Friday, January 25, 2013

Sauteed Bison and Asian Eggplant (serves 2)

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Asian eggplants
Bison meat is very lean and tasty, much better than beef and not at all gamey.  I came across ground bison meat recently at my local Farmers Market.  The farmers have other cuts available but I decided to buy a pound of ground bison to try.  If you are interested in purchasing locally raised bison please see the info below.

The Asian eggplants are long, thin and usually in a shade of lavender to deep purple in color.  They are very pretty when they are fresh.  However, they turn brown when cooked.  These eggplants are delicious cooked with or without any meat added.

Sauteed Bison and Asian Eggplant (serves 2)


Ingredients:

1-lb ground organic bison* meat
4 Asian eggplants, cut into 3/8 inch thick pieces
1/2-1 large shallot, sliced thinly or finely diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t grated ginger (more if preferred)
1 T oyster sauce
1 T black bean garlic sauce
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t sesame oil
2 T canola oil
1/2 C water
1 C chopped cilantro (optional)

Method:

1) Heat a large pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil over high heat.  Once the pan is hot add the eggplant pieces.  Turn heat down to medium high.
2) Add a tablespoon of water at a time and cover the pan.  Stir occasionally to cook the eggplant evenly. Cook for about 18 to 20 minutes or until the eggplant is soft but still hold its shape.
3) Remove the cooked eggplant into a large bowl.
4) Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the pan.  Stir in shallot, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5) Add the bison meat, use the chopstick or spatula and break the meat into small pieces.  Cook for  about 5 minutes or until the meat is just cooked.
6) Return the cooked eggplant to the pan.  Add oyster sauce, black bean garlic sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.  Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
7) Add cilantro, turn off heat and stir the contents until well blended.  Serve immediately with rice.

*You may contact the Bison Project directly via email at TheBisonProject@gmail.com.  Owners/Farmers Chris and Conner started raising the bison 1.5 years ago and they are committed to raise 100% grass-fed bison on their 175 acre farm at the Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick, Maine.  If you have never had bison before I highly recommend you try some so that you are not missing out on this wonderful meat!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup (serves 2-3)


Bitter melons or bitter gourds are a type of vegetable that you need to acquire a taste for.  They are bitter as the name suggests and those who did not grow up eating them may find it hard to ingest.  My husband grew them in Florida when he was in graduate school but he never ate them until he met me. Now he enjoys eating these melons every time I make them. 

Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup (serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork
3-4 bitter melons, the ends trimmed, cut each melon into 2-3 inch sections, inside cored and discarded
1/4 C hydrated bean thread noodles, cut into 1-2 inch lengths
1/4 C hydrated and chopped wood ears
1/4 C chopped scallions
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
A pinch of sugar
3 quart cold water
1 tsp salt
1/4 C chopped cilantro, garnish

Method:

1) In a 4-quart pot, heat water over high heat.
2) In a medium size bowl mix pork, noodles, wood ears, scallions, shallot, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, pepper, and sugar well.
3) Stuff each section with the pork mixture and place in pot.
4) Form meatballs with the left over meat mixture and place in pot.
5) Turn heat down to medium once water starts to boil, scoop out and discard the scum that floats to the top.  Add salt and 2 teaspoons fish sauce to the pot, cover and cook for 40 minutes or until the melon pieces are soft (if you want the soup to be more salty you may add more salt or fish sauce according to your taste).
6) Garnish with cilantro right before serving.  Great with rice.

winter in New Hampshire, 2013
rhododendron leaves
(all curled up--a good indication of how
COLD it is outside)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Turkey Hearts in a Cream Sauce (serves 1-2)


I rarely eat turkey hearts except once in a great while during Thanksgiving--and I normally get to eat just one.  I was very excited when I came across these hearts at my local farmers market recently.  Of all the organs to eat the heart is probably the healthiest that one can consume.  It is just a solid muscle and if you look closely you can actually see the whole anatomy of the turkey heart very well, especially the arteries, atria and ventricles!  My mother used to cook chicken hearts for me when I was growing up.  No one in my family ate them so I got to eat the whole dish all by myself.  

