Jews Who Eat Pork on Menu Monday

July 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

Rob Gardner

Both Editor-in-Chief Morowitz and I helped launch and support the Chicago based food site, (although Michael did heavy lifting as SysAdmin, I was more of a gadfly email pusher).  The presence of Michael and I as well as some others, including Ronnie “Suburban” Kaplan who we will be publishing soon in the Local Beet, helped give LTH it’s sobriquet Jews Who Eat Pork.  Pork was on the menu for this Local Family on its Friday night dinner, and pork will be on the menu at least a few more times these coming days.  Included with the pork will be lots of local fruits and vegetables, the results of our weekly CSA box, and visits to the Thursday Eli’s Cheesecake market and the Saturday Oak Park Market.

I made an early stop at Eli’s on Thursday, which meant that I got to participate in the free continental breakfast (all it takes is $5 worth of apricots or anything else; although truth be told it is even more fun to go later in the day when the cheesecake samples are out).  Those apricots, BTW, came from Piedt Farm, who you can read about here.  From Chad Nichols, I got his first eggplants, tight and tiny, and some carrots.  Later on Thursday I picked up the Genesis Growers CSA box.  Inside this week: purple basil, two heads of cauliflower, two bunches of Swiss chard, zukes, cukes, and onions.

I sliced the eggplants and zucchini the long way to grill, but I did not grill.  Wettstein pork chops were on the menu for Friday night, thick, thick chops, not so much chops as pork prime rib.  I had grilling on my mind until storms looked to be a-brewin’, and you know baking these chops is a lot less hassle.  Which meant that the grilled vegetables got grilled on a cast iron ridged pan.  After grilling the veg, I doused them with a vinaigrette made with parsley, garlic and the purple basil.  The big platter of marinated grilled veg hardly got touched on Friday.

We started with pork, of course.  Dry cured meats made on Harlem at da Riv and dry cured meats made in Roscoe Village from rare mulefoot pig, coppa and challah.  Also on the table for the first courses, besides the grilled veg, the last of my fennel-summer apple-Brunkow Little Darling, soon to be famous salad and shredded red cabbage with tons of garlic.  Then we plated up the chops, marinated in mustard and hot spices, baked in a slow oven; kale, this kale my wife cooked last week but it has been holding up well in the fridge and was fine with a brief nuke and Weisenberger grits, grits.  We took a walk to Starbucks for dessert.  And there’s a lot of leftovers for the meals the rest of the week.

On Saturday after watching Molly the Eat Local Dog cavort in the park, we bought at the market: tomatoes from Tomato Mountain, apricots, peaches, two colors of plums and summer squash from Hardin; summer apples, tayberries and black raspberries from Skibbes; a Ewe Bloom triangle from Prairie Fruit Farms, hot wax peppers, tropea onions and green peppers from Genesis; duck eggs and hen eggs from Dennis Wettstein.

Saturday night, the cauliflower went with some potatoes in a dish my wife took from the A16 book.  This was good but even better was the dish my wife took from her Mado experiences.  She sliced those Hardin squashes thin-thin with a mandoline; meticulously layered them with salt, pepper, and SarVecchio cheese until she reached a gratin 15 veg high.  Covered with foil, this baked about an hour.  With it, Rob, not me Rob, Chef Levitt Rob’s idea, a mayo dollop, although I hand-whipped the mayo from a Wettstein egg.  The last white peaches from the previous week for dessert.  We have plenty of gratin for the rest of the week.

My wife goes through a lot of the berries for breakfasts, with yogurt.  I put other fruit in the camp counselor daughter’s lunch.  The other daughter can go locust like on any bowl of fruit she finds.  If I can keep them at bay, I might make another salad from the Transparant apples, the tartness goes well this way.  The chard has no home yet, especially as the kale is still not finished.  I have my eyes on a Middle Eastern influenced dish with fried onions, but my wife wants the chard for beans.  All the tomatoes we have, can easily find homes.  For instance, one went on my daughters sheep cheese sandwich today.  There will be panzenalla on the menu this week that will include the green peppers bought.  The hot wax peppers, I love to roast and marinade.   Carrots, who knows.  I think that about uses what we bought.  Of course left around still are lettuces, kohlrabi, some beets, cherries.

Finally, at least some meals this week will be finished with home made cheese cake made by my mother, on top, home made peach jam, with the first of the peaches.  It will be another very good week to be a locavore.