Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week's End Wrap Up

I did not take many pictures at the farm this week, and I'm not sure why I did not. I was just about as busy as I ever am: which usually means working virtually non-stop from the time I arrive to the time I have to face up to the fact that I live an hour and 15 minutes away, and that between me and home is about 20 miles of almost unbearable highway, namely the Pennsylvania Turnpike. What a piece of crap that thing is. And I know from lousy roads. I'm originally from Long Island so I grew up (or attempted to grow up) hard-by the Long Island Expressway aka "The World's Longest Parking Lot" and "The Long Island X-stressway."

For a few years back there I used to commute between my home in Glen Cove (Long Island) and teaching job in Kew Gardens, Queens. It was only twelve miles door to door, but it never took less than an hour. Well, the Pa Turnpike is not quite so bad, but it is such a damnable mess. The road surface is awful and there's construction going on for the full length of my commute. What a joke. Here I am working at farm that promotes sustainable agriculture and where the farmer revels in his efforts to diminish the carbon footprint of his grass fed cow dairy program and I'm burning up 70 dollars a week in gasoline to help him. I feel about as green as a rock star as he jets around in his private plane to concerts that are aimed at increasing awareness of global warming.

So back the pictures. The two photos on the upper left are two shots of the same side of pork that I butchered on Saturday. Actually, I butchered two whole hogs (4 sides). The pork was really beautiful and very nicely marbled. The flavor was great too, but not quite deep enough for my taste. I figure that we are going to have to adjust the breed (these are Yorkshire hogs) and feeding program before I get what I'm looking for.
The second photo from the bottom shows one of the bresaola (foreground) that Christian the Apprentice and I cured over three weeks ago. It hung for a little more than two weeks and we put it out for sale on Saturday. It was delicious, of course, but I did not think it was as good as Christian seemed to think it was. I think the cow that grew the eye-round from which it was made was a little too young at slaughter. Either that or it could have used a bit more exercise to deepen the flavor and toughen the muscle.
The last photo shows another bresaola (bottom foreground) covered with green fungus. It looks pretty nasty but it's nothing other than the Penicllium mold that Farmer Trent uses for the cheese he calls Cheddar Blue (we hang the meat in the cheese aging room). It's sitting out waiting to be scrubbed with brine after which the mold will not return.

Finally that puny thing above the bresaola is some pancetta that Christian the Apprentice made for himself from pork belly that he brought in. It may be small and wretched looking, but don't let it's pathetic appearance fool you: it was fabulous. I'd have stolen it if he hadn't kept in plain sight. Damned kid.
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boberica said...

It's great to see some of your final product. Are you able to do anything with the heads? fromage de tete, guanciale? Do customers typically buy these sliced, or whole? bob mcgee

Christian the Apprentice said...

Funny bob, REAL FUNNY, haha. Bob's just jealous my pancetta came out better then the masters, and it's not always about the size bob, sometimes it's just about the quality of the product :).

Funny you bring that up bob, I've been asking the same thing, and given our facilities, taking in whole hogs is a bit of a challenge given that we don't have all the needed equipment to process a whole animal like that. The heads are usually beat up after the splitting, but we're working on how we can get some heads soon.

As for the bresaola, this is in comparison to the first batch I tasted, and I think it's much better then that. I do agree with bob that the richness of the meat has yet to be developed, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. Bresaola is so unadulterated, that the meat is at the forefront, so quality is everything. And so we carry on...

Working on my version of the weekend recap later today.

Bob the master, my pancetta is so tasty :), I am going to bring the rest of the belly i have on saturday.