Tallow? Is It Me You’re Cooking For?

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When I’m not sitting around eating bon bons or catching up on Povich “You Are NOT The Father!” montages, I make busts out of tallow.

Otto thought this guy looked like Boo, the ghost in Super Mario Bros 3. I think it looks creepy yet delicious. I love working with tallow because it is really hard when chilled, similar to foie gras.  And McDo’s was on to something there, it makes the BEST chips/fries/les frites.

Tallow is very easy to make. It is also very healthy for you. Here’s how:

Hug your local beef farmer
After two ManPats™ on the back, ask them for beef fat
They probably won’t give it to you, but if they do
Cube the fat
Stick in heavy pan
Slowly cook those puppies until it surrenders into liquid gold
Stick in some jars
Laugh and giggle about how great your frites will taste

Then hum this song for the rest of the day:

 

Thank you, Brent, for suggesting this blog title thus kicking off some horrific cerebral process to sing this song every time I make tallow.  

Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying, I can’t believe you stuck that song in my head!

Teen Makes Croissants Old Style

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We’re lucky to have an organic old, old, old wheat farm down the road from us. We aren’t big wheat eaters, but sometimes you need to have pancakes on Sunday and that cream sauce needs a little help thickening. Normally we use Einkorn. Lately, we’ve been playing around with blé ancien ( there’s a long story in there, but it’s been a long day at the pool and I don’t want to go into it right now ). This ancient wheat is absolutely perfect for bread. It has flavor. It has texture. It makes you want to genetically alter it to produce higher yield and then mass sell it to the people to solve world hunger mwah hah hah! No, but it’s old. Hasn’t been tampered with and sits easy on the belly and system.

Our resident teen took initiative to make puff pastry with it. I’ve avoided making puff pastry because it’s like having a fifth child. You need to play with it, then let it rest, then play with it some more and then feed it. Then more rest. Then more play. The day goes on an on. I can’t be bothered. It’s summer vacation, teen grabs an idea and goes with it. Her puff pastry was a success. We agree, there are improvements, but simple tweaks to work out with repetition. Take puff pastry, add some yeast and voila! zee croissant! Two days in the making, which is more like an ex-wife than a fifth child, and her croissants came out lovely. Twenty-four little crunchy beauties were admired and devoured by the family. Enter Fraise Bonne Maman ( or “mah-mang” in the Sud Ouest ) to complete a lovely petit déjeuner.

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Farm Girl

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This is what happens when you don’t provide pre-planned, cognitive brain boosting material for your toddler.  She runs outside while you prepare dinner and plays with dried leaves in a fallen door without windows that should have been cleaned up were we not so busy with said toddler.  Look at her.  Dress unbuttoned.  Trying to balance on the window frame.  Rusty nails.  Nettle.  No shoes.  Who does she think she is?  Where is her mother!

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Who counts to eighteen, eyes closed and tries to balance on such wobbly wood?  Her fingernails might collect yuck.  She may step on a bee.  Is that a snake?

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I’ve paid money to see modern dances like this.  Her life is so simple.  Her life is so difficult.  She balances her dreams, her desires, her physical capabilities with a brain still working out how to filter her environment.  And she wants the Blue Doggy Cup!!  What don’t you understand?!!

 

A Beef Tongue No Cheek

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Our resident teenager has taken action to cook the crazy bits. This week tongue. Next week cheek. She is also up for tail, liver, heart and any other abats we have in the freezer. Or find new directions with trotters be it veau or pig. Though if she does veau pied, she’ll need to brush up on her French.

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As a huge fan of Iron Chef, I can understand taking an ingredient offered to you and making magic happen. Thankfully she has more than an hour to pull it together. Though, the children do put the pressure on as dinner time approaches and things don’t appear to be moving along.
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She seems to be enjoying cooking with the local and available ingredients. The family is enjoying tasting her work.

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DSC_9760While the kids wait, they brush up on their English reading.  Their French is amazing, so it is important to keep up with their English.  Resident teen helps with this, but she talks a bit funny.  She says, “toe-MAH-toe” and “BAH-zil” and when she vacuums, she “hoovers.”

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DSC_9751Oh and it is so hot.  The cows have a lovely forest of trees to chill in.  I do wonder if I should grab some Perrier and go join them.  We do the best we can opening the windows in the morning to let the cool breeze through, then closing before noon when the cool breeze turns warm.  If you keep these old houses in cave-mode, summer sails along.  … except for the poor fluffy creatures.  They are keeping cool the best way they know how.  Laying around, snuggling and getting up to nibble in the cool morning.

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Our neighbor’s cat likes to walk and stalk through the brown grass as it brings out that lovely touzelle color in his eyes.

