Été nous consomme Tuesday, Jul 18 2017 

Summer consumes us.

Leg of lamb.  All fancy like.

The circle of farm life has left us busily but happily scrambling to dispatch the creatures in a judicious, efficient and resourceful manner. Beyond the achingly ubiquitous pork chops -which call into question our charming consumers’ knowledge of porcine anatomy, breadth of cookery skills and unlimited credit- there are hams, shanks, offal, shoulders, bellies, nipples, wings and horns to deal with.

The only cut it would seem that comes from the pig.

Tournedos. Tenderloin in the loin, wrapped in salt cured fatback with herbs.

Pork paupiettes. Pork cutlet stuffed with sausage, wrapped with pancetta and caul fat.

Pâté en croûte. Pork with almonds and cranberries soaked in brandy from down the  road.

Mini boneless hams. Breaded, pressed shanks.

The ham. Pressed.

Tubesteak. All kinds.

Boudin blanc with black olives and cappocola.

Culatello. In a fresh pig’s bladder courtesy the fine folks at Craft Butcher’s Pantry.

With the lard we’ve been making brioche and Cherokee biscuits with the bacon drippings and bacon bits. Using Farmer Ground Flour from upstate NY.

Coq au vin. Leg simmered in wine and a sauce made from onions.

Beaucoup d’agneau Tuesday, Feb 28 2017 

A whole lotta lamb

33173129665_b58574e313_z

Abstract 21st Century Impressionist lamb decoupage.  ca. 2017

Hello cherished reader.  A fair amount of lamb has been coming in. They are between 9-12 months, the proper age to qualify for the “lamb” distinction.  Anything else is deemed “mutton” after the slaughterhouse dentist takes a peek at their grill.  They are broken down into primals and sub-primals by hand with nothing more than a boning knife and a cleaver in the old world “seam butchery” manner.  Muscle by muscle, tied up all nice. I do use the band saw to trim the ends of the shanks.  The band saw also makes quick work of pumpkins. And fingers when showing off for the camera.

32111547960_e6087009a6_z

Stubby paring knife was made at prison camp.

The shoulders become “melons”, or pumpkins.  Shank is cut off, humerus and scapula removed.  It is stuffed with a bit of merguez, bound with some strips of ventrèche (French answer to pancetta), wrapped in caul fat, then some cat’s cradle string work to cinch it all nice & tight.  A little disc of fatback covers the string intersection (and melts nicely) and a little sprig of parsley make just so faaaaaabulous.

31617259740_ab21715068_z

Knot’s landing.

The saddles are painstakingly, carefully and pleasantly dispatched of bone, gristle, sinew, fat, hair, fuzz, lead, and/or buckshot then sprinkled with magic seasoning (magic juniper berries in the fall/winter, dingleberries when in season, some rosemary, sand, dried chili) then rolled up all nice & straight like they taught me in the Paris, France at Hugo Desnoyer’s premier butcher shop.

31953972526_f9e771eb70_z

Bambi’s 7-point father picked off from 75 yds.

Then the leg is either broken down into individual muscles and kept whole (the bone is delicately, almost sexily carved and pulled out with the shank) and tied up, as in the venison (close enough) roast above.

31617259970_fb820e5873_z

B-cup, breast stuffed with almonds and giblets.

Nothing really interesting about the lamb rack (no pictures) and when I’m feeling more whimsical than usual, the lamb breast is stuffed with trimmings, the heart, liver, tongue, gizzards, kidney, gills and olives.  Very old world Frenchy stuff.

32190387470_8ca3742a9a_z

Lamb jam fans.

And then the trimmings get ground up and mixed with leftover bread turned into crumbs, grated Pecorino cheese, spices, some herbs, lemon zest, paprika, ground Trump flyers (for greatness) and then give a little lemon beanie and caul fat which will roast, toast and melt nicely.  “Meatballs”for the philistines, “crepinettes”for the rest who know how to use utensils and say hello/please/thank you.  Thank you.

Chant du Cygne Sunday, Apr 10 2016 

Swan song en croûte.

25282031485_5269a902a0[1]

Inscribe the date.

A final somewhat selfish fabrication to celebrate and honor the nuptials of 2 cherished, well deserving friends who are straight after all.   Tamworth pâté en croûte with heart, tongue, wedding vegetables and mini-mortadella inlay.

24650930414_4aa6f74b0d[1]

Both their birthdays, too.

After 13 years and a few months, there’s no more juice left to squeeze, so fuck it, we’re done.  There have been countless friends, a reunion with a sister, 5 issues of Gluttony Digest, a dozen freedom BBQ’s, suckling pigs, turkey variations, fancy pumpkin, jobs here and there, bars that have expired, bars that have been raised, 2 cats, 2 presidents, legalized pot, statehood not, some competitions, softball, a blog, pictures, trips, broken thumb, brownouts, blackout, heartache, dwindling friends, steeper rents and relentless sirens at all times of the day and night.

24914797039_50a38923b4[1]

There’s a swell bell.

My sweetheart, the cats, bric-a-brac and I going out to pasture to become sharecroppers and manage a little slice of country living in Einstein’s getaway on the Northern tine of  Eastern Long Island  nestled between the LI sound, Peconic bay and some shitty vineyards.  We’ll be living in a 1940’s house with an original built-in murphy-bed style ironing board on an organic sheep farm with pigs, chickens and a garden; upstream and closer to the source of food. We’ll eventually help open and run a full service butchery & grocer using products grown on the 28 acres outside.  What’s more, there is a 2 acre garden where we can grow jelly beans, cotton candy and our very own dildo tree.  Hurray.

25285924646_c75225e5b9[1]

A little lopsided, as is often the case with love.

Thank you all for your readership. There are arcane liquor and zoning laws up here, cellphone service is sporadic, there are many spiteful low-watt Trump supporters and public transportation is virtually non-existent save for the occasional single-track diesel train that still runs in 2016. So we are pretty much moving back in time with the rest of you, but the barns and people are charming even if they tawlk funny.

22178131465_fbdd9597b2[1]

Looking out my backdoor.