saucy. is a chronicle of (mostly) delicious adventures involving: farming, love, art, seasons, dirt, dinner, weddings, and D.I.Y-ing

saucy. is a celebration of creative, fresh food, ideally of the local and organic persuasion - inspired by globetrotting and created by me at Bliss Ridge; our farm in Vermont.

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BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL CAKE! (the most delicious cake ever)






• CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ (the recipe that transforms haters)


STAND-UP BACON! (the bacon-centric hors d'oeuvre for bacon purists)























GO-TO (chocolate) GANACHE



CRANBERRY GELÉE (fancy topping for cakes, trifles, puddings)








MAJESTIC MAPLE GELATO (like ice cream, but better!)

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jorDan von Trapp


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    Entries in bacon (2)


    Just give the people what they want: (stand-up) BACON!

    So you probably just assumed that my disappearance was due to a pork-product-induced sloth-like state of quaalude-esque relaxation, providing opportunity for me to spend my days reclining upside-down in Rainforest canopies...

    Naturally. Me and little Slothy up there, the slowest mammal on earth, basking in the Amazonian sun, two peas in a pod...

    Ha. Contrarily (though I am definitely high on home-cured bacon

    and pancetta and guanciale and maple-sage sausage and LARD!)

    relaxing calmly in a tree... we can go ahead and add that to the "Big Goals" list...

    My life is a tornado.  And not the "act of God" kind of tornado... (no there is nothing merely coincidental about bringing "God" into this bacon-based spiel ) But I take full responsibility for the chaos and hope that someday I will add to my vocabulary words such as "no, I can't actually do that, or anything else, until 2020 because the next eight years are overbooked and I haven't allotted any time for sleeping..." 

    Exceedingly important duties

    such as molding festive ducky butters,

    tying knots around various shapes of various meats

    and watching food grow

    are of paramount importance...

    Clearly there hasn't been much time for dancing as of late...

    (Hello lovely dusty boots, don't worry I haven't forgotten about you....)

    Those are the nice parts of the tornado.  Somehow I don't have photographic evidence of the harrowing bits. For example, nothing says tragicomedy like me standing in the back of a pick-up as the sun goes down, shivering whilst pitch-forking fresh manure... tears, screaming... trophy wife envy, oh yeah, I experienced the whole gammut of emotions... 

    Then there was Tuesday, when I swore for at least the 50th time that I will never-ever-ever do taxes again... there is a limit to my previously-thought-of-as-insatiable quest for knowledge and it stops right there. I have no desire to learn anymore about taxes.  Nor can I possibly endure waiting to tell the person on the other end of the "Help" line that they must, for the health of the vast body of "help"-seekers who clog the lines and cause 15-minute wait times, change the hold music... KENNY G. IS NOT A LAUGHING MATTER (KENNY G!!!!) It is NOT 1990... I can't. I'll take it as a sign.  I shall start a piggybank with the dedicated mission of purchasing the services of a professional.

    I blame those taxes and that load of sh*t for many ailments, including the reason I have barely been able to type for a month. My arm has been acting like it doesn't belong to me. Mind you it could have something to do with heavy-lifting

    But probably just too much time on the computer.

    Maybe I'd save time if I was a vegetarian...

    Ha. I'd have to quadruple the garden spaces... and

    vegetarian farm bosses still have to split wood.

    I should not be joking like this. My husband is probably reading and probably shaking in his boots, envisioning his onion-chopping duties quadrupled...

    Besides, there are scarier things than acts of God and vegetarianism. Like this

    You know, just to give you an example.

    The scary part of that is actually (forget that instantanious mirage of blue Mountain Dew, Nascar and Walmart that just assaulted your mind) climate change. This (lovely) crimson neck is the product of a middle-March afternoon of standard woodsman chores. Yes, I said MIDDLE OF MARCH!!!!

