Friday, March 21, 2014

Chicken Stir Fry

I've never been a fan of homemade stir fry.  It just didn't taste quite right.  This evening after combining elements from several recipes I finally hit on a balanced taste combo that I love.  It can be made Paleo by using the arrowroot powder and coconut aminos.  Fish sauce can be Paleo but you have to read the ingredient list.  Regular sauce is just fermented fish and salt.  However, there is wide variations between brands.  Red Boat is very popular but I haven't tried that one yet.  I have a Thai brand that I need to use up first.  

If the veg chopping is too much work buy them prechopped at the supermarket.  I just used a veg stir fry mix and picked out all the bell peppers and kept the onions, green onions, cabbage, snow peas, then added carrot, extra onion and portabello mushrooms.  The veg mix is really your own preference.  The only thing to remember is to cook thick/heavy veg first and the delicate stuff last.

I prefer sesame oil to peanut oil but the whole thing has to be cooked at a lower temp since sesame is a lower temp oil.

Also, I always make extra rice.  I let the extra cool off and then bag up in individual servings and freeze for later use.

Ingredients:
serves 2

Marinade
1 scant teaspoon of honey
1t fish sauce (Nam Pla)
2t organic tamari (GF) or coconut aminos (gluten and soy free)
1T corn starch or arrowroot powder
1T sesame oil
1T water
1T garlic pushed through a press or smooshed
1T grated fresh ginger

Stir fry
1/2c dry rice per person (makes one cup cooked)
~1 lb chicken
1 portabello mushroom or criminis or others
1 carrot
1/2 white onion
2 stalks celery
several handfulls of snowpeas
small napa cabbage or bok choy or leeks or combo
sesame oil or peanut oil

Sauce
~1/4c cooking sherry
1T tamari or aminos
1T rice vinegar
1T corn starch or arrowroot

Garnish
1-2T toasted sesame seeds

1) Mix one to one ratio of rice to water.  Cook with method of choice. 
2) Make marinade and mix thoroughly.  Slice chicken into bite size pieces and mix into marinade.  Put aside.
3) Chop, slice and dice vegetable so that they are all about the same size.  Sort into piles for cooking first and last.  First: white onions, leeks, carrots, celery, mushrooms, bok choy stems.  Last: snow peas, green onions, cabbage, bok choy leaves. 
4) Mix together sauce ingredients leaving out the sherry.  Put aside.
5) Line everything up along the stove since this cooks fast. 
6) Heat large fry pan and add sesame or peanut oil.  When oil is shimmering add first vegetables.  Stir fry until onion wilts and becomes soft.  Add chicken and fry until browned on the outside but still pink in the middle.  
7) Deglaze the pan with the sherry only using enough so that a small amount of liquid is left.
8) Throw in last veg but don't stir.  Put lid on veg and let steam for about five minutes until chicken is cooked through and the cabbage wilts.
9) Stir in sauce and let it coat everything.  It will thicken up almost instantly.  Remove from heat and serve over rice.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Skillet Provincal

I've been making Chicken Provincal for decades from an old recipe I found on a cooking wine bottle.  Or at least I think it was a cooking wine bottle.  I transcribed it by hand so I didn't get it from a magazine and the internet didn't exist yet.  But I digress....

Divine Health posted a recipe for Skillet Stew which gave me the idea of doing my Provincal recipe as a skillet dish.  It got two thumbs up from hubs and one from the kid so this is a keeper.

Since I just got an Herbs de Provence herb mix from the farmers market, I decided to use that for seasoning.  If you don't have any use a mix of: marjoram, tarragon, thyme and lavender.  The lavender is optional but adds a nice flavor.

