I’ve finally realized the American dream of home-ownership. Got to prep the nest for my wife and the baby! Beyond getting the workshop going and buying garden supplies, I’ve got plans to put in a generator, a freezer for game meat (for when I eventually bag that deer), but also cow-pooling. I noticed rabbit tracks in the snow yesterday and joked about taking them for the stew pot to my wife. I’m serious about it too, because I’ve acquired a really lovely garden with terraced walls and being half a block from a major suburban park with a large resident population of deer I’ve already started “worrying about my begonias.” I’m also looking forward to planting my first real vegetable garden soon. I see bountiful crops of carrots, beets, cucs and tomatoes ahead.
So what the hell was I thinking when I visited my home store and purchased Round-up (Montsanto) to kill the weeds in my yard as well a big old jug full of pesticide to spray around the house perimeter?! Mind you, none of it is organic or natural. It was only today on the way to work that it hit me–of course I want a natural home. I want it free from pesticide and chemicals that will inevitably drain into the nearby creek or contaminate those plump rabbits I got my eye on. I’m an advocate for conservation and environmental protection as you well know but talk about having brain farts, the main ingredient of Round-up is glyphosate, a man-made chemical now found in many streams and creeks across the country that suffer run-off from suburban and urban areas. Its not terribly toxic and it biodegrades in 60 days, doesn’t build up in mammals or aquatic species, but frankly why risk it when there are perfectly good non-toxic alternatives out there. It still can cause breathing issues, and kidney damage at chronic levels.
So, again, what the hell was I thinking? Fact is, I wasn’t. I think I was acting on some base instinct to “protect” the homefront from invasion, and got a little too trigger-happy at the home store. Luckily, I caught myself because I think as a new home owner you get this opportunity to set new habits, to put a stake in the ground and really live your beliefs. And I’ve got big plans to create a safe, non-toxic, energy efficient home. Now I’ve got to get rid of these harmful chemicals and figure out my next move, dig in and do some research and find some natural approaches to weed and pest management. Fortunately, nature threw me a reprieve in the form of an early Spring snow-storm. Now its up to me to follow-through.
Sorry I haven’t put up a post in a while. I’ve been a little busy at work and on the home front. My wife is now 30 weeks pregnant and all our focus has been on preparing for the baby in May. To top it off we are closing on a house in Silver Spring this week! We’re thoroughly excited about all these major changes. Hell, we’ve only been in DC since August so its safe to say 2012 and 2013 are all about transitioning. Sure, if I thought I had my sh*t together before, its all about to be tested again. But I’m cool with that, life is and adventure and what is the point of life but to experience it? I can’t wait to get my Daddy on.
I’ve of course been exploring various approaches to raising a baby and taking care of house–and concluded one thing, it will be what it’ll be. No theories, no “systems” are going to change the fact that life likes to throw challenges in front of you to keep you on your toes, from leaky faucets to leaky diapers. I’m just blessed to be going through these transitions with my lovely, amazing, inspiring wife. It’s cliche, but we really do complete each other–where I am fast and loose she is studied and patient. Where I am subdued and cautious she is outgoing and adventurous. We remind each other of just how far we’ve come, of the obstacles we’ve dealt with, of the fun we’ve had so far, and look excitedly to the future.
So all these transitions of course deserve a few upgrades in the life-well-lived category. That’s where I want to buck the tradition of going ultra-casual. While I may have to adapt and go-with-it on the home and baby, I look forward to relishing experiences that are highly-structured, the kind that make you pause and savor the moment. Case in point, I recently learned how to make a proper whiskey sour. I know, a cocktail? Well, its one of the easiest place to go from casual to considered.
Here ya go, from the Real Men Drink Whiskey blog, here’s a recipe that uses all fresh ingredients including egg and fresh-squeezed lemon.
From Real Men Drink Whiskey:
- Martini shaker
- Rye straight whiskey (if you can’t find real Rye, not Canadian Rye, use Bourbon)
- Fresh whole lemons (1 per drink)
- Super fine sugar (I like to use berry sugar, as icing sugar tastes odd to me)
- Large Egg (1 per drink)
- Orange Bitters (not crucial, but highly recommended)
Note: This drink was originally created to be made with real Rye. It is the only whiskey I would use for this drink… but if you really can’t get your hands on true Rye bourbon will work nicely in its place.
