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What’s a girl to do when a local ranch has a sale on beef hearts & livers?  Get some of course!  My Dad always saved the heart when he’d get an elk hunting and I have great memories of him sharing it with me so I could make a sandwich to take to school.  I must have been considered strange back then… 🙂  Lately I’ve been joking with my husband that our future kids will think they have the strangest Mom around.  But I think if they grow up in a household where food is valued, both for how it’s grown and where it comes from they won’t think it’s weird.  Hopefully they’ll think what other people eat is weird!

Beef Heart & Liver… Oh My!

Over the weekend I cooked up the heart in the same way my Dad does the elk’s.  If you can get your hands on a beef heart from a local rancher I’d recommend you try it.  It’s very lean and has a great flavor.  I’ve only ever eaten heart in sandwiches but if you have suggestions on other uses please comment and the next time I get one I’ll try something else 🙂

{How To} Boil Beef Heart
After the heart thawed I rinsed it well and put it in a large dutch oven full of boiling salted water.  I simmered the heart in this water for half an hour and skimmed off all the foam.  Then I put the heart in this second pot of simmering water that I added sea salt, bay leaves, garlic scapes, a carrot, an onion, peppercorns and juniper berries.

Simmering water all flavored up!

I covered this pot and simmered the heart an another hour and half.  Then I removed the heart to a plate and quickly cooled it in the fridge.  After it was cool I cut off the thin layer of fat that was on the outside and sliced it thin for sandwiches (starting at the pointed end).

Sandwiches here I come!

Towards the area where all the arteries leave the heart there is more junk going on so I froze that chunk and will cube up the good parts of meat to add to breakfast burritos, etc.  To make an awesome sandwich all you need is good bread + lettuce + mayo + beef heart!

Don’t knock it until you try it!

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Since my business moved in with a bakery a couple months ago I’ve been having bad rashes around my mouth… I just got my blood test results back for possible food allergies.

I need to stay away from almonds forever (kinda figured this one since I’ve gotten seriously sick 3 times when almonds/beer were eaten at the same meal). Plus I’m going to take out dairy & eggs for 3 months and then see what happens when I eat them again. I’m very thankful that meat, seafood, veggies, fruit, nuts/grains/legumes are okay but I’ll miss the baked goods that are staring at me every day 🙂

It doesn’t take much!

As a replacement for milk in my morning routine I decided to make my own coconut milk since most of the canned versions have additives and bpa in the cans.  It’s a very simple process to make the milk and the leftover pulp can be used in a variety of ways!

{How To} Coconut Milk
(adapted from Cheeseslave)
Unsweetened, organic coconut flakes
Filtered water

Place equal parts coconut and water in a pan (5 cups was a good amount for me to deal with).  Bring to a boil and remove from heat to cool.  Blend the mixture in a blinder or use an immersion blender.  Strain the milk away from the pulp (I placed a damp cloth in a strainer, added the coconut pulp, wrapped it tight and squeezed out the milk).  This yielded a quart of coconut milk.

A cloth made it easy to separate.

Since I was using this coconut milk for breakfast I added another 5 cups of water to the used pulp and made another batch before making “cookies”.  If you are going to use the coconut milk in a recipe let it sit in the fridge for a day or two and then take the coconut milk off the top for the recipe and drink the coconut water on the bottom.

The coconut milk has a great flavor and in my opinion is WAY better then the canned item which to me always has a tinny taste from the cans.  I kept one quart of milk in the fridge to use for the week and froze the second quart for next week.  There was a great comment on the Cheeseslave post, linked above, from Mari on how to use the pulp to make “cookies.”  I tried both of her ideas and they make a great little treat that is dairy & egg free!

Yum!

{Recipe} Coconut “Cookies”
(adapted from Mari’s comment)

For Coconut Macaroons:
2 cups coconut pulp
10 dates, pitted
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended.  You can bake these in a low oven or dry them in a dehydrator overnight.  I scooped small balls of the mixture onto a silpat, flattened them into disks and dried them at 135* overnight.  They were still moist and I stored them in the fridge.  They would be delicious half covered in chocolate!

For Coconut Ginger Snaps:
2 cups coconut pulp
6 dates, pitted
1 cup water
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended.  You can bake these in a low oven or dry them in a dehydrator overnight.  I scooped small balls of the mixture onto a silpat, flattened them into disks and dried them at 135* overnight.  They were still moist and I stored them in the fridge.  They would be delicious with a slice of candied ginger on top!

