Archive | November, 2008

Lincoln Letter to Finance Local Library Expansion

27 Nov

Read most of the story here.

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Tunt skivat gravad hjort: Carpaccio of Cured Venison, Part 1

26 Nov

The Food and Cooking of Sweden by Anna Mosesson has provided me with the recipes and ideas for curing salmon into gravlax, and now in process, curing venison.   It is a wonderful book to look at, and I have realized we eat sort of “Scandinavianish” this time of year.  Meat, potatoes, greens.

So this is how to cure a hind leg muscle from a deer:

Prepare your cure: equal parts salt and sugar, some freshly ground pepper, fresh thyme (the deer are stealing it from the garden now anyway).

curingspices

Prepare the muscle by removing the fell, connective tissue, etc.  There is always somebody around here who wants to help with this job.

curinghelp

On aluminum foil, put down a layer of cure and spice, the meat, and then use the rest of the cure to cover the meat.  Enclose meat in the foil and place in a nonreactive container in the fridge or cold porch.  Mine went into a glass casserole dish.  Quite a bit of liquid will be pulled from the meat over the next two days.

Turn it over every 12 hours if you remember.

deercure

From the Earth to The Moon with Robin Hood

26 Nov

Angela lent us her copy of From the Earth To The Moon, Tom Hank’s wonderful depiction of the start of the space program.  Each new episode the main theme plays with stirring trumpets and strings.  And each time, I keep thinking: I know this music , I have heard it before, many times, elsewhere.

I knew where, too, but had not yet tracked my old disc of the theme music from 1991’s Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves down. That was the movie in which Alan Rickman was the evil Sheriff, Morgan Freeman a great Arab Azeem, Double 007 came in at the end as king, and Kevin Costner once again played himself.  Lo and behold: Michael Kamen wrote the music for that movie.  And Michael Kamen is the writer of the theme for From The Earth to The Moon.

Ah, recycling is a wonderful thing.  Especially with good music.  Kamen has tweaked the theme in the intervening 17 years–all to the better.

Making Venison Jerky: Jay’s Much Requested Recipe

24 Nov

Any portion of venison can be made into good jerky if it has all fat and connective tissue removed from it.  The lean meat should be cut into strips one inch wide and 1/4 inch thick.
Weigh the amount of prepared meat and calculate the appropriate amount of spices.  Add the spice mix while moving and kneading the meat so the spices are evenly distributed thoughout.
Refrigerate the mixture in an airtight container for 2-4 days.  When ready to dry the meat place the pieces one layer thick on cookie racks or another type of grill.
The venison can be dried in an oven, over a wood stove, or in a smoker.  If an oven is used, the door must be left open ½ inch to allow moisture to escape.  The desired drying temperature is 150 degrees F.  The jerky will dry in 6-8 hours at this temperature.  Higher temperatures will cause the meat to cook and burn rather than dry.  Flip the pieces once after the first 1 ½ hours.  Remove when dry but not dessicated.

•    Remember- the effort you put into preparation will generally determine the quality of product you produce.

Spices for 2 ½ pounds meat

1 tsp. White pepper        1 tsp. Onion powder
2/3 tsp. Black pepper        1 T. Garlic powder
2 ½ tsp. Salt                1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp Season-all

Smoked salt or liquid smoke is good, if available.  Substitute more smoked salt for regular salt.

jerky08

Annals of the Western Shore

23 Nov

Just finished Ursula Le Guin’s newest trilogy; Gifts, Voices, Powers are the individual titles.  Like many of her books, they are to be found in the young adult section of the library.  Thank Heaven there are writers of her quality found in that genre.

Each book is about a character or two from a different geographical place, culture, and people group on the “Western Shore”.  Each main character is a young person, with different particulars but similar story arc, that of maturing, coming into one’s calling and gifts, facing reality, discerning what is true.  After the first book, there is some intertwining of characters.

The series points to the working of divine intervention in our lives.  Each book has a lot to say about the importance of belief, truth, morality.  In each culture imagined by Le Guin the observance of religious duties is a priority.  That different spirits interact with different people groups is presented as fact. Le Guin does not divorce action from belief.

That words, ideas and stories are potent, powerful, of worth, of value is the other main concept presented in these tales.  Books are important.  In her stories young persons who are able to memorize and share stories, songs and poems similar to those found in the Iliad, the Aeneid, and the Bible are presented as talented, gifted, special.  Their abilities make room for them.  Being literate and educated is always presented as the enviable best option.  Educated in her world means a firm grasp on literature and the written and spoken word.

There is not overt, but not disguised discussion about many ugly sides of human activity: slavery, revenge, rape, power used to hurt the powerless, torture.  Many different ideas and examples of how families and societies can be run, positive and negative.

Highly recommended for older teen on up.

Are you free?

23 Nov

“Men have to learn to be free.

Being a slave is easy.

To be a free man you have to use your head,

you have to give here and take there,

you have to give orders to yourself.”

– Ursula Le Guin, Powers, p. 275

What’s Cooking

22 Nov

It is in the teens and low twenties here, with snow falling and at least five inches on the ground.

Yesterday I smoked four trout and we ate one for supper.  The others will be for Thanksgiving.  We had venison tenderloin (the muscle fillet mignon comes from) from the doe Jay shot cooked in butter.  Beet salad: shredded cooked beets with raw onion, seasoned rice vinegar and a bit of salt.  Potatoes.  We also had boiled deer heart with ketchup.   I put a couple bay leaves, salt and allspice berries in the cooking water which will be saved to make rice.

Also yesterday poached some chicken thighs and made mole hoping friends will come to lunch Sunday.  They will!  Those will be served with rice.  Hope to make pineapple upsidedown cake for dessert, which is started in a cast iron skillet and finished in the same pan in the oven.

Lunch was homemade pizza, one with cheese and pepperoni and the other with finely sliced onion and sliced green olives.

Tonight we will have gravlax–cured salmon–that I started a couple days ago.  There will be enough for tomorrw also.  And maybe some salad from the cold frame.

A few hours later:

gravlax

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