Tallow? Is It Me You’re Cooking For?


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!

Oh The Perks Of Beef Farming


I’m not going to sit here and tell you that beef farming is easy.  For me, I learn a few new things every day.  I learn new things sometimes through bad choices and sometimes going through a routine for the first time.  At some point the hard things will become trivial and we can work on improving, refining or simply maintaining our current systems.  We didn’t inherit a farm, we are starting one.  Nothing is laid out exactly.  Right now, we’re building our way of farming tasty beef.  We sell beef direct.  As a customer, it’s nice to get a glimpse at what you are signing up for.  This is where we “took one for the team” and pulled a Faux Filet aside to photograph and taste.  A Faux Filet is a Sirloin Steak in England.  Brent did a beef breakdown to understand the English equivalents of French beef cuts.



Pleased with the marbling, we warmed the steak, salted it with gros sel and slapped it in a hot, hot pan.




I’m still working on the fry pan shot, but you get the idea.



After a rest, a little pepper and a couple pats of butter we tucked in.  We don’t have many beef shots that are cooked.  We have more shots of empty, juicy plates.  The browning.  The butter.   The, oh it’s gone.  The steak was good, but with each carcass we taste and think.  Is this good?  Is this tender?  Is this memorable?  What’s the best steak you remember having?  Where were you?



This is a photo of a happy beef farmer who is pleased with our Faux Filet.  Mind you, he moved a very, very large tree off the road yesterday that required a tractor, a heavy chain and a chainsaw ( ManCard™  renewed for another year ) as well as tagged a few calves today ( ManCard™ fidelity points! ).  It may be the best cracker he ever ate, but I think the beef we are producing is heading in the right direction.



This is the non-fluffed steak photo.  There are potatoes on the plate, but I’m not sure why I bothered.





The barn cat kept the mice and ten-year-old in check while we did our very important photo and tasting work.

A Girl Who Takes Over The Kitchen


Britney blaring, KitchenAid creaming butter with sugar, Lucy takes over the kitchen making yummy things usually of the cookie variety.  We know that sometimes recipes don’t turn out right, but with the right amount of butter, sugar and love, it always tastes great.


Today’s treats take advantage of the quickly ripening figs we have.  Soon we will have too many.  Soon the hornets will take over the figs during the evenings.  She’s out to make fig bars or fig newtons as I fondly refer to them, but this stuff takes time.  We need to chill the “newton” as well as prepare the figgy part.  A girl who, age appropriately, seeks immediate gratification, is advised to take the time to do it right.  If she follows the recipe, the newtons will surely be yummy.  In the meantime, we’ll have ice cream as soon as it’s done.


Zélie helps by taking everything important and running into the next room all stealth-like.



Tosca unmoved, anticipates meatier morsels to come. She’s not a fig fan.


Though, she’s always up for a photo.

All Burners A-Go-Go

For the first time ever, I needed to use all burners.  Sure, I “can” use all the burners, but tonight, I “needed” to use them.  We’re a two fry-pan family now.  Back in our yuppie years, we had a schmancy six burner mega-monster that took (and I quote the contractor here) “four gorillas” to bring up our forty-five steps.  It had mad hot BTU, USB, MSG and LMNOP.  And honestly, I would have been better off with a two burner Hobart second hand from a closing café.  Because really, what are you going to do with all those burners?  Sauce-n-Stuff is a two burner meal.  I LOVE our current stove.  We got it second hand for two-fiddy.  Over the years, Brent and I moved through an electric MagicChef, graduated to the Wolf and downgraded to whatever was cheap that day cause we need a stove NOW.  I learned this: what you really need is to use fresh ingredients and know how to cook.  The stove n’est pas sans importance.

My Favorite Cookbook

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My mother raised six kids and from what I can tell, she used this cookbook: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  And let me tell you right here right now, this cookbook is ESSENTIAL for any parent trying to cook for a family.  While I totally appreciate the research and effort from Cooks Illustrated, I find myself opening it to a recipe and exclaiming in my head, “GET ON WITH IT! I GOT A THREE YEAR SCREAMING HERE!”  If my girl wants chicken pot pie, I simply open up Fannie and she’s got a SIMPLE recipe that can be read while three little cuties are loudly sharing with you their current concerns (e.g.  glue stick won’t turn, lego dude’s gun is not fitting into hand).  I have no time for how the best cupcake is made.  What I need is a quick cupcake recipe that I can read and make successfully while holding a baby and wrangling children.  Fannie Farmer IS that cookbook.  She also has just about every French dish you would want to cook.  Totally amazing.  As I write this post, I have fixed a tiara, fed the baby, printed out a game for the kids and solved a trivial math equation as well as acknowledged and appreciated several small projects initiated by Otto and Lucy.  Add to that “make dinner.”  A look at a small slice of life like that needs a recipe with simple ingredients, quick instructions written for an audience who may have cooked something like this before.  Fannie is my girl.  She also has conversions on the inside cover for Fahrenheit to Celsius as well as various oz to gram nonsense.  No Internet required.  This book lives in my kitchen and I use it daily.

As a side note,  Minty would like to share with you a picture of Lamby’s bum.  Added to that is a picture of the two for context.  Okay, gotta go.  Potatoes are done…

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