Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update on September Projects

So once again, it's been an incredibly busy month with work and family, but of course, it's prime harvesting time even with the bad garden year.

Here are a few of the projects I've been working on this month.

1. Bacon ( naturally ).  13lbs of Tails and Trotters  pork belly is now on it's way to becoming PCP bacon.

2.  Pickling - 100lbs of cucumbers ( most from Kruger's on Sauvie Island ) - were turned into awesome hot dill pickles.

3. Beets - 6 lbs of nice baby golden beets were turned into Hot Indian Beets ( the Indian part is the cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and clove ).


4.  Smoked Salmon - This is prime salmon smoking season, but I'm pretty far behind.  I've only done about 5-10 lb's total, and I usually need about 40lb's to get me through to the following summer ( what with gifts and parties and nights in front of the fire ).

5.  BlueBerry Jam - 10lb's of awesome Oregon BB's are on their way to becoming PCP jam!!

6.  Yellow Tomato Jam - I've gotten about 2-3lbs of beautiful yellow pear tomotoes in the past week and I decided to makea  Yellow Tomato and Onion Jam.. I won't get a lot, but it will be great on burgers.

7. Canning Tomatoes - I have about 5lb's of San Marzano's ready to go, and another 15-20lb's sitting on the vine soaking up this late sunlight... sometime in the next week I'll can them with basil, garlic, and hot peppers from our garden.

8. Fennel - I've been waiting for the seeds to finish developing so I can make fennelcello... my fennel liqueur.. and when I've harvested the seeds, then I'll take the tenderest part of the bulbs and make fennel onion bacon jam.. stay tuned for this one, it's going to be good!

9.  Sometime around the end of October I'll be getting 4 whole pork legs from my friend Morgan at Tails and Trotters, which I'll be turning into PCP Proscuitto.... the last one we made with John Pence (Caprial and Johns Kitchen ) turned out freaking awesome ( see pic )

Oh, I also splurged and used a week of PTO to backpack around Mt Rainier with two old friends ( ~100 miles, 54,000 feet total elevation gain and loss ).   Absolutely beautiful!!

Our Chocolate Lab pup is sort of maintaining her size.. she's only grown about 5lbs in the past month.. she's now 5 months old, and just about 45lb's.

 All of this work has made me thirsty.  Time for a cold one.  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by for a cold beer and we'll talk pickles and charcuterie.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Projects ( Now that it's just about over )

This has been one of the best summers of my life, even as it's been one of the worst gardening seasons due to the vagaries of global warming and climate change we've experienced this year.

I've been busy having lots of fun outside the world of charcuterie and pickling,.. but here are a few projects I've put together in the past month since my last posting.

1.  Bacon-- 20 more lbs of schweet Tails and Trotters pork belly has now become beautiful PCP bacon.

2.  Pickling - Approximately 80lbs of cukes ( mostly from Farmers Mkt ) squash, and beans ( from my garden ) have been turned into xtra hot dilly pickles.

As they say in making wine "it takes a lot of beer to make pickles"

3.  Smoked Salmon - About 20lbs of beautiful wild Alaskan salmon has made the journey from dead fish to awesome PCP smoked salmon.

Here are some pics of the fresh salmon being rubbed in the cure (1cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp pink salt, spices to taste.. I used black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes )

Here's a good look at the salmon fillets after being in the cure for 3 full days... note the beautiful color has deepened in the cure )

Here are the fillets after about 6 hours of smoking... I pulled a whole fillet out for a bbq at the Pences.. then left the other half ( cut into 3 pieces ) to smoke for another 3 hours.

As usual, there were no leftovers to be found :-)

4.  And of course, I had a lot of fun with friends and family.
Bottling wine with my new friends Vincent and Jan Marc, and old(er) friend Anne, at the Portland Wine Project on one of the rare 90+ days this summer.  I also made some new friends, including a longtime reader of this blog who happens to live a block away and can truly drink even the Pences under the table ( hi Nate ).. and Trent Thomas, owner of  Rewine , which reconditions wine barrels for re-use by winemakers.
And I even found time to backpack the Timberline Trail around Mt Hood with some Old friends.

Happy Hour at 6,000 feet never tasted better!!

And of course, our mutant dog continues to grow at a mind numbing pace.

(she just turned 4 months Sept 1st.  Gone from 5lbs June 12th, to about 45 now )

In a nutshell, that's what's been going on in our world this past month.

I'm heading out later this week for another around the mountain backpacking trip, this time the 100 mile Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainier.  Stay tuned, it should be a doozy.

When I get back, we'll be doing some mass pickling and canning, as most of my tomatoes will be ready for canning, as will beans, squash, and more cukes.

The month of October will bring me 4 whole pork legs from Tails and Trotters, and we'll go into detail on how to cure them.  JDub and I will also be getting in deep with fresh sausage and various Salume, as well as pate and other terrines.