Thursday, February 21, 2019

RECIPE: Greens and Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk

A few weeks ago I attended one of our farm's classes where another attendee (Lisa W-B) brought a delicious chickpea and coconut stew to the potluck.  I Googled for the recipe and found this one, that was similar.  The stew brought to the potluck did not contain turmeric so you could safely leave that out.

I made it using farm spinach (canned last summer) and reduced the amount of coconut milk for a thicker stew.  It's a super easy recipe, one that I'll be making often with different greens.

Original recipe:  Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric

Greens and Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk
Serves 3-4

1/4 c. EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
2" piece of ginger, grated on a microplane
4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 t. ground turmeric (Lisa says she used curry powder instead)
1/2 t. pepper flakes
1 29oz can garbanzo beans or 3.5 cups cooked chick peas
1 16oz can full-fat coconut milk
2 c. broth (I used chicken)
1 bunch raw greens (chard, kale, collards, or spinach), washed, stemmed and sliced (or 1 cup cooked)
2 t. himalayan pink salt
For serving:
yogurt or sour cream
fresh mint, chopped

In a medium dutch oven on med-high, heat the oil and saute the onion until translucent and lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.  Add the turmeric, pepper flakes, and one cup of the garbanzos.  Season with salt and saute until the beans are starting to brown.  Remove the beans and reserve for garnish.

Add the garlic and ginger to the oil and saute for 10 seconds.  Add the remaining garbanzo beans, the coconut milk, and the broth.  Scrape up the garlic if it stuck to the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the beans are soft and have absorbed the flavors from the broth.

Using an immersion blender, puree half of the soup.  Don't puree the whole pot - you want some texture.

Stir in the greens and cook until they soften, 3-7 minutes.

Serve topped with the reserved chickpeas, yogurt, and chopped mint leaves

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

RECIPE: Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Almonds

I know this seems like it should be a summer recipe.  But, sometimes, in winter, we want something fresh and raw, like a salad, yet more substantial than lettuce.  This recipe fits the bill perfectly!

Original recipe: Shaved Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

Broccoli  Slaw with Cranberries and Almonds
Serves 4

1/4 c. mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2 T lemon juice
1/4 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 pound broccoli
1/4 c. minced red onion (don't skip this - it makes the salad!)
1/4 c. dried cranberries (I think it would also be good with sun dried tomatoes)
1/4 c. sliced almonds

Combine mayonnaise with lemon juice, sugar and salt.

Cut broccoli stems into 1/2" slices.  With food processor running, drop slices through feed tube and coarsely chop.  Place broccoli tops into processor and pulse to coarsely chop.

Mix chopped broccoli with remaining ingredients and serve.

Original recipes advises you to wait 1 hour for flavors to mingle but I thought it was delicious right off the bat and it wasn't any better an hour later.  it wasn't worse, either, so you can definitely make it ahead of time.

I served it with Carrot Pancakes and my husband vacuumed it up!

RECIPE: Vegetarian Pasta with Spicy Harissa Cream Sauce

I needed a quick vegetable-centric meal for dinner a few days ago and came up with this. It was ready in the time it took me to cook the pasta and we both enjoyed it so much I decided to share it.

Vegetarian Pasta with Spicy Harissa Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1 # noodles (I used elbows)
1 T. ghee
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
6 cups cooked vegetables (I used green beans and carrots)
2 T. harissa
Salt to taste
Chopped parsley or cilantro for serving

Cook the noodles in boiling water.

While the noodles are cooking: in a large saute pan on med-high heat, saute the onion in the ghee until translucent.  Add the cream and bring to a boil.  Add the cooked vegetables* and harissa and stir to combine.  Simmer until cream has thickened slightly, then reduce heat and hold until the pasta is cooked.

Remove 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and set aside.  Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.  If sauce is too thick, use the reserved cooking water to thin it.

Adjust seasoning and serve.

*  If you don't have cooked vegetables available, you can use frozen but add them to the water you will be using to cook the pasta.  When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta and proceed with the rest of the recipe.  .

RECIPE: Endive Canoes with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Blue Cheese

After I posted this recipe in our farm store, (for endive canoes with orange, almond, and quark), our cheese maker sent me a version he created that was inspired by my recipe.  His version sounded delicious so I'm posting it here.

Endive Canoes with sun Dried Tomatoes and Blue Cheese
Endive, blue cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar infused with melon
Serves 4 as an appetizer

1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in EVOO
2-3 heads of Belgian endive, washed
1/3 c. blue cheese
EVOO for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar

Separate the endive spears and arrange them on a platter.

In each spear, place 1 piece of sun dried tomato along with a bit of the oil, and one dab of cheese.

Add a few drops of balsamic to each boat.

