Wednesday, December 4, 2013
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 Traditions...it'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 idea...so 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
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 http://www.tasteofmissouri.com/ventana/ *...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 be...work 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.
Or if you do, KEEP THAT LID PRESSED DOWN TIGHT.
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 morgansites.com--check 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! http://www.tasteofmissouri.com/
* 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...
The weather gets nippy and we begin to crave soup, soup, and MORE soup. But different.
(NOTE: this recipe was originally on our LiveJournal version of Starving Artists, but since we just came into a free post-Halloween pumpkin, I'm making it that way. clean out, cut up, and steam pumpkin till tender, just like the squash...)
This one is rich and delicious as well as different...I made it with a twist, this time. Chicken! (Yes, more things to do with a roast chicken, though this one was hickory smoked...somehow the thought of that lovely smoky flavor with this particular soup recipe just sounded right!)
As usual, we ate fresh hot chicken as soon as we got home with it–that hickory chicken smell was too tempting!–then J. pulled the meat off the bones for me and I boiled the bones for soup stock...again rescuing about another cup of meat in the process.
This is luscious without meat, too, though, so if you prefer a vegetarian version just leave it out! The squash itself is wonderfully good for you--check out the info here: www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2001002.html
one large sweet onion
a winter squash (we like butternut squash for this--and of course if you can get organic, all the better)
1-2 cloves of garlic (or the jarred, minced stuff)
5-6 cups of soup stock, preferably home made
1 C. or so of diced chicken, unless you’re skipping meat
1 T. Canola or extra virgin olive oil (organic, if you can swing it!)
dash of sea salt
a generous grating of fresh pepper
and (optional) about a half bottle of hard cider
dollop of sour cream or plain lowfat yogurt, also optional
dash of hot sauce, optional squared...
Peel and chop the onion into about ½" pieces, and brown lightly in the hot oil–you can use the pot you’re going to cook the soup in, if you like. Add the garlic. Keep stirring while you slice and dice the squash...
It’s not easy to deal with (winter squash has a tough skin, which some of us could use!), so get the longest-necked butternut squash you can fine–the neck has no pith or seeds, just good eating that’s easiest to get at! Cut into rounds and peel, then dice. When you get to the body of the squash, scrape out the pith and seeds, then peel and dice the meat as normal.
(I’ve got a buddy who doesn’t waste a thing–he cleans the seeds, toasts them, and eats them for crunchy nutritious snacks. They’re REALLY good, but there aren’t a whole lot of seeds in a squash. Maybe if we do a pumpkin later...)
(And of course, we can put the leavings in the compost heap--we don't waste all THAT much...)
You can of course use any winter squash you prefer–acorn, turk’s head, whatever...this is just fairly simple, delicious, and almost always available at the store.
So. Dump in the soup stock, cider, and squash, along with the meat, and any seasonings, and simmer till the squash is soft.
Squish up as much of the squash if you can with a potato masher or big spoon (if I’m doing the vegetarian version I just toss it in the blender, but I don’t much care for puree’d meat. Reminds me of baby food...).
Serve with that optional dollop of sour cream or yogurt and an artful swirl of hot sauce and dive in! It will warm you from the inside out...
This is SO good, I made another version of it...we'll share it soon!
Oh my–I wonder if there’s a similar recipe in this book!?
(And sorry, you can't actually look inside unless you hit the text link above--I just couldn't manage a different view of it!)
I love the picture of the pumpkin bowls on the front! (Guess our butternut squash would make pretty small bowls, though...)
I went looking for the soup tureen I remembered, which would be such fun to serve this in–shaped like a big pumpkin–and instead found Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens at Winterthur (Winterthur Book)! WOW. As someone in love with our history and with good food, this is terribly tempting...I still want to go to Winterthur, in Wilmington, Delaware! http://www.winterthur.org/
Wonder if they have reproduction tureens in their museum store? http://www.winterthur.org/visiting/museum_stores.asp?sub=museum_stores (Sorry for the long link, I hope it holds!)
There is EVERYTHING on YouTube...here’s a recipe for organic butternut squash soup from the Hippy Gourmet! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsV8csQQKlk
And of course I have things there too...how-to slideshows for artists, mostly, here: http://au.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube
As always, we'd love to hear what you think--going for that Five Chef's Hat rating, y'know...
