Monday, March 29, 2010

Healthy Eggs

I know this is a rant but too bad. Above is a picture of a healthy egg from REAL free range chickens (apparently "free range" is a bastardized term used by big producers who only give the hens a few inches more space). These chickens are not fed with GMO corn, they are not raised in a stressful environment and they have access to the outdoors. As a result of this, the yolk of these eggs are a nice deep orangy yellow as compared to the highlighter yellow of yolks from factory farms and supermarkets. As far as nutrition goes, I'm eating healthy eggs. I'm also supporting an ethical treatment of animals instead of treating them as if they're a cog in a mechanical industrial system. Food should not have been part of the industrial revolution and only by being aware of what we're purchasing can we change that.

Seeds and Free Coldframe

We've sprung forward in time, the sun is returning, and my green thumb is getting antsy. I wish I had a gigantic greenhouse to plant hundreds of seedlings. Right now, I'm limited to a few dozen which includes 50 tomato sprouts from seeds I collected myself last summer!

In order to get things going, I improvised a coldframe. There were people renovating their windows last fall and so I snagged some old storm windows which would have just gone to the dump. Then, I found an old table in the basement of my apartment. The photo below shows you the result. It was all free and with a few bricks in there to soak up some of the heat, it is making the perfect little coldframe for my young seedlings.

Here is a picture of Black Valentine organic green beans I've planted. Like squashes, bean seedlings are a marvel. They come out of the ground with thick stalks and ready to go bursting into the air. They aren't frail like the arugula seedlings below.
I have also tried to grow some thyme but have found it to be nearly impossible. The seedlings are super frail and die off so quick it's almost not even worth trying to grow them.

Anyways, I'm getting my hands dirty and loving it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ginger and Sage Breakfast Sausage

I have the book: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

I've bought a meat grinder (though I'm still waiting for the sausage stuffing attachment).

I then noticed some pork butt chops at the market. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the two previously mentioned items useful. So one Saturday morning after coming home from the market, I got to work in the kitchen.

Something the authors of Charcuterie stress when grinding meat is to keep the ingredients and the tools cold. This proved to be the most inconvenient part of making sausage since my freezer has limited space. Beyond this however, making sausage from scratch was fun, easy and super cheap!
I'm not going to give away the recipe here but I will say that sage, ginger, garlic and pork go beautifully together. Following the authors' instructions on giving the meat a tacky texture turned out some succulently juicy sausage patties. What's even better is the fact that I had tonnes! If I'd stuffed them into sheep casings - which is what was suggested - I probably could have made between one and two dozen sausages for the price of not even a half dozen.
So far, Charcuterie is all easy and fun. Now all I need is to have a kitchen empty of the crap of roommates...just a few more months...

The finished product which tasted way better than it looks here