Steakhouse Au Gratin Potatoes

Winter will just not end, somebody please go capture spring and tell it, its suppose to be Spring. My poor garden is completely perplexed at what it should be doing currently.

I’m taking advantage of this extra cold spell to continue cooking my winter comfort foods. This recipe for Steakhouse Au Gratin Potatoes has passed around my girls friends and I’m not sure where it is originally from. We have all added our own personal take on it. For me, my addition was simple ground mustard. Ground mustard adds a level of depth in the flavor when it comes to cheese dishes. Dress this dish up with some pancetta or add some earthiness with mushrooms. All around it is a solid dish that you can play around with.

This recipe uses two things from the NCF store Simply Natural Dairy Heavy Cream and Ashe Co Redneck Romano Cheese. The heavy cream is is $4.60 and the Romano is 9.45 per lb.

Tacos

Has Taco Tuesday been a regular event in your household for years? It has been in mine. Our daughter loves Taco Tuesday. We do a variety of tacos, fajitas, & enchiladas to keep up variety. Rutabaga never realized that Taco Tuesday was an actual thing until the Lego Movie came out.  Now that she knows it is a thing she is try to also get a Taco Thursday on the schedule every week. Some weeks I give in. My tween could eat tacos at every meal.

 

One of the things that I like to do is avoid spice packets. High Blood Pressure and Heart disease run through my family like the Mississippi.  Those nice little flavor packets at the grocery store are easily reproducible at home with an even better flavor.  And the great news is that you can control the sodium. While I love Pinterest for their recipes I hate the “packet of this, packet of that” recipes. When you look at the sodium suddenly you’re eating a weeks worth of sodium in one sitting. Eeek! In the NCF store we sell the taco shells for $5.75 per pack.

Let’s talk taco shells for just a moment. While the  filling of the taco is important so is the shell. Typically I prefer soft shell, however we recently began carrying Mamacita’s Taco Shells.  You know those yummy Tortilla Chips that we carry. They’re now making them into Taco Shells.

This recipe is simple just use quality ingredients. Ground Beef in the NCF store is $7.99 a lb. Ground Chuck (if you want a steak flavor) is $8.75 lb. Both of these grounds run fairly low fat. I do not drain off the fat. I’m a believer that fat is what makes your brain release the hormones to let you know to quit eating.

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.

5 Spice Sticky Ribs

Traditionally Ninja Cow sells English style thick cut short ribs. These are great for the crock pot or dutch oven. For smaller families I recommend them or shanks instead of roasts. They have great flavor  & texture while still being quite a bit cheaper. This is what I usually feed my family  since we are now a party of 3 these days. The bonus is you can be pretty versatile with these and use any leftovers for sandwiches or fajitas.

This past spring we began getting requests for a thinner Asian style rib. I talked to Chaudhry’s. Unfortunately they couldn’t get us down to the 1/4″ that I had desired. The were able to cut them much thinner and horizontal to give me a more versatile product for grilling and stir frying.  Wait did I just say the word fry? Hmm what could be more delicious than an Asian style sticky rib. Ooo I have that 5 spice from the Drunk Duck.  

Boys & girls this is where being a Chef becomes 1 part art and another part mad scientist.  Last year I had a 5 spice rib on a food truck. I talked watched and learned now it is time to recreate with this awesome rib here at home. This will be a project where irresponsible children should not be in the kitchen. And one where distractions should be kept to a minimum.  And where I kinda wish I had one of those new fancy air fryers. After I remove the rib from the frying oil I will immediately be dredging in brown sugar. The heat will caramelize the sugar and spice to the rib. To add a bit of crisp to that we will hit it with the broiler.  MMMMM, let’s go.

The cost on ribs in the  Ninja Cow Store is $7.99 a lb.  That is roughly $1.75-$3 a lb cheaper than our roasts. And since we now carry the 2 different cuts they are quite versatile.  Let me also give an honorable mention to the Beef Osso Bucco cut at $8.49 lb. That is the perfect amount for 1-2 people, it is a perfect crock pot cut as well.

Beef Ossu Bucco with Balsamic & Red Wine

Other than a hurricane, September has been lovely. Warm days, cool nights just as fall should be. Minus that whole hurricane part. The cool weather has me wanting to serve stew on a nightly basis. My family though is not willing to eat stew nightly.  Beef Osso Bucco to the rescue.

A few weeks ago I bought a Crock Pot (I still haven’t recovered from the shame).  This was the first meal other than bone broth I decided to cook. Homeschool classes are in full swing and somehow I let SWMBO talk me into adding on an extra Math class.  7 Classes ya’ll what was I thinking.  If Rutabaga doesn’t revolt, my self preservation might.

This act of over scheduling now has me using the Crock Pot.  I must admit coming home after work the other day to a house full of good meals was pretty awesome. Dinner was served with 10 minutes. The texture of the meat was good so I can’t complain and I may start using the beast more often.

Beef Osso Bucco is a savory dish  with a silky texture that cooking . Osso Bucco is a fatty cut of the shanks. The tendons and fat break down giving us that beautiful texture.  It is perfect to serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

One of the recent additions to the NCF Store is also been featured in  dish Balsamic Vinegar. SMBO picked Vom Fass  as our source for Balsamic Vinegar. While it is not locally made it is a local franchise in Cary.  The flavor is brilliant and consistent brightening many a dish up with its flavor.  Once you buy the bottle you can bring your bottle back to us for refills. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Rabbit Bog

 

Rabbit love it hate it, it is a tremendous renewable food source. When we talk about healthy meats this is the one that gives you bang for the buck. There is little fat in rabbit meat and the cholesterol is quite low.

