Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mom/Busy Bee: an apple, a pig and a squash walk into a bar...

Or maybe: an apple a day...
Oh well, the point of this post is (hopefully) the last big push of fall food preservation.
First off, three days ago was the much anticipated pig day. We are really lucky to have a friend in town who raises pigs and this is the second year in a row we've bought half a pig. Our half this year totaled 93 pounds of pork in various forms.
pig day!!!
We love doing this, it is so nice to actually know what you are eating and where it comes from. Plus, the pork is really good.
Second, I bought a case of apples at the farmer's market this weekend and we had to get them processed before they sat around too long. Luckily this was the weekend of Grandmothers (both my mother and husband's mother visited this weekend) so we had lots of help. Yesterday my mom and I made applesauce. The case of apples was a mix of three apples: Golden DDelicious, Jonathans, and Johnigolds. We took the Golden Delicious and cooked them down into sauce. They were pretty sweet on their own so I took half of the cooked down apples and pureed them then froze it in ice cube trays for baby food. The other half we left a little chunky and added some sugar and cinnamon for an applesauce that everyone will love.
Today my husband, his mom and I took care of the rest of the apples. We peeled, cored and sliced the apples then cooked them with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg into apple pie filling.
Chunky apple sauce and apple pie filling
Now why half a case of apple pie filling, you ask? Well, blame it on Alton Brown. I LOVE Alton Brown, we're talking total geek girl crush. He had a pie episode where he put pie filling in tins and froze it into apple pie hockey pucks, then he took them out of the tins and put them in freezer bags and then when he needed to make a pie he had filling ready made. Pretty smart, right? So that's what we're doing.

apple pie filling getting chill.
 I ended up with six pies worth. Guess what family? I'll be bringing apple pie as my holiday food contribution this year!
My husband got creative and made us a pie for dessert tonight. But because he has to be all chef-y it's not a plain apple pie, it's a carmel apple pie.
Chef approved carmel apple pie
We have a few apples set aside for eating, because they are very good apples, and three Jonathans made it into dinner tonight, a lovely fall braised pork roast with apples and vegetables.
With my CSA box we have acquired a backlog of squash so a butternut squash, a small pumpkin and chunk of Hubbard got roasted today. I had originally intended for the pumpkin to get roasted and pureed by itself as pumpkin pie filling, but this pumpkin had way too much moisture in it, so all three types of squash got pureed together into what ended up as a very good squash puree. Not sure if it will be pie, but whatever it ends up as will be yummy.

Fall Braised Pork
1 2 to 3 pound pork roast, any tougher cut will do. (We used a picnic shoulder roast.) Salt and pepper the pork. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the hot pan and carefully place the pork in the pan. Brown on all sides then place pork in the slow cooker. Pour off the oil from the pan and hit the pan with a cup of apple cider. Scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan and pour the liquid from the pan into the slow cooker. Add a bay leaf, several sprigs of fresh thyme and a few squirts of whole grain mustard. Add one more cup of apple cider and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. On top of roast place a mixture of vegetables, I used celery, carrots, fennel, cabbage and apples. Cover and cook until pork is falling apart, about six hours on high.

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