Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rocky Mountain Oysters... Dinner Danglers!

Rocky Mountain Oysters, Swinging Beef,  Montana Tendergroins, Dinner Danglers, Moo Marbles (this one made my daughter giggle) These are just a few of the nicknames I found when searching the web for recipes.

On a quest to try as many new things as possible, I checked off one more on the list. Today I bought a pair of Rocky Mountain Oysters from the butcher. I was there to pick up my beef heart and kidneys and it was only the second time I have ever seen them there, so I figured why not.  My daughter immediately wrinkled her nose and said she wouldn't be trying that. My husband (who's like Mikey.. he'll try anything) Said with a shrug "sure why not".

When I was standing there at the counter waiting for my order to be wrapped an elderly woman came up and was picking up an order for the same thing. I asked her how she prepared the "oysters". She said to boil them first then fry and make a gravy. Everything I had read was saying to fry them, but I had not read anywhere to boil them.  She and I talked a while longer while we waited and I decided I would try the method she told me about and go ahead and boil them.

OK. So I sometimes forget to take pictures until it's too late for that step. I do the best I can.. my memory isn't always so good. Here's what I did..

This is what the "oysters" look like when you get them from the butcher. 

He had already made small cuts in the membrane that needs to be peeled off.  I did not peel this until after I boiled it. I read that there are really easy to peel if they are frozen and you peel as it thaws.  I will try that next time.  

I just filled a pot with water to cover the oysters and set it to boil.

After I took them out and was able to peel them. Peeling was not so easy and I ended up having to cut off some of the membrane.  I sliced them up, I will say that they were considerably smaller after they are boiled which was a surprise. 

I seasoned flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. 

Yes, we are Buttertons. I cook with butter whenever I can. It is probably the most unhealthy thing I do.  I added some olive oil to make it healthy =)  (I had too much butter and ended up not using this at all, but just a tiny smidge out of this pan.)

Dirtied another pan to keep from using too much butter. 

This is with the gravy I made. Sorry the picture is so sloppy it was hard to keep the hubby's fingers out of it long enough to take a picture. 

I didn't use a recipe, didn't measure anything. It came out pretty good for a first time. Honestly it tastes like a cross between liver and beef kidney (which has a texture of chicken gizzards) if you've ever had that.  I wouldn't say there is anything special about it other than it being Moo Marbles. LOL.

For the price and the amount of meat it turned out to not be cost efficient and I probably won't make it again.  But hey! I got to check off one more thing off the list of stuff to try. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

No Kidney punches here!

      My family is constantly on the look out for new recipes using meats and/or ingredients we have never eaten before. I have to say it has turned out pretty well so far. I know that some of the dishes we try are standard dishes in other parts of the country or around the world in other countries. 
     Before I continue, I would like to add a disclaimer, it is not my intention to offend anyone in any way. This is solely my opinions based on my personal experiences. I know that some people are extremely sensitive and I apologize in advance.

     Being one half of an inter-racial relationship has always been interesting in the kitchen. My husband grew up in a household that regularly ate pigs feet and chittlins', souse (head cheese), pigs ears and hog maws. I have since tried all of these things since we've been married. Some I like, others not so much!  My husband had never tried what his mother called "white people" food. Rice-a-roni, green bean casserole,  stove top stuffing, cabbage with ham and noodles and Corned beef and cabbage and many many more!  He has tried these and likes or loves some of them. There are somethings I know I will never get him to eat. Tuna casserole..well any dish that contains the word casserole (other than green bean casserole), anything containing tater tots, fish sticks, cheese wiz, or marshmallow fluff. 

     OK, so back to kidneys.  I am blessed to live 5 minutes from the West side Market here in Cleveland, Ohio. It has been standing for 100 years, they just celebrated the anniversary.  There is a butcher there that sells beef.  The market is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday. Vince, my butcher takes off Mondays so he can cut his meat. He gets his big sides of beef and will even take special orders in advance. If you ever get to Cleveland, be sure to look him up. His stand is named after him.  Any how.. When I visited him last he had a Beef Kidney sitting in his display case. I bought it and began looking for recipes to use it in. Every recipe I found was for steak and kidney pie (which I do plan on trying). Recipe after recipe was pretty much the same.  I asked on the Buzz for suggestions and got some good answers. Don had a couple ideas that I really liked since it wasn't a pie. I love reading his answers to posts, and I was hoping he would answer mine. 

