Yearly Archives: 2008

Party Oct 30–Everyone invited

Where oh where can you find a $10 all you can drink beer happy hour? This Thursday, it’ll happen at Trumer Pils, in West Berkeley on 4th and Camelia at 5-10pm. Please drop by as it is a fundraiser for the Biofuel Oasis, a worker-owned biofuel business I’ve been involved with since 2004. We’re building an awesome retro gas station/urban farm supply store and need to raise some cash.

It’s threatening to be the party of the year because of the following:

Fried green tomatoes, goat tacos, and salsa made by chez panisse and eccolo chefs!

Brewery tours (it’s very Laverne and Shirley)

Burnt honey ice cream made before your eyes (and maybe by your butt) by a bicycle powered machine!

Slideshow featuring the biofuel oasis workers doing grunt labor and destroying things!

The finest of the fine 4th street regulars and supporters will be there. I hope you can make it, I’ll be there wearing a jumpsuit and fixing up the tacos.

Just to repeat:

Oct 30, Thursday 5-10pm

1404 4th Street, Trumer Pils

$10 gets you all you can drink beer; food is $5/plate

Children are welcome. Smoking outside. Schmoozing allowed.

What does Kuzzin eat?

You might wonder–if she’s killing geese with her bare hands, what does their cuddly gray cat, Kuzzin, eat? Mostly he loves the cheapest cat food we can buy. I once bought the expensive, free-range stuff. He refused to eat it. It was back to Friskies. He was once an alley cat and lived outside. Bill and I used to think he was evil (his eyes are sort of strange). After our cat Sparkles died, though, Kuzzin somehow squirmed his way into our hearts and we adopted him. Like all cats, he spends most days sleeping.

But lately it’s gotten pretty exciting for Kuz, as I bought an amazing mouse trap that catches the mice that he can’t (he’s too busy sleeping). When he first moved in, he used to catch the mice skittering around our house and garden. But lately he’s slowed down–maybe the plentiful cheap ass cat food has made him soft and weak. I was forced to take on our home’s rodent control into my own hands. There’s something….satisfying about setting a mousetrap. It’s kind of like being a French Canadian fur trapper. You set the trap, then come back–and ah! a prize! But there’s also something…terrifying about trying to get the thing set without snapping your own fingers into the trap. That’s why the best trap ever is made by D-con and features a little lever to trigger the trap. You just press a button and it’s good to go. You can also use it over and over again. Sorry, I’m starting to sound like a spokesperson for D-Con. Sheesh. Unlike being a French Canadian fur trapper, I’m not in it for a mouse fur (though I’m sure that’s nice), just for the trapping. But, of course, someone in the house *loves* mice. So now I tip the mouse trap over Kuzzin’s food dish and in he pounces. He eats a mouse in about 2 minutes flat. Beginning with the head. The noise of his clashing jaws and mouse flesh is surprisingly loud. The other day, maybe with the taste of a young mouse in his memory, Kuzzin went hunting again. He got a bird. I know–that’s terrible! It was one of those ubiquitous sparrows that hang out on the deck with the rabbits. Kuzzin ate its head first too. There were tiny gray feathers all over my kitchen. And that’s what Kuzzin the urban farm cat eats.

Reminder: Oct 19

Hey! Remember about the farm tour Sunday Oct 19, starting at noon. We’ll be extracting honey at 1pm with some awesome Biofuel Oasis customers, if you want to stick around for that. I had a little lady stop by today thinking the tour was on Saturday. Bummer. She got to see a praying mantis and feed the goats even though it was the wrong day. Tomorrow will be more exciting.
If you want to help extract, bring a long-sleeved shirt and a hat (just in case a bee wants to sting you). It should take about an hour.

Farm Tour

Pant, pant. Lord, just saw the cover of my book, coming out in June. Purdy cute. But top secret.

So, how does October 19th work for you farm tour people? We’re going to do a honey extraction. High noon. Be here: 665 28th Street, at MLK and 28th. We’re the lot next door. We’ll do a tour then extract (weather willing). Bring seeds to swap if you’ve got a favorite. I’ve got some good Speckles lettuce…

Oh, and article in SFgate.com this week by moi.

The old switcheroo

Ok, okay, I’m like a rat on the internet, scurrying here and there, nibbling on domain names, grabbing new wordpress blogs. But here’s the deal: I’m switching fully back to wordpress (thanks heather!) to the following: http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/. Until we’re booted off the squat lot (subprime meltdown willing), this is the name of the blog.

Cook your goose

As promised, I unearthed the goose from the freezer…and killed the two living ones to boot.
My downstairs neighbors finally complained about the incessant honking of the geese, and like a true country bumpkin, I slaughtered them the minute after the complaint was lodged. Good relations with neighbors are more important than two slightly more fat geese come X-mas time. But I wonder if I could ask them to make their dogs shut the hell up with their infernal barking? I don’t think they’d return the favor, somehow.

Here’s what I did to the geese. After killing and some plucking, I ended up just skinning them. Getting all the feathers out requires a rubber fingered plucking machine. Those rule. But I don’t have one. So, skinning. I know–the fat? It went with the skin (into a shallow grave). There was some internal fat, though. Plus, I have pig fat.

After a day of resting in a salt brine, I deboned the geese. The meat was red and looked like beef, a bit. With the carcasses–carcassi?–made tons of stock, which eventually became gumbo and a tomato ragu (but that’s another story). Then I put the chunks in the freezer to get very cold. Meanwhile, I cubed up some pig back fat (oh, the decadence).
Then all of that went into the meat grinder. It’s called a waring “professional” meat grinder, but it sucks. Someone said a Kitchen Aid grinder works well, but I wonder. I bought casings at Taylor Sausage in Old Oakland–nice guys, lots of casings for $12.
Then I mixed everything up–the meat, the fat, herbs, wine. And fed the meat into the stuffing attachment of my wanky grinder. I think the meat and fat did something Michael Ruhlman calls “breaking”, which he says in his book Charcuterie, makes the sausage taste like paper maiche. Oh lord! They did look kind of smeary and weird. After a night in the fridge, I pulled them out for Sunday pancakes. As the sausages fried, a full-on geyser of liquid fat came streaming out of the crackling skillet-bound sausage.

As for the taste–yes, a little dry, but with maple syrup and cornmeal hotcakes, they were nothing to feed to the dogs.