Posts Tagged ‘local food


Death on a Factory farm: every pork loving chef should watch

Two nights ago, just after another spellbinding conclusion of Flight of the Conchords, I started watching a HBO documentary called Death on a Factory Farm.  Its about a guy who goes undercover with a camera strapped to him and gets a job at a factory pig farm in Ohio.  The Humane Farm Association employs him because the farm is suspected of some serious animal abuse.  The footage in this video will change you life, straight up.  The way that this farm, who is no doubt not alone in their practices, treats its animals was enough to make me sick.

Pork is in such a boom in the food world right now its unbelievable, you’ll find all parts of the pig being used in restaurants that a couple years ago would not have dared to try and sell them.  Luckily this boom is following for the most part in the same lane as the slow and local food boom.  People who know food want good pork, raised humanely, and not void of all fat like the grocery store version. This is a perfect time for a video like this to come along and show a lot of people why many are changing the way they buy food.

If you have HBO on demand its always available otherwise check the website for show times.  Here is a clip I found on the YouTube

My recommendation: watch this video, take it to heart, make a conscious effort to buy food that has been treated humanely.  Both you and I understand there are  a lot of people to feed in this world but no life form with any intelligence should be treated this way.  I think that’s all I have to say, this movie speaks for itself,  just don’t forget the way it makes you feel the first time you watch it.


roasted pork belly and clams

Alright for some time I’ve been thinking about how I want to make the Portuguese dish that my mother always use to make and order in the restaurants known as  Porco con Ameijoas( pork and clams).  I love the versions that we would order near the coast in Portugal or in the Newark,  New Jersey Portuguese restaurants.  My only dilemma was that the cooks preparing this great dish for me had no remorse in cooking the living hell out of some diced pork loin.  So I came up with this preparation for it crossing out the pork loin and substituting something that I can easily eat every day for the rest of my life ROASTED PORK BELLY!!  This is an easy recipe to make at home, my suggestion is to buy your pork belly a couple of days ahead of time and season it with salt, pepper, and sugar and let it sit wrapped in plastic so that its seasoned all the way through.  Here is what you need:

  • fresh pork belly, skin removed
  • Fresh clams, I like the small little-necks (fresher the better of course, its the season for some great locals)
  • onion, fresh garlic
  • smoked Spanish paprika
  • white wine
  • fresh parsley
  • good quality tomato paste
  1. The pork belly is going to take the longest so set your oven at three hundred, season you belly (even if you pre-seasoned it), with salt pepper and paprika, and Chrow it in a’ oven. Its going to take a least two hours so plan ahead. cimg0488
  2. In the meantime you can wash your clams, and cover them with cold water.  If you like you can do the corn meal trick and put a little in the water and let them sit for a half hour or so, this way they will release a little bit of their sand.
  3. Also large dice your onion, slice up the garlic, and give your parsley a quick once over, this way you got everything ready to go when the time comes around.  Alright so yea, I’m not giving you and specified amounts but that’s not how I cook , plus I drink way to much while I’m doing this to keep track of anything.  You don’t have to be Arzak to be able to eye out, or decide how much of everything you want in the food you create.  It’s all about your own taste!
  4. After about two to two and a half hours your belly should be well roasted, much of the fat should have rendered and it should be cooked through and relaxed,not a  bit tough.  Pull it out and start the clams.cimg0490
  5. Slightly brown the garlic in extra virgin, add the paprika and toast for thirty seconds, then add the onions and a little salt and sweat until translucent.  When the onions are cooked add a small amount of wine (your not poaching the clams, your just steaming them!) and dissolve some tomato paste in the liquid.  Remember the clams are going to release their juices and you want clam broth not wine broth!  Add your clams, cover and steam till they open on a medium flame. ( about 10 to 12 minutes)
  6. In the meantime slice your pork belly which will still be hot into three quater inch slices and add to a medium hot pan with a little oil.  You want to brown the belly as much as possible, the crispier the better.  Keep flipping the belly slices after about a minute and half on each side to achieve the best browning. cimg0494
  7. When the clams are all popped taste the broth and adjust the seasoning, set aside.  Take your crispy pork out of the pan and onto a cutting board, rough chop into large chunks ( or as large as you prefer!) and add to the clams.
  8. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve with ample amounts of crusty bread and lemon slices.cimg0501
  9. If your belly came with skin and you were smart enough to save it for its various uses, Chrow it in a’oven while you eat and in about a half hour you should have some crispy pork skin for dessert!!!

this just in: help our nations farms!!

After reading Cris Cosetinos blog about shmeat I’m downright alarmed as to where this country is headed in the way it eats.  I almost told my over-sized roommate about the article but decided against it when I realized he’ll probably soon be eating the disgusting lab meat in his nightly Beefaroni sooner than he knows (If he ever does know that is!).  In the food world we need to take a stand(or just enter your name and e-mail) and endorse the on line petition targeted at who will be President-Elect Obama’s secretary of agriculture Click Here and fill out your information and a comment then follow the link to and read the proposal that supports farms, sustainability, and strays away from things like fossil fuels being used in agriculture.  Its a small step but hey, you voted for him so ya might as well tell him what you expect from him!


Breaking down whole animals


Wow! Yea that is quite a scene to walk into! “So whats first chef” was my first reaction.  The chef had gone to a local farm in Barnwell SC, to pick our whole animals.  Hailing from Mibek farms the cow is pasture and humanly raised and had been slaughtered for us three days before.  None of us are even sure yet of what we will do with 700 pounds of beef and bone.  The pigs came from the same slaughter house and were raised by farmers in the surrounding area.  Sweet!  Four cases of boneless all natural raised beef ribs come to us at about five dollars a pound due to an over-order at one of our purveyors. Awesome!  And all that beef suet will be rendered to fry the potatoes for our filet dish and maybe saved to rest some steaks in.

The first order of business is to get everything in the fridge.  Those legs alone must have weighed close to a hundred pounds each,  as well the whole, un-split, front saddle which must have weighed almost two hundred.  That beef is going in the walk-in to age in front of the fans for at least another week or so. (I’m not going to forget about you I’ll update you every step of the way!)  With the beef in the walk-in we get the pigs, there heads already came lobbed off ready to be made into our favorite pressed meat charcuterie.  The front shoulders and leg are taken off whole then the pigs are split, then we took off the hams and rounds off whole from the middle section.  Damn, that is a lot of meat! The collars are removed from the shoulder and the rest of the leg is deboned  and cubed to be made into sausage and sold to our sister restaurant.  The middle, being to big for porchetta becomes belly for roasting or curing an the chops are left with the bones on and the skin on to be brined then smoked, smoked, and then skin crisped ( a crucial part to me!).  At around a dollar fifty a pound, with meat almost as dark as our fresh cow, and skin perfectly cleaned we are happy then pigs in shit to have these guys!(Pun intended)

There is gonna be some great products produced from these products on the coming menus and I’m really looking foward to being part of it and seeing what happens.  The ribeyes have their caps taken off and sliced in fifteen ounce portions as we need them.  Due to the mix up at the warehouse they have already been aged for almost fifty days.  I’ll be sure to post all our finished products as they come on the menu and are fabricated. So here is all our animals at the end of the day..


May 2018
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