Alarita Cider Turkey Breast

We haven’t made too big of a deal about it yet, but we will now. Brittany Ridge Farms now has Turkey Breast. This means the NCF Store now has Turkey Breast. SWMBO & I have had some fun filling our families bellies with these wonders. Now I have to share. Even if I don’t want to share.

The one thing I try to keep out of my house is processed lunch meat. I try to make a bit extra at dinner for a light lunch for us for the next day. Somehow there are rarely leftovers on meat though no matter how hard I try.  This means that once or twice a week I make an extra roast. Or if I make a Turkey Breast then my family has plenty of meat left over for a few sandwiches. And as much as my family loves the Herb Butter Recipe from Thanksgiving I prefer something a bit different from time to time.

The one thing we still need to do with Turkey though is Brine. Turkey is just too low in fat through the muscle to make it a moist meat without Brining.  I recommend that you simply make the Brince the night before drop your Turkey Breast in it. Then cook it the next day the perfect brine time is somewhere between 12-23 hours. Some folks I know do a 36 hour brine, I only recommend this if you are using a bird that hasn’t had time to properly rest after being harvested. Brine is a simple recipe 4 tablespoons of Kosher Salt to 4 cups of water.

Turkey Breast is sold in the NCF store for $10 per lb. The breasts weigh between 2.5-3 lbs. I usually get a dinner and 2 days of sandwiches for my family of 3. I then use the carcass to make soup. Waste not Want not.

Alarita Dry Rub is now a constant in my kitchen. I’ve gone through 2 bottles in the past year. I use it for roast vegetables and meats alike. It is a solid product at $8 a bottle.  It take a ho hum green bean or eggplant to “ooooo green bean & eggplant”. The tiny bit of brown sugar in it balances the flavor for herby flavor.


Balsamic & Wine Beef Shank

Oh beef shank how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Beef Shank is one of the most versatile roasting cuts of meat we have in the store.  Sold in pack of 2 it is great for just 2 people. Packs range from 1-2 lbs due to the increasing size as the butcher works their way up the leg. At $8.49 per lb it is a pretty good deal for small households. In fact I really can’t tell you the last time I made a huge chuck roast. 1-2 packs gives my family of 3 plenty to eat with leftovers for another meal.

Rich in flavor, lightly marbled, & plenty of connective shank must be cooked for a long time.  Don’t let it scare you off though. It is the perfect piece to throw in to the crock pot or dutch oven then come home to at night. In fact I’m going to recommend that you use the crockpot on low for this one for 6-7 hours. I used my dutch oven for 4 hours then complained that dinner wasn’t ready yet. Jeanette made fun of me deservedly so. It came out perfectly done 2 hours later.  Tonight my family will enjoy it for dinner, meats dishes always taste better the 2nd day anyways.

She keeps me oh so humble.


Cube Steak Alarita Style

Have we all recovered from the “This is Us” crockpot episode? I may never! Rutabaga’s need to use my oven on the daily basis to bake desserts has me using my new trusty crockpot to all of my friends & family’s glee.  After my 2 decades of disdain for crockpot they are all getting a great laugh that I’m using one.  I’ll sit here and eat my humble pie. I’m still not happy with relying on the darn thing. My tween  baker though needs to experiment and bake tasty desserts much to my waistlines demise.

The crazy weather we have been having is wrecking my weekly menu. Today and tomorrow will be in the 60’s the rest of the week will be 40’s. The nice thing though is that it is sunnier here in Raleigh than it was in Nashville during February. I remember one February back in the early 2000’s that we had 0 days of sunshine in Nashville. Good sunshine goes a long ways on cold days.

The folks at Alarita are always full of sunshine though. It is a great family business where I have yet to see one of them smiling. It is pretty contagious when you’re around them. Their happiness for life translates into their products giving you bright happy flavors. Their dry rub has a great herb mixture for my tomatoes with just enough sweetness to dampen the acidity.  The dry rub also works well on roasted veggies. The first time I met Jeanette I took her roasted eggplant with Alarita on it. She was an instant fan & is the one behind my home canned tomatoes I’ll be using today.

Cube steak is a machine tenderized coming from the round. Typically top round. It is one that needs a slow cooking process to help make it tender. Hello Crockpot.  In each package  of NCF Cube steak there are 3-4 steak(mostly 4)  priced at $9 per lb. Perfectly portioned for a hearty meal when the sun goes down and it turns cold out.  Alarita Seasoning runs $8 a bottle, buy it this will not be the only recipe you use it for.  This is one spice I use frequently in my cooking. Finally I’m going to top this meal at the end with Redneck Romano as tomatoes slow cooked beg for cheese. Redneck Romano is sold for 9.45 per lb and is sold in 8 oz wedges in our store.

Now to  throw everything into the pot set it and forget it till dinner. Try not to think of Jack too much.

Rabbit Cassoulet

Rabbit is becoming more of a mainstay among the American diet. I have started seeing several friends posting that they are having rabbit for dinner. When my family dines out we are seeing it on the menu more often. Why? Rabbit is a great hardy animal to raise for meat. The best part is it’s the healthiest meat & most environmentally friendly meat you can buy.  We just have to overcome the idea of what is in your head.

