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Spatchcocked Chicken

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Turkey Tracks: May 28, 2021

Spatchcocked Chicken

I saw an article from The Washington Post the other day that demonstrated how to spatchcock a whole chicken.

Spatchcock is a term I never heard until very, very recently. Don’t even ask… As much as I cook, how could I have NOT heard about or tried this roast chicken preparation before now???

Anyway, I tried it last night. And WOW! I’ll never go back to roasting a whole chicken again—unless, I suppose, I’m doing several chickens and need the space in the oven? Never is a strong word.

The process was truly easy—as long as one has really good kitchen shears, which I do. I did an earlier blog post on mine last year, and I really like them. They come apart for cleaning too. You can see that post here: https://louisaenright.com/?s=A+Kitchen+Treat

So, I put fresh sage leaves under the skin and topped the chicken with fresh tarragon, garlic, more dried herbs, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. It cooked in an hour—it would have been shorter if I’d used the convection oven I’m sure, but I had a Zoom meeting to attend and didn’t want to hang around the oven to make sure the chicken wasn’t burning, but browning. The whole house smelled…divine.

Here’s the link to the WAPO article, but I’m sure if you googled, you’d find lots of videos of how to spatchcock a chicken.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/interactive/2021/how-to-spatchcock-chicken/?fbclid=IwAR1bAqzIWX6Ml91BasK1hLKEnN-nfKwqDoTkujBV5N5SB1y_H5CyXlg_js0

Written by louisaenright

May 28, 2021 at 10:07 am

Lunch Break From Garden

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Turkey Tracks: May 23, 2021

Lunch Break From Garden

I am just in from working in the garden all morning.

I grilled two little lamb chops to go on my lunch salad—the grill is just at my kitchen door, and it doesn’t take but a minute or two to fire it up and let it heat.

The lettuce is from the cold frame—which is overflowing with lettuce goodness. I’ve been happily taking bunches of the lettuce to friends. And now I’ll include some fresh herbs as the chives are ready to cut.

This salad also has leftover halved boiled Brussel sprouts, carrot, a yellow pepper, cucumber, Vidalia sweet onion, and mint, regular and garlic chives, and some tarragon. I top everything with salt, dried herbs (dill and Penzey’s Sunny Paris mixture, and drizzles of a really fine olive oil from Organic Roots. (I can’t do vinegar.)

AC killed one of the garter snakes who live here two days ago. I thought the snake had escaped him, but he apparently dogged it out into the open, where he shook it. I found the carcass down on the rocks in the lower wall in front of the house the next day. I knew he’d gone back after it as he had streaks of blood on his coat and there were no marks on him.

These garter snakes are such pretty little creatures, with their vivid green stripes and bits of red here and there. Their presence signifies one has a healthy garden I think.

I’ve saved two more from the jaws of death—one yesterday and one this morning. One, if it is the same snake. And this time I made sure each snake was in a good hiding place.

I spent a chunk of the morning watering. It is so dry. And when I came in for lunch, there was an alert on my phone about a line of thunderstorms heading our way.

I hope so. It is getting dark. I brought in my buckets, shoes, and gloves just in case.

Written by louisaenright

May 23, 2021 at 1:24 pm

More Bits and Pieces

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Turkey Tracks: March 15, 2021

More Bits and Pieces

It’s Monday morning, and the temperature at my back door is 10 Degrees!

How did that happen after our series of such pretty and warmer days? It’s spring in Maine, that’s how. She’s a teaser, that spring.

My cataract operations have both been done now—the second eye was done two Tuesdays ago. And my vision is once again AWESOME! I only need some reading glasses for fine print—and I can see my phone screen just fine if I hold it away from me. My world is filled with LIGHT (lots of light) and color again, and I am so grateful for this senior citizen gift.

I got a MUCH-NEEDED haircut this morning and am now feeling less old and way less all-the-time messy.

I’ve been working on the log cabin quilt for my niece and have a bit over half the blocks done now. It will be 8 rows by 8 rows, or 96 inches square.

The fall crop of butternut squash is running low in our stores now. I found one and roasted the cubes I cut out of it. Roasted this way, butternut squash is like eating candy it is so sweet. And it is easy to make. I love it best in the fall with fresh rosemary, lots of garlic, some good olive oil, and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. I make do now with dried herbs if I don’t buy fresh rosemary, which is expensive.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and them slice the halves into half circles. Turn these on their sides and trim off the outer skin and cut each slice into chunks. Place them all in a parchment lined pan and apply the herbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes—you may want to turn up the heat at 25 minutes or so to pop the chunks with stronger heat—which starts to caramelize them.

