mangalitsa pork and more

Started my day today by making homemade almond milk. So much nuttier and tastier than the usual stuff in the box. It made a satisfying (if non-traditional) Latte Macchiato to accompany my scrambled eggs and flax seed toast.

Then a friend and I took our kids on a great bike ride through Golden Gate Park with a picnic lunch at Stow Lake. It was such a perfect fall day in the city–sunny, blue skies, but quite crisp and breezy too.

After many hours of biking and being in the fresh air, I was in the mood for a hearty autumn meal. This week a friend sent us samples of the special lard-type Mangalitsa pork from his company Wooly Pigs in Seattle. Perfect. When I started thinking about what to serve with it, I got an idea from the audio CD we were listening to in the car on our way home.

For the last few months we’ve been reading (and listening to) the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House”¬†series of books. I really love all the detailed descriptions of the pioneer lifestyle (though that sometimes includes delicate topics like “Injuns” that have to be talked through!).

We’re currently in the middle of “Farmer Boy”(about Almanzo Wilder) which has lots of wonderful details about food and cooking. One of Almanzo’s favorite things to eat was fried apples and onions. That sounded like an ideal compliment to pork. (BTW, I recently learned there is also a “Little House Cookbook” with recipes for all the frontier foods described in the books. I’m very curious to check that out soon.)

Then looking through my pantry, my eyes focused right in on the box of hominy grits. After searing the pork chops I braised them in a bottle of Hefeweizen, and grits would be the ideal absorption medium for that yummy pork-wheat beer reduction!

I’m surprised I even have the energy to be writing this post after such a hearty meal. It was unbearably good. If you can get your hands on some Mangalitsa pork, I definitely recommend it. The meat has a rich, woodsy flavor and the fat–ah, the fat–is frankly, a reason for living.


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