Crispy Lemon Liver

Well, the votes are in and the liver recipe won out. 🙂  I’m not at all unhappy about that, because I happen to love liver – I have two pounds of chicken livers in my freezer and am going to give chopped liver a try in the near future.  At any rate, we have a ton of grass-fed liver in our freezer (and a source for much more) and I’m on a quest to find different ways to cook it.

This preparation?  Is delicious.

I have to agree with my friend Jason – most people dislike liver because they’ve never had it prepared properly.  You have to be very careful not to overcook it, or it will get dry, grainy and rubbery.  Yes, it can have a pretty strong flavor (which I happen to enjoy), but there are ways to mitigate that; mainly, marinate it.  I always soak beef liver in something before cooking it – it used to be milk, these days it’s coconut milk unless the recipe calls for a flavored marinade – use which ever works.  Calves and chicken livers have a more delicate taste and marinating is unnecessary, and I’m willing to bet they would be equally delicious in this recipe.

The original recipe for this called for dredging the liver in flour, so I substituted almond flour.  It gave the dish an interesting texture, but in retrospect is really not needed; in the future, I’ll probably omit it all together and simply cook the liver in the bacon fat, unadorned.   Leaving out the almond flour will significantly reduce the calories in the dish as well.

I’ve not forgotten about your requests for the rest of the dishes – I’ll post the recipes for the fingerlings, kohlrabi and broccoli soon.

Note:  If you really like lemon, sprinkle about a tablespoon of grated zest into the dish right before serving.  Also, if you’re avoiding dairy, substitute the butter with a good quality olive oil.

Crispy Lemon Liver

Crispy Lemon Liver

serves 4

8 slices bacon
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound beef liver, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towel, then crumble. Do not drain the bacon fat from the skillet.

Combine almond flour, dill, salt& pepper in a shallow dish; dredge the liver to coat well, shaking off any excess.  Add the coated liver to the skillet and fry over medium-high heat until crisp on outside but still moist inside (about 4-6 minutes). Remove the liver with a slotted spoon; cover and keep warm.

Discard any remaining fat from the skillet. Add the butter and melt over medium-low heat, scraping up all the brown bits. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and crumbled bacon. Return the liver to the pan and heat through.

Serve immediately.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Random Tuesday Good, Bad, Ugly

Good:  I was featured in an article on Yummly.com yesterday!  Woo-hoo!

Bad:  I’m fighting off some sort of crud; I’d love nothing more than to lie in bed all day, but I can’t.

Ugly:  I have several recipes to share with you, and am so completely unmotivated to do anything I need help deciding which one to post next.  Can you help a girl out?

 

Pan-Fried Fingerling Potatoes

 

If you choose this one, I’ll tell you why white potatoes aren’t going in to our regular mealtime rotation any time soon.

 

Crisp Lemon Liver

Oh, come on, now – liver is good for you, and if you know how to cook it properly, good tasting!

Spicy Kohlrabi with Apples

My first time cooking kohlrabi, and it was quite tasty indeed.

Green Beans and Heirloom Tomatoes

After canning all those darn beans, I figured we’d better eat some.  They were delicious.

Broccoli with Leeks and Peppers

This was all sorts of seasonal goodness.

Anyhoo – leave a comment telling me which recipe you’d like to see tomorrow, then head on over to Stacy’s for other, more motivated, randomness.

And have a lovely Tuesday, y’all.

Coconut-Curry Grilled Chicken

Well, happy Monday y’all.

I think. *yawn*

Personally, I could use another day off.  The weekend was great, but we spent most of it canning – to the tune of 16 pints of fresh green beans, 18 pints of fresh tomato sauce and 8 pints of garlic dill pickles.  I wanted to do apple butter, too, but just ran out of time (and energy).  I do have to say, though, that I really do love canning (which is a good thing, since I think we’re going to spend next weekend doing the same thing), and the shelves in my basement are beginning to fill up rapidly with lard, tallow, beef stock, chicken stock, pickles, carrots, green beans and tomato sauce.  I have half a mind to can some sweet corn and fingerling potatoes while they’re they’re still in season, but, well, I’ll tell you why I probably won’t later this week.  *shrugs* You can never tell, though – the thought of home-canned vegetables of any variety in the dead of a very long Ohio winter is very appealing.

At any rate, in an attempt to make quick and easy meals this weekend while Beloved and I were up to our elbows in canning supplies, our grill saw a great deal of action.  We had two cut-up whole chickens in our freezer and I really wanted to marinate them in buttermilk, but you know I couldn’t do that so I settled for looking for chicken marinades containing coconut milk.  This is the one I settled on, and holy moley, is it GOOD.  There is just enough curry powder to make it fragrant but not overwhelm the other flavors, and the turmeric gives the chicken a lovely golden color.

