Archive for May, 2008

Quarry season, 2008.

31 May, 2008

Quarry season has begun. DanGafro and I just did a recon mission. The water is crisp, but we floated around for hours. Photos soon.

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Sausagepalooza 5-27-08

28 May, 2008

Country Coburn is going to cook for the Mountain Lake biological research station. We made some sausages to contribute.

Three sausages. 18 pounds total, less a pound or two lost to the meat grinder/sausage stuffer and to casing rupture (and yes, to tasting).

Click the photo for a larger view.

Bratwurst:
6# pork shoulder, boned
1 onion, ground with meat
2 T kosher salt
1 T white pepper, ground
1 T dried ground ginger
1 1/2 t dried ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream, ice-cold
2 eggs, lightly beaten and chilled
1 onion, ground with meat

Chorizo del Diablo:
6# pork shoulder, boned
1 onion, ground with meat
1T black pepper, ground
2T kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon of: ground cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, red chile flakes, corriander
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
5 cloves garlic, ground with meat
2 toasted New Mexico dried chiles
1 onion (minced with meat)
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 7oz can of Herdez salsa ranchera.

Chorizo Verde:
6# pork shoulder, boned
1 cup beet greens, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped
3 fire scorched poblano peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
15 peppercorns
2 heavy tablespoons kosher salt
1heaping t cumin
10 cloves garlic

Notes: I made a “salsa/sauce” of the wet ingredients for all three sausages + spices (and leafy greens and peppers) to stir in with the meat after grinding.

Beets

6 May, 2008

Faffing again.

Beets: They are better than you remember, and they were never that bad to begin with!

I’m cooking beet greens tonight (having torched the beets last week in DanGafro’s DeathStar. And since I love beets, and all parts of beets, I used “the Google” and found this page. This should keep me busy for a while.

My usual beet m.o. is to roast them on the grill, or in the fireplace, or in the oven, or at the campfire. Salt and olive oil is all that is required, other than tin foil (season, wrap, cook). Maybe a squeeze of lemon over the sliced beets, or a dash of red wine vinegar if I don’t have any lemon. Beets and salt are a natural combo–sort of like cantaloupe and salt, so you really don’t need to worry about seasoning.

I have also had success with a beet and mint salad I often make for Thanksgiving. Beets are also awesome grated raw onto a salad; and if you are into the whole color thing, they look great when arranged beside grated raw carrots. Some grated cucumber could round things out. Just don’t drown your salad in dressing–leave it on the side.

Madhur Jaffrey has a beet & mushroom curry in her World Vegetarian. Tasty, too, though I always end up tweaking her recipes.

The C-ville Saturday market crew(s) will soon be bringing heirloom beets (once they are mature). There are many cool and tasty varieties.

More later.

Barbacoa tacos, House of Yes style

5 May, 2008

Insanely good beef tacos, and while not deliberately modeled after “barbacoa,” they came out most similar to barbacoa in the end. I took leftover oxtail meat, heated it with onion, poured in most of a can of Herdez salsa ranchera (a perennial standby for a fast meal), reduced it back to semi-dry, and served tacos with red cabbage, cilantro, raw onions, etc. on corn tortillas.

For those who are curious, the oxtail meat is insanely tasty, and has all the fat of pork shoulder, but a fantastic beef flavor. Heart-cloggingly good. Also a good way to use up leftovers after making beef stock (as was the H-o-Y pho).

Goin’ back to Cali

5 May, 2008

This will be the last trip for a long while, I imagine. Finally tidying things up at Antares. Gonna fill the P.O.D. and ship it. Gonna be a sad good-bye. I’ll take photos.

Antares has a huge prickly pear cactus plant in the front yard that I planted back in 1992. I bought a paddle at the OCC weekend “swap meet” and planted it (deciding to eat the others I had bought for dinner). The thing took off, and just grew and grew. I took cuttings and tried to plant them in Darwin, but a hard frost took them out within 3 years. Also, they never grew as sturdy out there, due to the altitude, wind, cold, and some sort of bugger that would nibble on them. No doubt I’ll take some more cuttings before this is over and plant them in various places where they will be undisturbed. When I come back, I’ll visit them. There used to be huge prickly pear outside the Santa Barbara mission, but recent photos betray that they have been removed. Stupid freakin’ white man.

We also have a huge staghorn fern (platycerium) in the yard. Based on its size, and watching it grow for over 20 years, I’d say it is easily close to, or older than, 100 years old. “Rosa” loved it, and taught me how to care for it, including feeding it banana peels. In 20 years, it has fallen off its mounting board twice. I have remounted it both times. First with Uptown, then with Timmy B just after “Eduardo” died. It cannot live in VA, nor would it survive outdoors in Darwin. I can take small growth portions that can survive indoors, but the fate of the gigantic mother plant is uncertain at the moment.

Besides obsessing over stuff (read: crap) and plants, I should probably plan a few things to do while I am out–revisit some favorite spots, take a bike ride along the beach, walk in the few undeveloped hills, swim in the ocean, explore some tide pools. Any ideas out there?

Itinerary: CA trip forthcoming. May 7 to 17.

IAD to LGB. Carpool to IAD with Ho-tep; LGB to IAD. Carpool with TFG’s mom.

Wednesday, May 7 9L30 pm to Monday, May 12 at noon: Hotel in Costa Mesa.

Monday to Thursday: Darwin visit–way out of “the O.C..

Friday night: Chaka’s place for a grill out–and it is going to be USDA prime steak–black and blue.

More later.

Pho

1 May, 2008

Pho: House-of-Yes style.

Oxtail based “brown” stock;
Oxtail meat;
Top round, sliced thin;
Rice noodles:
Usual accompaniments: holy basil, mung bean sprouts, hot peppers, lime wedges, rooster sauce, mint, scallions, tomato slices, onion half-moons.

Still a work in progress….

There a billion web and book resources on pho. I won’t pretend to be an authority. I just make it like I like it, and as is the case with homebrew, every batch is different. It takes at least two days to make good pho; some would say it takes longer. I make the broth in advance (either the day before, or it can be made in large quantities and frozen). One of these days I’ll make a huge stock batch using my 15 gallon beer brewing kettle and the outdoor propane burner!

Washington Post article on Pho.
Tigers and Strawberries blog on Pho.