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lengua

17 Nov

beef lenguaShort days are the bane of my existence. I feel like I get fucking anxiety when the sun starts to set. And when I try to make lengua and cook it for 6 hours and I can’t manage to get it done before it’s dark so I can take pictures, then everything doubly feels like the worst. Dramatic much? Shut up. I’ve got like one month till the days start to get longer. I’ll make it. Pretty sure. At least I have the world’s best heater in my apartment. Probably illegal. A little metal box of fire.
pastured beef tongue pastured beef tongueI wanted to smoke this tongue. I told you, I need a little house to rent with a little yard that is just right for a smoker. You’re welcome to come hang out in my mythical backyard and smoke some meat with me, maybe. I hate most everyone. But needless to say, I made this the way I normally make it, which is nothing to be so sad at. But man, everything else is making me sad. Except the prospective name of my soon to happen Christmas party. Samantha is a genius. Or we just have the same stupid sense of humor. But she almost made me choke on my tea. Which isn’t too unusual when I’m messaging with her. Choking on or spitting out food or liquids is pretty much normal. My computer’s gross.
bone brothboiled slow cooked tongue There’s a place in San Antonio that my boss took me to (after making me sweat by being a damn Mexican jerk and not telling me the name for like 3 angst-ridden months) that’s a tortilla factory that also sells barbacoa and lengua. That’s it. They must have vats of cows’ heads that they then shred the meat for one option and shred the tongue for the other. I love San Antonio. I once made a cow’s head. It was glorious. The tongue inside his head was glorious. Here is just a tongue. We can dream together of the next time I can make the whole head, tongue intact.
slow cooked beef tongue lengua skinned beef tongueOnce again, I plead with you to use a good broth. Look at all the damn bones I used. Beef back ribs and pork spareribs. My apartment always smells, as do my clothes and probably my hair. Oops.

lengua

cow’s tongue
bone broth (I don’t care what kind of bones)
1 onion
head of garlic
4 bay leaves
salt

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the tongue in an ovenproof pot and mostly cover with broth. It’s okay if it’s not fully covered, plus it’ll kinda float anyway, so don’t get mad at it.

2. Cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop.

3. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and peel and smash all of the garlic cloves. Add these to the pot. Add in about a tablespoon of salt (assuming your broth isn’t salty).

4. Put the covered pot in the oven and cook for about 6 hours.

5. Remove the tongue from the broth and when it’s cool enough to not burn the crap out of your hand, peel the skin off. It’ll come right off.

6. Shred the tongue with a fork and then if you want, crisp it in a pan. I usually just shred off what I’m going to eat and leave the rest of the tongue intact. Crispy tongue is my favorite, but you certainly can just pile it in a tortilla. Salt it.

Tortillas, pickled onions, cilantro, salsa, radishes, avocado…um yes.

Maybe I need a new cat. A kitten. That’ll cure my ills, don’t you think?

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polish cabbage rolls

6 Nov

paleo golabki polish cabbage rollI can’t call this gołąbki because I felt like I sufficiently interpreted these such that I might get chided by a Pole. Namely, in that I didn’t include rice. Next time I will, I swear (but these are so good I’m not sure I want to change them…). I’ll try to make my grandma proud. I also feel funny because I’m no expert in Polish cuisine – it’s not exactly the most popular ethnic cuisine, with hipsters flocking to little holes-in-the-wall to debate the best pierogi in town. There are actually kind of a few restaurants here, but I haven’t made my way over to them yet. Most of them look kinda crappy. Like, trying to be cool when it’d just be better to be a no frills, oblivious to modern tastes kinda place and have really good, all homemade food. Ugh, that reminds me of a Mexican restaurant nearby that has an ADA-certifited heart-healthy menu or some junk. Stay the hell away from that place. Growing up, my mom used to make gołąbki all the time, but I was a kid and I was picky and I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t Polly-O string cheese. So, I’m kind of starting from scratch here, with nothing much to compare to. I’ve mostly seen these little pigeons (that’s what gołąbki means) with a tomato sauce, but both Polish cookbooks I have seemed to be sauce-ambivalent and said you could serve it with a number of sauces. So, I picked a mushroom sauce because I’ve been in the mood for mushrooms lately. Again, it’s interpreted – I didn’t want to use cream. If you happen to be Polish (or another Eastern European) and make these – what sauce do you like to make for them?
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lebanese beef kebabs

1 May

Man, I need to gripe. I really love a lot of things. Like, spending all this time at the grocery store getting everything you need for a while, only to come home and realize you forgot a key ingredient for one meal you were particularly excited about, oh, just the one that you happen to be about to write a blog post about! And like, trying to dig around in your literal mountain of spice jars, baggies, and all other manner of spice housings to try to find a suitable substitute for the key ingredient you forgot with spices going flying all over the kitchen floor. I also really love things like getting ready to start making lovely spice-substituted kebabs and noticing that your camera is angrily flashing its battery light at you. Then, coming to realize that there happen to only be two skewers when you were positive that there were like 6! Or even 8! And it’s really, really awesome when, because you’re a meat idiot, you really suck at forming ground meat patties and they nearly all crumble and fall through the grill grates.
The one positive thing in my life this weekend was finally, FINALLY, getting enough dirt to fill that f-ing raised bed garden. But I didn’t even have enough time to plant anything. And don’t you even think for a minute that, “well it’s okay Julie, your little seedlings will do okay for another week in their egg cartons”, because I KILLED THEM. I TOLD YOU I WOULD. I HATE MYSELF. I had been growing them outside during the day and then taking them in at night so I wouldn’t really have to harden them. But then we got some snow a couple weeks ago and I took them in and forgot to put them back outside for a few days after. During that indoor time they really started growing, so when I finally brought them back outside they were pretty much Scorching Colorado Sun newbies. Shit.
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corned beef brisket (hash)