I’m excited to play around with the pulp coming up with fun little treats for myself over the next 3 months.  🙂

If you don’t want to make “cookies” you can dry and grind the pulp into coconut flour for baking, add it to oatmeal or granola, use it as a crust on seafood, sprinkle on top of curry or any other recipe where coconut is delicious.

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This Latin beef stew is delicious!  Adding the bell peppers and green olives at the end really adds a nice flavor.  I like to eat this in a bowl with some bread to dip in or serve it over rice or runny polenta.

Lots of great ingredients make for a yummy stew!

{Recipe} Ropa Vieja
(adapted from the Food Network Magazine)
1-1/2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can whole tomatoes
2 carrots, cubed
1 onion, halved & sliced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, 2 crushed & 2 minced
1 bay leaf
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup green olives, pitted
Fresh parsley
Rustic bread

Rinse and dry the stew meat well.  Season with the oregano, cumin, sea salt & pepper.  Put the oil in a dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides (do in batches if necessary).  Add the tomatoes, carrots, onion, tomato paste, crushed garlic cloves & bay leaf to the dutch oven with the stew meat.  Bring up to a boil, cover and place in a 275* oven for 3 hours to slow cook.

Meanwhile saute the peppers in a skillet with a little olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  When the stew is done cooking shred the beef and add the peppers & olives.  Taste for seasoning and serve with fresh parsley and rustic bread.

Delicioso!

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{Recipe} Turkey Mole

This recipe is pretty intricate but boy am I glad my Mom picked it out to make this last Monday.  We each made our own batch and it’s super delicious!  We couldn’t get the exact dried chiles the recipe called for but the mix we made was not too spicy and the chipotle chiles gave a nice smoky undertone.  There was enough mole sauce for me to freeze 4 pints to use later and I used the rest on half of my turkey meat (I used a heritage turkey so there wasn’t a lot of meat).  I don’t know if I’ll make the recipe again the way I’ve written it but I did freeze a couple quarts of the leftover turkey broth so I can just make a batch of the mole sauce and skip cutting up a turkey to boil.  I think it would be very tasty on pork  🙂

A long process but worth every minute when you dig into your plate of turkey mole!

{Recipe} Turkey Mole
(adapted from Gourmet Today)
1 turkey (10-12 lbs), cut into serving pieces
6 Tbsp lard
4 quarts cold water
6 dried ancho chiles
4 dried chipotle chiles
4 dried hot red chiles
2 cups boiling water
1 lb tomatoes, chopped and save juices
1 lb white onions, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp masa harina or 2 corn tortillas, torn
1 cup almonds, blanched
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick, ground fine
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1-1/2 oz Mexican chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
Sea salt

Rinse the turkey pieces well after you have cut up the turkey, pat dry and season with sea salt.  Brown in batches in a dutch oven with the lard (reserve the dutch oven and lard for later).  Put browned pieces of turkey in a large stock pot and cover with cold water, add 2 tablespoons sea salt and bring up to a boil.  Skim off any foam and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1.5 hours or until the turkey is cooked through.  Place the turkey pieces in a bowl and allow the broth to cool.  Removed the fat from the top of the broth and stain out impurities.  (This can be done a day before you plan to serve your mole.  Just put the turkey pieces back in the broth and store in the fridge.)

Meanwhile make the mole.
Remove the stems, seeds & ribs from the dried chiles.  Tear into pieces and place in a bowl.  Cover with the boiling water, use a plate to keep the chiles submerged and let soak for 30 minutes.  Use a blender to puree the chiles, their soaking liquid, tomatoes, their juices, onions, garlic, masa harina and 2 cups of the turkey broth (this will take a few batches).  Place the chile mixture into a large bowl and mix all the batches together well.

In a food processor mix the almonds, peanuts, raisins, coriander seeds, anise seeds, cloves, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp of the sesame seeds and enough turkey broth to form a paste.  Stir the paste into the chile mixture.

In the reserved dutch oven heat up the lard and add in the chile mixture.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.  Add in the chocolate and enough turkey broth (about 4 minutes) to make the sauce the consistency of cream.  Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t stick.  Season to taste with the sugar and sea salt.  (This can be done a day before you plan to serve your mole.  Just cool the sauce and store in the fridge)

Put the turkey pieces into the mole and simmer until heated through (I pulled the meat off of my turkey pieces so I could freeze my extra mole sauce and half of my turkey).  Serve with rice, corn tortillas, black beans or anything else you like.  Sprinkle the extra sesame seeds over the top  🙂

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Rhubarb is one of my favorites (which you might notice if you search rhubarb on my blog).  🙂  This pie recipe is from my Mom and since rhubarb season is just starting up I figured I better clear out the rest of the frozen rhubarb I have before I even start to think about using this year’s crop.  I think I have enough to make one more pie… my husband was very excited about that fact.  There’s nothing wrong with 2 pies in a week, right?  😉

Served warm with a little ice cream!

