Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans
Since the day we brought Dixie to her forever home three years ago, this sassy, sweetheart of a pug has had a favorite food.
Chicken on the bone.
If we dine on a vegetarian meal, she sleeps in the corner by the fireplace. Ribs or burgers? You can hear her snoring in her kennel. Even boneless chicken breasts don’t interest her.
But sit down with a plate of bone-in chicken and things drastically change.
She raises her nose to sniff the air. She nudges under your arm to get closer to the plate, and the sounds of soft, subtle whining and exasperated sighs can be heard throughout the house.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I have no idea what experience in her past made her develop a fondness for such a specific food, but that dog knows when you are having chicken on the bone.
And she wants some.
So when I received a copy of the cookbook, Dog-Gone Good Cuisine by Gayle Pruitt, I stopped my browsing when I found Pumpkin Seed and Lime Chicken. I knew I had to make it.
This might go down in history as the cutest cookbook, not to mention the most versatile. If you didn’t gather it from title, the book features recipes that are fit for both human and canine consumption. It includes a wonderful intro about ingredients that are safe for dogs and nutrients that benefit both you and your best friend. You’ll be thoroughly entertained by the tasteful pet photos and beautiful food photography by Joe Grisham. The recipes are simple and straightforward with ideas to please the entire family.
Also, don’t expect it to be all chicken and rice. The creativity here will inspire you. Plain Chia and Flaxseed Pancakes, Tomato-Carrot Soup and Mediterranean Meatballs on a Stick are a few more recipes I can’t wait to share with my furry family.
I also have to mention that my heart melted a little when I read the dedications, which included a mention of the author’s dog, Mister Casper. My childhood dog was named Casper. I knew him for the first 10 years of my life. What an amazing being.
As expected, the chicken was a hit (taken off the bone, of course.) This book is an excellent resource for cooking for your dog, and it would make a wonderful gift for all the dog lovers in your life.
From Dog-Gone Good Cuisine by Gayle Pruitt with photographs by Joe Grisham. Copyright © 2014 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.
4 chicken quarters, bone in, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces raw pumpkin seeds
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Add all the ingredients except for the chicken to a food processor and pulse until the pumpkin seeds are in small chunks. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the pumpkin seed mixture over the chicken, making sure to completely cover it. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Place the chicken, skin side down, in a hot skillet or grill pan. Place a cover over the top of the chicken, touching the chicken with the lid, and pressing down on the top of the chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over; the skin should now be a golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low, re place the lid over the chicken, and cook for another 30 minutes.
Serves 4 adult humans and 6 to 8 small to medium dogs.
Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for during so. However, I was paid in full by two very happy pugs in the form of pug kisses.
Hello from California!
The move has been made and I’m working on getting comfortable in my new kitchen. I’m excited to start this new year in a new place and to see where my experiences take me and the blog.
I have to be honest. I can already feel things shifting a bit. I still want to cook with all the amazing ingredients that are now available to me, but I’m also in a place where there is some pretty amazing food (and drink) being made by others.
This year, along with recipes you are probably going to find more places dine and events to attend. I also hope to put the focus back on the global aspect of my blog. I have so much more to learn about the cuisines of other countries and it’s time to start trying more in my own kitchen.
Considering we’re already halfway through January, I really don’t want to look back and recap last year. But in 2012 I took part in 2 cross-country road trips, a trip to Toronto, a visit to New York City, a trip to Vegas, a day in Sonoma and Napa Valley and New Years Eve in Santa Barbara. Not to mention our explorations of Kentucky.
So, yeah. I have a few food recommendations for you.
So let’s not look back at the best eats of last year, but let’s look at it as where you need to eat and drink in 2013! These are my picks so start planning your road trip
Kansas City, KS – Oklahoma Joe’s
We moved my husband out to California last September. That was road trip #1, to the north via I-80. What an amazing drive! I want to do it again already.
We didn’t have our food planned out, but left it to tips from friends and popular TV shows along the way. First up, Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City. It turns out Anthony Bourdain kind of likes the place too.
I like barbecue, but I’m not all crazy for it. And I don’t understand all the allegiances to different types. I like all of them for different reasons. But, oh my goodness. This food was amazing! My husband and I are still talking about it months later. The meat, the sauce, the hour-long line, the restaurant-in-a-gas-station atmosphere. It was one of the best meals I had all year.
