Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inspired to Cook (finally)

Inga surrounded by her Jerseys!
Has anyone else seen the new show on PBS called Around the Farm Table?  It's hosted by adorably kitschy Inga Witscher, who, with her husband, runs a small, organic dairy farm near Osseo, Wisconsin.  I happened to catch an episode earlier this week, and I am a changed person.

For the record, I will say that I'm not all that fond of cooking.  I do it because it is part of my job.  I make everything from scratch, and I would give myself a B+ average.  I cook the basics: pot roast; chili; mac and cheese; spaghetti; chocolate cake.  I will admit that Hank is more apt to try new recipes: mango pork; seafood chowder; Red Eye coffee-rubbed chicken.  And after all these years of watching cooking shows with Hank, I was never inspired enough to actually make something I had seen on tv.  Enter Inga.

I think it was her slightly disheveled, homesteading-Mom persona that drew me in.  Afterall, pairing cotton dresses, aprons and rubber boots speaks right to my heart.  Perhaps it was the fact that she used a handcrank egg beater or that she cut out her pastry with a martini glass.  Again, both of which I do.  But who am I kidding?  The actual hook came in the first five minutes of that episode when she milked a gorgeous Jersey cow. 

Inga's Pork Picnic Pie
And so I say thank you, Inga, for inspiring me to get in the kitchen and mix up these cute little meat pies.  The real recipe is here which, of course, I didn't follow.  She used pork and nutmeg; I used beef and bbq sauce.  But the dough recipe was wonderful, not too sticky, not too dry.  And the construction was easy.

Before I started, I tried to channel all the foodie mojo out of Wild Kat's apron that she had left at my house.  Figured it couldn't hurt.

And yes, that is a prop stick holding my oven door closed.  Older appliances require a bit of ingenuity.

 Then I cut out the pastry with a margarita glass.

Filled my pies with the beef mixture and cut the tops using a bonafide cookie cutter.

The pies baked in the muffin tin for half an hour.  Then they were out on a cookie sheet, brushed with an egg wash, and baked again for half an hour.

I really, really wanted to call these Sweeney Todds, but Hank said no.  He said at some point the children would understand the significance of that name and require clinical counseling.  But "meat pie" seems so boring.  I see many possibilities for this recipe.  They can be filled with just about anything.  And so I will be tuning in next week to see what else Inga has to share.  One episode is entitled "Counting Sheep!"

How 'bout Teeney Sweeneys?  Less creepy?


  1. They look delectable! The channeling must have worked! As a diner at your house, I can honestly say everything has always tasted great. Home cooking is a tradition passed down that I love, no matter what the menu.

  2. Ok, you've piqued my interest. I watch no TV, but I'd tune into this. I am hoping that her recipes are not outrageously expensive to make? I used to like America's Test Kitchen, but they are SO picky sometimes, and some things they make I could not afford to do.

    I like the name you're thinking of. I don't know what my kids would think of that, either....

  3. These look wonderful! And I absolutely will call them Sweeny Todds. I can't wait to try them!

  4. I have to post a HUGE apology to Living Vintage, Beate Grigutsch and Freedom Acres Farm! I accidentally deleted your comments instead of posting them! Thank you for the kind words. :)


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