Archive for the ‘Faire’ Category

Renn geekery

May 3, 2010

The past two weekends have been spent in the lovely company of friends at the Escondido Renaissance Festival with my guild, the Black Guard Mercenary Company. Faire geek is only one of the many facets of geekdom that makes up the diamond that is your humble blogger. BoardGameGeek, WoWGeek, FoodGeek and many other bit players all help add luster to the whole.

In truth, faire geek’s pretty low on the geek factor for me, relatively speaking. My dedication to character, costuming, accent, etc is pretty meager, maybe even less than it should be. I avoid being sore-thumb horrible, and enjoy the time I spend with friends. That isn’t to suggest I don’t thoroughly enjoy my time at Faires, because I really do, it’s just not as be-all, end-all for me as some other aspects of my geekiness are.

One thing that does push my geek button is that at faires, I get to indulge my FoodGeek as cook for our encampment. Breakfast’s are a reasonably standard mix of scrambled eggs, bacon, some form of sausage and either hash browns or pancakes. Or, in the case of this weekend, pancakes mixed with chopped crispy bacon bits, aka ManCakes.

Cooking for me has become an extension of socialization. Good food can be an incredible experience, and being able to provide that food and the accompanying experience is an amazing feeling. A delicious meal can be “I love you,” “You’re great friends,” or any number of personal, meaningful expressions, without actually saying anything. Those that know me will confirm that my interest and desire in expressing myself verbally, is at best, minimal. Being behind the stove, creating, gives me an outlet not only for creativity but also, love, friendship, respect, desire and so much more. So, I love to cook.

Cooking at faire is a great challenge because it requires producing large meals, relatively inexpensively, that taste good (at least, if I’m doing my job right). A stand-by that gets rave reviews both from my guildies and our sword vendor is my Chile Verde. Now, I loves me some good chile verde, and I make a pretty mean bowl. Those who’ve made it before know what a relatively intensive process it can be to make the sauce, certainly not suited to camp site cooking. So, I offer my recipe for chile verde here below.

    Pork stew meat
    Green enchilada sauce

No really. That’s it. I know, I know, I’m cheating. And I really don’t care. The trick to this successful chile verde is all in the preparation of the meat. Your stew meat should be cubed into approximately 1″ squares, and then, cooked in a frying pan with enough fat of choice (lard/rendered pork fat is the best) to brown and crisp the outside of the pork cubes nicely. Don’t crowd the pan, take your time and pay attention to the meat. It’s horribly time consuming, and it really does make all the difference. The time spent here results in pork in the chile verde which holds its shape nicely even when meltingly tender and that savory Malliard goodness on the outside of the chunks of pig. Once all your pork is browned, deglaze the frying pan(s) with a bit of enchilada sauce, add the rest (approximately one large can per 2 pounds of meat) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 3-4 hours, or until the pork can be split easily with a fork. Serve (over rice, if you like) with sour cream, chopped green onions and cilantro to accompany.

One of my guild mates is not fan of green chile sauce, however, so I did a little on the fly marinade as the pork was being prepped which was a big hit.

    Pork stew meat (approx 1/3 pound)
    Splash of Patron silver tequila
    2-3 T cheap maple syrup
    1 tsp dried minced garlic
    3-4 pinches Kirkland steak rub

Placed in a plastic bag and allowed to marinate for a couple of hours, the result was a sweet glazed pork that had a nice kick and tasted quite delicious. The high sugar content in the syrup burns easily, so a moderate temperature and high level of attentiveness are required to cook up the finished product.

Two weekends behind the stove, getting to let a bunch of really great people taste that they mean the world to me. Tough to beat.