Today I decided to make these hearts with a cream sauce.  It was inspired by making the turkey pate. The cream and Marsala wine made such a tasty sauce that I decided to use it here.  I served this dish with thin slices of toasted baguette.  However, if you want to serve this with fresh pasta you can make more sauce and it would be a tasty treat.

Turkey Hearts in a Cream Sauce (serves 1-2)


Ingredients:

4 organic turkey hearts*, trimmed off fat, washed in cold water and sliced lengthwise into 2/8th inch thick
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 thinly sliced shallots (about 2 T)
1 Tbsp chopped scallions
1 tsp chopped garlic or 2-3 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp dry Marsala wine
2 Tbsps heavy cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Daikon sprouts, garnish (optional)

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan over high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot, add shallots and sauté for 1 minute.
3) Turn heat down to medium, add scallions, garlic, mushrooms, and butter, sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the hearts, turn the hearts occasionally to cook evenly for about 2 minutes.  Remove the hearts onto a plate.
5) Add heavy cream and Marsala wine, cook and reduce the sauce for another 5 minutes.
6) Turn off heat and add salt and pepper to taste (I used 2 small pinches of salt).
7) Pour the cream sauce on top of the cooked hearts.
8) Garnish with daikon sprouts and serve with toasted baguette slices.

turkey hearts
(about 3 times the size of a chicken heart)
sliced turkey hearts
(you know these are fresh from the beautiful deep red color!)
*The turkey hearts came from Partridge Farm located at 583 County Road, North Haverhill, NH 03774.  You may contact Bruce and Mary Jones at (603) 989-5589.  They drove over 120 miles to attend the farmers market and provide us with their wonderful and flavorful produce!  Their website is www.partridgefarmnh.com.  They have organic pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck and goose. Farm visits are welcome!  Please visit www.seacoasteatlocal.com for the NH Winter Farmers' Market schedule and locations.  Bruce and Mary will be in Exeter and Rollinsford with their produce. Thank you Bruce and Mary for the wonderful and delicious turkey hearts!!

Turkey Pate

turkey pate
My husband and I were at our local farmers market in Exeter, New Hampshire and we came across organic turkey liver and hearts.  I must admit initially I was more interested in the turkey hearts, however, am I glad that I came back to purchase the liver before we left!  I did not know what I was going to do with my organs but I decided to make turkey pâté.  The result is fresh and delicious. The best part of making your own pâté is you can control the other ingredients that go into making it.  If you are interested in buying turkey liver please see the information below.  Please support your local farmers!

Turkey Pate

Ingredients:

1-lb organic turkey liver*, remove and discard the sinew, cut the liver into 1-inch pieces
1/2 C finely diced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 C heavy cream
2 Tbsp dry Marsala wine (more if you prefer!)
1 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

Method:

1) Heat oil in a medium size pan over high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot add shallot, saute for 1-2 minutes or until the shallot is soft.
3) Add garlic, thyme, and scallions, saute for 1 minute.
4) Add butter and turn heat down to medium, cook for 6-7 minutes.
5) Add Marsala wine and heavy cream and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the liver is cooked through but still tender.
6) Turn off heat, add salt and pepper and stir well.
7) Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
8) Place the contents from the pan into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
9) Scoop out the liver pate and pack it into a small container or 4-5 ramekins, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

