Monday, May 17, 2010
I Want Meat!
For the last 20 or more years, meat (lean meat) has been only a small portion of my diet. The bulk of my foods have been cereal grains, legumes and vegetables, with meat/fish generally as often as not as a side dish or flavoring in a stew or beans. I would guess that probably half my main meals (dinner) seldom contained as much as a full serving of meat.
This new diet protocol has changed all that, and I am now eating some kind of pastured meat (beef, lamb, pork, or fowl and preferably somewhat fatty) or fish 2-3 times a day. Actually, fish plays only a very small part in my diet because most of the available fish is mercury-contaminated. I could eat wild salmon once or twice a week, but not at $20 or more per pound; however, sometimes I can get rainbow trout from the cold, clear creeks in our local forested mountains. I currently get the good fish oils (like omega-3's) from supplements.
More than once lately I have 'heard' my mother's voice (in my head) telling about my eating habits as a small child sitting in a high-chair. She said I'd bang my spoon on the high-chair tray repeatedly, emphatically hollering, "I want meat! I want meat!"
I am getting accustomed to more meat, and I really like it. However, I need to learn to cook a wider variety of meats because the same few things day after day gets boring. Additionally, I can feed myself for a less money if I purchase a half, or a quarter, side of grass-fed beef/lamb, etc. at a time, and freeze it. There are cuts of meat that will be included in bulk orders which I seldom, if ever, cook, and they have a higher nutritional value than the muscle meats we find in the stores. There certainly will be a learning curve, LOL! Grass-fed meats tend to be less marbled, and are better cooked long and slow. I see lots of braising in my future!
I have eaten goat, but it was years ago in a Mexican restaurant and consumed with a lot of margaritas so I can't really say I know what it tastes like. I can get local grass-fed, organic quail, rabbit, partridge, duck and turkey in addition to chicken. I can also get grass-fed beef liver, heart and tongue, neither of which have I eaten in many, many years. I'm still looking for sheep sweetbreads. Sweetbreads in a cream sauce served over a puff pastry shell was a favorite dish my mother loved.
Lately I have been reading how-to's on making a variety of pates, terrines and rillettes, and ideas for a smoker. I've made venison sausages without nitrates, but haven't made any smoked sausages, bacon or hocks. I also want to do some cured meats. I feel confident I can make really good pancetta for far less than the $10-14 per pound online.
When I finally receive my meat orders start making some of these items, I'll post recipes and photos.