Enjoy! And the extras reheat well, but they are also good cold in a salad.

Written by louisaenright

March 15, 2021 at 11:43 am

Yummy Lunch

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Turkey Tracks: December 18, 2020

Yummy Lunch

I’m the queen of cream—local, raw heavy cream, that is.

I’m off coffee right now, so I’ve been looking for other ways to use my weekly heavy cream.

Look at this yummy, warm lunch.

I sautéed some veggies and herbs in duck fat: zucchini, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower until they began to color up. Then I added in some cubed roasted chicken from breasts I cooked the day before—just turned the meat in the veggies until it heated a bit. Add sea salt at some point.

Then the magic!

I poured cream over the whole mixture and stirred it until it heated and got bubbly. At that point it all needs to leave the frying pan and got into a dish that will hold the cream gravy.

Delicious!

I’ll be doing this method again with leftover meats.

Written by louisaenright

December 18, 2020 at 9:37 am

Loving My Instapot

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Turkey Tracks: November 17, 2020

Loving My Instapot

And so the Instapot adventure continues…

Here is a lamb stew (with added rice and asparagus when plated) that came out with tender, tasty lamb chunks and carrots that were NOT overdone. The sauce was thickened with the addition of a flour at the start—for me cassava, which I can eat.

Next up, chicken thighs browned skin side down in butter and duck fat. It’s the butter that browns the skin so nicely. Then a very short cooking time. The additions of the last of the rice and the asparagus were added when plating the meal. This sauce is delicious as well.

I could do 4 thighs in the pot easily, so I have a leftover meal ready to freeze or eat today. I’m freezing as I have a big, boned leg of lamb from last year defrosted and ready to cook. I’ll do that in the oven though and will freeze a lot of it for future meals.

I am beginning to understand how the pot works, like how to saute in the pot before starting something, what kind of liquid it needs to work, when to use the trivet, how long to cook something, and so forth.

I love learning curves AND delicious food.

Written by louisaenright

November 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

More Cooking Adventures: Tigernut Flour and Thrive Market

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Turkey Tracks: November 5, 2020

More Cooking Adventures: Tigernut Flour and Thrive Market

Dr. Becky Campbell, in the new book I got, The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan, recommends the online store Thrive Market.

I joined, and here is my FIRST box. For those of you who live in cities, something like Thrive may not be necessary. But I live in a mostly rural town in Maine, and while we have some great local co-ops and other stores that specialize in local clean foods and healthy products, these stores do not necessarily carry speciality food products, like Tigernut flour. And, the Belfast co-op, which does carry a lot of what I need, is 45 minutes north of me.

Here’s my first box. Thrive does not carry anything GMO and does carry Fair Trade, organic, sustainably created, and so forth. Many of their products are also cheaper than our local ones. And, shipping is free if the order is over something like $50.

Below, there’s my tigernut “flour” and my tapioca flour. Tigernuts are a tuber, not a nut or a legume. Tigernuts have been, apparently, used in Africa forever and are known to be really healthy for gut health. The recipes I’ve made so far have a delicious, mellow nutty taste. And it turns out that Tapioca flour, which derives from cassava, has some important nutritional features. Who knew? I thought it was just a useless starch.

And, there too, is SPROUTED brown rice. (Thrive carries other sprouted grains as well, including rolled oats, which are now in my second box.) Sprouted grains make the nutrients in grains way easier for the body to absorb.

I have not had a muffin or baked anything like a muffin in over 10 years. Maybe longer. These apple/carrot/tigernut muffins are DELICIOUS and filling. The “nut butter” I made with the flour is also delicious.

Here’s a “pudding” made from almond milk (I found a brand at the Belfast Coop that is just nuts and water—no preservatives—Elmhurst), coconut milk (I make my own from dried organic coconut, but will buy some canned from Thrive on the next order), chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup. A pinch of salt is not a bad idea. I top it with organic blueberries I got last summer that have been defrosted and steeped in a bit of Maple syrup. It is SO GOOD. The chia seeds are the magic ingredient (and are so good for you) as they form a kind of gelatin when put into water.

The soup I made from the Instant Pot chicken broth is delicious and very filling. The broth has so much gelatin in it that when cooled, it practically stands up on its own. That’s an added benefit to the Instant Pot.

I am feeling very spoiled and happy.

Written by louisaenright

November 5, 2020 at 8:52 am

Instant Pot Adventure—and a Nifty New Book

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Turkey Tracks: October 31, 2020

Instant Pot Adventure—and a Nifty New Book

Anyone who reads this blog for any time knows I have a mast cell/Histamine Intolerance syndrome and have to be really, really careful with food and chemical smell triggers. This problem is one reason why I cook a lot.

