Thursday, February 10, 2011


Spaghetti.  I made spaghetti.  With venison meat sauce.  Seriously, that's all I did.  I browned some Italian-like venison sausage and poured in a can of Bertolli marinara sauce.  I added some onions and garlic too.  The only remotely special thing I did was mixed some fresh spinach into it, because I had a bag that needed to be used up.  And whole-grain spaghetti since fiber is important.  I expect it will feed me tonight and tomorrow for lunch, at least.  Here are the customary blurry iPhone pics:
Freshest ingredients.
Italian-like sausage browning.  The twigs are rosemary, I added a lot.
Exotic!  Waiting until near the end to add the spinach.  I'm not even going to bother with a plate shot, I'll just do a lunch shot tomorrow.  Peace.
Its been raining for days here, folks.  My melatonin reserves are running low.  I'm also sleep deprived because my one dog that never false-alarms went ballistic with his "I'MAGONNARIPYOURTHROAT" bark at 2:30 am and jarred me wide awake.  I came really close to grabbing the shotgun but he settled down in just a few seconds.  I couldn't find anything wrong, but that's the bark he reserves for when there is a stranger right outside the door (very useful as Saturday anti-evangelical deterrent).  Could be he scared someone off, if so then the system worked. Could have been an damn cat on the windowsill, that happened once before and scared the shit out of me.  The house never quite settled down again after that though, I gave up trying to sleep right before 6.

Hopefully I'll get some needed sunny outdoors time over the weekend, and the clock change can't come soon enough for me.

Vignas and Venison: A Chili Reception

Since this is what passes for winter in North Florida I've been wanting some chili .  Actually, these last two years that's not as much of a joke as it could be, since we've seen 20 degree weather on a few occasions.  I've also wanted to do a dish with the strain of field peas (Vigna unguiculata) I've been growing the last 5 or so years.  Field peas are also sometimes called cow peas or southern peas; the famous black-eyed pea is among their ranks, as well as the Asian long or asparagus bean.  They can be really cool with a lot of variety, as you can see from the following pic of my genetic mix.  Those ones that look like black-eyed peas?  Yeah, they aren't, there were no black-eyes in the original mix.  I think they came from the black seeded long bean varieties I interplanted, but at this point I'm not sure, there are no really long podded phenotypes anymore, but they all vine great which is what I wanted.  I like them to vine because my lack of space requires me to grow them up a trellis. 
I only have about two pints right now, so I actually hated to lose these genetics, but if I don't cook them, how will I know, eh?
They are a type of bean, really, so why not use them in chili?  I used the "quick soak" method: basically bring a pot water to a boil, then turn it off and add the peas.  I let them steep for about an hour, then changed the water and set them to simmer with some salt for a couple hours, adding liquid as needed, until they were almost done but not quite.  For the venison, i used another piece of the same hindquarter mix I put into the chilindron stew.  This recipe was just as easy as you would think. I didn't grind the meat, but just diced it fairly fine like so:
I enjoy the pics of the meat most for some reason.  Full of promise.
I went ahead and browned that in a bit of olive oil until it was just done.  Then I put the meat aside and sauteed a mix of diced bacon, onions, and poblano peppers.  I chose poblano mainly because I didn't want anything nuclear spicy, and the story had very pretty ones that day. 
I also love Visions cookware, you can get it so cheap at the flea market nowadays.  But it's hell with terrazzo floors, you drop a lid and it becomes deadly shrapnel.
I was going to make my own chili seasoning from scratch, but said store also a mix in their spice bins that smelled HEAVENLY, so I decided to go with the shortcut.  At this stage, I combined the bacon/pepper/onion mix, the meat, the chili powder, and the peas with some of the pea cooking water.  I set that to simmer on a very low flame.  I don't really remember how long, just until it looked right.  Maybe two hours with an occasional timely stir.
Getting there.
Final product.
As I also think chili is also a dish best served as leftovers, like the chilindron before it, this too was destined to wait until lunch the next day for a tasting.  I can say the venison held its own, I was still able to tell that it was something with a little more kick than beef I was consuming, but it blended in very well.  That store-bought chili powder along with the poblano did their job, spicy with a bit of smokey.  And as for my field peas, they fit right in.  I love vignas now more than ever, outside of a good boiled peanut they still reign as my favorite legume.