The original recipe called for fish sauce and cilantro, but since I had neither (most readily available fish sauces contain sugar – many contain HFCS) the tamari and lime juice were perfectly acceptable substitutes – the lime juice lent lent the marinade a nice tartness, as buttermilk would have.  Feel free to use comparable amounts of fish sauce and cilantro if you like.

Note:  The calorie and carb count on the printable version are somewhat overstated, since most of the marinade is discarded.

Coconut-Curry Grilled Chicken

Coconut-Curry Grilled Chicken

serves 8

4 pounds chicken pieces (legs, wings, thighs, legs)
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder

Place the chicken in a large glass dish, just big enough to hold all the pieces. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl; pour marinade over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces periodically, for 2 to 8 hours.

Drain the chicken and discard the marinade.

Prepare your grill. When the coals are red in the center and coated in ash, grill the chicken for five minutes per side, or until golden brown. Move the chicken away from the direct heat and continue cooking, covered and turning occasionally, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º F, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and the chicken is no longer pink at the bone, about half an hour.

If you cannot or do not wish to grill, pour the marinade off of the chicken and bake at 350º F for 45 minutes.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

 

A Pain In The Butt

Yesterday, I re-ran a post from April 2010 where I wrote about taking my dog, Scooter (who is a dachshund/beagle mix), to the vet.  I made a humorous story out of it, which was fine since there were many humorous elements to it.  But the reason for the visit wasn’t humorous, and it isn’t today – mostly because what was wrong with Scooter is still wrong with him.  In fact, he will suffer from it for the rest of his life.

Scooter has an autoimmune disease centered in his anal glands.  This basically means that his own immune system is attacking his body.  Because of this, he has had several infections and been on several rounds of corticosteroids.  Prednisone, to be exact.  And while it breaks my heart to see my sweet little dog suffering, either from the disease or the medication we must give him to treat the disease (long term corticosteroid use is no joke), I have to face the fact that I am responsible for his illness.

You see, I feed my family, which includes the dog.  And until about 6 months ago, Scooter ate dry dog food – Kibbles ‘N’ Bits Beefy Bits to be exact.

I can’t say he enjoyed it.  We never had to portion it – I’d pour about a cup in his bowl in the morning and it would be gone by the next morning, but it took him a full 24 hours to eat that small amount.  He ate it very grudgingly and only when he was very hungry.   In the meantime, he’d follow anyone and everyone every time they walked into the kitchen, hoping for a handout of “people food.”  (Yes, he often got it.)

The fact that he did not particularly care for his dog food never really struck me as odd – I mean, if you lived in my house and got a taste of the food that came out of my kitchen, would you want to eat dry dog kibble?  However, once we eliminated processed food from our diet, it occurred to me to think about the processed food I was feeding my four-legged baby.  So, I read the ingredients and was immediately appalled.

Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, beef, water sufficient for processing, animal digest, propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, titanium dioxide, calcium sulfate, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, BHA (used as a preservative), potassium sorbate, dl methionine.

How on earth anyone could possibly pass that off as nutritious for any living thing, even a dog, is beyond me.

Unlike cats, dogs are not obligate carnivores; their digestive tracts can handle a certain amount of vegetable matter.  However, if people are not adapted to refined grains, soy, corn syrup, preservatives such as BHA and artificial food colorings (and we’re NOT), how could a dog be?  Especially when you consider that commercial dog food didn’t even exist until the late 1860s.  Our pets have not had 11,000 years to “adapt” to a diet heavy in grains.  And just what the heck is “animal digest??”  It sounds disgusting, and this is coming from a woman who is planning on cooking a cow’s tongue this weekend.

At any rate, there is growing evidence that autoimmune disorders and diseases are linked to the consumption of grains, particularly wheat, and I see no reason why this would be less true for a dog than a human being.  Couple large amounts of corn and wheat with equally large amounts amounts of soy (which I can assure you are GMO), preservatives, inferior sources of protein, chemicals and artificial colors and you literally have a recipe for a sick pet.

The minute we read the ingredients of the food we were feeding Scooter, we took him off of it and I began preparing his food myself.  At first, it was a mixture of cooked ground beef, white rice (which is simply pure starch) and vegetables, with offal of some sort mixed in occasionally.   This seemed to help a great deal for awhile, but he recently had a bad flare-up which has him back on antibiotics and Prednisone, so I’ve removed the rice from his diet and am feeding him mostly raw ground beef (CAFO beef, but it has got to be better for him than corn syrup and “wheat middlings”), eggs, whatever meat we are having for dinner, and raw liver or other offal when I’m preparing it for my human family.

I guess the point of this post is that while you’re thinking about what you feed your family, please don’t forget about those who can’t speak up for themselves.  And I’ll keep you updated on how Scooter does on his new diet.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday

Pardon My Language

This week’s Spin Cycle is about “language.”   Unfortunately, due to extreme busyness here, while I’ve been formulating a post – The G Man has really started to talk – I have not had time to sit down and actually organize my thoughts.  However, I remembered this post from over a year ago; it is more than appropriate.  Have a lovely Thursday, y’all.

