Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Makin bacon....

Hello - Good Morning - Howdy - Whats up or WHAZ UP....... What is with that saying anyway, hhhmmmm??? Well, as the title states, I am makin bacon. I had 3 pork bellies left in the freezer from our to hogs this summer. They needed to be used up because even when it is frozen, you should use pork within 10 months. It tends to freezer burn quickly and I have no knowledge as to why. Sorry. Anyway, this is how you cure it before you smoke it.
First take the pork bellies and give them a good wash and let them dry on a towel - after they have thawed out in the fridge of course. I dont like to freeze them and then cure them, but I had no choice at this point. SO, here are the raw, uncured pork bellies.

You need to make sure you have enough time to do this, it can take some time, but is so worth it in the end. Next you need this stuff...

I use Kosher salt, always have - because it makes the flavor of the food come out instead of 'salting' it. Does that make any sense? Salt is more of an a flavor enhancer than it is a seasoning. What, those are the same thing...ooooohhh sorry, my bad.... *smirk* I am trying to sound smart ok, I need that in my life today - smartness - other than that of a 10 year old who has become a bit mouthy the last couple of days. I think its cabin fever - he is out the door today for ALL DAY... boy, I really lost it that time didnt I - sorry....

ANYWAY! You need Kosher salt, good brown sugar and pepercorns for grinding. This part is what takes the time and most energy. You must salt the meat and rub it in REALLY WELL. This is what cures it for smoking....

The salt must be rubbed into EVERY CRACK of the meat. I know that you want an exact measurement, but I dont have one. I sprinkle it on like the picture above and rub it in like I am wishing for a Geni in a bottle..... then flip it over and do the other side. I do this until the bellie is watery - about 10 minuetes each side.

Once you have salted both sides really well, its time for brown sugar and pepper. The salt is more important because that is what cures the meat, this is what adds flavor. Grab a pepper grinder and grind a nice layer of pepper over the belly. Use your own judgement as to how much pepper to use. Eveyone is differant and I personally LOVE pepper. Now grab a handfull of dark brown and sprinkle it on the belly. Now start rubbing baby - rub this also for about 10 minutes per side. This is the best hand treatment you can get for free!!!

Make sure that you do the edges of the meat also. I do it on a coookie sheet and when the rub falls off the meat, I pick it up and keep rubbing it in. Till it looks 'wet' again - about another 10 minutes on each side.

When you are done with this - put them into a big plastic container with a lid.
When I put the first bellie in - I put salt on it. Not as much as before, but some. Then I put another belly on top of it, salt it, lay the next one on and salt it. Then I put it in the fridge for about 5-7 days. It will start to make its own brine - if you did a good job salting - and you need to rotate them everyday or everyother day. Ya know what I mean? Top one goes to the bottom and turn them over etc...

SO in a few days I will show you how I smoke them in the smoker I made. The smoker cost me about $60 to make and its EASY!! Talk to you in the morning - have to go get groceries and 'hiney wipe' as the boys call it. I tried to go yesterday, but the 7 inchs of snow got in the way. My van is like trying to drive a pig on ice - ever tried that. I probably would have gotten farther with the pig. I traded my Ford Escape in, it had 4x4 and I MISS IT... the van is SO not my personality. Give me a truck with bigs tires anyday man!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lefse - part II

Good Morning all!!! The Milk Man is sitting here eating Lefse this morning - his words "If you dont eat Lefse there is somthing seriously wrong in the world". SO, here is the rest of my attempt to show you how to make Lefse. I have to apologize, I am probably not the best teacher - I hope I give you good enough instructions and examples to assist you on doing this.

Once you have let it all cool in the fridge its time to fry it.

First you roll it out with a lefse pin.

The grooves are put into a rolling pin so that you have an opportunity to swear like a sailer every time the lefse get stuck in them....wait - thats not right. They are there because it helps to even the texture and thickness of the lefse. If you use a regular rolling pin, it will be tough. I roll my lefse out onto a dishtowel that has been floured. When I say floured, I mean I put flour onto it and have 'rubbed' it into the fibers so that the lefse wont stick AND so that there is not to much flour left on the rolled sheet of Lefse. As I said before, to much flour makes for VERY DRY lefse. Here are some pictures - I think this will help you figure it out better than me explaining more of it!

