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Whole Chickens Part One: Basic Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peach Salsa

Summer is a great time of year for us, we are getting a fresh whole chicken in our CSA box every other week, but there is no way I am turning my oven on for 5 hours in Virginia in the summertime, the temperature consistently stays at a level of uncomfortable which can only be described as “Satan’s ass crack.” So, after some experimenting, we have developed a few fool-proof methods for cooking whole chickens that keep my kitchen at a tolerable temperature.

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Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken
  • BBQ rub
  • two peaches or nectarines
  • a small onion or scallion
  • one tomato
  • one jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • fresh herbs: cilantro and parsley work particularly well here
  • coconut oil

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Start off by seasoning your chicken inside and out with your favorite rub, we don’t personally make all of our own rubs, because other companies have spent plenty of time and effort discovering the perfect ratios so that I don’t have to. After your coals heat up, I want you to  divide them up so that the coals are pushed over to each side of the grill with a space in the middle.  Weber makes these neat little baskets you can use for this if you have them, but they aren’t necessary.

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If you have guessed that we are going to put the chicken in the space between the hot coals so that they dripping chicken fat doesn’t cause flare-ups then probably don’t even need to keep reading…just go fire up that grill.

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The bird goes in the middle of the coals breast side down, and we cooked it to about 150-160F before throwing on the ingredients for salsa.

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Finely chop the tomato, sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and the lime juice then set it aside for later.  Then slice the peaches, onion, and jalapeno in half and lightly brush with coconut oil, before putting them directly over the coals.  Let them cook for a few minutes until they soften and nice grill marks form, this happens pretty quick so don’t wander off.  Flip them over and let them cook for another minute or two before pulling them off the grill.  By this point your chicken should have also reached an internal temp of  at least 165F, which means it is also ready to come off. Chop up the remaining ingredients for your salsa and add in the fresh herbs, the skin should easily pull away from your cooked peaches, it is texturally unappetizing if you leave it on.  Now you are ready to eat, we paired our chicken with a nice cool vinegary cucumber salad which turned out to be the perfect refreshing combination on yet another sweltering hot day.

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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Chicken

 

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Chicken Cacciatore

As I sit here trying to think of some clever and entertaining way to start this recipe, I remember that I have not done anything interesting for months other than rescue a turtle from the road.  Even on that day I spent half of my hike resting with the dogs instead of being productive.  Pregnant people suck, we are boring, the only thing we talk about is babies, pregnancy and food.  Fortunately you came here for the food right?

6 months down, 3.5 to go!

6 months down, 3.5 to go!

Ok, so this recipe is so amazing we even shocked ourselves.  Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a rustic stew prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, and herbs…enjoy

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs with the skin removed
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • about 1/4 cup bone broth (or more as needed)
  • am container of baby portabella mushrooms
  • 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • several springs of fresh rosemary
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • a pinch (or more) crushed red pepper
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • handful of fresh herbs, I used parsley and basil, but thyme and oregano would be good too
  • small scoop of cooking fat (butter or coconut oil)
  • and of course, what is a meal without 8 pieces of bacon

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Fire up that grill and start chopping up all of your veggies and rosemary, put those in a bowl and set aside for later, then chop up that bacon.  Put the bacon and a bit of starter cooking fat into a grill friendly pan.  I used the Weber Gourmet BBQ system here, if you don’t have that a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven would work too. Season the thighs on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and go check those coals, they should be ready by now.

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Here is my setup, I seared the chicken thighs for a couple of minutes on each side until they got some grill marks and then set aside.  Do not cook these all the way through because they will finish up in your sauce. I put the bacon on there too, so it can start releasing some of its yummy bacony goodness.  Lets see a close up of that beautiful pork porn…

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Oh yeah baby!

Once your bacon has given you a nice amount of fat in the bottom of your pan add in your chopped veggies, garlic and rosemary and sauté, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.  Once they start to caramelize season them with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper then add in your tomatoes and let everything simmer for a few minutes. I kept a bit of bone broth on hand in case things started to look dried out and added a little bit at a time.  If you are using a dutch oven with a  lid you probably wont have this problem.

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Once those veggies start to get tender nestle those chicken thighs into the stew and let them finish cooking.  Once they hit 165, carefully pull the pan off the grill and serve with fresh herbs.  I even topped mine with a little shaved pecorino romano, but that is because it would take divine intervention to get me to give up cheese permanently.

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Don’t click on this picture unless you have a towel handy to wipe up the drool

The only word that comes to mind when I try to describe this dish is a-friggin-mazing! Derek, who had previously never even heard of chicken cacciatore, devoured it, gushing about how wonderful it was with each bite, and then asked if I would make it again.  An absolute must-have when you are sick of the same old burgers on the grill. Weber should seriously pay me to cook with their products!

