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Saturday, September 12, 2009


I've been waiting all year for Hemmeter Farms to have their pumpkins and today was the day :) (They may have had them last week or something, but I wasn't aware of it, so...)

We swung by Hemmeter's and while they don't have ALL of their pumpkins out yet (like they do closer to Halloween), they had plenty of massive massive pumpkins.

We picked up this beauty for $4.50 (the one on the right!).
We weighed it when we got home - 51 pounds. So...yes, this pumpkin cost us about 8.8 cents per pound.

I wasn't sure how to cut into it - last year, I tried a variety of knives but was having a lot of trouble. The pumpkin flesh is something like 3-4 inches thick which is fine but the skin (in the past) was very very tough. This year, Stacey offered to help me butcher the pumpkin for roasting.

We took it out to our porch, washed it and then....

After about...2 minutes, it was basically done (cut into 3 main pieces).

You can see just how HUGE this pumpkin is!

Stacey butchered the rest of it into manageable pieces, then we took them inside for seed scooping.

Just for kicks, here are the photo taken timestamps:
3:36pm - Stacey begins cutting the pumpkin
3:39pm - Stacey finishes
3:46pm - Stacey and Matt start scooping the seeds
3:52pm - Stacey and Matt finish

So...about 9 minutes work to turn


The next step for this pumpkin is roasting. Unfortunately, I can only fit about 4 of these pieces in the oven at a time and it's taking something like 100-120 minutes to roast it. When they're soft, I'll puree them and freeze the puree.

Not too much work for a TON of fresh (well, frozen) pumpkin puree!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicken stuffed with bacon and sausage

I saw on the internet some time ago an idea of a bacon lattice that's wrapped around italian sausage. It sounded good (and unhealthy) and while I still want to make that someday, I thought I'd try something completely new for me. A real kitchen experiment....

So, when we were at the grocery store I thought: I want to make a roast chicken. And I want to stuff it with yummy bacon and italian sausage.

I rinsed the chicken off and removed the giblets and then pulled the skin away from the meat and crammed bacon underneath - I ended up using close to 1.5 pounds of bacon on the chicken and filled it out completely. Then I took a little less than a pound of italian sausage and stuffed the inside of the chicken with it. I have this little device that lets you rest a chicken on a soda can (to humidify it from within) and I used it here, though without a can. I like it because the chicken sits upright instead of on its side.

After that, I finely diced some garlic and added it to some olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper in a bowl and rubbed that into the skin.

Last but not least, I poured a few cups of apple juice into the roasting pan to humidify the chicken as it cooked. Why apple juice? I figured it would go well with the bacon :)

I put it in at 350 for about 90 minutes. After about 60 minutes, I put some potatoes in the oven too (which as it turns out would remove some of the heating from the chicken...a mistake) We pulled it out and it looked like this:

Yum! Well, it wasn't entirely cooked (it was still a little pink) so we put it back in the oven for another 25 minutes or so (without the potatoes) at 400. We also removed the sausage at this time because only the outside of the sausage was cooked at all. We cut up the sausage and finished cooking it in a pan.

When the chicken came out of the oven, it was mostly done. Only some of the higher parts of the chicken were still slightly underdone so we just cut that away and ate the more well-done parts.

Here's a shot of the chicken being cut - you can see the bacon sticking out from under the skin!

Finally, the plated chicken (and bacon) with some sausage under steamed green beans and with some potatoes.

So, you're probably wondering: what did it taste like?

I was hoping for something that had flavors of chicken, bacon and sausage. Unfortunately, there was just too much bacon and the sausage didn't really cook to release its oils so instead all of the chicken tasted solely like bacon...which is good, if you like the taste of bacon in a somewhat less fatty way (i.e. in chicken form). I liked it but this recipe definitely needs some work! I think next time I'll omit the bacon and try a SMALL amount of sausage under the skin (basically rubbed under the skin) over a large portion of the chicken's body. That should give it some of the taste but not completely overwhelm the chicken.

If you're interested in the ingredients for this concoction:
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds I think? or was it 4 dollars...I dunno, not too big)
1.5 pounds of thick-cut bacon (I selected a package that was predominantly MEAT instead of fat - there were many packages which were more like 90% fat, 10% meat)
1 pound of italian sausage (I only used about 3/5 to 4/6 of a pound - I can't remember exactly how many cased sausages there were in the package!)

For the skin-rub:
1 (large) clove of garlic
about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
about 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (as if I measured!)

For the potatoes:
5 red potatoes
about 1/4 cup of e.v. olive oil
1 lipton onion soup packet
(chop the potatoes, put in a bowl, add the oil and mix until all potatoes are covered in oil, then add the soup packet and mix until they're covered in the mix) - bake on a cookie sheet (I use parchment paper too to reduce stickage/mess) until done - I think at 350 it took about 45 minutes

For the green beans:
steam green beans. :)

If you end up changing this recipe into something that doesn't taste entirely like bacon, let me know! I'll have to come back to this and change it up but I don't buy chickens very often so it may be a while.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New blog

Alrighty, I've been using facebook a lot lately to post pictures, things on my mind, recipes, etc. but have found that it really doesn't get the same job done as a simple blog. So here's mine. It's simple, but I'll be going back through facebook and transferring some of my recipes and photos in an easier-to-read format. Hopefully, at least!

Also, I've enabled Google Ads on the right pane. Maybe I'll get a (undoubtedly SMALL) bit of money from can't hurt! (I hope.)