Louisa Enright's Blog

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A Chicken Soup Version

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Turkey Tracks: February 8, 2022

A Chicken Soup Version

Remember the chicken carcasses and bones I’ve been freezing?

I have two now, plus some chicken bones added in from other meals. It’s time to make chicken soup, so I defrosted the bones last night.

*Note that I cook by method, so just read the whole recipe, then if you must, create a list of what you need or would like.

Today dawned with icy slush and rain, so the trip I was going to make to get some chicken thighs to add to this soup will not happen—especially after my morning police call (to see if I’m ok) said ”Stay Home today.” And when I ventured out to the garage, I saw why: 2 inches of slushy ice rested on the driveway. It will freeze later, and…oh my.

So, I’ll make the soup from what I have here in the house. First, cover the bones with water, add some salt, bring everything to a bubbling hot, turn down to a simmer for at least 40 minutes. (You could also add savory veggies at this point, but I’m in a hurry as today is also cleaning/laundry day, and my veggie supply is limited. Note that after cooking you would discard these savory veggies.)

Yes, those are the giblets wrapped in paper—which I had to remove. But look at all the lovely fat coming out of the bones. Skim as needed.

Meanwhile, assemble the veggies you want to have in the soup. Here’s what I had on hand. I’m eating the rainbow today! The radicchio is going in as it needs to be eaten, and I thought its bitter taste would add some interest. I later added in some frozen corn too. I’m finding in winter I would rather have these organic frozen veggies than the tired veggies shipped in her from the other side of the world. I wish I had some celery though, especially with a chicken-based soup.

I will saute these in the duck fat I keep on hand. And I will use a big dollop, probably about 1/4 cup, as I do not want my veggies to burn in the pan. And based on a lot of research I believe clean animal fats are really good for you. (See Mary Enig and the Weston A. Price Foundation for more information.) Except for really good olive oil and coconut oil and red palm oil, I avoid the plant-based oils. I cut the greens off the 3 leeks before I took this picture. More on leeks down the page.

Leeks are in the allium family—along with all the onion and garlic vegetables. This family provides us rich sources of the sulfur that has been so depleted in soils. And sulfur is crucial to good health. Some cannot tolerate the allium family—if you can’t, you likely know that by now. (If you are interested in the sulfur issue, go to Stefanie Seneff’s web page for more info—she runs a research team out of MIT.)

Leeks can have some dirt in the end toward the upper green stem—so take a close at the inner layers of the stem so you can rinse out the dirt. Or, put the cut bits into a strainer and wash the dirt off there. Don’t be afraid of getting some dirt into the mix if you see some on the cut leeks in your pan. Remove and rinse the offending piece then. Actually, there are lots of goodies in dirt, and too many of us don’t get these critters anymore, which is why swimming in ”wild water” is a good idea. I cut mine in half and ruffle the green end to check for dirt. If the dirt isn’t gritty, which I don’t want, I don’t get too picky.

No dirt here:

AC is well aware of everything I do at all times.

With these veggies, I want to saute the veggies that need more cooking first (leeks, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower), and then add in the more tender veggies—in this case the cabbage, the yellow squash, the red pepper, and the radicchio. Frozen veggies go in last. Remember to cook down the veggies, without burning, until they start to turn golden and ”grunge” is forming in the pan. Then start adding in the more delicate veggies, turning and stirring until they, too, sweat out and melt down. Last, in a cooking whim, I added about 1 1/4 cups of short grain brown rice and turned it around in the hot veggies for a bit—just to give it some flavor too. Too much rice, and the mixture will become thick and lose its liquid—just add more water after all is cooked.

Here I added some ladles of broth to stop the cooking and to get all the good grunge loose in the pan. A big ladle like this one is a go-to tool in my kitchen.

I strained off my broth. Look at the beautiful color, even after only 40 minutes of simmering. And the trip to the garage was to put the kitchen garbage in the bins out there. Chicken bones will smell in a few hours.

I now clean my pot and put all the ingredients into it, including the frozen green beans and corn.

Bring the pot up to a simmer so the rice cooks—taste as you go along—it will take about 25 minutes to cook rice. Otherwise, simmer until the carrots are soft—that doesn’t take long. DON’T COOK TOO FAST OR TOO HOT. Taste to check on the herb and salt levels. If you wanted to use fresh herbs, here’s where you would add them.

When the rice is done, the soup is done. So, ladle up yourself a bowl and enjoy!