According to Off Grid News “Rabbit has the lowest cholesterol value of any meat product. Compared to the next two lowest, chicken and pork (both with a value of 230 mg per serving), rabbit has a mere 164 mg of cholesterol. Rabbit is the lowest calorie meat per serving at 795 calories per pound vs 810 for chicken, 840 for veal, 1190 for turkey, and 1440 for beef. Pork weighs in at a whopping 2050 calories per pound. Rabbit meat is the HIGHEST in protein compared to chicken, fish, lamb, pork and even beef! Rabbit meat is highly digestible and recommended by the USDA for children and the elderly.The USDA also proclaims rabbit meat “the most nutritious meat known to man.””

After an unfortunate childhood rabbit incident I refused to eat rabbit.  At that point in time I got mad at myself and made my husband take me  out for rabbit for my 35th  birthday.  Since then I have extremely slowly begun to work with it. This past spring I took a rabbit butchering class at Standard Foods here in Raleigh.  I brought home my rabbit pieces and made them for lunch the next day.  We all loved them so yes I’m finally 30 some odd  years later am going to regularly make rabbit for dinner.

Tonight’s recipe is for beginners. Something to lesson the blow to the kids that you have a meat source. It won’t be recognizable, I usually find that the best way to start. and with a long slow cooking aromas they won’t be able to resist either.

Bogs are simple, you boil a rabbit or chicken in salted water for 2 hours. Next up you de-bone it(save the water) add rice and cook down until the rice is soft. The rice will take on a new texture making this dish more of a stew.  There will be left overs, freeze them and save for another rainy cold night when you won’t have much time on hand.


Lengua Tacos

Organ meats are a new item in my house. The lead in charge of this are two unlikely suspects. Two that forever have told me to go eat my hippie foods. My husband and our daughter, Rutabaga.   Earlier this spring Rutabaga decided she liked grossing people out by eating weird things.  Her new favorite food coming from this is Lengua or Cow’s tongue tacos.

Getting my hands on a Cow Tongue was harder than you think. They are one of the first things to sell when we get a cow back from Chaudry’s.  Only because we took a 2nd cow in July did I get one. And I justified it with my birthday, my  wish was to make my kiddos dream of Mama making her favorite dish come true.

Now for the cooking it is a 2 part procedure. First you will boil the tongue with the spices. Next pull out the person in your house that likes to do weird science. Step three chop & fry in a pan.  After the boiling & weird science portion you could actually slice the tongue thinly as a roast. There are limited photos in this recipe as many of you have a strong ick factor.

Red Beans & Rice with Linguica

Weeping Radish products have been a great addition to the Ninja Cow Farm Store and our own personal pantries.  When we first ordered the new sausages we were faced with lots of decisions. One of the new things we brought in is Linguica. Linguica is a firm peppery sausage made with Red Wine that has Portuguese origins.

I finally sat down and tried it a few weeks back, Red Beans & Rice came to my mind. During our 7 years in Florida I had many chances to work with folks from other countries. One of my favorite recipes I picked up was out of Puerto Rico from a family friend. In her recipe a homemade sausage was used. It was quite reminiscent of the Linguica we are now carrying in the store. The dried nature of this sausage helps it stand up to the cooking time involved. The flavor is powerful enough to help flavor the dish yet it retains flavors for each bite of the Linguica as well.

The secret to my Red Beans & Rice is a homemade Sofrito. You take onions, peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, & cilantro. You cook them all down together for a short while letting the flavors meld. I must confess though. For the 2nd year in a row my onions didn’t grow. And I never got around to planting garlic last year fall. This year though I have grand plans. With my peppers still growing and my cilantro dead I did have to take a trip to the grocery store.  At least my jalapenos & tomatoes are growing well.

This recipe makes a massive amount, feeding at least 10 people if not more.  And it will be more. I froze several meals worth after dinner.  In the Ninja Cow Farm Store we sell Linguica doe $10.50 lb. With only using 1 lb of sausage in this dish along with the remaining ingredients should bring this dish to under $25.  Not to bad for a one dish meal that feeds a crowd.

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.

Smoky BBQ Style Oven Brisket

Last weekend my family hosted the tween girls on the farm for dinner & movie. Having 4 tween girls between 3 families is full laughter and sometimes a tiny bit of drama, I brought the drama on myself this night. We made homemade pizzas for 3 of the girls then came the 4th, who has a strong dislike of pizza. For her I made oven smoked bbq style ribs. Next thing I hear from my very own Rutabaga. ” Mom, will you make me some BBQ Brisket for the 4th of July?”

Now for those of you who have met Rutabaga she is cute as can be. When she asks for something so sweetly & homemade to boot I can’t resist. Then to top it off she said those works all Momma’s want to hear. ” Mom, will you teach me how to make it too.” This led to a tiny bit of jealousy from Daddy who she normally bakes with. They are my baking team.  After the BBQ was going Daddy promptly made a cherry dump cake with Rutabaga to get in a cooking lesson himself.

With our recent March 1st price cut on Beef our brisket became alot more affordable. The price went from $12.99 lb to $9.25 lb, nice eh? Our briskets are also cut family style into quarters making them between 3-4 lbs each. Enough to feed a crowd. To top off the Brisket I used Buh’s The Sweet Side Sauce which retails in the NCF  Store for $5 a bottle.  I only used the sauce to drizzle across the brisket, leaving enough for at least 2 more dinners if not more.

Full disclosure- my smoker is off limits to me at the moment (I got sick).  If you want to to this on the smoker I recommend using hickory wood and keeping the grill at 225. Cook for 3-4 hours until fork tender. These smaller cuts cook quick so keep an eye on the heat. Always remember fat side up. If you need a little insurance cover extremely loosely in aluminum foil