Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Buffalo Chili

Kehoe Buffalo Chili
Years ago, BC (before children) my hubby and I entered into the Steve Otto's Chili Cook-off.  I thought I had a unique chili recipe that would catch the eye and the palate of pleasantly surprised judges.  Ha!  Little did I know about the world of chili cook-offs.  We were competing against people named Chuck Wagon Charley, who was 4x champion.  What was the most interesting part, was that the winning chili looked more like ground beef in gravy than chili.  In the world of chili fame, the use of beans was blasphemy and vegetables were voided from even being called a chili.  We were dead in the water.  Although we did not come away as chili champions, we did try a lot of different chilis that day and my vote is still on mine.  
Now we Kehoe's like our buffalo.  It is probably one of the healthiest, naturally organic, renewable sources of red meat a person could eat.  It is lean and full of protein, so I use it in our chili. But what also makes this chili different, is that I use a lot of vegetables and only black beans.  No, not your traditional kidney bean but the black bean.  
What are those vegetables doing in a chili?

Here is how it goes.  
 1 1lb ground buffalo meat
1 large sweet onion, diced
4-5 carrots, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red or yellow pepper, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 32 oz cans of fire roasted tomato puree (Muir Glen brand)
1 lb bag of dried black beans, cooked - I like it beany but you can use less
2 teaspoons-ish dried oregano
2 teaspoons-ish dried cumin powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt to taste
5-8 splashes of McIhenny’s chipotle Tabasco

Start by cooking your onions and vegetables in olive oil, at medium temperature, in a large pot with some sea salt.  Cover the lid until the moisture is released from the vegetables and they are softened. Add the ground buffalo meat. Stir until cooked.  Next add the canned tomatoes, spices, hot sauce and garlic.  Add the cooked black beans and stir until mixed.  Cover and cook until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook for a minimum of 2 hours with lid off the pot.  Stirring occasionally. 
Serve with your favorite chili garnishes like sour cream, yogurt, cheese or avocado.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vegetable & Orzo Soup

Light vegetable soup

Vegetable soup is just one of those feel good foods.  You don't have to be battling a cold or the flu to eat it.  It makes for a great dinner on those nights you just feel like something a little lighter on the stomach.   For this soup I used the bones from one of my roasted chickens and made a broth.  Simply boil the carcass in water until the liquid is reduced to about half.  Strain and it is ready for use. 
I threw a few bones back into the strained stock, so I would remember what this was for.
I begin the construction of my soup by chopping a lot of vegetables in small bite sized bits.  You can use whatever you have on hand.  I used onions, carrots, cauliflower and zucchini.  I sauteed the onions and carrots in some olive oil with sea salt until the carrots where softened.  
Then I added the other veggies, some basil and garlic  I went light on the spices as I wanted this soup to have a real pure taste to it. Next I poured in my broth.  If you don't have any homemade chicken broth you can make us some vegetable or use some pre-made stocks.  I added some organic orzo and let the soup simmer for about 1 hour or longer.  I served this with a spinach,orange pomegranate salad.  Light, nourishing and bursting with flavor.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Cauliflower with Keta Salmon

The carrot and it’s elongated, triangular shape and bright orange color is probably the most recognizable vegetable around.   
Did you know not all carrots are orange?  There are purple carrots, red carrots even yellow carrots.  In fact, it is believed that the first carrots were indeed purple and not orange at all. Orange carrots came along after, natural selection developed a yellow carrot.  The yellow carrot plant was then crossed (hybridized) with the original purple carrot and orange carrots developed. 

 Each carrot color varies in flavor; slightly ranging from hints of floral notes to peppery.  Aside from the difference in color and taste they also have different health benefits. 
Orange Carrots contain beta carotene and alpha-carotene, both of which are orange pigments. They are high in Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes. Vitamin A also maintains the surface linings of the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts and regulates the immune system by helping white blood cells fight infections.
Yellow carrots contain xanthophylls and lutene, which are pigments similar to beta carotene.  Yellow carrots are also beneficial to eye health but they also may prevent lung and other cancers and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Red carrots are get their color from lycopene, which is another form of carotene that is also found in tomatoes and watermelon. Lycopene is associated with the reducing the risk of macular degeneration, preventing heart disease and a wide variety of cancers including prostate cancer.
Purple carrots are usually orange or white on the inside and have even more beta carotene than their orange cousins. They get their purple pigment from anthocyanins, which is the same antioxidant in blueberries.  Anthocyanins, blocking free radicals from damaging the cell and may help prevent heart.  They also act as an affective anti inflammatory.  Research has also found this blue pigmented antioxidant to be beneficial for retaining memory function and providing protection against urinary tract infections.

