Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Husband & I Have an Eating Disorder

Apparently if you don't eat processed foods you have an eating disorder.
Orthorexia  (not to be confused with Orthorexia nervosa):

Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.

Coined by Steven Bratman, MD, he readily admits he's not a nutrition specialist. Weird.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week 29 - No Gluten

Artichokes and more artichokes. Oh, and a baked potato

Eggs and fried potatoes.

Pork stirfry with rice.

Cracked crab with a cabbage salad and artichokes.

Venison burgers with a cabbage salad and artichokes.

Pork chops with mashed potatoes and chard from our garden.

Smoked duck, kohlrabi, mushroom, and onion stir fry with an orange sauce and rice. 

Reflections - 
Since the cold I had several weeks ago my asthma has been bothering me pretty badly. Usually it manifests itself as a dry, hacking cough. On Thursday my friend, Michele, posted an article on a link between gluten and asthma. I'd been kind of thinking about going sans gluten but this kind of pushed me over the edge. That day I noticed that when I eat bread my coughing got worse so I'm going to see if my asthmatic cough will go away faster if I remove gluten from my diet. So far, even after just two days, I've noticed a marked difference. I'm not hacking before bed, which to me is huge because it means I (and Tom) can fall asleep faster. So we'll see if this works. As for Tom, he's still eating bread and other foods with gluten in them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do You Eat Meat and Drink Milk?

I'm not a vegan and probably never will be. I eat meat, dairy and eggs pretty regularly, though admittedly less than the average American. I should probably eat more eggs since we get so many, but I digress....

It's incredibly important that people know what they are eating. What goes into the food they eat and how it's produced. Most of you that follow this blog are more than aware of the atrocities committed against animals and humans alike in our industrialized food system. This post is for those that don't know, so I please ask you to share this with who you can because I believe everyone needs to see it regardless of how difficult it is. Change cannot come until people are angry enough to do something about it. And apparently there just aren't enough of us pissed off yet to see any big changes.

But we are getting heard. Iowa and Florida are both trying to silence us by passing legislation making it illegal to film or photograph animal abuse and health violations on farms. Hopefully these bills don't pass because they would take away a huge amount of leverage we have to correct the system.

An article came out today on Grist about treatment of animals on these factory farms and how that treatment poses major health risks to us. The article includes a very disturbing video that I've included. This is a farm that raises dairy cows - calves in particular. Not meat animals, but dairy animals. This isn't the only video I've seen involving cruelty on dairy farms, but it is one of the worst I've seen. One has to wonder what makes people so violent and uncaring. It shows that for factory farms, animals are simply objects that can be disposed of with any means.

But you have options to fight this. Michael Pollan touts voting with your fork. I highly recommend doing this. But what can you do? Well, going vegan is the obvious option, though it's not the only one. Knowing you're farmers is the best option if you decide to continue to eat animals products. Don't just rely on labels. "Organic" doesn't always equal "humane." There are organic dairies out there though that are humane. There are small producers and large producers that do care. Here in the SF Bay Area we have several, including Straus Creamery, Organic Pastures, and Clover Stornetta (I've actually toured one of their organic farms and they are the only dairy in the U.S. to be certified by the American Humane Association). Visit the Animal Welfare Approved site and locate local farms that are certified with them.

To ignore this and continue buying factory farmed animal products is to support these actions. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 28

Roasted brined wild turkey
Frittata with ham mushrooms and onions.

Eggs and ham

Vegetable stirfry

Beans and a cabbage salad from our garden.

Roasted brined turkey that Tom hunted with mashed potatoes and asparagus from the garden.

Turkey tacos with homemade guacamole, spanish rice, leftover beans and a cabbage salad.

Tom had pork chops. I was out celebrating my friends' birthday.

I think the most notable thing this week was Tom started hunting. On his first trip he successfully got an 18lb turkey. It dressed out to 13.5lbs. While it was a bit tough, we brined it and it was still quite tasty. We stripped the carcass and boiled it down for broth with carrots and onions. We'll use that broth for soups and stew later.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going Whole Hog - The 27lb Ham

 Back in early September we had bought 1/8 of a steer. It equaled about 40 lbs of beef. We finally finished it off at the end of February. This time we decided to go a bit bigger but with a meat that we prefer over beef - pig. The bonus of doing pig is that we can also utilize it for Charcutepalooza.

We were originally going to raise our own hogs on someone's rural property but when that didn't seem to pan out we decided to just buy a live hog from someone that had already raised it to market weight. We were lucky to find an organic dairy farmer that just so happened to raise 4 hogs as a side project. The hogs were fed all organic feed. The hogs were large, but we weren't prepared for the actual weight. We were thinking the one we picked was maybe 250lbs live weight. Turns out it was closer to 450lbs. Yeah, we were just a bit off. The hanging weight on the hog was 287lbs.

