I’m posting this before I even make the meal: is that cheating? No, it’s beating the posting deadline!
For Valentine’s Day, the girl and I got up early to harvest a Monster Carrot. It’s been a gorgeously sunny weekend, so the greenhouses are quite warm: warm enough to pull off the Reemay covers and let that sun shine in. (I spent a lot of the weekend just puttering around in there: who can blame me, working in a t-shirt in February?) This carrot, a Long Keeper storage carrot, is the main ingredient in tonight’s carrot cake.
And while we were in there, I harvested a bunch of different herbs for the marinade for the evening’s main course. Morning is often when I start making dinner. When the girl and I made the waffles, I also started a batch of no-knead whole wheat bread, thawed the roast, and started a new batch of buttermilk. Then, with our carrot and herbs all cleaned up from the greenhouse, she peeled a head of garlic while I stripped the thyme and rosemary from their branches and pounded them, along with a large bunch of the par-cel cutting celery, salt, pepper, olive oil, and homegrown paprika, making a nice paste to coat the pork loin roast. Fresh herbs are marvelous, and thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, and savory keep green and ready all winter in the greenhouse.
Alice Waters has a wonderful method for braising those tougher cuts of meat like a shoulder or loin roast. Including the long marinade, the roast is cooked in a low (350 degree) oven and flipped quite often in its half-bath of cut-vegetable filled broth. It alternately caramelizes and tenderizes the meat that way, and the resultant pan juices make a wonderful gravy.
The greenhouse’s leeks are thickening rapidly and are quite sweet, so lots of them are finding their way into most savory dishes lately. Tonight’s treatment was in a milk bath with radicchio. The milk calms the bite of these chickory hearts, and sweetens the leeks. Two leeks and one radicchio are halved, quick-seared in brown butter in a skillet, then baked in a casserole and bathed in an herbed cream. A quick trip under the broiler at the end caramelizes their tops.
- Blueberry waffles with blueberry syrup for breakfast (Ferris Organic flour, our eggs, homemade buttermilk from our milk share, nonlocal butter, and blueberries from a half mile away; syrup made from the same batch of blueberries with Michigan sugar)
- Greenhouse salad with homemade buttermilk dressing (milk share milk, our shallots and herbs)
- Braised loin of pork (Amish-raised piggy, above marinade from greenhouse herbs, Copra and red onions, Chantenay carrots, red potatoes in the broth)
- Oven-braised Bleu de Solaize leeks and Treviso radicchio in cream
- No-knead sourdough whole wheat bread (Ferris Organic flour, my sourdough starter)
- Carrot cake (Ferris Organic flour, our eggs, our buttermilk, our carrot, Michigan sugar; nonlocal spices and cream cheese for the frosting)