From smoking various cuts of meat to trying out new recipes to ordering "something different" kinds of meats to cleaning out the freezer, I have been busy. Unfortunately, I never took the time to take some photos and I think the lack of photos led to a lack of blogs. Not good.
I followed acookblog, grand winner of A Year of Charcutepalooza, on his grand prize winning journey to France and have followed his blog ever since. I still follow a number of the Charcutepalooza bloggers in a year of making charcuterie that I will certainly never forget. Because I also can the produce from my garden every year, I have become a faithful follower of Mrs. Wheelbarrow as well as others in the canning trade. I have become a walking/talking advertisement for two Charcutepalooza sponsor/blog supporters, Food52 and PunkDomestics, and I just placed another order to D'Artagnan, another Charcutepalooza sponsor. D'Artagnan offers some great cuts of wild boar, an animal, if it lived in my neck of the woods, would turn me into a hunter in seconds flat. I love the flavor of wild boar!
For my birthday, in April, my dear bff and talented chef, Mark, helped me make my birthday dinner. Yes, I usually make my own because that is my birthday gift to myself. But I miss cooking with Mark so for a birthday present, I asked him to help me. We made an absolutely delicious tropical fruit stuffed pork loin that was a big hit with everyone. We added a corn, tomato, and arugula salad which was sooooo good. We served it all family style and also added fresh, roasted vegetables to the menu. Finally, we topped it off with my homemade yellow plum ice cream, served in tuile cups, and topped with a blackberry/cabarnet sauce. It was so delicious! Everyone was blissfully satiated.
The Charcutepalooza smoking challenge made me realize that I really needed something better in a smoker and I went with the Bradley Smoker. One of my favorite smoked food items is fish, especially trout. Because trout are popular with fly-fishing fanatics in our local rivers, I decided to become a fly-fishing woman. My husband taught me to fly fish years ago, but it became forgotten knowledge until recently. My cousin, Mike, in Maine, a certified fly fishing instructor and Maine guide, sent me a fly-fishing rod and reel for my milestone 60th birthday. Now I have to do it, especially since my Bradley Smoker beckons me daily to smoke some fish! Luckily, I have my local friend, Red, who is an expert and I can't wait to wade into the Moyie River to fly fish with her. Our mutual friend, Steve Jamsa, took this great photo of Red fly fishing in the Moyie, and I think it should be the poster for fly fishing in the West. What do you think?
What with fly-fishing, an early, wet spring, and a garden that, at the moment, looks like a rain forest, I expect food to focus large on the horizon. Given that I'm still just a part time instructor at the local community college, I'll have lots of time to give to cooking, food, and all the beauty present in my neck of the woods.