For the artists out there...the illustration was done on hot press Fabriano watercolor paper, with burnt sienna ink and mostly Kremer Pigments watercolors. I blotted the wash while still wet to give some definition to the shape of the squash...
Friday, November 1, 2013
We've shared a stuffed squash recipe here before, with maple syrup...this is a more savory version and it was GOOD. (Check the link!)
J. does the maple one, so he turned the savory version over to me--I improvised!
1 acorn squash, preferably organic
2/3 lb. breakfast sausage of your choice (not links, of course!) or make your own from ground pork
2 stalks celery
1/2 sweet yellow onion (Vidalia's good!)
1/2 C. cheese of your choice, cubed; I had provel on hand, but cheddar would rock, too
1/2 C. Greek yogurt or
Salt and pepper to taste; we use organic Pepperman, a sea salt and variety-of-peppers mix)
(Grated carrots and chopped mushrooms would be a nice addition if you have them)
Cut squash in half and take out seeds and pulp (you can roast these if you wish)
Steam, bake or even (gasp!) microwave squash till tender--I put them in a pan, cut side up, with about an inch of water, put on a lid and steam till done
Meanwhile, saute and separate sausage in a big skillet (I know, I'm lisping again) till brown and set aside to drain and cool.
Dice celery and onion and cook in sausage drippings till transparent and even lightly golden. (You can use oil or butter if you prefer, but the drippings are pre-seasoned and I hate waste.) Mix with sausage meat in a large bowl.
Mix in yogurt (or egg, if you prefer) and cheese; if you're going strictly Paleo, use the egg and skip the cheese
Press into squash "bowls" and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
This is SO good--we finished the leftovers the next morning for breakfast! (It was great cold, too...)
Hearty, filling autumn fare!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I don't remember whether I discovered Moroccan food on the Mark's Daily Apple site after we got into Paleo/Primal lifestyle, or when we went to the Marrakech Cafe in Kansas City, but at any rate, I'm hooked! (Marrakech is currently closed, looking for a new location, or I would have included a link!)
At this time of year with fall in the air, these rich, spicy dishes taste especially good. So here's MY take on:
3-4 organic or cage-free chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 1/2 sweet yellow onion
1 sweet potato
2-3 garlic cloves
1 C. dried apricots, quartered
1/2 C. raisins, more or less
Make more if you like, these are just guidelines!
1/2 C. olive oil (light or EVOO, your choice.)
1 t. ground cinnamon (yes, cinnamon!)
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. coarse ground black pepper
1 t. sea salt
1 T. ketchup or tomato sauce, optional
sprinkle of cayenne, optional
Again, you'll want to tweak the spices to your own taste, I do.
An hour or two before cooking (or earlier in the day if you're more organized!), mix oil and spices in a big bowl and stir in chicken chunks. Leave them alone together to get acquainted. (And no, most recipes don't seem to call for marinating this way. No idea why...)
Cut carrots in rounds, onions in chunks, sweet potato in squares. Slice garlic cloves or use your garlic press.
Put another splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and heat. I usually start the carrots first, because J. likes them very well done, then add the onions, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Saute till soft; a wee bit browned is good.
Add extra spices if you like...I put more cumin and pepper in the veggies, plus a sprinkle of cayenne. I added a tiny bit of water and about a T. of ketchup or tomato sauce for moisture, and put the lid on.
When the vegetables are almost done, heat a heavy skillet and brown the chicken chunks in their own marinade...at this point the smell is delightful! It took two skillets-full to brown all the chicken...don't get them overdone, just lightly browned--breasts can get really dry. Ick.
Dump the chicken in with the vegetables along with any leftover marinade, and give them another 10 minutes or so to finish cooking the chicken through. Again, not TOO long. Dry chicken, bleh.
You can cook this dish in a traditional Moroccan tagine, which is both the name of the dish and the cooking vessel, but mine is too small...alas! Tagine--the vessel--is a flat plate-like bowl with a cone-shaped lid, made of pottery. Very cool...but mine would make enough for one.
Serve as is, over rice or couscous if you're NOT going Primal, and maybe with a side dish of Moroccan cabbage, carrot strings and onions...though I decided enough was enough, tonight!
Granted, this is a pretty starch-and-sweet-heavy dish, so we don't have it too often, but what a TREAT on a chilly, gray evening.
If you DO want the Moroccan vegetables, season with the same cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, salt and black pepper; saute them lightly in sesame oil, then put the lid on till tender...delicious!