Tomorrow I’ll probably buy some boned chicken (I would prefer thighs) and add it to the soup. So I’ll just refrigerate the pot of soup when it cools. To this basic soup, you can also add a bit of cream. Or, an egg yolk beaten into a bit of some hot soup in your soup bowl to give a velvety smooth texture and lovely taste. Then add more soup. Added cheese is nice. Without the rice, putting hot soup over noodles is nice.

I could go on…

Written by louisaenright

February 8, 2022 at 1:36 pm

What To Do With the Roasted Lamb Shoulder?

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Turkey Tracks: February 3, 2022

What To Do With the Roasted Lamb Shoulder?

Soup, is what one could do.

Start by putting the shoulder into a pot and covering it with water—and let it simmer until you think all the ”good” has been extracted from the meat. I can’t do that for long as long-cooked bone broths (12 to 24 hours) acquire too many histamines for me to eat. So I simmered the roast for 40 minutes while I prepped the veggies and some ground lamb for the soup. Skim the broth as needed.

I sautéed the ground lamb in beef tallow and assembled some ORGANIC frozen veggies I had on hand. The ground lamb is local and came from Hope’s Edge farm. I get a whole lamb every year.

Next, I cut up and sautéed in beef tallow a bunch of other veggies I had on hand in the meat pan—which I didn’t have to wipe clean—sometimes you have to if anything has burned in the pan: onions, garlic, carrots, red bell pepper, some cauliflower, some celery. Add in some herbs. And, of course, salt.

You want to sweat out these veggies, turning them frequently, until they begin to turn golden. Do not burn then, but you want some of the brown ”grunge” that forms in the pan as you cook them down. Be patient, and don’t cook the veggies on heat that is too, too hot.

At the above point, I added some liquid from the pot of broth so I’d get all the goodies in this frying pan into the soup. You could add the meat back at this point too.

At this point I moved what was in the frying pan into a larger pot and added in all the frozen veggies. Heat until the soup is all hot and bubbly.

Then make yourself a bowl of soup.

It doesn’t take all that long at all to make a soup or stew like this one.

I froze a portion for a meal at another time.

And that left me with two lunches and two dinners at a minimum—but there will be more.

Remember that you can add things to the soup that make it taste a bit different: heavy cream, a bit of cheese on the top, or the bottom of the bowl, that will melt down into the soup, more herbs, and so on.

We are getting another storm tonight—an ice storm likely—so it’s nice that I have these meals all cooked. I have done all my weekly chores, so I will have lots of time to sew today and tomorrow—which is good as I have…sewing projects. For sure.

Written by louisaenright

February 3, 2022 at 1:04 pm

Nor’Easter Blizzard and Sewing Day

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Turkey Tracks: January 29, 2022

Nor’Easter Blizzard and Sewing Day

I’ve been waiting for a BIG snow day.

And here it is.

AC doggie is properly impressed. Other than his morning very quick pee, he’s refusing to go out.

I rounded up yummy food for the day: a chicken which I spatchcocked this morning, some fresh asparagus, some baking potatoes, and a Granny Smith apple which I’ll have for whatever I eat as a light meal tonight.

My favorite chicken parts are the drumsticks and the wings, followed by the thighs.

I’ve been eating my big meal in the early afternoon and having a heavy ”snack” which includes fruit around 7 pm. That feels pretty good for winter.

In anticipation of the storm, I put a quilt that’s been waiting on the longarm—and I hope to finish and get it off this afternoon. Then I can trim and bind. An existing quilt only has one night or two left for its binding, so I’ll night sewing all ready to go.

I’ll write more about this quilt in another post.

Now, an update on the flying squirrels presently living between my lower and middle floors—in the ceiling area. A solution is in process—and it is pretty elegant in my opinion. These critters come and go off and on day and night. Trap doors will be set where they are getting in—and they will let them out, but not back in. All the places they can get in will be off-limits via metal screening. There are lots of places where they could attempt to get in—but those places will be protected against them. My wildlife person (Ray) says they will effectively be gone in about one day once this work is done. They will move on to another habitat.

BTW, a ”colony,” like what I have can be 20 to 30 individuals. Oh my.

I have also taken down all the bird feeders. And here is why, other than not wanting the squirrels to stay around my area. Ray saw BIG tracks in the snow—right up near the house. He thinks they are likely from a coyote. And two nights ago, AC went ballistic about something being in his yard. I had a hard time getting him to come back to me—as he was sure we were being invaded by something really dangerous. A coyote? His barking and fierceness was way different than when he chases off the deer.