As parents, Beloved and I like to think we have done/are doing a reasonably good job of teaching our children the importance of language.  We must be, because they all have above-average vocabularies and none of them have any problem expressing themselves, especially verbally.

Most of the time I’m grateful, as well as proud, of that…although I have to admit there are times I’d like to jab my own eardrums out with an icepick.  (Is a little peace and quiet around here too much to ask?!?!)

We’ve never made much of a fuss about the kids using curse words, at least once they reach about 14, simply because the words lose their shock value if we don’t freak out unduly.  Oh, I’ll tell them to tone it down if they’re getting carried away, and I also like to remind them, from time to time, that excessive cursing is the refuge of the ignorant and illiterate – those who cannot not find a more appropriate way to express themselves.

That being said, I’ve been known to utter a few choice words myself from time to time and when I’m really, really angry I start channeling Lenny Bruce – my, shall we say, creative use of language could peel the bark off of a tree.  Or stop a teenager dead in their tracks.

Sometimes, the choice words just slip out all on their own.  Usually in the most inappropriate place possible.

As I mentioned recently, poor Scooter has been having a little difficulty doing his doggy business out in the back yard.  So yesterday I took an hour off from work and we paid the vet a visit.  Now, Scooter is kind of what you’d call “high strung” and he does not like being handled, especially by strangers.  Then there’s the small fact that he doesn’t like his vet at all (yes, we’re looking for another).

This visit started reasonably well – at least, Scooter didn’t try to bite off any of the vet’s fingers.  He let himself be picked up and placed on the examination table, and let himself be poked and prodded.  The vet said he seemed all right, but he wanted to do a rectal exam.  I gave my consent, and they took him from the room.

NOT a good sign.  About 30 seconds later, I heard my poor dog begin to yelp, and squeal and then, finally, shriek.  This went on for 3 hours about 15 seconds before it stopped and the poor, harried-looking assistant brought him back in and pointed to his leash, indicating silently yet eloquently that I was to restrain my little monster.  The vet then came in to tell me that he never got to do the exam – all that noise was just from touching Scooter’s backside.  He then proceeded to tell me that I’d have to bring my baby back in and drop him off so they could sedate him and perform the exam.  (Note:  Scooter has similar reactions to having his nails trimmed without prior medication, so we don’t know if it was because he was sore back there, or if it was simply due to his temperament.)

Was I crazy about the idea?  No, but I want to make sure my dog is healthy, so I agreed and the vet ushered me back out into the waiting area with what I thought was just a tad too much enthusiasm.

So.  I have a small dog who is excitable under the best of circumstances and has just spent 20 minutes in a place he doesn’t like, being poked and prodded by a person he doesn’t like, only to have this person he doesn’t like try to, well, go in via the out door.  Frankly, I’d probably be a little skittish myself – poor Scooter was bouncing off the walls.

I’m also ashamed to admit that Scooter doesn’t have a lot of interaction with other dogs during the normal course of daily life, so when he does find himself in an environment with more than, say, one other dog (he ignores cats, oddly enough) the whole “excitable” thing kicks up a notch or two to “frantic.”  When we were shoved escorted back to the waiting area , it was populated by a small lhasa apso, a springer spaniel puppy and a full-grown, standard boxer that, if it stood on its hind legs, would have been taller than me by six inches.

It was a recipe for disaster.

Scooter immediately tried to eat the head of the puppy, and when that didn’t work he decided an attempt to disembowel the boxer was in order (the lhasa apso was snatched off of the ground by his owner, who promptly went to cower in the corner).  I reeled Scooter’s leash in and latched it, while trying to simultaneously keep him behind me and keep an eye on the boxer, who looked like he was wondering how many bites it would take to consume a 17-pound dachshund/beagle mix.

While all of that was going on, the receptionist was shoving 12 different consent forms in my face so they could sedate my demon hound from Hell Scooter on his return visit, all while explaining (poorly) to me what all they were going to do to him and trying to get me to look at a list of charges so I’d know exactly how much I the whole fiasco was going to cost.

Then my phone rang, and because of my contract of indentured servitude I take business calls on my cell phone I cannot ignore it.  So I am answering my phone and trying to sign the 12 different consent forms and letting the receptionist know yes – I want the heartworm AND flea and tick medication and trying to keep an eye on a very large dog and trying not to step on my own dog while I shield him from the very large dog with my chubby little body when snap!

The catch on Scooter’s leash popped loose and he shot across the floor as if he’d been launched from a cannon, straight at the boxer.

Stumbling and barely keeping my balance, I dropped my phone, threw the pen and papers at the receptionist, grabbed Scooter’s leash and yanked, snapping him back just as the boxer was preparing to receive a small snack of wiener dog, hold the mustard.

And yelled “MOTHER F*CKER!!!!

At the top of my lungs.

Believe it or not, they’re still willing to see him on Friday.  But I may never know who called.