With the abundance of carrots and green tomatoes I have gotten in the past few weeks, I was having a hard time keeping up with cooking it all. So I decided to start pickling them! The carrots came out so, so…I’m going to have to continue to experiment. However the green tomatoes are a whole other story, I seriously think I stood at the counter and ate half a jar today! So here’s the recipe, you can adjust the heat to your liking. This recipe is adapted from The Homesick Texan
, she has some GREAT recipes and I highly recommend you check her out!
Spicy Pickled Green tomatoes
6-7 medium size green tomatoes, sliced and cut in half
1-2 jalapenos sliced in half or for more heat you can use serranos the same way
2 TBSP (1 for each jar) of McCormick Pickling spice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 wide-mouth pint jars or 1 wide-mouth quart jar, sterilized
Evenly distribute the sliced green tomatoes, sliced pepper, pickling spice and garlic into the jars. In a saucepan, bring to a boil 1 cup of water, the vinegar, and sea salt. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture into the jars leaving a bit of room at the top to avoid overcrowding. Cover with lids. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. They will be ready after 8 hours and will last for about 2 months in the refrigerator, although if you love them as much as I do, I don’t expect they will last that long!
Do you have any good pickling recipes that you would like to share?? I would love to hear from you!
My daughter, Emma is almost 9. She LOVES to help me in the kitchen and she also enjoys trying new foods. When I showed her this... (courtesy of The Root! The tomato, not the picture!)
she was a bit confused. Her first reaction was to laugh, because it IS a really funny tomato. We decided it was two tomatoes that fell in love and all the little tomatoes around it were the babies. She then begin to question what on earth were we going to do with GREEN tomatoes? I casually explained to her that she wasn't a true southern girl until she had eaten them fried...yep, fried green tomatoes...my mouth just waters at the sound of it! She then helped me slice them up and watched as I prepared them along with some sauteed shrimp with garlic and remoulade and also some cajun seasoned grilled chicken. As I am writing this I am confused as to why it has taken me 8 years to introduce my southern belle of a daughter to such a edible tradition...the only thing I can think of though is that up until recently her mouth was glued shut and it was close to impossible to put anything remotely healthy or different from spaghetti o's in it!
And because shrimp with remoulade sauce goes with fried green tomatoes, just like peas go with carrots...although I can't say that I have ever actually eaten or cooked peas and carrots before...but anyway, you get the point!
Although there is a bit of a mess factor when it comes to preparing the tomatoes, they are pretty easy and so amazingly delicious that any mess is long forgotten after that first bite! Emma tenatively lifted her fork dipped hers in ranch dressing and then she popped it in her mouth. Her first description was that it sure didn't taste like a tomato and that she loved how it had just a little bit of a tangy taste to it. She devoured at least 5 big slices!
The recipe is so easy...
Fried Green Tomatoes
5-6 green tomatoes, the greener the better for frying
2 cups of flour
4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk if you have any
2 cups of cornmeal
Oil for frying
On one plate put 1 cup of flour. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. On another plate mix the other cup of flour the cornmeal and a good dose of Cajun seasoning. Heat the oil. Dust a slice of green tomato with flour, then dip in the egg mixture and finally coat very well with the cornmeal mix. Carefully place in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. I drain mine on a wire rack over a baking sheet, if you lay them on paper towels, they sometimes tend to get soggy, just so you know! Serve with shrimp or chicken or both! Top with the remoulade sauce!
Remoulade Sauce (Courtesy Emeril Lagasse)
Juice from 2-3 large lemons
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
3/4 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients together well and then use an emulsion blender or food processor and add oil and process until smooth. Toss together with the shrimp and serve alongsi
I am LOVING my weekly deliveries from The Root
! Not only does my family get a fresh supply of organic, sustainable produce each week, but my kids have gotten so excited to see what kind of new goodies that we have gotten! The variety changes each week depending on what the farms are producing. We have gotten an abundance of greens, lots of fresh carrots...some of which are making faces...
