Its Cold Out and I Want Pork Butt!

3 Feb

Hi Everyone,

You heard me, I want butt today-all weekend, in fact. I am going to dedicate the rest of this day to slow roasting a 4.5 lb piece of ass, the cut is actually from the shoulder. It will see us through the rest of this cold snap in several different applications. Tonight it will be the star of tacos with lettuce from Boggy Creek and avocados from Farmhouse. Tomorrow night it will compliment the posole I am making with a south of the border inspired slaw, perfection for a snow day. My fingers are crossed for the snow. Its final appearance will be in a pumped up mac and cheese with cauliflower and broccoli or a quick ragout with paparadelle. I will let you know which way we go with it. This is one of my favorite time saving ways to cook.

I feel compelled to share with you all the amazingness of all of our hardworking farmers in weather like this. This kind of cold is incredibly hard on the crops and our brave farmers pray and care for the food that feeds us. Yesterday Boggy’s market was reduced to the greenhouse in back of the usual market area. There was about a 10th of the normal traffic, but Carol Ann and Larry were there with the staff bundled up and smiling through the worry. There is something really special about showing up when the weather is nasty. I suppose I can liken it to sticking with a sports team through the good and bad seasons. I promise that I will not be a fair weather fan of farmers, football probably. I encourage you all to get out the beautiful farmers markets this weekend! It is an experience well worth braving the weather. If you are lucky, you may even get to hug a farmer!

Now, on with the cooking. This would be the perfect thing to make for the Superbowl. Roast the pork slow and low on Saturday, pull it while it is still hot and then you have the perfect filling for tacos, quesadillas, or sliders. It is melt-in-your-mouth-good and it totally makes sense to eat pig while the guys in tight clothes throw the pig skin around, right?

Slow Roasted Pork Butt

4.5 lbs, pork butt

1 Fireman’s 4 or amber beer

1 head garlic

1 onion

1/4 c. olive oil

2 T Sriacha

2 T honey

salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 250. Rub pork with a generous amount of salt and pepper, sriacha and honey. Heat oil in an oven safe pot on the stove and brown all sides of the meat. Pour beer over the meat. Make sure that the fattier side of the meat is facing up, this will keep the meat tender, because the fat will melt all down in it and make it extra delicious. Put a lid on it and place it in the oven for 4.5 hours, or until it pulls apart easily with a fork.

(check out that little halo on the pork!!!)

Challenge Update

All is well with the challenge. I do want to share our funny story of the week though. Last weekend was just one of those weekends that we didn’t want to leave the house. We had a lot to do and were just not feeling like getting out even just to go to the store. Come Sunday we had a near empty fridge and bare pantry, so we wound up having tomato sauce on lasagna noodles. To make up for the lack of cheese we ground pine nuts for the top and I have to say the meal was pretty ok! Much better than the alternative of getting out of the house or not eating at all at least.

You all have a great weekend and cross your fingers for a snowball fight!!!

Thank you for reading!

Not That Martha

Strawberries are Here!!!! A Salad and a Drink!

26 Jan

Hi Everyone,

I realize this is my third salad post in a row and will likely give it a break after this, but it seems that the January gardens conspire to make us atone for the sins of the holidays. The produce is irresistable for salad.

There was a time when I shunned the idea of fruit in my salad. Nothing about it seemed right to me. Fortunately, with age has come flexibility and a willingness to experiment on the fruit in savory salad front. A memorable dessert bridged this gap: a strawberry sorbet with black peppercorns and balsalmic reduction years ago at Uchi, to be specific. The flavors are burned in my mind. This is my far-more-traditional take on those flavors.

To prove that I am not all salads and butterflies, though, I will leave you with a drink that is absolute perfection for 5PM on the dot. Before the sun goes all the way down, this helps the worries of work and the day receed a little more quickly.

All of the produce came from Boggy Creek this morning. Meet me there next Wednesday at 9!

