Traditional Meals


I’m a pizza master

I’m just sayin’

Tried this tonight.

Very simple, flavorful, and forgiving.

Found it on one of my new favorite blogs…..http://notlazy-rustic.blogspot.com/2010/04/thai-basil-chicken-gai-pad-krapo.html

I’ll definately be spending some time perusing the archives.

Thai Basil Chicken or Gai Pad Krapo

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 serrano peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped (you could also use less of red thai chilies if you can find them)
(I only used 1 serrano, note to self: do not fear the serranos, shoulda used all 4)
3 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
(I only had a few green onions, so, that’s what I used)
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ lengths
1 pound ground chicken
(I used leftover cooked round steak)
1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more if desired
1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if desired
2 bunches basil, leaves only
in wok or large skillet over high heat,
(Don’t have a wok, just my trusty cast iron skillet)
 heat oil until shimmering. add serranos, shallots and garlic and cook 1 minute, or until nearly golden, stirring constantly.
(Next time I will add the garlic later, it burned slightly)
 add green beans and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, but still crunchy.
add ground chicken; using wood spoon or spatula, break up the meat into small pieces. cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring often.
add fish sauce and sugar to pan; stir to combine. add more fish sauce or sugar, if desired.
( Sauce was a little strong for me so I added about 1/4 cup chicken stock)
add basil leaves; reduce heat to medium-low. cook 1 minute, or until leaves are completely wilted.
you could serve this on its own, but brown rice (or white) and an egg with a runny yolk will make it a complete meal. once it was on the table, we drizzled with the fish sauce mixture, below.
(I served this over white rice cooked in homemade chicken stock and with an egg on each plate, the runny yolk makes the dish!)
(I didn’t make the sauce, but, would like to try it next time)
 
nam pla prik (chili fish sauce)
if your finished sauce is too intense, add water.
3 to 4 parts fish sauce
1 to 2 parts lime juice
1 chili, finely chopped (or more)
1 shallot, thinly sliced (or more)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or more)
whisk together all ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning.
Even with the substitutions I made and misjudgement on the peppers this was delicious, fast, and EASY!
Very simple and traditional ingredients.
We will be making this lovely dish again,
 it will be affectionately known as the “Gay Crappo Stuff”
 
Warning!  The fish sauce makes your hands smell like butt, your welcome.

This post is a part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday over at Tammy’s Recipes.  I encourage you to visit Tammy regularly for kitchen tips, recipes, and encouragement 🙂

We really like dates!

I like to puree them and add dried fruit or nuts for a Lara type snack bar, eat them right from the box, and wrap them with bacon for a delicious hors d’oeuvre!

Not only are they yummy they’re very good for you too!

Check this out from “wholefooddelights.com”

 MEDJOOL & NEGLET NOOR DATES ARE GOOD FOR YOU

“Medjool dates are large moist dates (2 ½ times as large as a normal date), while the smaller Deglet Noor dates are a drier date. These dates provide fiber, potassium, and magnesium nutrients that defend us from heart disease and cancer. Evidence shows that eating fiber-rich foods reduces our risk of colon, rectum, and breast cancers. Soluble fibers have been linked to low blood cholesterol levels and scientists believe they may help lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar. Four medjool dates provide 570 milligrams of stroke-reducing Potassium and 10% of the U.S. RDA of essential Magnesium. Potassium works with sodium and magnesium to regulate blood pressure and to control the proper rhythm of the heart. One study showed that eating even one serving daily of fresh fruits or vegetables high in potassium can reduce the risk of stroke by 40%. Potassium is necessary to maintain fluid balance in cells, transmit nerve signals, release energy from carbohydrates and proteins, improve the delivery of oxygen to the brain, and aids clear thinking. Magnesium is very important because it plays a major role in almost every major biological process. It is essential for maintaining the heart, good nerve function, bone formation and many general metabolic processes. Magnesium has been shown to be an essential component of more than 300 critical enzymatic reactions. It activates enzymes that control energy release from glucose and fats, and releases energy stored in muscles so it can be used.”

Co-ops usually have large quantities of dates resonably priced, so, this is how I usually get them. Recently, I didn’t use up my dates quickly enough and when I went to get them they were as hard as rocks!! If this happens to you, simply soak them in water for about ten minutes, and they are as good as new!

I ‘m calling this post “White Girl Makes Tamales” because while researching how to make these I realized how very cultureless (is that a word?) I am, how very rootless I am, how very, well, white I am. Not that there’s anything wrong with being white, it just seemed like all the “making tamales” videos featured groups of women, that appeared to be related, gathering for food preparation and wonderful fellowship.  I just don’t see that very often in my little world. Maybe I should stop whining and purpose to start some traditions in my own family.

Or, maybe I should have titled this post “Poor W.A.P. Girl Makes Tamales”? (W.A.P.=Weston A Price)

 I’m not really poor. My kitchen is, however, fairly basic. I don’t have a food processor or a blender or masa grinder. That didn’t stop me, though. Encouraged by the fact that the village woman Dr. Price studied had very basic tools and managed to do amazing things, I had to at least try.

