Darren's Dutch Oven thread from a few days ago has inspired me. I went right downstairs and modified my D.O. to work on my stove and in my oven. I've already made an awesome loaf of bread and a batch of Beef Burgundy which was delicious.
I decided to scrub and re-season the D.O. before using it so I needed some lard. Unfortunately, I couldn't get just a pound at my local grocery store. All they had at the time was a 2-1/2 lb. tub. Even though I only needed two or three ounces I bought the tub. After I was done, I didn't know what I was going to do with the rest of the lard. I don't cook with it much because of the fat/cholesterol content. This afternoon I was just about to pitch it but that just seemed too wasteful. Sitting on my couch watching the birds outside sparked an idea. How about making some suet cakes? I picked up a small bag of bird seed and a suet cage and got to work. It was very easy and I think it's going to be a big hit. Here's what I did...
I just put a bunch of lard into a medium sauce pan and turned the heat to medium low. As it melted I just stirred it occasionally. When it was completely melted, I added equal parts of peanut butter and flour (to help firm it up when cooled). Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of each. I just stirred the peanut butter in with a large spoon until melted. Then I used a whisk to incorporate the flour. When it was smooth, I removed it from the heat and set it on the garage floor. That way it would cool much faster than sitting inside. I used the whisk and kept stirring it occasionally because it's pretty cool in the garage and the outer portions were firming up and the middle was still warm liquid. I wanted it to be thickened up a bit so that when I added the seed it would stay suspended and not sink to the bottom of the pan. It worked very well, in a little more than an hour the consistency seemed perfect to add the seed. I brought it inside and gradually added the seed and stirred to incorporate. When I had the right amount, I put it into two bread pans and set it outside to firm up. It's only been about 90 minutes and it's very firm already. When it comes time to slice, I think I'll just dip the pan in some hot water to release it and I can turn it out onto a plate and slice off pieces to put in the suet holder I have. Here are some pics of the process.
As it's melting:
After the peanut butter and flour are incorporated:
This is the consistency before the seed was added:
Seeds in and ready for the forms:
It's all done and ready to firm up:
Ready to slice:
This was kind of a fun thing to do. We'll see how well the critters like it.