Monthly Archives: December 2009

That 70′s Dinner

If you grew up during the 60′s and 70′s (especially in the Midwest), there’s a good chance you saw your share of chopped beefsteak with mushroom gravy, real mashed potatoes and blue lake green beans.  Here is that iconic comfort food made with local pastured beef, wild mushrooms, just-dug potatoes and Meredith’s homegrown green beans..

Chopped Beefsteak with Mushroom Gravy

For the Beefsteak (serves 2)

12 oz freshly ground pastured beef with at least 15% fat
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/3 wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pastured butter, divided
2 oz burgundy
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon demi-glace
1 bunch of thyme, tied
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Form the ground beef into 2 oval-shaped patties about 1 inch thick.  Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms in half of the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until well browned, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon the transfer the vegetables to a plate, then turn up the heat to medium-high and sear the patties to rare, using additional butter if needed.

Transfer the meat to a plate, then de-glaze the pan with the wine, scraping up all the brown bits with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add beef stock and thyme and cook until reduced in volume by 1/3, about 15 minutes.

Whisk in demi-glace, then add the meat and vegetables (except the garlic, which is for the potatoes) back to the pan, reduce heat and simmer until meat is medium-rare to medium, about 5 minutes.

For the Potatoes

1 1/2 cups red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 oz pastured butter, room temperature
1/3 cup fresh cream
3 cloves garlic, roasted and minced
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Slowly boil potatoes in salted water over medium-high heat until fork-tender.  Drain and return to pan set over low heat and allow to dry 5 minutes.  Cut the butter into small pieces, then whisk into the potatoes.  Stir in the garlic and cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Beans

16 5-6 inch blue lake green beans, trimmed
1 quart filtered water
1 teaspoon pasture butter
1 teaspoon salt
bowl of ice water
2 pieces uncured, applewood smoked bacon
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Plunge green beans into rapidly-boiling salt water and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, then transfer beans to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Brown bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until almost done.  Pour off grease and add butter and green beans. Sauté, turning often until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  De-glaze pan with vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

BBQ Heritage Pork Cheeks with Charro Beans and Vegetable Escabèche

Heritage pork cheeks are slow-roasted with tomatoes, onions, peaches and chipotle and served with long-simmered charro beans and vegetable escabèche..

BBQ Pork Cheeks
BBQ Heritage Pork Cheeks with Charro Beans and Vegetable Escabèche

Melt 1 tablespoon leaf lard (substitute bacon grease) in a Dutch oven.  Add trimmed pork cheeks and turn to coat lightly with melted fat, then season with salt, pepper and chipotle powder.  Cover with a mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes and garlic and pour in just a little water.  Seal the lid and cook until the pork is tender, about 90 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pork to a platter, then place the Dutch oven on the burner over medium-low heat, add chopped peaches and a teaspoon of molasses and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Return the pork to the pot and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve with charro beans and vegetable escabèche.

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Smoked Duck Tostadas with Guajillo Salsa, Fried Black Beans and Avocado

Thinly-sliced apple wood-smoked duck breast, toasted guajillo salsa, crèma Mexicana, pickled red onions & jalapeños, field greens with cilantro, fresh avocado, fried black beans and pumpkin-balsamic vinaigrette.  If this doesn’t wake up your senses, you may need to consult a trained medical professional..

Smoked Duck Tostadas

For the Fried Beans

2 tablespoons leaf lard
1 cup cooked black beans
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon epazote
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt

Melt lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté cumin and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add beans with a little of their cooking liquid and mash with potato masher or the back of a spoon.  Stir in epazote, oregano and salt and cook until much of the liquid has been absorbed.  Cover and hold.

For the Salsa (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2 tablespoons fat or oil (I’m using leaf lard)
3 guajillo chiles, stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
filtered water

Heat fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Split the chiles and remove the seeds.  Place the chiles flat in the pan and cook, turning continuously, until bright red and fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a napkin and drain.

Pour off fat, then add tomatillos and garlic.  Cook until browned, about 3 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with salt and brown on the other side.   Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until slightly chunky.  Add water as necessary to form a thick but pour-able salsa.  Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the Vinaigrette

3 oz pumpkin seed oil
1 oz aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon guajillo honey

Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar to form an emulsion, then whisk in honey and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Assemble

Shallow-fry pumpkin tortillas (I got these from my local tortilleria) in a little very hot leaf lard until crisp, about 30 seconds per side, then transfer to a napkin to drain.  Be sure the fat is hot, otherwise the tortillas will be greasy.

