Hanoi Grilled Chicken from The Banh Mi Handbook

From the Vietnamese bread and fillings to tangy pickled vegetables, you can create your own restaurant-style sandwich at home with the help of The Banh Mi Handbook and this Hanoi Grilled Chicken.


Hanoi Grilled Chicken from The Banh Mi Handbook | Fake Food Free

I read about the Vietnamese Banh Mi long before I ever had the opportunity to take my first bite. I knew about the soft, but crusty bread, the numerous meat fillings, pickled veggies, hot peppers and the finishing touch of cilantro.

Often when you know this much about a food before you try it, you set yourself up for disappointment. Not so with this sandwich. I had built up in my head what the combination of those flavors would be, and it was better than I anticipated.

I’m not picky about my banh mi. I like the classic version I can grab for $3.50 when passing through Oakland’s Chinatown just as much as I like the fancy version for $10 filled with local, pastured lemongrass chicken that I get at food trucks.

There is an art to it though, don’t you think? It’s not something that I had considered making at home because, while it seems easy, man is it hard to get those flavors right.

… 

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Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans

Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans | fakefoodfree.com
I like my chicken salad loaded. It’s  to the point that I want it to contain equally as many other ingredients as it does chicken. Nuts, grapes, dried cranberries, celery, onion, bell peppers – you name it and I’ll mix it in.

 

My favorite part is the fruit. I love that little touch of sweetness against all the other savory ingredients. Grapes and dried cranberries are my standards, but this time of year, nothing says summer like fresh blueberries.

 

Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans | fakefoodfree.com
Normally when I get my hands on some I ask around on social media as to what other people would do with them. The response is always to eat them fresh, and believe me, I’ve got that covered. But after I’ve downed a couple gallons, I still need a few good ideas that aren’t jam.

 

So when I got hungry for chicken salad last week, I decided to use blueberries in place of my old stand-bys. It was my first time trying it and it beat my old versions by a mile. Not to mention that there is something so pretty about those deep blue berries no matter what you use them in.

 

I use a mix of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and spicy brown mustard as a dressing for my version of chicken salad. It’s become my favorite combination not only for chicken, but for potato salads and slaws, too. If you have your own favorite, don’t hesitate to stick with that and just add the blueberries. They are the real star here, but I do have to admit I am loving them with both the pecans and dill in this recipe.

 

Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans | fakefoodfree.com

Picnic Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans

Makes: 2 to 3 servings

 

6 to 7 oz. roasted chicken, shredded
¼ cup finely diced onion
½ tbsp chopped fresh dill
¼ cup full-fat or 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
½ tsp sugar (any type – white, raw, brown, etc)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
¼ cup chopped pecans
½ cup fresh blueberries

 

Place the chicken, onion and dill in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing into the medium bowl and stir well until the chicken is coated and the dill is distributed throughout the chicken salad.

 

Stir in the pecans. Add the blueberries and very gently stir just until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Disclosure: The Sierra Cascade organic blueberries used in this recipe were provided by Whole Foods Oakland. I was not required to write about them and received no compensation for doing so.

Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish full recipes and images without written permission. What is okay? Feel free to Pin images, share links to my posts or share the photo in a round up post with the title of this recipe and a link back to the post. Confused about copyright and food blogs? Here is some helpful information on Recipe Attribution. If you want to use a photo or full recipe, just ask. I’m sure we can work something out. 

Pumpkin Seed and Lime Chicken from Dog-Gone Good Cuisine

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.

Pumpkin Seed and Lime Chicken

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.

Ingredients

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.

Where to Eat in 2013

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. 


Stanford, KY – Bluebird Cafe


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. 

Oakland, CA - Bocanova

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.

Chicken with Spicy Cranberry Citrus Relish Recipe


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.

Chicken with Spicy Cranberry Citrus Relish Recipe 

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!