There are a couple of challenges with fresh produce that hasn't been slathered in chemicals. They go bad faster! Storage is very important as I have learned, greens need to be stored quickly in a very cold crisper or they will start to wilt and fresh broccoli will do best if eaten in the first days after getting the shipment. The other challenge is figuring out what to do with some of these new veggies that I have never really cooked before...like turnips...and beets...I wasn't even sure if I LIKED those vegetables. Well, me being me, I decided to turn it into a challenge to make something absolutely delicious and I succeeded. Here are 2 recipes (sorry no pics!) but I encourage you to try them and then I encourage you to contact The Root
if you are local in the Houston area and give them a try, I promise for the price and the quality you will not be disappointed! Grilled Beets with Roasted Walnuts and Goat Cheese Salad
1-2 bunches of fresh beets, green stems and leaves removed (these can be cooked if you would like)
1 cup toasted walnuts
6-8 ozs. of fresh goat cheese (of course I make my own, but you can use store bought!)
Fresh spinach, arugula or other types of tender greens
Wrap the whole beets in foil and grill on med-high for about 30-40 minutes. When finished open them up and let them cool completely. Once cool, rub the skins, they should peel right off. I find it easier to cut the top and bottom of the beet off and then peel it. Yes, your hands will turn "beet red" :) but do not fear it washes right off, however be careful of white porus cutting boards and clothes...those don't fare as well! Once the beets are peeled, chop into slices or quarters. Toss with the walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.Dressing
1/4 cup of honey
3-4 tablespoons of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons or a good drizzling of olive oil
3-4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Top the spinach mix with the beet mixture and pour the dressing over the top. Toss it all together and serve!
Made this yesterday and even those die hard beet haters enjoyed it! Pureed Root Vegetables
1 bunch of parsnips peeled and chopped
1 bunch of carrots peeled and chopped
1 bunch of turnips peeled and chopped
2 cups of chicken stock
splash of cream
salt and pepper
Boil all of the root veggies together until fork tender. Drain the water and return to the pot. I like to start with one cup of the stock and salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender is easiest, however you could probably get the same effect with a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding the cream and more chicken broth as needed. The consistency should be a little softer than mashed potatoes. You can also add fresh herbs to yours, I added a little thyme, however they are perfect with just salt and pepper alone! Enjoy! My kids thought this dish was wonderful!!
We are trying a new trend here in our household, MEATLESS MONDAY...yep, you heard that right! I am not sure how my husband will adjust but he agreed to give it a shot, SO wish me luck! I'm waiting on my new shipment of produce right now so I can figure out what will be cooking...I will be sure to let you know how it goes! Also, there is a rumour that there may soon be some new additions to our household...egg laying kinds! Be watching for updates on that!
In this case a teeny, tiny seed. As you know, the cost of everything is going up. And not just in money. Our health is at risk, as I read more and learn more about what type of processes our food goes through to make it from a farm or in most cases a processing plant to the grocery store, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that this is NOT what I want to feed my family. Case in point, just recently in the news was an article about a meat packing plant
in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it appears that the plant was dumping pig blood and waste into the nearby Trinity River...
Yes that is blood...running right into the city's sanitary sewer system.
While the company states that there was a clog in the drain line, my thought is clog or no clog it still seems highly WRONG for that type of material to be put into our river systems at all...period...the end. If this is how they treat our ecosystem and our water sources, how do they treat the animals and the meat that they are packaging there at the plant. How sanitary is it really? And this is just one plant out of thousands. No thank you, I'd rather KNOW for sure where my meat is coming from, and my produce for that matter. There is a reason that things like veggie washes exist and guidelines on how to properly clean all of the pesticides and bacteria off of your produce. Again, no thank you. I understand that I have done this for years, eaten package meats and purchased produce with no thought whatsoever as to where it really was coming from, but that has changed a great deal as prices have gone up and news about e.coli outbreaks have risen and talk of test tube hamburgers
have made the news! Now when I buy things I really stop and think about what it is that I am getting and what it took for it to get to me. So that brings me to 2 things...one we are buying a cow. Well, let me rephrase that, we bought 1/3 of a steer. We are having it processed locally through a new meat market in our neighborhood. If you haven't heard about the Kingwood Meat Market, you really need to check them out! Locally owned, they cut their steaks there and the meat is all very fresh, as in VERY fresh. We had steaks last night and they were wonderful and their pre-seaosoned fajita meat is absolutely the best! In addition, I have signed into a co-op and may try out a few more. Fresh fruit and veggies delivered weekly to my front door, as I write this I just got my first shipment from The Root
, it all looks wonderful and I'm ready to cook! But, the most exciting thing for me right now is this...
