Friday, April 1, 2011

Reluctantly, Spring.

Oh, the cool weather, moist ocean breeze, the nice allergy free days is gone. So are the nice wintry coat of snow that was on the slopes and warm, tub concealing feather coats. Ironically, spring makes people wake up and start cooking fresh veggies and such. Mind you, this is still cooking, so the frailty of the human condition and the need to refrain from the seemingly healthy “tarts” and green pesto blobs still exist.

For me, it is the never ending battle between me and the scary pile of “stock” that is my freezer. This week, we defrosted a couple of pig trotters that was leftover from my butchering class. I cleaned it off by blanching it some salty water and ginger slices for a few minutes, and took it in front of the TV for hair plucking. After that is done, I braised it in a simple broth for several hours, until the gelatin in the tissue starts fell apart and the stock turned translucent white.

We had noodles one night and a small pot of lentil soup with wilted greens and herbs with the stock. For the actual trotter, I’ve separated the meat, cartilage, fat and skin. Chopped up the meat, cartilage and a small piece of the skin, seasoned with mustard and chopped wild leeks. I packed it in a casserole dish and left in the fridge to “gel”. I toasted the dish with some breadcrumbs under the broiler and served it with some fried capers, a quick pickle of radishes with verjus and my mom’s fresh pea shoots.

I liked it. I was counting on it being toasted but the gelling is still in tact, but everything pretty much warmed up by the time it made it to the plate, so the texture difference I was looking for was lost. The fried capers and radish pickle brought a nice contrast and the pea shoot salad gave a nice break to the palate. Nonetheless, it is a good way to eat a extra trotter or two.

The dish is rather rich- next time, I will make it in a smaller ramekin and serve it as an appetizer. Jon thought is “interesting” – code for “um, why are we eating this in the first place? I want muscle fibers”

So, as a back-up- otherwise we’ll end up having cereal later- I baked a bit of salmon… and the prerequisite spring veggie, asparagus, sauteed in garlic and a little hit of butter..

Happy spring guys, we’re going on our last spring snowboarding trip. This weekend is a bikini event, not bad, I guess.


  1. "Interesting" as in, "Hmm, interesting way to cook a trotter". There was no question about why you made it (of course it's for experiment), and I liked it...

  2. I'm loving the fancy dinner yet healthy... and... hmmmm.. fried capers and radish pickles... yummy... I love them.. :)

  3. Jeni:
    You are equal to or better than Ms. heidi.
    I love your blog even if it involoved a trotter. Still we flew with that Trotter.
    Love the idea of fried capers!