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Orange Soaked Fennel over Mixed Lettuce

(serves 6)

2 heads, butter type lettuce

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup goat feta (I used Wateroak)

1 small head fennel, thinly sliced

juice from 1 orange

1 bunch radishes, sliced

balsalmic vinegar

good olive oil

fresh black pepper, be generous here

flakey sea salt

Thinly slice the fennel and pour the orange juice over it. Let sit while you assemble the rest. Wash the lettuce and make sure it is nice and dry. Tear it up into bite sized pieces. Toss in a bowl.  Top the lettuce with fennel and a little extra orange juice. Add strawberries, feta and radishes. Sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh black pepper and sea salt. To make dressing, use 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. For this amount 1/4 c vinegar and 3/4 olive oil will be just more than you need, so you can put the dressing aside for another salad. Whisk together oil and vinegar, pour over salad and toss gently. Serve and enjoy!

 

Now for the fun part. 5PM!

Strawberry and Rosemary Vodka Soda

3 T Dripping Springs or other good vodka

1 sprig rosemary

3 strawberries, sliced

Topo Chico or other soda water

Place strawberries in the bottom of a glass, top with ice, pour in vodka, top off with Topo Chico, then stir. Garnish with rosemary and drink it down.

Thanks for reading!

Not That Martha

Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

19 Jan

Hello All!

I hope that the holidays and new year are treating you all well and that life is good.

Though I have taken a break from writing, from cooking I have not. I have been working on a lot of new recipes that I am so excited to share. I am committed to writing a post a week and getting these ideas out to you all.

I spent a little chunk of my morning at Boggy Creek, a ritual I relish. The produce is heavenly and there is always the promise of a hug from Larry and good conversation that stretches my brain a little more. This morning, my friend, Barrie, conspired with me on this fresh winter salad. The carrots have given way to lettuces that are almost too beautiful to eat. I couldn’t resist the red and green romaine. The fennel was at the welcome table and irresistible. Fennel and citrus are perfect partners in crime. I let mine soak in some grapefruit juice and the tart and bitter of the grapefruit play very nicely with the perfume of the fennel. The egg is key here because when the velvety yolk breaks over the salad all is right in the world. If you are able to get your hands on a farm fresh egg, please do. The deep yellow-orange yolk puts supermarket eggs to shame. It is worth what you will spend in time and money to get these little gems. It’s good. Real real good.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. Stay tuned for some heartier recipes coming soon!

Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

(serves 2)

1 head, romaine lettuce

1/2 bulb, fennel

1/2 grapefruit, juice

2 farm eggs, poached

1 handful, pepitas (or other seed)

Maldon or other flakey salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the lettuce and make sure it is nice and dry. Shave fennel or cut thin and pour grapefruit juice over while you do the rest. The fennel will soak up the grapefruit flavor. To poach an egg, bring salted water to a gentle simmer with 1 T of vinegar. The vinegar helps the egg whites stay together. Crack the eggs into separate bowls. Once the water reaches a gentle simmer, swirl the water with a wooden spoon and gently pour one egg at a time into the water. The swirling water keeps the eggs in motion and doesn’t allow them to drop to the bottom. Let the eggs cook for 5-6 minutes if your eggs are room temperature. Add a minute if they come straight from the fridge. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let rest on a towel. To assemble the salad, chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces, top lettuce with shaved fennel, drizzle a little of the remaining juice over the lettuce. Top the fennel with the poached egg. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pepitas.

Challenge Update

Well, its official, I am SICK of my clothes. On pretty much every level of wardrobe, I am sick of mine. I was daydreaming this morning about finding some fun, new socks in my drawer, to no avail… It might be time to break out one of the white t-shirts I put aside at the beginning of this challenge. It could do wonders.

I can’t believe that we are nearly 5 months into this, that means nearly half way through.

On the food front, the seasons are really keeping us on our toes and enthusiastic about cooking. I can’t stop making slaws right now. Slaw as a side, on fish tacos, veggie burgers,  with avocado in it. I love it. I recieved a fabulous Indian cookbook for Christmas and can’t wait to dig into some curries and paneer and you know what? I will probably put slaw on that too.

Work has taken Jo to Houston recently and she has taken me, so we have had the pleasure of dining out. We were thrilled and a little in awe at the reality of having menus in our hands and someone else doing the dishes. Eating out was great, but we were both anxious to get home and back to our routine. On the last day of our trip I couldn’t stop thinking about the cauliflower sitting in our fridge. Something we both noticed is how much better we feel when we are eating at home. We have been away from restaurants for long enough now to notice a major difference in how we feel when we know where our food is coming from and exactly what is going into it. I’ll say this, in our time in Houston, we took more Tums than we have in the last 4 months combined. Capice? That alone has been worth the journey.