 

Bringhe – Memories of Philippine Kitchens

I regularly revisit the goal to challenge myself in the kitchen by experimenting with cuisines from different areas of the world. I don’t always accomplish this goal, but over the past several months I’ve been happy with the variety around here. Foods from South Africa, West Africa, Ireland, Thailand, the Caribbean, and Italy have all found their way into posts.
I owe a lot of this to cookbooks. My most recent endeavor? A closer look at Filipino cuisine.
Other than the Filipino barbecue recipe learned from my husband’s college friend, I have no experience with the cuisine. I’ve not stepped foot in a Filipino restaurant (only because I’ve yet to have the opportunity), and while we entertained the idea of making Manila a stop on our Southeast Asia trip in 2009, it wasn’t meant to be on that adventure. 
So needless to say, I had a lot to learn. After reading this cookbook, I have been thoroughly educated.
Memories of Philippine Kitchens: Stories and Recipes from Far and Near by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan is a history book of traditional dishes. I received a revised and updated copy for review just a few weeks ago. The beautiful photos take you there – to the market stalls, to the rustic kitchens – you can almost feel the ingredients your hands and smell them cooking. The recipes make you wonder how you can bring such time-honored practices into your own kitchen; a challenge I welcome.
While taking a journey through geographic regions of the Philippines by way of food, the book introduces the reader to unfamiliar regions, and foods that seem different, but familiar at the same time. Dishes such as the classic Chicken Adobo, sweet Bibingka, and Lumpia. These names only mention the type of food or style of cooking. The recipes and variations seem endless.
I stopped turning the pages at the province of Pampanga – The Rice Heartland of Luzon. This led me to the Arayat Kitchen where I found Bringhe. The book describes this dish as Filipino paella. I took a quick look at the ingredients, and set out to find some banana leaves which I finally located last week.
I feared steaming a dish in leaves in a wok on my very U.S. American stove would be a difficult task, but this recipe was a breeze. The results were a dinner of nutty sticky rice in coconut milk complete with vegetables and pastured chicken. 
A one-pot meal at its finest.
There are very few times you find a book with so much of a culture within its pages. This book has a prominent place on my food history and culture bookshelf. 
I’m off in search of my next food culture challenge, and considering how many more recipes I want to try in this book, I have a feeling it will be Filipino once again. 
Bringhe
Reprinted with permission from Abrams Books 

Bringhe is a Filipino version of paella, made with glutinous rice and steamed in banana leaves.
Serves 4 to 6
One 3 1/2-pound chicken
1 large onion, quartered
Banana leaf sections, for lining the wok
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
One 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and grated
(or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 cups glutinous rice, soaked overnight in water
to cover, drained well
About 2 cups coconut milk
4 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
Place the chicken and quartered onion in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, strain, and reserve the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Set aside.
Wipe the banana leaves with damp paper towels to clean them. Run them through a flame on both sides to soften them a bit. Grease a large wok (or 2 small woks) and line it with a double layer of banana leaves.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic, diced onion, and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and stir for 1 minute, until aromatic.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until thoroughly coated with the oil, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken stock, and the fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed. 
Add another 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup stock and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes—the rice should be tender but al dente. If the rice isn’t cooked through, add more coconut milk and stock. Continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Add the shredded chicken and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
Fill the prepared wok (or woks) with the rice mixture, smooth the top to create an even layer, cover with the lid or foil, and place over medium heat. Cook without stirring for 20 minutes, or until a golden brown crust that holds the dish together is formed at the bottom of the dish. If the crust hasn’t formed, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to form the crust. Invert onto a large serving plate, remove the banana leaves, and serve.
Disclosure: A copy of this cookbook was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to write about it, and received no compensation for doing so. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Cookbooks for Christmas: Tandoori Chicken from How to Cook Indian

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.


 