Be wildly traditional, serve with sweet mint tea like they do at Marrakech...
Friday, August 16, 2013
|You're right, this IS an old painting done years ago when I pickled with vinegar! My computer with all my images is in the shop...|
I've been experimenting with pickling and brining and fermenting, as mentioned in this post, and last week our good buddy R.E.--he of the gorgeous organic garden--brought us 6 gigantic cucumbers of a new variety that gets huge but not bitter or tough.
Faced with THAT much bounty, all we could do was pickle! I made a fresh cucumber, onion, and tomato salad in apple cider vinegar and Joseph made his famous sweet relish the usual way with sugar, vinegar, spices and all, but I couldn't resist brining some garlic dills to see how they turned out...and did they ever!
I love the idea of brining or fermenting vegetables...no need for steamy hot kitchens that way, and I love the free probiotics! So I checked in all my books and ended up using the basics from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods.
First, I got out my basic brine I keep on hand for those delicious krauts--
6 T. fine grain sea salt (or 9 of coarse grain)
8 C. water
Combine and stir still dissolved. Tough, isn't it? Some recipes call for heating the water and then letting it cool, but that seems a bit...silly. If you know of a pressing reason for doing it that way, let me know!
GARLIC DILL PICKLES
This is a bit loose for an actual recipe, since it depends on how many pickles you have.
These cucumbers were WAY too big to use whole...you'd practically need a 55 gallon drum! So I sliced some into rounds and cut some into spears long enough to fit into a wide mouth pint jar, leaving an inch of headroom. I figured on filling 5 wide-mouth pint jars, so I just kept slicing till I had enough.
Some people suggest submerging the pickles in ice cold water for half an hour, unless they're fresh-picked. I skipped that step...
I'd previously pickled some garlic, so I put 2 cloves into each jar and a couple of sprigs of fresh dill. If you want, you can use 1 tsp. of dill seed instead.
SO. Pack your pickles, garlic cloves, dill, etc. into the jars, cover with brine, leaving about an inch of headroom, and weigh the vegetables down so they stay below the level of the brine. You can use a smaller jar lid, a very clean round stone, or commercial fermenting weights, but do keep checking every day to make sure the vegetables are well covered.
Cover with a lid and let nature take its course--3-7 days depending on your weather (things ferment faster in warmer weather.) I "burped" mine by removing the lid once a day and to check their progress. Then transfer to the fridge and enjoy!
* NOTE: To keep my pickles crisp, I put one clean oak leaf in the bottom of each jar! Yep, you can use oak, grape, raspberry, or even black tea--it's the tannin that does the job.
** NOTE #2: Sometimes home-brined veggies can develop a thin, whitish skim on top of the brine...that's kahm yeast and it doesn't hurt a thing (unless you're allergic to yeast.) Skim it off before storing, though, because eventually it can affect the flavor. If the brine gets slimy or ropy, toss it--but that's unlikely!
We had ours with Joseph's delicious organic-beef burgers last night...
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
This recipe is my best attempt at “reverse engineering” a recipe used by a Virginia restaurateur who I knew only as Ben. He used to run Ben & Mary’s Steak House in Warrenton, VA. He sold that place and bought Dean’s Steak House in Front Royal, VA. Based on recent reviews of Dean’s I gather he’s either retired, passed away, or otherwise moved on from there as well since it sounds like it’s gone downhill. He had an interesting innovation in that he did not add the cheese directly to the dressing. Instead, he’d pour what was essentially a garlic dressing over the salad and added crumbled Gorgonzola on top of that: a nice presentation, as they say in the chef biz.
¾ C mayonnaise
½ C sour cream
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, pressed
1 T parsley
1 T apple cider vinegar
½ T lemon juice
¼ t sea salt
4 or 5 oz package Gorgonzola crumbles
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with a whisk except the cheese. Gently fold in the cheese and store in the fridge for at least an hour before using. It tends to get thicker the longer it's kept, and it becomes the consistency of a dip after a day or so. If you prefer it pourable, it can be thinned with buttermilk.
I prefer Gorgonzola over regular bleu cheese (which I find rather harsh), but only because it’s available locally and is a bit less expensive. The absolute best bleu cheese for salad dressing is Roquefort. That requires a trip into KC and costs about $25-30/lb but it is absolutely exquisite. For some reason, unlike the Gorgonzola, when used in this recipe it tends to get thinner the longer its kept rather than thicker.