Saturday, December 19, 2009

Very good food and very good food things...

Yesterday a very smelly package arrived in the mail - a Tennessee Smoked Ham from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, a small company that is recreating the old-fashioned smoked hams without any modern additives. Our ham was 14 months old and weighed about 15 pounds (that is about 7 kilo for us Swedes, so like a 1-year old or so). Heavy! But the smell. Close your eyes (oh well, you are reading, but imagining that you are closing your eyes and open your nostrils). Breath in - suddenly you are in a old smoky log cabin with bacon cooking on the stove, and the smoky smell is not that kind of annoying smoky flavor when you put wet spruce branches on a little fire in the winter and the smoke burns your eyes, but long-slow good smoke from a burning wood that has penetrated everylittle pore in the log walls of the house. You can't buy anything even remotely similar to this in any store around here. We haven't tasted our ham yet, since it is for Christmas Eve dinner ('julskinka' for 'julbordet'), but I am sure it will be heavenly. Thank you Benton's!

The day before Lucia (Dec 13) I made saffron buns ('lussekatter'), typical for Lucia in Sweden. They turned out great!

The beginning of a braised beef dinner from oxtail and short rib pieces, from our local supplier down the street. We bought a quarter of a calf that had fattening himself up over the summer here in the Sourlands, so now we have about 120 lbs (55 kilo) of grassfed, organic lean beef in our freezer for the rest of the year. And it is cheap to buy it this way. And yummy. Tomorrow we are making Cajun-style meatloaf from some of the ground meat.

I have tried to make Tarte Tatin (an upside down French apple cake) three times now, and everytime the apples stick to the pan at the very end. But it tastes great. Here is the beginning, when you slow-cook apples with butter and sugar for hours so they caramelized. Later you put dough on top, cook it in the oven, and then turn it upside down after it has cooled a bit.

One of my most favorite things in our kitchen is the superduper out-foldable pantry PP custom-built. It looks like two doors, but when you open you have shelves on the doors and inside, and the inside shelves fold out too. You can see every little can, pasta box and pepper jar, and all the spices are accessible and just right there when you need them. It is amazing how much food you can store at a little space with this. It is mouse proof too.

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