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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vegan Tries Beef

Ok, so the vegan didn't really try beef, but he did take a tour of a cattle feedlot in Wiggins, Colorado.  To be exact, it was the Magnum Feedyard owned by my friend Christine Gabel's family.  The vegan, Ryan Andrews, visited the feedyard and wrote about his firsthand experiences with cattle nutrition, feedlot health systems, the myth behind corn fed cattle and E. coli.   You can read the article by clicking this LINK.

It's absolutely spectacular to see people who don't eat meat getting a firsthand look at how it's raised and produced for human consumption.  Andrews stated he still probably won't eat meat but now he knows the truth about beef production and can say that it's not the horrific process he previously thought.

I can only hope that more reports are done in a similar fashion.  These types of articles exemplify the food production industry to the urban consumer.  Congrats to Gabel and the Magnum Feedyard on being a shining example of the beef industry!

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Backyard Animals - South African Style


So, I know I promised you a post on the wildlife of South Africa. Here it is.  In Kansas we tend to see backyard wildlife that are similar to this:

  
In South Africa, it's not uncommon to see animals like these ostriches roaming through your backyard:

If you live in the northern part of South Africa, you can visit the Kruger National Park and see hundreds of different species of wildlife and plants in just one day.  While in Kruger (from 6:30 am - 5 pm) we saw the following (short list):
Wild dog (rare), hyena (very rare), giraffes, lions, cape buffalo, black rhino, elephants (the previous 4 are 4/5 of the Big Five) wildebeest, zebras, baboons, kudu (antelope, the hide of one which now resides on our floor), crocodiles, monkeys, hippos and so much more.  It was straight out of The Lion King!


It was absolutely amazing to see, up close, all the animals which I had only seen on Animal Planet or in the zoo before.  One night we were at our hotel, Hippo Hollow Resort, and the sign on the lawn read:

At that same hotel, this guy was sitting on our balcony and his friends were running around on our roof. 

We made sure not to leave the windows or doors open that night. The last thing I wanted was to wake up to a monkey rummaging through my stuff or sitting on my bed!  We did see a hippo that night but thankfully no crocodiles came and made a tasty snack out of it.  We did see some action while there:
This mama elephant was not happy that we were in close proximity to her babies and she trumpeted at our convoy and half charged! We left promptly.

It was an amazing trip and I hope that each and every one of you travels abroad at some point in your life.  You'll never forget it and you'll certainly never regret it.

Until next time,
~Buzzard~


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Cakes Closer to Fiji

That's right!  Angel food cakes #1 and #2 have been baked and demolished -- last night I caught the Ninja walking through the kitchen with the remaining 2/3 of cake #2.  Apparently, he is enjoying his end of the deal.


 I managed to snap a picture before it was all completely gone though.  Only 28 cakes to go! Fiji better be amazing.....

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summatime and the Grilling is Easy

I apologize blogging world for being gone for so long. I realized it has been almost TWO WEEKS since my last post, but I swear that won't happen again.  After this, look for a post about wildlife in South Africa and an update on the Angel Food Cake saga!

Anywho, it's that time of the year again. It's summertime and grilling and BBQ'ing are at their peak. Backyard meals are a great time for everyone, whether youre grilling a flank steak for fajitas or preparing the perfect pork loin for a family reunion. However, when you're armed with your fork in one hand don't forget to fill the other one with a meat thermometer. Many people don't pay attention to meat temperatures - just because it looks done doesn't mean it is done. Heck, it might even be TOO done and nobody likes tough, dry meat. Did you know that even though you have taken it off the grill, meat temperatures still increase 5 degrees after removal? To avoid improperly cooking your meat, refer to the following guidelines:

Ground Meats: Pork, Beef and Lamb: 160 °F
                       Chicken and Turkey: 165 °F

Steak and Lamb: Medium-Rare 145 °F
                          Medium 155 °F
                          Medium-Well 165 °F
                         Well Done 170 °F

Poultry: Chicken & Turkey, Whole 180 °F
             Breast Meat 170 °F
            Thighs, Wings & Legs 180 °F
             Duck & Goose 180 °F
**Salmonella is killed at 165 °F

Pork: Medium-Rare 150 °F
         Medium 160 °F
        Well Done 170 °F
**Many people worry about trichinosis and tend to overcook pork. However, trich is killed at 140 °F.
To get some great recipe ideas for your next grilling experience,visit these sites for pork, lamb, beef and chicken recipes. Hopefully, these tips will ramp up the safety, and flavor, at your next backyard gathering. Enjoy!
Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tastes So Good

Well I’m back in the States and extremely glad that I won’t be on a plane for at least another month. Twenty hours one way is just too much. While I was quite nervous about the trip and the food I would encounter, I was pleasantly surprised at many of the meals we were served. Some of my favorites were:
  • Springbok medallions
  • Ostrich meatballs
  • Steak from a Bonsmara – can’t travel abroad without sampling a steak!
  • A dessert called Ellis Pudding
  • Snoek – a fish native to the Western Cape
  • Impala jerky
  • Pop – not to be confused with soda. This is ground maize boiled and then mixed with salt. They call it porridge or ‘pop’ and I call it delicious. 
There is also a great liquer there called Amarula which is very similar to Bailey’s Irish Crème. Tastes great poured over some ice!

 

While I enjoyed many of the local and traditional dishes, there are some dishes I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy – those of you who know me well will be able to distinguish why these dishes passed the Buzzard palate test:
  • Pancakes filled with mincemeat – bobotie
  • Shredded fish with rice, carrots, curry and some unrecognizable things
  • Mopani worm (pictured above) – the name should tip you off on why. I tried really hard to swallow that little devil but just couldn’t do it and subsequently spit it out. 
And lastly, there are the things that we have in the U.S. but have a slight twist in South Africa:
  • Instead of ham and scrambled eggs – hotdogs and scrambled eggs
  • Ham steaks transformed into bacon
  • Tomato sauce instead of tomato ketchup  
The whole trip was thrilling but it’s really great to be back in the States – time to get back to thesis writing, research and baking those 30 angel food cakes (see “Angel Food Cake = Figi).  It's also great to get back to real ketchup, homemade gravy, marbled beef and Dr. Pepper.

 
Until next time,
~Buzzard~