Monday, September 5, 2016

Green Chile Stew

Fall has nearly arrived in Southwest Colorado, and the heavenly aroma of roasting green chiles fills the air. Mmmmmmm. It's time for green chile stew!

Run to your local farmers market or grocery store chile roaster to stock up on some green chile for the year. Before you freeze it all, be sure to set aside a few chiles for this simple, comforting stew.

This is a versatile recipe -- use your favorite ground meat, stock, and quantities to make it perfectly your own. Enjoy!

Green Chile Stew
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups poultry stock (I used 2c smoked chicken stock and 2c turkey broth)
1 cup roasted, chopped green chile
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 t cumin
2 t oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T arrow root powder

Brown ground beef in a large pan. Set aside.
Sauté chopped onion until translucent, add minced garlic for the last minute or two of cooking. Add beef, stock, chile, tomatoes, cumin and oregano and simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Dissolve arrowroot in 2 T water, add to stew and simmer about 5 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately or let sit overnight for more flavor.
¡Buen provecho!

Optional: peel and cube 2 large potatoes, brown in 2T oil and add to stew for a heartier meal.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring Fennel Salad

It may only be February 21, but it feels like Spring!
Colorado has enjoyed a week or two of 60º weather, melting snow piles, and plenty of sun. It's time for salads! This salad has a surprisingly lovely combination of flavors.

Fennel bulbs have a slightly sweet, gentle anise flavor. As I sliced the bulb, my kids asked "what is that sweet-minty fresh smell?" It pairs beautifully with orange or grapefruit.

Spring Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, white part sliced thinly.
~2T reserved feathery frond-like green leaves from the top of the anise bulb, chopped
1 navel orange,  supremed
2 scallions, sliced thinly

2t miso
1 t. maple syrup
1 T olive oil
1 T rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the fennel bulb and scallion thinly. Place in serving bowl. Supreme orange and place segments in bowl -- squeeze remaining juice from membrane into bowl and discard membrane.

Combine the next dressing ingredients and toss into salad.

How do you "Supreme" an orange, you say? Supremed oranges are pure orange goodness with no bitter pith or chewy membranes. You may have savored them in salads at finer restaurants. I like to use a small serrated knife -- a "tomato knife." Cut off both ends of the orange so you see a full "star" of orange fruit. Cut the skin and pith (white bitter part) off the orange fruit. Once you've exposed the membrane lines, simply slice along the edge of the membrane to release each orange wedge. It takes a bit of practice, but it will eventually only takes about 3 minutes per orange. It's a pretty, impressive way to serve a citrus salad!

This miso dressing is from my Late Fall Harvest Salad. It's rich and versatile.

Enjoy spring (whenever it may come your way)!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding

Have you seen the price of gluten-free bread lately?!
Holy moly!
A $6 loaf of gluten-free bread brings out my frugal Midwestern side.

My kids don't like using the loaf end pieces for sandwiches, so I end up collecting them for breadcrumbs. . .or just pitching them. This recipe puts those bread heels to a delicious use! I've tweaked several bread pudding recipes to make one of my kid's favorite treats. Serve it warm out of the oven for a treat

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup turbinado sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 cup currants or raisins (raisins or dried pears are also heavenly. . .and optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
5+ cups cubed bread heels or slices (about 10 slices)
2 T turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt over medium heat until sugar is almost dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool a bit. Stir bread cubes into milk mixture.

Mix eggs and vanilla into bread mixture well. 

Pour bread mixture into a buttered 8" x 8" baking pan (you can make this the night before to soak and soften, but this isn't necessary). Sprinkle 2T of turbinado sugar on top for a sweet crunch.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1" from the edge comes out clean.

Serve warm with whipped cream.
Enjoy your frugality!

This recipe isn't dairy free, but it can be modified with your favorite dairy-free beverage of choice and 2 T coconut oil instead of the 1/4 c. butter.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Sometimes all you want is chocolate.
This is a simple, dairy-free, gluten-free, quick recipe to satisfy that chocolate craving and get on with your day. . .happily.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup 

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white sugar (or 1 c. coconut sugar)

1 cup cocoa powder (I like organic, raw cocoa powder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat; whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir the vanilla into the sauce. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy over ice cream, mixed into hot milk or your favorite dairy-free beverage for cocoa, drizzled over waffles or crepes, or mixed into cold mild for homemade chocolate milk.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beef Liver Pâté

This recipe is modified from the by Liver Pâté recipe from ThePaleoMom. 
Thank you, Dr. Sarah!!

We are fortunate to be able to order half a local grass-fed beef each year to split with friends. The price per round is less than grocery beef, and it feels good to buy locally. A quarter cow will provide enough beef to feed my family for a year -- you just need a large freezer. We purchased ours through Local Brands Farm Co-op, who supports local farmers and ranchers by combining efforts to market local products. Their beef is succulent, and they're lovely people to work with.

When you order a half beef, you can specify which cuts you prefer and what organ meats to receive. I usually opt for everything but the beef tongue (ick.). But who knew a cow had such a HUGE liver -- what in the world do you do with 7 pounds of beef liver?? This recipe has enough herbs, sweet complexity and salt to mask the beef's gamey, "livery" taste.

We enjoy it served "smoked salmon style," spread on crackers or veggie slices with red onions and capers. I've heard that a slab of pâté mixed with a pound or two of ground beef make lovely hamburgers. I'll have to try it sometime.

Beef Liver Pâté
1 lb Liver
1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
6-7 Fresh Sage Leaves (or 1 Tbsp dried Rubbed Sage)
1 Small Sprig Fresh Rosemary (2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 cup Dry Sherry or Cognac (I used cognac)
1 tsp Salt, to taste
1/8 tsp Ground Mace
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (3/4 tsp Dried Thyme)
½ cup Cooking Fat -- tallow, coconut oil, or unsalted butter
     bacon fat (this tastes divine, but omit salt if you use bacon fat)
1/4c dark cherries (about 8 cherries)
2t  honey

Slice liver into 2” chunks and remove any vessels the butcher might have missed.

Line a 7.5″x3.5″ Loaf Pan with parchment paper (this is an optional step that just makes removing the loaf easier later; you could also use a glass or pottery serving dish).

Heat ¼ cup of your chosen cooking fat in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add onion, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage, mace and garlic to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well cooked (about 10 minutes).

Add liver to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on the outside and still pink in the middle (about 3-4 minutes).

Add sherry to pan and bring to boil (you can increase heat to high if you want).  Boil 2-3 minutes, until you can’t smell alcohol in the steam.

Remove from heat.  Remove bay leaf, rosemary stem, and thyme stems.  Add salt and the remaining cooking fat.

Pour hot liver mixture into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until smooth.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan (or serving dish of choice).

Once it’s cool enough to touch, make sure to cover with plastic wrap tightly across the entire surface (plastic wrap should be touching the pâté with no air bubbles) to prevent oxidation (you’ll still get some, which is okay, but doing this helps your pâté stay a nice pink color which tastes better and is better for you).

Refrigerate overnight up to a few days before eating.

I also typically make a double batch and pour it into a standard loaf pan.  After letting the flavors mature for a couple of days in the fridge, I slice and freeze individual portions for weekday lunches for myself.