Bear Carnitas

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Yes, you read that correctly. My son was gifted with some bear meat, so I volunteered to cook it for him (none of us had tried it). My mind usually goes to Mexican when I think of cooking meat and I was really leaning toward carne asada or colorado but I wanted to be able to taste the meat. So, I settled on this simple already-loved recipe.

Here’s the link (for those who do not know, if I post a recipe, I only post the ingredients. You have to visit the link to read their instructions).

http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/michoacan-style-pork-carnitas/

  • 18 pounds bone-in pork shoulder (skin-on picnic shoulder is a good choice, too), cut into 2-pound chunks
  • 1/2cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2cup salt
  • About 4 gallons lard or vegetable oil
  • If using vegetable oil: 1pound piece of slab bacon, cut it into 6 or 8 pieces

First: I did not have 18 pounds of bear meat. I had maybe two. So, all quantities were adjusted accordingly (just sprinkled with salt). Second: I used lemon juice because that’s what I had. I also cooked it in beef fat (with about a cup of bacon grease) because I just rendered a bunch a few months ago. Third: I used my crock pot on high for the first step of cooking. For the final step, I got lazy and just tossed the meat under the broiler to crisp up.

I let the meat cook in the crock pot for about 5 hours, until the meat broke apart with a little force. I drained it on paper towels, transferred it to an old pie pan and threw it under the broiler for a few minutes.

I was surprised by the flavor! Hank Shaw described bear’s flavor as beefy pork or porky beef and he was right! I love it! I did not add any other seasoning to this meat and it’s perfect. So, If I could eat all of this (it’s going home with my son after he gets off work), it would be in a bowl with grated cheese, salsa, diced onion, cilantro (see? Fruit AND vegetables), and sour cream.

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Good Post Surgery Monday!

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Well, I had my gallbladder removed on Thursday and not only is today hubby’s first day back to work but this is my first morning without feeling the need to take any pain pills! I am pretty sure I was a bit paranoid I wouldn’t wake up with the alarm, since I was bright eyed 2 hours before the alarm went off! I am thinking a nap may be in order later today, since I am not sure how “occupied” I can be if I cannot lift more than 5 pounds.

I have spent the past month or so preparing for this surgery. With fall threatening to become a reality, I wanted to get as much physical labor finished as I could so I wasn’t fighting weather once I was healed. So, would you like a rundown? I am very happy!

We have been living in this house for almost 6 years and it’s amazing how long upgrades/improvements/plans can take when a person keeps changing their mind (cough). The front yard is at the most 20 feet from the house to the sidewalk and raised. I knew before we moved in that I did not want lawn out there. So, after clearing as much of the lawn and weeds as possible, I was given a few small agave plants. So, I decided those would become my neighbor/crackhead deterrent. I planted some along the neighbor’s driveway and the rest along the front of the house. Then, I left them alone. This was a huge mistake!

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April 2015

I did not realize just how big these plants get, nor what their growing habits were. They multiply prolifically, not only in the soil but within the plant themselves. Agave also likes to move whatever is in its way (not excluding house siding). So, when I decided I wanted to remove the concrete shingles, I didn’t realize the size of the job ahead of me.

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June 2017

This is just over a year after that first picture and these plants aren’t just sharp, they are like hypodermic needles that (at least on me) tend to cause immediate infection. So, I had to don a face shield (the kind used to protect your face when using a grinder), thick clothes (that I still got poked through) and a machete to cut the leaves back so I could get close enough to dig out the plants.

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Just one root ball, on a smaller plant.

Between me chopping away, digging, then having to take a break to recuperate, then finally asking my husband for help (here he is with his mad machete skills):

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He can actually hit the same cut multiple times! He’s a god!

Completed a week before my surgery, we now have an almost naked front yard (I will not remove the agave next to the neighbor’s driveway until my husband has a section of fencing ready to go).

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Almost naked yard!

