Monday, July 6, 2009

Busting Out!

My little Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato Plant isn't so little anymore...and it has babies!

Fourth of July weekend brought seriously sunny skies to Homer. a stretch we needed desperately after the rain and cold that dominated last summer. With two wedding cakes on the books,Farmers Market, a Sunday brunch cater and our busiest retail days of the year it was difficult to schedule some time away. I was determined to join my friends the Coyle Family at their camp across the bay for a big Fourth of July celebration. I knew that with a little planning and help from my awesome staff (Irene- Thank You!) I would be able to bust out. All the details fell into place, then at the last minute, my fresh pork belly arrived along with our regular meat order fom the butcher. No time to deal with it, so I put it into a hotel pan and wrapped it up tight and stashed in the fridge until Monday, when I could give it the attention it deserved.
I arrived at the party to a mini concert... 90 people in the yard of the cabin enjoying the singing of a local entertainer whooping it up with her brightly patriotic costume and Elvis impressions. As many were extended family of my hosts, I only knew about a dozen people there, so as my social anxiety kicked into gear and I tried to come up with things to talk about, all I kept coming back to was this porkbelly waiting for me and how I was finally going to make bacon. It's funny how many ways you can fit pork belly into a conversation! When the whole roast pig came out of the box, it only added fuel to my fire, to anyone who would listen I talked about my bacon project. (and the reason for my Bacon Obesession? Here is the Challenge Damn, you, Ruhlman!)
The Party was super fun and went late into the night, with about 45 of us spending the night. The next morning after coffee and breakfast was wrangled for the crowd, out came the newspaper. (everyone was dying to read the latest on Palins resignation!) My daughter took the comics and started working on the Sudoku puzzle, I looked over her shoulder and read my horoscope..."This weekend miscommunications will abound. be prepared" That's all it took to fire up the worry...all the details I had left behind certainly left lots of room for miscommunication! I decided to hang over the point to check my messages and since there were none, figured the best thing to do was to wait until the next morning to get the report in person.
Sure enough, Randall met me at the handwashing sink. "Um...we had a little confusion around the catering order...I wasn't sure what I was doing-so I baked your porkbelly by accident." His words came at me really fast and I had only heard "Problem, Cater, Cooked Pork Belly." I blinked a moment and queried cautiously, "Did the Brunch go out all right?"..."Yes, Yes...It's just that I thought the Pork was supposed to go ,too. I mean it wasn't labeled or anything." I remembered being in a hurry, it's true, my own fault really. Funny, huh?
Luckily, They ordered me another straight away (thanks, Red!) and here I was curing my Pork Belly on Monday, just like I said!
I'm missing photos of the drying process, will get them on the next batch!
I fried some up and it is all that I had hoped for and more, not too salty a little sweet, so good! I had arranged for a friend to smoke some for me, however our timing was wrong...will have to try that with the next batch, which is already curing...I'm hooked!


Baked Alasla said...

Can't wait to hear how the pork belly turned out. Do you have pictures of your finished product? How long does it cure for?

Carri said...

Hey, Cindy! SO fun to chat with you the other night! and glad to have you stay with us...hope you enjoyed it. The Pork Belly is curing as we speak and Monday I will hang 1 section to dry as pancetta and the other will be given over to my smoker for bacon...wish us luck!

Baked Alaska said...

Carri-Had a great time staying with you. It's such a relaxing place, and then I get to have a wonderful breakfast in the morning. I can't wait to hear how the pork belly turns out. Don't know if you've seen the blog mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. She wrote recently about using the pork belly and making pancetta. Sounds like it turned out wonderful.

so much cake so little time said...

carri - you may not be able to grow peaches but hey you live in alaska, which in my book trumps peaches any day. glad you liked the examiner post! -lindsey

The LaVya Initiative said...

I bow to your prowess of Ruhlman's challenge! Please keep us posted on the progress. I went to a salt tasting on Tuesday night. Blog post in the works.

Glad your heirlooms are making babies. If they start going at it like rabbits, try this:
It's a staple around here during tomato season, additionally providing a mental vacation to France!

Chris said...

Hi Carri, I found you thanks to Ruhlman's mention of your sourdough ratio. My husband and I just cured and smoke our first pork belly just last week...had some for breakfast. We did a maple-sugar cure and it takes so good! Our tomatoes are ripe, the lettuce hasn't bolted, the mayo's finger-lickin' good, and we'll do photos for the BLT Challenge after I do some baking tomorrow.

I make a whole wheat sandwich loaf using instant yeast that I am very happy with for our daily bread, but I'm still trying to get the hang of working with a sourdough starter that I've had for a couple months. Mine has equal parts flour and water (that's 100% hydration, right?). Given that, your suggestion of using 1 part starter : 1 part water : 2 parts flour seems like it will create an really slack dough. What is the hydration of the starter you are using with this ratio?

Carri said...

The dough is not slack for me...if you live in an extra humid place you may need to add more flour. My starter is also equal parts flour and water...that is, equal weights.