Thank you all for reading!

Not That Martha

Carrot Salad with Feta and Honey Dressing

15 Dec

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have written a new post! My apologies. Things have gotten a little nuts coming into the holidays so I have been in the kitchen. Today, though, I must share with you my morning findings. I spent my ritual Wednesday morning at Boggy Creek and am beside myself with the excitement of the bounty. Every season I am sure it is my favorite time of year, I mean, in early summer when the tomatoes are full and ripe I am certain it doesn’t get better. Well, turns out same goes for this time of year. I fiercely love carrots! Maybe it is a need for carotin or maybe it is that I was a rabbit in my last life. Who knows, but they thrill me. Today at Boggy I was greeted with was a table exploding with carrots. The maroon ones and the yellow ones and the old reliable orange ones. They really warrant a trip to Boggy Creek or the SFC Farmers Market this weekend. So, for our mid-morning snack, Jo and I are sharing a carrot and feta salad. It is sitting right next to me and dissappearing as I type. The recipe is super fast, it took me 10 minutes photos and all. So, here you go.

Carrot Salad with Feta Dressing

1 bunch carrots, multi-colored if you can swing it

2-3 handfuls of mixed greens

Dressing

2 T, Texas Olive Ranch Olive Oil

1 lemon

2 oz Feta cheese (mine was Pure Luck)

1 T, honey

salt and fresh black pepper

Serves 2-4 depending on hunger level/carrot love.

Wash the greens and carrots (I don’t peel mine anymore, I just wash them really well). Place greens on a serving dish. Slice carrots thin, on the bais (diagonal) increases surface area and dressing holding capacity. Place carrots on greens. Put all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Pour dressing over the salad and enjoy.

Challenge Update

We are still going strong on our eating at home/no shopping challenge. While we are eating really well at home, there are places I miss and new joints I can’t wait to try come September 1, 2011. We are also enjoying torturing each other with the “what-if” game. For example, we had a hideously long meeting last night after not eating much all day.  We were ravenous!  The presenter kept talking and talking and then even tried to force us to watch an archaic VHS tap from 1989 all the while we’re digging thru Jo’s purse for a morsel of candy or gum.  As soon as we were outta there, the game began…”What if I ran into an old friend right now, here, at this stop light, and insisted that we pull over to chat?  Would you rush us to Chick-fil-A? What would you have?” You know, that kind of game. It was hilarious and got us through the drive and home to some really great tacos that we put together in approximately 2.5 minutes. So, scenarios come up, but we, for the most part, have been able to laugh ourselves through them.

It has really forced me to get out of my comfort zone culinarily and despite a couple of real food disasters, Asian and Indian foods are areas where I am developing a real love and respect.

On the clothing side, though we are realizing we really aren’t missing much. We are wearing the same old clothes that we have had and still managing to look presentable. Jo may have a different take on this part of the challenge….

Thank  you, thank you for reading and I hope that your holidays are full of love, good company and good food.

Not that Martha

Black-Eyed Peas, Chorizo and Greens.

29 Nov

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you all had a most excellent holiday filled with good food, family and friends.

We have had a really relaxing few days after the Thanksgiving rush. It has been nice to slow back down. We even managed to read a little of the Sunday paper, believe it or not. Black-eyed peas, chorizo and greens is the perfect Sunday kind of dish. I usually start it out as a soup and then reheat the leftovers as a side dish later. It is a healthy meal with a hint of decadence from the lovely chorizo. Fresh black eyed peas are abundant right now. I got mine from Wheatsville, and am certain they can be found at Whole Foods and the SFC Farmer’s Markets. This is also my chosen preparation for my New Years Day black eyed peas and unlike those from the can, I look forward to eating these ones. So, bookmark this recipe as a must try for New Years.

A note on chorizo… The kind I use for this recipe is the Spanish, hard variety. It is a cured meat much like salami or pepperoni. Aurelia’s is made locally and outstanding. I render (brown) the chorizo in a little bit of olive oil and then set aside for garnish, so it stays crisp and delicious.