Ingredients:
serves three

4T organic non-GMO corn starch or arrowroot powder
1t sea salt
1/2t pepper
1T herbs de provence

1-1.5lbs chicken breast

1 large portabello mushroom cap
2 large carrots
1/2 a medium onion or two shallots

1T lard or tallow
2T ghee
1/4-1/2c cooking sherry
1c Basic Chicken Stock
1c filtered water
1/2c sour cream or plain yogurt


  1. Mix corn starch, salt, pepper and herbs in a dish or ziplock bag.  If the herbs are large crush fine with a mortar and pestle first.  Mix well.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Drop in flour mixture, close bag tightly and shake to coat chicken evenly.  Set aside.
  3. Finely dice mushroom, onion and carrot.  
  4. Melt lard and 1T ghee in skillet.  When fat is hot add chicken.  Fry until brown then flip over.  Should be about 5mins a side.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Melt 1T ghee in pan and add vegetables.  Fry until soft and juices start to be released.  If mix gets too dry add more ghee.  The mushrooms tend to absorb liquids.  The trick is to not let the fond burn.
  6. Add sherry in shots and use to deglaze pan.  Only add enough to get the browned bits (fond) up off the pan bottom.  Let sherry boil off.
  7. Add chicken back in.  Add chicken stock and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for half an hour.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Serve over rice or with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pete the Goat Stew

I named this recipe in honor of Pete the Goat of another blog.  When I was researching how to cook goat I ran across a recipe written by someone that owns a farm.  They had a goat named Pete that then fed their family for many many meals.  As the farmer/cook said "Pete is delicious!"

This is the first time I have eaten goat even though it is the most consumed meat on the planet (goats are easy to raise).  And I must agree with the farmer/cook, goat is delicious!  In fact it is my new favorite meat.

It tastes even milder than lamb so it can be easily overpowered by strong flavors, which I found out the hard way.  I added celeriac to the stew and it was too strong.  I recommend staying away from parsnips, turnips and celeriac for this reason. Stick with mild root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi and mild onions.   If you feel like experimenting, you could add butternut squash or sweet potatoes but for me this would make it too sweet.

 Too add color to this stew buy colored root vegetables.  I had yellow carrots and Adirondack Blue potatoes on hand.  This adds some nice color to what could be a rather beige stew.

Ingredients
serves 3-4

2c Basic Chicken Stock
~2-4c filtered water
1lb goat chops with bones
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
1t Celtic or Himalayan salt
~6 peppercorns
1t dried thyme or 1-2 sprigs of fresh
Root veg of choice:
1 large carrot
1-2 leek leaves
1 medium potato
1/2 kohlrabi

  1. Peel and cut onion into 1/8ths.  Peel and mash garlic.  Add to stock pot or dutch oven along with meat.
  2. Add stock to pot and then use enough water to cover contents with about an inch of liquid.
  3. Add peppercorns, salt and thyme.
  4. Cover pot and put on low simmer and cook for two hours.
  5. Peel and chop root vegetables into bite size pieces.  Add to pot and stir in.  Add more water if needed to cover contents.
  6. Cook for another hour at a simmer with lid off.  
Note: This could also be made in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lamb and Root Vegetable Stew

Yup, my creative juices are flowing!  This is delicious!!  I like it better than beef stew.  It has a milder flavor.  You can also tinker with the meat/veg proportions so that you can make it with as much meat as you prefer.  I find that I only need a few ounces of quality meat to satisfy my appetite and I'm trying to eat way more veg than I used to so this is a great recipe.

Since I am cooking more traditionally, the food isn't really fast anymore but the prep here is minimal and I was done in 15mins or so.  The cooking time is two hours with an intervention at the one hour mark.  You could make it in a slow cooker but I'm not sure how it will effect the taste.

To give credit where credit is due this is based on the lamb stew recipes in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook.  This is my go to cookbook along with my America's Test Kitchen books.