Cassoulet comes to use from France named for its cooking vessel.  You can use any meat to make this versatile dish. Duck, Rabbit, Chicken , Beef, & Pork can all be used. (If using red meat switch to Pinot Noir and add 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste).  If you need to make it fast use 2 cans of beans and lower the amount of of liquids to 1 cup wine & 1 cup broth. If using chicken then use chicken broth instead of beef.  If I was only only allowed 1 meal it would be Rabbit Cassoulet. The scent of this dish stayed in my house overnight, making me wish I had more of it to eat for breakfast.

Rabbit runs in the NCF Store for $10.50 per lb. Each rabbit weighs between 2.5 lbs and 3.5 lbs.  If we hadn’t had friends over for dinner this easily would have fed our family for several  meals. In this dish we also use NCF Italian Mild Sausage which sells for $10 per lb.  The rabbit and sausage pair perfectly together giving a great flavor profile.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

I have embraced the crock pot. Many of you have spoken and the crock pot is the best way for dinner to make it to the table every night. Not eating out is the goal, right? It certainly is more me. As of today, in the past 5 nights we have had to eat dinner out 4 nights. My stomach is not pleased.  Vowing to not have this happen again I pulled out my old friend Renee’s Crock Pot Italian Chicken.

Shredding the chicken is easy. Place the breast only in you mixer with the paddle attachment once cooked. Turn on low. This will shred your chicken.  Once shredded add your liquids back to the meat. Do not walk away as your mixer works. That is a quick way to end up with powdered chicken.

To serve alongside this I typically throw in peas or broccoli at the end of the cooking process. Green Beans or just about any other veggie other than lettuce would work well. Cabbage would probably be a great way to mix it up. I think I’ll need to try that soon. We traditionally serve this over rice or pasta.

Christy over at Brittany Ridge grows the best tasting Chicken on the market in my humble opinion. Her birds get plenty of grass and a great omnivore diet from her free range methods. The one thing I notice when I open a package of her meat is there is no smell. Grocery store chicken has always smelled awful to me.  Smells tend to tell the quality in my book.  The other clue. The fat color, yellow is the golden key in pastured meats and Christy’s birds have it.  When I used to buy organic chicken in bulk I noticed the fat went from yellow to then gray.   Fat should not be gray, eww just NO!

In the NCF store Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast runs $12 per lb. A whole Cut Up Chicken is $6.50 per lb and a Whole Chicken is $4.50 per lb. My recommendation is to buy the Whole and just double this recipe.  Then you will get several meals for your hard earned $$.



Eye of Round with Mustard Herb Crust

Christmas time is here! Holiday cooking makes my soul sing, rich heavy flavors followed by bright sides are my thing.

This year we are a bit low on Prime Rib as we have 1 very ambitious client. Therefore let’s look at the Eye of Round for our Holiday Meal. Thinly sliced, it will set a beautiful table with it’s own natural juices.  With the mustard herbed  crust it will bring flavor.

I’m going to use Lusty Monk in this dish. When fresh from the jar it can be quite spicy.  As the mustard cooks though, the heat of the spice mellows. Preparing the roast the night before enhances the flavor and allows the marinade to mature, you’ll get the deep rich flavor, perfect for Christmas dinner.

Having a Holiday Party? This dish can also be slices thinly and served on yeast rolls or rolled by itself a fancy toothpick. No toothpicks lay a fancy fork on a plate with the meat displayed in a pretty Carpaccio pattern.

Looking for another Holiday meal try my Brisket Tostada Recipe. Serve it roast style, last year our client Donna served it with rolls at a holiday party, the brisket was a big hit with her family. Want another fun dish for the Lusty Monk? Try our Deli Ham Roll-Ups. And you can always pair the Lusty Monk with our Bratwurst and Two Chicks Farm Sauerkraut. <— SWMBO’s Favorite store combo

Pan Seared Chicken Hearts

I can see the Eww’s coming across the screen already. Hold tight though and take a trip further into the Culinary World.  Recently we’ve had several international clients request Chicken Hearts.  After consideration and a few rounds of cooking them. I declare they are tasty must have treats. Easy to make and man are they good, like I now crave them type of good.  The taste and flavor is as if a steak and a chicken thigh mixed together.

This past March my husband had to travel to Brazil on business. When he returned he raved about the food and being forced to try new things. Now the man is not the most adventurous eater due to some food allergies (okra and shellfish). In fact we were a bit worried about the language barrier and proceeded to take a crash course in Portuguese so he could safely eat. To hear he was trying new food excited me so I asked what his favorites were to spice up our weekly menu.  When he said chicken hearts I about dropped my jaw on the floor.  In fact he couldn’t wait to share them with the family. I’ll cook most anything he requests.  Let’s go!

Note: Your house will get smokey. Open 2 widows and place a fan in  each window. One pointing in one pointing out.

Chicken Hearts are provided by our wonderful partner Christy over at Brittany Ridge Farms located in Hookerton, NC. We charge $4 lb for these tasty morsels.  These are quite simple to cook quickly and would be great served with salad or as the meat component to a meal. Have a party and offer them as a daredevil bite. Drop by today from 2-6 to get your own.

Have I scared you off yet? Just remember in this whole Farm to Fork world we need to eat all parts of the animal not just a few.  Try them you won’t regret it.