Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lulu Kebab with Artichokes

Lulu Kebab is a Middle Eastern dish.  Sometimes they are molded on a shish (skewer) and sometimes they are just hand formed and baked--like these are.  These are very tender and flavorful, everyone eats too many since they taste so good.  You can also do this with 2 lbs. of ground lamb instead of mixing the beef and the lamb.

I also found "frost kissed" artichokes at the Full Belly stand and they tasted wonderful.  A nice springtime treat in the heart of winter.  I steamed them for about the same time the meat cooked so everything came out at the same time.

Lulu Kebab:

1 lb. grass fed beef (Prather Ranch)
1 lb. grass fed lamb (Prather Ranch)
1 Tbsp. organic tomato paste
4 oz. organic tomato sauce (read the label and look for sugar)
1/4 c. organic coconut milk (from the can)
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. minced parsley
1 T. minced dried onion
Salt and pepper

Garnish:  1 c. fresh minced onions 1/2 c. minced parsley

Mix together all ingredients except garnish.  Moisten hands with cold water and form into sausage shapes about 4" inches long and 1" diameter.  Place kebabs in shallow baking dish at 400 for 20 minutes, turn the sausage and cook for another 10 min.  Transfer kebabs to platter and garnish.

Steamed Artichokes:

Cut the stem down to the base of the artichoke.  Cut the top third off the artichoke and snap off the outer and bottom leaves of it as well.  Place in a steamer basket with the bottom facing up.  Steam for about 20 min and test doneness by pulling on an outer leaf.  If it comes off easily you're all done.  Take them out of the steamer and let cool a bit.   Don't leave them over the water or they will overcook.  If the leaf is still a bit resistant, let it go for another 5-10 min and re-test.  We served ours with drawn butter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Acorn Squash

There's still so much squash out there, it's naturally sweet and the texture is a great alternative to potatoes.  I married and altered two recipes from (recipes here and here) to come up with this great combination.  It's got some heat to it, but it's very tasty.  I also sauteed up some Rainbow Chard (from Tomatero Farm) with olive oil, onion and garlic.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Acorn Squash
serves 4

For the squash:
2 nice sized acorn squash (from Full Belly Farm)
5 tablespoons olive oil (Bariani)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Bariani has this too)
2 tablespoons minced peperoncini (Mezzeta)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (I had to use dried, but go fresh if you can)
1 teaspoon salt

For the Sloppy Joe: 
1 pound ground lean beef or turkey (Hulsman Ranch)
1/2 organic onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup) 
1 carrot, chopped (Tomatero Farm)
1 6-ounce can organic tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon mild chili powder*
1 teaspoon paprika*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*I didn't have this at home so I subbed 1 TBSP. Chipotle Tabasco 

Start the Acorn Squash:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place acorn squash halves, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 tablespoon oil. Whisk 4 tablespoons oil with remaining ingredients in list; divide dressing among hollows of squash halves. Brush dressing over cut surfaces, leaving excess dressing in squash hollows. Bake until squash are very tender and brown, brushing cut surfaces every 15 minutes with dressing in squash hollows, about 1 hour.

After the first quarter hour of squash roasting start the sloppy joes:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté 2 minutes. 

Stir in the tomato paste and 1 to 1 1/2 cups water (I used a little less water as I wanted the consistency kind of thick), stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken "Noodle" Soup

It's getting cold out there!  A nice bowl of chicken soup is so appropriate for days like these.  Spaghetti squash gives the soup a touch of sweetness and the kids loved the "noodle" part.  This is a very mild soup, feel free to spice it up however you feel you need--add fresh thyme, or cilantro, a dash of your favorite hot sauce...

If you don't have time to make stock from scratch you can get a good quality stock from the market, make sure it's organic and free range.  Before using in the recipe heat the stock and dissolve 1 pack of gelatin in it.  When you make your stock at home, the gelatin naturally occurs from the skin, bones, and cartilage from the carcass.  It's especially abundant in the chicken feet.

I did tonight's soup in the slow cooker as I was going to be driving the kids hither and yon after school today.  And I made it easy on myself and picked up a half rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods and pulled the meat off. (I'm hoping someday soon they'll start carrying those chickens with an organic option--I think I'm going to start requesting it on their computer board every time I go in.  I've seen it at other locations and it makes no sense that it's not available here!)

Chicken "Noodle" Soup
serves 6
1 small spaghetti squash (from Full Belly Farm)
1 small onion
2 carrots (from Tomatero)
1 small celery root (from Full Belly Farm)
2 cups cooked chicken
6-8 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper

Halve the Spaghetti Squash lengthwise and put in a 375 oven skin side up for 30-40 min.  Let cool for a bit then scrape with a fork horizontally to get the strands of squash.  Set aside, cover when cooled and keep in refrigerator.

Peel and chop the onion, carrots and celery root and put in the slow cooker along with the chicken and  6 cups of stock.  Add 1 TBSP of salt, stir everything and set on low for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.  About 15 min. before ready to serve stir in the squash.  If you feel you need more stock, add it in and let everything get hot. 

