Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tajine Tajine! Moroccan Cooking

Moroccan Chicken Tajine! 

(Or "tagine," if you prefer.)  It was DELICIOUS, and I'm delighted there are leftovers.  

This is the first time we've used our new Moroccan tajine--that's the conical pottery cooker--to make a Moroccan tajine--that's a kind of stew.  I did make one in my old chicken cooker not long ago and cracked it, so I was nervous about this guy.  Joseph seasoned it, though, and we forged on ahead...carefully!  

You can cook right on the stovetop, but it must be at the lowest possible heat, and it's recommended that you use an old-fashioned heat spreader or diffuser under the pot--which I did. 

You can kind of see it in use here:'s how!

4-6 chicken thighs--we get some terrific ones, organically grown free range, etc.
1 sweet onion
1 zucchini
3-4 carrots
1/2 each red, yellow, and green pepper if you have them--or just one color and use more!
1 sweet potato
1/2 C. raisins (or more, to taste)
1/2 C. dried apricots, cut in half or thirds

2 T. olive oil (or a bit more)

Salt and pepper to taste (we like Pepperman, an organic blend of sea salt and a variety of peppers)

1 or 2 t. Moroccan seasoning or more--commercial, if you like, but I always boost mine with more:
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon (yes, cinnamon!)
Penzey's makes a lovely mixture they call Turkish Seasoning, and McCormick's makes a pretty good mix as well, though as I say, I always boost it a little.  (I always carry a small jar in my purse because I SO detest the tasteless steamed "vegetable medley" so many restaurants serve as the vegetable dish.  Ugh...but a shot of this stuff would make shoe leather taste good!)

Put the tajine on your stove with the diffuser under it and use the lowest heat you have.

Add the olive oil, then start layering--thinly sliced onion first, then cubes of chicken.  Add a generous sprinkling of spices, then the rest of the vegetables.  Some recipes call for lemon, some for prunes--we didn't have any of the latter, and I wasn't in the mood for lemon.  Next time!

Add more spices if you like--I did.  Put the lid on, and go away and let it do its thing.  It took about 4 hours to cook, and it was DELICIOUS.

Traditionally, these tajine pots are used on a majmar, a little pottery brazier-like thing, but you would have to keep adding fuel.  Too hot today, and I'm too busy to sit out there for hours...

And by the way, of course you could do this in a slow-cooker and not have to worry about the drama--but the Moroccan tajine pot was more fun.

Yep, we have cooked a similar dish before and shared it here--but we didn't have the tajine then!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Joseph's Paleo Gumbo Jambalaya

OK, how can it be both gumbo and jambalaya? Simple: since gumbo derives its name from ngumbo, the Bantu word for okra, simply add okra to your jambalaya. Voila! (Which I pronounce VOY-la.)

I started with Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Cajun jambalaya (which can be easily found via your favorite internet search) but I tend to use a bit more meat than he does and of course, to make it Paleo I use cauliflower rice rather than the grain. I also prefer Pickapeppa Sauce to the Worcestershire that he uses.

I was surprised to see that my Cajun blackening spice mixture contained the same ingredients as his “Bayou Blast” seasonings, just in different proportions. I’ve appended mine.


1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
1 large chicken breast (about 8 ounces), diced
1 ½ tablespoon Cajun seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
2 chopped Roma tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Pickapeppa Sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
1 small head of cauliflower, riced in food processor
1 cup chicken broth
1 Andouille sausage (about 7 ounces), sliced
1 lb fresh or one 16 oz bag of frozen chopped okra
1 tsp salt and pepper or better yet, Pepperman

Joseph’s Cajun Blackening Spices

4 tsp salt
5 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garlic powder       
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground dried oregano
1 tsp ground dried thyme

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Cajun seasoning, work in seasoning well and set aside.

In a large saucepan, brown the Andouille on both sides, remove from pan and set aside. This step isn't really necessary, I just prefer my sausage browned.

Heat oil in the pan over high heat with onion, pepper and celery (the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking) for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Pickapeppa Sauce, hot sauce, and salt & pepper/Pepperman. Stir in cauliflower and broth. Reduce heat to medium, cook about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the okra. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until cauliflower becomes tender, another 5 or 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp/chicken mixture and the sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10-15 minutes more.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Joseph's Delicious Chili--AND his home made chili powder recipe, bonus!

Joseph's chili is GOOD!! 

