Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lamb Ham

That's right, I said Lamb Ham! We have just started smoking and curing legs of lamb and selling them as whole legs, halved legs or as sandwich slices. All lamb ham products are $10/lb and available at the farmers market or online.

Since this is a new product, I wanted to give it a try. Well, I have to admit it- this actually tastes just like real ham made from a pig! Similar spices and seasonings are used in the curing process so it should not have surprised me as much as it did. However, this is made from lamb and not pork, so it still was a little strange to me that it tasted so similar.

I did like it though. And it really was quite easy to prepare, since it is already cooked. All I did was place the lamb ham on a bed of baby potatoes and pour a little broth into the pan to cover the potatoes and to give the lamb ham a little moisture during cooking. Since these legs are smoked, most of the fat has already cooked off leaving the lamb ham very lean. That is why it is important to give your lamb ham some liquid or it will dry out. I then covered the pan with parchment paper and foil and baked it in a 350 oven until the potatoes were soft, about 45 min. to 1 hour. The lamb ham itself really doesn't need to cook that long, just the potatoes. But as long as there is some liquid in the pan, the lamb ham won't dry out. When it came out of the oven, smelling amazing from the sweet spices of cinnamon and cloves, we devoured it instantly! This meal was smokey and aromatic and the flavor was pure ham. I am excited to fry up the leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast or pile it up on a sandwich with some horseradish mayo. Yum!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Meat CSA

This month we introduced a brand new meat product-
Pastured Pork
We are excited to give this product a whirl and look forward to the next couple of weeks as we build our pork inventory for the upcoming summer market season.

Half Share:

1-1.25# Pork Chops

1-2# Veal Short Ribs (Spareribs)
.75-1# Lamb Loin Roast/Tenderloin
.75-1# Beef Ribeye Steak(s)
1# Ground Beef Patties
(dependent on weight of short ribs)

Whole Share:

1-1.25# Pork Chops
1-2# Veal Short Ribs (Spareribs)
.75-1# Lamb Loin Roast/Tenderloin
.75-1# Beef Ribeye Steak(s)
.75# Beef Filet Mignon (2 pkg.)
1# Pork Bacon
1# Goat Stew Meat
.75# Lamb Rack Chops
1.5# Veal Osso Bucco
1# Ground Beef Patties
(dependent on weight of short ribs)

In honor of our NEW pork:

Pork Chops with a Curried Apple-Onion Sauce

Courtesy of Epicurious


Serves 4

4 8-ounce pork chops (each 1 inch thick)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large apple, peeled, cored, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons honey mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder


Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Reserve drippings in skillet. Add apple, onion and garlic to drippings in skillet and sauté over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, wine, cream, mustard, curry powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide pork among plates. Pour sauce over and serve.

And because you are probably wondering, now where do I get a farm fresh apple for this recipe? Look no further, because we have the answer! Local apples that were harvested this past fall are still available at the farmers markets. Both Green City and Logan Square host Hillside Orchards of Berrien Springs, MI. Hillside Orchards have been storing these apples in cold storage (temperature and atmosphere controlled) so that we can continue to have fresh fruit available through the winter. Apples are a traditional storage crop, being kept for several months in cool, humid root cellars. If you plan it just right, you can also store apples in a plastic bag (with a splash of water) in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. I have had some apples last me from September through March! Some of my favorites are Jonathan, Northern Spy, Winesap and Golden Delicious. All of these varieties would be wonderful in this Curried Apple-Onion Sauce.

Spring Holidays

Passover and Easter are right around the corner. Passover starts at sundown on Monday March 29th and Easter Sunday is on April 4th. Both of these holidays are traditionally celebrated with a meal that has lamb as the main course. A beautiful leg of lamb symbolizes Spring and the "Christian Paschal Lamb" or Jesus Christ and is often the main dish for Easter dinner. Lamb shanks are always found on the Jewish table at Passover or Pesach, since a shank bone is an important part of the seder plate. The shank bone also known as the Zeroa or Z'roa, symbolizes the Korban Pesach or Paschal Lamb which was the sacrificial offering in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Both Leg of Lamb and Lamb Shanks will be available for pick up at the Farmers Market or for Fresh Home Delivery.* We will also have both Pork Hams and Lamb Hams available for Easter! And if you want something different to grace your holiday table, try a Smoked Turkey. We are offering our smoked turkeys, halved and weighing around 10 lbs. Both the smoked turkey halves and the lamb hams are NEW this season, so give one a try and make your holiday table extra special!