    In a previous lifetime, spring in Vermont (read: the season that spans from when it stops going dark at 3:30pm––until June, when it is considered safe to plant one's garden without the threat of frosty nights) offered up some seriously good skiing

    If you are familiar with the soul-stifling feeling that accompanies vast layers of turtlenecks and so-called high-tech layering systems which proclaim to allow the believer to enjoy a -20degree ski day, you may be in full accordance with my penchant for April ski jaunts...

    However, it looks like the concept of 70-degrees with plenty enough snow to ski, is a historical relic; as of Friday, them mountains were in fine birthday champagne drinking form, sans snow!

    (this photo is much funnier if you put your hand over us and GusGus is left alone with the bubbly haha)

    Due to the fact that milker guy surprised me by coming home from work early (a rare feat in the realm of milker guys and farmers and workaholics) toting whiskey, chocolate, tulips with major pizazz (red striped on yellow=so rad) and some lovely new cheese from Scholten family farm, then proceeded to cook me lunch, and whisked me off to scale a mountain with champagne... I momentarily forgot about the tragic nearly ski-less "winter" and accompanying climate change terror... 

    I remembered some rule I heard somewhere sometime about the importance of farmers taking one day OFF every single week... (oh yeah it was from these live-off-the-land legends, Helen & Scott Nearing, who lived to be 100 years old!)

    One day off, meaning one day away from farm work to spend QT with your hero and do something adventurous

    ©Duncan Hipkin

    such as petting sharks. 

    Obviously. (note flat palm & tucked feet due to state of petrification)  

    How did I get to shark-petting? Oh, right, the guys at Compass Cay were tossing little toes toe-shaped bits of hot dog in the water around my feet so that the sharks would come up and nibble... 

    Beyond the fact that when sliced into bits they look alarmingly similar to toes, I find hot dogs repulsive and did not add them to our agenda of hog meat experimentation categories...

    We had a lot of ground to cover.

    Two pigs & 12 hours of butchering lie ahead, plus a multitude of big dreams in the home-curing department... maple & sage bacon, pancetta, prosciuttos, guanciale, spiced slow-smoked hams and a heap of boston butt (which is actually shoulder, just to keep things fresh...) 

    Furthermore I cannot figure out the necessity of jamming perfectly delicious spiced ground pork into tubes of intestine for the sake of making tube-shaped meat units.  That is WEIRD! And weirder yet, through quite extensive research, we found that it is impossible to find a source for organic sausage casing; thats right, those "organic" sausages that you are buying are not cased in intestine from organic animals... The USDA allows 5% of "certified organic" products to be non-organic, which, of course makes loads of sense.  I also found out, in my research, that if a truckload of steaming manure brings me to tears I might not want to volunteer a day to hosing out intestines of dead animal in hopes of making my own organic casing... It is a messy job and must be well separate from butchering areas; for this reason only industrial slaughterhouses in the US have the space to house a separate intestine processing quadrant... No thanks on the tube shaped meat units for moi.  

    So the saucisson and cappicola will have to wait... But honestly, as is the title of this post, people really just want BACON.  I mean, I like bacon with dates, I like bacon with peas, you can wrap bacon around anything and that anything will be delicious no matter what it was like in its raw state... but bacon, needs nothing and no one.  Bacon (provided it is good bacon) does not beg accessories.  

    And it is this school of thought that birthed the phenomenon of stand-up bacon.  It is a preposterous oversight that bacon is so often treated as an accessory itself.  And we weren't about to let that continue, not us, the formidable duo of my one-and-only roomie and I.  

    There she is, soul-sistah Nicki, rocking the seating chart and glassware on the morning of my wedding day.  I am thankful for my college experience for many, many reasons but the genius who was in charge of matching up freshman roommates in '99... well I'd like to find that precious soul and send him/her some of this bacon. Or a note. Or a serenade. Or all of the above.