I was definitely looking forward to curing the 25lbs of pork belly into bacon and pancetta. We have the head so I can make giancale or even head cheese. The butcher left us the shoulders whole so we can make sausage.

But this month's challenge for Charcutepalooza was a hot smoke. The example used for hot smoking was Canadian bacon. Our butcher, unfortunately cut the tenderloins into chops so we couldn't make Canadian bacon. So we decided to go with a whole ham. The hams weighed 27lbs. Go big or go home right?

Removing the aitch bone

We cut the hock off of the ham, removed the aitch bone and then brined it. After removing the hock and aitch bone we got it down to 25lbs. We brined it for 14 days. The directions said half a day of brining per pound for an American Style Holiday glazed ham. Unfortunately, even with the extra day and half of brining and doubling the brine recipe, when all was said and done, this wasn't long enough. The interior of the ham didn't get cured. Oh well, it's still very tasty.

Cat is eyeing the ham
We have a lot of applewood stacked in our yard from a friend's tree. We decided to use that for the smoking. The ham barely fit in our smoker. After 2 hours I glazed it. To reach the required 155 deg internal temperature it took 13 hours to hot smoke. Poor Tom, after hunting all day on Saturday had to get up at 3am on Sunday to pull it out of the smoker and do the final glaze. But it came out amazing! It's smokey with a subtle salty sweetness. I'd never had real ham - only the highly processed stuff that people serve on the holidays. This is how ham is supposed to taste like.

We did a very simple meal. We fried up some slices and served it up with some fresh fried eggs from our hens for a Sunday morning breakfast. The weather was lovely so we could eat outside. Sometimes the simple meals are the best tasting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weeks 26 & 27

OK, I have to admit, life has been a bit hectic with the baby goats and being sick so I totally forgot to post week 26. Not only that, I forgot to even keep tabs on it, so I don't have all my meals from that week. So I'll just skip on ahead to what I do remember eating.

We hosted a dinner at our house and served pork chops with pasta, bread, and swiss chard. Friends brough dishes as well.

I was home sick so that morning I started boiling down a duck and chicken carcass and made vegetable rice soup that evening.

BBQ chicken with tortillas, spanish rice and guacamole.

Pork shoulder braised in tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots.

Spaghetti! I got lazy and bought some local artisan pasta from the Fatted Calf when I picked up the sausage.

Meatloaf with grassfed beef, onions, mushrooms served with sweet potatoes

Pizza with squash, onions, mushrooms and bacon.

Bacon and Eggs

Pork chops with asparagus from our garden and mashed potatoes

Biscuits and gravy with broccoli and Baconator ice cream for dessert

We've got so much going on here and with that we're so behind. I'm starting to feel worried about having enough food in the garden for our 3 months without buying food. That said, we've decided what we're going to do when the year is up. We're going to continue doing this crazy project with one small change. We're going to allow ourselves one restaurant meal per month. I think this will definitely make us feel less deprived while also making that restaurant visit somewhere special. We're not going to waste our one month visit on crappy food.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Milk! We've Got It!

If you've been following our other blog you would have read about our goats kidding. Now that Bella's kids are 3 weeks old we've been milking her for a week. Since they aren't really a dairy breed they aren't high producers. They also aren't at peak production - which they will reach around day 70. That said we're getting just over a cup per milking from her. We'll probably get less from Daisy since this is her first freshening, but I'll be happy if we get two cups of milk a day. Just enough for us for right now.

The milk is phenomenal. It's rich and sweet. It's not goaty at all. On the second day the cream rises, which is unusual for goat milk which is generally naturally homogenized. But pygmy goat milk is a bit different from dairy goat milk. It has a higher fat content which helps keep it from tasting goaty. It also makes it separate easier.

The other bonus is that we finally can drink raw milk. Raw cow's milk in California is nearly impossible to find and when you can find it, it's prohibitively expensive. I did buy a pint of raw cow's milk once as a treat, but it wasn't something I could buy regularly. Raw goats milk is not available in California at all except for pet consumption. Btu now we have a regular source and we know the condition of the animal it's coming from. This will make live a lot easier when eliminate the buying of all food.

By the way, I haven't forgotten about the cooking challenges. I'll just have to mob post about them when I write them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

6 Months!

It's April 1st which means we have officially been on this crazy journey for 6 months now. 6 months! It's crazy! Halfway through this thing. I've been thinking about how this is a finite journey and will eventually have to end. It's kind of a bummer. I actually enjoy doing this.

But being at the 6 month mark also means that we only have 3 months before giving up buying food completely. I'm really nervous about that now that we're about a month behind on our garden. 

So now I'm wondering what we should do once our year is up? I'd like to continue the no-groceries thing but lighten up on the going out part. Some days it's just more convenient to pick up a sandwich or something than cook dinner. Like tonight when we have to spend most of our time watching our goat who is threatening labor.

What do you think we should do after our year is up?