13 November 2011

Offal: Grab Life By The...

... lamb fries!
Using my River Cottage Meat Book I know you can give me any organ meat and I will have a recipe on how to cook it. At one of my weekend farmers market visits I came across a pastured lamb farmer who I bought several hearts and fries from. I originally bought the fries, or testicles, to feed to Shaman to make up for the fact I got him fixed way back when he was 13 months old. Temperament-wise, I regret doing that, but that is another story for another day. So while the dogs did get their fair share, they are now huge fans, I decided to see how they taste.

In regards to cooking animal fries the Meat Book has dedicated only a small section on how to prepare. I made a few changes to keep it paleo, but ultimately the process is extremely simple. First step, place these bad boys in boiling water for a few minutes.

Hot and steamy...
After the brief visit in boiling water, rinse off with cold water. Precede to skin and cut into sections. The skins make a good snack for the dogs. The marinade I used included some olive oil and coconut vinegar.

Nothing goes to waste.
After the marinade, on to the cast iron. I used butter and high heat.

Ready to eat!
If these fries were from a bull calf they would be called Rocky Mountain Oysters. From a taste and texture standpoint I can see why they are called oysters. If you like oysters, give these a try. I was quite happy with this first attempt. So much so I cooked them for an adventurous friend of mine and that was enough to get a few more people giving them a shot. Everyone who tried them walked away impressed. Here is an option, if you can get over the fact you are eating testicles, to eat paleo on a budget. These came from animals fed on pasture and were rather inexpensive at around $2 per pound. And if you are lucky, you may be the only person buying these from the farmer, so you can probably strike an even better price. And even if you do not eat them, if you have a dog these can be fed raw. They are Ridgeback approved!

Rest Day

It is nearly two months since my last post and what can I say? Time flies. 3 days a week you can find me at the 5am CrossFit Hampton Roads class. On Friday mornings I have been doing a Body by Science workout in my apartment's fitness center. And on weekends, quite tired of spending so much time in an urban setting, I have been taking the hounds out to explore the various parks and trails nearby. So my lack of posts is partially related to the fact I been burning the candle at both ends and at the end of the day I crash pretty hard.

Visiting the beach on a cold, windy day.
Weekends are technically my rest days, but rarely is there any rest involved. However today I've decided to just kick back and do nothing. It has been nearly 3 months since moving to Virginia and I am starting to get some semblance of a routine, so expect more activity on here.

17 September 2011

Rainy Day Saturday

This morning I stopped by my CrossFit gym to watch Fight Gone Bad 6. Having just finished the intro courses as of yesterday, I could have joined in on the fun. Unfortunately I had a prior commitment... I will get to in a bit. The first wave started at 9:15am and I was quite impressed with both the WOD as well as the camaraderie. Main site CrossFit explains Fight Gone Bad:

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3 and 5 round versions. The stations are:
  1. Wall-ball: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
  2. Sumo deadlift high-pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
  3. Box Jump: 20" box (Reps)
  4. Push-press: 75 pounds (Reps)
  5. Row: calories (Calories)
The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

My intro course covered all of those moves, and other than the box jump, I think my knee could have handled it. It was good to see so many people pushing themselves for a good cause.

Wall-balls begging to be thrown.
So... as I mentioned above, I had a prior commitment that pulled me away from this event. Last weekend I spoke with an interesting group of people, oyster gardeners. I was intrigued... with minimal cost and effort, I could raise my own oysters. Besides helping clean the water, I can grow hundreds if not thousands of these delicious bivalves. The class I went to explained how to build floating cages, sold oyster seed (called spat), and pretty much explained everything I needed to do. The type of cage I went with needs to be flipped every two weeks, which is totally doable for me. My friends have property about an hour away with long pier in a great area for this kind of thing. I know because there is a commercial oyster harvester not a half mile away from this place. I purchase 500 of these baby oysters and put them in one of the floats. In about a month they should be large enough to split them between the two floats that I built. If this goes well, in the spring I will make more floats, buy more spat, and reap the benefits.

Passing the Cyprus inspection.
Top view.
This pier has history. It is one of two training mistakes I made when training Shaman. The first was, when crate training, using his crate as punishment. This made his crate a negative place and causes quite an ordeal when he needs to go there. The pier... well let me say that as a dog owner, a naive one at the time, and being near water, I presumed all dogs would love the water. No, that is not the case. I tried to get Shaman to jump off the pier and swim. I had no idea if he could swim and wanted to know. I would sprint down the pier with him and I would jump off the end into the water. He would stop short and look at me like I was stupid (I was). I would call to him, hoping he would join, but he showed no interest. With the help of friends, we tried many things. And everything failed. He had no intentions of joining me. So here is where the mistake comes in. While still in the water, I asked one of my friends to push him in. If he could not swim I was right there to pick him up and help him. He went in, big splash, and power swam right back to the shore. He could swim! I was so very proud. He walked down the pier back to where he was pushed off and looked at me. I called to him, hoping he would jump, but no go. I had him pushed again. Same thing happened, he swam right to shore and this time did not go back on the pier. Ever since then, he avoids the pier. So walking down to check out the oyster cage, I am joined by Cyprus but not Shaman. When I say the pier incident was part of two training mistakes I had made, I should also say that fully regret ever doing those things. I hope Shaman forgives me.

In closing, I realize in the last two posts Shaman has had no photo presence, so here he is:

Proof that Shaman came near the pier!
And their dinner:

Chicken quarter, bison, and opah (fish).

15 September 2011

The Pack Goes Nomadic

After spending what will probably amount to nearly a quarter of my life in one area, it was time to move on. I had all intentions of moving to DC, as most of my social network lives there, however the jobs I applied for never panned out. Instead I took a position down in southern Virginia. I am still close to the beach, closer to the mountains, and much closer to civilization. The population of my new city is about 5 times larger than that of my old one. What does that mean? There has to be a CrossFit. Huzzah!

I've never had a major move before, basically packing everything I own, so there has been some stress. Luckily my minimalist efforts in the past made the move fairly easy so far. Still some logistics to work out on the big stuff, but all in all I am glad the bulk of the move is over. The weekend I was supposed to drive down to start my new job, find a place, etc. just happened to coincide with Ms. Irene pounding the hell out of the east coast. Going against all advice, I drove down towards the hurricane the night before. No wind, no rain, no traffic. Sometimes people are so risk adverse that they miss out on great opportunities. I banked on that and we made our destination... which happened to have a generator and enough food and wine to last a few years. Nothing really to worry about at this point. So when Irene came, we went outside to play! (And by we, I mean Cyprus and I. Shaman is way too intelligent to do stupid things like that).

Braving the tidal surge!
Hoping my new camera is somewhat waterproof.
So my new life currently includes figuring out my new job, restarting physical therapy and as of tomorrow I will have completed the intro courses to CrossFit Hampton Roads. I've got some big plans, so I anticipate more posts. But who knows, maybe I'll get sucked up into the adventures and exploration to be had in this new area.