Sunday, June 21, 2009

Belly Pork, Pygmy Goats and Hay

Belly Pork (a.k.a. Pork Belly)

Barry's all-time favorite meal that I make him is what he calls, "Mmm....belly pork and mash." This is slow roasted pork belly with crispy skin, potato mashed with garlic, and a salad of some kind tossed together.

Now, for most of us on this side of the Atlantic, pork belly probably isn't on your "favorite foods" list. As our friend Mary put it: "Do you mean you are eating a big chunk of bacon?" Well, yes, sort of. Belly pork is the same piece of the pig from whence the lovely breakfast nosh comes, but it is fresh, not cured, and the skin is left on for heavenly, crispy goodness.
Radishes and salad from the garden.

This isn't the best picture of belly pork, sorry. I always make it in the evening and the light isn't quite right to show off how brown and sizzling it looks. The smell is amazing! And the taste and texture is really something that cannot be adequately described. There are three layers on a piece of belly pork: layer one is at the bottom and it is tender, juicy pork that has been roasting in the juice and fat for over an hour and is quite nice to eat; layer two is just above that little treat and it is a fattier section of meat, almost all fat but not quite that is like warm, liquid meat and much tastier than that sounds; the top layer is the skin with fat that has been scored with a knife and finished at high heat so that it is crispy and crunchy and full of flavor when you bite into it. The two eating techniques are Sally's version: cut each piece of the belly so all three layers are included and chew slowly, trying not to moan. Barry's version: separate the three layers from each other and it in order of goodness starting from the bottom and leaving all of the crispy skin for last, while closing one's eyes and moaning out loud. As you can see from the varying methods of consumption, both are equally tasty, but vary in technique only.

Pygmy Goats

We had supper at the home our friends Francina and Frannie a few weeks ago. We were excited to visit, not only because Francina is a chef, but because they had just gotten two baby pygmy goats. Barry and I were just a bit jealous since we have been wanting goats for a while now, but we realize it isn't quite the right time yet. The other irony to the story is that the goats live at our house in the city--the F's live in our old house in East Lake. Soon after they moved in chickens came to occupy our old chicken coop and goats moved into their (new) goat house. I am so happy that the old homestead has such love in it and that they are continuing the urban farming where we left off. Oh, and their tomatoes are as big as softballs! If you want to sample Francina's wonderful food and don't get an invitation to their home, just drop by Eddie's Attic in Decatur where she is Head Chef. The menu is great and you can sit on the covered patio or listen to great musicians in the music room.

Barry had fun with the little goats, as you can see. Catching them was quite a challenge, and the noise they make when caught made me want to throw them down and run, it is awful! Sort of like a really, really loud cranky baby who wants people to think you are torturing him. The little guys are cute, but since they are both boys Francina won't be milking them any time soon. We are still looking into goats and/or a cow for our place. I'll keep you all updated as things progress.

Hey, that's some nice hay.

Barry got ambitious the other day and decided to bush-hog (mow) the field. This gives us a whole bunch of hay that we can use to feed the animals or use as bedding. I thought he looked cute in his homemade shorts. You should see him in the shorts with his Wellies (tall rubber boots)--I'll have to post a picture next week. ;0)

See you on the farm!

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