Category: Sense

Spot a trend: have you gone raw?

butter from 36 hrs. mature cream

It looks like we’re pretty good at trend spotting, aren’t we now? Last week I posted about our cow share and weekly supply of Nutmeg’s raw milky goodness, and this week two major newspapers in the country published articles about raw milk.

The NYT asked, "should this milk be illegal?", and the Washington Post wondered if raw milk is udderly foolish.

And me? I’m on to my third pound of butter. Perhaps when I got to my tenth I’d have this figured out so I coould tell you all about it. Bordier, watch out, there’s a new crémière in town. 😉

Meanwhile, here is a whole other kind of raw. A tad, um, NSFW, if you asked me.

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How I went to dinner and came home with a cow

moooooo

I’m not exactly sure how it happened. I got all dressed up to go to dinner, an al fresco barbeque at Rebecca’s, and before the day is over I milked a sheep, witnessed a magical – if ever so mildly yucky – moment of piglets being born – the piglets were cute and pink and spotted and got big floppy ears, but before all that they were wet and mucous-y and bloody and stuff. Eh.

And to top it all off properly, we came home with a cow. Ok, not a whole cow. Honestly. We just became a part owner of one. And now we get two gallons of her milk weekly – unpasteurized, non-homogenized, raw milk, just the way the gods intended.

What to do with raw milk? The possibilities are endless. I’m thinking homemade butter, crème fraiche, clotted cream, et cetera et cetera. I’ll try it all, I think, and will tell you all about it. Meanwhile, I’ll just introduce you to Nutmeg, our gorgeous Normande cow in the picture above. And you can read about Bob and Jean of Deep Roots Ranch who graciously allowed us to co-own Nutmeg. You can also check out our friend Rebecca’s blog, whose sheep farm and budding Basque-style sheep-cheese making operation is the genesis of all this. When her cheese making is fully underway I’ll tell you more about it, I promise.

Right, and you can also read all about cow sharing and how to get your own supply of real milk. And now that you’re done with the Harry Potter book you might even have time to re-read that Michael Pollan’s Op-Ed piece in the NYT about the very important Farm Food Bill that will affect us all. (Thanks to Diane who reminded me of this important issue recently.)

Now back to my usual frivolity. With my city girl cred receding rapidly, I came home and decided to order some shoes. And what did I buy? A pair of cute rainboots from Tar-jay so next time I go visit Nutmeg and the piggies and the sheeps I would have something to wear. Oy.

I. Need. Help.

P.S. If you’re going to Blogher, be sure to say hi and help me in person.
P.P.S. If you’ve got a great clotted cream recipe, that’ll be a great help too. My first clotted cream attempted failed rather miserably. Recipe, anyone?

P.P.P.S. More pictures of Nutmeg and the farm where she lives….

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I am not a plastic bag.

Iamnotasheep

…no, not a sheep either.

Notaplasticbag
All the bruhaha behind that thing that is not a plastic bag gave me a chuckle today. Lining up a day early to get your hands on one? A near riot at a mall in Hong Kong? What do they think this thing is, an iPhone?

Not that I have a problem with the not-plastic-bag thingy, mind you. I think the campaign is ultimately laudable. Getting more people to quit using disposable grocery bags is a great thing for the environment. But why should we all carry the same bag? Perhaps the right message on that bag is not ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ but more like ‘I’m a sheep’.

Figure8bag_2For those not interested in going b-a-h, let me show you a few other fun bags that are just as righteous as that thing that is not a plastic bag. The choices are endless, really. You can even find bags that are themselves reused. Reused-reusable bags, how meta is that? A company called Elsewares.com sells rad shopping bags made from rescued Dacron sails and other super cool canvas bags just perfect for the trip to your local organic supermarket.

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How to cook bugs

Here’s what’s been cooking up at Manresa lately. Not something pretty – and pretty tasty – on a plate as usual. This one is just a tad more macabre. Chef’s been personally cooking bugs that our lovely gardener Cynthia had collected just for this purpose.

This was just another day in the life of a biodynamic garden. You’ve heard of that garden, yes? The procedure is called the ashing of pests – such a poetic name. It calls for collecting the pests that infest a farm, dry roasting them in a cast iron pan until they are burnt to a crisp. The cooked bugs are then crushed in a mortar until they are turned into ash, and mixed with ash from a wood burning stove. The resulting dust is sprinkled around the garden, particularly in the areas most affected by the bug infestation.

The ash is supposed to prevent the bugs returning.
Let this be a lesson to you bugs: don’t f*** with my garden. I think that’s the message – a slightly less gruesome procedure than mounting dead bugs like butterfly specimen and sticking them in the ground as a warning, huh? And it certainly beats spraying pesticides in my book.

I wonder if the ashing of the pests work in life outside the garden as well? What do you think? Don’t you have one or two pests in your life you wouldn’t mind grinding into ash? Well, ok, before someone calls the cops on me, I certainly didn’t mean grinding them into ash, but, you know, perhaps a bit of hair, or a half eaten sandwich from their plate. Wouldn’t it be great? A sprinkle here, a sprinkle there, and p-o-o-f!

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baking up a storm

IMG_7493.jpg

My hand hurts when I type right now, so I’ve been baking instead. Playing with different dough recipes, fillings, fruits, berries – you name it. I’ve tried it. The best combination so far is this, a free-formed tart, with a smear of frangipane and a fan of nectarine slices. I’d give you a recipe, but unfortunately I’ve been playing mix and match with many different recipes, so, currently my frangipane recipe yields about 13oz of frangipane – that would be about 3 cup’s worth – while this tart needs only a thickish smear as the base for the fruit. Not entirely practical, is it? You’ll just have to be content with a picture for now I’m afraid. Hopefully I’ll get the formula down soon.

Pretty picture though, no? Delicious too if I might add.

I should tell you also about that unmitigated disaster that was a tomato and roquefort tart this afternoon. The same dough I made this open-faced tart with, with a filling made of a combination of Roquefort cheese, Boursin – yes that Boursin – and whipped cream, then layered on top with the first crop of dry-farmed tomatoes – so fresh I picked them myself from Joe’s farm today. Don’t ask me why this combination. It sounded such a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, not so much with the end result. The cheese mixture turned out a rather disturbing shade of green – sort of like the stuff that grows in old, dirty sink – and no amount of lovely tomatoes would save it. Sad.

Meanwhile, my hands smell of butter. My house smells of butter. Even little Ella does too. Life is not so bad.

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