Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meatballs with Beef Heart (Gluten, grain, and egg free)

This blog is called "Meatballs For Sarah" so it's about time I started cooking some meatballs! Of course they are gluten, grain, and egg free. I’ve heard it’s easy to sneak beef heart into meatballs, and it’s true, these meatballs are 20% heart and you can’t taste it. They special ordered the heart for me at Bi-Rite and ground it for me, in retrospect it would have been fun to bring home an actual heart. Once ground it looks just like any other ground meat. Beef heart is a great natural source of Coenzyme Q10.

I’m calling these “half and half” meatballs since half are cooked in the oven, the other half are cooked on the stove and simmered in marinara.

1 pound Niman Ranch ground lamb
1 pound Heritage Foods berkshire ground pork
½ pound Marin Sun Farms ground beef heart
15 ounce jar Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup shredded parmesean
½ cup ground pork rinds
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt

Mix together all ingredients except marinara sauce.

Form meatballs (this made 58 meatballs for me)

Place ½ meatballs in the over at 350 for 30 minutes.

Brown the rest of the meatballs in a pan with olive oil.

When cooked, add to marinara sauce. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

The finished product

A comparison of meatballs oven vs stove

The stove/simmer meatballs definitely tasted better, of course they have more of a messy factor which is something to take into account with a 3 year  old.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wild Boar Tenderloin Sous Vide

I was at the Ferry Building yesterday afternoon and I saw wild boar tenderloin at the Golden Gate Meat Company. I've always wanted to try wild boar.

I've heard it can be more lean and tough than regular pork, and tenderloin is not especially tender to begin with. So I decided to cook it Sous Vide in my handy Sous Vide Supreme.

I cooked it for 2 hours at 141 degrees F, then seared the outside in a pan on the stove.

Result? It's defintely tender and juicy. And more flavorful than regular pork. Of course I put in very little effort here, it probably would have been better with a marinade and some sauce. But not bad.

And yes, the pink color of pork cooked sous vide still freaks me out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

White Chicken Chili

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 lb cooked)
2 T coconut oil or ghee
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 cans diced green Anaheim chiles (8 oz) or 10 fresh chiles
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups soaked white beans
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
Grated cheese

Cook white beans on stove for about 1 hour until soft.

Bake chicken in oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool, then shred.

Put peppers under the broiler for 5 minutes (maybe longer). Let cool, remove seeds and skin.

Here is a comparison of the canned chiles with the ones I roasted myself.

Heat coconut oil or ghee in a heavy soup pot, then saute onions until they're softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, then add the ground cumin, oregano, salt, and ground cayenne pepper and saute..

Add diced green Anaheim chilis, white beans and chicken stock, turn to low simmer and let cook for 30 minutes. After the chili has simmered for 30 minutes, add the chicken and simmer 10-15 minutes more.

Add the chopped cilantro and sour cream and simmer about 5 minutes more. Serve hot, with cheese on top.

Friday, February 12, 2010

5 Minute Blueberry Banana “Ice Cream”

Makes 1 serving

1/2 banana, frozen and chopped into ½ inch slices
1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1/2 c. 2% cottage cheese

Put the banana and blueberries in a small food processor or blender. Process until it's in small chunks. Add the cottage cheese and process until smooth, scraping sides down as necessary.

Put your "ice cream" in a bowl. If desired, return to freezer for 5 minutes or so before eating.

My blender had a little trouble with this but got the job done. Of course I have a $200 Breville blender, it might be a little much for a cheap one. I might try the Cuisinart next time. Sarah ate the whole bowl and was very excited to be eating "ice cream". It had been in the freezer overnight by the time she ate it, I microwaved it for 30 seconds before serving,

Thai Coconut Soup

2 Tb. organic coconut oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped onion
3 chopped carrots
1 large white potato or sweet potato, cleaned and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup organic whole coconut milk
2 organic chicken breasts (4 oz. each)
1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned organic peas
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves (or any other chopped leafy green such as kale or bok choy)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
squeeze of lemon and/or 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro and/or basil for garnish–optional

Heat coconut oil in a small pot. Add minced garlic and chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent and very fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Add carrot, and potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add water or stock and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.

Add chicken and cover the pot. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the peas and the spinach or other greens to the soup and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt to taste, and garnish with the fresh lemon juice and herbs before serving, if desired.

Review: This was delicious! I made the chicken stock from scratch the day before, I used chicken bones and chicken feet from Soul Foods Farms, that might have made a difference. The veggies were all from my Terra Firma CSA box. I used swiss chard for the greens, I think chard or kale work better than spinach in soups, they don't get as mushy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beet Salad Take 2

Another try at a perfect beet salad. This was great the first time I made it and perfect the second. I used feta instead of goat cheese and added the corn.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta


6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (rice wine vinegar works too)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
7 medium-large beets (about 3 inches in diameter) with greens
2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) feta cheese
1 cup toasted Pine nuts
1 cup corn
½ cup chopped cilantro

Cut green tops off beets; reserve tops. Wash beets and seal in tin foil packets, bake at 375°F for 1 hour.

While the beets are cooking, cut stems off beet greens; discard stems. Wash greens. Transfer greens, with some water still clinging to leaves, to large pot. Stir over high heat until just wilted but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture. Cool; chop coarsely.