     I soaked the kidney in milk over night to draw out any not so pleasant taste. I am going to be adding the recipe to my recipe box and when I do I will post it.  I cut up the kidney and had some really tender thin steaks I cut in strips. I sauteed them in butter and olive oil, added some sliced onions and then made a gravy. I served this over rice and it was delicious!! I was worried about the texture of the kidneys since I sometimes have problems with different textures. It was perfect. Firm, not mushy or tough. It truly is something everyone should try.  The taste is pleasant and the steak goes very well with it. Next time I will try the Kidney and Steak pie.

Cleaning and prepping the kidney for its milk bath.

Doesn't that look good!

It sure did taste good!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

My husband and daughter agreed that we should do something other than the "traditional" Thanksgiving meal. The suggested Mexican/Hispanic food.  We've been talking about it for a couple days and have decided on Chicken and cheese enchiladas, a taco bar, Spanish rice, corn,  7 layer dip and chips and churros for dessert. I guess that sounds pretty good.  Although  I am still trying to deal with not having the regulars.

I had already bought all the ingredients for dinner. I made our not Thanksgiving dinner tonight. It was good! I made green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing and chicken (we never buy turkeys).  I have a ham still in the freezer, and I will use that sometime this month or even keep if for Christmas. If they aren't going to try and take that holiday away from me too!

I had a lot going on this evening so I forgot to take pictures as I was preparing the food. I did get some pictures after it was served.

I took the opportunity to make three of the recipes I needed for the November activities for Allrecipes Allstars.  I am sure I will be making some sweets and I will add them and their recipes when I make them.  I am glad I was able to have my "feast" even though it wasn't on Thanksgiving day. The day really isn't important, I got to sit down to a wonderful meal with my husband and daughter and enjoy talking about our day. For that I am Thankful! 

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I am not compensated for my work with Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on Bundts n' Bowls. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of    T. Graham.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

She had me at "Meep!"

Two years ago this month my daughter talked us into being foster parents at the local APL (animal protective league). We figured she would lose interest pretty quickly so we agreed. The day we went in for orientation was the day we brought home our first foster. 

She was all white, a tiny matted kitten.. She'd been found in a basement and was severely underweight and had a bad case of diarrhea which did not help.  She was less than half a pound. They needed someone to take her for a couple of weeks to "fatten" her up. (that made me giggle and think of Hansel and Gretel) 

Looked pretty fluffy huh? Not so much!

When we got her home we wanted to give her a bath to clean off the feces and try to get some of the knots out. Her fur was speckled with dried blood from being infested with fleas. The APL had given something that killed all the fleas.  We got the sink ready and the water the right temperature, but none of us were ready for what we would see. I felt sick to my stomach and my eyes burned with tears. This cat was nothing but bones. Her hip bones stuck out and all you could see was every bone in her rib cage and the skin almost seemed to sink in between them. She was shivering so hard and nothing seemed to be helping to get her warm. I eventually put her against my skin and kept my hand over the towel that was covering her. It took for what seemed like forever for her to stop shivering.

We found she was too weak to hold her head up by herself. She was unable to walk and if she tried she just fell over and laid there not able to get up.  I hand fed this kitten and had to give her water from a syringe. She started to improve almost immediately. She started getting stronger and by the second day she was able to lift her head. I would sit for hours with her laying on my chest, her nuzzled up under my chin. She even tried to take a few steps, wobbly but she was able to do it.

Unfortunately, on the third day the diarrhea was so bad it took her right back to being too weak to lift her own head. We took her back to the APL to have her checked out. They hooked her up to an IV because she was dehydrated.  They asked if I could try again and take her home with me. They explained that sometimes no matter what we try some of the animals don't make it. Some are just too weak to survive. My heart squeezed in my chest. This kitten I called Meeper, because that was the only sound she could make... a meep, might not make it.  It was at that moment I wondered if I would be strong enough to do this. Could I?

We took her home. But unfortunately I was unable to give her the care she needed. I had to return her to the APL, and they sent her to an experienced foster parent. They assured me that it was nothing I had done wrong. It was not a good situation for our first foster.  

I found out two months later she was healthy and ready for adoption. They also discovered she was much older than they had thought at first. She was about 7-8 months old!! She was so small because she was starving to death. 

I go to see her, my "meeper" and hold her one last time before she was adopted.  She knew me, and she snuggled up under my chin and started to purr.