Good Things from the Freezer

It's officially March! Today I stood outside and felt real warmth from the sun on my face for the first time in months. I know winter is far from over, but today I feel like spring is coming!

Late winter/early spring is one of the hardest times for us locavores - The storage crops from autumn are running short, yet the spring harvest is still far off. Lucky for me I still have lots of good stuff in the freezer!

And there is so much good meat around! These boneless country ribs are from Willow Creek Farm.

I've still got quite a few yellow onions left from the big bag I bought in the fall. I've been storing them in a dark cupboard and they're still as good as the day I bought them.

I combined the onions and pork ribs in the crock pot with some of Dave's home-made hard apple cider, a little apple cider vinegar, salt, and dried sage. It cooked slowly for 3 1/2 hours.

Somehow I'd managed to forget about all the corn I grew and froze in the summer. I decided it was high time to dig it out of the freezer and make some creamed corn. I also got out a bag of roasted green bell peppers to add to the mix.

While the veggies thawed under warm water, I readied the dessert: apple raspberry crisp.

These Cox Orange Pippin apples from Future Fruit Farm have been at the Co-op periodically. They're little and scarred (organic apples usually are), but boy are they good! At this point they're a bit soft and they've lost some of their zing with age, but they still have a wonderful flavor. Cox Orange Pippin is an old English heirloom dating from 1825.

More treasures from the freezer! I picked these raspberries at Blue Skies Farm in September. They've held up really well in - now I just have to think of ways to eat them all before berry season gets here again....

Apples, raspberries, a little lemon juice, brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg.

I whipped up a quick crisp dough of brown sugar, oatmeal, flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, and lard. Lard?? Yes, we're selling local lard at the Co-op now, and I bought a tub of it to experiment with. It makes excellent pie crust, and it's also really good mixed with beans. Basically it's a substitute for butter (or rather butter has been substituted for more traditional lard in many modern recipes).

Fruit on the bottom, crisp dough pressed on top and into the oven it went.

Now back to the creamed corn. I sauteed one more onion and the green peppers in butter till the onion was translucent and the peppers had lost a bit of they're sogginess.

I added the corn and cooked it a while longer to meld all the flavors.

Butter, cream, some frozen basil from last year's garden, and a little salt was all it needed. I was honestly surprised by how sweet, creamy, and delicious this was. It would make a meal unto itself.

By the time all else was ready, the pork in the crock-pot was perfectly done. The hard cider makes a wonderful cooking medium. It's like a really nicely flavored white wine - and it's 100% local!

I finished off the meal with a beautiful loaf of bread from The Batch Bakehouse on Willy Street. Ian, the owner, makes the best bread in Madison, hands down. If you live in Madison and you haven't been there, you should go. Now.

Here's dinner.

Oh yeah, and dessert.

The lard did an excellent job - I don't think I'll have any trouble using up the tub I bought! The apples and raspberries gave the perfect fruity almost tart flavor. The fruit combined with the rich sweetness of the crisp topping made this dessert just wonderful. The perfect end to a delicious meal.

County Ribs with Hard Cider

Boneless Pork Country Ribs
2-3 Yellow Onions
Hard Apple Cider
Apple Cider Vinegar
Dried Sage

Put pork and chopped onions into a crock pot. Cover with cider. If you don't have enough cider, add water to cover. Add a little vinegar, sage, and salt and cook on low for 3-4 hours or more. When it's done, taste and add vinegar, sage, and salt as needed.

Creamed Corn
Frozen Sweet Corn
1 Yellow Onion
2 Roasted Bell Peppers
Basil, fresh, dried, or frozen

Saute the onion and pepper until onions are translucent. Add corn and cook about 4 more minutes. Add enough butter to coat the vegetables, then enough cream to make the desired consistency. Season with basil and salt to taste.

Apple Raspberry Crisp

6-7 Small Apples (cox orange pippin preferably)
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice
Powdered Ginger
Nutmeg (preferably fresh ground)
Rolled Oats
Wheat Germ
Lard (or butter)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples into small pieces. Toss with raspberries, a few tablespoons of lemon juice, and brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg to taste. Put fruit on the bottom of a pie pan.

Mix the crisp dough. I don't ever measure for a dough like this - it's something like one part flour, one part oats, one part flour, and two parts sugar with a little wheat germ tossed in for texture. With your fingers, mix enough lard or butter into the dry mixture to make little pea sized clumps. Once you learn the right texture, you'll never have to measure.

Press the dough on top of the fruit and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden and you can see the fruit bubbling up from underneath. Serve with a little milk or cream.

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1 comment:

  1. I love your blog entrees Megan! You put a lot of work into them and they are very fun to read!


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