Posts from August 2013

Wild Boar Sausage

08/12/2013

As an animal appreciator, I morally struggle with my obsession-with-sausage. I don’t like guns, hunting, or anything about the like. However, if I’m going to eat meat, I suppose it’s good to get my hands dirty in the process, and make sure as little as possible goes to waste.

Boar, in North Florida, are considered nuisances, since they often ruin crops by turning up the soil. There is no official “boar hunting season” in Florida, so if one is shot, it’s often free for the taking. The boar here was from a local farmer who shot and gave it to the nearby butcher. Because he couldn’t sell it legally for meat, he offered a class to teach us how to process it, and we all took home twenty pounds of delicious boar sausage afterwards. The boar had to hang for about two days in a cooler to allow the meat to chill.

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The butcher used his saw to cut the boar in sections.

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We de-boned the meat, and kept the fat in tact. After the bones were removed, we cut the large pieces into small chunks.

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From there we added the spice. I’ve found that spicy boar is the best! The spicy flavor compliments the gaminess of the meat.

Combine:

5 lbs pork, chopped in chunks
1 c red wine
5 t kosher salt
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh ground pepper
3 t cayenne pepper
5 T fennel seed
2 t crushed red pepper flakes
5 T paprika

Combine the dry ingredients and mix with chopped meat. Place the meat in a sausage grinder. Stuff into sausage casings.

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Boar sausage is great as a pizza topping, in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and eggs. If you do use wild boar, do make sure the meat is cooked all the way through before eating. Wild meat is not something you want to eat rare.

Kale & Cranberry Salad

08/08/2013

kale.salad

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It’s a Southern travesty to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of collard greens, but I do have an affinity for this recipe, which spawned my love affair with collard’s close cousin, kale. I devote a small patch of my garden real-estate to it now specifically for this recipe. Kale also seems to be one of the few things in my garden that has survived the Florida summer. (Although the intense sun is strongly rivaled by cabbage worms in doing damage–a gardner just can’t win!)

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale
1 c dried cranberries or cherries
1 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c olive oil

Preparation:

Mix oil and lemon juice together, add minced garlic and set aside. Cut up the kale in small pieces and remove the thick vein down the center. Pour the oil/juice mixture over the kale. Put in a container with a lid and shake well. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least six hours–this allows the acid from the lemon juice to “cook” the leaves. When you’re ready to serve, add the cranberries and sunflower seeds and toss.

This is an easy summer salad that is great for potlucks or as a side for a main dish. It will last a couple of days in the refrigerator, too.

Scallops & Potatoes with Brown Butter Sauce

08/04/2013

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One of the best things about summertime in Florida is Scallop Season! After twisting the arm of our good friend who has a boat, we ventured out in the Gulf to find as many scallops as possible. Wearing snorkels and swimsuits, the day is spent swimming and searching for dinner. The beautiful creatures are often buried in sea grass or hidden under sand, which makes the process into a scavenger hunt; the prize being the meal at the end of the day.

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The edible part of the scallop is the muscle it uses to open and close its shell. The easiest way to collect the meat is to pry open the shell at its base with a butter knife. Once the top is off, removal of the guts is necessary. We’ve found that using a shop-vac to suck out the unsavory parts is quick; the meat is stuck onto the shell so you don’t have to worry about loosing the good stuff.

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(Note: if you do use a shop-vac, make sure you clean it out soon thereafter, and bleach your vacuum if you ever want to use it again. Rotting scallop guts are the Worst Smell Ever. To save you from asphyxiation, get rid of the guts and clean your equipment ASAP.)

Cut the scallops from their shell, wash them and place them in a single layer on a paper towel. Make sure they’re dry (this is key for getting a good sear), sprinkle them with salt and pepper and set them aside.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. potatoes
2 T butter
1/4 half and half (or milk)
2 lbs bay or sea scallops
2 T cooking oil
6 T chopped parsley
1 T drained capers
1 t lemon juice
S&P

Instructions:

After you’ve cleaned your scallops, start your potatoes. For every 1 1/2 pounds of scallops, use two pounds of potatoes. Cut the potatoes into chunks, throw them into boiling water, and boil for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup of the potato water. Mash the potatoes either in a mixer or by hand. Add the 1/2 cup of potato water, 1/8 cup half and half or milk, 2 T butter, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper. Mix in half the chopped parsley, cover and set aside.

Now the scallops. Get a large skillet to medium high heat. Add half the cooking oil and wait until it is hot. Add half the scallops to the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Remove. Repeat with the other half of the scallops. (Note: if you dump all your scallops in the pan at the same time, your pan will loose its heat and won’t give your meat a good sear.)

Reduce the heat to moderate. Add 2 T butter to the pan. Once golden, add back the scallops and juices, remaining parsley, capers, lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Mix for only a minute, and the dish is done.

Our feast fed eight. Serve with chilled white wine, and mangoes on ice cream for dessert.

Meyer Lemon Margarita

08/01/2013

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One of my most beloved trees in our backyard is a Meyer lemon. Although the tree isn’t that old, it produces hundreds of lemons every December. I feel like the fruit is such a special gift since the rest of the country is often under a blanket of snow. Every winter, I juice every single lemon my tree produces and freeze the extra that I don’t use for baking or cooking in Tupperware containers. Then, come summer, I thaw one container at a time to use for these delectable margs.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 jigger of freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyers are wonderful, but any lemon will do)

1 1/2 jigger of tequila

1 jigger of Contreau

1 jigger of simple syrup or agave syrup

Top off with seltzer

Enjoy!

 

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