Transfer greens to medium bowl. Toss with oil and vinegar to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic, feta, pine nuts, capers, corn, and cilantro.

Sneak a taste!

When beets are done cooking, peel while still warm. Chop and add to salad.


Real Food Wednesday

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sunflower Sesame Crackers

I need some type of cracker to spread the liver pate on, so this seemed like a perfect solution. Grain and gluten free, made only from sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Sorry grandpa!

 1 cup each of sunflower and sesame seeds
 A little bit of water – about 1/4 cup

I soaked the seeds overnight in salt water to reduce the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors.

In a food processor, create a sort of flour from the sunflower seeds. It will take about 2-3 minutes for the seeds to break down and turn into a more flour-like consistency, although it will be thicker and heavier than regular flour.

Add the sesame seeds and pulse a few times and then slowly add water, stirring or pulsing until a thick paste forms that can be rolled out.

Between two greased pieces of parchment paper, roll out the paste as thinly as you can. Remove the upper piece of parchment.

Lightly score the batter into squares with a sharp knife, and sprinkle with salt and pepper/herbs if you’d like.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes, Allow to cool thoroughly before gently breaking into squares as scored.

Review: These turned out great! I served them with the liver pate for dinner tonight and Sarah ate them up. Next time I need to use more than one pan so I can roll the dough out a little thinner.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad

This recipe comes from epicurious with some additions by Monique Schaulis.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
7 medium-large beets (about 3 inches in diameter) with greens
2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) goat cheese (or Feta)
½ cup toasted Pine nuts
½ cup corn
Handful cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing generously with salt and pepper.

Cut green tops off beets; reserve tops. Arrange beets in single layer in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover; bake until beets are tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Peel beets while warm. Cut beets in half and slice thinly. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in capers and 1/4 cup dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut stems off beet greens; discard stems. Wash greens. Transfer greens, with some water still clinging to leaves, to large pot. Stir over high heat until just wilted but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture. Cool; chop coarsely.

Transfer greens to medium bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange beets in center of platter. Surround with greens; sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with any remaining dressing. Add corn and pine nuts.

Review: This is delicious. The way the different flavors come together is amazing. I'll definitely be making this again.

Skillet Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 Roma tomatoes
spinach or kale leaves, washed and cut (I used kale)
handful of fresh parsley
handful of fresh basil
½ handful fresh oregano
(you could substitute a few tsp dried parsley and basil and 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 cup ricotta cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese to top

Brown ground beef with onion and pepper. Add garlic for the last minute. Throw in everything else other than the cheeses and cook, covered, until vegetables are done.

Dollop ricotta on the top (do not stir) and finish off with mozzarella. Cover again over very low heat (or none) until cheese is melted.

Review: Sarah didn't like this, I'm not sure why. It's super healthy but nothing to write home about. I did get sheeps milk ricotta at Rainbow which was delicious. Next time I'd just mix ground beef, ricotta, and pizza sauce and it might be just as good!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella & Basil

8 large basil leaves, torn in half
8 small fresh mozzarella balls (about 1-inch in diameter), halved
8 ripe grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Arrange 8 slices of prosciutto flat on a cutting board and put a piece of basil on one end of each slice. Top each piece of basil with a piece of mozzarella and a tomato half, matching the cut sides to make a ball. Season very lightly with salt and generously with pepper and then roll up the balls in the prosciutto. Secure each with a toothpick and set on a platter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve.

Review: These are delicious. I'll eat these as appetizers and then eat them again for dinner and dessert. The prosciutto is a little hard to tear into the right size pieces but it is so worth it.

Sugar Free Layer Cake

Vanilla Layer:

Almond flour 1/2 cup
3 eggs
1 lemon

Mix ground almonds with egg yolks. Add the lemon juice and finely grated zest, plus sweetener and vanilla.

Whisk egg whites in a very clean large metal bowl until very stiff, then fold into the almond/yolk mix. Pour into a large shallow baking tin that has been lined with buttered baking parchment. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so, until the sponge is firm and golden.

Chocolate layer:

3 Eggs
1/4 cup cocoa

Beat the egg yolks and cocoa together in another bowl.

Add warm water a little at a time to this mix and keep beating well to keep the mixture smooth and lump free. The mix needs to be just 'loose' enough so that the egg whites can be incorporated easily without breaking down the foam. But not too sloppy and liquid. Try lifting some of the mix up on your wooden spoon.. it should drop off in dollops, but not in a liquid stream. It's like a thick batter. You can add vanilla and sweetener (or even cinnamon or coffee or orange zest) at this point.

Whisk egg whites until you can make little mountains that hold themselves up and don't collapse.

With a metal spoon very carefully and lightly fold the whisked egg white a little at a time into the cocoa/egg yolk mix. You should end up with a nice foamy mix.

As soon as the egg whites are folded pour onto parchment paper on pan and put in oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Whip up some heavy cream with sweetener, then layer between chocolate and vanilla layers. Voila!

Review: This looked amazing but really tasted just so-so. I have a hard time getting anything with chocolate to taste good with artifical sweeteners. It requires a huge amount of sweetener to overcome the bitter taste. But it's pretty.