Also, have you entered to win your free copy of Beyond Bacon yet?  Get on it!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Bacon, Chicken, Soups

 

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Beyond Bacon Review and Giveaway!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you must have heard the buzz about the new book from the Paleo Parents, Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth. I hesitate to call Beyond Bacon a cookbook because it is so much more than that, this is actually the paleo pork bible, it tells you everything you need to know about purchasing and cooking a whole hog.

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Now, I consider myself to be quite the pork connoisseur, and they still managed to surprise me with the range and variety of recipes included, there is even a BBQ section for those of you with a smoker addiction(although I might have to challenge them to a cook-off for best smoked pork shoulder). The only disappointment is that I didn’t have this in my kitchen sooner, I really could have used this after our last hog aporkalypse when I was stuck with what seemed like an endless supply of pork chops.

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This book on it’s own is truly a piece of art, with rustic photography on each page more beautiful than the last but once you start to indulge in these recipes you will have a new appreciation for all parts of the hog. A couple of my favorites so far are the smoked pork belly, Italian tomato pork chops, and the salted mocha biscotti and I even tried my hand at making my own lard, caramel fudge and pancetta.

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Pancetta in progress

Ok, so I know you are sick of listening to me rave about Beyond Bacon, so I will stop myself before I ramble on all day.  I love this book, and you clearly need it, luckily Matt and Stacy sent along an extra copy, so here is your chance to win one…

Beyond Bacon Cookbook Giveaway

Good luck!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Bacon, Pork, Random

 

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Grilled Tri-Tip

Sorry I havent written in a very long time…did you miss me? Of course you did! I have been suffering from a condition known as “baby brain,” where my pregnant body has decided to shuttle all of my body’s resources into the new little parasite leaving me semi-retarded.  What brain function I do have left is reserved for focusing on all the sh*t I need to do/research/buy over the next few months…and housework, I really need to do some housework, when I have the energy, turning food into a human being is exhausting enough.

Now, the tri-tip is a seriously under-rated piece of meat.  It is part of the sirloin, and is (hands down) the best roast on a cow.  It is very well marbled, which means its tenderness rivals our beloved filet(at 1/4 the cost).

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After trimming any rouge hunks of fat, we rubbed ours with a good strong beef rub that had a lot of coarse ground malabar black pepper, salt, and garlic with just a little bit of chili powder, paprika, and onion powder. Then start up a dual zone fire on your grill, one side for searing and the other for cooking.

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We cooked the tri-tip for 5-7 minutes each side over high heat, then moved it over to indirect heat and threw in some cherry wood.  Let the tri-tip cook for another 20 minutes or so, or until the internal temp gets close to 140 on the thick end.

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Top your meaty goodness with a few chunks of Kerrygold butter and wrap in tinfoil.  Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes, I throw mine in the microwave or oven so it doesn’t cool to quickly.

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Slice, serve, and then come thank me for introducing you to this amazing cut of meat!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Beef

 

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Pizza Chili

Yep, I am cooking indoors again for a while. Cold and snow aren’t my thing, I am not dedicated enough to my livelihood to go outside and freeze my ass off when I am a freaking awesome at inside cooking too.  I know it is a lame excuse.

Pizza in a bowl beats liquid pizza nightmare, hands down

Pizza in a bowl beats liquid pizza nightmare, hands down

So, this recipe was created from a craving for pizza and a love for chili…all of the home-made pizza taste, with only a fraction of the effort

Ingredients:

  • 1 TB fat for browning your meat
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 TB dried basil
  • 1TB dried oregano
  • 1 t ground thyme
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans or 1 tetra-pak of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 package of white mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 t paprika
  • 2 t parsley
  • 2 t whole fennel
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • a few bunches of fresh basil
  • whatever pizza toppings you like, pepperoni, olives, go crazy!

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Ok, I know that sounds like a lot, but most of this stuff you probably already have if you keep a well-stocked paleo kitchen.  Start by heating up a pot, or dutch oven to brown your meat in.  After it looks cooked through add your balsamic vinegar and deglaze, that means scrape all of the tasty bits off the bottom.  Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste, then all your veggies, and spices, reserving half of fresh basil for adding at the end, and the other half garnish.  If you are feeling naughty throw some cheese on the b*tch…whats pizza without cheese?