See in the second picture you cant see much flour.. Its got the dishtowel 'pregnant' *snicker* Its litterly into the fibers. I could use a pastry thingy, but I dont have one. It is nessicary to reflour your dishtowel at times, but always rub it in.
Once you have this done you take make a ball of Lefse - about the size of 2 golf balls. Roll it around in the flour on your dish towel or pastry sheet till it has a light coating of flour - not a lot of flour ok....

You can make them small if you want to. To start with that may be the best, but make your own judgement on that one. Now I put flour on each side, top and bottom of my dish towel because when you roll Lefse you DONT ROLL IT BACK AND FORTH!!! You roll it away from you, pick it up and roll it a differant direction. IF you roll it back IT WILL STICK causing you great anguish at the loss of non sticking lefse to your rolling pin!! I dont use the handles of the rolling pin either, put your hands on the pin and LIGHTLY press down, let the wieght of the pin do the work. Roll off of the sheet of lefse into the little bit of flour. I do this because when I roll it again, the roller wont stick... it is tricky and takes LOTS of trial and error. I have been doing this for a long time and it STILL STICKS at times.
Sorry if I get a bit long winded or over do it - I really want you to be successful doing this. I know how frustrating it is to make somthing that is labor intensive and have it flop on you! I dont want you to get discouraged - this TAKES TIME to learn. See how good I am at making big letters..... ok back to business.

In a couple of pictures you will see lefse stuck to my rolling pin. I call those pieces, well I cant write what I call those pieces because this is a family blog and those words should not be used around family. That is why the Milk Man takes Lispy and Big Son with him when I am making Lefse.....
We are finally ready, after all this, to roll out the Lefse. First take your ball of Lefse and get it ready...

Then roll it one way, away from you...

Then GENTLY turn it over...

Then roll your little heart out. I roll one way pick it up and roll another. You CAN roll it towards yourself, but always, always, always pick it up. In the next picture you will see the flour on the side of the towel - I use that for re flouring my pin. Roll it in the flour and tap it off, it gives you just enough flour for a couple of rolls, without overdoing it on the flour....

I heard swearing, did someone just say screw this??? Dont give up yet!! We are just getting going everyone!!! There are more oportunitys yet to come!!!

This is what a rolled out sheet of Lefse looks like. It is SO TENDER, or at least should be unless you have over floured it. The honest trick to this is KEEP IT COLD. I leave EVERYTHING in the fridge. I go to the fridge each time I am going to make a ball. It sticks worse when it is to warm. Same for the flour - keep it cold and get it as you need it. I have taken a measuring cup and keep a bit of flour right next to me and that seems to work - I use one that is glass and that has been in the fridge...

Now for the frying... This is Hilda the Lefse griddle, dont mention her age - she is a bit sensative about it. This was the Milk Man's moms griddle, but she gave up on Lefse when I figured it out!

Anyway, you need to pick up your lefse from the towel with the stick, yes I said the stick. Hold the edge of the towel and GENTLY place your stick under the sheet of lefse and slide it under until you come out the other side. Sue, Can you help that poor soul in the back row - I think she fainted? She's ok? Thanks.. We are almost done I swear...

Lay it on the griddle...

When you first lay it on the griddle you must run your stick GENTLY under the whole thing so that it does not stick to the gridle - then just wait till it browns a little bit.

Then when it is a little bit brown - flip it over...

Then fry it till the air bubble form and thats about 1 or two....

and you are DONE DONE DONE DONE!!!
Now slather some butter on the husband, I mean Lefse, sprinkle a bit of sugar or jam on it and eat it!!!!

I am going back to bed, this has taken me way to long!!!! See you later. I may post again today, because we are doing some interesting things at the farm!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to make Lefse!