Black-Eyed Peas, Chorizo and Greens

2 cups fresh black-eyed peas

2.5 cups water

1 medium red onion

3-5 cloves garlic

1 cup Spanish chorizo, sliced thin

3 c arugula, chopped

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper

parmesan for garnish

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add sliced chorizo to pan and “frizzle” until crisp. Once chorizo is browned, remove to a paper towel to drain. Add onion to pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add water and beans to pan. Simmer over low heat until beans are super tender. About 1 hour. Once beans are cooked through, stir in chopped arugula or other green. Serve immediately and garnish with shaved parmesan and frizzled chorizo.

Challenge Update

All is well on the challenge front. I can’t believe that we are nearly three months in and chugging along. Three months feels like a real milestone. I will admit that we might be taking some pent up clothes shopping frustration at Home Depot. Damn, that bill has gone up. But a home can only have so many ladders and shovels and Christmas lights, so I am feeling like we have pretty well maxed out at the Home Depot. I’ll let you know if it shows up somewhere else….

Thank you, thank you for reading. I hope your holidays are all good.

Not That Martha

PS Food photos are courtesy of Sarah Wilson. Thank you, Sarah Wilson!!!

Butternut Squash Soup with Beet and Apple Relish

10 Nov


Hi Everyone!

A big thanks to www.foodpress.com for featuring the Bacon and Arugula Bread Pudding post!

Now, on to the business at hand. Butternut squash soup with beet and apple relish is a recipe that I have been making for a few years now. It is always the first thing I make when I can get my hands on some butternut squash. It is a sure sign that fall is here. The recipe is quick and a cup of this is a great crowd pleaser. The apple and beet relish adds crunch, color and plays very nicely with the earthiness of the squash. I adapted this from a Wolfgang Puck recipe. I have simplified it quite a bit so you can make this pretty easily with what you have in your pantry. His calls for cranberry relish, but those are hard to get your hands on in this part of the world, so I adapted the apple/beet mix. I used a little of Dai Due‘s Fireman’s 4 mustard to bind the apples and beets. That combo alone is out of this world and would serve well on a piece of toast with goat cheese, just sayin. The relish really cuts through the creaminess of the soup. My favorite trick in this recipe is steeping the rosemary in the milk. It adds a great depth of flavor and complexity to the soup. That idea could be adapted to many a recipe for a little twist.

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Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium or 3 small butternut squash, halved

2-3 c. whole milk

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 t. cinnamon

salt and pepper

2 T olive oil

Heat oven to 375. Rub squash halves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast cut side up until fork tender, about 30 minutes. While the squash is roasting, warm milk with rosemary submerged. Take care not to let the milk boil. When squash is roasted, let sit until cooled enough to handle. Remove rosemary from milk. Scoop roasted squash into a soup pot and add 2 cups of milk. Blend using hand blender (or put squash and milk into a blender) blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to achieve desired texture. I like mine silky, so I typically always use all of the milk to blend.

Beet and Apple Relish

1/2 c roasted beets, small dice

1/2 c apples, small dice

3 T Dai Due Fireman’s 4 Mustard or other grainy mustard

Mix all ingredients together.

*To roast beets, I heat the oven to 350, toss beets with olive oil, salt pepper and sometimes when I feel like it, garlic. Wrap the mix in foil. Place on a sheet pan and roast for 45 minutes. The sheet pan is important, if the foil isn’t secure, it makes a big mess without the sheet pan. That is experience talking. Once the beets are cool, the skin slips right off. If working with red beets your hands will be HOT pink, which I always kind of love.

Challenge Update

We are two and half months in and going strong. Jo has continued perfecting the refried bean and I’ll tell you what, it takes more pork fat than you can imagine to make TacoMex caliber beans. She really did nail the recipe, but in the process, I think we burned out on beans. I have nearly involuntarily driven my car through House Pizzaria on a couple of occasions. I MISS THAT PIZZA!!! I have to admit though, that the seasonal change has been great for us in the way of veggies. I was going to freak out big time if I had to eat another bite of zucchini. I just plain maxed out on that. Hopefully by next summer I will be craving it again. The winter greens are a breath of fresh air and we are loving every minute of kale, arugula and spinach. Other than that, we are really enjoying the gorgeous weather. I am dreaming of biscuits and gravy, so stay tuned for that soon!