Monday, February 18, 2019

RECIPE: Banana French Toast

Wow, this was so easy, I had to post it!  It has just the right amount of banana flavor but isn't overwhelming.  The outside is crisp, and the inside is creamy.  It's good with maple syrup but doesn't really need it.  I'll definitely be making it again!

Original recipe: Easy Banana French Toast (I changed it considerably)

Banana French Toast
Makes 4 slices

1 small ripe banana, peeled
3 eggs
1-2 T. water
3 pinches cinnamon (a pinch is an actual measurement, use these spoons for accuracy)
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch vanilla powder (or 3 drops extract)
4 slices farm bread
2-3 T. ghee

Combine everything except the bread and the ghee in a pint jar and, using an immersion blender, blend to liquid.

Transfer to a shallow container, like a pie plate.

In a frying pan large enough to hold 2 slices of bread, heat the ghee over medium heat.  Dip one slice of bread into the egg-banana mixture turning it twice until it's saturated.  Transfer to the frying pan.  Repeat with a second slice.  Flip when the bottoms are brown, 2-5 minutes depending on your cooktop.  When the second sides are brown, remove to a  warm plate.

Repeat with the remaining 2 slices.

Serve with maple syrup, or powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Friday, February 15, 2019

RECIPE: Honey Mustard Dressing/Dip

I've seen many recipes for Honey Mustard Dressing that decry the use of mayonnaise and the neon yellow color but they all use huge amounts of honey. I believe (unrefined) oil is healthier than all that fructose/glucose.  It's also much cheaper.  Organic raw honey is expensive!

I've made this without the yellow mustard and it doesn't taste as good.  Since the yellow color occurs naturally (in the brand we use it comes from turmeric), I'm OK with it.  If you use a different brand PLEASE insure it's not made with synthetic dye!

Honey Mustard Dressing
Makes 1 cup

1/2 c. mayonnaise, preferably homemade
3 t. yellow mustard (I used Whole Food's Organic)
4 t. honey (I used Tropical Traditions Organic)
1 t. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (I use Natural Nectar Biodynamic ACV)
1/8 t. cayenne

Mix all together and chill.

I reverse engineered this from the dressing served at Houston's with their Grilled Chicken Salad (years ago, at their restaurant in Chicago which is now closed.   I don't know what they serve at their other locations).  We use it as dressing for all salads, as a dip for raw vegetables, and as a drizzle for roasted veggies.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

MENU: Valentines Dinner 2019

Oops!  I meant to post this last week, and thought I had, but now I see that I forgot! Sorry!  Save it for next year, or another special occasion this year, like a birthday....

I thought I would post an easy-to-prepare meal that would be perfect for Valentine's Day.  Perfect NOT because it's full of red or heart-shaped ingredients, but because it's unusual, tasty, and easy to prepare which will leave you lots of time to spend with your beloved.

Valentine's Dinner Menu Suggestion
Serves 2 (with leftovers)

Steamed Green Beans

Clean the pork and put it in the roasting pan.  Preheat the oven.

Cut up the cauliflower, peel the garlic, and start steaming both of them.

While the cauliflower is steaming, make the fennel-garlic paste for the pork, slather it on the pork and pop the pork in the oven.

When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to the processor/blender and put the green beans in the steamer.  Add the red pepper and ghee to the cauliflower and cover the container.

When you take the pork out of the oven to rest, puree the cauliflower.  If you puree it too soon, it will get cold.

By now the beans should be ready.

Plate the meal and serve it!

If you eat dessert, Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce would be my choice, using quark instead of cream cheese...

NOTE: If the green beans are skinny, you can roast them with the pork instead of steaming: arrange them on either side of the pork and drizzle with a little EVOO before putting the pork in the oven.

RECIPE: Easy Veal (or beef) Bone Broth, Stovetop

A few days ago I posted my recipe for chicken bone broth; but, I must admit, I make and use veal bone broth much more than chicken.  I'm posting my method even though there are hundreds of recipes online.   According to this recipe from The New York Times:
The difference between bone broth and regular broth, or stock, comes down to the length of the cooking time and the addition of acid to the cooking liquid. They taste very similar, though the bone broth has a slightly more intense flavor and a thicker, silkier texture. They can be used interchangeably in recipes. Really, the main difference is that many people consider bone broth to be therapeutic: the longer cooking time of a bone broth allows the collagen and minerals from the bones and connective tissue to dissolve into the liquid.

This website explains that a stock is based on bones, and a broth (bouillon in French) is based on meat.  While a broth can be very flavorful, a stock delivers a rich mouthfeel courtesy of the gelatin that is slowly extracted from the bones.

This webpage lists 10 reasons why you should make your own broth.

Here is an EXCELLENT RESOURCE for all broth related questions, Please do read it!

