October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
Wegman’s has the most incredible Cheese Shop. It’s not quite as impressive as The Grand Fromage in Skippack Village, but for a supermarket Cheese Shop, I will not disparage it. They have a fine selection of raw cheeses from around the world (though I do tend to shop local for those– still, I do so love me some cheese) and they also have things like mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche and various pates, which I generally cannot find anywhere else.
Granted, I make my own creme fraiche now, but the original starter had to come form somewhere, so there you go.
The other day, Matt and I picked up a great raw cow’s milk cheddar, that is maplewood smoked to perfection. It’s mild and creamy, with a light smokey taste that I just LOVE. We also picked up a couple of pates, one pork and the other chicken and duck livers with truffles. Matt liked the pork, I preferred the chicken/duck truffle. Ella just said, “Yum!”
That baby loves her some pate. 🙂
For lunch today, I made some open-faced Grilled cheese sandwiches spread with the chickne/duck truffle pate, and it was so good! I loved it, Ella loved it, you’ll love it– try it!
Open faced Grilled Cheese and Pate
- 1 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 2 T pate
In skillet, melt fat over medium heat. Spread each slice of bread with pate and put spread side up in skillet. Arrange slices of cheese over tops and cover with lid until cheese is melted. Enjoy! Goes great with apple slices or other fruit.
October 14, 2010 § 2 Comments
This week, the supermarket bakery had a fabulous Apple Cider Raisin Bread sourdough loaf that I simply HAD TO HAVE. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make french toast. And also to reverse engineer that bad boy and make some of my own. The reverse engineering will have to wait for another day, because here’s a lot on my proverbial plate this week, and I have yet to successfully maintain a starter for longer than a week. *shame*
I am following along with the “pay what you can” Sourdough eCourse at GNOWFGLINS though, so I am hoping practice will eventually make perfect. Or at least, sufficient. I highly recommend the ecourse, by the way. That and the Fundamentals class. I took that in conjunction with Nourished Kitchen‘s “How to Cook Real Food” and they are a wealth of info! If you are new to cooking, or real food, or just want to brush up on what you already know and add new techniques to your repertoire, these online cooking classes are wonderful! Plus, GNOWFGLINS “pay what you can” plan is wonderfully flexible.
But I digress. The Apple Cider loaf was crusty on the outside and a little denser than a sandwich bread on the inside. This was great for the custard soak though, so the slices really held up. It was made with golden raisins, (which I am beginning to prefer to regular “purple” raisins of late) and had chunks of apples and cinnamon throughout. I should add that the loaf smelled like apple cider. Good stuff!
I made the whole loaf, which gave me enough for leftovers the next morning, and they re-heated really well, and were even better the next day!
Sourdough French Toast
- 1 loaf sourdough raisin bread
- 2 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 T maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1 tsp cinnamon
In a casserole dish, or bowl that is big enough to put the bread slices in, beat together all of the ingredients except the bread and fat. Putting in slices as you are going to cook them, allow each slice to soak for about 30 seconds in the mixture. Melt fat in pan or griddle set on med heat. Cook slices until medium brown, flipping once to cook both sides.
Serve warm with maple syrup.
October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
Matt and I are expecting! I am due about mid-June.
This time around, I expect it to be a very different experience. First of all, because I’ve done it already. I remember thinking throughout my entire pregnancy with Ella, every single day, “It’s gonna hurt!” But, now having labored for 36 hours and pushed for two, (with a baby facing sideways!) I think I have an idea of just how bad it can hurt, and so that element of the unknown has been removed.
Psychologically speaking, I think the first full-term pregnancy is probably generally the most trying because you have zero point of reference for what is happening to you, and what is going to happen. Sure, I researched and read, asked questions and tried to make myself as informed as possible the first time around. But there is really no way to completely prepare for such a thing.
This time, though it’s really early yet, I feel a lot more calm about the whole thing. That may change as my pregnancy progresses, but for now, I have complete peace and bliss over the whole thing.
