Curried Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad

When I cook a

Chicken, I typically eat the tasty dark meat while it’s fresh and hot, and often use the less succulent breast meat for chicken salad. Here’s a recipe I made up recently that can be adjusted based on what you like and have on hand.

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (preferably pastured)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup yellow raisins
1/2 diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green, white, yellow, or red onion
1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3/4 cup mayonnaise made with healthy fats, or to taste

Mix all in a bowl and refrigerator for a while–it takes a while for the curry powder to really blend with the mayo and other ingredients. Also, if your raisins are dry and hard they’ll be softened up from the moisture in a few hours.

Precision with the amounts is not required. You could sub other nuts for the almonds. You could use black raisins or dried cranberries or an apple instead of yellow raisins. You could leave out the onion, etc.

Serve with lettuce wraps or sprouted grain bread or crackers.

:)

I wish I had remembered to take a photo of this–I was just throwing it together while doing other food prep for the week, so didn’t take photos while making it. Then the next day, we ate it and it was so good–forgot all about taking a picture. Hence, just the old photo of dicing celery. 

Crockpot Hunter-Style Rabbit Stew

Rabbit Stew

Among the many offerings from my Amish farm buying club, I’d considered trying the domestic rabbit raised by one of the farmer’s sons, and finally bought one. But it sat in my freezer for quite a while–until today that is. Well, three days ago anyway, when I put it in the fridge to thaw. But it went into the slowcooker today and I had it for dinner tonight.

I looked at number of recipes before settling on this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/rabbit-hunter-s-style-203224?oc=linkback. I’ve copied it below with additional notes of my own. I knew rabbit was quite lean, and so I thought a recipe with added fat, cooked slowly, would viagra online help ensure it would be tender and flavorful. And it is, that! I am not sure I’d pick rabbit over beef or chicken, but it was good, and satisfying, and I’ll enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. And it was fun to try a new meat.

As noted below, I found this link for How to Cut Up a Rabbit useful, and I learned a new term, silver skin. I had dealt with this thin connective tissue on beef before, but didn’t know what it was called. There’s a fair amount on a rabbit, and it’s best to cut it away as much as you can. It shrinks in cooking, pulling at the muscle tissue so your pieces of meat look funny, and becoming unpleasantly chewy to boot. I didn’t have too much trouble getting most of it off. A sharp knife is your best friend. See photo of me removing some of the silver skin below.

Another thing How to Cut Up a Rabbit told me is that rabbit fat has an unpleasant taste. I decided to take the hunter’s word for it, and removed most of the fat that came off easily (although I didn’t make a fetish of getting every last bit off). I was bummed to hear this–can any readers confirm that this is true? (Does wild or domestic rabbit make a difference here?) Rabbit is already lean, so I hated to remove what fat was there, because (usually) fat helps the flavor, and importantly, it provides fat-soluble vitamins that help you assimilate the protein and minerals in meat. Without adequate fat, when you eat meat, your body will rob fat-soluble vitamins from its reserves. American Indians knew if hunting was poor and all they could catch was rabbits (or other very lean meat), they’d soon develop “rabbit starvation.” So, while I removed most of the visible fat, I was generous with the added bacon fat.