Good Morning all! I promised a Lefse post and here it is. I dont know how many of you have eaten Lefse or make it yourself, but this is a staple here at Christmas time.

First you have to have boiled potatoes. I boil mine with the skin on at a low temprature. It takes longer, but your potatoes dont get 'mushy' from taking on to much water.

Once the spuds are done, I strain them but dont let them cool for to long or the skins wont come off very easy. While they are still hot, you want to take off the skin and rice them. Anyone have a ricer??? I got mine at an antique shop because I couldnt find one that I like anywhere else. Her name is Myrtle...dont laugh at the old girl, she has a complex.

When you have riced your spuds they should look like this....

Then you need to add some of the ingredients. I say some, because the flour is the LAST thing that you add.
Take 8 cups of riced potato's - DO NOT PACK THE CUP!! just scoop them up lightly and go from there.

To the spuds add:

1/2 cup of cream

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of melted butter HOT

1 tblsp salt

This recipe calls for 1/4 cup vegetable oil, but I dont use it. I tried it but did not like the flavor. I did find that it rolled out a 'little' bit easier, but not enough to warrent compromising the taste.

Mix that together with your hands until it is well blended.

This picture was taken by Big Son and his camera skills are a bit to be desired. He was more concerned with looking through the little 'eye hole' as he called it. After you have done this I put mine in the fridge overnight, covered of course. I use my great grandmas earthen ware bowl with a plate over it.

I also put my flour in the fridge because if it ALL stays cold then it is easier to roll. You will find that Lefse is difficult to roll out. It sticks to your roller and everything else. Most people add more flour, BUT by doing that you get a 'dry' lefse and it tastes like - flour - That is where the keep it all cold comes in.

Once you have let this get good -n-cold add 2 cups of flour and mix it again with your hands till the flour is well mixed. I always put it back in the fridge for about an hour so its again - COLD!!! The texture should be a sticky but not like it was before. It should be kind of like a sticky pie crust, but not as firm..... am I making any sense here guys? Its hard to explain - but I will do my best. Now I take out the big guns.... the lefse stick that doubles as a child think I am kidding dont you? I AM I AM - but I have thought about it.. *grin*

The one end is bigger than the other - the bigger end is your handle. Its skinny on one end to get under the rolled out sheet of Lefse.

Then comes the rolling pin. It has grooves in it

Well, that is enough for now - I will finish the rest tommorow. The frying of the Lefse is a challenge too and this has taken me a while to get loaded and typed. Milk Dud is feeling abused so I better go and get him fed, changed and to sleep for a couple of hours so I can clean this house a little bit. Here is a picture of the little munchkin...

It was taken at my folks house on Christmas day - looks like the little girl I have not had yet.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Hillmanbilly Christmas...

I hope you all had a wonderful Merry Christmas. I wanted to share with you what a real Hillmanbilly Christmas looks like. On Christmas Eve day we spent the day with my moms side of the family - the Hillmanbillys.... They are the greatest family you could ask for. They are poor financially, but RICH RICH RICH when it comes to love and appreciation. They will help anyone at anytime, often dropping what they are doing for themselves that is probably very important - thus making them poor!! If there were ever a time I needed someone, these are the people who would ALWAYS be there. We spent the day at Milk Duds God parents, my aunt Annie and uncle Kyle. They farm for a living as we do, but have many more irons in the fire than that. My aunt can sew anything and when I say anything, I mean she could make a wedding gown out of a feed sack and you would LOVE IT! She can cut meat, hunt, milk, drive machinery, cook and has a teaching degree - she is SO TALENTED in every sense. My uncle Kyle - well he is posotivly a freak of nature, in the best way you can imagine. He farms full time, does custom logging with horses, has his own saw mill that he runs alone AND has a maple syrup line that he does in the spring. He is a jack of all trades and masters them also. The pictures I am going to show you are of Annies shop - IT ROCKS!!!