Once I recover, then it’s time to work on removing the cement shingles. I could replace the lost/broken ones but I really hate them. Every time we turn around, one of them is breaking. When we first bought this house, we both agreed that the bulk of any “money” we would sink into the house was in sweat equity (there is no way putting in granite counter tops in this neighborhood would pay off). I want the original siding back. I love wood and so far, there doesn’t seem to be too much damage to the siding underneath the shingles (and there aren’t 50 coats of paint on it).

In the mean time, I have two books I am actively working on. One is basically an expanded version of the FAQs for “My Atkins Journey.” The second one is for my father-in-law. He has been writing down stories from his childhood, either about incidents that happened or stories he was told. He initially just wanted me to type them up for him but I thought compiling them into an actual book would be fun. I even have him hunting for pictures to include (he’s thrilled and so am I).

I am a new member if Instagram, so if you want to follow along, check me out here!

Homemade Corned Beef

I can’t believe I didn’t post about this!  I made homemade corned beef last year, leaving out the sugar and the pink salt, and it was fantastic!  I thought, well, I could make this, then can it so I know exactly where it came from and what was in it.  I haven’t gotten around to canning this because it usually doesn’t last that long!

Anyway, if you are interested (I wanted to see if I could and I did), here is how I did it:

http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/home_made_corned_beef.html

And here is how to can it (ever since I canned that chicken, I prefer raw canning meats):

http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/2011/05/canning-corned-beef-brisket.html

There you go!  Give it a shot (even if you only do one).  It really wasn’t as difficult as my brain said it would be!

Coconut Oil (and others) Supplier

My Atkins Keto Journey

I bought a 5-gallon bucket 9 years-ish ago, when I was making soap.  Of course, that’s just about the time I stopped making soap but who knew I’d be eating this stuff and it makes the best natural (though greasy) moisturizer.  I just checked the price and it’s the same ($105 per 5 gallons plus shipping).  I think I got the 76, which smells and tastes strongly of coconut.  I love it and have barely made a dent!

http://naturaloils.com

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Cabbage

Time for cabbage?

My Atkins Keto Journey

Once I grew up, I have loved cabbage (imagine a child who ate something really sour … that was the face I made when I was little at the thought of eating cabbage).  When I first began investigating low carbohydrate eating, I was disappointed that cabbage had more carbs than lettuce.  I limited my intake much more than I needed to and now, I NEED cabbage (and at 4 grams per cup of shredded, I think I can work that into my macros)!  That is for your standard green cabbage. Red cabbage has slightly more carbs (1 gram for a cup of shredded) but tastes much sweeter to me (the one form of cabbage that I miss and cannot think of eating without sugar is Rot Kraut). Maybe it’s the change in seasons.  Maybe it’s the fact that every time I turned around my son was eating MY sauerkraut! …

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Carnitas

I can’t believe I had not posted my Carnitas recipe before. You have to try it!

My Atkins Keto Journey

Is it my imagination or am I wrong? I could have sworn I posted how I make carnitas! I searched and searched both blogs (and Lord knows it is like pulling teeth to find anything on Facebook if you posted something more than a week ago) and I can’t find it. I’m shocked! Well, here it is. I originally was making it closer to original (frying the meat in lard first) but one of hubby’s co-workers said we were working too hard. So, now this is how I make carnitas. I make up a whole bunch and, if we don’t eat it all within a couple of meals, I throw the excess in the freezer (if it’s a lot, I portion them out in sandwich bags then store those in a freezer bag).

  • Pork Butt roast
  • Chicken broth
  • Maybe salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove…

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Green Chile Chorizo

We used to eat store-bought standard Mexican chorizo until something in it stopped agreeing with us.  Well, I just stumbled on this recipe for Green Chorizo that looks fantastic!

Green Chile Chorizo

Please go to the above link for directions and video:

1 large fresh poblano chile
1 or 2 fresh serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 medium bunch of cilantro, tough lower stems cut off, the leafy part roughly chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground pork (you’ll need pork that’s a little fatty – 25 to 30% – and preferably coarsely ground)
3 tablespoons spinach powder (available on the internet)
2 teaspoons salt