This is how it's really getting started. Say hello to my little friend...broccoli. I started seedlings about a month ago, I planted them in little cups in a warm, sunny spot in my kitchen. In all I had 4 cups with seedlings of broccoli, 3 cups for bell peppers, 3 cups for jalapenos, 4 cups for eggplant, 4 for cucumbers and 7 with heirloom Russian tomatoes and an added bonus of black sea man (insert joke here). In addition, this weekend I went out and bought squash, zucchini, more tomato varieties, more cucumbers, and planted seeds for beets, patty pan squash, kohlrabi, carrots, onions, purple potatoes, green beans and black eyed peas. Now, let me answer a question I'm sure some of you have...no I have NEVER done this before. I have planted small gardens with tomatoes and herbs and the occasional jalapeno plant. This is a first and I am so excited!
We started by clearing a spot in the yard, in this case, it was back in a secluded area near our pool pump, away from the dangerous paws of labs...
It is very important that you have your sous chef with you, Kelsey is a good, hard worker!!! :) We were actually in luck, this ground was great to work with, the soil wasn't hard and packed like it sometimes is here in Texas...all the rain has probably contributed to that as well!
This cool, medieval looking thing is called a Garden Weasel...get one before building your garden! It is great at tilling the ground up!
Now if you have a manly man around that can help, it would be a good idea to use him! This is where the boxes are built and placed in their spots.
Our boxes are 5x5' and 10" high.
We laid 1 yard split equally between the 2 beds first.
and finished it up with 1.5 more yards of good quality garden soil mix. Please do not judge my husband on his attire....please.
For deep rooted vegetables, like onions, carrots, beans...I used 5 gallon container buckets. Make sure to drill holes in the bottom and drop a few rocks (thanks dad!) in for proper drainage.
And then it was time for food. And sleep. I was anxious to get my plants in the ground but also anxious to get my butt on the couch! The garden could wait till tomorrow, and besides, then I would have the help of my trusty, plant loving, dirty girl, friend, Heather to assist me! We worked most of the day, transplanting everyone to their new home...and encouraging them to grow big and strong. I think it might be important to talk to your plants...but who knows! :)
So there you have it! My garden is growing and I hope that I have many wonderful blog posts with recipes using my yummy earth grown, totally organic and raw veggies! And be on the look out, I will be posting a new recipe in the next day or so!
I made cheese...I never even imagined making cheese, but yep, I did it! I made creamy, mild, delicious goat cheese. From fresh from a farm goats milk, not store bought, not ultra pasteurized, just fresh RAW milk, which in turn made fresh RAW cheese. LOVE IT! First of all let me start by saying that we know this farm...we have been getting our fresh eggs from them for over a year now. I would not recommend just getting milk from any old goat! Soon we will be getting fresh beef as well...have I mentioned how amazing it is to know where your food REALLY comes from? I am so into this, it has become an obsession! Anyway, back to the cheese...here it is. I made almost 2 pounds of goat cheese for about $6.00. Do the math. Four ounces of crumbled goat cheese at the store goes for about $4! The recipe is so simple...and I have step by step instructions that I will post tomorrow. I just had to share my excitement in the fact that I. MADE. CHEESE. Mozzarella is next, then maybe some brie, or perhaps a good gouda...hmmmm???
The Gods of electronic devices are working against me...starting with my phone, which is unbearably slow and freezes at the most irritating moments! Then my brand new lap top, which works fine, it's the charger that a Moose destroyed, that is the problem...it finally decided that taping it together just wasn't going to work anymore. And then tonight, my camera, which I love...it's a third arm for me, unfortunately it too runs on a battery and I tend to forget that important little point. So that leaves me to where I sit tonight, staring at grainy pictures I took with my point and shoot and working off of my husband's little netbook (which has NO Photoshop or any photo editing software for that matter) but no worries, I'm not really sure I could do much with what I took anyway. I am such a photo SNOB! Anyway, I trudged on and made an amazing Greek Chicken dinner tonight and while I am not going to post all of the pictures (I am including just the one of the finished dish) I am going to share the recipe with you because it was TOO good not to! It's healthy, packed with all kinds of good stuff and filling. I even made the most amazing hummus as a snack and ate it with the most addicting Lentil chips I have ever had (they are really the ONLY Lentil chips I have ever had). So here it is, go ahead laugh at the picture, but if computers had smell-o-vision your mouth would really be watering!
