Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Aragorn's Great-Grandmama wore to chop wood

I actually have a few more spare moments to post some knit-geekery babbling.
I had knitted a sweater for dear, dashingly handsome, darling husband a few years ago inspired by Tolkien. The sweater was dubbed 'Aragorn'. Since then I have been wanting to do a Tolkien sweater for myself. This led me to creating 'LĂșthien' named after Aragorn's ancestor and the protagonist of my favorite Tolkien story from the Silmarillion.

I spun the wool from a blend of merino, BFL and Shetland wool from Vancouver Island. I finished this sweater over a month ago but haven't had time to actually take photos, let alone do a blog post. In addition to my crazy schedule, I wanted to photograph it in natural light since it looked like crap with the flash. Until these last few weeks, natural light was a bit hard to come by since by the time I got home from work, got done with the dogs, made dinner, cleaned the house and set the world back on its axis, it was pitch dark.  Now it's SPRING! There's light everywhere. Everywhere you look. Here comes the light! It's here!

And there!

Even over there!
So now with the proper light, I did my photoshoot:
Da Front

Da Sleeve (which almost killed me)

Here's the Ravelry posting that provides the the blah blah blahstory and more photos for this Tolkien-inspired sweater for those that care about such things.

For those that don't care about sweaters or knitting or Tolkien, here's a photo of cute solar-powered puppies:

 For those that don't care about cute solar-powered puppies, I don't know why you're reading this blog :P


Reindeer + Bacon Fat = Belly Love

I know. I've been a bad blogger.
This last while has been absolute mayhem at work thanks to the annual sheepbang that is 'End of Fiscal Year'.
I've also been hit with the joyful craziness of family weddings and the not not so joyful plague.

Prior to all this craziness, I made a batch of Reindeer Carnitas that I've been planning to share with everybody.
Traditionally, carnitas is made with fatty cuts of pork slow cooked for hours until it's bathing in its own lardy goodness. It continues to cook in this pool of splendid fat slowly until it's browned and absurdly yummy.

It is quite simply, genius.

I had purchased a couple of boxes of reindeer meat from a local herder. I got everything from hearts to ground reindeer to a bunch of roasts.
I threw a couple of the frozen roast in the crockpot with a liberal grinding of sea salt. Set it to low and walked away. I let it cook overnight.
Yes, I did NOT add any liquid. I am a reckless crockpotter. It's how we roll up here :P
Reindeer is a pretty lean meat and the roasts did not render out enough fats for browning. Especially since I scooped the marrow out of the bones and ate it straight on its own. I am a greedy pig I know. I did let the puppies lick the grease off my lips.

So I added my fave fat: BACON FAT.

This is my perpetual pot of bacon fat. It kinda looks like ice cream

  I have this super awesome killer crockpot that has a stovetop safe insert. I broke up the meat into smaller chunks and plopped the lard into the crockpot then finished it all over low heat on the stove.  I let it cook until all the liquid was gone and the meat got all brown and crusty on the outside. One pot cooking at it's best!

Served on a bed of shredded lettuce, with a dollop of salsa verde and homemade guacamole.
Yes, it was stupidly good. The meat was crispy and caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside. The flavour of the reindeer was deep and rich without being too gamey and the bacon fat provided a nice boost of unami. 
Probably one of my favorite ways to cook beast.

For dessert, crazy sweet photos of cute puppy-monkeys:

Have a great spring!