Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's day cookies

My son had his Valentine's day party on Friday because they have no school this Monday.

I wanted him to have a treat to take to school, since at his school it's popular to send kids home with mounds of junk food each holiday. :( And no, the school doesn't distribute this crap -- it's his classmates.

Clark REALLY wanted to have heart-shaped cookies. I swear to you, I have not picked up a cookie cutter since before Clark was born, but I dutifully dug out my large ziplock bag of cutters from the old days.

And lo, I did find a tiny heart! And a wonderful recipe for Star Cookies from Elana's pantry.

NOTE: I did make some substitutions -- unblanched Trader Joe's almond flour instead of blanched, honey for the agave nectar, and I don't put any frosting or anything on the cookies. I also used mostly palm shortening with a little bit of coconut oil. Also, my son can't have vanilla and he does not do well with cinnamon, so I just used some allspice.

Some other tips: You don't have to roll these out between parchment. I just patted the dough down to the appropriate thickness on a piece of foil and cut them out that way. I also thought the dough tasted a bit salty before baking, but the cookies didn't taste too salty after they were baked at all. So don't worry about that.

They turned out great and they were DELICIOUS. Not that I ate any of my son's cookies, of course. I mean, what kind of mother would I be if I found out they go great with coffee?!

(They do, of course.) :)

Have a great Valentine's day!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pork roast!

I have spent many hours trying to perfect a simple pork roast.

Pork is a delicious and yet cruel meat. If you put it in your crock pot on high, it overcooks. If you keep it in the oven too long, it overcooks. If you cook it at too high of a temperature, it overcooks.

If you look at it sideways, it overcooks.

You must combat its natural tendencies to turn dry and tough. Here are some ways you can do this:

1. Use proper kitchen tools. By this I mean a thermometer with an electronic readout that will survive being in the oven. I have one, and it is FABULOUS. It is well worth the $20-$30 to save your meat from being inedible!

2. However long you THINK it will cook... subtract at least 30 minutes. Check it. Then keep checking, and keep checking.

3. Don't be afraid to let the meat rest! I know, your inner germophobe is screaming at you. How can you possibly take the meat out of the oven before it registers on the thermometer that it is safe to eat?

Because MEAT IS MAGIC, people. And you must always obey the laws of magic. And science.

OK, so here's how it's done.

1 boneless pork loin roast, 4-5 pounds
1 tbsp scd legal garlic powder
2 tbsp scd legal onion powder
2 tsp ground rosemary
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pre-ground pepper
olive oil

cider vinegar and 1/2 c vegetable broth (optional)

Mix up all of the spices together. Score the fat side of your pork roast with a sharp knife and really sprinkle the roast well with all the spices, rubbing them in.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Brown your pork roast really well on all sides in an oven-safe pan with a little bit of olive oil. Once it's all nice and browned like the photo above, turn the roast so that the fat side is facing up and then stick the whole pan in the oven.

Set your timer for 45 minutes and then put your nice oven-safe thermometer right in the middle of the roast. Put it back in the oven until the temperature registers 150 degrees. A little higher than that is OK but if it gets past 155, it's going to overcook.

Here's where the magic comes in: Take the pan out of the oven. Leave the roast with the thermometer in it until the temperature gets to 155 degrees.

Final temperature after resting: 155 to 160 should be OK.

The last roast I made went to 162 degrees and honest to God, it was overdone. My fault -- I took it out when the thermometer said 155, and the temperature then rose to 162. Overdone.

Most frustrating, but really, I can only blame myself for ignoring the laws of magic meat. So TAKE YOUR ROAST OUT AT 150 I BEG YOU.

Now for the optional part: Take the roast out of the pan and set it on a plate. Heat up your nice oven-safe pan on a burner (which should be full of yummy juices at this point). Pour in 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and then 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Simmer until it reduces a bit, and you should have a really nice sauce for your pork. Taste it and adjust seasoning if necessary, and you can even stir in a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk if you want it to be a little creamy.

Yum and done!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Turkey sausage

I love this sausage!

I am pretty proud of this recipe, because I put it together myself from a bunch of different sources. It's soooo good, seriously!


3 pounds ground turkey
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground fennel
2 tsp pre-ground pepper
1 tbsp scd legal granulated onion
1 tsp scd legal garlic
1/2 tsp ground celery
2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp honey

Mix sausage and make your sausage logs (see below). Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You're going to cook these for 40-50 minutes or until your meat thermometer says 165 degrees. I stick the thermometer right through the foil into the middle of the logs, and then I just keep an eye out for foil bits once they're done.

When they ARE done, let them rest without unwrapping them for at least 45 minutes.

OK, let's get to the actual sausage-making part. :)

First, you need to prep your work area. I'll give you my bulk cooking tips, although you might prefer to make less the first time or two, just to see how it goes.

Usually when I make this, I make six pounds at a time. I do this by measuring out spices twice -- in a small container and in a large bowl.

Next I prep my pans. You need to have a cookie sheet with a lip all the way around, or a large-ish pan with sides, for each batch.

I make three one-pound logs with each batch. So I put five pieces of foil in my pan -- two pieces to make it watertight, and the three other pieces are stacked on top of each other to make the rolls. Two batches, two pans.

Now that my pans are prepped, I am ready to start making the sausage. I use the large bowl to mix three pounds of ground turkey with my first batch of spices.

After it's well mixed, I put about a pound of turkey on the top sheet of foil, roll it into a log, and then twist the ends shut. I do my best to make the log of even thickness, without tapered ends. Try for flat ends. Then I move the log aside, and I use the next sheet of foil for the next log. Repeat for third log.

Now I have three rolls ready to be placed on my double foil lined pan.

If you are making a second batch of sausage, you can just dump your container of spices in the bowl you just used, and mix in the second three pounds of turkey.

It's OK if your rolls are not all exactly the same size, but try to make them all the same thickness. This will help them cook evenly.

If you want this sausage to be REALLY amazing, after it's rested for 45 minutes, unwrap the logs, cut them in half and then brown them all over in a pan with a little olive oil. You can also fry up slices in olive oil too for a tasty treat. :)

I realize this recipe seems a little involved, but once you've done it a time or two, it's really quite easy and the sausage is absolutely delicious. It's great for breakfast and on SCD pizza.