But this past week I saw on a Facebook HI group post that there is new book on the market. Ho Hum, I thought at first. But then, for some reason, maybe I’ll give it a try as this book is really current: 2019.

I am so glad that I did!

For one thing, Dr. Becky Campbell sorts out the whole issue of mast cell disorders, Histamine Intolerance, and allergic reactions of other sorts really well. She is pioneering ways to help people deal with the worst of the reactions and to get back to a healthier place that doesn’t involve a lot of scary reactions and that allows more normal eating.

She includes a whole section of recipes new to me that will work for me and which, so far, are delicious. AND, the fact that more information is out in the market now signals that at least some people are “getting” this issue and working out ways to manage it.

I’ve only had the book about a week, and already it is getting thumb worn.

One of the methods Campbell recommends is using an Instant Pot—which is a high-tech pressure cooker with modern features. This appliance bears NO resemblance to the pressure cooker my mother had or that I had so many years ago. I gave mine away as I recall. For one thing, they were totally scary to use and tales of them blowing up and putting holes in the ceiling abounded, especially if one didn’t pay attention. Plus, I didn’t especially like the overcooked taste of food cooked this way. The Instant Pot has a timer system, for one thing. One can leave the room while it is cooking. And it’s REALLY quiet.

Mine, a 6-quart Duo version, came Thursday. I opened the box, unpacked everything, found the instruction booklet, and did the recommended water test to understand how the Instant Pot works.

Then, using a recipe in the new cookbook, I loaded in a 6-pound pasture raised Freedom Ranger chicken—which just fit and which cooked in 40 minutes. The browning of the chicken in the pot top and bottom happened before the 40-45 minutes. (I planned for 45, but in my excitement and nervousness, I might have just done 40 minutes.). And, it was slightly overcooked, 35 minutes would probably have been just fine. The meat was moist and delicious, however, and perfect for making a chicken salad recipe from the book and for reheating for another meal. A smaller chicken would have been better as well as one could brown it better.

Here’s my DELICIOUS chicken salad, which uses a low-histamine mayonnaise recipe in the cookbook. I have SO MISSED homemade mayo. This recipe uses Annie’s plain mustard to make the mayo emulsify—as it contains distilled white vinegar, which is the lowest histamine vinegar there is. (All fermented foods are triggers for HI people.) There is also some turmeric, which I’ve been afraid to try and a tiny bit of paprika, also a trigger. But the mayo did not set off anything for me. (I take Mercola Quercetin daily, which I think really is helping with triggers.).

I had a lot of broth left in the pot as I did not make the gravy in the recipe. It jelled up beautifully in the refrigerator, which shows it got a lot of goodness from the chicken and the bones. I reserved some of the chicken meat for a soup made with this broth.

The next day I made the 2-hour bone broth recipe from the book with the spent carcass. (You can stand the hot lid up on the handle of the hot pot until everything cools.) It was so easy.

And look at this beautiful bone broth so full of goodness. A traditional bone broth cooks for 20+ hours.

This batch is going into the freezer for small batches of soup or other cooking needs. And I’ve ordered two silicone ice trays to freeze and store broth and a kale pesto in smaller portions that can be popped out, stored frozen in bags, and used in a flash. The larger freezer tray has 1-cup compartments.

I had another meal of reheated leftovers last night, which was also moist and delicious.

Next up in the Instant Pot: some sort of beef or lamb stew. I found a nice recipe at the Instant Pot web site.

Written by louisaenright

October 31, 2020 at 9:31 am

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

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Turkey Tracks: October 24, 2020

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

The weather is cooler now, and I am turning to wanting warm comfort meals.

You know, growing up, a beef roast was so delicious for Sunday dinner with all the family gathered around.

I went for many years without cooking roasts anymore. But I do now, and they are, again, a joy. I roast one that isn’t tiny enough for “just me” to eat it in a meal or two. Instead, I freeze big chunks of it for a stir fry or a stew when I’m ready for this kind of beef meal. (I don’t eat sandwiches anymore as I can’t eat bread.)

To make a leftover beef stir fry, defrost your chunks of roast and cut them into cubes. Put whatever veggies you have on hand into a pan so you can cook them until tender. Here I have red pepper, cauliflower, onion, garlic, zucchini squash, carrot, and Haricot Vert green beans fresh from the garden. I add whatever herbs are going to intrigue me at the moment, fresh or dried, and I used beef tallow for my fat.

See how pretty my unfrozen beef roast is after I cubed it?

Mix in the meat only when your veggies are done. You just want to reheat the meat, that’s all. Don’t cook it more. Just let it reheat in the pan.

