Dark Days Meal: Week 5

I have had a fresh ham in my freezer for a few months and I have just picked up 1/8 side of beef so our freezer is splitting at the seams right now (and I still have half of a feral pig to pick up.) It was time to cook the ham. I did not take the time to cure it (I need to try that some time), I just baked it like any other roast.

I baked it earlier this week and it turned out great. It was very tender and moist and easy to cut. We had some the other night when it came out of the oven and it tasted very good. Last night I decided to cube it up and reheat it in the cast iron skillet with a bit of oil and brown and crisp it up.

I had just used the skillet to re-caramelize some already caramelize onions that came out of the freezer so the pan was warm and ready to go with the cubed pork. Normally, I add a ton of fennel seeds when I am browning up cubed pork or ground pork. Somehow I completely forgot until I bit into to it. I expected the flavor of fennel and it just wasn’t there. Too much else going on I guess.

One small head of broccoli was ready to pick out in the garden and there was some nice chard out there too (yup, more chard!). I also pulled up two more turnips. I was inspired by Jessica at Eat.Drink.Nourish. when she put sliced raw turnip in her side salad for one of her DDC meals that I decided to just use the raw turnip for our entire salad. I made up some more homemade ranch dressing using homemade yogurt from the milk that I get from Strykly’s dairy. I added fresh flat-leaf parsley and fresh chives. I also used home grown dried dill and thyme.

I grew up eating chard. My mom always kept vinegar in one of her cut crystal decanters (like this one). It was always fun to pour the vinegar onto our chard at the dinner table. She still uses the same decanter to put vinegar on her chard. I didn’t know anyone else ate their chard with vinegar until I read Sandra’s post for her DDC meal last week. She puts a touch of vinegar on her chard too. Maybe others do too and I just don’t know it.

  • Strykly’s Dairy: 100.29 miles (I pick up milk at a drop location 13 miles from home)
  • Bandera Grasslands: 65 miles (I pick it up at a drop location about 15 miles away)
  • Broccoli, Chard, Turnip, herbs: backyard in the garden

Do you put vinegar on your cooked chard or spinach?

Sincerely, Emily

P.S. I have followed Annie from AnnieRie Unplugged and added a page at the top that is dedicated to local resource for my area. This page is still a work in process and as I find new resource and have time I will update and add to it.

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8 Responses to Dark Days Meal: Week 5

  1. Joanna says:

    Lovely food! Just popped by to say that we had rainbow chard from our little veg bed for Christmas, still growing away and some frozen beans that we put away earlier in the year. We source local meat as much as possible, beef from Hereford, lamb from Wales and the West Country, eggs from a local farm. Though I have to say that no one grows cacao here and english citrus fruits are few and far between. I like lemon juice on my chard, but will definitely try vinegar now you’ve mentioned it. I might use our home made apple cider vinegar, which is quite mild in flavour and that would be in keeping with your project. I have cut down on buying exotic imported food ingredients over the years, and try to support local growers and makers as much as possible. I am trying some flour from a mill over in Wales at Felin Ganol in January, waiting for my order to be delivered. My freezer is full to bursting too. Always put too much in there at this time of year. Much love, Joanna

    • Hi Joanna – OH fresh chard from the garden – my favorite! It is nice to hear about your local food resources. It sounds like you have some nice options near by. Yes, citrus is a tough one. We have a ton of citrus farms south of us, unfortunately even many of those orchards have started to close over the years. I was spoiled with citrus in my own backyard when we lived in Southern California. It think we are all very fortunate to have options – support local farmers and markets when we can, but still be able to get some of the things that grow in far away and distant places. I know I couldn’t eat all local all the time, or at least I have to choice not to. I know I don’t want to live without bananas (and other fruits in the winter). I planted some fruit trees hoping (once they mature and produce) I would have enough to preserve to use throughout the winter and then only go to the store to buy bananas (ha wouldn’t that be nice?!)

  2. Deb Benson says:

    Hi Em!
    Even though my sister cooks our evening meal for us (and does a pretty good job of preparing local food — not so hard in Caifornia!), I’m really enjoying your DDC posts. And I loved the cookie exchange trilogy! Happy New Year.

    • Hi Deb! I remember one of the cakes your sister made. You are in a prime spot for lots of fresh and local foods. Even down in the Palm Springs area you were too. Before I had a booth at VillageFest, I used to go down there just to go to the farmers market. SO nice, SO close. I am glad you are enjoying the DDC posts. I seem to be constantly hungry when I am working on them and reading what others have cooked up. So many creative people out there and it is so neat to hear about what they are finding in their local communities.

  3. annieriedora says:

    Hi Emily, yes, I love balsamic on chard. Balsamic and garlic and Parmesan. Even better when I add a few beaten eggs and make it into an omelet.

    Love the idea of yoghurt based ranch dressing. I am using yoghurt quite a bit for sauces and dressings. I have to make some ranch dressing.

    Love your resources page. I am about to add more to mine. I think it’s a great idea for compiling dark days sources.

    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Annie, I like the idea of adding garlic and parm to the chard too. Yes, love it in omelets and also quiche – I imagine those combos will make an appearance in my DDC meals! have fun making some homemade ranch. Yum yum. I love the “local resource” page idea too – thanks to you for that brilliant idea – got the idea from you! Thank you! I have a lot to add and still more resources to find out there.

  4. J. Searcy says:

    Looks fabulous Emily! I’m blushing that I inspired you with the turnips. I think they are quite lovely raw. Your homemade ranch dressing looks so tasty! I will definitely be making that soon! The DDC has been so much fun and I have been getting a lot of great ideas from you and others participating in the challenge. Talk soon 🙂

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