After a week of eating traditional US favorites at every meal, it doesn’t take long for me to start craving something a little more culturally diverse in flavor. With this in mind last year, I set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2011 to cook more ethnic foods, specifically Thai and Indian. I’m sad to say I’ve failed miserably. 
I’ve done some recreation and my own versions of Asian and Indian-inspired foods, but my real goal was to cook authentically. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, but with only a few weeks left in the year, I’m not ready to give up just yet. 
So with a craving to put something different on my plate, I turned to my new cookbook – How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor. This monster of a cooking resource has been my reading material of choice for the past few weeks. Like a mystery novel I can’t seem to stop turning the page to see what happens next – to the curry, the coconut milk, the ground lamb and the chicken. 
I find this cookbook ideal for anyone ready to add a little diversity to their kitchen whether beginner or advanced. There are over 500 recipes. Yes, 500. Everything from what I consider standard Indian foods (which simply means they can be found on the buffet at my favorite Indian place here in town) to things I have never heard of before. It’s been an adventure in culinary discovery for me. 
No food photography in this one, but those spaces are filled with even more recipes and instructions that are straight forward and easy to understand. The book begins with base spice mix recipes for things such as Chai Masala and moves on to everything from vegetarian dishes, to lamb, to chicken, to fish. 
For each recipe name the original is given followed by a description for those of us not well versed in cuisines or languages of India. There is Pyaaz Ki Tarkari (Onions with tamarind), Kolhapuri Sukka Lamb (Spicy coconut lamb) and Maa Chole Di Dal (North Indian Lentils) to name just a few. 
This weekend my husband brought home some fresh chickens so we decided to go with what I consider rather classic – Tandoori Chicken. I say we because while he doesn’t make an appearance on the food blog often, he helped with this dish as much as I did. 
This was my first time making Tandoori Chicken at home and I have to admit, it was pretty darn easy. As long as you take into consideration marinating times with your preparation I have a feeling you will think so too. This recipe calls for either Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder which is what gives the chicken that identifiable red color. Mine didn’t turn out as red as varieties I’ve had before, but I think that is because I did use paprika instead of the chili powder.
The flavor of the chicken is outstanding. With all the spices and marinating flavor is fully infused into the meat. Delicious. And with 499+ recipes to go, there is a lot more where that came from!
Tandoori Chicken
Chicken marinated in spicy yogurt and baked
 Reprinted with permission from Abrams Books
This darling of the Indian palate, traditionally cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor, is one of my per­sonal favorites. Leaving the bone in ensures that the final dish will be succulent and juicy.
Serves 4.
1 (1¾-pound/800-gram) whole bone-in chicken
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chile powder or paprika powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon table salt
For the marinade:
1 cup (250 grams) plain yogurt, drained until thick
2 tablespoons fresh ginger paste
2 tablespoons fresh garlic paste
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or paprika powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons filtered mustard oil
To cook and serve:
2 medium red onions
Melted butter
½ teaspoon chaat masala
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces: 2 leg quarters and 2 breast halves. Make incisions in the flesh with a sharp knife. Put the chicken in a deep bowl. 
2. In a small bowl, stir together the chile powder, lemon juice, and salt, and rub it onto the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate. 
3. Make the marinade: Put the yogurt in a bowl, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, chile powder, salt, lemon juice, garam masala, and mustard oil, and stir. 
4. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and toss so that all the pieces are well covered with it. Cover the bowl again and put it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to marinate. 
5. Cut the onions into round slices and then separate the rings. Put in a bowl of iced water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside in the refrigerator until needed. This will keep the onions crisp. 
6. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Put the chicken pieces onto metal or presoaked wooden skewers, arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until almost cooked through. Baste with butter and cook for 8 minutes more. 
7. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with the onion rings and lemon wedges. 
Disclosure: A review copy of this cookbook was sent to me free of charge. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. 

Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers

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

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
¾ cup cabbage, grated
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
3 tbsp soy sauce

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.

Local Meat: Marksbury Farm Market

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.

A few things we’ve purchased include Italian sausage, chicken sausage, ground pork, ground beef, whole chickens, chicken wings, smoked brats, prosciutto, braunschweiger and hot dogs. One of the best parts is that because Marksbury purchases and processes their meats their prices are very competitive and affordable in the market of grass-fed and pastured products.
Each time I visit, there are more foods available that aren’t meat at all. There are Kentucky cheeses, including this delicious Asiago Peppercorn from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese.
Kentucky milk, cream, yogurt, granola, breads, produce, vanilla, flavored sugars, salts and soy sauce can also be found lining the shelves along with many more items.

There are still some farmers around the area whose relationships I value and I will continue to buy from them directly. However, I feel incredibly fortunate to make a short drive and have such variety at my finger tips.
The Marksbury Farm Market truly encompasses the local butcher. The kind of place where you go with no plans for your dinner menu, and leave with a gourmet meal planned based on fresh, local ingredients.

Several media outlets have published articles on Marksbury, so check out the links below to learn more. This coming week I’ll share what we did with the hotdogs we purchased. And of course, if you find yourself traveling through central Kentucky, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by and see it for yourself!
73 Fisher Ford Road
Lancaster, KY 40444

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.

Buffalo Turkey Sandwiches with Celery Yogurt Spread

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.