I've been making bone broth for a looooong time - this is the consolidation of all the recipes and advice I've followed over the years with the important parts highlighted in bold.  I apologize in advance for the length of this post but there was a lot of information I wanted to share.

The tastiest broth is made with meaty bones, but the bones are the healthy bits so if you don't have meaty parts, don't worry about it (or throw in a couple pounds of stew meat).  Marrow bones are very healthy, if you can get them.

If you want the stock to have that unctuous gelatinous quality, you need knuckle bones.  The gelatin and collagen in the joints are what create the luscious mouthfeel.  You also mustn't cook it too long, or the gelatin will break down.

For a darker richer-looking stock, roast the bones first in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes until they're nicely browned.  I have found that this darker stock changes the color of what I add it to which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not.  Often, I need a lighter stock that will just add flavor and not color, in risotto for instance.

Today I am making a light stock.

Easy Veal (or beef) Bone Broth, Stovetop
Makes 1.5 gallons

When I make stock,  I normally use a 12 quart stock pot which yields about 2 gallons of stock.  This pot easily holds 6 pounds of bones and plenty of veggies.  If I luck into large quantities of bone and don't have room to freeze them, I will make an even bigger batch in a 16-quart or 24-quart pot.

In other words, the recipe can be scaled up or down.

Do NOT use an aluminum pot!   The aluminum will leach into the broth.  I use stainless, you can use enamel (an enamel water bath canner would make a perfect stock pot!) or enameled cast iron.  Some people use uncoated cast iron but I worry that the acid will leach too much iron into the stock.

  • 4-6 pounds of bones including knuckles and marrow (animals store heavy metals in their bones, so please use clean bones!)
  • OPT: 2 pounds of stew meat (if your bones don't have much meat on them)
  • 10 quarts (2.5 gallons) spring, filtered, or distilled water (you will be concentrating whatever contaminants are in your water, and heating aggregates fluoride and metals)
  • 2 T. mild acid, helps extract minerals and collagen from the bones (I use fresh lemon juice, you can use apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, or wine; regular vinegar will impart a strong flavor)

OPT - all the ingredients listed below are optional!  They add flavor, but I will often make broth with just bones/meat so that the flavor of the broth doesn't interfere with what I'm using it in.
  • 1 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 6 large scrubbed but unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 large unpeeled onions, cut into chunks*
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, cut into chunks**
  • 1 bunch celery, including the heart, or 2 medium celeriac, cut into chunks***
  • 3 heads garlic, unpeeled, halved through the center
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small garnet yam or japanese sweet potato cut into chunks
  • 6 allspice or juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 strips kelp or kombu
  • 1 c. medicinal mushrooms (turkey tail, chaga, reishi, etc...)

Put the the bones (and optional meat) into your stock pot and cover with 2" of water.  If you're using them, do not add the vegetables yet!  Add acid and let the bones sit in the acidic water for one hour.  NOTE: I've JUST read that if you don't soak the bones in COLD water before turning on the heat, you need to cook them much longer to extract the mineralt!  She claims that, "If the bones are hot, the pores are closed, and the vinegar can’t get in to work its magic."  (This woman recommends 2 T. ACV for every quart of water but I have NEVER used that much, and no other recipe I've seen recommends that much, so take her advice with a grain of salt.)

After one hour, turn heat to high.  Do not cover!

Monitor the pot until the water starts to steam and small bubbles make their way up from the bottom.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL!  When you see small bubbles, turn the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for at least 1 day, preferably 2.  Yes, 2 days.  (Most recipes instruct you to let it cook for at least 4 hours but I find the flavor is richer after a longer infusion.)

Check periodically to insure the water is not boiling - you want a gentle simmer.  The water should never boilOverheating the broth can cause the protein to break down and the broth to become cloudy.  If your burner does not have an ultra-low setting and you need to keep the lid ajar to prevent boiling, if the water level drops below the bones, add more water.

Some recipes advise you to skim but I don't.  Using bones from pastured animals there is very little 'scum' so I just strain very well at the end.

After at least 24 hours, add the vegetables and enough water to insure they're covered.  Some people add vegetables willy-nilly but if you add too much of any one thing, the flavor will be unbalanced.

The reason you add these AFTER the bones have finished cooking is that the vegetables can become bitter if they're cooked too long.  If you're only going to cook the bones for 24 hours, you can add the veggies at the beginning, but I usually cook my bones for much longer - sometimes 72 hours - so I add the veggies later.

Bring back to a simmer, cover, and leave overnight or up to 24 hours.

Veggies added after bones have released their goodness.
You can see that it's not boiling, only simmering.

Turn off the heat.  Place a colander over a large bowl.  Using tongs, remove as many of the bones as possible, placing them in the colander.  They will have disintegrated so don't worry if you don't get them all.  Discard the bones.  Don't try and salvage the meat - it's given everything it had to the broth.  (Our dog won't even eat it!)