Thank you, thank you for reading!

Not That Martha

*Photography by Sarah Wilson, the bomb, photographer.

*Not a post goes out without the proof-reading expertise of my partner in life and writing, Jo Sugar. She is really sweet not to let me look a-fool in my writing.

Bacon and Arugula Bread Pudding!

3 Nov

Hi everyone,

I have to admit that bread pudding is a dish that for years I turned up my nose to. I am not sure that I ever even tried it, just the idea of a bread pudding sent chills down my spine. I stand corrected. Bread pudding is in fact a perfectly delicious leftover vehicle and has become a dish that I crave. I will admittedly over buy bread for the week, so I have enough to toss with a few of my favorite things to have this soul satisfying dish. The weather is perfect for it. The prep time is short. You throw it in the oven and a little over a half an hour later you and whomever you choose to share this with will be giddy. It would be a great thing to assemble in the evening and cook the next morning for a hot, easy breakfast.

This iteration of it for me had all sorts of goodness to it. I used multiple varieties of bread, wheat, ciabatta and some kind of cheesy one. The arugula from Montesino by way of Farm House Delivery. Bacon from Dai Due. If you live in striking distance of Austin, TX, you should make your way to the Downtown Farmers Market on a Saturday just to try something that the Dai Due group makes. Their bacon is out of this world and the Fireman’s 4 mustard is always in our fridge.  I had cheddar and parmesan cheese left from the week. Eggs and milk are always on hand and that is all it takes for this dish. The recipe is a guide this time. There aren’t exact measures. Literally use this as a guide and I promise you can make your very own version of bread pudding to be proud of!

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Bacon and Arugula Bread Pudding

Stale bread, cubed

Cheese, grated and as much as you want

Leafy green, kale, arugula, spinach, anything like this will work

Bacon or Sausage, cooked and crumbled

Eggs

Milk, 1 cup for every 2 eggs

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350

In one bowl combine eggs and milk, whisk together. In a separate bowl, combine cheese, greens, bread, salt and pepper and sausage if that is what you are using. Pour the egg and milk mix onto the bread mix. What you are trying to do is just soak the bread with eggy mix. You don’t want to bread too dry or it just won’t be pudding-y, you know? So, here is where I have to play with the balance most often. I usually start by making the mix a little dry and having to add more milk and eggs. Don’t worry, though, you really can’t get this wrong. As long as the bread is soaked, you have good ingredients, and you cook this through, you should be very pleased with your own recipe. Depending on the size of the dish, it should take 30-45 minutes for the bread pudding to cook. Mine was in a 9×12 and took 45 minutes.

*If you are using bacon, I find it best to sprinkle it on top to prevent it from getting soggy. I don’t like soggy bacon.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we do. Please let me know what combinations you come up with!

Challenge Update

Jo and I are officially two months into our consumption challenge and things are going swimmingly. We are getting our routines down more and more, so we don’t have those desparate moments when we are starving with nothing to eat. I am thrilled that soup weather is here. I love to make a big pot of soup on Sunday and have it around at least until the middle of the week. A big pot of green chili pork posole is in our very near future, oooh and chicken and dumpling. We have also had the pleasure of noticing that we do have extra cash on hand. It doesn’t cost nearly as much to eat at home. Even if the food eaten at home bears a premium price…

The change of seasons means that we are looking at clothes not seen since last March, so that is a much needed breath of fresh air. Personally,  I am excited to bust out the sweaters and boots!

Something we have both noticed is we are having more awareness of purchases in general. I am the kind of girl that can buy more soap, lotion, pens and notebooks than I could possibly use in 5 years. For Jo it is chapstick. The girl has more than you can possibly imagine and to be honest, I am a little jealous of the collection. Because we have taken notice of this, the above items have been added to the list of non-consumption. We will actually use what we have on hand, which will certainly get us through the next ten months and then some.

As always, thank you for reading!

Not That Martha

All photography is by Sarah Wilson. I am hungry every time I go through her pics. Somehow my iPhone pics just don’t compare…