Member Spotlight: The Williamses of Bellaire

Don & Michelle moved from Dayton, Ohio to Bellaire about a year and a half ago and joined our CSA almost immediately.  Organic farm fresh food is a priority for them, and they enjoy preserving the food they can’t eat fresh for a rainy or snowy day.  Here's a recent primarily Bluestem Farm meal of Pesto & Feta Stuffed Pork Chops & Bacon Brussels Sprouts that might provide some delicious ideas for winter eating.

Pesto & Feta Stuffed Pork Chops (Very Slightly Modified Allrecipes Recipe)

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2.    In a bowl make a rub of 1 ½ tsp oregano, 1 ½  tsp garlic powder, ¾ tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp black pepper

3.    In a separate bowl, mix approximately 4 - 5 cubes thawed pesto (see recipe below) and ½ - ¾ cup feta (Depending on how much you like feta adjust this.  We like lots of feta in this recipe and prefer Boar’s Head brand feta.)

4.    Take four Bluestem pork chops and cut a horizontal slit into them creating a pocket.  Cut about a ¼ inch from the bone on the backside and a ¼ inch from the other two sides, so only one side has an opening. 

5.    Stuff the pork chops with the pesto-feta mixture

6.    Rub both sides of pork chops generously with spice mix

7.    Place in a baking dish (I use a clay baking dish)

8.    Bake in preheated oven until the chops are sizzling and slightly browned and stuffing is hot – about 40 minutes. Double check doneness with a meat thermometer.

9.    Brush chops with balsamic vinegar and bake about 5 minutes until vinegar forms a glaze

Pesto Cubes

Michelle says, "When I make pesto, I don’t measure the ingredients - I go by taste.  I start by filling (almost packed) my 6 cup food processor with fresh Bluestem basil leaves*.  I add about 2 tablespoons (to start) of a hot olive oil (I typically use Fustini’s Tunisian Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil), add in roughly ¾ cups pine nuts, roughly 3 tsp chopped garlic, and roughly 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (normally what I have available to me is Sartori).  I blend in the food processor and add additional oil if needed if mixture is too dry or thick.   I will add more cheese if it needs more salt (in place of salt), and more garlic if it needs more kick.  Final mixture should just keep its shape on a spoon.  What I don’t use fresh, I use to fill ice cube trays and freeze.  Once frozen you can place in a Ziploc or freezer paper in bulk.  I typically wrap each cube individually and place in a Ziploc, but if you put them immediately back into the freezer this is probably an unnecessary step.  It freezes beautifully and tastes fresh when you thaw."

* Radish Top Alternative

A great alternative to basil pesto is the more pungent radish top pesto.  I use Bluestem radish tops instead of basil, almond slivers instead of pine nuts, and regular olive oil instead of spicy olive oil since the radish tops are spicy in their own right.  I use the same amount of garlic and Parmesan as I do in the other version of pesto.  It produces a more pungent, less sweet pesto that is great for sandwiches.

It’s hard to argue that bacon (especially Bluestem Farm Bacon) doesn’t make everything taste better. For those that don’t love Brussels sprouts, give this a try.
— Michelle Williams

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

1.    Cut the ends off Brussels sprouts (I use all of the Brussels sprouts from a single stalk from Bluestem Farm) and take outer blemished leaves off.  This also makes cleaning easier.  Cut Brussels sprouts in half.

2.    Use a steamer with one inch of water under steamer in pan to slightly cook Brussels sprouts.  Be careful not to overcook them.  They should still be bright green and firm, but not crunchy.  

3.    In a separate pan, cook Bluestem bacon.  Remove bacon and bacon grease from pan- leaving a thin coat of bacon grease in pan.  Add a tablespoon of butter and a ¾ tsp of chopped garlic.  Sauté garlic for a minute and add Brussels Sprouts, ¼ tsp pepper, ½ cup chopped bacon, and ¼ cup of beef broth.  Mix and sauté for another couple of minutes. 
I generally cook bacon ahead to make recipes like this quick and keep a little of bacon fat in a mason jar in fridge for future use.

Mary BrowerComment