made a great Turkish chopped salad with tomato, onion, parsley, mint, feta and olives (key ingredient is sumac for tang) and made some tzatziki or yogurt dipping sauce which I completely forgot to serve. End result: terrific, just add twice as much mozzarella next time.

Tues: Went out for drinks (margaritas) with the girls and ate chips and salsa with bean dip for dinner at La Senorita’s (a MI chain with no cross contamination of tortilla chips). Later that eve: Sourdough spelt loaf: I made this as I am in the mood for fondue and since I am GF, I must plan ahead for cravings and need a loaf of crusty deliciousness on hand. We have a new foodsaver vacuum sealer and this bread will be it’s first victim.

Wednesday : Cajun red snapper with bacon cheddar grits and roasted red pepper coulis – I made this with out the shrimp so that my boyfriend would eat it. Pretty good – I used corn meal instead of polenta and won’t make that mushy mistake again, ever.

Thursday: Cheesy potato soup with ham and pimentos. Pimentos you say…well I haven’t had this in years (perhaps 20), but my mom always added pimentos to her potato soup and I am in the mood for it today. We will be butchering our pig pancetta (ok we pack the cut up meat, we are spared the ending of her life) this weekend and I don’t really like ham, but this summer there was a nice smoked picnic ham with bone on super duper sale, so we bought it. Really, neither of us like ham that much, so I don’t know what possessed us. At any rate, with a 1/2 a pig on the way, I thought it would be ridiculous to have that in the freezer, so I thawed it, roasted it, took the meat off the bones and then cooked the bones and scraps down to make a nice broth.

Lunch today: Black bean soup with ham cooked in ham broth with roasted green chiles, the last not so ripe garden tomato and onions and garlic with lots of cumin and red chili. It smells great and needs about one more hour to cook, guess I missed the lunch mark on that one.

Friday: Hum, need some greens for this one. Ah, Creamed spinach – I need to test my recipe for this again prior to the big Thanksgiving day, the high holy day for cooks everywhere. I think I will pare it with some chicken marsala Elise style as we have some pancetta in the fridge. Ok, that is two creamed dishes, that won’t work. Scratch creamed spinach, substitute wilted swiss chard (still in the garden) sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Saturday: Will be up North traveling (likely this will include some of my brother’s free range chicken)

Sunday: Will be up North traveling and packing up a whole pig (splitting it with my bro and sis in law).

I know this will gross many of you out, but I was thinking of making some lard with the pork fat. I would only use it in tamales, but it would be great to have some, minus the cholesterol and fat. Do pigs have omega 3’s?

Time to stir my black beans (local from a friend that raises dry beans). A Pancetta blog next of my last visit to feed her garden tomatoes. Next menu posting I will try to just post the menu, no story line attached. I have to work up to this you know.

i’m out