Hale to Kale Soup

If you keep your freezer stocked (pun intended) with both chicken and beef stock homemade soups and stews are a snap on busy weeknights.  This one can be whipped up in a matter of minutes but will taste like you spent all day in the kitchen.

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Recipe & Ingredients

2 tablespoons of your favorite healthy fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow, gf butter)
1/2 pound or 2 large bratwurst, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch organic kale, chopped
6 cups homemade chicken stock
1 can black beans, drained
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat fat in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat; add the carrots, celery and onion and cook until slightly tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Add the chicken stock and kale; bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the kale in tender.

Meanwhile slice the brats and brown in a cast iron skillet.  Set aside.  When the kale is tender season to taste with the sea salt and pepper, add the drained beans, browned brats and simmer 5 minutes more to heat through, uncovered. Stir in vinegar and rosemary and serve.

Hearty Beef Stew

A lot of people along with the press seem to be having a beef lately (pun totally intended) with eating red meat.  Well, go suck on a tofu stick I’m sticking to my red meat.  Like everything else that’s not good for you:  has it been tampered with by man?  Did you feed the cow GMO corn, keep him in tight confinement and give him antibiotics, growth hormone and other drugs?  It made him sick and most likely will make you sick too.  Common sense people.

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We’ve been eating beef for centuries with only positive effects until the 20th century when things started to go very wrong as man continued to go against nature.  Cows are herbivores; they are supposed to eat grass and roam freely. Thus being said I personally don’t need any research or proof to know that beef is good for you.

Time for dinner. . .

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Recipe & Ingredients

1 pound grass fed beef stew meat, cut into cubes
2 tablespoon beef tallow or coconut oil
1 large onion, dices
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups homemade beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1-2 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 ear of corn, cut off cob
1/2 cup green peas
1 tablespoon non GMO cornstarch

Preparation

Melt the fat in a large cast iron dutch oven or stew pot over medium heat.  Brown the meat and then transfer to a plate.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, cook 1 minute more.  Add the stock, tomato paste and put the beef and any juice back in the pot. Add water to cover ingredients if needed.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour and 20 minutes.

Add in the carrots, green beans, mushrooms and potatoes.  Cover partially and cook for about 30 more minutes. Remove the lid, add in the corn and peas and simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the stew has thickened slightly.

Mix the cornstarch in a small bowl with 1 – 2 tablespoons cold water.  Add to the stew, bring to a slight boil for about 1 minute.  Serves 6

Poulet a la Creme

This is about as fancy as we get on a weekday night at our house.  But something about boneless, skinless chicken breasts bores me to tears.  I am a typically a bone in skin on type of girl so what to do with those naked chicken breasts?

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Typically we grill on Friday nights but the Jag had had elbow surgery and had been in a sling for 10 days.  He doesn’t make the best patient constantly grumbling about the “overkill”.  I preferred to imagine he was recovering from a bullet wound to his shoulder — a little more romantic.  Needless to say grilling was out and I didn’t care to infringe on his domain.  Back to the breasts. . .  Well, nothing that a lil’ creamy sauce can’t fix.

A little seasoning, mushrooms, homemade stock and butter and cream and there were no complaints.

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Nothing beats a cast iron skillet.  If you don’t have one, time to go shopping.

Recipe & Ingredients

3-4 boneless, skinless pastured chicken breasts
4-6 tablespoons gf raw butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1/4 cup raw cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup King Arthur gluten free all purpose flour

Preparation

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat mallet until thinned out to about 1/4 inch.  Lightly dust with the flour and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Cook the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned.  Remove to a plate.  Reduce the heat to medium and saute the mushrooms until tender adding remaining butter if needed–about 4 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and allow to reduce slightly.

Turn the heat down, add in the cream and stir until slightly thickened.  Return chicken to pan to heat through and serve!  Delicious with white rice.

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Goodbye my Friend – R.I.P.

It was a sad day last week when I went to prep the crust for my pumpkin cheesecake and my trusty and well loved food processor took its last whirl.  I knew it was coming, I had been treating her with extra TLC for months even buying her a new bowl.  Alas I knew her days were numbered and I must soon find a replacement.

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With a heavy heart I went to Williams and Sonoma to view the new models knowing none would be like her.  Sure enough they had changed; some were of similar size yet fancier but none had the charm and simplicity of my first love–the Cuisinart Little Pro food processor. Like so many other things they just don’t make them like that anymore. Light bulb moment–let’s check Ebay.  As much as I hate technology I do love the internet.

Wow, I found almost the exact same model, preserved in the original box and never used. And it was only $40. A fraction of what the new ones cost–what a steal!  So I purchased it and it resided in my pantry knowing that eventually the day would come.

