BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘meat

Rabbit Kidney: Like Faintly Urine-Flavored Encased Pate

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There's a reason Julia Sunkler sells this organ meat as pet food.

Kidney Yakitori: Looks a little too good to be true. At least the dog loved it.

Let’s just say this enthusiastic “nose to tail” eater has hit her wall.  I have reservations, Anthony Bourdain. Andrew Zimmern, you’re too bizarre for me. Fergus Henderson, I can’t quite swallow the whole beast.

Tongue is no problem, whether from a cow, lamb or duck. Liver, cheek, jowl and belly I love. But kidney, at least rabbit kidney, I now know I do not. It’s one piece of offal that was pretty awful. I won’t be eager to try any animal’s kidney (lamb is used for steak and kidney pie), faintly urine-flavored and -scented as it is, again.

Why did I try it? Well, I got into rabbit for a recent article and perhaps the onslaught of criticism I received emboldened me to try some more rogue fare. I sauteed up some rabbit liver, which surprisingly tasted just like that of a chicken’s and made a delicious pate. Then I saw an episode of Treme, where the feisty but reckless chef Janette plates up rabbit kidney skewers and lamb neck when a Who’s Who of NYC chefs (David Chang, Eric Ripert) come to dine in her beleaguered post-Katrina New Orleans restaurant. And I saw Julia Sunkler had kidneys at her My Pharm stand, but in a big bag packaged for pet food. I asked her to set a pound aside for me next time she did slaughtering. It’s all about making the most of the animal.

A sweet soy marinade wasn't enough to mask the faint urine flavor. Not that I know what urine takes like.

But the dogs can have ’em. James Joyce had it right, describing his protagonist’s dietary habits in Ulysses: “Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices fried with crust crumbs, fried hencod’s roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.” Kidneys are just pretty gross. Even the soy tamari-honey-sesame oil-garlic-ginger marinade didn’t do much for their off-taste and mushy, gooey consistency. Perhaps it’s better chopped up in a stuffed than roasted whole? You wonder how many toxins you pick up with waste eliminating organs such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys, anyway. Still, when you think about it, kidneys are less gross than intestines (chitlins, tripe, and more commonly, sausage casings) that we seem to consume with relish. After all, urine is sterile. So check it off my list. Now onto chicken heart?

Rabbit liver virgin no more.

Chopped rabbit liver.

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Written by baltimoregon

June 27, 2010 at 2:05 am

Wasted Wild Duck

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The hunter hadn't even removed the guts or head

Unfortunately the tiny breast had already atrophied.

But of course we’d want a hunter’s spare wild duck, I said, as visions of the seared red breast, with a crisp layer of fat, danced in my head. But this was not your standard Long Island duck. This was a small wild one (maybe a wigeon), feathers and all. Apparently the breast is the only part worth cooking and rather than pluck each feather, you’re just advised to pull off the feathered skin in one piece,  like a glove (I hear you do rabbits the same way). This was the duck Dan had smoked on his fly-out here that so enchanted me.

We tried to cut it up, though something wasn’t right. The breast seemed to have started to decay, with some sort of necrosis. I heard you were supposed to gut game right away, so perhaps the intact insides contributed to the problem? I flipped out. Granted, we had the hairy waterfowl in the fridge a day or two before tackling it, so maybe that was the problem? It felt ominous to have the feathered friend in the fridge. Why did this bother me when I handled (with assistance, of course) the turkey at Afton Field Farm with no problem?

I feel guilty we failed. It was a tiny bird, but it especially feels bad to waste food when people are starving and scrambling to survive in Haiti. In fact, just thinking and writing about food has felt vacuous and out-of-touch this week with all that suffering there. And of course, the situation was dire there far before this tragedy. But it’s not until catastrophe forces a neglected nation into the news that we remember those people subsisting on dirt and less than $2 a day. I keep thinking of the Haitian Women’s Program folks I befriended in Flatbush while reporting on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean community. We’ve made our donations to Doctors Without Borders and Portland-based Mercy Corps. Shouldn’t we do more? We’re at least trying to be thankful for each precious meal.

Written by baltimoregon

January 19, 2010 at 1:35 am

Oregon Radio Debut: The KBOO Food Show

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Portland chef Naomi Pomeroy, of Beast bistro, featured in Meatpaper's Spring 2009 "Pig" issue (Photo by Alicia J. Rose /Flickr Creative Commons)

 (Click here to hear the archived show.)

I love the power of the unadorned human voice. And so I increasingly find myself gravitating towards radio, perhaps our most enduring, flexible and irrepressible forms of media that continues to thrive in this digital age. I spent two nights blindly fumbling through Pro Tools to sloppily edit my first produced radio piece on the new Emergency Food Pantry on-campus here at Oregon State. It will debut tomorrow during my second time co-hosting the monthly KBOO Food Show! Join me:

Announcing the April 15 KBOO FOOD SHOW: Meat Matters (Tune in at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST on 90.7 FM in Portland, 100.7 FM in Corvallis, Hood River at 91.9 FM or live-stream  at http://kboo.fm/)
Maybe you already ate less meat for environmental, ethical or health reasons. Or has the recession made you forgo choice cuts of steak and lamb? Perhaps you’re a former vegetarian now at peace with consuming local, sustainably-raised meats (especially bacon)? Regardless, we know meat matters concern you, vegan and carnivore alike.
On Wednesday’s show we’ll hear from:
•     Sasha Wizansky, the co-founder/editor of Meatpaper, the visceral arts and ideas magazine that probes meat culture. Meatpaper is donating a free subscription to the third person to call (503) 231-8187 after the interview!
•    A “State Meat Working Group” formed to help more small farmers process their livestock, given Oregon’s shortage of USDA-inspected facilities.
•    The new Emergency Food Pantry at Oregon State University, the only known on-campus assistance site in Oregon where volunteers serve their fellow students.
•    Miriam Widman’s 89-year-old mother, on working for butchers and the black market for meat during World War II.
Poppy would be proud! Speaking of my beloved grandfather, it is he who inspired this obsessive love of interviewing folks and recording their stories. See my “Racing and Recording Against Time” essay here.

 

 

Written by baltimoregon

April 15, 2009 at 1:07 am

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