We get organic beef from a farm near St. Joseph, but you can buy some good stuff in the store, too.  If you prefer ground beef, that’s fine; Joseph is a big fan of chunks instead.  Pork chili is good, or you can even make “white chili,” with chicken. (And of course if you hunt, it doesn’t get any fresher or more primal than venison!)  

The recipe is not QUITE Paleo, using commercially canned stuff, so if you've canned or frozen your own, good ON you! Our garden wasn't great this year... :-(


I seldom make it the same way twice, but here are the standard ingredients:

2 lbs meat – beef, venison, pork, turkey, whatever

5 T chili powder (see below)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I like Hunt’s fire roasted w/garlic) (or if you have them, 2-3 chopped fresh tomatoes, or your own home canned or frozen...)

1 6 oz can tomato paste (organic if you can find it, or can your own)

3 4 oz cans diced green chilis

½ sweet yellow or Vidalia onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Sometimes I may add beans – either pinto or black beans or maybe even both. But never, never, absolutely, positively NEVER kidney beans.

[I don't remember beans in Joseph's chili, ever! And don't miss them in the least. -Kate]

I use a slow cooker but any pot will do.

If using ground meat, first brown it with the onion, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer (low on the slow cooker) for at least an hour, preferably two or three. If using a roast, slow cook it with all the ingredients until it can be pulled apart with two forks. Shred it and simmer until you can’t wait any longer.

[I make mine with ground beef or bison's fine too! -Kate]

Yep, this photo's the ground meat version...and done on the stove...hey, I had the photos in my file!

Serve with chopped onion, sour cream, shredded cheese, hot sauce, vinegar – whatever you like on your chili.

I’ve never really been happy with commercial chili powders so I decided to make my own. (I don’t care if silicon dioxide is harmless, I don’t want it in my chili powder.)


¾ c ground Ancho chili pepper

3 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground Mexican oregano

1 tsp cayenne pepper

The only thing not available at most supermarkets is Ancho chili powder and the Mexican oregano, which is stronger and not as sweet as the more common Turkish oregano.  Penzeys Spices is a good on-line source for both.  Note: I bought a 1 lb bag of ground Ancho chili, which is about a quart. I also bought a 4 oz bag of leaf (the only form they sell it) Mexican oregano and that was ALSO about a quart! So I have LOTS of Mexican oregano! I store it in the freezer and grind it with an electric herb grinder. Well, OK it’s a coffee grinder, but the two devices are exactly the same thing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Savory Squash Soup--again!


I thought I'd done this version in the blog, but if I did I didn't label by popular request, my sausage and squash soup, perfect for a wintry day!

butternut squash keeps well in the winter--this is the bulbous end with the seeds...

bubbling away on the stove...

You’ll need:

1/2 large sweet onion
a winter squash (we like butternut squash for this--and of course if you can get organic, all the better)
2 cloves of garlic
5-6 cups of soup stock or to cover well, preferably home made--I used some of my bone broth I hadn't gotten to yet, with chicken stock
breakfast sausage--about a lb.
1 T. butter or olive oil
dash of sea salt
a generous grating of fresh pepper
(We like Pepperman instead of those last two)
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
Sprinkling of cayenne, to taste (I'm a wuus)

dollop of sour cream or plain lowfat yogurt, optional
dash of hot sauce, optional squared...

Peel and chop the onion into about ½" pieces, and brown lightly in the hot oil–
Add the garlic.

Brown and break up the sausage in another pan.

Slice, peel, and dice the squash.
Put in a stock pot with broth and stock, and cook on medium heat till the squash is soft.  Mash with a potato masher or use a blender or food processor.

Add the sautee'd onion  along with the meat and seasonings, and simmer a half hour or longer.
Serve with sour cream or yogurt and enjoy--perfect for a wintry evening!

You can tell this photo was taken when I was still eating bread. If gluten doesn't bother you, that's your choice!
And add a little hot sauce if you're like my husband...I'm the delicate little flower in the family!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cauliflower/Sausage Stuffing for Roast Turkey

We've enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our family for years. Our dear friend Roberta does the bulk of the cooking – turkey and all the trimmings – and a fine job she does of it too! That one time each year we indulge in a bit of traditional bread stuffing.  But since going Paleo I've been looking for a substitute for bread-based turkey stuffing for the times I decide to roast a bird myself.

I knew I wanted a sausage-based stuffing with a taste similar to the traditional, but I scoured the Internet and came up pretty much empty – either it involved bread or it was something else entirely. I’ve been totally unimpressed with non-wheat/gluten free breads, so I decided to wing it and make my own using cauliflower as a base.

