Dark Days week 14: Pork! Yay!

Our locally-raised pig was slaughtered a couple of weeks ago and was finally butchered and ready to pick up last Saturday. Yay! We put everything into the freezer but kept a package of 2 pork chops out for dinner that night, and grilled them up with my favorite not-very-local marinade — red wine vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic (island-grown).

There had just been a Dark Days email list thread about what to do with winter squash, and I thought the squash mac & cheese sounded fantastic, so I improvised. We don’t have a pasta extruder (?) so I made some short wide pastas from organic flour (Utah) and homegrown eggs, and mostly followed the recipe … except I used a homegrown acorn squash*, a homemade chicken stock cube, half-and-half (Fresh Breeze Farms), full-fat homemade ricotta from Fresh Breeze cream, Tillamook cheddar cheese (non-organic but non-rBST too) and an artisanal parmigiano reggiano imported by an independent cheese company in California. The recipe turned out great — more of a casserole than a cheese saucey slippery thing, but that’s OK with me; I like casseroles.

Rounded off with a fresh salad of greens grown by Butler Green Farms, this made a lovely warm homey meal. And pretty, too; I should get back into the habit of taking pictures.

Homegrown: squash; chicken stock; eggs for pasta
Homemade from local ingredients: ricotta
Homemade from organic ingredients: pasta (flour); bread crumbs for mac & cheese (ground up by me)
Island-grown: pork; garlic; salad greens
Local: half-and-half
Local-ish: Tillamook cheddar cheese
Happy: parm
Unknown: red wine vinegar; soy sauce; salt; nutmeg; cayenne; olive oil.

* After I cut its top off, I doubted my original idea, as the recipe calls for peeling and cubing it, and acorn squash are so deeply grooved on the sides that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to peel it effectively without wasting lots of squashflesh. Here is my current method, which seemed to work OK: I peeled what I could reach (the peaks) with a vegetable peeler. Then after cutting the whole squash in half, I used the big heavy knife to cut it along the valleys — that is, I made several spears with half a valley on each edge and a (naked) peak in the middle. Then I used a paring knife to trim the skin from the sides of each spear. It worked pretty well, and wasn’t even as fraught with danger of stabbing oneself in the hand as I had worried.

  1 comment for “Dark Days week 14: Pork! Yay!

  1. February 24, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Yay! I’m glad the mac & cheese worked out! The whole meal sounds delicious!

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