This episode of Salt on NPR was too good not to share. It concerns an exotic cut of meat: the beef heart. Beef heart, along with kidney, sweetbreads, liver, tongue, and oxtail are what one refers to as offals (OFF ulhs). Unexpectedly, we’ve been selling out of our offal. If you’re feeling adventurous after listening to the following segment, we’ve got a couple of beef hearts in our inventory. Click here to view.

Released by Chipotle on September 11, 2013, “The Scarecrow” is a brilliant animated short set to the hauntingly beautiful musical piece “Pure Imagination”, sung by Fiona Apple. In just over three minutes, it encapsulates the story of the food industry in the United States, as told by those in the Slow Food movement–of which Duba & Company is most certainly a part. If you’ve not already seen it, you’re in for a “reel” treat:

In the above animated short, the scarecrow is the personification of rural agrarian life. With the near-complete shift from small farms to one, large factory farm (Crow Foods, Inc.), the scarecrow’s traditional role of spooking crows from pillaging the farm has been completely reversed. The scarecrow is now used as another cog in the machine of Crow Foods, under the intimidating supervision of the company’s robotic crows. As the story progresses the propaganda of Crow Foods, Inc. is exposed and the film’s protagonist (a scarecrow) begins a movement to make a better world.

The film has left me asking questions about the nature of propaganda and marketing. Clearly, Crow Foods is engaged in false marketing. But “The Scarecrow” itself is a brilliant piece of propaganda. Is all propaganda bad? If “The Scarecrow” is not propaganda, what is it?

We’re off this week to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The regularly scheduled blog post with return next Thursday, September 19, 2013. This photo was taken Sunday, September 8, 2013, on the shores of Lake Superior, in front of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse.

Last week’s post ended with the scene of a late dinner, enjoyed in the summer air on the porch of an old farm house. Greek Tacos were served up with a cucumber heirloom tomato salsa and feta mint tzatziki. Here is that recipe which we lifted from Jeff Mauro of the Food Network, making only a couple of very minor changes.

The Ingredients

Lamb Mixture

1 T. olive oil

2 pounds ground lamb (e.g. ground of Cheviot lamb from Duba & Company), brought slowly to near room temperature by removing from refrigeration about 1/2 hour prior to preparation

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1/2 onion, minced

1 t. dried oregano

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 T. tomato paste

2 T. dry red wine (e.g. Pinot Noir) or I.P.A.

Feta Mint Tzatziki

1 cucumber, grated with a box grater and drained of juices (juices may be drained by placing the grated cucumber atop cheese cloth, banded over a bowl, and letting sit for 10 minutes or more)

salt to taste

1 C. whole-milk Greek yogurt

1/2 C. feta cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

2 T. fresh mint, minced

Cucumber Heirloom Tomato Salsa

1 T. olive oil

1 T. red wine vinegar

2 medium heirloom tomatoes, diced

1 cucumber, seeded and diced

1/2 C. red onion, diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Casing

1/2 T. olive oil

4 pita pockets or 2 naan, sliced in half

The Preparation

(1) Prepare the cucumber heirloom tomato salsa by mixing together all the ingredients. Let the mixture rest in a refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the flavors marry.

(2) Prepare the tzatzkiki by mixing together all the ingredients.

(3) Prepare the lamb mixture: (a) heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium high heat; (b) brown the ground lamb and season with salt and pepper; (c) using a slotted spoon, remove the browned lamb from the skillet and set aside (d) saute the onion in the lamb juices until the onion is tender; (e) add the garlic and oregano and cook until the garlic begins to tenderize; (f) add the tomato paste and deglaze the pan with the red wine or I.P.A.; (g) add the lamb back into the pan, mix together, and heat through; (h) adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, if desired; (i) remove the lamb mixture from the pan and set aside.

(4) In the same pan as the lamb mixture was prepared, heat olive oil and quickly brown either side of the pita pockets or naan.

(5) Build the tacos by laying down a foundation of Feta Mint Tzatziki in–or on–the pita pocket or on the naan. Top with the lamb mixture and cucumber heirloom tomato salsa.

Serves 4

Drink Pairing

Pair this dish with a Pinot Nior or I.P.A.

Credits

“Greek Taco!” Jeff Mauro, Food Network