Ingredients

  • 1 2.5-3 lb rabbit (I had a 3.37 lb rabbit, and this recipe worked out fine)
  • salt –where to buy salt
  • freshly ground black pepper –where to buy spices
  • 4 slices bacon (pastured), additional bacon drippings are also good (see intro notes above)
  • 4 shallots (organic), chopped
  • 3 garlic (organic) cloves, minced
  • 2 T all-purpose flour (I would assume you can substitute arrowroot powder) –where to buy flour
  • 1/2 c dry white wine (I did use white, but I bet red would be good as well)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (organic)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 t chopped fresh thyme (organic) (for dried you can use less, but I like a lot of seasoning. I had only dried and used a full teaspoon) –where to buy herbs & spices
  • 1 t minced fresh basil (organic) (ditto above about using dried) –where to buy herbs & spices
  • 1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms (organic)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (organic) for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Rinse the rabbit, pat dry, and cut into serving size pieces, removing as much of the silver skin as you can (I found How to Cut Up a Rabbit very helpful; see also intro notes above about removing the fat).
  2. Season the rabbit liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon over med-high heat in a large skillet until crisp.
  4. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels (leaving the fat in the skillet), crumble, and set aside.
  5. Add the rabbit pieces to the hot bacon fat and brown on all sides, then transfer them to your crockpot.
  6. Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet (this is the point where I added extra bacon drippings I had on hand) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle in the flour, then add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Pour in the tomato sauce, water, thyme, and basil and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour the sauce over the rabbit; cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
  10. Add the mushrooms to the crockpot; cover and continue cooking on high for an additional 1 ½ to 3 hours, until the rabbit is very tender and falling off the bone. (I was out of the house for more than three hours, and it seemed perfect when I got home slipping off the bone.)
  11. Adjust seasonings to taste; garnish with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon.

Above, the whole rabbit, rinsed and patted dry. Not shown, the liver and tiny heart. As usual, my cat turned up his nose at those.

I’ve cut off the legs, and removed some of the body cavity
fat and one kidney. You can see the other kidney in the body cavity.

Here you can see me pulling some of the
silver skin away from the back.

I’m using kitchen shears to cut the thin belly
piece away from the back.

Here’s all the pieces. At the top, l-r: some fat and the hind legs and forelegs. Second row, a pile of silver skin and the kidneys and the two thin pieces of belly. Third row, the loin cut into three pieces through the spine. Fourth row (bottom), the rib cage and two odd pieces that are kind of upper fore-leg and back meat.

The man of the house kindly cut open the package of bacon for me while my hands were full of rabbit.

The rabbit pieces browning in the bacon fat.
The rabbit in the bottom of the crockpot, with the sauce poured over, ready to start cooking.

Crustless Quiche with Ham, Asparagus, and Cheese

[Crustless Quiche hot from the oven. Photo by Jill Nienhiser for Farm Food Blog.]

Lately I’ve been making a quiche on the weekend and reheating a piece each morning in the toaster oven for breakfast and I am loving that. Faster than making scrambled eggs and bacon for myself on a work morning, with fewer dishes and pans to deal with after.

I’ve been making the quiche crustless (shall I call it a “criche”?), partly to avoid the work of making a crust, and partly because I’m limiting carbs a bit lately. And I don’t have any special quiche pan, so I’ve just been making it in a square casserole dish. It turns out great. Depending on my schedule I either bake it on the weekend or prep the parts and combine and bake it Monday morning.

Then the rest just stays in the casserole dish in the fridge and each morning I put a piece on the pan in my toaster oven, cover it with foil (which I think would help keep it from drying out, but I don’t know if it’s truly necessary). About 15 minutes at 300 degrees and it’s ready to eat. Really tastes just as good warmed up as it did fresh from the oven!

Here’s the recipe for the first criche I tried…other variations to follow as I come up with them!

This recipe for crustless quiche with ham, asparagus, and cheese is adapted from the Pinch My Salt blog. Her recipe is adapted from The All Purpose Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably pastured (find sources of raw pastured butter)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or 1 leek, cut in half and rinsed well to remove grit between the layers, and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 bunch (about a half pound) asparagus, rinsed, stemmed,* and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cubed ham, preferably from pastured pigs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Swiss, Emmentaler, or Gruyere are good), preferably pastured (where to buy cheese)
  • 4 large eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, preferably pastured (find sources of raw pastured cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy salt & spices)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*To “stem” asparagus, hold each spear on either end. Bend the root end until it snaps, and throw that part in the compost bin. Wherever it snaps off is just right–the tougher, woody stem part will break away, leaving the tender shoot that’s good to eat! Read more about asparagus here.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prep pan: Grease a 9″x9″x2″ square casserole dish well with butter (or you can use a quiche dish or 10″ pie plate).
  3. Prep the add-ins: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion or leeks, and saute for a few minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add chopped asparagus, and cook until just tender, turning occasionally (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat. Add cubed ham to the pan and toss to combine. Turn mixture into the greased dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over that.
  4. Prep the quiche base: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture over the fillings in  the dish. Place quiche in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until aknife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This is the basic routine for making one of these criches…preheat oven, grease pan, get your add-ins ready and put them in the pan, and then pour your egg-cream mixture over that and bake. When I post other criche variations you’ll see similar instructions.

