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Mindful Meats

So as I mentioned in yesterday's post, we supported Civil Eats' Kickstarter, to the tune of $250. For our prize, I picked 24 lbs of ground beef from Mindful Meats. I mean, this was a no-brainer, right? Sure, at slightly…

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Ropa Vieja: Cuban Shredded Beef

Ropa vieja: Cuban shredded beef

I won't pussyfoot around it: I'm royally pissed about Prop 8. I'm pissed that that many people in the state of California are so blinded by religious doctrine. I'm pissed that they're so impressionable and prone to accepting blatant lies as truth. I'm pissed that barely 50% of registered voters in San Francisco bothered to give a damn. And I'm pissed that more people are concerned about the well-being of chickens destined for our plates than in the fundamental rights of actual human beings living in this state. (Mind you, I did vote for the chickens, too!)

But what really stuck in my craw most of all was the surprise. I sincerely believed that this whole elimination-of-human-rights thing would all blow over, that people would see reason and be able to make rational decisions. And above all, I was surprised at how powerful the emotional impact was. It's one thing to live your life without a fundamental right. It's not appropriate or just, but you just sort of accept it. However, it is altogether another matter to have something given, then abruptly taken away. I can tell you now, having fought back tears of rage all day on November 5, I understand prejudice in an entirely new light as of now. I want to say it left me speechless, but that is clearly not the case.

Hey, you know who else used to have rights, then had them unjustly taken away? Cubans! (You like the segueway? Didja see that coming?) Yes, like the gays, Cubans once had a swingin' good time until a group of radical asshats spoiled the party. Like the gays, Cubans have a penchant for soulful music and refreshing cocktails. Unlike the gays, Cubans have retained a rich culinary heritage that remains unspoiled in the era of carb-Nazism.

Perhaps the quintessential Cuban main is ropa vieja, strips of beef cooked with peppers until tender, then shredded. The name translates to "old clothes," referring to the rag-like texture of the broken-down meat. 

My fabulous friend David has fabulous Cuban parents. How fabulous? Well, his mother is an opera diva, for starters, and his father is by all accounts a very good cook. It's through him that I learned of the Taste of Cuba website, which he mines for recipes from their homeland. I used their ropa vieja recipe as the foundation for my adaptation. 

It's not a pretty dish, but it is very much a tasty one. It's also
super easy. Best of all, it's another excellent candidate for our new
favorite toy, the pressure cooker. (Though it's equally well suited to the slow cooker or just on the stovetop.) Enjoy it with some Spanish rice, washed down with a nice Cuba Libre, or whatever libation you require to soothe the wounds of injustice.

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Herby beeffalo burgers

Beefalo1Sweet Georgia Brown, it’s been hot around here. Saturday, temperatures in Noe Valley got up to 102º, I’m told, and I certainly believe it. We live in a top-floor unit with a tar roof and windows to the east and west, so there was just no help in sight. We watched the temperature on our thermostat rise through the 80s and 90s until … oops! It only goes to 94º. Everything above that was just "OL" for overload. We were in OL for roughly 6 hours, and I don’t doubt for a moment that we broke the 100 mark, perhaps by quite a lot. Sitting in front of our lone fan in the kitchen was no help, as all it did was blast searing hot air into our faces.

We survived, but there were casualties. At one point I entered the kitchen and noticed that wine was leaking from two of the bottles on our rack. The heat had caused the wine to expand, putting pressure on the corks. The bottles that were obviously affected were not ones I particularly cared about, but I hope some of the bottom-rack stuff didn’t get too cooked. We immediately shuttled most of it to the basement, and stuck some in the fridge for safe keeping. Guess it’s time to invest in a wine cellar.

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