Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'll Make Lamb (With Gnocchi)

Now that I'm eating limited meat again, I'm almost already bored of it. Since I can't eat beef and we chose to limit our pork consumption due to the recent purchase of a family pig, that doesn't leave a lot of popular meat. Chicken is the most likely solution but who wants to eat chicken all the time?

Never fear, Windy Hill Farms has lamb! As do many farms in North Carolina along with goat many places as well. Windy Hill has an amazing lamb chorizo sausage that I just discovered recently. I've made other chorizo recipes here before but I decided to be a little crazy this time. I got some sweet potato gnocchi from Rio Bertolini at the Atherton Market. Onions and leeks are also all over the market these days as well as the standard kale varieties, of which my new favorite is German kale which is strong and a little salty. Throw all this together on a weeknight and we had a super easy meal Hamburger Helper would be jealous of...

Lamb Chorizo With Gnocchi (LPO)
4 links lamb chorizo sausage
2 leeks, sliced thin up to the green part
2-3 spring onions, sliced thin up to the green stem
Garlic, minced, to taste
1 package sweet potato gnocchi
1 large handful chopped kale
  1. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil to medium-high. Add all garlic, leeks and onions.
  2. Simmer until they've softened then add the sausage (remove the skin).
  3. Cook until mixed (note: you may have to help the sausage break up). Add kale, cover and turn heat down to medium-low.
  4. Make the gnocchi and cook until just before done. Drain.
  5. Add gnocchi to the sausage mixture. Turn once or twice until just mixed and heated through. Don't mix too much or it will break up the gnocchi.
  6. Serve hot!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Having been largely vegetarian for a couple years, I got super tired of portobello mushrooms being on every restaurant's menu as the only veggie option. Sure, they're great, but use your imagination and make something other than mushrooms! I pretty much ignored them on all menus on principle until now.

Two reasons: first, my nutritionist suggested adding more mushrooms to my diet. They have bacteria in them that are especially good for sensitive tummies and are full of great nutrients. Second, one of the vendors at the Atherton Market has started selling portobello mushrooms from a farm in north Georgia (which is as local as we are going to get around here).

So when I saw these beauties at the market last week, I had to have one. The one I bought was massive - a good 7 inches in diameter! - and really just perfect in every way a mushroom can be. I went online and found a great recipe which I altered somewhat for what I had in the fridge this weekend. The rice, as always, is from Queen City Pantry and I could have easily used my canned tomatoes had I not had some fresh ones left over from an event. This recipe is per-mushroom is easily scalable for a larger batch (I only made one).

Tomato and Rice Stuffed Portobello (v)
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/4 tomato, diced
1/8 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 portobello mushroom, black gills removed
1-2 tablespoons Romano cheese (optional)
  1. Place the mushroom gill side down on a cookie sheet. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil and add onions and garlic. Cook until soft. 
  3. Remove from heat and add cooked rice, tomato and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Spoon mixture into upturned mushroom. Sprinkle top with cheese (optional).
  5. Broil for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is a little brown on top.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Foray Back into Omnivory

If you've been keeping up with recent blog posts, you'll know that I've been instructed by my nutritionist to add meat back into my diet. The problem is that I've committed to eating only local, humanely-raised and minimal hormone meat which poses a problem since most restaurants can't guarantee this. So what's a girl to do?

The answer is: look around you. There are so many local producers of high quality meat in the US, and Charlotte specifically, that you don't have to compromise your values to get animal protein. Thus, I went back to my old friends at Windy Hill Farms and have been trying some of their new or premier products. Last week, I made my favorite tomato sauce from my owned canned tomatoes but added their new ground chicken and some red pepper flakes.  It was incredible, if I don't say so myself.

This week, I wanted to revamp my barbeque pork recipe. I got a pork roast from Windy Hill and used my large crock pot. This time, however, instead of just eating BBQ, I made some fajitas. Here's how I cooked the BBQ after following the above recipe using some rice from Queen City Pantry. You can get taco seasoning from Savory Spice Shop and, if it were a little later in the year, you could also get the tomatoes and cilantro from pretty much any produce vendor in NC.

Pork Fajitas (LPO)

Two good handfuls of pork BBQ, pulled apart by hand
1/2 large yellow onion, cut in 1" strips
Taco seasoning to taste
About 2 cups cooked rice
Cilantro and diced tomato (optional)
  1. Simmer the onions in some olive oil or butter until soft.
  2. Add the the BBQ and simmer for 5-10 minutes and flavor with taco seasoning
  3. Serve with rice, cilantro, tomatoes and Greek yogurt or your favorite toppings.
This made three healthy burrito-sized fajitas using large tortillas.