Make-ahead directions: You can prep the add-ins and quiche base and put them in separate containers in your fridge. When ready to cook, preheat your oven, grease your pan, pour in the add-ins and egg-cream mixture and bake.

Reheating directions: I have found this reheats beautifully. I put a piece on my toaster oven tray and reheat for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees. I put a piece of foil over it, thinking it will keep it more moist–this may not be necessary.

Serves 6-9 (I cut the quiche in my 9″ square casserole dish into 9 pieces–3×3–that I think are just right for breakfast. However if you use a different dish or are just hungrier you might cut it into fewer pieces).

Looking for other breakfast ideas? Try my Grain-Free Omelet Muffins too!

Great Kitchen Tools: The Best Garlic Crusher

I go through a lot of garlic, how about you?

While it’s certainly possible to mince garlic with a knife, and crush it with the side of a knife, I find it so much faster to run the cloves through my garlic press when I make salad dressing or do anything else calling for garlic (such as in Spaghetti Squash Bolognese or Scarborough Fair Veal Burgers). I used to have one of those metal presses with a hinge. I find the garlic squishes out the side of those. This plastic screw type shown above is so much better! You put the peeled cloves in the tube, and the put the plunger in and turn the screw. All the garlic stays neatly inside and is forced out the perforated end in a nice neat even crushed mince.

The garlic crusher, awaiting the loading of peeled cloves

To me the one drawback is that since it is plastic, it is not quite as hard-wearing as the metal type. After a while, I broke the perforated end of my first one because after peeling the cloves, I didn’t cut off the hard ends where they attach to the bottom of the bulb and over time I guess forcing those hard bits through weakened the plastic. But now I always cut off the ends and my second press has lasted many years so far.

I searched for

:)

a long time trying to find who sells this press since I’d forgotten where I got it. I wanted to recommend it to others, plus know where to get another if/when my second one breaks! Internet searches never turned it up–I went through dozens of listings and image searches. Happily, I was cleaning out some paper files I saved and rediscovered a catalog I’d saved from Hosgood’s garlic products (dated 2002!). There was my garlic press pictured in the catalog! So there, boyfriend, THAT’s why I save all that paper!    The web address listed redirected automatically to Silver Leaf International, who, it turns out, bought them out a few years back.

A customer service rep told me that they don’t make my exact press anymore, but they do sell a similar version made by Turn-It. It’s made in the USA, and dishwasher safe–although I always clean mine by hand (only takes a moment) since I find I usually need to pick out a little garlic debris with the tip of a knife and I’m not sure if that would come out in the dishwasher. In theory you can crush out some garlic, and then leave the rest of the cloves inside the tool and put it in the fridge with the rubber cap on the end. If you do this I would use it up in the next day or two. I used to do this, but I found that over time the garlic will eat away at the plastic, more so the longer it’s in contact. So I much prefer to just use it and wash it right away, and not store garlic inside.

Old vs. New Garlic Crusher

Old vs. New Garlic Crusher

Turn-It only sells wholesale, and after going through all the retailers they list on their site, I found that Silver Leaf International has the best price. They are currently selling it on clearance for only $13 (regularly $16). I actually just bought several

because if mine breaks I want to have more than one backup, that’s how much I like this tool. Let’s all buy one from them and maybe they won’t discontinue selling it!

Thanks for reading Farm Food Blog! Eat well.