Monday, November 16, 2015

Wild Boar Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

Wild Boar

It’s game season, and our venison is still at the processors.


I rummaged through the freezer for a package of deer meat and was surprised to find wild boar.  

I just about applauded right then and there, because I thought we had eaten it all.

(All, right – I did clap a bit, but who wouldn’t?)

It was tenderloin!

I had one last chance to do that pig culinary justice, and pulled out an old reliable never-fail cook.

To elaborate: fruits and nuts complement game as a general rule, and a crust helps to hold in moisture.

This recipe called for a mustard and pecan coating. No searing, and no fussing.

I monitored it carefully while it was in the oven, even though there was a pressing need to solve the mystery of what my husband Dan had stashed in a Coleman cooler he deposited outside the back door. 

(That was, and remains, an overriding distraction. I really didn’t want to open it all by myself, because that never leads to pleasant things.)

To finish the dish I made a quick pan sauce from my own homemade jam, the farm’s butter, and Cranberry Bob’s balsamic vinegar.  I love it when a plan comes together.

You really don’t want to know what was in that cooler.

Wild Boar Tenderloin
Wild Boar Tenderloin with Pan Sauce
Serves 2-3

1 lb. Boar Tenderloin (silverskin removed)*
1/2 - 2/3 Cup Roughly Chopped Pecans
1 - 2 TB Prepared Mustard (I used Maille)
Salt and Pepper

Pan Sauce:

2 TB Fruit Jam (Crabapple/Pear/Apple)
3 TB VT Cranberry Co.’s After Balsamic Vinegar
½ TB Redbarn Salted Cultured Butter

Coat tenderloin in mustard, lightly salt and pepper all sides, and roll in nuts. 

Roll tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Pecan Crusted Tenderloin 
Preheat oven to 300f

Bring meat to room temperature and place in a shallow pan.

Boar Tenderloin
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 150-155f.

Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and a heavy towel for 20 minutes to rest.

Remove meat to cutting board (keep covered)

Deglaze pan over low heat with vinegar and jam. Stir in butter.  Sauce will be sweet and very fruity.  

Pork chops and loin work equally well with this method.

* Slip a sharp knife just underneath the middle of the membrane. Working away from you, keep the blade against the silverskin, not the meat. Turn, repeat, and remove.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Homemade Cream Cheese (It's Easy!)

Homemade Cream Cheese
Looking for a rainy day project?

This homemade cream cheese recipe doesn’t require any specialized equipment, ingredients, or huge commitments of time and energy.

I know, I know!

Why would anyone besides me, bother to do this when there are truly great fresh cheeses and yogurts being made here in Vermont.

Because, nutritious food can be made without chemical thickeners, additives, stabilizers, or even salt if you are seeking to avoid it.

My initial batch of cheese was springier and slightly denser than the familiar “Philly”, with a slightly lactic tang and a much more concentrated sweet cream flavor. 

The whey can be used to make bread– or as I used it – soaking a loaf that the cat tore open in the whey and feeding it to the turkeys.

Homemade Cream Cheese

Homemade Cream Cheese
Recipe adapted from
Yield 3 ounces

2 Cups Cream-top Milk (I used Redbarn)*
1/8 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
3 TB Rice Vinegar or 1 TB White Vinegar

Special equipment: Cheesecloth and a fine-meshed sieve

Line sieve with 2-layers of cheesecloth and position over a bowl.

Place milk and salt in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1½ minutes.  Stir.

Add vinegar.

Heat for another 30-seconds. Stir, and check for coagulation. There should be an abundance of pale green whey and floating curds.

At this point you may add slightly more vinegar, or microwave for 10-20 more seconds to create separation.

Transfer to cheesecloth.  Pour an 8 oz. glass of cold water over curds to remove vinegar (this changes the ph. of the curd and creates texture).

Leave to drain at room temperature 4 hours. Keep whey for another use (it may be frozen).

Tighten cloth, and continue to drain in the refrigerator overnight.

Keeps 1 week.

*Heavy cream may be substituted for 1 cup of milk.

Almost Too Easy Variation:

Simply drain Greek-style yogurt in the same manner.

Salt to taste.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam

Homemade Tomato Jam
I’ll admit it. I grew up spoiled.

Whether it was grandma’s cookies, my mom’s jams, pickles, and canned goods – or relative’s homemade biscuits, breads and pies.  It seemed everyone knew how to make things delicious.

On August 8th, we had a fire on the farm, losing buildings, animals, and inventory. 

Amid all the sadness and kindness we’ve received, a lovely thing happened: the fruit trees came in with a bumper crop of apples, crabapples, and pears.

I began making jams like crazy, in spite of never having done so before.  It just seemed like the right timing, and the right thing to do.

This is the first recipe I made, just two small jars of “ideas” to build up my confidence (using tomatoes), and it didn’t take any specialized equipment.

My husband Dan was reluctant to sample the trial batch, with a who-are-you-and-what-did-you-do-with-my-wife look on his face.

“It’s not right, making jam from tomatoes.”

“Tomatoes are fruit!” I insisted.

After a few nibbles, he jokingly added “Okay, I’ll keep you if you can make more like this”.

I will and I have, because it’s family tradition.

Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam
 Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam
Makes about 1 Cup

1½ lbs. Roma Tomatoes
4 Cloves Garlic
Zest of 1 Large Lemon
1TB Olive Oil
1TB Lemon Juice
1TB Rice Wine Vinegar
½ tsp. Kosher Salt

1-4 TB Raw, Unfiltered Honey

Grill tomatoes over medium heat until they soften and the skin slips.

Remove cores. Transfer to a saucepan with all ingredients EXCEPT honey.

Cover, set heat on low.  Stew for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let cool.

Use a stand or immersion blender to create a chunky paste.

Return to pan and reduce over low heat until a spoon drawn across the bottom of the pan leaves a clean line (about 30 minutes).

Be mindful of scorching.

Stir in honey, one tablespoon at a time until sweetened to your liking.  (I used only one.)

Adjust for salt.

Transfer to a sterilized container. Keeps refrigerated for 2 weeks. (Recipe may also be canned.)