Colander over a large bowl on left, large nutmilk bag over colander on right

Using a large skimmer or ladle remove as many of the vegetables as possible, placing them in the colander.  Ladle over as much broth as will fit in the bowl underneath.  Let the vegetables drain and then discard them. (Some people put these in their compost pile but they're covered with fat so I don't.)

Place another colander or strainer over a second large bowl and place a large nut-milk bag, a piece of muslin, or 2 pieces of cheesecloth over the colander.  Slowly pour or ladle the remaining vegetables and broth over the cheesecloth/muslin/nut-milk bag.  If your bowl gets full, transfer it to another bowl or a clean stockpot and continue.  (NOTE: if you're making a small batch and you're tempted to put the bones in the nut-milk bag - don't!  The sharp edges will tear the bag.)

All veggies out of broth on left, strained broth on right (gorgeous color!)

Once you've emptied your stock pot, pour the broth collected in the first bowl through the nut-milk bag/muslin/cheesecloth.  Gather up the ends and encourage the last of the broth to pass through.   You will have difficulty with this since all the tiny holes will now be clogged with sediment.  You don't want this sediment in your broth, so don't force the liquid through.

If you wait too long to strain the stock, and the fat starts to congeal, it will be impossible to strain!  You must strain it while it's hot!

You should now have at least 8 quarts of clean broth!

There are several things you can do with it at this point:

1. Transfer it to glass jars and either freeze or pressure can it.

2. Remove the fat and then proceed with option 1.  To remove the fat you will need to let the stock cool in the fridge overnight and then scrape off the fat, which will have risen to the top and solidified.  Save the fat and use it to fry potatoes.

3. Reduce the volume, which will intensify the flavor and require less room to store.  When you use it, you can reconstitute it, if necessary, or use it as is.

I generally go with option 3 as follows:

Transfer all the broth to a clean stock pot, bring to a simmer and, leaving the lid OFF, let the liquid reduce by half.  You can now proceed with option 1 or 2 above, or you can reduce it further and make your own demiglace or 'bouillon cubes'.  If you're going to make demiglace, you must first remove the fat.

Removing fat from reduced stock on left,  defatted stock on right
(it's easier to remove the fat from a tall narrow container, than a wide bowl....)

For demiglace, transfer the de-fatted broth to a smaller pot, bring to a simmer and, leaving the lid OFF, let the liquid reduce by half again.  Transfer to a smaller pot and let it reduce by half a third time.  You should now have 8 cups of a very concentrated chicken broth - demiglace.

At this point, you can transfer the demiglace to ice cube trays and freeze - each cube will reconstitute to approximately 1 cup of broth - or you can pressure can it.

I pressure can the first reduction in pint jars, and the demiglace in 1/2 c jars.

Two layers of jars in my pressure canner
pints on the bottom, 1/2 cup on the top

To reconstitute:  1 demiglace cube, or 1 tablespoon, in a mug with hot water and salt to taste.

* Whenever I peel an onion, I save the outer layers (which are rich in quercetin) and the root end in a bag in the freezer.
** Whenever I use leeks, I save the dark green leaves in a bag in the freezer.  In summer, when they're abundant, I will also cut up whole leeks and store them in the freezer.
*** Whenever I use celery, I save the outer stalks and the leaves in the freezer.
During the summer, I freeze bags of clean parsley to use in stock.

Fresh veggies on the left, frozen veggies on the right.

Using the above mentioned * tricks, I always have vegetables prepped and ready to use in the freezer whenever I decide to make stock.

A Note on Pressure Cooking Stock

Using a pressure cooker will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to make stock.  HOWEVER, a study done by a SeriouseEats contributor rated the stovetop stock better than either pressure cooker or slow cooker:
"It’s been pretty consistent with every test I’ve done on this in the past: pressure cooker will get you to good results *faster*, but not necessarily absolutely better results. To my palate, the broths did taste slightly different: the pressure cooker version was a little sweeter, maybe due to more maillard reactions taking place in the higher heat, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just different."
If you're interested in this method, you should read the comments because they are enlightening.  One commenter recommended cutting everything as small as possible, including the bones, to get better extraction.   Another commenter referenced a study that claimed a modern pressure cooker made better broth than a jiggle-top pressure cooker.  A third claims that only a pressure cooker can extract gelatin from BEEF bones, but it doesn't do much better than stovetop for chicken.

The main reason why I don't use a pressure cooker is that I haven't found a stainless one that's big enough.  I prefer to make a large amount of broth, concentrate it, and then pressure can it.   I will be researching pressure cooked beef bone broth, though, to see whether it improves gelatin extraction.