The last picture is my uncle Kyle. Out of all my uncles he and I are the closest I think. We have always gotten along so well and used to spend TONS of time together - hunting, fishing, camping and anything else that you can think of. He is just a little feller - he is 5ft 5 inchs and weighs 130 lbs soaking wet and fully dressed!!! When I was younger we spent more time with my dad's side because we farmed with them - but growing up some of my best memories are of this family and all the laughing, the constant laughing that went on. My dads side of the family is great too - but there was only my dad and his sister so there were not that many people around. My mom has 4 brothers and 1 sister, not to mention that all of the boys friends used to come over and hang out at the farm ALL the time. It was great going through school,because I had more people watching out for me then I even knew!!! The only bad thing was that if I did somthing wrong EVERYONE knew it and that was a little bit tougher - not that I did much wrong.... I better stop there huh - I thought so too....
Anyway, we played pictionary and I laughed till I almost wet my pants. I never used to have that problem, my favorite cousin did that enough for all of us when we were little! HI BRENDA!!! Sure wish you would have been there on Wednesday!!! Anyway, we had a great time and I love to be able to get together with everyone.
I wanted to be able to say hello to my cousin Casey and her hubby Ryan, they live in southern Mn!! HEY GUYS!!! Thanks for reading my blog!! I had better get going... supper is yelling loudy from the stove and the guys will be here any minute. Tomorow is my Lefse post, hope you all have your spuds boiled!!! NIGHTERS ALL~~~~

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Here ya go! Merry Christmas to you all - each one of you is special in so many ways. Those of you who comment and those of you who are lurkers... by the way, why do you lurk? are you afraid of me - I dont bite, well at least not always!

May God bless you all and keep you in his care. The Milk Man used to sing a song called the Doxology -

The Lord bless you and keep. The Lord make his face shine upon you and give you peace and give you peace - and give you peace forever!

See you in the morning and have a blessed, love filled day!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

You asked for it.....

This is one of my favorite songs that they sing. My brother in law has a wonderful voice, but last night he was getting a bit horse. My sister in law is a nutcase - if she had to stand still to sing she would stutter like Mel Tillis...

This is also one of my favorites - but for some reason I cant get the dang thing to start at the begining of the song... sorry - please forgive me. I shall lay prostrate on the ground in sack cloth and ash's until you do!!!! Thank you... I dont like to lay on the ground really...ok, what - yeah on the ground not so much.

SO there you have most of it. There is a couple more that I am going to save for Christmas - and the boys's saying thier parts. Lispy was a shepard and didnt talk the whole time, could not believe the silence. Big Son was a wise man and for his age it fits his smart crackin mouthy self! He is a good kid, just at the age of 'feeling' like he is more than just a kid. That is a posotive thing you know, we must let them grow up. If it sounds like I am trying to convince myself of that fact, I am - just dont tell me about it so I wont know ok.... Thanks.... That made sense right?

Not bad for country bumpkins.....

The Milk Man has a talent that I have been hiding from you all - other than making beautiful kids, making my heart swoon, making me laugh and making my skin all tingly.... He can sing. Last night at our Sunday school program his brother and one sister sang a couple of gospel songs in the basement of our church. They used to sing ALL the time together, as in quartet that was paid, not big time or even small time but they did have a tape out once. Milk Man always says they were pros cuz they were paid, more like reimbursed by the churchs they were singing at for the milage. He has 1 brother and 2 sisters. Oldest sister sings alto, younger sister sings saprano, bother sings bass and Milk Man sings tenor/baritone... and makes my skin tingly at the SAME TIME - move over Simon that is tallent baby!! Anyway- they were begged to sing last night at supper in the basement. The sound is not so great because, well its a camera in a church basement with no accustics to speak of, I still got all a-twitter though - tell me what you think...
I cut the first part off, my bad, and the youngest sister was not there. They sound MUCH better in person because this stupid camera's sound is wicked bad - not the wicked that my brother says who is 20, I guess he means it good when he says wicked... anyway see for yourself. Milk Man is the lead in this, his older sister is the loud one because she was right by the camera. They were standing behind me so I could not turn around and film them.