So, in essence, feeding the birds has set up a situation where coyote is maybe coming to hunt around my house.

How long would it take a coyote to work up the courage to eat AC? He’s definitely a tender morsel.

So, no more feeding birds. Or the squirrels that also gather.

Written by louisaenright

January 29, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Mid-January 2022

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Turkey Tracks: January 12, 2022

Mid-January 2022

Well, it’s almost mid-January.

It’s been super cold for the past few days—8 degrees yesterday morning with a wind chill of -30 degrees or so. Inside, where AC and I stayed yesterday—I’ve been busy with projects of all kinds—including an extended period of learning more about my Innova longarm. Today I’ll put ”Sunny” on Innova. And I’ve had also an extended period of cutting into my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society stash as I want to get to the point where I can put what’s left into my regular stash. More on those projects in future posts.

Tuesday, yesterday, was laundry, cleaning, and general household organizing day. And this week, I undertook some cooking duties as well. I spatchcocked a chicken and made AC’s fish food. The spatchcocked chicken will cook in 45 minutes in my oven with the convection fan running—which is way, way faster than an upright chicken. It’s easy to cut out the backbone with good kitchen shears and to flatten the carcass for roasting.

Here’s my lunch salad—all made and waiting for some warm chicken on the top:

It was totally delicious—and made enough that I saved what I didn’t eat and had it for part of my dinner. I read yesterday that red bell papers are a fruit, not a veggie, and that they have more vitamin C than an orange. I also took the meat off the bones for future meals and froze all the bones for a future broth project—probably to be made after I cook another chicken.

I’m two months behind on The Color Collective’s very dynamic and interesting current projects—due to fabric-delivery issues at Sewtopia. One palette should come this week, and the other soon now. I am in no rush, really. So it’s all good.

Here’s AC hunkering down on his bed beneath Innova:

He’s such a good boy!

He did get a good run at the Snow Bowl athletic field on Monday—though it was very cold then too. I don’t take him out to run if the temps are below about 25 degrees as I’m afraid, as hard as he runs, that the bitter cold would harm his lungs.

Written by louisaenright

January 12, 2022 at 10:20 am

Rain and Ice, But Warm and Sweet Inside

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Turkey Tracks: December 22, 2021

Rain and Ice, But Warm and Sweet Inside

The warm and sweet includes a beautiful beef stew, which I made Sunday.

I’ll tell how I make a tender beef stew in a little over an hour below this message.

Friend Rosie Pilkerton’s Christmas card came yesterday, and as is her sweet habit, included was one of her Christmas stocking ornaments. I have many from her over the years, but these four are handily available and I will keep them nearby for the holidays next year. (I went through the Christmas decorations last summer and isolated the special ornaments in boxes that are now in dry storage upstairs—and the rest of Rosie’s stockings are up there.)

My friend in town who sends me pictures of the wild life critters that come into her yard, which backs up to the Mt. Battie woods, sent this picture yesterday. (Remember the fox pics from yesterday?) This beautiful deer was eating her junipers. Deer have been a real problem for me this past year as well. And it is early for the deer to be eating shrubs like the junipers—which usually happens in the extreme cold and lots of snow that *used to* come in January and February.

AC and I ventured out in the light fluffy snow yesterday as we both needed exercise and fresh air. AC’s chasing of his ball in the snow turned out to be really fun for both of us. We both had to watch really carefully to see where the ball landed as it would go ”plop” into the snow. That action produced a mystery for AC that he delighted in solving until he found the ball.

While at the Snow Bowl athletic field we also saw a cherished neighbor and had a little visit.

And now, we have passed over the Solstice, and the light will begin to return, ever so slowly, but it will return.

***

Beef Stew

I use an Instant Pot to cook the beef and savory part of the stew.

I cook the small whole unpeeled potatoes and carrots separately, and I cut up the potatoes into bite-size pieces when they are cool enough to handle. How you cut up the carrots is up to you. You can cook both potatoes and carrots in the same big pot if you like. The carrots will get done before the potatoes, but you can just dip them out when done.

The cooked potatoes and carrots go into a bowl big enough to handle the whole stew, and when the beef part is done, I just pour it all over the veggies and mix them together. What ever green veggie I add is also cooked separately. BUT, as the warm dish sat in the bowl and after I had eaten one meal, I thought it would be good to add some frozen peas, which I did. And, yes, they were a nice addition. They more or less defrost in the warm stew, and if they need it, they cook more when one reheats one’s portion of stew for the next meal. I don’t reheat the whole stew when I want to eat some—just the portion I want for my meal. (I also froze about half of the stew for other meals.)

