Advent Magic

Last Tango from Lear Faye
Last Tango from Lear Faye

Dave and I decided to skip church today and have a lazy Sunday, our Saturday was quite hectic, and frankly so has the whole month.  We headed over to a new brunch spot on Commercial Drive called Lear Faye.  They have really fresh brunch ideas, as you can see from the picture above.  I had the Last Tango french toast, a combination of mascarpone, ricotta, rum-soaked strawberries, with a vanilla cardamon syrup.  It was delicious!  They also had a three piece group playing Christmas songs.  It was a nice breakfast out.

This month we also received our bacon.  It had to be smoked and brined, so it took longer than the rest of the pork, but it is utterly incredible.  The best bacon I can remember experiencing. Beautiful thick cuts that taste a little naughty when you eat them, like you shouldn’t be having something this good for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner).  When we picked it up, it was in two large slabs that they cut up for us, leaving a pile of fatty end bits, which we bagged up and took home.  I chopped up the ends and added them to a stir fry we made this week, which elevated the dish to another level of deliciousness.  

It really is a whole new level of fun with this pork.  Similar to the CSA vegetable program we did this summer, I am learning to use many different parts of the pig.  I made an awesome pulled pork two weeks ago, and tonight we are having pork meatballs and spaghetti.  Believe it or not, I’ve never made meatballs!

We had another fun night with some friends playing The Farming Game.  It’s one of the few board games that I enjoy.  It’s similar to Monopoly, but you don’t start with free money. No hand outs allowed.  Any money you start with comes with a bank loan.  And every time you harvest you pick up some kind of expense.  My sister, who is a farmer, says it’s just like real life. I’ll stick to the game!  

You can also see the new picture on the wall that we got framed this month.  It is a really great image of the street layout in some of Vancouver.  Keeps our BC theme going.

Amongst all the busyness of seeing myself to the end of the month and surviving the intense month of work, I also got promoted to a manager position within my department.  I’ve been patiently (mostly) waiting 4 years for this to happen, so it really feels like an accomplishment, and an opportunity to learn new things and challenge myself in a whole new way.  But it certainly added to the busyness as I still had to finish rolling out our new systems, which launch Dec 1st. December will be a month of getting my feet under me and learning the ropes of managing.

There is something I have been looking very eagerly towards: the Holiday Countdown Beer Advent calendar!  Dave and I picked up this puppy in early November.  It is 24 days of different beer from Parallel 49 and Central City Brewing.  Two great local breweries.  Tomorrow the excitement begins!  This box has been holding us in suspense for too long.  True, Dave will be enjoying the bulk of it, but I’m going to enjoy many sips and new adventurous tastes through it too.

Bring on December, the month of friends, family (!!!), Christmas trees band good food!

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Mmmm pork!

It has been a little while since my last post.  Work and life have been ramping up.  I was in Indianapolis for work last week getting acquainted with new systems we are implementing at work.  That was a big week, but the easiest one compared to the four weeks following, where we hash out all the issues, find solutions, prepare training material and train.  I’m in charge of national training for our department, so there will be lots of hours involved and a few headaches for sure, but I’m determined to get through it and come out stronger in the end.

Outside of work, our small group from church grew so big so quickly this  that we had to split into two groups.  Not an easy task and one I helped head up.  It was a balancing act of emotions and finding a way to create balance while meeting people’s needs.  I think we have been successful, but it certainly will take some adjusting and I miss the people I no longer see on our regular Tuesday night get togethers.

However, there is one thing that has brought some of us together.  Pork.  That’s right folks, the other white meat is drawing us close.  Our local butcher on Main St, Windsor Meats, has a Meat Club.  I never thought that would be a type of club I would be apart of, but let me tell you, I’m pretty excited about it.  I am considering this a first and certainly a new way to be adventurous with food and learn new things.  Meat cuts are always something I’ve struggled with.  Where is the hock, or what part of the cow does a t-bone or skirt steak come from?  I can never remember.

The butcher offers beef, bison, lamb or pork to order in difference sizes: whole, half or quarter. So to be adventurous, we went in with two other couples and ordered half a hog. It took less than a week to get the meat which was raised at a local farm in Abbotsford called Gelderman Farms.  You can see the haul above.  The only thing we are still missing is the bacon which is being smoked and brined and will be ready for pick up later this week.

One of the more interesting cuts we got was a pig trotter (hoof).  I’m actually kind of excited about this one.  Chef Marco Pierre White, who is an amazing British chef, helped make pig trotters fine dinning in the 80s/90s.  So if these ugly footies can be fine dinning, I’m sure I can turn them into something okay.  Perhaps one of these recipes will work:

Honey-roasted Pig’s Trotter

Roasted Pig Trotters with Garlic and Herb Breadcrumbs

Seriously.  I found an image of a crotchet pig's trotter.  How random is that?
Seriously.  I found an image of a crotchet pig’s trotter.  How random is that?

I’ll let you all know how it goes when I tackle it.  But for now I’m going to start with some of the ground pork and use it in the classic Looney Spoons recipe Gringo Starr.  I can’t find the official recipe online, but if you have the Collections book, look it up.  It’s simple, delicious and makes lots of leftovers (at least for Dave and I).  

Last thing I’ll leave you with is a link to the CBC which is streaming Damien Rice’s new album for free, and man, was it worth the eight year wait!  I am loving it all, but “I Don’t Want To Change You” is amazing.  Enjoy!

Here is to pig’s trotters, new music and looking forward to December!