I am pretty sure you all are familiar with the dish “wife saver” we lovingly call it wife beater around here because it is pretty “white-bread-trashy”, why do folks love it so? My mom used to make this on Christmas morning once in a while, with SPAM if you can believe it, and my sweeties grandma makes it pretty often for brunch; white bread (crusts off) layered with ham and orange cheese soaked in egg and topped with corn flakes and more processed cheese! I tried once to make a really fancy version of this for a brunch, I used baguette, smoked bacon, roasted garlic, fancy french cheeses and even a bechamel sauce with fresh herbs, I loved it but my guy was missing all the trash factor, seriously. He told me not to mess with his wife beater, and for the last 8 or so years I have complied, until the other day that is… My daughter and I made a big batch of chili and she whipped up some corn bread skillets using our families favorite recipe (with the substitution of corn flour for spelt flour). By day 3 we were over the corn bread and the chili, and I kinda forgot about half a skillet of corn bread for just long enough for it to start to dry out, and that is when it came to me; corn bread wife saver! It was worth a go, and I am so happy I tried it and the whole family LOVED this version.
I have eaten a good amount of ox tail curry in my life (love it), and since our pig-in-a-day snout to tail cookery and butchery experience I feel like my chef-y odd bit cookery skills are more honed than ever. When my friend brought be a bundle of ox tail bits I was pretty stoked to bust out a curry, and tonight was the night. I knew I had to braise the meat and then pressure cook it for the softest tender beef, and that is exactly what I did. These nubby tail bits were slowly braised in pork lard and a heavy seasoning of salt and my favorite garam masala spice, then set to cook (in my instapot pressure cooker) for a few hours with some frozen whole garden tomatoes, loads of onions, and garlic… the yield was the most insanely moist buttery bits of beef ever! This curry also got a healthy dose of potatoes, peas, more spice and coconut milk for a creamy robust spicy curry, very similar to a vindaloo.
Ox tail isn’t for the faint of heart though! It’s no boiled pig head, but it is a little gnarly, albeit an abundant and cheap cut of meat. It’s a little bit like cleaning a roasted chicken carcass for soup, you need to caress the meat from the bone and sort out the fatty cartilage-y undesirable bits, of which there are about equal amount yuck to yum factors with tail. Totally worth the effort, and in fact the only time I have cooked as buttery melt in your mouth meat was in fact when I was making headcheese, the pork check was divine.
So if you find yourself flush in tail chunks, here is the low down on making a killer curry with them, you won’t soon forget:
Exciting News, I have a really fun give away offer to kick off today for all my fermenting fans.. fear not failed fermenters, this give away will keep your spirits up and offer you successful future kraut crocks! My friends at the Urban Homesteading Store in Stony Plain Alberta are teaming up with me and eating with SOLE to offer my loyal readers a killer give away…
Lets talk sauerkraut for a minute… I love the stuff, my family is hooked and I have managed to make a few really great batches of kraut over the years… truth be told though, I have had a number of total failures too! That is what is so exciting about this give away; The Urban Homesteading Store is offering 5 packages of Caldwell’s Starter Culture for Fermenting Vegetables. This starter is added during the sauerkraut making process and essentially contains a really strong culture that over produces rapidly and blocks out other bacterias that can cause your ferment to go off, essentially providing you with the best chance at making great tasting beneficial ferments for you and your family!
I know just how good fermented foods are, so I try to incorporate some in to as many meals as possible, and recently I came up with a pretty awesome savory snack to make with sauerkraut: savory gluten free sauerkraut pancakes! They are fabulous, and dunk-able and lovely when slathered in good homemade sauces. I used chickpea and rice flour to makes these silky fluffy kraut cakes along with farm fresh milk and coop fresh eggs. I used some of my “blue ribbon” cabbage sauerkraut which I fermented with shredded carrots… so lovely.
Korea meets Mexico, and falls happily ever after in love on this organic yellow corn tortilla wrapped up in homemade chipotle salsa, fresh feta and red cabbage. Kimchi and deep fried avocado who knew?
Well the other day me and by back-road girlfriend ditched our muckers, baled on our canning and went to town for lunch, we hit this new Mexican place and on the menu they had a panko and kimchi taco, yum right. Well I have been thinking of how it could have been improved and gave it a shot tonight. I decided to forgo the white bread panko crust and do a gluten free chickpea and corn meal crust on the avocodo quarters, and I used some lovely locally made kimchi, and garnished the tacos with a little more … get up and go. Perfect if I do say so myself. These avocado wedges golden fried would be pretty killer just served up for a party with a stellar salsa to dunk in!
This fermenting thing is pretty addictive, I have to warn you all!
Not only is it a easy, low energy way to put up food, it’s a brilliant way to add way more nutrients and health benefits to that food. You may have noticed I am kind of condiment crazy; I love the honey ale mustard that has become a staple in my family, we rely on my making endless batches of ketchup, HP sauce, hot sauce, chutney, even nutella and lemon curd. All of these things are better when they are homemade!
I recently attended a fabulous fermenting workshop and now knowing I can ferment many of the condiments I love, makes me even more happy to experiment. I know I said before how easy making mustard was… well now fermenting mustard makes it even easier to have nourishing condiments on the table. Check out how simple this is…
This time of year is sleepy and chilly in the garden and there are only a few bits and bobs still needing attention… namely the green tomatoes (and some more sauerkraut). I already put up my favorite green tomato “verde salsa” en mass, and the whole monitoring of endless green tomatoes is a little to exhausting for me, so I opted to can a big batch of ketchup, green tomato ketchup that is. I still have a few pounds of green toms to consider but the stress of the sorting and storing is all nicely put up in pint jars, whew. Apparently this recipe goes really well with tourtiere and other such meaty dishes, and is pretty popular in Quebec. This batch got me thinking about the holidays with all this tourtiere talk… I think i might finally try my had at a French Canadian classic meat pie this year. I have been making my own ketchup for a few years now, and this green tomato spin was calling for me to give it ago. I read a half dozen well reviewed recipes and settled on my own seasoning blend, the results were bright and hot and really well spiced… I can see that meat pairings would be nice here.
I also had a good yield of still-not-red cayenne peppers which I pulled from the green house in my final fall clean and decided to flush this recipe with some unknown heat elements… turns out, though not ripe and red the peppers were still pretty kicking, which I love.