For this stew I sautéed 2 small onions, one celery stick, and 6 thin leeks (about 1 inch thick—so just under 2 cups?) in leftover lamb fat in the Instant Pot. (I don’t use veggie oils for this step as they—except for coconut oil—are too fragile and many are not healthy fats. Beef tallow would be a good choice too.) Add some herbs and salt. That first sauté does take a bit of prep time—maybe 20 minutes—I sauté and stir occasionally while I do other tasks until I start to see bits of brown in the sweated veggies. I remove those onto something like a plate, add a bit more fat (this time I used some ghee), and put in the cubes of beef that I had dried well in paper towels. Add more herbs, chopped garlic, and salt. As the beef sautés in the Instant Pot it will exude a fair amount of liquid. You want to cook down that liquid a little, which will begin to let the beef brown a little.

When the beef is ready, I add just under a quarter cup of thickener. I used sprouted brown rice flour as I can’t eat wheat. Mix it well with the meat. Add about 3 cups of water or stock and the savory veggies. I set the Instant Pot for 35 minutes and when it has stopped, I let it sit for 15 minutes before I release the steam.

The rest is easy—just pour the beef mixture over the veggies, mix them up, and serve up a bowl of your beautiful beef stew—knowing you have LEFTOVERS and some to freeze.

Enjoy!

Written by louisaenright

December 22, 2021 at 10:35 am

I’ve Been Busy!

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Turkey Tracks: November 29, 2021

I’ve Been Busy!

Life gets in the way of this blog some times.

For sure.

There have been well water issues—which are slowly getting resolved. The well pump removal and new pump installation likely caused a coliform bacteria overload, alongside all the rain we’ve had this summer and fall. The water tables are really high these days. Coliform bacteria are NOT e.coli bacteria, which derive mostly from animal feces contaminations. Coliform bacteria come from plants and other vegetation. The well test didn’t show e.coli problems. It did show way, way too much radon—which is a colorless and orderless gas that comes from granite and can dissolve into water—and emerge when you use water, like in the kitchen sink or the shower. A “bubbler” filter will be installed soon now. High radon levels are associated with lung cancer.

But, the GOOD NEWS is that my oldest son visited for a long weekend recently. I had not seen him for 2 1/2 years, so we had a grand and sweet visit. We cooked, ate, talked, binged watched WICKING and MANHUNT, on Acorn, talked and cooked and ate more, and took some sightseeing drives off and on.

Mike took this video of AC putting a flock of turkeys into the air. Note that if a turkey turned on AC, I’m quite sure that he would run the other way. The turkeys were in a neighbor’s roadside field up the hill from me.

And Mike took this video of me after I pulled out the apple corer to process some apples we were going to bake for dessert. Mike loves lamb like I do, and it is hard to get in South Carolina, so I roasted a leg of lamb for him while he was here.

I had forgotten how fun the apple corer is—so I may buy more of these Black Oxford apples and make some applesauce. They are a Maine heritage apple and are delicious.

Written by louisaenright

November 29, 2021 at 9:16 am

It’s September

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Turkey Tracks: September 10, 2021

It’s September 2021

How did that happen?

And it is already the 10th!!

We’ve had cooler weather, with temps dropping down significantly at night, which makes for great sleeping.

And for rising desires for warmer foods, like this beef stew I made in the Instant Pot. I cook the carrots and new potatoes separately—and the fresh green beans separately too.

The beautiful beef cubes were a gift from friend Margaret whose freezer went belly up earlier this summer. The carrots, new potatoes, and fresh green beans came from Farmer Tom’s Hope’s Edge weekly market out at the farm—which is a trip to which I look forward each week.

The Instant Pot cooks the beef in 35 minutes!!!! For my Histamine Intolerance, that’s wonderful as long cooking times create more histamine in foods. I saute the beef in the pot in some tallow or ghee. If I’m not in a hurry, I’ll remove the meat and throw in the chopped onions and garlic and saute those for a bit, but not this time. I added two cups of liquid, onions, garlic, herbs, salt and called it a day. I also added a limited amount of ketchup, whichI can eat in small quantities sometimes—and it added such flavor. When the meat is done I put the beef in a large bowl and add the warm, cooked vegetables and spooned out what I wanted to eat. The rest I saved for other meals.