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And there is Iota.  The calf that was born up at the pens.  She’s super cute and full of life.  Her mother and sister are very calm.  I’m sure she’ll settle down.  It’s all very exciting when one can pop out of mom and walk a few moments later!

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All Balloon Relationships End In Tears

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I learned these words of wisdom from a friend, we’ll call him “M. Shane.” but it is true. Oh the kiddies live and love for the life of the balloon. Yet, its joy rests on your attention and care. Because balloons pop, you see, on things like fire or grass or big brother’s foot.

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These beauties enjoyed their special purpose for a fantastic hour. As it is close to bed time, I feel the friendship extending until tomorrow. I wait, patiently with tissue for this friendship to suddenly and loudly pop. Thank you China for making balloons cheap. Thank you bubbly for learning that some great things must come to an end.

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… and this is Minty. She had her hairs cut. Then she pulled this wax figure move.

Oh What A Night

DSC_9693It didn’t rain! Happy guests eating, drinking and being merry in the plein aire. A thunderstorm arrived and left quicker than two-hundred bucks at Costco. After a quick rain, we were set for a dry and warm evening.

DSC_9508Serving plates were set and ready. As was the jam for the tart glaze and ketchup for the frites. The Madiran was for the servants.

DSC_9509This is a giant salad spinner. Two girls worked this beauty like they’ve been spinning lettuce for years ( a great resume booster ). Amazing beast. I want one.

DSC_9547Tables constructed.

DSC_9554Chairs set. Hair flipped.

DSC_9559Paper rolled.

DSC_9572Confit started.

DSC_9579Band warms up. Groupies collect.

DSC_9633Guests arrive.

DSC_9640Confit bubbles.

DSC_9629Apéro commence.

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DSC_9646Confit ready.

DSC_9649Frites a-go-go.

DSC_9651Frites monsters arrive.

DSC_9657Boys and children run.

DSC_9661Salad ( say “sah-lahd” ) and ( insert awesome cheese photo here ) is served.

DSC_9666Man who maketh tarte aux pommes taketh a swig of a much deserved bière and leans on confit man.

DSC_9685Happy guests chat and enjoy the music.

DSC_9682Tart severed with care by some of my children. Careful now, those plates slip off the tray!

DSC_9701Coffee and Armagnac offered.

DSC_9704Z exhausted.

DSC_9707Bottles recovered.
DSC_9708Clean up.

Oh what a night!

Kicked Out Of The Queen Anne Paddling Pool

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You don’t have to have three young children to appreciate getting three young children from sub-burb-city parked car to paddle pool. As you can imagine, it’s not easy. Getting from point A – a beautifully paraLLeLLy parked minivan.  To point B – a crisp paddling, kiddie pool.  This should be a no urbanbrainer. Unless, of course, you have three young crazy chooks … blah … kids of your very own.  Because you yourself are crazy for taking your three young chooks to the paddling pool.   Yes, yes boring rhetoric.  So the three young monsters are at the pool, so what?

 

What?  The “swim diaper,” that’s what.  An evil plan direct to you from Huggies.  Huggies, monetized an entire line of diaper based on Phil’s sign that said,  “Welcome to our ‘ool!’  Notice there’s no ‘p’ in it!”  They, Huggies, know that swim diapers do not hold pee in, but rather, hold poo out.  Which brings me to the moment I got kicked out of the Queen Anne paddle pool.  They, an underpaid staff member with first aid training and no reference to my waddler’s poo schedule, told me that my wee one could not wee in the pool and therefore should wear a swim diaper.  But she already took a … and …  But I do not have this swim diaper you speak of?  And before I could get my two older giddy pool-going kids in the pool, I was ostracized.  I became The Lady With The Baby Without The Swim Diaper.  That was me.  And so I packed up, headed back to my beautifully parallel parked minivan and took my weeping non-pool-wet chooks back home.  I think we ate some fruit.

 

Skip to years later in a world that has not adopted the “swim diaper” ( but they exist, damn Huggies Europe ), and I show you what we do on the farm.  A little trick I picked up from the 31.  Roll out silage wrap, spray water … ET VOILA!  slippy sliding magic.  No swim diaper required.  It’s hot.  It’s wet.  Let’s slip!  Let’ slide!

 

We also pop off to the local pool and I’ve been welcomed like a mum who knows her baby.  Never once accused of not swim-diapering my toddler.  Giggles and fun.

 

And when I went back to that pool (yeah, I went back.  Yeah, with the swim diaper.  I feel so used ) before liberating myself to the wild, non-yuppie-poo-freaked-community, I saw a lady with young baby twins without swim-diapers who was about to be told off.  I caught her before Monsieur Staff and hipped her to the yuppie law.  I slipped her a couple S.D.s and told her to get out while there was still time.