Another factor is that I am planning for a totally different birth experience this time around. With each of my previous pregnancies, I had wanted to have a midwife assisted home birth, but after losing the first two, and the range of complications I experienced with Ella, I decided to go OB/hospital birth. I thought if I went in prepared, with birth plan in hand, that I could avoid a lot of the typical interventions. I now realize how naive that view was, and so now my attitude is “Hospitals are for medical emergencies only!” Unless my birth turns into a medical emergency, it’s homebirth all the way, baby!!
My first appointment with my midwife is in December. That’s a huge change from last time, since I saw the OB every single month before. My first thought was “Oh no! What if something goes wrong before then?” But then I realized the fundamental difference between midwifery and medicalized births: Midwifery assumes that everything will be fine and there won’t be any complications. Medicalized birth assumes that any and everything can go wrong, and one must be vigilant for every contingency and test for every possible problem!
I like the relaxed, peaceful, and positive attitude inherent in the philosophy that says, “This is a completely normal process. Woman have birthed for thousands of years, and I am designed for this process.”
I was created to birth babies! That’s an amazingly comforting thought! My sole purpose in life may not be to procreate, but of all the things God intends for me to do in this life, He made me a woman, and capable of conceiving and carrying new life! Since He designed me thus, and has given me the privilege to once more grow a brand new human person in my womb, I have nothing to worry about. Should any issues, problems or surprises come up, He will equip me to handle them, and there are systems in place already for any and every possible outcome.
But I won’t be ever looking out for any outcome except for the most logical and likely; a healthy, safe, natural birth for me and my baby.
October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Last week a friend of mine was gifted a deer haunch from a co-worker. Not the typical lunch item might expect to share at the local HomeDepot, but there you go. Here in PA, we’re rather share-y when it comes to big game.
It wouldn’t fit in their freezer, and his wife wasn’t keen on it anyway, so he passed it along to me to cook up for dinner with a couple of families. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. Thinking to myself, “Oh, I can pop that baby into my 20 quart roaster tomorrow, and just let it go all day low and slow, with minimal heat and mess. YAY!”
Reality is a funny thing though. Once i got it home, it didn’t take a yardstick to tell me there was no way that leg was fitting in my roaster. I found my biggest roasting pan, and checked to see if I could get it in the oven at least, and as long as it was at an angle, it just fit. Cheered by the prospect that I would NOT be forced to build a fire pit complete with roasting spit in my backyard, I started researching just what was the appropriate way to DEAL with such an impressive piece of flesh.
As always, I first looked to my trusty kitchen companion, Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions. Unfortunately, Sally makes the laughable assumption that folks don’t wish to cook like Captain Caveman, and so all of the venison recipes contained therein assume small, manageable size cuts of meat. But I did garner one small nugget of wisdom that was NOT included in any other recipes I found thereafter, which was that the game needed to be soaked in an acidic marinade, preferably overnight, prior to cooking.
With my new found wisdom in hand, I next turned to my ever-faithful Internets– a universe of knowledge and facts at my fingertips. After sifting through many ideas, recipes and suggestions online, I decided I would wing it. Truly, my most favorite method of cooking, I assure you. It’s my default mode, which has led to many a kitchen disaster, but more often than not, some yummy comestibles have resulted.
I really like the general method outlined on Field and Stream‘s website, though I didn’t have the particulars, so utilizing what I had on hand, I came up with a pretty good paste-like marinade, rubbed it all in and covering with foil, stuck it in the cold oven to sit over night (on site had stressed allowing the meat to come to room temp before roasting, and that made sense to me.)
At 8:30 the next morning, I set the oven for 250 degrees F, and let ‘er rip.around noonish, I flipped the whole thing over, and then a couple of hours later, flipped it again. At about 2:30, I turned the oven temp to 350, and set the time for 30 minutes. When the timer went off, I check the temp with a meat thermometer– 150. PERFECT! I took it out and let it rest under some tented foil, where it coasted fully to 160. (the folks I was cooking for weren’t going to be down with anything less than well done!)
But there were drippings. Oh, the drippings. A more decadent broth of yummy richness I have never tasted! So I made gravy. Oh yes. I made gravy.
We all ate well that night, and the leftovers went into a venison stew the next day, which was presented at our church’s Harvest Fest Soup and Bread Lunch the next day. The leftovers from THAT now reside in my freezer, next to the bones which WILL be made into stock in short order.
