Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In case you were wondering...

...it was delicious, my friends. Simply delicious. No, I don't have a picture of my dinner plate to show you. Maybe another time, but this meal was all about tasting, not taking pictures. By the way, I'm referring to my pork haul - see my post of Sept. 23.

I decided on simply pan searing two small chops. Nothing fancy - just straight up meat. I figured that would be the best way to evaluate my new find. I'll get to the carne adovada later. After the chops came out of the pan, I drained the fat, tossed in some greens to wilt, and served the chops over the greens. A few left over Indian potatoes rounded out the meal.

Let me say one thing right away. These aren't your sanitized, tasteless "other white meat" chops. Do they have fat? Yes. These individual chops had quite a bit. (Gasp!) I know this probably horrifies many of you, but c'mon, folks, get over it. I'm not eating them every day. I probably won't even eat them every week. Besides, you CAN cut the fat off (which I did). Well, most of it. For the record, the other chops in the freezer have less. Next question: do they have taste? YES. Like I said before, this isn't your factory farmed "other white meat." I knew they'd be good, but even I was surprised. I've experienced the difference between grocery store chicken and the "real thing." Ditto for eggs. And beef. This food is really from another universe. Just no comparison. Well, evidently the same holds true for pork. I'm at a loss at how to put it into words, really. Think about the difference between Cool Whip and real whipped cream. Or Velveeta "pasteurized process cheese spread" (what IS that stuff, anyway?), and real aged cheddar. Or a "fruit roll up" versus a dried California apricot. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Going out for groceries

Okay, I've got a new dream. And it is to write the following book:

The Motorcycle Food Critic: A Euro-Centric Foodie Goes Domestic. The Incomplete Guide to the American Southwest.

Whaddya think?

I had my first "official" go at it yesterday. I've certainly done plenty of eating coupled with riding over the past few years, but yesterday's trip was my first with the primary intention of hunting and gathering while having a great ride. I'd sworn off factory farmed meat some time ago, and although I can acquire pastured beef, lamb, and finally chicken, through my local CSA, pork has, until now, eluded me. And I NEED pork. I'll tell you why.

Last spring I enjoyed the most amazing dish ever at "Maria's" in Santa Fe, NM. (via moto, of course - another entry for the book.) I haven't stopped thinking about it since. Carne adovada... carne adovada... carne adovada....oh, those succulent pieces of pork, marinated and slow cooked in a red chile sauce! I must recreate it! Tough to do, without the main ingredient. A google search of "pastured pork Tucson" revealed a source. Agua Linda Farm in Amado, AZ has got it! Or so their website says, if you scour it carefully. In a frenzy I emailed them - "DO YOU REALLY HAVE PASTURED PORK????" She emailed back - "YES." They only had a small amount, since they were just beginning to dabble in it, but THEY HAD PORK. They were open the next morning. In seconds I was simultaneously rescheduling students and pulling out a map...

It was as if the gods were (for once) conspiring with me instead of against me. Amado, AZ just happens to be on the very loop that I've been wanting to ride for some time. What luck! The plan was to head west over Gates Pass (a lovely way to begin any trip), through Tucson Mountain Park and to Three Points/Robles Junction. From there I'd cut south, then east to Arivaca, home of the Gadsden Coffee Company. After finding out how good their coffee really is, I'd go on to Amado, pick up my groceries, and head back to Tucson, via the old San Xavier Mission.

I couldn't have asked for a better day. The desert was green from the recent monsoon rains, the road full of glorious dips and turns (and frequent tarantulas, coyotes, turtles, and hares), the coffee incomparable, and the farm an oasis of lovingly produced food. I'll know more about the pork tonight...

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and if you factor in my poor writing skills, it's worth even more. So, I've put up some photos of my trip. Regrettably, I didn't bother to charge my camera battery before leaving home (too excited, I guess), so I'm missing more than a few details. Like the countless tarantulas crossing the road (I think I squished one), and the lovely assortment of motorcycles at the Gadsden Coffee Company (evidently I'm not the first motorcyclist to discover it.) I haven't yet figured out how to post up actual tastes, however.

For a slideshow of my day, click the picture above!

Here's a map of my journey. It was about 150 miles.