Monthly archives "December 2014"

The Farmstead Kitchen- Herb Salt

DSC02018A friend visiting Paris two years ago brought back a MOST delicious gift- Herb Salt. It can be used on almost anything- the additional flavors from the herbs and savory vegetables mixed with the salt were so intense and lovely!  I wanted to make a version of this with the herbs from my garden, so back in October, before the hard frost came, I collected an assortment of herbs from the garden; Thyme, Sage, Tarragon, Oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, and a tiny bit of Lavendar. I also added the chopped leaves from the intensely flavored celeriac root. The herbs were all laid out in a large flat pan, and then covered with a thick layer of sea salt. I covered the pan with a large sheet of paper to keep the dust out, and then put it out of the way for 2 months, during which the herbs infused the salt as they dried.  DSC02021 DSC02022After 2 months, I stirred up the concoction with my hands and was greeted with a most heavenly aroma. In batches, I ground it up in the Food Processor which pulverized the herbs, stems and all, into a gorgeous green herbal salt. DSC02259 DSC02260 DSC02262 DSC02263
What a great gift to give at any time of year, and a wonderful way to preserve the herbs from your garden or at the farmer’s market before winter comes- make a note on your 2015 calendar to do this in the fall! I’ve used this herb salt so far rubbed onto pastured poultry before roasting, on top of fried duck eggs, mashed potatoes, sprinkled atop slices of winter squash and onions before they went into the oven to roast. Basically everywhere you’d use salt. I can imagine making herbal salt with themes, like an Italian version, heavy with basil and garlic, or an Asian-inspired herbal salt with ginger and lemongrass. Endless options, such a fun and rewarding edible project!

The Farmstead Kitchen- Pastured Pork Roast

 

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This recipe features one of our most favorite foods from our farm- PASTURED PORK! To give our pigs the good life is such an honor, and after they live a full, active, healthy and happy life they become jaw-droppingly delicious pork. Pork from pigs raised with sun, fresh air, lots of room to root and ramble, organic feed, as well as a peaceful ending, is night and day different to the sad, dry, white factory-farm pork in the grocery stores. Here’s our 2015 Pork Share Sign-up Form! In the third picture above, you can see our pigs actually have intramuscular-fat, which is what makes the pork we raise so entirely different- juicy and flavorful.

A Pastured Pork Roast may be one of the most surprisingly versatile cuts. Our Pork Roasts are so richly flavored that, even just seasoned with salt and pepper, a gorgeous roast can stand alone as the feature of your meal, or it can be turned into pulled pork sandwiches, used as carnitas in tacos, breakfast hashes, a stirfry, or an unctuous heirloom bean soup.

To make a Pastured Pork Roast, thaw a 3-4lb sized roast in the fridge the day before you want to prepare it. 2 hours before dinnertime, preheat your oven to 350, remove the roast from the package and place in a oven-safe skillet or roasting pan. Sprinkle liberal amounts of salt and black pepper on the roast, and then rub it in all around the roast (approx 1 T of salt, 1/4 tsp pepper for a 3 lb roast.)  Stick it in the oven, and then after an hour flip it over so the whole outside gets nice and roasty. Continue roasting for another hour (or until your meat thermometer reaches 145 internal). That’s it!DSC02234

There are a couple of easy things you can do add subtle flavor components if desired. One is add a half can of beer to the pan when the roast goes in the oven. Another is to bed the roast on thick slices of onion and whole garlic cloves, or any firm and aromatic vegetable or fruit- think fennel chunks, firm apples, rutubagas, celery, thick slabs of cabbage.

You can also prepare your Pastured Pork Roast in a “Sunday pot roast” style, surrounding the roast with potatoes, carrots, onion, bay leaf, and then either cooking it in a crock pot, or baking it in a covered roasting pan. The resulting textural difference is softer and succulent, versus robust and roasty. Crock pot cook time is about 4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low, oven time would be less (use your meat thermometer.)

For our Pork Roast dinner, during the roast time I had separately steamed a couple of cups of pink potatoes, winter squash and carrot chunks, as well as few garlic cloves. After the roast was removed from the oven, I set it on a plate to rest and added the softened steamed veggies to the roasting pan and roughly mashed them there, in the succulent pork fat. The sliced pork roast and veggie mash were dished up on a layer of Angelica’s Garden Sauerkraut, which provides a fresh and crunchy contrast, as well as beneficial probiotics. The pictures aren’t too great, but the feast was stupendously awesome!DSC02236DSC02237