Ingredients
serves 2-3

1/2 -1 lb lamb stew meat
1 med potato
1 med onion
1/2 kohlrabi
1/2 celeriac
2-3 carrots
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1t dried thyme or 1T fresh
A generous handful of fresh parsley about 1-2c
1t celtic sea salt
generous pinch of pepper
1-2c basic chicken stock or any organic chicken stock
filtered water

  1. Peel all veg and cut into large chunks.  Keep potato separate from other veg and rinse everything in fresh water and drain.  Throw potato into pot.  Set aside other veg for later.  If you have something that is going to brown, cover remaining veg with water.
  2. Peel and cut onion into 6 pieces and throw in pot.  Peel and mash garlic and throw in pot.
  3. Rinse and drain stew meat and add to pot.
  4. Add stock and add enough water to cover meat and veg.  Add salt, pepper, dried bay leaf and dried thyme.  If using fresh herbs wait until step 6 to add them.
  5. Cover pot and let simmer on low heat for one hour.  Liquid should be just bubbling.  Check once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid still in the pot. Add more water if you like.
  6. Add remaining veg (drain first if in water).  Add remaining fresh herbs.  Add more filtered water to just cover everything.  
  7. Bring back to a simmer and cover.  Cook for another hour. 
Variations on the theme:
  • Throw everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until meat is tender.   Veg will probably get a tad mushy.
  • Add peas for the last fifteen minutes of cook time.
  • Other root veg: parsnips, turnips, beets (use yellow ones or they will make the stew purple and the meat gets nasty looking), sweet potato and radishes.
  • Add portabellos cut into large chunks at step 6.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Portabellos with Apple Sausage Stuffing

I know.  It has been a really really long time since my last post.  I've been doing better and cooking again but I haven't been making anything new hence no posts.  But I got creative yesterday and it came out fantastic so here we go....

I've managed to find a winter farmer's market here in the Northeast.  They have several meat vendors and a bunch of veg vendors with one even selling a variety of fresh mushrooms.  I picked up some sweet Italian sausage from my favorite meat vendor and an absolutely HUGE mushroom cap.  The herbs were from one of the other vendors and I've had them out on the table drying.

Use one regular sized portabello per person or if you find huge ones you can split it with someone.  Use 1/4-1/2lb of meat per person depending upon appetites and affinity for meat.  I'm fine with 1/4 lb for myself but hubs tends to go for 1/2lb serving.

Ingredients
serves 2

1/2-1lb of sweet sausage
1 large or 2 normal sized portabello mushrooms (with stems if possible)
1 granny apple
1 large stalk of celery
1/2 a medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1t rosemary leaves
1t thyme leaves
2-3 sage leaves
1t celtic sea salt
generous pinch of pepper
1T ghee, lard or tallow for frying
1-2T olive oil
1 small egg slightly beaten
1/2c almond flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Chop onion, celery and apple into small pieces.
  3. Peel mushroom cap.  Remove stem and chop stem into small pieces and add to veg.  Scrape out gills and add to veg leaving the cap itself intact.
  4. Crush or dice garlic finely.
  5. Remove sausage meat from casings and dice into small pieces.  (scissors work well for this)
  6. If herbs are dried grind together or if fresh break into fine pieces.
  7. Add fat to pan and saute sausage meat until all pink is gone.  Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.  Do not drain fat from pan.
  8. Add vegetables and garlic to pan. Add herbs, salt and pepper.  Add more fat if needed and saute until soft.  Add to bowl with meat.  
  9. Drain any liquid off meat.  
  10. Add flour and egg and mix well.  You could put this in a food processor if you like but I prefer mine chunky.
  11. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil.  Place topside down in baking dish.  Pile stuffing into caps.
  12. Bake for 20-30mins until it has nice browned bits on top.
Variations on the theme:
  • Use acorn squash instead of mushroom caps.  Split and deseed squash.  Paint interior with olive oil and bake at 350F for 45-60mins until soft and easily pierced with a knife.  Stuff with sausage and bake as directed above.
  • Skip the mushroom and serve over rice.  Bake sausage mix in any baking dish until browned while making rice of choice.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Simple Sausage Soup

This one came out of no where.  I had the ingredients kicking around in the fridge and freezer and decided that they would taste good together.  Low and behold I was right.  Tonight I fed it to hubs for the first time and he loved it as well so now it is time to publish it.


