Monday, October 5, 2009

Update On Celine.

Note: This post was originally started on September 25. And I'm just getting around to publishing it tonight. I still have the skull of Celine in my refrigerator in the utility room. And I'm taking her out to de-meat, clean, and bleach her.
I tried to clean Celine as best I could. I delved into her interior pockets with a tiny-tined shrimp fork, using both the tines and the rounded handle to release meat and things. I went up into Celine's sinuses. I learned a lot about pig anatomy. Or basically any kind of anatomy.
Celine is now in the sink. Daughter Hawthorne is calling foul. She is physically disgusted but I think this is a thing of beauty. Am I crazy? I rescued this head. It was actually going to be discarded. Wasted. And that is just plain wrong. If you haven't been following along, I overheard a casual conversation about the Labor Day Pig Pickin' at Frank-the-Good's. There was a pig head that couldn't fit into the smoker. And I procured the head. Sometimes things just fall into my lap. Serendipitous. I prepared it. And there was all this wonderful meat on it. I rearranged the meats. And it was glorious. Here are my Celine posts, in order, from my first procurement of the head to the final finished, delectable product: Step 1. Find out from intelligence sources that a pig head is in the neighborhood. Step 2. Procure the pig's head. Step 3. Remove the pig's face. Step 4. More removal. Step 5. Let's make pig stock and braise a tongue. Step 6. Assembly. Step 7. Oh my. This is divine. Back to the skull:
I added some dish washing detergent and a lot of bleach. And I left it in the sink for a few hours. Then I cleaned Celine's skull again, scrubbed it a bit, de-meated it with a small probe, washed and scrubbed it some more, and put it into my cooler, with fresh water, detergent, and bleach. And it's been sitting in my cooler, bleaching, since September 26. I will use Celine's skull, yet. Next spring. It's going to be Yard Art. I'm thinking about nice nasturtiums growing through the sinuses.
I'm particularly interested in the culinary possibilities of nasturtiums:

Although the blossoms appear delicate, they are actually very durable and make for vibrant and long-lasting garnishes, one of their best uses. Use the blossoms either whole or chopped to decorate creamy soups, salads, butters, cakes and platters. Their sweet, peppery taste (both in the leaves and in the flowers) adds to the enjoyment. In fact, it is for its tangy taste that nasturtium gets its common name. It comes from the Latin "Nasus Tortus" meaning convulsed nose, referring to the faces people made when tasting the spicy plant. Its scientific name is Tropaeolum majus.

Take advantage of this spicy flavor as well as the decorative color. Use both leaves and blossoms in salads. Try adding them to spinach salads for a dramatic effect. Nasturtium's spiciness is also a winning addition to cheese spreads. Both the leaves and the blossoms look and taste great in tea sandwiches. For a stunning look, pair orange nasturtium blossoms with violets on open-faced cucumber sandwiches on white bread.

Make your own zesty vinegars by using the blossoms. Place same colored blossoms in a decorative bottle (five blossoms per cup of vinegar) and cover with hot, but not boiling, white wine vinegar. You can strain out the spent blossoms after the liquid has cooled and settled for a day. Replace them with fresh blooms to make an attractive gift.

For a tasty and sensational hors d'ouvere, stuff the blossoms. Seasoned cream cheese mixtures, egg salad or chicken salad work well, although thy must be finely chopped to be able to pipe them into the tiny throat of the flower, One of the most colorful choices for filling is guacamole - a great summertime appetizer with a chilled margarita! You can also make little appetizer packets. Wrap a blossom around a mixture of cream cheese, raisins, walnuts and orange peel for a tea time treat.

Nasturtium buds also have their place in the kitchen. They can be pickled and used in place of capers, although I think I'd have to have a very large patch of nasturtiums before I'd sacrifice those beautifully dramatic blooms to eat the buds.

The chopped leaves also make a zesty addition to mayonnaise or vinaigrettes. As the summer sun gets hotter, so does the "pepper" in the nasturtiums. More sun and heat, the spicier the taste. So if you are looking for a milder tang, choose flowers from nasturtiums grown in shade or semi-shade.

Maybe some purple and white allysum coming through the eye sockets. Mark my words: Next summer, God willing, I will have skull/nasturtium/allysum shots on my blog. Heh. Maybe some photographs too. Everyone should have a skull in their garden. Much better than a skeleton in their closet. And you may quote me on that.


Anonymous said...

PLEASE tell me that was an old pic of your nasturtuims, otherwise, well, you know what I'm thinking.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Why ... whatevuh do you mean, Xmaskatie??? >;)

Oh. And those were my nasturtiums,
not to be confused with your "nasturtuims."

Kathy said...

Oooh, I have skull envy.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm not getting the Celine love. Good for you, tho...someone has to love her. Just not me.