Posts Tagged ‘pork’

FRESHFARM Week: Me(a)t Smith Meadows Farm

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The capital’s own FRESHFARM Markets is celebrating their 15th anniversary this weekend. Led by co-founders Ann Yonkers and Bernadine Prince, the now 11-market network in the metro Washington area (DC, Maryland and Virginia) has been promoting “local food with a face, a place and a name” throughout the Chesapeake foodshed since July 4, 1997. Alice Waters herself shops the original Dupont Circle FRESHFARM market when she’s in town, and local chefs proudly feature FRESHFARM farmers on their menus all across town. There will be an official celebration Sunday, July 15, at Dupont. Leading up to the big day, we here at FoodieTots are going to introduce just a few of our favorite FRESHFARM producers — the farmers we know by name and whose products grace our table every week.

Up first is Smith Meadows of Berryville, Va. You see, I believe in meat. I support Meatless Monday not because I’m anti-meat, but because I believe we should think before we consume it. And when we do, it should be healthful meat raised with care by farmers who are dedicated to the environment. Grassfed meat is richer in nutrients, leaner, and free of GMO feed and other bad things that come from feedlot meat.

smith meadows short ribs

Smith Meadows is an eighth-generation family farm that converted from conventional farming to natural methods in 1989. Farmer Forrest Pritchard practices rotational grazing of the farm’s cows, lambs, pigs, turkeys and chickens on pasture that is never treated with chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Nancy Pritchard makes fresh pasta each week from their free range eggs, organic flour and herbs, produce and cheese either from their own or other local farms {lemon verbena pasta pictured below}. Smith Meadows’ eggs are often the first to sell out at the market. We’ve enjoyed their brisket, pork, turkey, lamb and much more over the years.

smith meadows pasta

You can find Smith Meadows each week at FRESHFARM Dupont Circle — and at the Del Ray Farmers Market in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church markets.

(You can learn more about what it takes to run a farm like Smith Meadows on Farmer Forrest’s blog or find them on Facebook. You know we’re on Facebook, too, right? Get all our latest posts, and more, right in your news feed.)

Pork Two Ways: Carnitas Tacos

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The husband and I spent our college years in Southern California, and we frequently find ourselves craving authentic tacos. We’ve identified a few local establishments over the years, but I’ve also discovered it’s fairly easy to make great carnitas (roasted pork) at home. The main ingredient is time, but other than browning the roast in the beginning and then shredding the meat part way through, all the work is done in the oven. (Or on the grill, if you like.) You can also cut the meat into cubes, but I prefer it shredded. If you finish the carnitas the same day you roast the pork, it will keep a couple days in the fridge to make an easy weeknight meal — I had enough to freeze half for another time too.

The boy loves Mexican food, but typically sticks to quesadillas and burritos. He insisted he didn’t like tacos, so I made him a “taco pocket” instead … a.k.a., burrito, with veggies on the side. I suspect I may get him to warm up to tacos if we make fresh, kid-size tortillas, but that’s a project for another day.

Recipe: Pork Carnitas Tacos (& Taco Pockets)

Ingredients:

for tacos:

  • tortillas
  • shredded romaine lettuce
  • thinly sliced red peppers
  • salsa verde
  • sour cream

for “taco pockets” (a.k.a. burritos):

  • tortillas
  • brown rice
  • black beans
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the roasted pork to a shallow roasting pan. Shred the pork, using two forks, into large segments. Trim excess fat as you shred. Top with the salsa and roast for 1 hour, turning over once. Top should develop a crisp, carmelized crust, while interior remains moist. Remove from oven and serve with warmed tortillas, sour cream, sliced bell peppers, lettuce and any other desired accompaniments.

Kid-Friendly Taco Pockets: For the taco pocket, warm a tortilla in a skillet over medium heat. In the center, layer rice, beans, pork, and cheese. Fold in sides, then ends, to make a rectangle-shaped pocket. Place back in skillet and warm about a minute on each side to melt the cheese. To avoid toddler troubles, I serve the veggies next to it but you could certainly add peppers inside if that’s not an issue in your house.

For more on pork carnitas, read David Lebovitz’s (a fellow Cali ex-pat) tale of serving carnitas in Paris.

Dinner Twice: Cuban Pork Two Ways

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

After getting through the first trimester of my pregnancy, where we relied on take-out dinners far more frequently than usual, I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of daily cooking and adopting some new strategies that’ll make it easier to get dinner on the table when dealing with two kids underfoot. My favorite trick: cooking a Sunday supper that can be re-purposed into different quick meals during the week. This has the added benefit of stretching the budget for local, pastured meats.

First up, Cuban roast pork. Pork shoulder is a less expensive, higher fat cut of meat that benefits from a long cooking time. Once prepped and placed in the oven, you can head out to the playground for a while and let it cook. I served the pork, sliced, with brown rice and black beans cooked with bacon and garlic. If you can’t find a blood orange, a regular one will do.

Recipe: Cuban Roast Pork

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4-pound pork shoulder (also called Boston butt)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 blood orange, cut into eighths
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces salsa verde
  • 1 bottle Mexican beer

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork generously with salt, pepper and a touch of smoked paprika and set aside. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear pork until browned, 4-5 minutes on each side. Spread onions around and under pork, and arrange orange slices around pan. Add bay leaves, salsa and the beer. Cover and cook in oven for 2 hours. Remove lid and cook 1 hour more, until pork falls apart when prodded with a fork.

Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Cut out excess fat, and slice a portion for the first night. Serve with rice, black beans, fresh cilantro and additional orange slices.