It is a simple idea of combining sausage, pasta and leafy green veg.  You can use all sorts of combinations of the three but I've found the most tasty to be mild Italian sausage and fresh cheese pasta from the local Italian grocer combined with kale or spinach.  The ingredient amounts are rough estimates since that is how I roll.  This isn't baking so we can be loose about things.

Ingredients
serves 3

2c Basic Chicken Stock
2c filtered water
~1lb sweet Italian sausage (one large link or several small ones)
~2 cups shredded kale (two small leaves or one large leaf)
~6oz fresh cheese tortellini
generous pinch dried thyme
generous pinch dried marjoram
Celtic sea salt
fresh ground pepper


  1. Remove casing from sausage and discard.
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2" thick disks and cut the disks in half.  I found scissors to work remarkably well for both the casing removal and sausage chopping.  If you like you can roll the sausage into little balls but this isn't necessary.
  3. Tear kale into bite sized pieces.
  4. If you have thin stock, use 4c and don't dilute with water.  My stock tends to be very strong so I cut it in half with water as this is a mild soup and I don't want the stock to overpower the other ingredients.
  5. Add sausage and kale to stock along with seasonings and bring to a rolling boil.
  6. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Fresh pasta will only take a couple of minutes tops.
  7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.
Variations that I've tried and liked so far: chicken apple sausage, cheese tortellini and spinach or kale; sweet Italian sausage, cheese/prosciutto tortellini and kale.  You see the general theme here.  You want the spicy of the sausage combining with the creamy soft pasta.  The green veg helps more with eye appeal and nutrition than taste.  If you use spinach toss it in right before serving so that it only blanches rather than turning to mush.  Kale needs the longer cooking time to soften up.  This could also be made with GF pasta but I haven't found any tortellini in my area.




Monday, June 4, 2012

Baked Eggs #2

This is a slightly more complicated version of baked eggs since it has to be cooked in two stages.  Still fairly simple but it will take more of your energy to make.

Baked Eggs #2
serves one or two

vegetable saute
pastured butter
2-4 asparagus spears
1 leek leaf washed and dried
4-6 criminis (baby bella mushrooms)
1-2 kale leaves washed and dried


  1. Break off course ends of asparagus.  Just grab and snap the end off.  It will break in the right place on its own.  Finely slice asparagus on the diagonal.  Discard the ends.
  2. Peel and cut criminis into small bite size pieces.
  3. Trim kale leaf off stem, discard stem, slice or tear into small bite size pieces.
  4. Slice leek into 1/4" strips.
  5. Saute vegetables in butter.  Set aside when everything is cooked through and mushrooms are starting to release liquid.
eggs
pastured butter
1T heavy cream
2 pastured eggs
vegetable saute from above
2T Parmesan cheese
2 strips of bacon (optional)
pinches of dried herbs: marjoram, dill, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary (in any combo)
pepper
sea salt if not using bacon
  1. Place single serving au gratin dish in cold oven and preheat to 350F.
  2. If using, cook bacon and crumble it and set it aside.
  3. Mix cheese, herbs, salt and pepper together and set aside.
  4. Once oven and dish are hot, very carefully remove dish and put on heatproof surface.
  5. Melt butter in dish and swirl so it coats the bottom.
  6. Add cream to dish.
  7. Place sauteed vegetables down center of dish along the short axis.  This will divide the dish in half.
  8. Crack an egg into each side of dish being careful not to break the yolk.  If you're not brave enough to do this, you can crack the egg into a cup and then pour it into the hot dish.
  9. Sprinkle bacon on top.
  10. Sprinkle cheese mixture on top.
  11. Bake at 350F for 10-15mins until eggs are set the way you like.  If you want runny yolks undercook the eggs since they will continue to cook once they come out of the oven.