Monthly Archives: January 2018

A busy winter week of food and whatnot.

I spent last weekend butchering some pigs. In total we did two full pigs and it took most of the weekend. My portion was a half of one, about a hundred pounds. My freezer is stuffed full of sausages, ground meat, chops, stew meat, and roasts. I have bacon in a dry cure waiting to be smoked, back fat and leaf fat portioned and frozen and many jars of stock. Abundance!

On Monday evening I had a board meeting. We also had a snow and freezing rain ‘event.’ The reward for the board members that made it out was a roast chicken dinner and 2 kinds of chocolate for dessert.

The Lions are hosting a Robbie Burns night this weekend, complete with haggis and bag pipes. Sadly I’ll miss it because I’ll be out of town on a spinning weekend with some friends. I did however volunteer to make the stew for the Burns dinner. 120 portions in all, about 40 litres. That’s a LOT of stew and it was a lot of fun doing it 🙂 Kitchen time continues to be the perfect antidote to long full work days.

I also offered to make a ‘Sheppard’s’ pie for my retreat weekend. It’s more of a mooseherd’s pie though, made with moose meat instead of sheep. I live in rural Renfrew County, what would you expect! And in the spirit of using what’s in front of me, there are yummy sweet potatoes in the mash.

I managed to squeeze in time to ply up and wash the first skein of yarn for my 2018 resolution sweater. I look forward to doing test swatches this weekend.

And more big cooking events are on the horizon. Next week I’ll make pulled pork for a Lions dinner. We expect about 60 people to show. Then on the weekend I’ll be in the kitchen cooking a Lions pancake breakfast for about 70 people. And the weekend after that I’ll be making spaghetti sauce for 120 people for the Kids Book Festival fundraiser. Lots of fun. I also picked up 4 volunteer bartending shifts at the Lions Hall in the next couple of weeks and I have lots of company coming, Katherine next week amd Petr the week after that. A full winter for sure and it’s still on January!

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Purging magazines and a game changer

I love polenta. It great all on it’s own, with butter and cheese melted in,  but it’s even better as the base for yummy flavourful toppings. I rarely ever make it though because it’s a bit of a pain and I’ve never really been all that good at it.  That just changed.

I spent much of the afternoon flipping through a stack of old cooking magazines, ripping out the recipes I’m not ready to part with yet, and sending the rest off to recycling. I came across a recipe for ‘easy weeknight polenta.’ I was skeptical but decided to give it a try.  Whisk a cup of polenta into 4 cups of seasoned water in a pressure cooker.  Put on the lid, bring it to pressure, cook 9 minutes, and release pressure manually. I didn’t have very high expectations. I even had back up dinner plans in case it didn’t work.  When I took off the lid I found the most perfect creamy smooth polenta I’ve ever made. I stirred in some butter and grated cheese and topped it with some leftover braised pork belly. So good. I’ll definitely make it like this again.

I poured the leftover polenta into a dish and put it in the fridge. The black flecks are pepper. Lots amd lots of pepper. It will firm up so that I can cut it, heat it up, and use it as a base for some other yummy dinner. This new method will, for better of worse, definitely increase polenta consumption. 

A successful day. A new way to make polenta.  Less old magazines around. And a new way to use my beloved pressure cooker. Win win win.