My favorite was the burnt ends sandwich, and the beans were as perfect as they can get. Slightly meaty, loaded with barbecue flavor. I’m usually not a fan of ribs, but I’d order them again in a second.
Salt Lake City, UT – Red Iguana
We had no plan when we got to Salt Lake, but after checking out the FoodNetwork app we found the Red Iguana which had been on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It’s described as pre-Hispanic Mexican, and the big draw? 7 kinds of moles.
I got the Mole Verde. This wasn’t your classic, chocolately mole, but it was delicious. The chicken was so tender and the sauce was full of spicy flavor. My husband got the Mole Negro and this is what I think of when I think of mole – rich, dark, slightly spicy sauce. It was my favorite.
Toronto, Canada – Steam Whistle
In July last year, I made my first trip to Canada. It’s hard to believe I hadn’t been before! And yes, I know. Everyone is telling me that I need to see more places, but I LOVED Toronto. One of our favorite things was the local beer, Steam Whistle. We did the brewery tour, and the bar just happened to be one of the most affordable places to grab a beer so we hung out for a while and enjoyed it.
New York City – Momofuku Noodle Bar
I traveled to New York City in October for the first time since I was in high school. Needless to say, a lot has changed. Mainly that I now have a deep appreciation for good food. I recapped the trip last year, but a round up on where to eat in 2013 wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was the first place I went when I got to the city, and I’m already planning to take my husband back this year.
The corn ramen was the special on my visit and it didn’t disappoint. The blackboard lists the farms where a majority of the food is sourced, and with a huge bar for seating it is perfect for dining alone if you are traveling on business like I was.
Sonoma, CA – The Girl and The Fig
Over the Thanksgiving holiday we took our first trip to California wine country. Knowing we would be in Sonoma around lunch time, we did what every food-lover does. We ate at The Girl and The Fig. We made reservations for lunch, as you should too because although the restaurant was only half full when we arrived, every table was taken by the time we left.
We started with a cheese plate and that was good, but the best part of it was the dried fig cake made in house. It was delicious with the cheese.
I had a simple lunch of a tasty grilled cheese, but for me my husband’s meal was the best. The pork belly sandwich with a slightly sweet apple slaw.
If you think a small-town, rural restaurant can’t compete with food-cities around the U.S., I encourage you to go to Bluebird. On a downtown street that barely has one stoplight, this place will amaze you. With locally sourced ingredients and a creative menu that would rival any restaurant in the big city, Bluebird serves Kentucky favorites with a twist.
Our first couple visits were for breakfast where I enjoyed the breakfast fries with smoked gouda sauce. We finally made it for lunch just before we moved – a fried green tomato BLT on a whole wheat sorghum bun. Yes, yum.
Santa Barbara, CA – East Beach Grill
We stayed in Santa Barbara on our final leg of the official move which also happened to be New Years Eve. (This time we took I-40 through the southern US.) Other than the wonderful ocean views, we experienced very little of what this awesome town has to offer. But we did manage to have pancakes on New Years morning. The East Beach Grill was close to our hotel, dog friendly and rumor had it they offered some amazing wheat germ pancakes. The rumors were true. I had a stack of blueberry and my husband a stack of strawberry while we relaxed outside with the pugs and enjoyed the view of the ocean.
There will be many more Oakland favorites to come, but I definitely found a place I love with only a few days of being here. Bocanova in Jack London Square has unique cocktails and one fine happy hour. One of my favorite appetizers is the Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs with Chipotle Aioli.
That about sums it up. Hopefully I’ve shared enough to keep you busy. And full. Recipes will resume soon, but for now I’ll leave you with one of my favorite offerings at our Farmer’s Market. Gorgeous greens with edible flowers. Happy New Year!
P.S. I was having some trouble with formatting on this post. The names of the cities and restaurants are links that will take you to the restaurant website.
I used to eat chicken breasts all the time, but when we made the switch to whole pastured birds, dishes featuring them became rare. This was a positive change. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of tackling a whole bird and it is much more budget friendly, but sometimes I just want a chicken breast.
Yes, I know you can cut them off a whole bird yourself, but I can’t cut up a chicken correctly to save my life. I end up with pieces, but they certainly aren’t pretty. Fortunately, we can still buy breast cuts from our pastured chicken sources so last weekend I splurged a little and let the butcher do the work.
I also bought my first bag of fresh cranberries this season, and you know how I can’t stop thinking about the holidays. I thought a cranberry relish would be perfect for the poultry.
