Monday, December 21, 2009

Soon to come - Beef Jerky

At the monthly PaleoPlanet gathering yesterday in Pasadena, CA I put a couple fruitcakes out to share as well as a gallon bag of home made beef jerky I had stashed in the freezer.
Once folks realized that the fruitcake was the same as I'd brought last month it went really fast. Of course, the beef jerky went fast, too. I think jerky would have to be really bad to not get eaten and this stuff was pretty good.

As usual, I got a lot of questions about how I'd made the jerky. Most people think you need a dehydrator or a smoker to make it and I have neither, I just use the kitchen oven to dry the meat. After explaining the drying process to a couple people and the marinade to a couple others, I realized that this would be a great subject for a blog post. So, as soon as the London broil beef cut I use comes on sale (remember, I'm all about buying meat on sale), I'll get a couple pieces and document the steps I use for making some really good beef jerky. You'll want to watch for this one, it's an easy recipe to adapt to your family's tastes and something that anyone with a basic kitchen can do.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Couple of Updates

A little while ago I wrote about some fruitcake I made (What do you mean you don't like fruitcake?) and a recipe I found to replicate Boston Market's cranberry relish (A Thanksgiving Side Dish).
My mother was so taken by these two recipes that she's been making them herself. To date I think she's made four batches of fruitcake and one batch of the cranberry relish.
The first batch of fruitcake was made with dried fruits from Trader Joe's just as I wrote about. Subesquent batches saw her using dried fruits she purchased at her local grocery store. She's been very happy with how all the fruitcake has turned out, and so have the recepients of said fruitcake. I think that's why she's made so many, because she's gotten so many requests for it!
One thing my mom mentioned to me while a batch was in the oven was that she thought she'd put in too much fruit. Remember, I mixed fruit in "until it looked right" so it was difficult for me to tell her how much to use. As it turns out, fruitcake with too much fruit is just fine. I think that to a point, the batter is simply there to hold all the fruit together in one pile. So if you make fruitcake and think you may have put in too much fruit, bake it up anyway. You'll probably love it.
Mom's comments on the cranberry relish were that you do need to cut up the cranberries.
Perhaps I should explain: the recipe says to cut all the cranberries in half. With two cups of the little rascals that's a lot of tedious cutting. A good friend told me that when she makes cranberry relish she never cuts the berries, they pop during the cooking anyway.
Based on my mother's experience I think I'll continue to cut them. She said the relish tasted fine but that it didn't look nearly as nice. Since we eat with our eyes as well as with our mouths, I'll cut the berries when the recipe calls for it.

Keep on cooking!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Just and Noble Cause

Every once in a while you run across special organizations that grab your attention.
These groups are passionate about what they believe in and do everything they can to support and promote their cause.
When the cause is just and noble it's difficult to not get behind these groups and add our own enthusiasm.

Dear readers, I introduce you to an organization born from the heart of a believer. I share her passion and want to spread the word to the world (or at least the 5 people who read this blog). I give you:

The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake

Putting forth and promoting the noble Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake is completely appropriate for me tonight. For tomorrow I will gird my loins to enter our little kitchen and make another double batch of fruitcake such as I described a few lines down... I can hardly keep up with the demand.
Feel the love this season, not the love of buying presents, but the love of fruitcake!
Make a fruitcake!
Eat a fruitcake!
But never condemn a fruitcake... unless it's really a crappy one. If that's the case give them my recipe.