Savor The Earth

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Dai Due Didactical—Doin’ Deer! October 19, 2009

Filed under: Dai Due,reviews — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:08 pm

Yes, those same fine folks that bring you dinner in the fields and divine charcuterie also conduct hands-on workshops in their commercial kitchen.  This past weekend’s tutorial topic…venison processing.

Chef Jesse Griffiths presented a dressed 60-pound axis deer, freshly field-harvested from Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram,Texas.  Skinned, gutted and beheaded, and sporting several blue USDA stamps, the lean, fleshy beast tantalized students with visions of  venison victuals to come.  Chef and his assistant cut, carved and sawed through meat, bone and sinew to hew the hunk into cooking pieces.  And raw morsels—hand chopped deer tenderloin, well seasoned.  Venison tartare, indeed.

Students also enjoyed pan-fried leg meat, simmered, grill-glazed ribs and venison chorizo a la minute.  Innards not to be outdone, deer kidneys made their brash appearance, quickly fried and served with Hairston Creek Farm’s red pepper jelly (a lovely condiment).  My favorite preparation of the event, the venison and Richardson Farms pork kielbasa, succulently exceeded my expectations, compelling me to indulge in more than my fair share.  (And not just because I helped stuff the casings!)

Chef demonstrated several other cuts and techniques, to be served the next day at a farm site supper.  Stuffed rolled flank, brined venison loin, venison liver, kidney and pork pâté, and a neck and shank braise teased this teathered mother of two–for surely I’d turn into a pumpkin were I to attend events two days in a row!

Class participants didn’t go hungry, however.  Crusty bread and house-made pâté, mustard and chutney, accompanied by Bosque Blue cheese (Veldhuizen Family Farm) and Thunder Heart Buffalo jerky rounded out the offerings.

Chef clarified meat-cutting, venison-specific as well as in general, and provided plenty of instruction on dishing up your deer.  Armed with Dai Due’s thoughtfully composed guide, including a well-researched list of producers and excellent references for the conscious cook, this freshly inspired student is ready to meat the hunter’s challenge.


Dai Due…Good Lard!! Biscuits Fine and Flaky September 22, 2009

Filed under: biscuits,bread,Dai Due,easy,fast,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:24 pm
Butterless Biscuits---Honeyed Up!

Butterless Biscuits---Honeyed Up!

I just finished eating some of the best biscuits I’ve ever baked.  Thanks to Dai Due’s luscious lard, layers of flavorful flakes softly crunch, crumble, and finally, melt in my mouth.  With local honey perfectly complementing the taste of the pork fat, I’m having a hard time sharing.  Luckily that cold front came through, ’cause I’m gonna have to crank up the oven again!

LARD BISCUITS makes about a dozen

  • 4 ounces best-quality lard.  I highly recommend Dai Due Butcher Shop’s house rendered pork fat from Richardson Farms pastured pigs.
  • 62 grams (½ cups plus 1 Tablespoon) organic white whole wheat flour.  Whole Foods generally offers the best deals on flour.
  • 60 grams (scant 2/3 cup) organic whole wheat pastry flour.  Ditto.
  • 122 grams (1 cup) organic all-purpose flour.  Ditto.
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder, pressed through a fine-meshed sieve.  Aluminum-free and not genetically modified, Rumford is my choice.
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda, pressed through a fine-meshed sieve.
  • 2/3 cup yogurt.  Local goat milk—try Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm—makes perfect baking yogurt.  Try homemade.
  • 1 Tablespoon local honey.  I usually buy Good Flow in bulk at Central Market.

Preheat your oven to 425º.

I keep my lard in the refrigerator for freshness.  So when I dig it out of the jar, it comes out in pieces.  This is ideal.  Place the lard shards on a plate and refrigerate it while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whiz ’em up to mix.  In your measuring cup, stir together the yogurt and honey.

Add the lard to the food processor and pulse about 10 times to cut it into the flour.  Don’t overprocess.  You want to leave some largish—maybe almond-sized—pieces of fat.  If you don’t have a processor, use a pastry blender or your fingertips.  Dump the flour mixture into a large bowl and pour all the yogurt over it.  Quickly stir together with a large fork to thoroughly moisten.  Use a flexible scraper to gather the dough together, folding it onto itself and pressing stray bits into the main mass.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface—a silpat is perfect.

Quickly and lightly knead the dough, folding it over itself several times using the flexible scraper.  Roll out or pat to about ½” thickness, approximately 12″ X 12″.  Cut up the dough into biscuits.  I use a bench scraper to speedily, if not artfully, stamp out some squares (and squarishes).  Shapes and yield are up to you.  Place biscuits on a large baking sheet.

Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve hot with local honey.  I dare you to share!