If doing this on the stove top, you can saute the onion, carrot, and celery root first in olive oil in a large pot until tender.  Add the chicken and the stock and simmer for about 30 min., adding the squash before ready to serve.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pot Roast with Fennel Salad

I've had a lot of misfires this week.  But I'll get to that in a later post.  Today, I had a really nice Chuck Roast from Prather Ranch and I got a beautiful cookbook from Santa at Christmas, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  Sooooo.

Beef Pot Roast from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

This is a nice weekend dinner.  If you make it Saturday, you'll have amazing leftovers for Sunday.  If you make it Sunday, the kids (or the lucky hubby/partner) will have amazing lunch at school/work the next day.  Allow several hours or an overnight to cure the beef and start cooking at 3pm to get dinner on the table by 6:30-7pm.  Don't worry, you won't be a slave in the kitchen, there's a lot of down time in the middle. 

3 lbs. grass-fed beef chuck roast
Salt (use kosher or your favorite coarse sea salt)
Fresh ground pepper
2 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. butter or ghee
1 TBSP. coconut flour
1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 leek, trimmed, washed and cut into pieces (from Full Belly Farm)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into pieces (from Tomatero Farm)
2 celery stalks, washed and cut into pieces
3 garlic cloves, halved
4 thyme sprigs
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
water or broth

3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces (from Tomatero Farm)
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
4 medium yellow potatoes (I used Rose Finn Apple from First Light Farm), peeled and cut into pieces (I didn't peel mine)

1. Season the beef  with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

2. Remove the beef an hour before starting to cook to bring to room temperature

3. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy deep pot until hot.  Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and carefully place the chuck roast in the pot, tilting it a little to spread the oil around the meat.  Brown the roast for 3 to 4 minutes on all sides.  Add the butter (I used Earth Balance), turning the roast continuing to brown it, then add the coconut flour and brown for another 3-4 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables (not the "additional" ones) and wine and fill with water or broth until just under the top of the meat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and skim thoroughly.  Cover, adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and cook until the meat is very tender, about 2.5 hours.

4.  About 30-40 min. before the pot roast is done bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the additional vegetables until tender.  Substitute vegetables in season if you wish.

5.  When the pot roast is cooked, take it out of the liquid and keep it warm while you strain the cooking liquid, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract all the juices from the vegetables left in the strainer.  Discard the vegetables.  Allow the liquid to settle and skim well.  Return the liquid to the pot and bring back to a simmer.  Slice the roast, put it back in the pot, and add the separately cooked vegetables.  Bring to a simmer, and serve hot.

There's a note you can add a thick slice of pancetta (or salt pork) to the pot for richer flavor--I would definitely done that if I had it.

(When I read part number 5,  I was thinking, "Not so simple, Alice," but I pushed through, and it came out great.)

Fennel Salad

This is from Ina Garten

2 lbs. fennel bulbs (Full Belly Farm)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Cut the fronds from the fennel bulbs and sererve someof the feathery leaves for later.  Cut each bulb in half and remove the cores with a sharp knife.  Slice each half cross-wise, making half-rounds about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. 

Heat 2 TBSP.  of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the fennel slices and saute for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, until translucent and slightly cooked but still al dente.  Transfer the fennel to a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the orange juice, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.  While whisking,
slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil and pour over the cooked fennel.  Add 2 TBSP. chopped fennel leaves and season to taste.  Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tangerine Achiote Chicken with Arugula Walnut Salad

LOTS of tangerines everywhere nowadays--get them if they are organic or if those are not available get the ones grown in California.  I've made this recipe several times but this is the first time I went all the way to the end of the recipe and did the sauce.  Typically, I just do the marinade part and then grill the chicken.  It was outstanding with the sauce and I tweaked it just a bit with a squeeze of lemon juice.  The whole family made the "mad face" when they had their first bite.  The "mad face" is the face you make when something you taste is so good you're angry because you wonder why this is the first time you are getting to taste something like it.  Sometimes you utter an "uh!" or an "oh!"

This is from the Epicurious website

Achiote Chicken with Tangerine Sauce

2 tablespoons achiote paste (I have  this one from Mi Pueblo in San Rafael)
1 tablespoon honey (you can omit this if avoiding sugar--I used a tsp.)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated tangerine peel (or orange peel)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (use ground if you don't have whole seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves--I used 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless thighs (organic--Mary's air chilled)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice, divided (it took about 8 tangerines and I squeezed 1 lemon in the mix too)
Chopped fresh organic cilantro

Blend first 7 ingredients in processor to form paste. Place chicken in 8-inch square baking dish. Spread marinade over, turning to coat. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Add chicken to skillet; cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add 1/2 cup tangerine juice to skillet. Cover; reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plates. Add remaining 1/2 cup juice to skillet; boil until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro.

 Arugula Walnut Salad

wild arugula (about 1 cup per person--Star Route had some this week)
2 TBSP. walnut oil (I used La Tourangelle)
1 TBSP. champagne vinegar
1 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
coarse sea salt

Combine all ingredients and toss.  I like this one with minimal vinegar as the arugula has a fair amount of bite in it already.