Homemade Tamales

Dough-

About a pound of dent corn

 1 Tbs pickling lime from the canning section of your supermarket, sometimes called Cal)

pckg of corn husks

about 1/4 cup lard

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Rinse dent corn well and place in pot and cover with water.

Stir in Lime and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (slightly bubbling) for about 10 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Cover with a cloth and allow to sit for at least 24 hrs., I let mine sit for about a week and a half.

Drain, under cool running water, pick up handfuls of the corn and rub between your hands under the water to remove loose skin.

Traditionally masa for tamales would be prepared like this……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7PBe60C4GQ#watch-main-area

My kitchen isn’t quite this basic, but, I was able to come pretty close while grinding my corn. In the video she is using a Metate, made from a volcanic stone called Basalt. Fortunately, I gave my husband a Molcajete for his birthday. A Molcajete is also made from basalt, but, is shaped differently and is typically used for making salsa.

After chopping up the corn, one. handful. at. a. time. in a little veggie chopper,

I ground it, one. handful. at. a. time., in the Molcajete, like this….

I would grind until the corn would come together well…

I could only grind a handful at a time, any more than that and I couldn’t get the corn fine enough.

Yeah, it took awhile, but my arms will be ripped for summer, lol.

While I was grinding, I had my sauce simmering happily nearby….

Sauce-

about 8 chiles, either California or something similar.

one handful chopped garlic cloves

Cut of the stems and deseed

Place them in a sauce pan with the garlic and cover them with chicken stock (can use water too)

Simmer until soft and puree, I used my stick blender, then add in meat, I used leftover beef roast, about this much…..

Now, place about 1/3 of your corn husks in water to soften.

While the husks are bathing, mix the corn, lard, baking powder, and salt.

You want a consistency that will spread without running or cracking, I I ended up adding a little stock to get it just right.

I don’t know if you can see them in the pics..at the advice of a very wise friend, I added a few handfuls of craisins to the sauce/meat mixture. Oh was she ever right! The sweetness of the craisins was wonderful with the smoky-ness of the sauce, yum!

I also sprinkled a little cheese on each one.

now, roll these up, from one long side to the other and fold the empty, pointy side under.

If, like me, you don’t have a Tamale Steamer, wad up a large ball of aluminum foil and place it in a pot with a couple of inches of water.

Bring the water to a simmer, turn it down a little, so the tamales will steam, and prop the tamales up around the foil, like this…

these were perfect after about 25 minutes. let them steam until the husk pulls away from the tamale easily.

These were a little dry, I think, because some of them cracked while cooking. This might be a combination of not enough lard and not getting my corn ground fine enough? I’m not sure, this was my very first taste of tamales. What I am sure of…I will be making these again, they were really good. Maybe next time I’ll have friends over and start a new tamale tradition 🙂

This post is a part of Kitchen Tips Tuesdays at Tammy’sRecipes.com, head over there for more great kitchen tips!

Kids are really smart. We are not going to convince them that liver is yummy. Especially if we don’t happen to feel that way ourselves!

But! It is so good for them..and us, that it’s worth at least trying to sneak it in, somewhere. Think about the really old people you know. The ones that fly past you at the mall. The really old ones that still smoke and spit. Ask ’em what their moms fed them growing up and they’ll tell ya “liver and onions”! (and cod liver oil, but we’ll talk about that another day 🙂

So how DO you get your family to eat liver?

The very best way to introduce liver to your family is to sneak it in to a recipe in small amounts, without them knowing anything about it. Then gradually increase the amount as everyone’s palates adjust.

I’ve found liver is best disguised when combined with a spicy food like medium or hot sausage. If you don’t eat pork, pepperjack cheese works nicely.

My favorite recipe with liver is “Spicy Meatballs”. It’s based on a recipe I found on my friend Katie’s blog.

Spicy Meatballs (Katie’s Recipe)

1T minced garlic

2t fresh chopped parsley

1T dried basil

2t ground cumin

1T dried dill weed

1/2t ground black pepper

1/2 dry bread crumbs

1.5t yellow mustard

1/2t salt

2 eggs, beaten

1C shredded pepperjack cheese

1.5lb ground beef

1/2 lb liver (liver from grass-fed animals is the healthiest choice, if you can’t buy from a farmer’s market or directly from a farm, most grocery stores (I know Wal-Mart does) sell calf livers. This would be the only liver I would buy from the store! In the U.S. calves are still started out on pasture, so calf liver from the store is still a good option)

Soak your liver in lemon juice for at least 30 min. before using, this helps remove impurities and improves the texture.

Puree liver and combine with remaining ingredients. If you have time to mix this all up either the day before or the morning you plan to cook them the meat sort of marinades in all of the spices and makes the meatballs even yummier!

