You can take the girl out of the farm, but I guess you can’t take the farmer out of the girl. In the middle of New York City, I have found an oasis, a respite, a place to get my hands dirty again. I found a farm.
A rooftop farm the size of my backyard, but a farm all the same! A farm with dirt and vegetables and chickens and bees. Urban farming in the best possible sense. Let me explain. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm was founded a mere three years ago by a wonderful woman named Annie. The farm works with schools to educate children, sells produce to local restaurants, and brings together urban farmers. It’s a pretty amazing place. It was also exactly what I needed.
There’s an interesting trio of emotions my soul seems to be grappling with lately.
- Complete and thrilling excitement for the new experiences, opportunities, and people in New York City.
- Nostalgia for Texas, my family, and tradition.
- Bittersweet agony over my financial/environmental/moral footprint for the summer (living in NYC is NOT cheap or eco-friendly).
Thankfully I’m beginning to find a balance. I’m also realizing that deep down, in my heart of hearts, I am a farmer. Or at least a country girl. I suppose it’s good to learn these things about yourself early. Hopefully it’ll mean less waffling around when I graduate. I had this particular epiphany when I trekked over to Eagle Street on Sunday and volunteered for a couple of hours. As soon as my hands were buried in the dirt, transplanting tomatoes, I felt an immense pressure lift and I couldn’t stop smiling. Back to the earth…er, on top of a building.
Now to address my homesickness. Well, that one was easy. Like I do in most predicaments, I turned to food. Summer in Texas will forever be tied to barbeque, so I set out to give myself the most Texan of revered meats: Brisket. But since I don’t have a smoker nor a large backyard in which I can build a fire-pit, I turned to my trusty crock-pot and concocted a little experiment.
The experiment turned out pretty well, nay, WONDERFUL. My brisket was smoky and peppery and fall-apart tender. It was juicy and flavorful and sliced beautifully. It was Texan brisket. Made in a New York kitchen.
Crockpot Smoky Texan Brisket
- 3-4 pound brisket
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup beef stock (or water if you haven’t any)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 3/4 tsp cumin
Combine spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle on and then rub into brisket. Place brisket in crock-pot, fatty side up (I don’t trim fat. That’s the best part! But I guess you could if you insist), and pour in the stock, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (the longer the better).
When finished, remove from crockpot to plate and allow to rest, covered in foil, for at least 15 minutes, Then slice against the grain, and exhalt in the peppery crust, molten interior, and over-all meat experience.