The Thanksgiving holiday was different for a lot of us this year, and while the reasons for it are sad, I am not upset with how our holiday dinner turned out. We had Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, good china and silver. Ate until we were fit to burst, then settled in to watch Miracle on 34th St.
It seems like everyone has a love/hate relationship with homemade pie crust. Either you have a pie crust recipe that you adore and works fabulously for you every time, or you can never get pie crust to work, no matter how many tips, tricks, or recipes you try. Fear not, failures happen to the best of us, I tried to make a gluten free pie crust one day and it could only be described as gooey.
Lard has been a household staple around the globe for millennia, but the advent of vegetable oils and shortenings pushed it out, claiming it was damaging and unhealthy. But, fear not you can make your own and bring back the tradition. While rendering lard can seem scary and intimidating, it’s really not as bad as it seems. It is literally chop, heat, and pour. Keep reading, and learn how to bring this pantry staple to your own kitchen.
I am spoiled by my coworkers, I really am. They are the kind of guys you can call to bail you out of the ditch or jail. Though I haven’t tried the latter yet and have no plans to .
There is a lot of debate when it comes to if beef is good for you or the environment. What complicates things, and I think causes a lot of confusion, is it depends on how the cow is raised. If the cow spent it’s life on lush pastures and didn’t eat grain, then that animal will deeply nourish your body and help the environment. If that cow was raised in a feedlot with thousands of it’s closest friends then that animal is more likely to contribute to environmental degradation, antibiotic resistance and E-coli breakouts.
Because product labeling can be so vague and meaningless, it has become more important than ever to develop a trusting relationship with your local farmer. You should be comfortable asking questions about how your food was raised, managed, fed and the farmer should be equally willing to talk to you and even show you.
Farming is one of those things where there is no substitute for hands on experience and first hand learning. Even pasture walks and farm tours are a great way to see what other farmers are doing and how they handle problems and challenges. The bad news is that it isn’t always possible to learn first hand from an expert. Books can often help fill in some of the gaps and give you ideas and starting points for things to try on your own farm. Winter often leaves a slow season when outside work diminishes and there is plenty of time for researching and learning by the wood stove with a hot drink at hand.
I really cannot follow a recipe to save myself. I always have to change something and sometimes the end result only vaguely resembles the original recipe, in that it was inspired by it. A lot of the recipes I create end up being the result of contemplating what is in the fridge and how ambitious I feel that night.
Rendering your own tallow can seem crazy intimidating at first, I think I had beef suet sitting in my freezer for over a year before I got up the courage to try my hand at rendering it down into tallow. Once I finally found the courage (and ambition, let’s be honest) I couldn’t believe how easy and simple it was.
Our ancestors have been utilizing beef tallow for thousands of years, all the way back to ancient Babylonians, Australian aborigines, American Indians and passed all the way down to our great grandmothers. During the 20th century the use of animal fats fell out of favor with the creation of vegetable shortening and claims that animal fats were unhealthy.