Form into meatballs and bake in a moderate oven (around 350 degrees) until 140 degrees inside (usually somewhere around 30-40 minutes)

I only had to make these a few times until I noticed myself craving them! Amazing how our bodies know what’s good for us (if we’ll pay attention:)

Now when I make these I use 1lb grass-fed beef, 1lb medium sausage (in place of the cheese), and, because our palates have adjusted, we use 1lb of liver as well!

I always double the recipe. When they’re done I spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer and after they’re frozen I put them in ziploc bags!

This is SOOO convenient!

I can pull a couple of handfuls out and warm them in a little pasta sauce for a really quick spaghetti dinner.

Or take one or two out and chop them up in an omelette (my personal favorite).

They’re also great on a hoagie with a yummy sauce.

That doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Well, if feeding your kids liver now so they can have lots of fun mall-walking and spitting when they’re really old isn’t reason enough for ya…..take a look at this!

  APPLE (100 g) CARROTS (100 g) RED MEAT (100 g) BEEF LIVER (100 g)
Calcium 3.0 mg 3.3 mg 11.0 mg 11.0 mg
Phosphorus 6.0 mg 31.0 mg 140.0 mg 476.0 mg
Magnesium 4.8 mg 6.2 mg 15.0 mg 18.0 mg
Potassium 139.0 mg 222.0 mg 370.0 mg 380.0 mg
Iron .1 mg .6 mg 3.3 mg 8.8 mg
Zinc .05 mg .3 mg 4.4 mg 4.0 mg
Copper .04 mg .08 mg .18 mg 12.0 mg
Vitamin A None None 40 IU 53,400 IU
Vitamin D None None Trace 19 IU
Vitamin E .37 mg .11 mg 1.7 mg .63 mg
Vitamin C 7.0 mg 6.0 mg None 27.0 mg
Thiamin .03 mg .05 mg .05 mg .26 mg
Riboflavin .02 mg .05 mg .20 mg 4.19 mg
Niacin .10 mg .60 mg 4.0 mg 16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid .11 mg .19 mg .42 mg 8.8 mg
Vitamin B6 .03 mg .10 mg .07 mg .73 mg
Folic Acid 8.0 mcg 24.0 mcg 4.0 mcg 145.0 mcg
Biotin None .42 mcg 2.08 mcg 96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12 None None 1.84 mcg 111.3 mcg

This chart is from The Healthy Skeptic. (Great Source for Health Info)

And, because recipe posts are lame without pictures, I’ll try to get some up today!

 

This post is a part of Kitchen Tips Tuesday at Tammy’s Recipes. Head over there for more great kitchen tips!

I like to make lots of soups and stews during the cold months and  many of them call for a few slices of bacon or a little bit of sausage.

Since switching to a traditional diet I’ve been purchasing pastured and nitrate/ preservative free meats. These cost more than store bought meats, but I’ve found I can get by with a little less than what recipes call for without affecting the end result.

So, when I want to add 4 or 6 slices of bacon to say… a lentil stew, but the bacon in my freezer is a whole pound, here is what I do.

I take the bacon from my freezer and place about a third of the package in warm water…..

After about five minutes I take the bacon out of the water. The part that was in the water is completely thawed!

I use kitchen shears to cut off the portion I will be using.

After that, the rest of the bacon that’s still frozen, goes right back in to the freezer!

Super fast. Super easy!

Have a great Tuesday!

I’m thinking the way to be successful with traditional eating is to be prepared.

I’ve been out Christmas shopping the past couple of days and had to eat out for a couple of meals.

Friday Breakfast……

Homemade Mocha with grass-fed raw cream

Lunch….

Leftover Rustic Lentil Stew

Supper….

Chicken strips and french fries from a sit down restaraunt, ouch, I know!

Snack…

popcorn with tons of butter

So Saturday I still had shopping to do and I was determined I was not going to fall in to a fast food trap.

I had to eat one meal out but did a little research and found a great alternative!

Breakfast…….

Homemade mocha

Lunch……

Wild caught  Sushi

There were good fats like avocado and cream cheese, nutrient dense ingredients like Nori, shrimp, salmon and roe, and lots of warm fuzzies with every delicious bite!

Supper…….

In hopes of making up for yesterdays sin I made a nutrient dense soup called Tapado (see Cheeseslave’s menu mailers for recipe)

This was very yummy and there’s just something about eating seafood that makes you feel good all over.

Isn’t that gorgeous!?

So my plan is to make up some summer sausages, liverwurst, and a bunch of crispy nuts. Then put a few slices of sausage and a yummy cheese in baggies and toss them in the freezer. I’ll be able to grab one of these with a  handful or two of crispy nuts on my way out the door, hopefully protecting myself from the temptation of eating out.

I’d thought, since I’m planning to make tamales for Christmas eve, I’d make a bunch of extra to keep in the freezer for another grab and go food.

 But, for some reason, when I mention this to friends, they respond with a chuckle saying “Oh you’re making tamales”?

 They snort when I tell them I’ve never made them before and actually laugh out loud as I consider making extra?!

Should I be worried?

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