This Dahlia is now three years old. Isn’t it gorgeous!

The first year I just saved the tuber after the first killing frost. But when I planted it in the spring, it took it all summer to get big enough to start blooming. Last year I put the dug tuber into a small pail with its dirt and roots intact and put it into the dry/dark/cool storage hold upstairs, and when the days started getting longer in early March, I put the whole pail in a sunny window. The Dahlia sprouted and started growing. Finally it was warm enough to put it out in the garden again, which it liked. It’s been blooming like crazy since early August, so I will put it back in the pail again this fall.

And here’s Tara Faughnan’s Wedding Ring quilt with THREE rows finished. I moved it up the design wall so I could get to the bottom row more easily. This quilt clearly wants to be called “Joyful!”

I will be making this quilt again very soon (this winter) as I’m obsessed with it. I want to try a more controlled palette with dark brown/black/dark grey/khaki/cream centers and rings that have a lot of the dark brown/black and cream rings—studded with pastels and a few pops of color here and there. Tara has a version that sparked my imagination, but I hesitate to show it here due to copyright issues.

Written by louisaenright

September 10, 2021 at 10:37 am

Fun “Pancakes”

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Turkey Tracks: July 31, 2021

Fun “Pancakes”

These fun “pancakes” have fast become a “go to” for a quick lunch.

They only take a few minutes to assemble. Using a cast iron frying pan gives strong heat without burning too.

Here’s a picture before they have browned so you can see ingredients:

I vary what I put into these delicious concoctions, but grated zucchini and the egg are the bulk and the glue that holds everything together. This one also has grated carrot and some chopped green onion. (I don’t try to chop the onion really fine.)

First, my thanks to Farmer Tom Griffin of the former CSA Hope’s Edge for the basic recipe which I have modified for my needs. For locals, Tom is holding a farmer’s market out at the farm for select hours two days a week: Wednesday afternoon (3:30) and Thursday morning (10:00). As always, his food is so fresh and delicious. I will include the recipe version he sent below my modifications.

For one person, grate one medium sized zucchini. Wrap it in a towel (I’ve been using those bamboo “paper” towels that can be reused over and over) and squeeze out the water. There will be a lot of water. You want at least a packed 1/2 cup of grated, squeezed zucchini.

Grate some carrot too, if you like.

Add some chopped onion—the sweet ones and green ones are in our markets now.

Add some grated cheese—I can use mozzarella, but cottage cheese or ricotta would likely work too. You can certainly use stronger cheeses (cheddar, etc.).

Add an egg.

Add about 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour—I use a sprouted one.

Add whatever herbs you might like and a bit of sea salt.

Mix it all up and fry it in a good fat—I’ve been using duck fat, but one could use ghee or beef tallow. Keep a medium, even heat, not too hot so the edges don’t get too brown too quickly. Turn once and maybe pat each pancake down flat with a spatula as it helps them cook evenly and faster.

***

Here’s the recipe from Tom:

Written by louisaenright

July 31, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Hot Soup in Hot Weater

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Turkey Tracks: July 3, 2021

Hot Soup in Hot Weather

The collected chicken bones in the freezer were taking up too much space. So in the middle of the WORST heat of this year, I made chicken broth. And the next day, I made a HUGE soup.

Am I crazy? Maybe. But the heat wave broke—and we got some much-needed rain. And I have some DELICIOUS and HEALTHY soup in my belly and some frozen soup now taking up space in the freezer.

I started with the smaller Creuset pot and the veggies I had on hand: sweet onions, carrots, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, and loads of fresh herbs from the garden (tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, chives):

I soon had to switch to the larger Creuset pot though—as I added all the chicken meat from a whole deboned chicken (which went into the bone broth to cook) and veggies from the freezer (corn, beans, peas) and some “Forbidden” red rice.

I could feel the soup’s goodness all the way to my toes:

I topped it with more fresh chives from the garden:

I need to cut back the chive plants now as their blooms are all dry. Cut back, the plants will grow more green shoots for me to use in the kitchen.

I can vary the soup when I get tired of it by adding some fresh cream. And warming a tortilla on a gas stove tap is always nice—especially if one puts some local raw butter on the warm tortilla!

I like to cook this way—using what I have on hand to make such delicious meals. You can’t go wrong with good basics (bone broth), healthy meat, organic veggies, a little of some organic grain as a treat, and lots of fresh herbs.

Written by louisaenright

July 3, 2021 at 9:41 am

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