Delicious Greek Chicken
One Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
4-5 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Sliced Sweet Onion
1 Can of Cannellini Beans, drained
1/2 cup of pitted Kalmata Olives
6 Chicken Thighs Bone-In (Skin removed)
3 sprigs of Oregano chopped
2 tbsp of chopped fresh Mint
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and Pepper
In a large deep skillet with a lid, dump your cherry tomatoes, whole into your heated olive oil. Add the whole cloves of garlic and thinly sliced onion. Cover with the lid and cook on med high. The tomatoes will start to burst, that's ok, that is what they are supposed to do! Warning, if you chose to take the lid off, be prepared to get popped! I recommend just leaving the lid on for about 5 minutes or so. Once the tomatoes and onion are soft, add the mint and oregano, along with the cannellini beans and kalmata olives. Let it all simmer and come together, season with a little salt and add the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the Greek seasoning and squeeze the juice from one lemon over the top of the thighs, I added the lemons to the pot to allow the rest of the juice to evaporate from them. Pour the wine into the pan and cover with the lid, let the chicken cook on medium for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Pile some fresh spinach onto a plate and place the chicken on top, spoon a generous serving of the tomato mixture over the chicken and spinach and top with crumbled feta cheese.
That's it, another delicious, simple, healthy and low fat meal! My kids loved it too!
I know, that title really isn't very appetizing, but it's very true. Once again, Girl Hunter
, my trusty new friend, didn't fail me! I chose to make Georgia's grandmother's Axis Venison Loaf...sadly I had no axis (which if you have never tried, you are GREATLY missing out!) but I did have freshly ground venison! Tyler immediately assumed that if I was making meatloaf, then there must be sauce on it...he's an oldschool tomato sauce type of guy. This recipe did not call for sauce, however, one quick tweet to Georgia and she recommended her Mushroom sauce, said something about heaven and was absolutely right on! OMG! Between the smell of the freshly baked french bread, the Venison Loaf, the mushroom sauce, the truffle oil...my whole kitchen is what I imagine heaven really DOES smell like!
Before I get to the pics and recipes...let me just say that I am going to go with the power of positive thinking and think VERY positively about this
. This is the type of contest that I am MEANT to win...can't you just see me, fishing, cooking, surrounded by nature...freezing my tail off. Is it cold in Alaska in August? That might be something I would have to adjust to, everything else though is right up my alley! Anyhow, here are the pics...next recipe might have to be something a little more daring...we'll see!
Start by cooking (1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 large onion, 2 cups of mushrooms) finely chopped in 2 tbsp of olive oil.
2 pounds of ground venison, axis or if you really have to, ground beef....
Add one egg, beaten
2 tbsp of Marsala wine
1/2 cup of bread crumbs...I found whole grain at my local HEB store.
Freshly ground nutmeg...I used to use the already ground nutmeg, however there is a big difference in flavor if you grate your own..
Fresh cracked pepper...also make sure to add just a little sea salt...
Mix it all together with your cooked veggies...
and make a big loaf!
Cook for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the temp to 350 and cook for another 30 minutes
Now start the mushroom sauce, of course ONLY if you are feeling "saucy"!
Finely slice some shitake mushrooms
Finely dice a shallot
cook the mushrooms in 2 tbsp of butter until brown add 2 sprigs of thyme also. After brown bits start to show, add the shallot and stir gently. Cook until the shallots are soft
THEN add one cup of port...scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan...reduce to half. Then add 4 cups of stock, I didn't think to make venison stock a few weeks ago, so I just used beef. Cook down until reduced again till half and keep warm till serving....
Oh, do you remember that I mentioned TRUFFLED MASHED CAULIFLOWER??? My wonderful husband has been putting me to the test, he is eating NO starches which makes my job difficult. I love potatoes, pasta, bread....so tonight I did the mashed cauliflower thing, I love mashed potatoes with truffle oil and thought I would try the same thing here....OH YEAH...so worth it and maybe even better than potatoes, who knew!? Start by boiling a head or 2 of cauliflower, cut up, in salted water. Then mash well, I used my immersion blender.
Here, I took one stick of softened unsalted butter and added a good drizzle of truffle oil. Truffles are one of those things that you either LOVE or you aren't so sure...I LOVE, my kids...not so sure...Mash it all together with the mashed cauliflower and add a good dose of sea salt and pepper...that's it...absolutely heavenly....
Such a great, healthy, yummy, clean dinner...........now please excuse me, I'm going to finish off the cauliflower....just don't tell my husband that I think it's better than mashed potatoes!
