Sunday, June 26, 2011

A couple of big ol' faggots nestled in a pile of rainbows.

Seriously.  Happy NY pride everyone!  The name of the dish "faggot" comes from “fegato” which is Italian for liver.  Basically it’s a big wad of liver, as you may have guessed.  Faggots are often made with bacon and some of the more less commonly used organs of various livestock. This is a basic faggot recipe because I couldn’t get my hands on any venison heart or pork belly or anything of that nature.  Not for lack of trying. Let's just say I livened up a few butcher's days. So enjoy these basic faggots any old time.  Hell, bring ‘em around at Thanksgiving.  Nothing says family fun like a baker's dozen of faggots at the dinner table.  I hear your grandfather loves them.  Anyway, you need:

1 lb of veal liver
Bread crumbs
A medium yellow onion
White rice (not parboiled, it makes the color less vibrant)
Food coloring
Beef stock

Total cost: $10 - $20

Bring some water to a boil and add however much rice you feel like making. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stir, remove from heat, and set aside.

Chop about a cup of onion as coarsely or finely as you’d like.  Mix with 6 oz of bread crumbs and set aside.

Savor this step.  The hurt is coming.

Set the liver on a clean cutting surface.

You need to get this minced.  Liver is a BITCH to chop.  To make it easier, you have to peel off the membrane on the liver.  Trust me, its gross but it’s worth it.

I don’t have a mincer.  If you do just use that.  If you don’t you can mince it with a sharp knife while pretending that you’re in a happy place.  Start by chopping it into strips.  Remove any veins you find. Trust me, you will know them when you find them. On the plus side, after the initial chopping is done, the liver itself is soft enough to rip and knead by hand to make it into small pieces.  I would like to take the time to mention that this process is making me look back on the tripe recipe with fondness.  I have to wash my hands every time I want to use the camera or handle anything and it smells like cat food.  It also looks like cat food.

As my friend pointed out, that’s to be expected from an organ that filters toxins out of the blood.  I honestly felt kind of sick a few times and it made my friend lose her appetite at one point.  I don’t wanna put you off of all the joys that faggots have to offer, I’m just giving you a heads up.

Dump the liver into the bread crumbs, add 4 tsp of sage and mix it all together.  Kneading it by hand worked better for me than a spoon.

Roll the mixture into 8 small balls and place in an oven safe dish.

Pour a can of beef stock in the dish and put a pat of butter on top of each faggot.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 350.  Afterwards, take the foil off and bake another 15 minutes.

While that’s cooking you can make the rainbow rice.
Put a bit of rice into a resealable bag and put some food coloring on it.   

Mush the rice inside of the bag to distribute to the food coloring.   

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how to make orange and purple from your standard red, yellow, green, blue food coloring pack.

When the faggots are done, serve them on the rice and spoon some of the broth over them.

I think this is the best picture I've taken so far.

It’s like a liver meat ball.  The onion adds a nice extra bit of texture to it.  If you like liverwurst, as I do, you’ll definitely like this. I’m reminded a bit of pate.  I don’t know if rice was the right choice of side dish, I think mashed potatoes might have been better.  Not because they taste bad together, but the gravy doesn’t absorb into the rice as it would with potatoes.  All in all, these faggots were a nice addition to my day.  By the way, the more you let them marinate, the better they taste and they're good with spaghetti sauce.

Well, I’m off to the city today to see the parade and meet some friends.  If any of you are planning to join the festivities remember to stay on the charming side of drunk and the right side of the law.  Happy pride, huzzah for NY legalizing gay marriage and stay queer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fried Tripe

I’ve decided to dive head first into the wide world of offal and I sincerely hope you pictured that in your head.  Tripe is eaten pretty much everywhere in the world, so it must be at least palatable.  I’m hesitant to try it, but I've enjoyed liver and pate in the past so I guess it’s not so different…aside from the attached stigma I mean.  If nothing else, you can’t say tripe isn’t versatile.  There are a billion different recipes for it.  Between my own laziness, and the fact that I recently inherited what can only be described as an irresponsible amount of bread crumbs from my old roomies, I think a simple fry recipe would be good.  

You need
Beef tripe: Tripe is inexpensive to the point of being worrying.
Bread crumbs: Seriously, they gave me 3 full canisters of bread crumbs.  

Total cost:$1 - $10

This smells kinda like cat shit.  I'm not kidding.

Now the hell of it, aside from smelling like cat shit, is that you have to boil tripe for a long ass time to tenderize it.  Tripe is really tough and hard to digest so people with digestive disorders and gout should steer clear of this.  Prior to cooking, it also has to be cleaned.  I got mine from a store and I'm sure it was cleaned before it was packaged, but better safe than sorry.  Improperly prepared tripe is terrible for you and dangerous to eat.  Submerge the tripe in cold water and let it soak overnight.  Change the water frequently and scrub off any stuff clinging to the tripe.  Again, there weren’t any nasty things on mine and the color was fine, I’m just being cautious.  

Anyway, once that’s done, toss it into a big pot of water and bring it to a low boil.  You can spice it if you want.  Toss in a bay leaf or some nutmeg or whatever.  Apparently you can make good stock out of tripe, but frankly I just don’t want to.  Cover it and let it boil until the tripe is tender.  Depending on the type of tripe and how big the pieces are this can take between 1 and 6 hours.  Mine was honeycomb tripe cut into thin strips so this took me about 2 hours.  

This smells a bit like someone vomited stomach acid into a bowl of warm saltwater.  Again, I'm not kidding.