Oh, and did I mention the tallow? HOW COULD I FORGET THE TALLOW??? Of course, about a cup of tallow came off the roast into the drippings, which I allowed to harden on top of the drippings in the fridge and then saved in a freezer bag, along with the fattiest bits of meat and skin, so that I can melt it all down and skim it off later for all the magical goodness that is deer fat. It’s a wonderful thing, indeed it is.
This is the good life. *bliss*
1 deer leg
1 cup of Celtic sea salt (or regular kosher salt if the price gets you– I used half and half)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup EVOO
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
Seasoning (peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, sage, cayenne etc. Use your judgment and eyeball it– I used anywhere from a quarter to half a palm-full. Use enough to sufficiently spice the whole haunch.)
In small bowl, mix ingredients for marinade to achieve a loose paste. Rub paste all over roast, cover in roasting pan and allow to marinate overnight (12-24 hours) in refrigerator, or on counter if you plan to cook it immediately the next morning. It will need a couple of hours to come to room temperature before putting in the hot oven.
When you are ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. Allow to roast for 3-4 hours, checking to make sure it isn’t browning too fast. AT about four hours, flip it over (carefully, you may need an assistant for this– this piece of meat is NO JOKE.) and allow to cook for another hour- hour and a half. Flip again and cook until deep brown, or meat thermometer reads desired doneness (rare– 135, Medium-rare 140-150, Medium 160, Well done 165 and up.) If the top isn’t as brown as you would like, raise temp to 350 for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on temp.
Remove from oven and allow to rest under tented foil for AT LEAST 20 minutes to redistribute juices before slicing.
Pour off pan drippings into a gravy strainer (or something that will allow you to pour off the fat separately.) In saute pan over medium heat, stir together 2 T of fat with 2 T of flour, cooking for about 5 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste. Slowwly add in two cups of pan drippings/broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer until thickend, adding liquid as necessary to bring to desired consistency. NOTE: The pan drippings may be very salty form the brine. You will probably want to use a combo of drippings plus beef broth and/or water. Keep tasting to make sure it’s to your preference.
Serve over slices of venison, potatoes, sandwiches, straight from the bowl. Whatever.
October 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
This week, as part of my simplification kick, I have been doing a lot of batch cooking and recipe recycling. Tuesday, I made a delicious pot roast, which translated into meals even till today. Yesterday, I made a pot roast hash with new potatoes and carrots (I have an abundance of carrots for some reason) and served that with a lightly fried egg on top.
This morning, we had the leftovers from that for breakfast, so we really stretched that meal! In fact, there is STILL some of the pot roast in the fridge, which I must make plans for. It was a bone-in chuck roast, and the bones are in a ziplock baggie in the freezer for bone broth later in the week.
I believe I mentioned previously that the side for the pot roast on Tuesday was my last quart of Winter Root Soup from last year. It was so good… I basically follow the Nourishing Traditions recipe with my own tweaks, plus top it with homemade creme fraiche… oh so good!
I will be making my first batch of the season for this Saturday’s Harvest Fest at church. We’re going pumpkin picking and corn mazing and hay riding at Merrymeade farm, then back to the church for a soup and bread lunch and pumpkin “carving” (probably more painting than carving.) I’ll also be making some kefir bread for that, as well as bringing apple slices and homemade caramel sauce. Food… Makes me happy. 🙂
Today I am making a big batch of carrot soup, and it smells AWESOME! So I thought I’d share my recipe.
2 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil
8-10 large carrots, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups beef or chicken broth/water
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2-3 bay leaves
Celtic sea salt
In large pot, saute onion over medium heat in fat until translucent, then add the garlic, carrots and celery, salting as you go*. Cook until the color of the carrots and celery starts to brighten, then add broth or water or combination of two. Bring to a rolling boil, and then reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until carrots start to soften. Add spices, and cover for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaves, and puree with a stick blender. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with creme fraiche or sour cream.
* I learned from a cooking show that if you add salt to taste each time you add a new element to your recipe, you will find it is perfectly salted when you are done. So don’t be afraid to salt and taste as you go along!