Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mustard Seed & Thyme Pork Chops (aka The Pig Has Landed)

Thursday evening we picked up our half hog from Back Forty Acres. 98 pounds of pure porcine pleasure now fill our freezer to the brim. Last night it was time to test (taste?) drive the pig.

All rubbed up and nowhere to go but the grill.

Mustard Seed and Thyme Dry Rub (from Weber's Big Book of Grilling):
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
This is our favorite dry rub for pork. I usually quadruple the recipe and keep it in a small container for instant deployment whenever grilled pork is on the menu. It is delicious. The mustard seeds pop and crackle upon contact with the hot grill grates, releasing a heavenly toasty aroma. The cayenne pepper provides just the right amount of spicy heat.

I confess this is why I could never be a vegetarian. It tasted as good as it looked.

To go with our pork I made roasted potatoes (red potatoes, quartered; olive oil, salt, black pepper, and minced fresh rosemary; toss, arrange on baking sheet, roast for 35-40ish minutes at 400 degrees) and yet another batch of roasted asparagus (seriously, I could eat it with every meal). I made salads using lettuce, radishes, and chopped lemon sorrel, all from this week's farm share.

Gaze upon perfection!

We had our meal with a 2003 Pietra Santa (Cienega Valley, California) Sangiovese.

The pork was tender, juicy, and sweet, the potatoes brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the asparagus delicious as usual, and the salad cool and refreshing. There was candlelit ambiance (visible in above photo) and familial merriment. The wine flowed freely (as it always does). We ended the evening with a trip to the Common Grill for dessert.

The catastrophe of Meltdown '08, while still a very sore spot on my heart, did free up the space needed in our deep freezer to accommodate our half hog. And what a hog it is! Pork chops, pork steaks, ribs, hams, shoulder, hocks, bacon, loin roast, liver, and heart. We had the chops last night and bacon this morning for breakfast. Bacon the likes of which I have never seen. I made fun of John for his preferred thickness of 3/16-inch but let me tell you these thick-cut slabs, fried in our cast-iron pan, were so good I probably could have eaten the entire 8-slice package by myself. When John opened it to lay out the slices in the pan, she said, "If I could be in love with meat this would be it."

This Thursday we are also getting 5 broiler chickens from Back Forty Acres. When we were at the farm last week, Stephanie Doll showed us the pasture pens where the broilers live. Somewhere in that crowd of chickens are 5 that will soon be inhabiting our freezer, united once more with their friend the pig from the same farm. Come October we will be getting half a lamb from them, a lamb which I saw with my own eyes. I also saw the laying hens responsible for the eggs currently residing in my fridge. Talk about knowing where one's food comes from. I've shaken hands (and even shared beers with) the people responsible for our beef, pork, vegetables, eggs, and soon to be poultry and lamb. There is something that feels so good, so right about this connection.


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You're really taking wonderful advantage of both places. This is great!

kim said...

Wow, this meal looks and sounds amazing. This is what I want to eat. :)

And connection with the Dolls sounds wonderful as well. They seem like great people. I'm going to have to look into getting some of those chickens....


Anonymous said...

In my next life, I promise to be a religion that doesn't prohibit pork (and shellfish, and....)
I may have to get in touch with my agnostic background and eat the damn pork!! (Just kidding!)

Christine said...

There is something very cool about seeing the life cycle from beginning to end with our food, isn't there?

The dinner looks really great - the dry rub sounds awesome. I'll have to give a try soon.

Looking forward to seeing what you will do with the lamb too.

Shayne said...

I am so jealous of your pork and it is too late to order for 08. I will be getting some chicken and rabbit in the future.

looks great