Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

Locally-milled corn grits are simmered in homemade vegetable stock, then combined with farmhouse cheddar, fried onions, fresh peppers, garlic, cumin and cilantro and topped with smoky chipotle chili sauce..

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

For the Sauce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 chipotles en adobo, diced
1/4 cup Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
sea salt

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt as needed.

For the Grits

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 large poblano pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
several sprigs fresh cilantro, torn

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and fry 30 seconds.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic and fry until lightly browned, then remove from heat.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the corn meal. Cook and stir until thick, adjusting consistency with additional stock if needed.

Add 2/3 of the cooked vegetables to the grits, along with any remaining melted butter. Fold in the cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then cover and let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon grits onto a plate or into a bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle sauce. Spoon remaining vegetables over the top, then garnish with a little more cheese and cilantro.

Omnivore’s Option

Add 1/4 pound seasoned, browned ground bison or pastured beef to the chipotle chili sauce.

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

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon, Rosemary and Mascarpone

Tart and savory with just a hint of sweetness, this luscious cake gains body and complexity from extra virgin olive oil combined with cultured butter, pastured eggs, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, rosemary and raw honey.  Try it topped with homemade mascarpone or a simple lemon glaze..


Olive Oil Cake with Lemon, Rosemary and Mascarpone


For the Mascarpone

1 pint raw, fresh cream (ultra-pasteurized cream will not work)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon filtered water

Heat the cream in a double-boiler until it reaches 185 degrees. Mix water and lemon juice and add to the cream; it should thicken right away. Keep mixture at 185 degree for a full 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a clean bowl, refrigerate allow allow to separate 12-24 hours.  Mascarpone will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

For the Cake (adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten)

1 cup organic AP flour
1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
4 oz cultured butter at room temperature
1/4 cup raw honey
2 large pastured eggs at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup preserved lemon peel, minced

Cream the butter and honey together in a bowl until fluffy.  Beat in the lemon peel and eggs, one at a time.

Sift together the flours, baking powder & soda and salt in a bowl. Combine the olive oil and lemon juice in another bowl and alternately add the flour and oil mixtures to the honey butter mixture.

Lightly grease an 8×8 glass dish with olive oil, then pour in the batter and smooth with a spatula. Bake in a 350-degree oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Let cake cool at least 15 minutes, then serve topped with mascarpone and garnished with slivered lemon peel and a sprig of rosemary.

Fideo con Pollo

Fideo con Pollo (Sopa de Fideo con Pollo) is a traditional, Spanish soup made with roasted chicken, fresh tomatoes, stock, garlic, onions and cumin with fat-fried vermicelli..

Fideo con Pollo

half of a small roasted chicken
3-4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat
3-4 fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 Spanish onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup straight fideo (vermicelli) or 2-3 vermicelli nests
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 fresh jalapeño, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon safflower flowers (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
sea salt
queso Oaxaca or other soft, melting cheese
fresh cilantro

Roast a chicken in the usual fashion and allow to cool enough to handle. Pull the meat and skin from 1/2 of the bird and tear or chop into largish pieces. Set aside.

Heat chicken fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and vermicelli and sauté until the pasta is brown and somewhat crisp.  Add tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chicken, stock, tomato paste, safflower, jalapeño and black pepper, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is done. Adjust for salt, then ladle soup into individual cazuelas or soup bowls and serve piping hot with queso Oaxaca and torn cilantro.

This post is part of the Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

Pretty Good Cheese for Most Normal People

Pretty Good Cheese for Most Normal People” is the first line on the website of the Laurel Valley Creamery, a small, family-run operation in America’s heartland.  “This farm became part of our family in 1947 when Nick’s grandparents moved here from Boone County, West Virginia.  Betty and Fuzzy raised their four children, Rodney, Richard, Cathy and Christi here on the farm.  They   milked cows and raised food for both the cows and the family.  Fuzzy and Betty made their living here on the farm; to say they worked hard is an understatement. Nick grew up on the farm working with his grandparents, parents, aunt and uncles. Fuzzy passed away in 1994 and the farm began to decline soon after. In 2001 we moved onto the farm in a care taking capacity and began hobby farming.   In 2003 we purchased the farm from granny and in 2005 we began dairy farming, and in 2009 we began cheese making. We have in no way returned the farm to its former glory, but I hope we are well on the way.”

The Nolans are hoping to produce a feature-length documentary about what its like to try to carry on their family’s farming tradition and to help people renew their relationship with food production.

“From Grass to Cheese is a feature documentary that chronicles the ups and downs of a family-run dairy farm in Ohio during it’s first year of cheese production. From Grass to Cheese will tell the story of Nick and Celeste Nolan, their five children, and what it’s like to start up a family farm in the age of industrial agriculture..

..The current goal is to raise $28,000.00 to complete a feature-length documentary in 2011. This estimated budget would allow the filmmakers 1 to 2 trips per season to the farm (6-8 trips over a year), roughly 5 days per visit, during the first year of cheese production. The estimated budget for the film will help to cover costs including: rental gear, equipment purchases, gas, and in part, post production expenses such as editing, legal, promotions, and film festivals. Upon completion, the film will be sent to festivals and the filmmakers will seek DVD distribution. The film will also be distributed to farming/food advocates in order to spread the philosophies of community based farming..”

Stinging Nettle and Porcini Quiche with Green Garlic, Cipollini and Pecorino

In this crust-less quiche, stinging nettles are briefly blanched in salted boiling water, then shocked, chopped and combined in a rich custard with buttered green garlic, browned cipollini onions & porcini mushrooms, fresh oregano and shredded pecorino cheese..

Stinging Nettle and Porcini Quiche with Green Garlic, Cipollini and Pecorino

For the Custard (adapted from a recipe by Michael Ruhlman)

2 cups fresh whole milk
1 cup fresh heavy cream
6 pastured eggs (about 10 oz)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk the eggs until frothy then stir in the remaining ingredients.

For the Filling

1 cup fresh stinging needles
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 tablespoons green garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup porcini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cipollini onions, coarsley chopped
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, coarsley chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh Italian oregano, coarsely chopped

Plunge the nettles into a pot a lightly salted boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes (the leaves will turn bright green). Immediately drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and chop as you would spinach.

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the green garlic, mushrooms and onions and cook until light golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To Assemble

Lightly butter a casserole or glass pie pan then add a layer of sautéed vegetables. Top with half of the cheese and herbs, then add 1/2 of the custard mixture. Repeat with a second layer. Bake in a 350 degree oven until browned and set, about 30 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Stinging Nettle on FoodistaStinging Nettle