In past years, I’ve neglected fresh cranberries thinking I always needed to cook them into a sauce. Not so. I now love grinding them up in the food processor to eat them fresh.
My very favorite fresh relish recipe is Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish by Emeril. I’m constantly changing it up a bit, and I set out for a new version for my chicken.
Surprisingly, I have a few Scotch Bonnet peppers that have hung on in the fridge since I took out the garden. I subbed those for the jalapeños, added some onion and then some maple syrup.
I know spicy and tart is not a common combination, but with just a touch of maple syrup, this relish is so good! It works well with fish and poultry, and I also eat it alone as a salad.
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
Zest and segments from 1/2 an orange
2 tbsp choppped onion
1-2 small hot peppers, seeds and ribs removed
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 3-4oz chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled or baked
Place the cranberries, orange and orange zest, onion, hot peppers and maple syrup in a small food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped. Makes 1 3/4 cups of relish. You may find you want to add a little salt to taste, but I like mine without it.
Serve about 1/4 cup of the relish at room temperature over warm chicken breasts. Store leftovers in the fridge, but know that the heat intensifies as it sits!
This is the third in my series of Cookbooks for Christmas with the purpose of sharing a few gift ideas for the foodie in your life. Be sure to check out the review and recipe from my other posts The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking and The Vegetarian Option.
When my husband asked me what we were having for dinner this past Sunday, “pot stickers” came out of my mouth before I really even thought about it. Apparently, my stomach knew what it wanted before my brain had time to register it.
Once I said it I was committed which really isn’t a bad thing. I’d actually had making homemade pot stickers on the back burner since I started my food blog, so we are going on three years. That’s a pretty long time to be meaning to make something.
My first excuse was that I didn’t have a pasta roller to get the dough thin enough. Well, I got one of those last October for my birthday so I was quickly running out of reasons why I shouldn’t make it. Aside from the cutting and stuffing, they really are easy to make, just a little time consuming.
We had grilled a local, pastured chicken a few days before so I had plenty of meat to make a filling. I went through the fridge and pulled out a few things from the vegetable drawer, threw it in the food processor and was a surprised at the delicious combination that resulted.
I mentioned that I had been meaning to make these since the start of my blog and that is because of this recipe for Soy-Butt Pot Stickers from one of the very first blogs I read regularly, Eating Out Loud.
There is where you will find the very simple dough recipe and some general instructions on making pot stickers. I found that running the dough through the roller just two times on a middle setting worked fine. Be sure to keep your surface well floured to prevent it from sticking. This recipe, both dough and filling, made about 60 pot stickers.
They cooked up beautifully with the exception of a few that got a little too brown on one side. The ginger came out strong in the filling, but it was balanced with the green onion, soy and cilantro. We made a meal of these, but they would also work great for a party appetizer.
Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers
Salt and pepper to taste
60 homemade won-ton wrappers
Place all ingredients in a food processor, except the won-tons. You can grate the chicken, carrots and cabbage into the processor using the grater attachment. Then add the remaining ingredients and pulse 3 to 4 times or until the ingredients are still slightly chunky, but hold together when pressed into a ball.
Evenly divide the filling into the won-tons, fold in half and pinch and fold the ends to make a half moon.
Preheat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Place the pot stickers on their sides in the skillet. Allow to cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes. Avoid moving them around. Once they are stuck to the skillet, pour about 1/8 of a cup of water into the skillet. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for about 1 minute. Remove the lid and let any remaining liquid evaporate. Remove the pot-stickers and serve warm.
You can freeze extra pot-stickers before cooking. They also hold up well if you cook them and store them in the fridge to reheat and finish off in a day or two.
A little over a year ago, when we had finally found the house and decided we would move to a rural county outside the big city of Lexington, KY, an article in a nearby newspaper caught my eye. The article described a business that would be moving to the area soon, Marksbury Farm.
Considering that this came at a time when I was beginning my commitment to buy only small scale, humanely raised and naturally fed animal products, I could not believe my fortune.
You see, according to that article Marksbury Farm was planned to be a processing facility for just that. Local farmers from around the area could have their animals processed at a local facility where they could then sell these products to consumers in the area. This would eliminate the need to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest USDA facility.
That alone had me thrilled, but I was even more excited about the proposed market that was part of this project. The plan was to have a shop where grass-fed, pastured, humanely raised local meats would be sold to the public. A one-stop shop, a place that would mimic the old-fashioned butcher, but with animal products I could feel good about buying and eating.