24 Mar

You know, I’d felt kinda bad about how untimely this and my last post were in relation to St. Patrick’s Day, but really, corned beef hash is not just for March 17th. Corned beef, perhaps. Add hash? That’s much less holiday specific because it’s really freaking good and corned beef and cabbage is good, but not “I’d order this for brunch any day” good. I’d considered smoking the corned beef, but my god I’d had this hunk of meat hanging over me for a week and I wasn’t about to slave over it for another day.
So, I have a new job that I’ll be starting this coming Monday. I wish I could detail all of the absurdities of my old one. I mean, I’ve mentioned one event. That is a pretty good summation. I suppose I should have created a secret online identity when I started this blog. Then I could tell you all about the nepotism, lying, unfairness, lying, two-facedness, cowardliness, nepotism, and, oh, just some other ridiculum that went on. But I’ll be respectful, because I received so much respect there! Let’s just leave it at, when I announced that I was taking another job, the approximately 90 second conversation ended with the boss saying in a not-wishing-you-luck-at-all kind of way, “Well, good luck to you, then.” No, no, no, good fucking luck to YOU and your failing business! Love, Julie.
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carne asada brava + cumin caramelized onions

5 Mar

Things I really, really, really want for my kitchen but can’t seem to get it together to get: a mandoline and an old-fashioned citrus juicer. Not a new age-y juicer for carrots and greens and like 18 apples per tall glass of raw food cleansing juice…those things are ridiculous. It’s not that squeezing a half of a lime is hard, it’s that I’m OBSESSED with getting every.last.bit.of.juice. out of the damn thing. So I squeeze and I scrape and I moosh around until I’m convinced that there isn’t a single drop left. I just think a citrus juicer might do a speedier job and be just as thorough. Then again… would a new age-y juicer do the best job?!? Doesn’t matter. I can’t back down on my initial position now.
The night before, I made basically the same thing as this, except without the marinade, and using hanger steak. I really wish I’d saved that steak for this blog post. It’s a more interesting cut, and more typical for carne asada. I rode my bike to the grocery store the next morning, hoping I’d find some, but no luck – it’s not usually there anyway. An on-sale strip steak did just fine. Speaking of that grocery store, the past week they had avocados on sale for 3 for $1. I got so many. I think I had like 20 at one point. Or 21, which I guess is more likely. I would think up excuses to go there just to be like “oh, well I’m here, I might as well get some more avocados!…” I made guacamole with I think like 5 or 6 of them for dinner and it was gone by the next afternoon. Mostly singlehandedly. That’s a lot of avocados to eat in the span of less than a day. I impress myself sometimes. And again, woulda been nice to have that citrus juicer.
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chili con carne

31 Jan

I don’t have a lot of strong opinions about chili, not having grown up in a chili-centric place at all. We had white hots, garbage plates, and custard. And my favorite pizza, which I haven’t had in many years and probably wouldn’t be my favorite pizza anymore. Then on to Boston, which yeah, not much chili. Still, I am, after all, a food snob. Pretty snooty in general, but for sure a snoot about food. And you don’t have to have chili running through your veins since childhood to be able to appreciate good chili. Any other snobs wanting to debate that with me? Well you’re wrong.
While the dearth of things like fresh seafood and upstate apples here get me down sometimes, I feel pretty happy to be readily, abundantly, and perhaps bludgeonly able to buy whatever kind of chile I want. They really are a pretty magical ingredient, and apparently a rather large segment of the population here agrees. I also can get bulk dried hibiscus flowers. (What do you do with those besides steep them, anything interesting??) I feel like anything with ancho peppers in it has got to be wonderful (better do them justice). Joe made an ancho pepper and pumpkin mole the other day. The pumpkin had been sitting on the counter for probably since like Thanksgiving. I have no idea. Good thing they’re hardy. Mole was sweet.
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bobotie

15 Dec

On Saturday, as part of my very successfully Christmasy advent activity roster, I went ice skating at the stuffy Denver Country Club for Joe’s company’s Christmas party. During a rip roaring raucous game of broom ball, I fell backward onto my right wrist. Did I forget to mention that I’m not the best skater? The only way I know how to stop is to run into the rink wall. I really had no business trying to play a game on the ice with some rather skilled skaters… In any case, using a knife to chop anything harder than an onion is pretty much horrible. Enter bobotie. Like the best meatloafy dish known to man, and which also includes minimal chopping. It’s an iconic South African dish that is served with this glorious chutney that I kind of cooked to a hard candy because I decided I wanted to take a bath and may or may not have completely forgotten that I was reducing the sauce on the stove top.
I don’t know much at all about South African food. I knew one guy from South Africa and I thought he was the worst person ever. But I like bobotie, so my thoughts on the country are turning a little. Not only is it a curry-spiced hunk of ground meat studded with dried fruit, but it’s topped with an egg custard. If you aren’t as poor as me, you will make this out of lamb. Or even a mixture of beef and lamb. Usually I seem to be able to find ground lamb on sale at my grocery store – the this-is-about-to-go-bad kind of sale. But there was none of that when I went shopping for this. I did get grass-fed ground beef for $3.97/lb. Thought that was decent. This will be so so so so so good with lamb. I love lamb. (PS please get me a microplane for Christmas, thanks God. And Tebow.)
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