The Joy of Sausage

Charcuterie. MMMM sausage…… sigh…

I LOVE sausage. I obsess about good sausage. I make great homemade sausage. I ran out and bought Ruhlman’s book after hearing about it on No Reservations.  Tony Bourdain’s da bomb.  I’d do him in a hot New York minute, so to speak.

Here’s a great pic/rendering I found on Salon of the two of them:

bourdain-ruhlman

 

Why not indulge and open a charcuterie?

I am thinking seriously about opening a sausage shop if and when we relocate.
Sausages, pate, terrines, good quality hotdogs, scrapple, and all the great things I already have a great deal of knowledge about. And I have run small restaurants in the past, before moving into social work (what a transmogrification! Story for another day, fer shure.) Good quality local meats, no preservatives beyond salt and seasonings, maybe sell hot sausages on good quality buns along side…

I was in a sausage shop recently while this occurred to me, btw. I had to drive to the valley (150 mile round trip) to drop my daughter off at the ‘rents and I always shop while I am down there for fresh vegetables and fruits along with sausages at the Lockeford Meat and Sausage Company. Disagreeable political posters on the wall, but good sausages can make me overlook a LOT of things. I watched them sell hundreds of dollars in sausages while I stood there (now of course, they have been there for a long time and have a great reputation, but good things come with time, eh?)I bought Dakota brats, Wisconsin Brats, both smoked, along with some fresh sausage.

And don’t forget the sauerkraut! MMMMM~~~~~

Weeks o’food!

I have been working diligently on getting together a week’s worth of food based on menus so I can relax a bit about cooking. I work very long hours, and NT-style eating tends to be labor intensive. Very often what happens is, I work 9 or 10 hours both in the building and at home online (and when I say work, I do not just mean my trad job, but also websites, Ran’s forum, blogs, etc.  It’s ALL work, baybee!) the spouse works the usual eight plus commute, kids come home hungry (if they bother to come home, often unannounced, hungry, and with friends) and what do we do? Go out to dinner. Argh. Total point-blower.
So, I have come up with a system that works for me, in getting ready to feed all of us for the week without going into full blow stress mode. I have to use “cheater” ingredients to do this, but since our diet is healthier even WITH the “cheaters”, I stopped stressing about it.
Here is a sample of a week’s meals:

Breakfast:
either presoaked Scottish oatmeal form Bob’s Red Mill or
bacon and eggs or
a coconut milk/kefir/yogurt based smoothie.

Lunch: I make three soups every Sunday, and package them in single serving containers and freeze them. The night before, I thaw them, then heat the soup up in a pan and pour into thermoses for all. We also pack small packages of “odds and ends” like salami, raw cheese, veggies and dip, homemade crackers, cream cheese, crispy nuts, fruit, yogurt, whatever each person likes. It helps to keep a variety of stuff on hand. I make small batches of mild kimchee every couple of weeks, and take a bit every day with me in a small container. I also pack salads if I have enough greens.

Dinner: for this week, I picked:

Beef and cheese enchiladas in sour cream/coconut milk green sauce,
Lasagna with meat sauce,
Beef stroganoff with sour cream and egg noodles,
Steak and baked potatoes
Roast chicken and veggies
smothered pork chops and potatoes

The soups this week are:
Cream of Chicken
Mushroom
Tortilla Soup

That is Mon-Sat, with Sunday a day we buy and make something special after shopping for the week’s meals. Tonight we are having ribs and chicken wings. Yum!
NOTE: I keep on hand a roughly 3 month food supply, between dry goods, canned goods, and frozen goods. I am lucky to be a part of an organic food co-op, and get most of my food from there. I buy Rocky’s chickens, and Creekstone Farms meats, and that is what I have available this year. A lot of my meals are structured around what I have stored.