    The fateful evening we founded the following knock-your-socks-off app, Nick had an elegant menu planned and a freezerful of bacon slab to boot.  It was her (total bad-ass) husband James' 30th birthday and we had a hell of a party to throw.  With the first toast of our martinis, a moment of recognition struck: the enhancement of every guest's life was in our hands.  We also needed some height for one of our famous crudité platters... and why on earth would we give our guests willowy celery fronds when we could offer robust bacon sticks!?!?! Brilliance.

    This hors d'oeuvre will never, ever go out of style and will always, always be desirable. Hows that for a multi-faceted, never-fail, less-than 30-minute dish!? 

    Stand-up Bacon (and pancetta) in mind, the woodsman and I took home two pork bellies from our day of butchering last month (which I will describe in detail next time) and consulted the Charcuterie book ... We personally decided that chemical nitrates/nitrites are nasty (yes I know that they are "naturally occurring"  in celery) but after extensive research we decided we trust Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as well as our own home-grown piggies and watchful eyes, (and besides, with bacon, you are going to cook it fully so there should be no botulism fear!) so we opted out of the chemical pink salt but based our bacon off of the Charcuterie Book's basic home-cured bacon recipe...

    but added in a generous portion of fresh sage.  And rather than cooking in the oven like Michael does, we opted to smoke it outside in the smoker. 

    *Oh, and if you decide to delve into some research, you will read many, many accounts telling you that it is the pink salt that gives bacon its "bacon-y" flavor... and replaces a would-be unappetizing gray colored cured meat product with the familiar pink tone we are all used to... well that's a load of BS. Our no-chemical-preservative version of bacon is BY FAR the best I have ever experienced and there is nothing gray or unappetizing about it. 

    Even if you don't want to start from scratch and kill your own pig, butcher it, and cure the bacon, you can rock Stand-up Bacon at your next soirée... It is sure to be the most sought-after hors d'oeuvre. 

    Stand-up Bacon

    •A LOT of strips of bacon (Id recommend a couple for each guest) *If you are slicing your own, adequate length makes for better display & 1/4inch thick is just about perfect. 

    •Maple Syrup (the darker the better)

    •Freshly ground Black pepper (you can also use cayenne, sage, paprika... whatever spices you want to stick to your sticks!)

    1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay your bacon slices onto a rack over a sheet pan.  Bake for about 15-20 mins or until the bacon begins to brown. Remove from oven and brush slices with maple syrup.  Sprinkle/grind your spices on top and bake another 5 minutes or until perfectly crisp. Place on paper towel until stiff. Find appropriate vessel (mason jar, glass, shotglass) and stand up the bacon in the vessel. 

    2) Watch it disappear as sheer bliss enraptures each and every participant. 

    3) Repeat.

    I can rest easy knowing the guard-dog is protecting our stash from any wayward bacon bandits. 

    I want to hear your tales of tall bacon! Please report back! 



    Springy & Minty & Exuberant Sweet Pea Soup (now that winter actually decided to arrive...)


    Back when I first sat down to start writing this post, things like this



    (pea shoots boinging up out of the dirt in the greenhouse) were causing me to boing around and do things like this



    (those are not brownies, they are soil blocks in which artichoke SEEDS were planted!!) Soil blocks rock. No need for annoying little plastic seedling containers that bust and then promptly fill up the landfill. I highly recommend getting a soil blocker. I only have the 2-inch guy and that works just fine––it is less labor-intensive than starting out with a mini blocker and having to transplant your seedlings into the 2-inch size a couple days later.  Check it out

    I had started to think about things like this



    (glorious ARTICHOKES)

    And this



    (aaahhh zucchini blossom/itchy skin from haying/popsicle weather!)

    And obviously things like this



    (I don't think an explanation is needed here)

    I was dealing with things like this



    (More grass than snow in February when we should be skiing up a storm, and an entourage of robust robins for your ornithological enjoyment)

    Hi little mini beer-gutted guys! (did they even have time to arrive at their winter destination between November and now!? And how did they get so round already, must've been good scavenging down in the dirty south)

    Everything was boing boing boinging! It appeared that spring was en route!