appetizers using thicker pieces
of toasted baguettes 
grape tomato halves, radish greens, pate on toasted baguette 
these bite size appetizers are inspired by the
Vietnamese sandwiches called "bánh mì"
(these have a spread of benecol light margarine,
chipotle mayo, turkey pate, thin slices of pancetta,
pickled carrots, and daikon greens or cilantro)
more bite size appetizers
(not just pretty to look at but tasty!)
you can make all sorts of appetizers with the pate
-just let your imagination go wild!
*The dried thyme came from my garden.  My husband and I had a nice little garden last summer and we planted lots of herbs.  Before the first frost we cut all the herbs and I dried them to use during our long winter months.  Even though the thyme is dried it is full of fragrance and flavor.
*The turkey liver came from Partridge Farm located at 583 County Road, North Haverhill, NH 03774.  You may contact Bruce and Mary Jones at (603) 989-5589.  They drove over 120 miles to attend the farmers market and provide us with their wonderful and flavorful produce!  Their website is www.partridgefarmnh.com.  They have organic pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck and goose.  Farm visits are welcome!  Please visit www.seacoasteatlocal.com for the NH Winter Farmers' Market schedule and locations.  Bruce and Mary will be in Exeter and Rollinsford with their produce. Thank you Bruce and Mary for the wonderful and delicious liver!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Red Snapper with Tomato and Shiitake Mushrooms (serves 2)


This is a simple and easy dish to make.  There are several places to buy whole snapper; Whole Foods Market, H-Mart, and other Asian groceries carry them.  If you cannot find red snapper you may substitute with another fish such as trout.  I prefer to make this dish using whole fish.  However, you can make it with fish fillets.  I also like to scale my fish well so that I can enjoy the crispy skin. This dish is great with steamed rice.

Red Snapper with Tomato and Shiitake Mushrooms (serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 medium size red snapper, scaled, gutted and washed well
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp canola oil
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms*, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped or sliced thinly (optional)
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp mirin
1/4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
3-4 Tbsp chicken stock or water (optional)
1/4 C chopped cilantro
4-5 sprigs of cilantro, garnish (optional)

Method:

1) Clean and dry the fish.  Score each side of the fish, rub the sides and inside the belly with salt and pepper.
2) Heat a medium size pan with 2 tablespoons oil over high heat.  Once the pan is hot place the fish on the pan, turn down the heat to medium high and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until the fish is golden brown, cover the pan for 2-4 minutes during the cooking process*.
3) Remove the fish after cooking and place it on a large plate or platter.  Wipe the pan with a paper towel and add 1 tablespoons oil to the cleaned pan.
4) Add shiitake mushrooms and scallions to the pan.  Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5) Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, then add ginger, garlic, shallots, and tomato. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
6) Add mirin, sugar, and oyster sauce, cook for 1 minute.  May add 3-4 tablespoons chicken stock or water if you want the topping to be more saucy.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes.
7) Add cilantro and turn off heat.
8) Pour the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

score the fish and add pepper
and salt to both sides
and belly
fry the fish until golden brown
sauté the shiitake mushrooms
and scallions
add the cilantro at the end
and turn off heat
fresh local garlic, Wild Miller Gardens in Lee, NH*
*If you do not have fresh shiitake mushrooms you may substitute for other fresh mushrooms such as white button, baby portabella mushrooms or whichever type you prefer.
*Depending on where you are cooking the fish or the size of your fish the length of cooking may vary.  I cooked my fish outside and it was about 35 degrees F.  It took me a little longer to cook and I had to cover the pan partially in order for the fish to cook through.  If you are cooking fish fillets for this dish your cooking time will be much shorter.
*My husband and I went to the Farmer's Market at Exeter High School (NH) this afternoon and the place was buzzing with excitement.  There were so many interesting vendors selling all sorts of produce.  Here is the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers' Market schedule:  
Saturdays 10 am-2pm, November to April, twice monthly.  For the Rollinsford and Exeter markets, see the website for details, kate@seacoasteatlocal.org and www.seacoasteatlocal.org.  
*The fresh local garlic came from Wild Miller Gardens in Lee, NH.  If you are interested in buying locally grown garlic and other produce from Joel and Annalisa please visit their website at www.wildmillergardens.com, 603-988-4658.  Thank you Joel and Annalisa for the lovely garlic!!