Much of the meat comes straight out of the freezer, since I tend to buy the same cuts over and over, based on price. To defrost them, I soak the cuts in a brine in a big bowl (each type of meat separate: beef/pork/chicken)
After 24 hours of brining/soaking, I transfer the cuts to type-specific containers for soaking in buttermilk/kefir/yogurt or whatever I have on hand (usually all three). The containers are Tupperware, and stack on top of each other in the fridge for space saving. They can sit like that in the fridge for up to two weeks, as long as they get turned at least once a day and the smell stays fresh.
I like to do all of this on Sat-Sun. Some cuts of meat I buy fresh and send straight to the kefir.
If all goes well on Sat, I have a lot of the ingredients I need to start getting meals together. I have premade the enchiladas already, using high quality organic, thick corn tortillas that have nothing in them but corn, salt and lime from the soaking (got them from Trader Joe’s). I buy organic green sauce, use raw cheese, and shredded beef that I popped in the slow cooker. I like to layer the tortillas and ingredients flat, like a casserole. I have the lasagna ready too. This week I used bottled organic marinara sauce, as I ran out of home canned tomatoes. I cheat and use the “no boil” sheets and layer the casserole with zucchini squash as well as cheese and ricotta with parmigiana, egg and garlic. Two of the soups are done, as I save stock from making it about once a month so I can whomp up the mushroom and chicken quickly. Today, for the tortilla soup, I am boiling meaty rib bones for the base. This will take a while, but while all this is going on, I am sitting on my butt blogging, so it can’t be that hard! The meat for the stroganoff is soaking, and I will cut it up the morning I cook it and throw the whole kit-and-caboodle in the crock pot.
The chicken, steaks and chops are defrosting in brine, and will be transferred tomorrow to containers for soaking. The chops will be smothered in some of the cream of mushroom soup I made, with extra sliced onions and baked golden brown. That is one of my favorites. I make two kinds of veggies with each meal for sides, not counting potatoes or noodles if they are served. We seldom have bread but if we do, it is either whole wheat sourdough or sprouted wheat bread. (on special occasions I make soaked white-flour rolls.)

All of this activity makes for a busy weekend, but I find if I do this, I can come home and pop something into the oven or into a pan, then put on my jammies and be a bum for the rest of the evening!

Food Pr0n

DJ and I went to a chi-chi market (Angel’s Food Market, which is a great place to shop) in a neighboring town and bought some nifty edibles. I am working on “intuitive” eating: eating when I am hungry, and just until I am not hungry any more, not to the point of bursting and dying. I want really flavorful, high-quality food to eat, in smaller amounts 😉
This cheese is called “St. Andre” and is a cow’s milk cheese from France. Here is the description from the label:
“This soft-ripened, triple-crème cheese has a velvety-smooth texture and delicately rich, buttery flavor. An enrichment of fresh sweet cream makes this an extraordinary dessert cheese.” it is 75% butterfat and one of the richer cheeses made.
Yuuuummmmm. Boy howdy. Very buttery and delicate. I had some slathered on a fresh piece of soft sourdough with dinner. I also had a small rib eye steak with mushrooms and onions in a caramelized wine sauce, and fresh broccoli with butter. We had a small amount of antipasto stuff to start the meal with: homemade lactofermented kimchi that was of medium heat, and really high quality olives stuffed with either bleu cheese or garlic, along with a nice glass of a local red wine.
Dessert was a small amount of homemade yogurt with blueberry preserves dropped in.
Tonight’s dinner: BBQ baby back ribs, (DJ already started the BBQ, I can smell it!) fresh veggies in a garlic butter sauce, green salad with three lettuces and cabbage and olive oil vinaigrette, soft sourdough, with sauerkraut, olives and beer for the starter and more yogurt with cherry preserves for dessert.

Hahaha. Can ya TELL I am a foodie?

What’s for dinner today?

Just felt like sharing:

swissed steaks, fried crispy in palm oil, then placed in a gravy bath
gravy made from pan drippings, beef stock, mushrooms and onions
mashed potatoes with cream and butter
cast iron pan-fried veggies (zucchini, summer squash, onions, mushrooms, garlic)
broccoli and cabbage in butter
toasted slices of sourdough baguette
sauerkraut, homemade, all fresh and still bubbling

$50 food list

I am working on a $50 list of food for emergencies, for people following WAPF nutritional outlines (traditional diets; all whole foods, all “real” food (butter, meat, raw milk and cheese, etc), soaked/sprouted grains, sprouted beans, no processed foods, no oils beyond coconut, olive and palm, nothing hydrogenated, no sweeteners except raw honey, rapadura, maple syrup, stevia, lots of good fat….you get the pic. For more detailed info, try http://westonaprice.org ) One of my inspirations for this was the recent $21 food challenge regarding food stamps. $50 may no longer be doable with nearly $5/gal gas, but I can try.

As you can see from the list above, these foods can be very pricey. I’d like to work on a version of this for folks that have little $ to spend; especially for those on commodities, food stamps, and getting supplemental food from food banks. Since it has been a while since I got supplemental food, I need to go with one of my folks (or go on the shelter shopping trip to the food bank) and take a good look at what is being given out. I remember the days of great government cheese and butter, and cans of great pork and beef (makes the best darned tex-mex food ever eaten…) along with eggs, beans, and rice. Last I looked it was mostly days old bread, old pastries and cakes from the local supermarkets, and cans of “western family” generic veggies. If it is still that bad, this could be REALLY challenging.

