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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

spicesWinter means working my way through half a side of beef in the freezer, so I’m always on the lookout for new ways to prepare ground beef. I tried this “Chili with Moroccan Spices” from a Cook’s Illustrated cookbook this weekend, and I entered it into my church’s annual chili cook-off. I didn’t win, but I suspect the voting was rigged—the Moroccan chili was divine. Actually, it tasted even better the next day left over. Maybe next year I’ll prepare it a day ahead and re-warm it!

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Last fall, I split a side of beef with a friend, and I ended up with the brisket (actually, half a brisket—there is only one brisket on the whole animal). I have never been too successful with this cut. I usually use a crock pot, and it usually comes out dry. So I recently snooped around the Internet for new ideas. I found that America’s Test Kitchen has a recipe that is not behind their normal pay-wall, so I tried it. OMG, it was the best brisket I’ve ever had! My hat is off to America’s Test Kitchen. You’ve got to love this show.

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Chicken Stew

Stew season is upon us again! Yesterday, I had some chicken and half a cabbage I wanted to put in a stew, so I called up Chef Craig Fournier for advice. I gave him a list of what I had in the cupboard and he came up with this recipe. It was delicious!

Chef Craig Chicken Stew

1 whole chicken, cut up
3 lg potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
3 parsnips, peeled and cut in 2 inch long sections
1 lg onion, chopped
½ cup flour
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
½ cabbage, chopped in 1 inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put ½ cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in a large Ziploc bag. Put half the chicken pieces in the bag at a time and shake the bag to coat. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet until it just starts to smoke. Brown the chicken on all sides over medium high heat. Transfer the chicken to a Dutch oven. Sauté the onions, parsnips, and potatoes in the skillet until the onions turn clear (5-8 min). Transfer the vegetables to the Dutch oven. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp flour to the skillet and cook 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add ½ cup white wine to the skillet and deglaze. Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the skillet and bring it to a boil. Transfer the liquid to the Dutch oven. Pour in more chicken stock if necessary to just cover all the meat and vegetables. Throw in the cabbage on top. Cover and bake @ 350° 30-40 minutes. Take it out, stir it, taste it, salt & pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thin, strain out the meat & vegetables and reduce the sauce. Optional: remove the chicken meat from the bones and skin before mixing the meat & vegetables back into the sauce.

Serve with fresh bread.

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This week, my daughter asked for my hamburger recipe, so she could show a French friend how real hamburgers taste (she is a big fan of the Pink Panther movies). This got me thinking that I’m not all that confident I know what the ideal hamburger recipe is, especially if we are trying to impress the French. So I went straight to my go-to video chef, John Mitzewich at foodwishes.com. I was surprised that his cooking method was great, but his seasoning was very plain: salt & pepper. I like to keep burgers simple, too, so you can appreciate the flavor of the beef. But to me, it’s just not a burger without garlic. So now I’m wondering, does anyone out there have a favorite hamburger recipe? If so, please share!

Here is my recipe:

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 clove crushed garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)

optional: 1/2 onion, grated or chopped fine

optional: 1 Tbsp minced parsley (my mother’s secret ingredient)

Gently mix all the ingredients (too much mixing toughens the meat), and form patties. By the way, I think the perfect burger size is 1/3 pound, so the above serves 3. Here is Chef John’s method:

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Fresh Bacon

I just got Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my birthday. I’m reading through the definitions at the beginning, and under “bacon” it says

The kind of bacon used in French recipes is fresh, unsalted, and unsmoked… As this is difficult to find in America, we have specified smoked bacon… It is always blanched in simmering water to remove its smoky taste. If this were not done, the whole dish would taste of bacon.

I’m thinking, hey! That’s our bacon! We have 30 pounds of fresh bacon in our freezer! Maybe we should go after the francophile market. Boeuf Bourguignon anyone? No need to blanch the smoky taste out of your bacon any more. Just buy your bacon from us. We will be labeling it “lard de poitrine frais” from now on.

But seriously, we have been going back and forth about the question of whether to have our bacon smoked or cured or neither this year. We are not sure what customers would prefer. So if you have an opinion, please let us know! And keep an eye out for our next newsletter soon. It will be about pork ordering for the fall.

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Chef John has posted yet another great video recipe in his “Cooking with Grass-Fed Beef” series. We sent him some of our sirloin tip to work with, but he says this works with almost any cut as long as it is sliced thin.

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Our friend and grass-fed beef fan, Chef John Mitzewich just posted a great recipe for homemade beef stock. For those of you who buy beef in bulk and wonder what to do with those bones, here is your answer! Don’t give them to the dog. Make stock first, then give them to the dog!

By the way, Chef John is on his way to fame and fortune. First, there was the cookbook publishing deal from Parragon Publishing. Now, he just got a Saveur Magazine’s 1st Annual Best Food Blog Award for Most Innovative Video Content.

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