Dad's Recoup Din-Din in the Old Dominion.

As previously mentioned, I'm back home, in Virginia. I'm helping my dad recover from a lil' back surgery. A large part of my duties exist in the shopping, cooking, and feeding realm. And what better to do with my time while he naps and trips out on the painkillers than write about all this foodness happening, here in the dirty south?

Joel Salitin is pretty much The Man. He is a self-described environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, or as the New York Times calls him, “the high priest of the pasture.” You may remember him from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which he was profiled at length by Michael Pollan. Salatin’s innovative farming system at his Polyface Farm —where the animals live according to their “ness,” the earth is used for symbiosis, and happiness and health is key—has gained attention from around the country, and he travels in the winter giving lectures and demonstrations. He is the author of a number of books including Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, You Can Farm, Pastured Poultry Profit$, Salad Bar Beef and Family Friendly Farming.

So you may imagine my absolute delight to be able to be able to purchase his farm's bacon whilst shopping here in Richmond. I prepared a meal for my dad, incorporating said bacon and/or its fat in a number of ways.

Dad's Special Meal:
  • Hanover Tomato, Butterhead Lettuce, and Bacon with Blue Cheese Dresssing
  • Cheesy Creamed Corn with Cilantro
  • Will's Awesome Lamb Chops with Cumin, Cardamom & Lime (lamb from the Belmont Butchery)

Hanover tomato, Butterhead Lettuce, and Bacon with Blue Cheese Dresssing

Serves 4

6 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoon whole milk plus additional if necessary
2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 scallion, chopped
1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided
1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce
1 large Hanover tomato, cut into wedges


Cook bacon in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet.

Whisk together 1 Tablespoon hot bacon fat, sour cream, milk, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper until smooth. Stir in scallion and 2/3 cup of blue cheese. Thin with additional milk if you like.

Quarter lettuce lengthwise (through stem) into wedges, then remove core and arrange each wedge on a plate with tomato wedges. Stir dressing and spoon over top. Sprinkle with bacon, remaining 1/3 cup blue cheese, and pepper to taste.

Printable Recipe

Cheesy Creamed Corn with Cilantro
(from Gourmet September, 2009)
Serves 6

1 Tablespoon bacon fat
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped scallions (about 6 large)
12 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 large garlic clove
6 oz queso fresco or mild feta, crumbled (1 1/3 cups)
1 cup cilantro sprigs

Heat bacon fat and butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then cook scallions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stir together cream and cornstarch in a small bowl until thoroughly combined, then add to corn and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn mixture to a blender with garlic and purée until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until just heated through.

Transfer corn to a large shallow serving bowl and sprinkle cheese and cilantro over top.

Will's Awesome Lamb Chops with Cumin, Cardamom and Lime 
(lamb from Belmont Butchery)

12-16 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
16 rib lamb chops (If you're willing to spend the extra money, the American really are quite superior - better meat/better fat)



    In the food processor, drop garlic, add cumin, cardamom, lime juice, salt, pepper and oil.  Pour into a large bag or container to marinate (a coupla hours or up to 2 days).

    On the grill is a must, and with a medium flame they'll be done in about 2 minutes per side.  Perhaps a bit more but rarer is better.

    We both agreed, this was a damn good meal.

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