Prep for Night 2: Shred remaining pork, using two forks, and removing excess fat. Refrigerate shredded pork. Check back Thursday for the second recipe: carnitas!

One Local Cherry Spare Ribs and Squash

Monday, July 6th, 2009

one local summer 2009We had a July 4th engagement party/barbecue to attend this year {congrats R & A!}, so the menu was out of our hands. The boy and I did make a cherry cobbler to take, though (recipe coming soon). And then we grilled Sunday night instead, a batch of Cheerwine-marinated spare ribs with eggplant and summer squash.

Cheerwine, for those who’ve never had it, is a cherry soda produced in North Carolina. We enjoyed routine deliveries while my little brother was stationed at Ft. Bragg, but have had it less frequently since he relocated.  While made outside the One Local Summer (OLS) 100ish-mile challenge border, we found it while stopping in a Food Lion on Virginia’s Northern Neck to stock up on another regional favorite, Northern Neck ginger ale. I don’t usually drink soda, let alone douse my dinner in high-fructose corn syrup*, but once a year or so we embrace our adopted Southern home and make Cheerwine ribs. This version used small pork spare ribs that were quickly grilled; lower and slower grilling will produce more tender ribs, but this was just fine for an easy meal to wrap up the long weekend. To up the health/OLS factor, we brushed the ribs with a fresh cherry glaze. I prefer a semi-tart cherry like Rainier or Queen Anne, but be warned that those produce a yellow sauce — so go with classic red cherries if you want that red color.

Recipe: Cheerwine Spare Ribs with Cherry Glaze

cheerwine marinated spare ribsIngredients:

Marinade:

  • 1.5 lb. pork spare ribs
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
  • 1 can Cheerwine (or other cherry cola)

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 spring onion, white portion, minced
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

cherry glazeIngredients: Season spare ribs with salt and pepper and place in shallow glass pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with scapes and pour Cheerwine over. Cover and let sit in refrigerator (turning if Cheerwine does not completely cover ribs) at least one hour, preferably half a day or longer. To make the glaze, put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer on low until cherries are falling apart, about 20 minutes. Smash cherries with a fork or blend glaze in a food processor or blender until combined.

To cook the ribs, heat the grill to medium high. Reduce to medium and cook ribs for 3 minutes per side. Brush with cherry glaze and cook an additional minute per side. Serve with additional glaze (“cherry ketchup” for dipping if that appeals to your kids.) Serves 4. Enjoy!

cherry glazed ribs and grilled squash

Farms of Origin: Smith Meadows Farm (VA, spare ribs), Kuhn Orchard (PA, Queen Anne cherries), Potomac Vegetable Farms (VA, scapes, spring onion, zucchini), Three Way Farm (VA, eggplant, pattypan squash), VA honey. (*You can find glass-bottled Cheerwine made with the original cane sugar formula, but they’re even harder to come by this far north.)

At Market: Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

no pets at marketAlexandria Farmers Market Watch: The weather was gorgeous in Alexandria this weekend, but my farmers market visits were brief due to visiting in-laws and a packed toddler-centric schedule of activities. (Three years in, I’m realizing that Mother’s Day is really not so much about me…)  At the Del Ray Farmers Market, Three Way Farms had strawberries galore as promised, though they were rapidly selling out. At the West End Farmers Market, Westmoreland Berry Farm was out of strawberries well before noon, though they were still selling strawberry shortcake for Mother’s Day. Most of the fresh stuff (strawberries, asparagus, Papa’s Orchard’s apples) did sell out early thanks to the great weather bringing hungry shoppers out in droves. Two familiar vendors, J & W Valley View Farm (VA, strawberries and greens) and Fresh Joseph’s (fresh-squeezed orange juice, scones & mozzarella — odd combination, isn’t it?) returned to West End this week. I snagged my Mother’s Day gift to myself — soft shell crabs from the On the Gourmet truck. (Check out the great write-up of the On the Gourmet crew in May’s Northern Virginia magazine.)

If there was rhubarb at the Alexandria markets, it sold out before I got there, so the ingredients for this market fresh dinner came from the Oakton market last week. Rhubarb season is just beginning though, so there will be plenty more rhubarb inspiration to come. (And rhubarb collins! Stay tuned.) The toddler loved the rhubarb sauce (it does have a slight resemblance to ketchup, after all) and dipped both his pork and asparagus in it. I love the tart, fresh taste of rhubarb with just about anything — I imagine this sauce would also go well with chicken or even fish.

Recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

rhubarb barbecue sauce pork tenderloinIngredients:

Pork:

  • 1 3-pound pork tenderloin*
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Sauce:

  • 1.5 cups rhubarb*, sliced
  • 1 spring onion*, white bulb portion (reserve green stalks for garnish/salad), finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Mix together pork seasonings and rub into pork tenderloin, coating evenly. Cover and place in refrigerator while preparing rhubarb sauce. (Bring out 10-15 minutes prior to cooking to bring to room temperature.)

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until rhubarb is falling apart, about 20 minutes. Cool and blend with stickblender or food processor until smooth.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sear pork for 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Brush with a generous amount of rhubarb sauce and transfer to over. Cook 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Allow to stand 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve with additional barbecue sauce. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

* Farms of origin:

  • Valentine’s Country Meat, Va. (pork)
  • Westmoreland Berry Farm, Va. (spring onion)
  • Kuhn Orchards, Pa. (rhubarb)

What’d you find at the markets this weekend? Cook for mom? (Or yourself?)