 It’s tender enough when you can easily cut it with a kitchen knife.  Cut the tripe into strips if it isn’t already.  Mine are about the size of a finger.  I rubbed the stripes down with black pepper and salt.  Feel free to experiment with different spices, those two just seemed like the safest choices.

Using flour and water, make a thin paste to coat the strips.  Dip the strips in that and roll them in bread crumbs.  

Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat.  If you’re not sure when it’s ready, put a drop of batter in the pan.  If it’s hot enough, the oil around it will start to bubble.

Fry each strip until both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Transport the finished strips onto some paper towels to drain.

Be honest, would you be able to recognize this as tripe?  Also it doesn't smell bad anymore.

Ok, I swear this is true:  it’s kind of like a cross between fried calamari and a mozzarella cheese stick.  Like calamari, it’s chewy and the meat itself has little flavor, but like the cheese it’s kinda ropey and soft.  By itself it’s fine, if a little boring.  Some Dijon mustard livens it up nicely.  Honestly, I could see this fitting in at a pub or grill quite nicely, provided that the name was changed or the locals were just really ok with tripe.  I'd like to experiment with more spices and maybe some different batters. This really surprised me.  Stay queer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slim Jim Surprise

Say what you like about prisoners, but they can be damn creative when it comes to food.  Prison cuisine is inexpensive and relies on ingredients that you can find at most gas stations, making it ideal for a shiftless, lazy, delinquent such as myself.  So, without further ado,  let’s take in all of the exotic luxuries of prison, with hopefully fewer shankings and destroyed futures.

You will need: 

A slim jim or similar beef stick
A bag of regular corn chips
A bag of spicy corn chips or puffs of your choice

Total cost: $1 - $10

I’d like to mention that I had to go to FIVE stores for this recipe, which is the record. Apparently this part of Long Island is too good for slim jims.

Officially harder to get than instant jellyfish and quail eggs.

Feel free to use whatever brands and flavors of chip you want, prison cuisine isn't terribly delicate.  As I understand, the important thing is that the snacks are corn-based and that at least one of them is spicy.

Before we begin, I should let you know that this is SHOCKINGLY fattening.  I didn’t expect a wad of chips and beef jerky to be healthy or anything, but I’ve clocked this at about 910 calories and 59% of your daily sodium requirement.  I mostly blame the Fritos.  I plan my caloric intake around my blog posts but for fuck’s sake.  No wonder there are so many porkers on those real life prison shows.

Anyway, once you’re done apologizing to your body, crunch up both bags thoroughly and mix them together in one of the bags.  Never did I ever think I’d be glad that bags of chips are mostly air. Oh, that's another cool thing about prison cuisine; few to no dishes have to be cleaned. 

Add about an eight 1/8 of a cup of hot water a little bit at a time.  Heads up, the bag is NOT a good insulator.  You want just enough that the chip crumbs turn into a thick mush.  If necessary, drain off any excess water.   

Hungry yet?

 Cut or rip the beef stick into sections shorter than the widith of the bag.   

Now cram those into the mush.  Try and get them into the center and covered.   

If only the evidence had been hidden so well...

 Now tightly wrap the bag closed and rolled down as far as it will go.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

 Rip the bag open and ta-da!

It's kind of like a tamale (which makes sense because another, much more depressing, nickname for it is "prison tamale") and I’m really surprised at how well it’s holding together.  It’s a little bland though.  Hot sauce makes it better and the slim jim keeps it from tasting too boring.  It’s isn’t bad per se but it’s less tasty than each of the ingredients separately.  The flavoring of the chips is kind of lost so it's like a big wad of unsalted corn chip.  Then again, compared to prison food I’m sure it’s great.  I will admit that it is pleasantly warm and very filling so it’s probably a decent comfort food, which is half of the point of prison cuisine.  I get the feeling that I would like it much more if I were really drunk.  This thing seems like it’s specifically designed for the munchies.  Stay Queer!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Booze and bacon milkshake

My best friend (who also did some of the photography for this post) alerted me to the fact that a restaurant somewhere rum and bacon milkshakes on its menu.  This interested me enough to want to try to make one, but not enough to actually look for a recipe or stay true to more than 50% of the stated main ingredients.  I decided to make my own version.  I didn’t even measure 3 of the 5 ingredients because I'm a rebel like that.

You will need
Liquor: I used this cheap brand of burbon called 10 High. 
French Vanilla ice cream
Maple Bacon
Price range: $20- $30

The burbon was free and everything else was on sale, so it was actually more like $10 in my case. You can make a LOT of shake with a small amount of ingredients. Why not have some friends over and make a day of it?
Anyway, fry yourself up some bacon to your desired crispiness.  I made three strips.


Next add milk and three oreos to a blender.  Don’t use much milk if you want a thick shake.  The bourbon thins it out considerably. Of course, you can always add more milk or ice cream later if you're not happy with the consistency. 

Now add your ice cream.  

Add a generous amount of booze.

Throw the bacon in.

Now blend it like you mean it…

… and if your feeling decadent:

I love it. The bourbon, oreo and maple all combine into a sort of amaretto-ish flavor.  The bacon is reduced to a billion tiny bits so if you want to taste it you have to chew it a little bit. The resulting texture is slightly grainy but, since the bacon is also soft, it's not gritty or gross.  The sweetness of the maple bacon and kick of the burbon compliment each other nicely.  By the way, the other ingredients do nothing to mask the taste of the liquor, which could make it or break it for some. This is a really fun recipe and it's a great comfort food. My only complaint is that it may put you into a sugar coma.  Stay queer!