I had some leftover rice, so I put my stir-fry over it, but it’s yummy all by itself too.

Written by louisaenright

October 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

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Turkey Tracks: October 17, 2020

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

I grew up eating liver. Not a huge amount, but it was a dish that definitely showed up off and on. Back then, people ate from nose to tail, not just hamburger, steaks, and roasts.

Liver has a strong taste—and the “go to” recipe of my childhood was to smother it with carmelized onions and bacon. That was good, but since then I’ve discovered that combining heavy cream (and I can and do use local raw cream which I am so lucky to be able to get) with liver produces a dish that is deliciously rich and mellow.

Liver is a powerhouse for Vitamin A, and many Americans are lacking in that vitamin. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so the best sources are from meats, fish, and forms of dairy products where processing hasn’t killed the vitamin contents. I can get beef liver locally, and I get a whole lamb every year and treasure the lamb livers.

We take Vitamin D these days, but it is synergistic with Vitamin A. You need both. You cannot get Vitamin A from vegetables in a form that most of our bodies can utilize fully as not all bodies can convert pro-vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables to real Vitamin A.

Here’s my recent liver dinner: the beans are from my cold frame, and the roasted beets and gingered carrots are from my CSA, Hope’s Edge. All three veggies were already cooked, and I just reheated them for about 15 minutes in the oven. Ditto the rice. (Cover the rice and add a tablespoon of water.) The cream makes a gravy that is delicious on the Basmanti rice. (I know, that’s a very processed rice, and I have to stop buying it.) So this dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes.

My liver recipe:

Liver usually comes these days cut into small thin pieces. Open the package and drain off the liquid. You could rinse it if you like.

Saute some diced veggies in a good fat in your pan until tender (carrots, onions, maybe a bit of garlic). You could use some butter with some beef tallow to keep the butter from burning for extra flavor. Add some herbs you like—either fresh or dried or a combo. When the veggies are soft, add the liver and turn with the veggies until it is about half done. Then add in a lot of HEAVY cream—a cup or more. It cooks down REALLY fast, so be prepared to get the amount you want to eat out of the hot pan and onto your plate. DON’T OVERCOOK IT. Put the remaining liver into a storage container or immediately into a blender or food processor.

Eat the first half for your meal while it is hot. Then process the rest into a smooth pate. You might need to add some milk to give the blender enough liquid to process the liver mixture so that it gets very smooth.

The pate is delicious on toast for breakfast. Or, on crackers or cut up veggies and fruit.

I ate the above meal for lunch and had the rest of the pate for dinner on crackers, cucumbers, carrots, raw sweet onion, and sliced apple.

Enjoy. You will.

Written by louisaenright

October 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

Beet/Carrot/Ginger Soup

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Turkey Tracks: Recipes: October 2, 2020

Beet/Carrot/Ginger Soup

The root veggies are in full abundance now, so let’s make some delicious soup with some of them.

Start by roasting some beets. Mine are golden beets. Just put your beets in a covered container that can go in the oven, add an inch or so of water, cover the beets, and bake them at 350 degrees until a sharp knife pierces to their centers. Medium size beets take about 40 minutes. Let them cool for a bit, slice off the ends, and the peel will slide off if rubbed with something rough, like a paper towel. Chop, use some in salads, and reserve the rest for this soup.

When you are ready to start your soup, pan fry some carrots and onions in a heavy pot until they start to color a bit. Season with salt. I used duck fat. Add the chopped ginger at this stage—you don’t need to peel it. Just it into small pieces. I didn’t add garlic, but you could.

Add some stock or water—whatever you have. This is chicken stock with its fat intact. And I added herbs from the garden: tarragon, a touch of mint, and some basil leaves I froze whole. See how green the basil leaves stayed in the freezer? This is probably too much stock to add, so I will cook it all down a bit. But for a quick and flavorful soup, add less stock—just enough to cover the veggies by an inch or so.

When the stock is hot, add the roasted beets and cook until the carrots are tender.

You could eat the soup in this “chunky” form.

Or you could blend it—as French country cooking would do. I love my “boat motor” appliance for this task as I don’t have to try to put hot soup in a blender. (I like the type that plugs in as the battery ones I’ve had don’t hold up over time due to the battery stopping to take a charge.)

Here’s my lunch, which I’ve topped with a swirl of heavy raw cream. And it is delicious! This soup is naturally very sweet. On the side: tangy goat cheese and Mary’s Gone crackers.

I have enough soup for other meals and will freeze some too. The frozen soup can be eaten in this form or added to another soup to deepen flavor.

Written by louisaenright

October 2, 2020 at 10:15 am