    It was looking like the whole of my precision-cut pieces of firewood toothpick collection



    would end up constituting a big enough woodpile to keep us warm for two years, since the notorious six-month VT winter was clearly a thing of the past.  And beyond the sheer terror of climate change and threat of ski-less winters, I was even looking on the bright side––I had discovered a new favorite sport and my skis wouldn't need wax for another couple of years...

    Boing boing boing!

    I made this, twice, and I'm going to do it again as soon as I get up from this chair



    BOING! Springy-looking minty and pea shoot-y (and fancy if you want it to be) deliciousness.

    I ordered more seeds and planted more sprouts.  I am wild about pea shoots. Sprouts are delicious in general (erase those brownish tinted fuzzy units from your mind and try planting some pea shoots or sunflower sprouts; you will then understand my joy. You can grow them in a flower pot or a wooden box or a tray, just put an inch or two of organic compost or potting soil down, sprinkle the seeds on top ((really you can use any old pea seed you might have or you can buy those that say "pea shoots seeds" on the packet)) cover with a little soil, water and in no time you will have these gorgeous salad greens!!)

    I love them because of their boingy flavor and mostly because they grow vibrantly in winter when everything else struggles and gasps for light, which is all but nonexistent in the height of Vermont winter.

    I'm not saying that pea shoots are exciting for every Tom, Dick & Harry, or that the hint of spring in the air was alighting a boing in everyone around here



    There are generally less bones available in the spring than in the fall...

    Because fall (customarily) means harvesting.  

    And spring, on the other hand, means babies.

    I mean baby animals people. And yes that was an automatic disclaimer, as there has never been such a reiterated, tired old question as "when are you guys gonna have babies!?" (haha I am exaggerating a little, I am not really that bothered by the question).  It's not that I don't like babies



    Look at this one for example! Gardner! He is an angel. I have never met anyone so lovely. (I can't tell how he feels about me in this photo... maybe a slight hint of skepticism but he was probably just cold... and oh, doesn't it look like I was squeezing him a little tight!?... he is irresistably snugalicious)

    And yes, we would actually like to have some of our own at some point, but, as I wrote in response to a lovely friend who happens to be in the midst of baby fever, "my life is overflowing with fulfillingness and I hate poop."  That sounded like a perfectly decent response to me because



    this is what happens when I have to clean up poop.  I cry. (Am I allowed to say "poop" on the air?) 

    For us, children are not THE paramount goal in life.  They are cool as hell and very important and we'll just have to see what happens but we have a lot of goals...  And in response to the "oh you will change your mind about poop, it isn't so awful when its your baby"... that sounds like the biggest load of... let's just say I'll believe that when I see it... Ew... though my dear friend Nicki did, at that very low point of gagging-with-bandana-over-my-face-dom due to doggy disaster, assure me that dog doo is a million times worse than baby poo.  Nicki is amazing for many reasons.  She was my first roommate ever, at college, and I love her.  And I will never forget those fine words, they will help me through some rough times I am sure... when we do decide to have munchkins, I am not under any sort of false assumption that it will be a piece of cake... I really don't know where I could've come up with that idea...



    (Our gene pool, documented above = exhibitionist rascals who hid our clothing) That is me on the left, probably scaling a giant hay stack to leap off the top; woodsman on the right most likely photographed .2 seconds before he stripped off his knickers and threw them in the sea).

    What I do know, is that this fine springy soup that I've been meaning to tell you about, was extremely popular with my homegirl Harper (Gardner's big sister) at the age of 8 months old...



    I am willing to bet that it has the power to proffer a joy equivalent to the above, to you... (I guess I hope you have more than two teeth if you are reading this but even if you don't, do not worry, you can still eat this soup!) 

    There really are a ton of selling points to this glorious green bisque.

    Harp earned her saucy, having displayed such a sophisticated palate from such a young age



    And even though it snowed a foot (I hope the birds don't give up on Mo' Nature and retire in a nice midway point with plenty of leisure activities and less threatening sporadic climate, like Maryland or something)



    I don't see any cozy place for a bird's nest out there...