Fast forward to last summer.
Our community was hosting a showing of Fresh: The Movie and I was asked to speak about the nutritional benefit of local food. It was here that I first met, Richard McAlister, one of the partners behind bringing Marksbury to the area.
It was a busy a time, as they were undergoing USDA organic certification with plans to open the processing facility within that month. The market was soon to follow. It was at that meeting that I realized this wasn’t just rumor or an idea. Soon I would have access to an incredible resource!
Last Saturday, myself and three other Kentucky Food Bloggers – Mindy from Mindy’s Mouthful, Samantha from A Teenage Gourmet, and Melissa from My McDonald Meal met Richard to tour the facilities. I’ve been frequenting the market since the end of December, but this was my first chance to get an up close look at the facilities.
Richard took us through the empty facility and each step of the process for cattle, pigs and poultry. He explained to us each and every precaution they take to ensure humane handling, during this process that, let’s be honest, we really don’t like to think about.
I was glad to hear him mention Dr. Temple Grandin when we took a look at the outdoor holding area. If you haven’t heard of Temple and her research, or haven’t seen the movie that aired on HBO, I highly recommend it.
I have toured a processing facility one other time. As part of my Food Science course at Purdue we explored the facility on campus, and it was interesting to compare the processes there (about 10 years ago) to what I saw at Marksbury. There were noticeable improvements with this facility compared to what I have seen before in terms of respecting the animal and the fact that they are giving their life to nourish us.
We withheld many pictures inside the facility because I know many don’t wish to see that. Then we entered the smoking room, and the storage room. Let me just say, it was a smoked meat lovers paradise.
To simplify, Marksbury processes animals for local farmers. Their guidelines explain the conditions in which the animals must be raised. This meat can be picked up by consumers from the facility who might be ordering a full or half of beef or pork from a specific farmer. In addition, Markbury purchases animals which they process and sell in their market.
Yes, let’s get to the market. Set in a gorgeous old farmhouse is a Kentucky food paradise. Not just meat, but foods of all kinds.
Okay, first the meat. There is every cut you can imagine and some products you might not, everything from pork tenderloin to beef tongue. They are also offering prepared dishes like steak pie and ready-to-cook meatballs. Did I mention that some of the partners are of Scottish descent? So you can imagine the good meats and sausages in the case.
Solving the Meat-to-Market Riddle – Edible Louisville
New Garrard operation provides market for local meat producers and consumers – Lexington Herald Leader
Disclaimer: I received no product or monetary compensation to tour or post about Marksbury Farm.
When it comes to flavors that I would consider truly US American, buffalo tops the list. No, not buffalo the meat, but buffalo the sauce. It is one taste that I haven’t found anywhere else in my travels, and it was one thing we did miss when we were living abroad.
There is just something about that spicy, buttery flavor that can only be cooled by celery and some ranch or blue cheese.
I’ve come to incorporate it in several of our meals at home. We love buffalo chicken pizza and sandwiches. Of course, chicken is usually the meat of choice with buffalo sauce, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to give it a try with turkey considering our recent over abundance.
We don’t buy bottled dressings anymore and although I know it is possible to make blue cheese and ranch dressing, I didn’t have the ingredients for either. Instead, I turned to some of that plain 2% Greek yogurt Chobani sent to me recently.
I mixed it with finely chopped celery and onion and flavored it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Now, if I’d had some blue cheese to mix, that would have made it even better, but alone it went wonderfully with the buffalo turkey.
The buns were made from the same recipe as used with the bread baking pottery I posted about last week. I just used white whole wheat instead of unbleached white flour, and then I split it into individual buns before the last time I let it rise. I placed the buns on a baking sheet in a hot 350 degree oven and they baked up in about 15 minutes.
I paired the sandwiches with a simple coleslaw and few of the pickled jalapenos I canned this summer. Delicious!
Buffalo Turkey Sandwiches with Celery Yogurt Spread
1 cup shredded or chopped cooked turkey
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup hot sauce (we use Frank’s Red Hot)
¼ cup yogurt
3 tbsp celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
Place the turkey in a skillet. Add 2 tbsp of water to the skillet and turn on medium-high heat. Cook the turkey until it is heated through. Add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the hot sauce and coat the turkey.
