Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hardship Hits, I'm Put to the Testes

Hello Devoted Blog Followers (fake it til you make it, no?),

As you mostly certainly recall, I have more experience than most 23 year old women you and I know with eating testicles by choice. Recall also that some time back, I had the good fortune of discovering that I didn't have to go lurking round Upstate during castration season to get my hands on the goods - the Park Slope Food Co-op was practically giving them away every Thursday when they received their Miscellaneous Lamb Parts delivery.

What you don't recall, because you're hearing it for the first time now, was that March/April '09 has punched me in the face big time. Like, I woke up and was being teabagged by the big, badluck balls of March and April every fucking morning. Dumped by my boyfriend and the workforce. Permanent layoffs in relationship world and environmental education world. Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment went under and took all 40+ employees with it so suddenly, I was not only TOTALLY boyfriendless but also broke, broke broke, broke, broke.

So - no money for groceries. Negative monies in the bank. Last week I'm walking around the neighborhood with Sara Curtin and I'm crying about having to eat raw flour and spoonfuls of balsamic vinegar for dinner when she reminds me: We have balls in the freezer. Now this is big. Yeah, I'd eaten the balls in Lyon, where it was only customary and polite to do so. And I'd purchased them. But, hey, I'll admit it, it was mostly for novelty's sake - they were $3! I'm just gonna go ahead and say it - actually defrosting them and touching them and cooking them and eating them wasn't something I hadn't been dying to make time to do.

But, desperate times call for rifling through your freezer for anything that can satiate your hunger and make for some low-budget Friday night entertainment.

When we got home, we figured out what sort of ingredients we had to work with and made a menu:

Tater Tots
Frozen Peas & Corn
Braised Thighs of Chicken aux Marsala & Ball Sauce

We defrosted the balls. We gave each other pep talks and hearty, "YOU'RE the MAN" type slaps on the back. We poked them with a wooden spoon before we poked them with our index finger.

Raising our dullish knives, we went in for the slice. The knives bounced off. The two veiny testes, twice the size of any balls that either of us had ever in our lives been involved with, wiggled and leered at us from the cutting board, their outer skin an impenetrable, pink fortress of flesh, little rivers of blood running from each of their nippleish tips.

Since it's not my general practice to do much preliminary research prior to treading new kitchen waters, I didn't know that most of the Rocky Mountain Oyster eating community in Colorado suggest you peel off the tough outer skin while the balls are still frozen to make your task less stressful. Ten minutes and a lot of girlish squealing later, we finally finished sawing off the XXTRa sinewy outside flesh encasing each ball and reached, with glee, their pillowy, peachy insides. Two glistening treasures.

The rest was easy. Sara was insistent that she got to taste at least a little of the ball in its purist form, so we sliced the part of 1 ball into 1/2 inch discs, gave them a toss of s&p and seared them like scallops (which they resembled exactly, save the color) with butter and a little garlic. Delicious.

Maybe it's the pussy way out, but we'd decided to incorporate the rest into a "Ballsala" sauce, cutting them into smaller pieces to disguise their form, browning them and cooking them for a long time in a stew of caramelized onions, stock and Marsala which we poured over crispy, roasted chicken thighs (our favorite!).

Though I'd been the ringleader of the project to start, Sara turned out to be the clear choice for "Most Enthusiastic Ball Eater". She loved them. Couldn't get enough! She was stealing the balls out of MY sauce, even! And it's true that once you get over yourself there's little not to like about them: they're super tender, low in fat, a little gamey, pair well with many flavors, and are dirt cheap.

Could Ram's Testicles be the Recession Era Filet Mignon?

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