Some days I feel like I am living the part of Caroline Ingalls in Little House On The Prairie. I am not complaining – it is a unique and wonderful feeling, bringing me back to a simpler time. I can remember my Mother and Grandmother canning pickles, plums, apple sauce and even meat. Memories of my father butchering a cow or pig and all the adults cutting up the meat, making sausages, packaging the meat in white butcher paper and labeling them for the huge freezer my parents had in the basement. Looking back, it was a wonderful time. My father and mother were proud of their accomplishments, storing foods for many months for a growing family that required a great deal of food on a limited budget.
Above are the first four of us with Dad, missing is Mom who is taking the picture I’m sure and not yet born John Jr. and Lori Ann.
Here in Ecuador we are basically going back in time, very few processed foods are available and if you can find them at the big supermarkets they are expensive and the varieties are very limited. So to make our lives better we do many things from scratch an example is canning hot peppers, mango jam and assorted pickles and even sauerkraut, which I made this past week.
My latest is grinding my own pork for sausage and beef for hamburg. I purchased over 5 lbs of res lomo fino (beef tenderloin) last Saturday, I honestly think it was still warm from the cow. I have learned to wrap these tenderloins in clean kitchen towels and place them on a wire rack on the lowest point in the refrigerator for several days to allow the meat to dry out a bit and age. This has worked wonders for the tenderness and taste of the beef. After a few days of aging, I got out my trusted ceramic knife (a gift from Joe purchased from the states) a good cutting board and started the task of cleaning the meat for steaks and chopped meat for hamburg. It is a labor of love, done because it is important to have good food, prepared with love. It took me over two hours to complete the task, package my treasures and cleaning up. On Thursday I purchased 5 lbs of pork tenderloin and put a dry rub on it and placed it in a plastic bag back in the refrigerator overnight, the next morning it was already in the oven wrapped in triple thickness of tin foil for a 4 hour marathon. It emerged tender, juicy and extremely tasty. The following is the recipe for the dry rub and the BBQ sauce to go with it.
Pork Dry Rub
- 4 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons natural meat tenderizer
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon celery salt or 1/2 tablespoon crushed celery seed
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix together and apply to pork. Rub into the meat and allow to season overnight in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Southern Vinegar BBQ Sauce
- juice of one lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup vinegar
Mix the first ten ingredients together, stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, allow to cool for several minutes. Blend vinegar and basil in blender until basil is pulverized. Stir vinegar mixture into other ingredients and allow to cool completely, refrigerate.
It was actually fun preparing these things from scratch. Living in Ecuador can be daunting to some folks, our attitude is what else have we got to do with our time. Having that attitude towards any job makes the job less tedious and more rewarding.