So magicians do not normally share their secrets...but this one is too good not to share. I know the perfect trick to get the most juicy, delicious chicken EVER! I stumbled upon this recipe several months ago, it is so amazing and so fall off the bone yummy that everyone should really know about it. And the big reveal is that it only consists of 4-5 ingredients!
First take a whole chicken, remove the neck and organs and rinse well.
Next carefully seperate the skin from the meat of the chicken and place sliced butter underneath.
Next place 2 stalks of celery inside the cavity of the chicken...that's it!
Season with salt and pepper and a lot of onion powder...I also made sure to drizzle just a little olive oil in the bottom of the dish to keep the chicken from sticking...cook at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes for a 3 pound chicken, then take out of the oven, cover with foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes until the temperature is 180 degrees. I had a 4 pound chicken and it took closer to 2 hours to cook and another 30 to sit, so make sure you plan accordingly. I served with a ton of sauteed veggies and potatoes. My finished pic didn't make it on my card for some reason but TRUST me you will not be disappointed in this easy roasted chicken!
I don't have any pictures to post tonight, but I do want to share with you something I just made and just devoured! I wanted a quick, healthy dinner and really wasn't in the mood for leftovers...so I decided to whip up some chicken salad...here's how it went!
I grilled 2 chicken breasts, seasoned with just a little sea salt and cracked black pepper and drizzled with olive oil. While that was cooking I mashed up 1 whole avocado and mixed it with the juice of 1/2 a lime, about 2 tbsp of chopped, fresh cilantro, and about 1/2 of a stalk of celery, finely chopped. I then shredded my cooked chicken, added it to my avocado mixture and doused it in chipolte Tabasco sauce. LOVE at first bite!! So simple, so healthy and so delicious!!! Try some soon!
So, remember that book I told you all that I'm reading "Girl Hunter
" by Georgia Pellegrini
? Well I promised myself I was going to cook my way through her entire book...including the very sketchy "squirrel" that I am not so sure about, still considering accidentally skipping that chapter! We'll see! Anyhow I have seen so many posts regarding her recipe for Elk Cabbage Rolls, well as much as I would love to have elk, I do not, however I DO have venison and decided to try these rolls the "Bambi" way. And let's just say that my husband was absolutely "twitterpated" (which in case you are wondering is a Bambi reference
, look it up!)
I have so many friends and know so many people that turn their noses up at wild game. They have it in their minds that venison is EW and why on earth would we eat wild pig when there is perfectly good pig at the store and what in the world do we do with DUCK? I know these people well, specifically because I used to be one of them. Finally though, I decided it was time to roll with it...give it a chance and really it's good, it's REALLY good. I have learned that I can take almost anything and make it delicious, almost...I will let you know about the squirrel. Anyway, Georgia is amazing, she has the most basic recipes and they turn out so incredibly good. As you know, I don't really follow recipes to the tee though. Tonight I substituted venison for elk and then mananged to mess up and add my tomatoes and sauce to my meat mixture while chatting and drinking wine with a friend. Not to fear though, I decided to cut back on the tomato-y-ness by adding more marsala wine. It's all good. I still made the tomato sauce topping though and the results were absolutely perfect!
The best compliment a cook or chef can recieve is the one of absolute honesty from their friends and family. My good friend is not a big venison fan, she has eaten it because she grew up with a hunting father in Texas...however it's not her fave. She cleaned her plate tonight and then proceeded to tell me that this was something she would order in a restaurant and then come back again for it...yes, my heart did swell and maybe even my head a little. So, if you are on the fence, or even just unsure what to do with wild game...call me up, I promise I can help!
Here's a little step by step of tonight's meal....oh and excuse the picture quality...did I mention the wine I was drinking???
Start with about 2 pounds of ground venison
Add onion, flat leaf parsley and one egg
1/2 cup of cream
2 tbsp or 2 tsp or a big giant splash of marsala wine...the good stuff not the non-alcoholic cooking stuff!
I added 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of sauce and 1 tbsp of paste...the recipe calls for just the paste in the mixture and then the sauce and tomatoes with red or white wine vinegar, garlic and 1/2 cup of water heated and poured over the top of the rolls....Oh and in keeping with branding..please try HEB brand tomatoes..they are just as good as the name brand and cost less!!!
Boil, your cabbage leaves in heavily salted water for a few minutes...remove from heat and I blanched them in cold water to cool them off. Spoon meat mixture onto the leaves and roll. Pour tomato mixture on top and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees..
Not a great picture...but a DELICIOUS dinner... Can't wait to try the next one from Girl Hunter!