Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meaty Cookbooks Part 1 -- Specialty Meats

I eat a lot less meat than I used to. But I am buying it mostly from butchers I know and trust, usually from Bryan's in Laurel Village. So when I do cook meat, generally a couple times a week, I want it to be something special. My guess is that I am not alone and perhaps that accounts for the huge boom in meat cookbooks?

For 2012, I hope you buy and cook better quality meat. These cookbooks will certainly help.

The Brisket Bookis subtitled a love story with recipes. It literally had me laughing out loud with it's cartoons, jokes, stories and more. If you are Jewish, Irish, or even a Texan, brisket is your soul food. The book pays homage with recipes, wine pairings, poems, and everything you need to know to make a version that will make you fall in love. This book and a brisket from Snake River Farms would be the best gift EVER.

Recipes to try include: Brisket burger, braised fresh brisket in stout and onions, brisket with ginger, orange peel and tomatoes, basic barbecue brisket, corned beef with parsley sauce

Goatis the first cookbook I've seen dedicated to meat, milk and cheese from that animal. They say leeks were not commonly available in grocery stores until Julia Child starting featuring them on her TV show. Hard to imagine, isn't it? I'm going to venture the same thing about goat. It accounts for 70% of the red meat eaten worldwide; it's sustainable, surprisingly healthy (less fat, cholesterol and calories than chicken, beef, pork or lamb) and is growing in popularity. I know, you probably can't find it in your local grocery store yet, but soon perhaps... Meanwhile this book will introduce you to farms, teach you new recipes, and entertain you with funny stories and anecdotes.

Recipes to try include: Goat cheese quesadillas, wheat germ banana muffins, braised meatballs with artichoke and fennel, goat mole (negro, rojo and verde versions) one of several goat curries

The latest in a long line of porcine cookbooks,The Whole Hog Cookbook covers chops, loin, shoulder, bacon, spareribs and yes, offal. Libbie Summers is the granddaughter of a pig farmer, she's a chef, food stylist, and knows how to butcher a pig. It's amazing how glamorous she looks posing with pigs! What's not surprising is how appetizing her recipes look. The only bone to pick that I have with this book is the recommendation to use Smithfield products. I am dismayed at their abysmal treatment of workers, animals and the environment and would never buy, let alone suggest their brand. This does not change the fact that the recipes and the book, are quite wonderful. Just please, use pork that comes from the best sources whenever possible.

Recipes to try include: Rosemary bacon scones, sweet apple scrapple, Lula Mae's cola-braised pork shoulder, hog-tied and hungry chili, West African pork stew