Sunday, October 23, 2011

CSA & Pig Pick Up

Thursday picked up our CSA.  We're contemplating whether or not to get the Winter Share this year, but will definitely get the Regular Season Share next year (beginning in April 2012).
Up at Summit Lake Vineyards the younger Griffin daughter raises pigs for 4-H.  The eldest daughter used to raise 4-H pigs, but doesn't any more.  Now her pigs are raised for college money.  We purchased half a 300 pound pig to supply us with protein for the next year.  Not only did we see the pigs when they were young arrive at the farm, we saw them grow up.
Some may have great issue with knowing that one of these sweet pigs ended up filling our freezer.  I've said many prayers and given much thanks for the pig.  I know they were not overcrowded, that they were fed well, treated well, cared for; will help a talented young, hardworking lady go to college; and I know when, where (at home), and how the animals were shot and butchered.  All of it done with much respect for the animals.
On Saturday we picked up our pig from the butcher at Willowside Meats, Inc. in Santa Rosa, CA.  One can see the quality of their meats.  Having not personally bought a half an animal before, I was surprised to learn we had 19 pounds of sausage (made into breakfast links).

Sunday morning we had sausage pita for breakfast; and a bacon, lettuce and tomato salad for dinner.  The sausage was relatively lean, the bacon very lean and meaty, both had excellent flavor.  We requested the butcher put the pork into small packages as there are only two of us.  I'm sure you'll hear more about the pig in the future.
For the dear pig who gave up it's life
for us to eat and be nourished well.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dominion & Dinner with Friends

Last weekend while dining with friends, we invited them over for dinner tonight.  After watching Barefoot Contessa, shopped for a few items for the menu I'd created earlier in the morning.  Lately, I've spent hours looking on eBay at beautiful antique china/porcelain.  It's been a very long time since the china in our collection was used, so I thought we'd go a little fancier tonight and see some of the pretty plates that usually sit in the cabinet.

Dishes sitting out awaiting their respective course.
Amuse Bouche of mushroom, yogurt and carrot parfait with a squash blossom bought at the farmers market by our friends.  This was served with a 2010 Monte Volpe Pinot Grigio from Mendocino (purchased on my parents' 45 Anniversary at Graziano).
Earlier I'd prepared items from the CSA: green beans, eggs, potatoes and lettuce for the Salad Nicoise.  In the pantry I didn't find the black (nicoise) olives that I'd hoped, and only found the pimento stuffed green olives, oh well!  The tuna was from our local market, and seared briefly on each side.
Tuna salad nicoise served with 2009 Eric Kent Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Scallop with prawn under mashed sweet potatoes, served with a "Root of All Evil," absinthe mixed with root beer.
Preparation of the scallop with prawns.
Braised lamb with roasted sweet and yellow potatoes served with 2006 Retro Petite Sirah Howell Mountain
Cheese course, petite creme with applesauce made by a coworker and toasted Companion Bakers bread, served with Spiced Pear Vodka mixed with gingerale
After the main course, we took a break to play the card game "Dominion," which is a little like Settlers of Catan--without a game board.  It's an enjoyable game to play with 2-4 people.
The evening ended with strawberries stewed in a peppered wine sauce with whipped cream and Pocky sticks.  A 2002 Summit Lake Clair Riley Zinfandel Port from Howell Mountain was served, though I think it would have gone better with the cheese course.

Surprisingly clean up was much easier than I would have thought, as serving and removing plates was done in an organized manner.  Also, it probably helped that there were only four of us.

For an evening that was planned on the fly, seven hours from conception to delivery, it turned out well.  Life is what one makes of it.