*Fresh Home Delivery for the Easter holiday will take place on Wednesday March 31st and Thursday April 1st. If Home Delivery is needed for Passover, special arrangements will be made. Please place your Fresh Home Delivery (an additional $10 delivery fee applies to all orders) orders with Harry by emailing him at hcarr@mintcreekfarm.com.

Bone-in Leg of Lamb $7/lb

Boneless Leg of Lamb $8.75/lb

Smoked and Cured Lamb Ham $10/lb

Lamb Shanks $5.75/lb

Smoked and Cured Pork Ham $4/lb

Smoked Turkey Halves $6/lb

And don't forget your Beitzah or Easter Eggs! We will have our free-range pastured Chicken Eggs at the Green City Farmers Market for $5/dz. No need to dye these eggs, they come already colored for you in shades of brown, white and even the occasional blue-green!*
* Most of our eggs being laid recently have been brown, there are the occasional white and blue-green eggs laid. We cannot take orders for the colored eggs. What you get in your carton is what we get when we pull the eggs from the nest! Enjoy mother nature at work. All eggs are beautiful.

Happy Spring Holidays!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soup and Bread

A fellow sheep farmer, Vera Videnovich sold me a cookbook at the Logan Square Farmers Market. It is called Soup and Bread, and it is the culmination of the first annual winter Wednesday night Soup and Bread events at the Hideout. Now, this sounded interesting to me. I personally love soup and bread so I had to have this cookbook and I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind this cookbook!

She explained that every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 8 pm (January-March/April) the Hideout on Wabansia Ave. hosts this free event for the community. All are welcome and encouraged to donate what they can to that evening's worthy charity. Every Wednesday, there is a different local charity that is selected to be the recipient of that evening's donations. And the proceeds from the lovely, spiral bound paperback cookbook go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. And at $20 a book, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give the the GCFD and score a new cookbook!

The cookbook is collection of all the recipes that were contributed to the first winter's worth of Soup and Bread events. Besides being filled with yummy sounding recipes, the cookbook has a lovely vintage design, created by Sheila Sachs. Sheila and Martha Bayne are the two ladies behind the idea of Soup and Bread. They have taken on the soup kitchen idea and turned it into an opportunity to inspire professional and amateur chefs/bakers to donate their talents and time back to their community. Besides all the great food and the worthy cause, Soup and Bread has become a regular happening on many folks social calenders! When you walk into the Hideout to experience your first Soup and Bread, you are greeted by a warm and friendly group of folks ready to spend some quality time together.

When I went to my first Soup and Bread, I was greeted at the door by a friendly man and a neighborhood dog. I thought the man was there to check id's, but he laughed and said that this was a family friendly event and that all were welcome. Somehow, he still managed to ask my age...sneaky man! And when I walked into the back room where the event is held, I found a table lined with delicious smelling crockpots ready to be emptied by a hungry crowd of supporters. Standing behind each crockpot was the chef of the soup and they were there to serve you once you decided which amazing soup your were going to eat. If you were lucky, you were able to sneak in a couple trips up to the table to taste a couple of the soups. However, you had to beat out everyone else who had the same idea! There was bread and some lovely desserts in one corner, along with the donation jar. If you wanted a drink, you just went to the bar for one. It was low key and relaxing, and a great way to unwind with friends.

I invite you all to go check it out and experience a Soup and Bread for yourself. I am sure you will be back for a second helping! And if you are interested in trying a Mutton/Lamb Stew topped with Rosemary Suet Dumplings, please come to the March 10th Soup and Bread. I will be cooking up this meaty winter stew and looking forward to serving it to all of you. I hope to see you there!