Process Meat to Save Money

This week I got to show our crew that we can save money by processing our own meats, instead of the butchers doing it for us,(plus we can use the bones for stocks).

We orderd a side of pork from the PricePro Butcher, Wayne. Knowing ahead of time that we were going to brine the hams, we made a huge batch of brine (50 grams of salt per Litre, plus pickling spices,including mustard and cinnamon and a bit of sugar). We deboned the two Hams (leg) and put them in the cold brine for one week. We roasted the hams in our Rational Oven on the Crackling setting; this setting is amazing , it slow roasts the meat and then magically gets the skin all bubbly and crackly. The Montreal Shoulder, which is made up of two common secondary cuts from the pig which you probably have seen in the grocery store, the Boston Butt and Picnic Roasts. Instead of dividing the Montreal Shoulder into the two roasts we left it whole and covered it in a house made dry rub. (equal parts Ground Cumin, Corriander,Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Salt, Pepper, Chili and Cinnamon) We let the dry rub soak in for two days, then braised the Shoulder for 6 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Harvesting, processing and serving food right from our property

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any rain!

We’ve been hacking away at all of our courtyard herbs and they just keep producing more!!! Tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and cucumbers are bursting at the seams. We have had tomatoes with every meal and still have about 100lbs more to use. The students are really engaged in harvesting, processing and serving food right from our property. Who would have thought we’d have access to such bounty, in the heart of the city.  Soon some 300lbs of butternut squash is expected to be ripe for the picking. Happy Gardening.

Organically Grown in Our Courtyard Garden

All of the herbs that were planted at the  academy courtyard were in their full glory within a few weeks of planting the seeds, thanks to weeks of 30 degree weather. One of our kitchen crew has a love for plants, (just like his dad) and felt compelled to plant a bunch of herbs and vegetables in our courtyard, just for fun. I was excited for him to point out the dill, basil, rosemary, parsley and thyme, as they are all the herbs I also grow in my own garden at home. Every day, for every meal I’ve been showing the students how those herbs can be integrated into each meal. Everything has been full of flavor. Most of these herbs we toss into our dishes just before serving so the full fragrance and fresh taste is at its max. For example, parsley into rice dishes, basil into pasta and our many home-grown tomato dishes, Thyme in all of the stocks and soups, Rosemary with the potatoes and roasts, Dill in the cucumber salad (the cucumbers were also from the garden) and so on.

Growing herbs is a great place to start if you are a gardener wana’be. You can grow them in a cup on the window sill or out in the yard. Happy Summer!