Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Price We Pay

"One of the reasons Lori and I are so dedicated to gardening is that it allows us to afford to buy responsibly raised meat and poultry and wild-caught fish."

When I read this quote from Michel Nischan in Homegrown Pure and Simple, I could relate. I've never made very much money but my priority has always been to buy the best food that I can afford. I was a vegetarian for five years but what brought me back to the other side was working a restaurant whose meat was locally and sustainably raised. It may sound harsh but I have no problem with something dying for my dinner as long as I can be certain that it didn't have a horrible life. Now, most of the meat I cook and eat at home is raised by farmers that I have come to know. When I cooked on the farm, I even fed the cows myself.
Besides gardening, the thing that allows me to afford locally raised, usually organic meat is my giant reach-in freezer. In the last year Sam and I have bought a whole pig and 1/4 of a cow as well as numerous chickens. Putting money down on a whole animal allows farmers to plan better and in return you get a nice price break. And sometimes home delivery. Our freezer stash has dwindled, though, and for diet and cash flow reasons we have decided against replenishing at this time. Besides, we still have some of the "less desirable" cuts waiting for some love.
Sam decided it was time to eat some liver. As a kid I was never forced to try liver because my parents hated it. I came at it with an umprejudiced palette but in the end I was not won over. The recipe was good but I guess I just don't like liver. I had my two bites and that's all I could take.
I didn't take a picture of the finished product because, as my friend Sue pointed out, fried liver dredged in flour bears a striking resemblance to cat turds straight from the litter box. Mmmm...
Here's the recipe for all you liver lover's and sustainable eaters out there.

Liver with Onions, Raisins and Jalapenos
from 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore

1/4 c. raisins
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
12 oz. calves liver, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 pickled jalapenos, thinly sliced

Soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. While heating the oil in a large skillet, combine the flour, salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, dredge the liver slices in the flour mixture and place in the skillet. Brown on both sides, approximately 1 minute per side. Remove from pan and add the onion. Cook until soft and brown, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the drained raisins and jalapenos. Return the liver to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve with polenta or wrapped in corn tortillas.

EDITED* We also had pig liver. See what Sam did with it here.


At 10:00 AM, Anonymous sue said...

Oh yeah, getting my name dropped in your blog....

At 10:35 AM, Blogger lee said...

Soon, you'll be famous. Haha!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Sam said...

Don't be hatin' on the liver. It's good stuff.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Tea said...

Hi Lee,

I was chuckling when you mentioned your freezer and the 1/4 cow. When I was young someone told my mother--who is vegetarian--that we kids should have some meat in out diet. My mom wanted to make sure it was raised healthily, so she found a supplier of organic beef but she had to buy a whole cow!

My mom doesn't mess around--she bought a full size freezer and I remember picking up the cow (which we split with another family) all wrapped up in a million white paper packages.

The funny part is that my mom didn't know how to make anything with red meat besides hamburger patties. She used up all the ground beef and the rest of it sat in the freezer for ages until it was either given away or had to be thrown out. My brother, an avid meat eater, gets so sad when he thinks of all those steaks going to waste!

And I'm with you--I can't stand liver (and yes, I used to be a ballet dancer--you've got a good eye).

At 8:04 PM, Blogger lauren said...

Ok you guys, that liver thing is just gross.


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