BE HONEST about what you think because I have a couple more that I am willing to share if you want to hear them.

I am going to try to post my Lefse making later today, but no promise's. Joann my dear your gift will be sent either tommorow or Friday. I had to wait for the surprise part to be finished - I hope you will enjoy it!!! See you later....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Defending my honor......

Having 5 sons has some advantages - my honor shall always be fervently defended!! Especially with GI Joe 'dug in' the carpet every 10 inchs.

The bad guys dont have a snow balls chance in heck. Not to mention the air force (that I didnt get a picture of) waiting orders to bomb the bathroom army... dont even ask - its not pretty. There were 'seal men' and 'frog men' in the tub and yes, some died a toilet death before I could save them ( and the plumbing ) from further destruction. Check back later to see if the cavelry ever arrived on time!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pork Chops that I promised!!

Sorry its late, but you can use it for supper tonight!! I am sure EVERYONE does this already but the Milk Man said - Heidi, these are easy and good tell 'the girls' about them. Sorry guys, I guess you cant read this - but if you do, I wont say a word!!! Promise *zips lip and throws the key*.....

Of course we are eating our home grown pork and it has more flavor than you can imagine. It is also not as 'dry' as store bought pork. You are in for a pork lesson, I can feel it coming on - cant stop it - sorry!! Pork that is mass produced is not as tasty because the pigs that are used are, what we call, show cased... highbreds that have little back fat or any fat for that matter and fat is where the flavor is baby!!! It keeps the meat moist while cooking it AND natural fat is somthing that the body knows how to use. Dont let anyone tell you differantly, if they do punch em... did I say that - nope not me... SO - dont buy pork unless you buy it from a butcher that knows his crap, or meat either one is good. We prefer non-housed pork, which is a pig raised outside eating more than just processed grains. If a pig, or beef for that matter is allowed to be raised 'off lot', thier diet has a range to it other than corn. It does make the meat taste differant. Just like when cows go out to pasture in the spring and are eating grass - the milk tastes differant, yes it does - stop looking at me like I have 2 heads. NOW on to the recipe.

First you need porkchops...dont these look tasty...mmmmmmm they have 'marbeling' in them. That is the little white lines you see - its fat running through the meat and it makes it YUMMY!

I always use cast iron and I always have. I am not one who ran out and got it when it became the popular thing to do. It cooks more evenly and the pan is easy to clean up. I will use NOTHING else - except glass or porcilan covered cast.

Next, I put butter in the cast iron pan and let it melt gently on a lower heat. When it has melted I always tilt the pan until the bottom is covered with a nice layer of melted butter. Then I sprinkle in dried diced onion and country seasoning- this is good stuff people..

I then lay the pork chops on top of this and let them brown just a little bit on either side. The onion sticks to them and they are wonderful. You can only do 4 at a time before you need to melt more butter and put in the onion and country season. I have to cook at least 10 chops per meal, but most people dont so you can probably get away with 4.

then turn them over and they look like this..
Dont they look good, I am gaining weight just drooling on the desk here.....
Then when they are nice and brown I put them in a glass baking dish that has butter slathered, I like that word - slathered, with butter - I like butter.. I like butter slathered on the Milk Man - WAIT!! Cant get off track here....
Then I mix up 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup - with only 4 one would be enough, but like I said I used 2 cans for 10 chops. Then I bake them for about an hour on 350. I love these because they are easy and you have gravy for your potatoes when they are done. I am sure EVERYONE does the cream of mushroom soup pork chops, but the dry onion, butter and country seasoning gives them a little bit more of a zip - I like zip... wish I could buy myself some..

This is the finished product and they are delicious. It is a bit of a heavier meal with the gravy, but when its -20 and the men have been outside ALL day, they need and want the heaviness of it. When you work physically has hard as a farmer does you get an appetite of huge proportions.

So go forth and prosper, no perspire, no - procreate thats it!!! Procreate..... and have some good chops for supper!!