One thing I remember from my mom’s stuffing is that she always boiled the neck & giblets with onion and celery as a flavoring/moistening agent, so that’s where I started.

Cauliflower/Sausage Stuffing for Roast Turkey

2 stalks celery, chopped*
¼ sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 turkey neck & giblet package
½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into florets
½ lb pork sausage
1 T Herbs de Provence
1 t rosemary

Boil the celery, onion, neck & giblets in a small pan with just enough water to cover. Simmer until the meat is falling off the neck.

Strain and pour liquid into a medium size pot, setting aside the solids.

Add cauliflower florets to liquid and steam until cauliflower is soft. While steaming, strip meat from the turkey neck and add to cauliflower along with the onions and celery. When soft, mash like potatoes.

Fry the sausage until brown. If desired, chop up the giblets and add those too, otherwise nibble on them while you cook, feed them to your cat, whatever. Once meat is browned, drain off the grease and add the meat to the cauliflower along with the herbs and mix well. Either use it to stuff the bird or keep warm until ready to serve: I did the latter.

I'm still getting used to the idiosyncrasies of making gravy with arrowroot instead of wheat flour - it tends to be a little gooey - but it tasted just fine!

*Note: I didn’t actually use two stalks of celery – I grabbed the whole bunch and chopped a bit of waste off the top, then chopped from the top, leaves included, until I had about two stalks worth.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Corned Beef, home made style!

And yes, there was CONSIDERABLY more meat than that, J. just put the cabbage on top to cook in our slow cooker!

I looked through a lot of recipes for home-corning beef brisket, and settled on a variation of Sally Fallon's in Nourishing's really a cultured food, like pickles, in her recipe!


First, I needed BASIC WHEY--easy peasy!

1 large carton plain yogurt with active cultures--not Greek yogurt because it's already strained!  
Put several layers of cheesecloth or one clean bandanna or other soft, fine cloth in a strainer, suspend over a bowl, and dump your yogurt in it.  Leave it to drain overnight and voila', basic whey!

(I salt the now-thick yogurt and add garlic or herbs for a spreadable cheese or dip--yummy!)


Now the CORNING:

1 2 or 3 lb. beef brisket--we get grass fed beef from Quarter Ridge Cattle, and it's marvelous--the recipe calls for it to be frozen 14 days and then thawed, I imagine to get rid of any bacteria or bugs?  Fallon doesn't say...but we did it anyway!

1 cup whey
2 C. filtered water
4 T. sea salt
2 T. mustard seed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (my addition!  We love garlic...)
6-7 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 t. red pepper flakes

I pretty much doubled everything else because you want the brine to cover the meat...and I needed more.  If you just have a small hunk of brisket, plan accordingly.

Mix seasonings (including salt) and rub onto both sides of the meat.  Mix whey and water and pour over meat (and actually I mixed the seasonings into the liquid, which worked fine.)

Cover and marinate at room temp for about 48 hours, give or take, turning the meat several  times a day to make sure the brine reaches everything.  (Some people do this for considerably longer, 10 days or so, and keep the marinating meat in the refrigerator--that works too.)  I used a heavy enameled iron stock pot which let me get at the meat easily and kept the kitties and any other critters out!

The meat looks a big gray after its bath...not to worry, that's what it's supposed to look like.  As long as it smells good, the liquid isn't ropy, and you've turned it often, it should be great.


Apparently Fallon means for this to be eaten raw, since it's in her raw meat appetizers section, but we opted for the more traditional handling.  (Yeah, no thanks...)  SO, the next morning we discarded almost all the brining liquid, reserving the seasonings, put the meat in our slow cooker, and covered it with water and the herbs and spices.* 

This is the only recipe I found that called for whey, often used in home pickling, but it sounded like a great I did it!

We put the lid on and brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat.  2 hours or so before dinner, J. added the big old wedges of white cabbage you see up top.  When that was tender, we dug in, HAPPILY!

*If you use the larger amount of salt some recipes call for, you need to wash off excess salt, and then even discard the cooking water--happily it was fine without doing that!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Crawfish Bisque--it's soup season!

The Starving Artists Cook Crawfish Bisque!

NOTE: this is from our old LiveJournal version of Starving Artists, too...slowly moving things here!