Tonight I am using these rainbow carrots in our dinner.  I will be roasting them very simply with some diced onion, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  This really brings out their sweet flavor.  Really, a few of them were similar in flavor to salted caramel.  No need for artificial sweeteners.  We have been provided with a natural bounty of sweetness.   
I peeled and thickly sliced these carrots to show off their bright, beautiful colors.  I would caution against boiling them, as this will reduce the vividness of their colors and weaken the intensity of their taste.  Not to mention, some of the nutrients will be lost in the water.  If I wasn’t showing these carrots off for the blog, I would have lightly washed them, trimmed the tops and bottoms and cooked them un-peeled.  This would have kept the varying flavors more locked in and prevented bleeding out of the colors.  But aren’t you glad I didn’t.  I mean look at the inside of this purple carrot. Isn’t it AWESOME!
Purple Carrot

I prepared the cauliflower in much the same way. Washed. Patted dry. Tossed with some minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  I put both veggies in the oven at a temperature of 375 and cooked covered for about 25 min or until tender and uncovered for another 10 minutes to brown them up. 

Now for the Keta Salmon.  This was a little more labor intensive.  I got some coals hot on the grill.  Lightly rubbed some coconut oil on the filets of salmon. Then I sprinkled with sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Cooked each side for about 3-5 minutes, until salmon started to whiten and felt firmer to the touch.  

Yes that was it!  Let me tell you, when you start with quality ingredients you don’t need to fuss with them too much for everything to come together in a symphony of flavors.  If you have a problem getting your children to eat their veggies I suggest you to prepare some roasted rainbow carrots and cauliflower.  When they try it, they will surely love it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fall off the bone Ribs

This meal screams man food.  We were expecting some company for dinner so I decided to do up a few ribs.  We had buffalo ribs from the 1/4 buffalo we order annually.  As monstrous as those are I didn't think they would be enough, so I purchased some Greenwise Beef Ribs as well.

 In comparing our two animals, there is an obvious difference in size but you can also see by the marbling on the meat, that the beef ribs have much more fat on them then the naturally, lean buffalo. 
Top: Buffalo Ribs Bottom: Beef Ribs

Comparing fat content of beef vs buffalo ribs

Beef ribs

Buffalo ribs
I put a dry rub on these baby's and laid them on a grill with hot coals to cook off some of the fat and get a nice smoke flavor to them. No I did not use any oil.  The purpose of the grill is not to cook the ribs but instead to give them flavor.  So I didn't leave them on there long. 

Dry Rub 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
My salt is pink because I use Himalayan.

The smell of these ribs cooking will bring grunting men flocking to your backyard.  Once the ribs came off the grill, I added them to crock pot with my very special BBQ sauce.  Now because I like you, I will share it with you.  

Special Slow Cooker Rib Sauce
1/4-1/2 cup organic ketchup ( depending on how many ribs you have)
1 6 oz can of organic tomato paste
1 1/2 cups finely diced sweet onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 Tablespoon local raw honey (depending on your desired sweetness)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3-6 strong splashes of McIlhenny's Chipolte Tabasco sauce
1 cup water
Add ketchup, honey and lime together and mix until honey is dissolved.  Add in all other ingredients, whisking until well combined.  Taste.  Adjust your salt/honey as needed.  Pour over ribs, making sure most are covered.  
Cook ribs in a slow cooker for 4-8 hours depending on your temperature.  Low and slow is ideal.  I left these in the crock pot for 10 hours, turning occasionally.   The meat was fall off the bone tender. Brian used all of the left over rib sauce throughout the week.  I think that sauce was used on everything except his pancakes.   

Buffalo Ribs with collards, freekeh and black beans

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chicken Fiesta Soup with corn muffin

1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small cooking onions, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup red bell pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 32 oz can diced tomato
21/2 cups of cooked black beans or 2 x15 oz cans, drained
1 15 oz can of organic corn
5-6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipolte powder
2-3 tablespoon lime juice
sea salt to taste

3 cups roasted chicken, chopped into bite size pieces 
Garnish with:
diced avocado
shredded white cheddar cheese
yogurt or sour cream
fresh lime wedges
your favorite hot sauce

Of course I am an advocate of using organic ingredients as much as possible, but there is one ingredient I strongly suggest using organic, all the time- with no exceptions. That ingredient is corn.  That includes corn meal, corn chips, corn on the cob and canned corn.  All forms of corn.  Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops in North America.  What's more is corn is highly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and many other toxic chemicals.  In my opinion, eating conventional, non-organic corn products has a negative impact on your health.  We will talk more about the dangers of GMOs on a later date.