The idea is $50 in basic supplies to do seven full days of nutritious eating. Another big challenge is school food; most kids on f/s are getting low cost or free lunch, and maybe even breakfast. So how do I account for those meals, and get kids to choose appropriate stuff? Hmm, gotta think about this.

Ideas, ideas

I am thinking about doing a side blog about WAPF cooking and recipes I use, with cost saving measures, hints tips and tricks for cooking, saving money, and saving time trying to eat in this rather expensive manner. I have to say, in the 7+ years since I found Nourishing Trads, our health as a family has improved dramatically. My daughter has been off psychotropic meds for five years, and the only doctor visits in the last three years have been for broken bones and stitches, with the exception of the “super-mega” swimmer’s ear that my daughter had recently, which is requiring the services of a specialist, and a childhood birth defect that has been plaguing me with non-diet related troubles. And this is on eating sometimes only two or three WAPF style meals a week, depending on how busy I am at work. But I feel like it is time to finish the changeover, with not only food but personal body products, etc. It takes very little to be mindful of the environment one chooses to be in, and it would cost no more money to make product substitutions as I run out of stuff for things that are less toxic. http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/ I got this from someone else’s blog; it has been handy for weeding out some of the products that I use.
I still have some issues with sugar cravings, and fatigue, along with the inevitable weight issues, and feel like some of these would resolve with going further into WAPF eating. So, as I get it going, I will post about it occasionally and share some of this stuff I learned.

Feast again!

We’ve been preparing to feast for several days now, shopping for the right food, sprouting and preparing things, souring dough and cleaning house.
Our menu:
Beef ribs: grass-fed, ranch butchered succulent ribs, marinated overnight in a special sauce of Darkweald’s contrivance, then dry rubbed with rapadura sugar, salt, peppers and spice, then slow cooked for hours over wood BBQ. A KC style sauce, sweet and savory, with herbs from the garden to finish. The fat was so juicy as I bit into the rib, it ran down my chin as I chortled in greedy delight.

Fresh picked corn, super sweet; from a vendor in the valley. Slathered in butter and sprinkled with Celtic sea salt and pepper, it was like biting into summer.

The ubiquitous Texas ranch-style pot o’beans, sprouted after a three day soaking and slow simmered with onions, chilies, cumin, and other spices, then finished off with a touch of rapadura sugar and vinegar to bring out the spice. Served with a generous dollop of crème fraiche and raw jack cheese.

Greens fresh from the garden (tho not much else is coming off yet, with this unseasonably cool weather…:( ) with a vinaigrette from homemade wine vinegar, raw honey and fresh picked herbs.

Sourdough rolls, yeast free; proofed over a 5 day period for maximum rise from hard red winter wheat that I hand ground the day I started souring the dough. Also slathered in butter and with the occasional drizzle of raw honey… mmmm

We drank Snowshoe Hefeweisen, bottled locally and served ice cold in frosty mugs.

Dessert will be sliced fresh picked strawberries in raw honey, with a generous dollop of whipped raw cream.

I am full, happy, and ready for a nap.

Thanksgiving in June?!

Celebrating can be exhausting.  Pretending to have Thanksgiving in June can be doubly exhausting.  We weren’t event drinking when we came up with this idea!

Lots of good weird friends made this celebration a blast!

can’t move…stuffed to eyeballs….heaven…..sigh*burp**

Menu:
brined turkey
ham glazed with last summer’s strawberry-blackberry jam, with raw honey and lemon
mashed yams with coconut milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter
mashed potatoes with cream and butter
stuffin’ muffins (stuffing made from sourdough bread cubes, apples, onions, celery, pecans, chicken stock and sage sausage parceled out into muffin cups and baked crispy) I got the idea from Rachael Ray, same recipe I always use tho…
green bean casserole, but with fresh boiled green beans, bacon drippings, heavy cream, pepper and salt, mushrooms, and battered deep fried leeks substituting for that stuff in the can…
sourdough rolls
fruit salad with sour cream sauce
greens in butter and bacon drippings, with onion
assorted cheeses, pears, nuts, chips, fruits, cherry and vanilla cream sodas, apple cider, sparkling apple cider, root beer, olives, celery, carrots, different dips
homemade apple and pumpkin pies with hand whipped cream