I love the lobster bisque at Ventana’s Gourmet Grille *...but Ventana’s is closed on Mondays, as I wrote this, and for some reason Thursday is lobster bisque day). (If you’re ever in town, I recommend a visit! )

Anyway, what we had on hand was frozen crawfish meat. Joy of Cooking has a recipe for Crawfish Bisque, but it assumes you start with, well, mudbugs. Crawdads. Crayfish. Crawfish. Whatever! And the recipe reserves some of the critters to stuff for garnish.

I really wanted the taste of lobster or shrimp bisque, so decided to combine, expand, and experiment–as I usually do. (Who actually follows recipes unless you're baking?)  Crawfish is ever so much less expensive than lobster, by the way, unless you live by the sea, and it's very, very tasty!

One thing I learned, though, was that it’s not such a good idea to fill the blender container 2/3 full of hot soup stock and turn it on high without a REALLY good grip on the lid...

Ever see a geyser? Volcano, maybe? Yes, I made “Crawfish Vesuvius”...

This recipe requires doing several different things at once, so my knight rode his white charger into the kitchen at my cry for help and cleaned up the mess on the counter...and under the microwave...and all over the blender...and his 7-day vitamin container...

With a SMILE. Bless the man!

I kept cooking...


Here are the basics!

1 lb. crawfish meat (tails, fresh caught, frozen, etc.) (or shrimp, or lobster) (We found crawfish tail meat at our local grocers and also at the little fish market out by the Missouri River. A buddy gets it at WalMart--it's not hard to find.)
(If you have to prepare your own, shell them and saute lightly with butter and finely chopped onion, then grind.)

1 ½ C. chicken or other soup stock (I had mostly veggie, with a bit of chicken flavor)

1 sweet onion, chopped

3-4 ribs celery and leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic (the recipes didn’t call for garlic but I know us...)

1 bay leaf

Since this was crawfish, I added a bit of gumbo file herb–I had it on hand! Maybe ½ t.

Freshly ground peppercorns–we like the medley of several different kinds

A little sea salt...we try to cut down, so just a wee tad for us, thanks...

2 C. half and half, warmed

½ C. sour cream (optional. You can just use extra half and half or milk, or yogurt*)

1/4 C. sherry (I didn’t have this, so I used white wine. It was FINE.)

4 T. butter

1/4 C. chopped or grated onion

A goodly sprinkle of paprika, maybe a half teaspoon, more if you like (had smoked on hand, yum...)
Another sprinkle of nutmeg.

OK, so I may have made this a bit more complicated than it needed to with me here!

Chop the onion and celery and put them into the soup stock with a couple of cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, the gumbo file, the pepper. Simmer, covered, for half an hour, then remove the bay leaf and puree in the blender.

A little at a time.
Not on high speed.

Meanwhile, melt the butter (or butter/canola mix, like we use) in a small skillet, and cook the finely chopped or grated onion till soft. Add the crawfish meat and keep stirring till it’s warm.

Warm the half and half, then stir it into the stock, along with the optional sour cream. (I just like sour cream!)

Put half of the crawfish and onion mixture in the blender, with half the warmed half and half, and whir. Carefully. With a tight lid.

Add to the pot of stock you’ve put back on the stove, and repeat with the other half. (You can use a hand grinder if you prefer, or a Cuisinart if you like high tech.)

Now, add the white wine or sherry, about a half teaspoon of paprika, and the nutmeg. Stir, and summer gently for a few more minutes...

Some recipes suggest adding flour or bread crumbs to thicken, but this was plenty thick enough. I think I had more meat than they normally use, and we avoid grains for health reasons.

Seriously good, seriously rich. This is not low-cal eating, here, folks...

We were at Costco last week and looked at their already prepared lobster bisque...and then remembered the taste of this. We weren't even tempted, we'll make our own!


If you really do prefer having a more complete recipe to go buy, this book looks like a good possibility: Fine Kettles of Fish: A Treasury of Seafood Chowders, Bisques, Soups & Stews  It's IN there...

Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 700 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More makes me want to hit the road in search of the perfect bisque...but ya know?  May have found it in our own kitchen!

* The Taste of Missouri site is the brainchild of my good friends and webmasters at it out! If you're in the area, I can recommend the places they've featured. And hey, you'll find my website and blog there, too!

*  As noted you can substitute yogurt for the sour cream--whole milk yogurt is about 160 calories in a CUP, and 2 TABLESPOONS of sour cream is 60 calories--so 480 calories for a cup of sour cream.  More fat, too...and yogurt offers more calcium, so your choice!)


The crawfish in the illustration was done years ago for one of my books--I don't even remember which one, now! It's watercolor on Fabriano cold pressed paper...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...