I got at least 9 more months out of my original Cuisinart little pro which I purchased in 1986. 29 years of use out of that baby; and I used it — a lot.  It’s the perfect size for a family of 2 yet big enough for my annual pumpkin prep.

Back in the day I gave pumpkin pies as gifts to family and friends every Thanksgiving.  That was before owning my own business and only working 36 hours a week.  It was not uncommon for me to make 15 pies each season so that little Cuisinart pureed quite a few pumpkins for a couple of decades.

The Jag had been on me the last 4 or 5 times I used the old one as her motor began to squeal.  “You’ve got a brand new one, that thing’s almost 30 years old why aren’t you using it”.  I will I said but there’s still life left.  Sigh, after the second use with the motor squealing I had to admit the time had come.  I still had 3 pumpkins to go that day — she’d given me everything she had, time to let her rest.

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I set her aside and broke out the ‘new’ one.  Whiter and brighter as my old one had yellowed with time.  A nice straight spatula, the old one had flipped in the dishwasher and it melted on a coil distorting the handle.  This model looked and operated exactly the same with the addition of a juicing attachment.  Good, culinary life will go on.  I plugged her in and away she whirled making short work of the gingersnaps and the pumpkins were pureed smooth in a matter of seconds.

I looked over at the counter at my old baby with sadness.  Bittersweet. I cleaned her up lovingly washing all her parts gently in warm soapy water and I just couldn’t throw her away. I packed her neatly in the box the new one came in and found her a resting place in the garage for now. R.I.P. Maybe with time.

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So if you’re looking for a food processor I highly recommend a Cuisinart.  29 wonderful years together.  I’m hoping for the same with the new one!

Pumpkin Nutty Cheesecake

Holy pumpkins Batman!  It’s time for cheesecake. . .

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Cooler weather not only brings out my sweatpants but my desire to bake. Now I tell myself I don’t need these sweets but the urge to splurge (in moderation of course) generally wins over pre holiday season.  Justification:  it’s homemade.

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Well, you could use canned pumpkin but I always prefer the real deal.  Plus they make the prettiest fall deco on your table.

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Prepare crust and place in fridge to chill before baking

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at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Allow to cool; refrigerate for several hours or overnight

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When removing from springform pan first gently run a knife along the sides before releasing.  Place on a serving plate then proceed with garnishing.

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Enjoy a “moderate” slice or two!

Recipe & Ingredients

Crust
1, 7 oz package Pamela’s gluten free gingersnaps
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons grass fed raw butter, melted

Filling
3, 8 oz packages organic cream cheese, softened
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raw gf cream

Nut Topping
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup organic brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Garnishes
Orange slices and whipped cream

Preparation

Crust
Process gingersnaps in a food processor until fine crumbs.  Mix with melted butter and brown sugar.  Press firmly and evenly over bottom and up the sides of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan.  Chill.

Filling
Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually add sugars beating until mixed.  Add eggs, one at a time beating until just blended.  Add pumpkin, spices and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Prepare Topping
Combine melted butter, sugar and nuts.  Remove cake from oven and sprinkle with topping; bake an additional 10 minutes.  Cool cheesecake; refrigerate several hour or overnight.

Garnish
Take the remaining 3/4 cup of raw cream and place in a small stainless steel mixing bowl.  Beat until slightly thickened; add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Continue beating until stiff peaks form.  With a pastry bag pipe around the cheesecake (one mound per serving size) and top each with an orange slice.

Servings:  16 “moderate” slices or 8 large ones

Red Slaw w/ green apples

When I think of brisket I think of Texas — they are famed for their brisket and that red meat state inspires me even tho I hail from Florida.  My favorite fall recipe for brisket ain’t broken and I am hard pressed to come up with a new one especially as the weather cools.

What is new this fall is my Red Slaw, the tang of the green apples and the slightly crisper red cabbage was a surprisingly delightful combination.  I’m sure my friends in Texas would approve.

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Start with fresh ingredients, local and organic if possible.  The rainbow carrots looked especially pretty at the market that day so that’s what we went with.  I used the white and orange to make it colorful.

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Slice n’ dice all veggies along with the apple and place in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine well.

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Then add to the veggies and stir gently until well coated. Add a little more mayo and/or sour cream if you need more dressing and then taste and adjust for seasonings.

Recipe & Ingredients

1 head red/purple cabbage coarsely cut
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 green apple, cut into small slivers (somewhat julianned)
1/2 – 3/4 cup homemade mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons cane sugar
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

This went wonderful with the brisket and fresh corn on the cob!  Enjoy!

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