{Recipe} Rhubarb Custard Pie
4 cups diced rhubarb (can be a mix of rhubarb & strawberry if you’d like)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp lemon zest
Sea salt, a pinch or two
1/4 cup flour
Double pie crust of choice (I used the same dough as in this recipe)

Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix in the lemon zest, sea salt & sugar.  Stir in the rhubarb and flour.  Pour mixture into a pie plate lined with crust (you can dot the top with a little butter for some extra richness).  Place the second crust on top, fold top crust under and crimp the edges.  Cut a few vents in the top crust, sprinkle a little sugar on top and bake at 450* for 10 minutes.  Turn down the oven temperature to 350* and continue baking for 30 minutes.  Let the pie cool a little before serving.

***Note – depending on how wet your fruit is you may need to add an extra egg or a little extra flour to keep the custard from getting too runny.  I usually just eyeball the mixture.

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I’m really going to enjoy having a whole day off each week!  Since opening my retail store 5 years ago we’ve been open 6 days/week and other than a few holidays I’ve worked almost every single day!  But now that we moved into a smaller location we are closed Sunday-Monday.  It’s super nice not to have to rush on Sunday afternoon to get all my errands & chores done.

My plan with my extra day off is to use it to garden, forage & cook… then I can relax more throughout the week if I have meals ready to go when I get home from work.  This last Monday my Mom and I made a big batch of savory galettes to keep in the freezer.  It will be great to call up my husband, have him bake off a couple and then just finish them off with a poached egg for a quick dinner!

Ready to Freeze

{Recipe} Savory Galettes
(adapted from Coastal Living)
Makes 6 galettes, can easily be doubled or quadrupled 🙂
4 cups greens of choice (I used blanched & frozen spinach, chard & turnip tops)
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
1 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
2 Tbsp pesto
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Crushed red pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg
1 Pastry crust batch, recipe below

Make the pastry crust and place it in the fridge to chill.  Squeeze any excess water out of the greens and chop fine.  Place the greens in a bowl and mix in the eggs, ricotta, parm, pesto, sea salt, pepper, red pepper & nutmeg.  Divide each pastry round into three pieces and roll out into a round.  Put 1/3 cup of the filling in the middle and fold the crust over the top.  Place on a cookie sheet to freeze (after they freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a container in the freezer) or brush with an optional egg wash and bake at 425* for 15 minutes, or until crust is browned.  If baking from frozen add an extra 5 minutes of cooking time.

{Recipe} Pastry Crust
3 cups flour (I prefer soaked flour)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup butter, cold & cubed
3 Tbsp lard
1 egg
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cold water

Mix the flour and sea salt in a bowl.  Cut the butter and lard into the flour until it’s in pea-sized pieces.  In a small bowl mix the egg, vinegar & water.  Mix into the flour mixture until the dough comes together, add more cold water if necessary.  Form into two rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or more.

They are delicious!

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I had a little pumpkin puree left over after making baked pumpkin doughnuts last week.  So I flipped through my large binder of recipes to see what pumpkin recipes have struck my fancy in the past (I pretty much pull out every pumpkin recipe I see).  There was a recipe in my binder for Pumpkin Muffins that I had printed out but never made.  And I had all the ingredients, perfect!

Mix the dry & wet ingredients & combine!

{Recipe} Pumpkin-Buckwheat Muffins
(adapted from Recipe.com)
1-1/3 cup flour (I used white whole wheat flour but prefer soaked flour)
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup sucanat
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
Zest from one orange
1/4 cup orange juice (1 regular size orange)

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.  In a smaller bowl whisk the eggs, add the wet ingredients & mix well.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir just until combined.  Spoon evenly into a buttered muffin tin and bake in a 400* oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy with butter… but an orange glaze would be great on them if served at breakfast!

Cooling Muffins

They sure puffed up nicely and had a wonderful crumb.  I love the addition of buckwheat, it gives the muffins a little more texture and a nice deep flavor.  The orange comes through nicely and they were delicious as a snack and for breakfast with some pastured butter.  See the cute butter dish in the picture below?  It was my Valentine’s Day gift from my husband… does he know the way to my heart or what!  It took him a while to find one that’s wide enough to fit the butter we like.

A nice late night snack 🙂

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