The Winkler family owns and operates the Lucki 7 Livestock Co. in Rodman, New York. They are a certified natural (I was not aware there was such a thing) hog farm located just east of Lake Ontario. This just means that they don't stuff their pigs together until they get sick, force feed them antibiotics, or give them any growth hormones like is the case with most of the pork we eat in this country.
These pigs are allowed to roam all over green grass, enjoy hay-filled barns, and enjoy a stress free environment before they are killed for us to eat. Then they are shipped to my local meat market where I was fortunate enough to pick up a pair of bone-in loin chops for tonight's meal.
I had the full intention of doing some good old fashioned Portuguese pork and clams with this pork. I wanted to use some little necks from Sandy Hook, NJ but unfortunately my fish guy wasn't mongering any of them and there didn't appear to be any alternative. As my Portuguese grandmother used to say: "Às vezes não têm os moluscos!"
Vovô Sousa was not a native Portuguese speaker.
With no clams I was forced to resort to the manuscript I'm currently researching, Nate's Insane Guide To Food Substitutions. Lo and behold it turns out the kohlrabi is a perfect substitution for little necks! Just simply add one part kohlrabi for one part little necks in your recipe and your dinner guests will never even know the difference!
I had some ancient saffron in the spice cabinet that I purchased in 2002, I believe to make some sort of paella dish for my father's birthday that year. It still smelled saffrony so I didn't heed the use by date of October, 2005.
I cooked up some crushed garlic cloves, onion, and celery in a little olive oil, added in some red wine, baby potatoes, and diced tomatoes with a pinch of saffron. I left that to simmer on the stove while I prepared the kohlrabi. I decided to simply boil it with a touch of saffron and cayenne.
A few leaves of parsley from the AeroGarden (locally grown on our kitchen table) and a sprinkle of the farm scallions really completed the dish.
For a local beverage I enjoyed a River Horse Brewing Company Summer Blonde Ale from Lambertville, New Jersey. In honor of the first full day of summer I also put the air conditioner in the window even though it was only 72 degrees and raining, marking the latest insertion the device has seen into said window.
It was a nice early night. Apart from the lack of a grill, finishing dinner before 8:00PM made it seem like we're almost living the suburban life.
Maybe we'll pick up a couple of folding lawn chairs to really complete the illusion.