...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Entertain Me!

Gift of Finest Citrus
Last night was it!  Our holiday entertaining is over.  We've officially hosted six meals--or significant food-centered events since Thanksgiving.  It was wonderful to share that time with friends and family.  We also became very well acquainted with all of our glassware, wedding china, and serving bowls/platters (none of which I impulsively picked up at thrift stores I feel guilty about anymore because it was put to such good use!)  I thoroughly enjoyed creating different menus, preparing local foods in the off-season, and having stimulating conversations with those who took part.  Admittedly, we're now exhausted.

We capped off our hosting streak with one of our semi-regular Sunday Dinners last night.  We hosted my two local cousins, their spouses, and one child.  They all live in the area, though I don't get to see or talk to them nearly enough.  Our grandparents have been gone for several years now and we've somehow become slightly unglued since the regular meeting place is no longer the same.  We have found others ways to keep in touch, though none are as genuine as face-to-face, especially over a meal--as my Gramma would have had it.  I largely overestimated my cousins' interest in the Packer game last night and was concerned that no one would want to miss it so we'd all be balancing plates on our laps in front of the television.  But everyone easily put that aside, we gathered around the dining room table, and lingered long after our plates were cleared.  It was the perfect finale to the season.  The meal I planned was flexible enough to be game time food (steadied on a knee) or served family style around the table.  It was very casual: Barbecue Pulled Pork as well as a Kumquat Garlic Chicken, Coleslaw, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, and--for my cousin whose only interest in veggies is off the cob--Buttered Corn.

Slow-Cooked Pork Barbecue (For Sandwiches)
Serves 8-10

BBQ Pulled-Pork over Coleslaw
I used an uncured ham roast, but you could use a shoulder roast as well.  I recommend serving leftovers on a bed of coleslaw (see recipe that follows) in the spirit of putting coleslaw on your pulled pork sandwich, minus the bun.

3+ lbs. bone-in pork roast
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. barbecue sauce (your favorite recipe, or store-bought brand...gluten-free varieties are out there)
salt and pepper, to taste

Sear pork roast on all sides in a hot skillet coated with oil.  Transfer to slow cooker and cook with onions and garlic on high about 5 hours then low for 3-4 hours more until meat falls off the bone. The roast will create its own juice, no need to add liquid.  Remove from pot and pull meat off bone into a mixing bowl.  Add a bit of the juices, salt and pepper, barbecue sauce.  Serve on buns.

Coleslaw with Vinaigrette Dressing  
Serves 6-8

In late summer, I julienne and freeze the rest of my bell peppers.  If you've done so, this is a good place to use thawed red peppers.  

1 small green cabbage, cored and quartered (slice quarters to fit in feed tube of food processor, if using)
3 carrots, peeled
4 large radishes or golden beets, trimmed
1 stalk celery, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. olive oil
6 T. cider vinegar
3/4 t. celery seeds
1 1/2 T. honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Using the largest holes on a box grater or the slicer plate on a food processor, shred the green cabbage and put into mixing bowl.  If using food processor, switch to shredder plate now.  Shred carrots, radishes/beets, and celery and add to mixing bowl along with bell peppers.  In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to combine.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Kumquat Garlic Chicken
Serves 6-8

'Tis the season for citrus fruits.  Though we may not be able to get local citrus, if you want to keep with seasonal eating, winter is the time to choose oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus.  I was fortunate to receive a beautiful box of hand-picked citrus--including tons of kumquats--from my Alabama sister-in-law over the holidays.  Her grandparents live in the Florida pan-handle and have these fruits conveniently growing in their backyard.  Aw!  In my dreams!  The recipe was adapted from Elana's Pantry.

Cut-up Chicken with Kumquats
1 whole chicken (or cut-up)
1 T. olive oil
1 T. sea salt
1 head garlic
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. water
2 T. honey
1 T. cornstarch
8 oz. kumquats, unpeeled

Rinse the chicken/chicken pieces and pat dry.  Place the chicken breast side up on a baking dish, then rub with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Stuff the head of garlic into the cavity of the chicken along with a couple kumquats.  In a large bowl, combine orange juice, water, honey, and cornstarch.  Pour juice mixture into baking dish around chicken and surround chicken with remaining kumquats.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 min.  Lower heat to 375 and continue to roast the chicken until it is cooked through, about 40 min. (internal temp. should be 160 degrees.)  Remove from oven, let rest a few minutes and serve.

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