I knew from the moment I set eyes on the Village I wanted to settle down here. When I first drove through eight years ago the first thing that caught my eye was Coffee Planet. A real “mom and pop” coffeehouse right in the center of this [Read more…]
Our family moved to the Village nearly 8 years ago when my husband Chris was transferred with the Navy. This was his final duty station, and we fell in love with Ballston Spa, so we decided to buy our home and settle down here. We are so glad we did! We love it here and find it’s been a great place to raise our son Jack. [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA — The League of Women Voters of Saratoga County (LWV) has called off the candidate forum for Ballston Spa Village Elections scheduled for Thursday, Mar. 16 at the Malta Ave Elementary School. [Read more…]
I’ve often said, I grew up at the right time in the right place. It was a time when our neighbors were true friends and everyone helped and cared for each other. We had the best of everything. The best fire department, emergency corp, organizations, and most of all the best [Read more…]
I wish the title of this letter was the beginning of a joke, but unfortunately, it represents the truth of local Democrats this election season. I write this partially in response to the letter of Ben Walter (Baskin) (March 5, 2017, The Ballston Journal Online), and to [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA – Democrats are running a full slate of challengers in the village election on March 21. [Read more…]
BY LINDSAY PANZICA
The From Scratch Club (FSC) is a group of women who have come together to share recipes and bring back the joy of old-school cooking from scratch. With a motto of “making food matter together”, the FSC’s official mission statement expresses the group’s overall goal.
“We are a small group of women living within the Capital Region, striving for a sustained connection to our kitchens, our gardens and our communities by being advocates for local food, farming and home cooking,” the mission statement reads.
The club offers numerous cooking blogs on their website, hosts a book club on their Facebook page and a monthly podcast online. The group also holds food swaps twice a month and travels to local farmer’s markets as part of a community outreach program.
The FSC also offers a program known as the FSC Academy. Through the Academy, various FSC members host cooking classes at local community kitchens such as The Arts Center in Troy and the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11 Brookside Museum hosted the class Makin’ Bacon with Erika and Chris Tebbens.
The Tebbenses first began preparing their own bacon about two years ago. Several of their homemade recipes required bacon slabs, but they had difficulty finding the good quality they needed.
“We always try to do different meals and challenge ourselves and I found that for me personally it was impossible to find good bacon to cook with, and so I figured I’ll just have to make my own and it kind of expanded from there,” Chris Tebbens said.
Once they had mastered the process themselves they began teaching friends at home. About a year ago they started teaching classes, then in June joined the FSC Academy.
According to Erika Tebbens, one of the things people find surprising when they take their course is how easy the process is.
“You would be amazed. In Troy people really thought we forgot a whole chunk of steps,” she said. “They were just baffled that it was so simple.”
The entire process truly is very simple: start with an uncured pork belly, which Chris says he usually gets from Sanders Meat Market in Ballston Spa. You will need salt, nitrates (pink curing salt), sugar, flavorings, and large Ziploc bags. The Tebbenses also recommend using a digital thermometer and a digital scale.
The first step is making the cure. Curing uses salt to prepare food, which helps to remove excess moisture from the meat while the meat sets.
To make the cure you simply combine one pound of salt, eight ounces of sugar and two ounces of pink salt. If you prefer, you can also use dextrose (corn sugar) in place of regular sugar. In that case you would still use one pound of salt, then 13 ounces of dextrose and two ounces of pink salt.
Second, prepare a three- to five-pound pork belly by trimming it to the appropriate shape. Then spread one-quarter cup of the cure into a baking dish, press the belly into the dish and spread the cure evenly over all surfaces.
Then place the belly in a Ziploc bag and add flavorings, moving the belly around in the bag to ensure the meat is evenly coated with the flavoring. You can flavor your bacon with just about any flavor you wish to try. Two common flavoring recommendations are Maple and Brown Sugar, and Ground Pepper.
Once the flavoring is complete, the belly must cure in the fridge for one week. During that time flip the meat over every one or two days to ensure that the cure is constantly redistributed during the curing process.
When the week is up rinse off the cure, put the belly in the oven and roast it at 200 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. That usually takes about two to three hours.
Once it is finished roasting, remove the top layer of skin. Use a knife to cut loose the end of the skin, then simply pull the rest of it off.
Finally, simply slice the belly into strips and fry up the bacon as usual.
The next FSC Academy class held at Brookside Museum will be on Tuesday September 18 from 6:30-9 p.m. The class will cover the process of fermenting and preserving vegetables.