    Wherever you are, in whatever season, whether with fresh peas available or not, I recommend you

    go and get your saucy on



    We did.  And you can too! (that is my dear Katie, Harper & Gardner's mama on the left!)

    Go whip up this lovely green dish! The color is fab.  And of course, the recipe is so adaptable; you can use frozen peas from your garden or from a bag or organic frozen and mint of any kind... I actually had to use dried mint from this past summer (I dont know what kind it is... the kind that proliferates into a 6ft hedge and I often have to weed-whack it down but it makes delicious smelling mulch) Anyway, my point is, as usual, you have to TASTE your food while you are cooking it if you want it to taste right.

    The trick here is not to overcook the peas, let them be that brilliant springy green.  Oh, and did I mention this can be made in 30-45 mins! woohoo!


    Springy & Minty & Exuberant Sweet Pea Soup (I think it is an ideal first course to precede the Sexiest Chicken Ever... or anything else. It is unique, simple and glorious. I am going to go make some right now.

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 sweet or yellow or red onion (or 2-3 leeks)

    1 lb-ish sweet if it is mid-winter and you never save enough spring peas to freeze your own b/c they are way too delicious fresh, use frozen organic peas. If you have fresh peas then use them!

    4-5 cups chicken stock (yes you can use veggie if you're a veggie :)

    1/2-3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint (the quantity really depends what type of mint you are using, some are stronger than others and, as I said, I successfully used dried mint in a pinch as well!)

    Fresh thyme if you have it (approx 1 tsp.)

    1/2 cup cream (or whole milk or half&half)

    1/2 cup whole plain yogurt (preferably Greek or homemade or homemade Greek!)

    Plenty of coarsely-ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

    Fresh pea shoots to garnish! (and Bacon, of course, is an optional garnish as well)


    1. Place 2 tbsp butter in a medium-size saucepan and add 1 roughly chopped onion and a pinch of salt.  Sauté over medium for a few minutes until onion is relatively soft.

    2. Add 1 lb peas and enough of the stock to cover the peas by about a half an inch. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes. The peas will brighten in color and soften.

    3. Turn off the heat and add the fresh thyme leaves, mint leaves (start w/ a 1/2 cup) and enough stock to purée successfully... ie: I like to start the immersion blender and as the soup thickens as it is blending, I add in a little bit of stock at a time to reach my desired consistency.  Or if you are using a blender, the same rule of thumb applies––add the mixture to the blender and add additional stock as it gets thicker.

    4. Taste. Add more mint if you want it mintier. If you are after a particularly suave, smooth and velveteen green soup experience, strain the mixture through a fine sieve at this point, pressing on the solids to get all of the green magic out.  Save the "bits" for pea & mint ravioli filling at a later date!

    5. Whether you chose the velvet or the slightly thicker consistency option, whisk in the 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup yogurt at this point.  If it is too thick for your liking, add more stock and whisk.  Taste. Add more mint, salt and/or pepper if you desire.... and crispy little bits of BACON.  If you like bacon, this is a perfect opportunity.  If you don't like bacon, I don't know you.

    Just kidding, just kidding, just kidding!! There are (a few) vegetarians that I love. A lot.

    6. If you are saving the soup for later (ha, it is too delicious, you'll have to have some now :) just put it in the fridge and when it is time to warm it up, do so over very low heat, stirring constantly.  Watch it like a hawk and do not let it overheat or curdle.

    7. Serve garnished with fresh pea shoots, a bit of yogurt or cream or sour cream or creme fraiche and cracked pepper. 


    I am aware that you might not believe that my enthusiasm for this simple little recipe is justifiable... but trust me. Try it. Tell me how you like it.


    What are you looking forward to in the realm of springtime?

    Do you think I can convince you that you CAN grow a garden (no matter how tiny or enormous) and enjoy it to the max? I hope so.