More Notes: This drink makes a single, it will fill about half of your whiskey glass, double everything up for a full glass.
First, squeeze the shit out of a lemon into a standard short whiskey glass, removing any seeds. You’ll want to squeeze one lemon per drink, around 1oz.
Once your lemon is squeezed pour an equal amount of whiskey into the same cup (or measure the lemon and match it with the whiskey). I like to use just a tad more whiskey than lemon juice; again this will be around 1oz.
Fill a martini shaker ¾ full with ice.
Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar over the ice (you can use more or less of this to taste, if you like things a little more sour start with one flat teaspoon and work from there).
Pour the lemon/whiskey mix over the ice.
Crack an egg and add just the egg white on top of the ice. If you’ve never done this before just “juggle” the yolk from one half of the shell to the other, letting the white slide out into the shaker.
Put just 2 drops (not dashes) of Orange bitters into the mix. You’re not trying to flavor the drink orange, this is just to help round out drink for a complete full-bodied flavor.
Put the lid on the shaker and shake the living fuck out of your mix. You’ll want to shake harder and longer than you have ever shook any martini. The reason for this is to beat up the egg white, which will give the drink a perfect frothy meringue like head, and a distinct every-so-slippery texture.
Strain out the mix back into the glass, and enjoy.
I’ve had wild duck before. My dad once caught a wild duck. That’s right–caught it, not shot it. He was out fishing for perch and walleye on Lake Erie in an area popular with wild ducks and hunters. He noticed an injured duck struggling against the waves–he’d been shot but clearly was not taken. One cast and he was hooked up.
Later we plucked the feathers covering the bathroom with pin feathers. The supreme richness and full flavor of wild duck first catches you by surprise–even a small bite throws your taste buds into confusion as your palate readjusts to the meaning of “duck.”
So, big fan of Hank Shaw, founder of the blog Honest Food, and author of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. He’s dropping a new book on how to take duck (and goose) to the next level, both wild and farmed. Now available for pre-order his new joint–DUCK DUCK GOOSE.
So I’m off to my annual pilgrimage to SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. I’m hoping to steal Sunday to myself to saunter down to the Guadalupe River for some fly fishing on the tailwater. If I can’t book a last-minute guide, there’s always shorefishing on Lake Austin on the Colorado River for bass. Gonna bring the rods and be patient about it if it doesn’t come off.
I’m planning on hitting two places I’ve never eaten at before. The group I’m heading to Austin with has scored a table at UCHI, one of the best restaurants in the country right now.
And yeah, gotta get my BBQ on… and hope to make it to Franklin BBQ this year.
Don’t know if any of my readers happen to be in the tech scene and are planning on hitting SXSWi–but if you are, hit me up! And if you need a local guide on how to make the most of your time in Austin, here’s one from my friends at Flow Nonfiction.
So my brother has a PhD from the London School of Economics. He works at RAND (that “consultant” to the Pentagon). Sometimes I think he’s a CIA analyst because he occasionally makes clandestine trips to South America. …But I ain’t scared. He’s also a passionate conservationist and outspoken defender of the weak and champion for social justice. But then again…he’s incredibly skilled with a knife.
In fact, he’s quite the butcher. After three years of self-training, including apprenticing under Mike Smollon, he’s ready to take the plunge into some serious butchery. He’s joined the culinary incubator at Union Kitchen in DC–already being praised by the press, Mayor’s Office and foodie scene, Union Kitchen promises to take the small army of food artisans in the area and give them a commercial home, launch advice and start-up expertise. Over the past few years I’ve tasted his bresola, guanciale, salumi, duck prosciutto, lardo, chorizo, and aged steaks among other delicacies.
I helped Cured DC move into their new digs over the weekend, after he wired up his new cure box. We had a wonderful lunch at Red Apron over in Union Market afterwards and discussed his future. He plans to offer a CSA-type approach with classic staples, and include limited edition cured meats with a special seasonal items. I can’t wait! For a full post with more pictures head over to Cured DC’s re-tooled blog here.
And just in case you think he ain’t serious…here are couple of pix I snapped from his “secret stash”.
That’s right, that’s prosciutto…