Graisserons aka Fatty Meat Bits

Things just sound so much more appetizing in French, right?

Frequently I find recipes that look like they would be good, but they are poorly written and I can just tell that I will find myself in the kitchen being angry at the person who created the recipe. Sometimes its a language barrier, sometimes its just a lack of knowledge of how recipe writing works, and sometimes its just a lack of editing. I think the latter is the case in terms of this recipe from Serious Eats for Graisserons. The author, Chichi Wang (who just happens to be from our fair city of Albuquerque and also in possession of a Philosophy degree) is usually really good. In any case, my issue with the recipe is that “1/2 meat stock” is not a thing and the recipe never tells me what to do with the garlic and spices. “Easy enough”, I thought, “I can figure this one out” and so I did.

First, I decided that “1/2 meat stock” probably means 1 to 2 cups of meat stock, so I added 2. Second, it seemed fairly obvious to me that the garlic and spices should get added along with the meats. Third, I did not have time to babysit something on the stove for 2 hours, so I put it in the crock pot overnight. Finally, I used turkey gizzards and a turkey drumstick (a 2 pound drumstick O_o) because I have so much really good turkey to use. This is what it looked like at the end of cooking, still bubbling away:

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After that photo was taken I strained out the stock, put it aside, picked out the garlic and spices, picked out the bones, and set aside all the meat to chop later. The bones came out of the trotters and the drumstick super easily. (Yes, I tasted it, swooned, then dutifully put it away.)

The next day I chopped up all the meat and reheated the stock and fat. Then I filled several jars with meat, poured over the fatty stock, and covered them. If I had a pressure canner I would have canned them, but that is not an option yet. I did have to use a chopstick to make sure that the liquid did not form bubbles in the pockets between the meat, here’s sort of what that looks like:

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As you can see the meat sticks up out of the fat a little, which is not ideal. The fat should totally seal in the meat, next time I will fill the jars less. And here’s the finished product:

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*DROOL*

I took a few on a group camping trip this weekend and had all my friends swooning. This biz is super filling and not healthy on the face of it, but I guarantee you’re not going to make an entire meal just of this. It goes perfectly with a big plate of raw vegetables, fruit, pickles, and a good hearty whole grain bread. Perfect camping food.

Summer Boots?

I never dreamed that I would own a pair of something that I call “summer boots.” Those things with the open toes that look like you’ve purchased the aftermath of a disfiguring accident where foot meets weed whacker are an abomination to fashion IMHO. But last year I found myself in a second hand store looking at the perfect pair of summer boots. Not only are they air conditioned with holes throughout, but they are also a sweet neutral metallic that goes with the more subdued hues of summer (i.e. not black). Do you want to see them? Of course you do.

Here you go!

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Seasonal Brewing

With the absolute failure of our garden to thrive this year due to a variety of factors, I’ve got time to do some foraging before Fall planting starts. Lots of things are in season right now and its a very exciting time of year for fruit forage. Stone fruit is in high season with apricots almost finished and peaches are starting to blush. I’ve got my eye on a peach tree on public property, but it seems that lots of other people do too. It feels like a race every year. Some day I’ll have my own peach tree of my own and trying to get peaches won’t be so exciting. Until then I’m not telling where this tree is.

My old reliable for foraging, however, is a fruit that nobody else seems to want, the Crabapple. I read somewhere that in Britian people call them “wildings” and I like that much better. While they’re not great for eating and there’s only so much pickled wilding relish one can eat in a year, IMHO they make the best mead. They are a beautiful fruit too:

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I’ve had trouble in the past telling when they’re perfectly ripe and probably let them go a little too long by waiting until I saw them falling off the trees. This is the guideline I’m going by now: The easiest way to tell if the crabapples from a particular tree are ripe is to cut a few open at the equator. If the seeds are brown, the fruit is ripe and ready for picking. Ripe crabapples will also have a bit of give when you squeeze them. I tested and the trees I favor are definitely ready to go.

Sunday Dave and I will go pick a few buckets full and then I’ll get to work steam juicing them. We’ll mix the juice with honey and maybe some water, then pitch the yeast and get probably around 20 bottles of mead for around $2 a bottle. Being a cheap bastard never tasted so good.

Sourdough!

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Doesn’t that look amazing?! Dave had “too much sourdough starter” and so I came home to find him making pancakes in the kitchen. Not just any pancakes though, sourdough pancakes. I’m usually not a big fan of pancakes. They always look better than they taste, which is usually sort of bland. These are not bland. These are delicious. Now I just need to find other ways to serve them than with maple syrup. Any ideas y’all?

Frijoles Por Vida!

Have you heard of Blue Zones? These are the communities in the world most likely to produce people who live to be 100 or more. While living for a long time isn’t one of my top goals, being in relatively good health until I am no longer living is. I recently heard an interview with Dan Beuttner, the author of the book The Blue Zones Solution, in which he was asked what is the #1 tip he could give for people who wanted to live longer healthier lives. Based on his research his resounding answer is: EAT AT LEAST 1/2 CUP OF COOKED BEANS PER DAY.

This is good news for me because I freaking love beans. One of my favorite links between WV and NM is the love of pinto beans (though other environmental and dietary factors in each state definitely keep them out of the blue zone). I’m going to be testing more bean recipes and eating more beans, but today I thought I’d share with you some links to bean heavy recipes I know are delicious.

Warm Black-Eyed Peas with Yogurt and Ginger from A Veggie Venture

Squid and White Bean Salad from Serious Eats

Chickpea and Leek Soup from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Black-Eyed Pea and Chard Stew (Fassoolia Wselek) from Taste of Beirut

Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas from Lemons and Anchovies

Greek 7 Layer Dip from Closet Cooking

Roasted Chickpeas with Moroccan Spices from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cinnamon Flavored Black-Eyed Peas also from Serious Eats

More to come, but for the time being EAT YOUR BEANS!

 

The Picnic Project

I’m six parks in, with many many more to go and the Picnic Project seems to be gaining momentum. Today at least 15 people showed up, the food was really good, the conversation was even better, and there were plenty of games to be played. As the project rolls along new people are invited by their friends and people who couldn’t make it are available. It is really fantastic. I’m hoping it continues to catch people’s attention.

The Picnic Project is my “crazy” plan to picnic in every park in Albuquerque. At the rate I’m going it may take me well into my 70s to finish and yet, I’m not in any huge hurry. I’m really enjoying savoring each park and finding out what’s good about it. Maybe there will be some parks I never want to go back to. I suspect my friends may get sick of joining me, but I’m hoping that new people will keep coming to check it out.

More than getting to hang out with people, though, this is about the parks. Its about the fact that in this amazing city we have so many wonderful places to be and yet most of us see so few of them. I don’t necessarily want this to be about me and people coming to hang out with me. I want it to be about getting out and enjoying what our city has to offer. Sometimes it is a slight “fuck you” like when we picnicked in the Academy Medians because they are officially a park. however, most of the time the parks are lovely and I learn new things about my city.

Today we visited Alvarado Park. I learned that there is a Farmer’s Market there that does not start at ridiculous o’clock in the morning and it is on Sunday. Its a lovely park, with nothing specific that stands out about it beyond a nice view of the Sandias and so much grass.

Next time we’ll be visiting Anderson Meadows Park at Rio Clara SW & Rio San Diego. Who knows what we’ll find there, but I guarantee I’ve never been there before. See you there?