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Archive for the ‘YOAKUM’ Category

Amaranth Plant

Research what the native (South Texas) Indians ate way back when and amaranth keeps popping up. Wow what a weed. The leaves from the hardy (hardy may be an understatement, it will grow just about anywhere, under conditions that would kill any other food plant) Amaranth plant are not only an excellent source of calcium, iron and folic acid, but the seeds contain an important suite of amino acids, the building blocks for the synthesis of protein. The amino acid lysine is much more abundant in both amaranths and chenopods (any plant of the goosefoot family, which includes spinach, beets, and pigweed) than it is in the cereals (wheat, oats, and maize). About 3.5 oz of amaranth seeds provide 15% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 76% of the iron, and over 25% of the folic acid recommended in diets today. The amount of fiber in amaranth grain is three times higher than wheat . In a nutshell, Amaranth has all the proteins and amino acids the human body requires for maintenance.

Did I also mention it is gluten free?

If you are a farmer, Amaranth puts nitrogen back into the soil naturally, eliminating the need for artificial nitrates which run off and pollute the water ways. A field can be kept in good shape by rotating amaranth with corn without adding any artificial fertilizer.

Amaranth Grains

How to cook it? Holly Hirshberg’s very useful blog, The Dinner Garden,  has a simple recipe for the leaves. Just a flash in the pan will do. For the grains try this recipe. This is a close up of the finished dish – the amaranth grains look almost caviar.

I need to buy some today. If you are after the species name for edible form, it is Amaranthus cruentus. It is also called Huautli or Alegria in Mexico.

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We went to visit Morgan Weber of Revival Meats in Yoakum, Texas last weekend to see his gorgeous pigs – spotted and mangalitsas. It was inspiring to see such a productive and cared-for operation. Morgan and Stacey are clearly passionate about their pigs and we would all benefit if more farmers followed their lead.

While at the Revival Meats farm, we had the good fortune to meet Ben from Salt & Time and the topic meandered from field harvesting at Broken Arrow Ranch to feral hog jerky…cuz that’s how we roll. After a bit of research to learn more about wild game, I came across these resources for feral hog novices (and wild game amateurs) like myself. NOTE: A lot of folks in South Texas hunt. And I mean A LOT.

So are you ready to kill and cook your own meat? Then Keith Patton’s page is your first stop for wild game hunting and cooking tips:

To minimize wild taste try to kill the animal when he is at rest or does not know you are there.  Dark cutting meat results in a rank off flavor.  This is recognized by the meat industry, identified in the late 1800’s as a phenomena when animals are agitated or frightened prior to death.  Metabolic processes due to fear result in depleted lactic acid in the muscles(meat) this raises pH or lowers the acidity of the meat which allows bacteria to thrive.  This results in a dark, sticky, gummy meat.  This is common in game meat from animals killed on the run, or coursed or chased with dogs.  Every animal I have killed, pole axed, have been great.  All this is why my grand father used to give us hell when we butched hogs, if we agitated them.  He couldn’t tell us why it mattered but he knew that the meat would be of lower quality, and the hams would have a higher likelihood of spoiling during curing.  Try killing your hogs over a feeder and if they get agitated or are running, pass and come back another day.

Dressing & Cooking Wild Game is a tasty and highly regarded cookbook once you have offed your feral hog.

Oh…and don’t forget that jerky.

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Unlike workaday pork, Mangalitsa is marbled, and the fat dissolves on your tongue—it’s softer and creamier, akin to Wagyu beef.
—David Knell, Executive Sous Chef, The French Laundry, Napa Valley, CA

Revival Meats’ founder Morgan Weber took the long road to a life of farming. He grew up near Yoakum, Texas, a small rural town midway between Houston and Corpus Christi, an hour’s drive inland from the Gulf of Mexico. After earning a degree in music, building a successful career buying real estate for the public sector, and dabbling in the restaurant industry, he returned to his family’s roots – the ranch founded by his grandfather, John William Hermes

Their mission: To sell humanely raised meat of the highest quality, directly to consumers — to take the middleman and the mystery out of the equation. In founding Revival Meats, Morgan and Stacey want to give customers an opportunity to see where their food comes from. To this end, Revival Meats reaches back to the past, to restore values and ideals deeply steeped in family tradition, following a model of small-scale, humane, and truly sustainable agriculture

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