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There is a little trick to getting beautiful basil confetti, stack the leaves up and roll them like a cigar, .then cut across to get perfect little strips, and voila! Perfect basil garnish

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Beef, Pork, Soups

 

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Leftovers: Italian Pulled Pork Two Ways

Ok, so you just made a whole pork shoulder over the weekend, now what the hell are you supposed to do with all the leftovers? If you are like me, you will get sick of eating that much BBQ, there is only so much of the same food I can eat before saying f*ck it, and end up giving the leftovers to the dogs.

Please please please can we have some? Look we are sitting pretty!

Please please please can we have some? Look we are sitting pretty!

Anyone who knows how big an entire pork shoulder is knows how necessary these leftover recipes are.  You will need:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 TB dried basil and oregano
  • 1 tea of onion powder
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped(I get mine dried like raisins, but packed in oil will work too)
  • 1/2 an onion
  • a sprinkle of parsley
  • crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes(I buy the tetra-paks that are 26 ounces, but the cans are usually 14 ounces)

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Heat the sauce in a dutch oven and stir until everything is combined.  Add in your leftover pulled pork and heat thoroughly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

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Wait….there’s more! No BBQ? No problem(I am talking to you Megan).   You can take a pork shoulder roast or picnic roast, and cook it indoors too.  I have had it both ways and it is equally delicious!

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Like so

Preheat the oven to 250F and start warming up your dutch oven on the stove with a bit of cooking oil.  If you don’t have a dutch oven use a heavy for browning skillet and then transfer the pork to a roaster or oven safe pan with a lid or covered in tin foil(maybe even a crock pot if you want to throw it on before work and come home to a perfect dinner). Add in the balsamic vinegar and deglaze the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan, then add in your sauce ingredients.  Stir until combined, then cover and put that awesomeness in the oven for 4-5 hours.  After a few hours, check the pork, it should start to pull apart easily.  Pull the chunks you can apart, give it a quick stir, and back in the oven for another hour or two.

I did not really time this, I just left it in the oven all afternoon.  Once it breaks apart into pulled pork easily it is done! I usually check periodically, then turn the oven down to 175 or off and leave it in there until my hubby gets home to enjoy that deliciousness.  Chances are you will not burn this if it stays in for a few extra hours.

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Also the SousVide and TX Bar Organics recipe showdown voting is up, please take a minute to vote for Primal Smoke and get yourself entered to win a great gift card! What BBQer wouldnt want 200$ of free beef?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Pork

 

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SousVide Surf and Turf Benedict

In case you haven’t heard, the SousVide  and TX Bar Organics paleo blogger challenge is in full effect.  Please take a minute and vote(for me of course).  Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win one of the $200 gift cards.  Here is the badass breakfast recipe I created for the challenge…

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5lbs of cooked snow crab legs or approx one cup of crab meat
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 12 tablespoons of minced red onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of duck fat + extra for frying
  • 2 TX Bar Organics grass-fed filet mingons
  • salt and pepper

Ok, I am going to commit a meat sin here for the sake of competition, I am going to take the worlds most perfect cut of beef and slice it open and mutilate it prior to cooking…please don’t be afraid, I am a professional.

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Start by gutting your crab legs and mixing the meat with one egg, garlic, jalapeno, onion, and the spices. Add in one TB of coconut flour and check the consistency, you may want to add a bit more (slowly), so that it holds together.

Next, take that beautiful TX Bar steak and cut it lengthwise almost all the way through, to form a pocket for all your tasty crab stuffing. Salt and pepper both the insides and outsides of the steaks, if you don’t salt your food you don’t love the people you are cooking for! Top each steak with 1/4 teaspoon of duck fat and seal them into a SousVide pouch. Before you go to bed, throw the steaks into a SousVide water oven, at 54 degrees Celsius(just over 129F).

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In the morning, your delicious breakfast will be ready and waiting. Heat up a cast iron skillet and sear the steaks on each side in a bit of fat to get a nice brown crust. Now, I know that benedict style breakfasts are usually served with a poached egg, but I haven’t poached a d*mn thing since I went paleo…why bother when fried eggs are so much better(and easier). Place one egg, fried in duck fat, on top of each steak and smother with coconut hollandaise.

Creamy Coconut Hollandaise ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the egg, lemon juice, and coconut cream into a bain marie(glass bowl over a pot of boiling water), and whisk like your life depends on it. Seriously, just keep whisking until you think your arm is going to fall off. Slowly steam in melted coconut oil and continue to whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Mix in your chives and spices to taste, this sauce will thicken up as the eggs cook. Garnish your meal with some chopped chives and fresh grated horseradish(optional) This is the only breakfast delicious enough to stand on it’s own without the addition of bacon, that is no small feat, but feel free to serve with bacon if you’re feeling frisky(your tastebuds will thank you).

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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Beef, Breakfast, Seafood

 

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