In a small bowl stir together the yogurt, celery, onion, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Split two buns and place half of the yogurt spread on each bun. Add half of the turkey to each bun. Sandwich it together and enjoy. Serves 2, but can easily be doubled or tripled.
Disclaimer: Chobani sent me yogurt free of charge. I was not obligated to post about it and received no compensation for doing so.
In my family, a high standard has been set for Chicken and Dumplings. One so high that few people or recipes can successfully reach it. Why? Well, because we grew up with my mom making my great grandmother’s Chicken and Dumplings.
My mother did such a great job perfecting the recipe that even my grandmother would fail and call my mom to make them for her.
As you can imagine, we tend to judge other recipes by this high standard. Let’s start by saying that noodles that try to pass as dumplings are insulting. We’ll pass on those drop biscuit dumplings as well.
The dumplings must be flat, yet puffy with a firm bite, and most importantly, homemade.
I realize now that these dumplings are a lot like a large version of spaetzle. This makes complete sense considering my family is of German descent. There is a good chance that these dumplings were spaetzle at one point in my family history.
As a kid I would fish out all the dumplings from the pot and leave the chicken for my dad. I can’t say that this has changed too much, but as an adult I do include some chicken too, but mostly the white meat.
When we started buying locally raised, pastured chickens from nearby farms, and once I finally mastered cooking a full chicken and not just pieces, I knew it was time to try my great grandmother’s chicken and dumplings.
The whole process is actually quite simple and requires few ingredients. To summarize, you make a stock with the whole chicken, make your dough for the dumplings and cut it, remove the cooked chicken, cook the dumplings, then add the shredded chicken back in.
My mom warned me before I started that the key to the perfect dumplings is no stirring. Once you drop them in the boiling water, resist the urge to stir. Simply use a spoon to push them gently to the side and add more. If you stir them, they will break up and you’ll be left with a doughy mess instead of individual dumplings.
Are you ready to try it yourself? Well, here you go. It’s only 8 easy steps.
Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
1 whole chicken
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
¼ cup oil (I used olive oil, the original recipe calls for lard)
¼ to ½ cup milk
3 cups unbleached white flour
Place your chicken in a large soup pot. Cover it completely with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to just above a simmer and partially cover the pot.
As the water begins to boil the chicken will be making your broth. Once the water is hot, the skin will begin to cook immediately and look a bit like this. Be sure you have a pair of tongs handy to work with the chicken.
Continue to cook the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, begin your dumplings.
In a bowl, combine the eggs, salt, baking powder, oil and ¼ c milk. Whisk with a fork. Begin to add in the flour, a little at a time, until a dough is formed. It should be firm and only slightly stickier than a bread dough. If the dough is too dry, add in more milk until you reach the right consistency for the dough.
Place the dough on a floured surface and begin rolling it out into a large circle. You want it to reach about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in thickness. Continue to sprinkle the dough with flour as you roll to keep it from sticking.
Next, check your chicken. It is best to allow it to cook until the chicken begins to fall apart. Use a large spoon and tongs to help you carefully remove it from the hot water. Transfer it to a plate and let it cool to the point where you can shred it with your hands or with a fork.
Ensure that your broth is at a low boil, you may need to increase the heat a bit after removing the chicken.
Return to your dumplings and begin slicing them. I used a steak knife with a serrated edge. Cut the dumplings into strips about 1 to 1 ½ inches wide. Cut across from the opposite direction to create diamond shapes.
If your chicken is cool enough to work with, begin shredding the meat you want to use for your dumplings. You can use all the dark and white meat you are able shred off the bone, or reserve some of the meat for later use. It really depends on how meaty you want your dumplings and how many people you are serving.
Shred the chicken and set aside. If all of the meat isn’t cool enough to touch continue on with the dumplings and you can shred the rest of the meat once the dumplings are cooking.
Carefully grab a handful of dumplings, keeping them somewhat separated and slowly add them to the boiling broth. Continue dropping the dumplings in one to two at a time and be cautious of hot water splashing out.
The dumplings will immediately rise to the top as they cook. As you need space, use a spoon to gently move the cooking dumplings to the side of the pot as you add in more. Do not stir! Continue this process until all your dumplings are in the pot.
Once they are all in the pot, allow them to cook 2 to 3 minutes and test one. They should be firm and cooked through, yet they will be soft and flexible, a little like a noodle.
Allow the chicken to heat through and the meal is ready to serve! Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serves about 6.