Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RECIPE: Wheat Berry Salad with Pickled Red Onion...when you have no red onion


Recipe: Wheat Berry with Pickled Red Onion

1 C wheatberries
¼ apple
2T whole, raw almonds
2C spinach
1 small onion
1C cranberry vinegar

Ahead of time

Soak wheaberries over night
Infuse 1 C vinegar with 7 or 8 raw cranberries (from the Cape) chopped in half over night

Next Day

Cook wheat berries for 45 min on low until tender

Meanwhile

Peel onion and slice thinly
Blanch onion in water
Mix 1 C cranberry vinegar with 1 t salt and bring boil
Add onion to red mixture and cook for one minute
Remove onion and set aside
Sauté spinach in olive oil or rendered lard until wilted
Chop fine
Toast whole almonds in toaster oven.
Remove and dice fine, not too fine.
Chop apple into little squares
Drain wheat berries

Mix wheat berries with the rest of ingredients, add a bit of oil if necessary
Add salt to taste
Enjoy!

What Comes First? Egg

When momma ain't happy.....

How free is free-range? Backyard chickens are plentiful these days, as can be evidenced by the traveling hen houses that dot the countryside. So pretty, colored free-range eggs can be obtained at stores, by the side of the road and right out of the hen if you are so blessed to have your own flock. Traveling hen houses are designed to be a mobile fertilizer unit.

Joel Salatin, celebrity farmer recommends the flexible fence to reign in free-range chickens.

"If they are let loose, they go all over the place," said Salatin two winters ago at a Northeast Organic Farm Association meting in Worcester. "They shit all over the place," he said. "They go on the lawn, they go on the handle of the lawn mower, nobody wants that, and then they even go up on the porch,"  he said. "Mama don't like that. When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody's happy."

Eggs can be diablo and protein all in one.

Deviled Eggs for a Pot Luck on the farm or community room at the library.

1 dozen eggs + 2 for mayo
1 onion, grated
1/2 tsp horse radish
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup mayo
2 TBL chopped chives
6 long strands of chives for topping

Start eggs in cold water and cover with lid and bring to boil.
Turn off heat and let water and eggs come to room temperature.
Peel under running water. This makes it easier to get the shell off.
Slice hard boiled eggs lengthwise to maintain 'boat' shape of white.
Dip knife in water between eggs for a clean slice of the whites.
Scoop out solid yokes.
Mix together onion, mayo, horse radish, cider vinegar, and chives
Add egg to the rest of the ingredients with fork and mix gently.
Gently scoop all of the egg mixture into the corner of a plastic bag.
Cut little slit in the corner of the bottom of the plastic bag for 'piping effect' (optional).
This will allow you to evenly distribute egg filling in the design of your choosing.
Top with a little cross of chive step to keep the devil away. 

Locavore note: Make your own mayo with eggs and olive oil. A work out with a whisk to get the eggs to emulsify but worth it. Recipe here. *

*Courtesy of Oprah and Tamar Adler

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken Hearts for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day can make some people chicken.

There can be a lot of pressure with this holiday. Does she/he want jewelry? If so, how much to spend? Does she think this will be an engagement ring? Would she/he settle for Whitman's Sampler? Best in a situation like to take a unique approach. Food, as in, a home cooked meal says a lot more about love than money does. Let's say, you buy her a bauble for $50. Is she/he worth only $50? If you cook her/him a meal at home, and she believes that food is love, then that would be a loving, genuine and affordable Valentine's gift. If your sweetie eats out a lot, then here is a recipe for something that comes from one of the country's most expensive restaurants yet is quite inexpensive to make at home.

In some markets, you can pay up to $23 for a local chicken. It is not the chicken's fault. Blame regulatory slaughter (processing) requirements.  Growing backyard chickens is one thing, trying to sell them, entirely another. For taste, the locally raised, properly fed chicken is superior but how best to appreciate and more important afford such a luxury.

One way to go is to go little. With chickens, a little heart goes a long way. A great way to consume chicken that is locally grown is to go for the gizzards. Not easy to forage -- you gotta know a guy who knows a guy -- for guy who knows a farmer, but there is no delicacy like a chicken heart on a stick. This recipe is for such a delicacy served at one New England-ish restaurant surrounded by livestock and other representatives of dinner. It is a place where they make their own salt, flavored with tomato and sitting there in a bowl like red cocaine. As for chicken hearts, they are plump morsels are served up on the end of skewers and glazed with something sweet. Pure protein - heart on a stick. Don't be a chicken, give this a try. This recipe is based on reverse engineering plus intelligence from Serious Eats.

Chicken Hearts on a Stick

WHAT

1 lb. Chicken Hearts
2 long, thin wooden skewers

1 pound chicken hearts (local)

Sauce
 
 2 chicken carcasses cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1 cup mead or white wine
1 cup mirin
1 to 1/2 cups soy sauce, depending on darkness
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper


HOW

Sauce:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the bones in a saute pan and roast until the bones are brown and the fond at the bottom of the pan is beginning to darken, about one hour.

2. Remove the pan from the oven and put on a stovetop. Deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of the mead or sake, scraping up the browned bits until the bottom of the pan is clean. Then add in the rest of the mead or white wine, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce is thickened, about one hour. Season with black pepper. Leftover sauce will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely if reheated once a week.
 
To grill:

Skewer chicken hearts and set over a medium high flame. When the chicken hearts are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes, baste with the sauce and grill again until sauce is dried, about 20 seconds. Baste again and grill just until the sauce is starting to dry, about 10 seconds. Add pepper if desired.

To serve:

Skewer individual hearts and serve to loved one. Take turns. Continue until there are none left or you get distracted.