Thinly slice smoked duck breast, season with pepper and heat briefly in the tortilla pan.

Spread one tostada with guajillo salsa and crèma Mexicana, then arrange duck slices on top. Dress with pickled red onions and garnish with pickled jalapeños and fresh cilantro.

Toss assorted fresh field greens (thanks, Meredith!) in vinaigrette and place on top of the other tostada.  Spoon fried beans over the top and garnish with slices of fresh avocado.  Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over all.

Place the tostada with the duck on top the the one with the avocado and serve immediately.

Keep Austin Weird!

This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Thursday

Pan-Grilled Pork Cheeks with Toasted Guajillo Salsa

Heritage Berkshire cheeks are marinated with lime, garlic, red onions, smoked chile powder and cumin before being pan-grilled and served with sweet potato wedges, jalapeños and toasted guajillo salsa..

Pan-Grilled Pork Cheeks with Toasted Guajillo Salsa

For the Salsa (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2 tablespoons fat or oil (I’m using leaf lard)
3 guajillo chiles, stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
filtered water

Heat fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Split the chiles and remove the seeds.  Place the chiles flat in the pan and cook, turning continuously, until bright red and fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a napkin and drain.

Pour off fat, then add tomatillos and garlic.  Cook until browned, about 3 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with salt and brown on the other side.   Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until slightly chunky.  Add water as necessary to form a thick but pour-able salsa.  Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the Pork

1 pound pastured pork cheeks, trimmed
1 quart filtered water
1/2 lime, wedged
3 cloves garlic, slivered
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon toasted cumin
1 tablespoon smoked chili powder
1 tablespoon wildflower honey
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour over pork.  Allow to marinate 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator

To prepare, drain pork and blot dry.  Rub lightly with melted leaf lard and season with roasted paprika, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.  Grill to medium doneness, about 15 minutes.  Serve with grilled sweet potato wedges or bulb onions, guajillo salsa and grilled jalapeño.

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This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!

Tuesday Twister

Each Tuesday, fellow blogger Wardeh encourages us to share a bit about what sort of GNOWFGLINS have been twisting in our kitchens during the past week.  What are GNOWFGLINS you ask?  They are God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season.  You know, real food!

1) Wild Halibut en Persillade Thick-cut wild Alaskan halibut with a light coating of homemade coarse mustard and a persillade of chopped parsley and bread crumbs..

2) Wild Blueberry Biscuits with Maple Sugar and Rosemary A little savory and not too sweet. Good any time of day..

3) Pan-Roasted Moulard with Blackberry/Cranberry Chutney Succulent, aged Moulard duck breast with thyme, bay and a hint of freshly-grated nutmeg is pan-seared, then quickly roasted to a perfect medium-rare.  Served with Armagnac-flamed pan juices, asparagus with garlic and parsley root, and gingered wild blackberry and cranberry chutney..

4) Lobster Bisque Maine lobster, cream, dry sherry, aromatic herbs and vegetables and shaved black truffles.  A classic..

5) Fig Jam with Vanilla and Brandy Turkish figs, brandy, vanilla bean, fresh lemon and wildflower honey..

6) Curried Two-Pea Soup with Toasted Garlic and Crème Fraîche Split green and yellow peas are simmered in vegetable stock with Madras curry and fried onions, then topped with crunchy toasted garlic, Maldon sea salt flakes and a dollop of crème fraîche..

7) Poached Pear with Dark Chocolate, Creme Anglaise and Balsamic Port Reduction Organic Starkrimson pear poached in Tawny port wine, vanilla and peppercorns and served with dark chocolate, crème anglaise and a balsamic port reduction..

8) Conchiglie con Salsiccia di Pollo Coarsely-ground pastured chicken, spinach, sweet onions, garlic and yellow tomatoes tossed with conchiglie pasta, cream, saffron, Grana Padano and fresh herbs..

Wild Blueberry Biscuits with Maple Sugar and Rosemary

So, that’s what my week looked like.  Let’s head over to Wardeh’s house to see what wonders await..


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