 For the soup, add oil, peppers, onions and a pinch of sea salt to a soup pot set on medium/high.Cover and cook until peppers and onions are softened.Reduce temperature to medium/low. Toss in garlic and spices.  Mix to release the aromas. Splash with fresh lime juice, then add in your diced tomatoes, stock, beans and corn.  Finally add in chopped roasted chicken.  Simmer for about 1 hour uncovered.  When ready to serve garnish with any of your favorites and serve with a corn meal muffin.  Enjoy.  

Corn Meal Muffins 
1 cup organic yellow cornmeal 
1 cup unbleached organic all purpose flour 
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup organic whole yogurt 
1 large egg 
1/4 cup softened coconut oil melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line and grease 11 paper muffin cups.( for some reason this never makes 12) Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk room temperature milk and egg in another medium bowl; add in softened coconut oil. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients; stir until incorporated  Divide batter equally among prepared muffin liners. Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack 10 minutes.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The World's Best Lasagna

I've made a lot of lasagnas over the years.  Not as many as I have chickens, but many.  I have dabbled with the recipe a lot.  I cooked the noodles before baking them , then I didn't.  I added loads of veggies but found that too watery.  I tried it with varying combinations of Parmesan cheese, ricotta and  mozzarella.  After much experimentation, I feel I have one that I could stand by. 
Now, what makes this lasagna the World's Best Lasagna is the fact that everyone can make it.  The ingredients are quality ingredients but simple in preparation. There are a series of steps to this Italian favorite but they will be worth it. 

1 32 oz Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1 cup of Whole Cottage Cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package of ground beef or buffalo
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1  15 oz can tomato puree (I use Muir Glen organic puree)
1 24 oz jar of organic tomato sauce ( I use Bertolli, organic garlic and oregano)
1 12oz package of lasagna noodles ( I prefer whole wheat but had organic white on hand)
1 16 oz package of part skim mozzarella cheese, grated

 Get a large pot of slightly salted water boiling.  In the meantime, start by cooking the diced onions in a frying pan with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Cook them until caramelized.  Place in a large mixing bowl until slightly cooled.  Add the ricotta and cottage cheeses, eggs, spices and minced garlic.  Mix until combined.  Set aside.  
In the same pan, cook the ground beef or buffalo until browned.  If using beef, drain off excess fat.  If using buffalo, it is very lean and there will be no fat. Add in the jar of tomato sauce and the canned tomato puree.  Cook on medium heat until the sauce has thickened.  When the water is boiling, add in the lasagna noodles and boil until al dente.  Once cooked, drain but do not rinse.  This recipe will make one 9x13 inch tray of lasagna or two 8 inch square trays.  Start your layering. Noodles first to cover the bottom of the tray. You may need to trim the edges to fit the lasagna noodles in just perfectly.  Scissors work great for this.  Then add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Spread evenly over noodles.  Follow that up with the meaty sauce.  Repeat 2 more times ending with the noodles and a thin layer of sauce on top of the noodles.  Finally add a generous layer of freshly grated mozzarella cheese.  At this point you can cover and freeze for a later date.  This is what I do with one of the 8 inch trays.  Or you can bake it at 375 for 25 minutes.  Then uncover and bake it for another 20 minutes or until the cheese is browned.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes to set.  Cut and serve. 
* I use mostly organic ingredients for this recipe except the cheeses.  They are free from bovine growth hormone but not certified organic.  Our local grocery stores do not carry organic mozzarella, ricotta or cottage cheese.  However now that we have a Trader Joe's in Tampa I hope to be able to make this lasagna 100% organic.   

Ricotta mixture
Naturally lean ground buffalo

I used buffalo. There is almost NO fat run off.

Meaty sauce thickening

Lasagna noodles cooking

Al dente noodles

Layer the bottom with noodles
Spread Ricotta mixture over noodles

Meat sauce after the ricotta mixture

Lastly the MOOzarella

2 x 8 inch square trays
The World's best Organic Lasagna

This lasagna is Dr. Brian and Archer's favorite meal.  Lana has not tried the lasagna yet.  We have a policy of no breads or cheese until after the age of two.  We feel a child's digestive system is not mature enough to handle these products until then.  Lana will be 2 in June.  I will let you know if this becomes her favorite meal too. 
I've heard about this Lasagna...