Monday, November 30, 2009

The Skinny on Spatchcocking

I know, it gets your attention every time – “spatchcocking”. What the heck is that anyway? Simple answer: removing the backbone from a turkey (or chicken, or quail or any other fowl creature), flipping it over, breaking the breastbone and cooking it flat. But you probably wanted to know what it actually means. I did some digging (i.e. a quick google search) and here’s what I found:
The origin of “spatchcock” seems to be under debate. The folks at Oxford think it’s Irish, and a combination of “dispatch” (as in “quick”) and “cock,” – Dispatch the Cock! But the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary dismisses that theory and ties the word to “spitchcock,” a dish made with fried eels. [ed. note: that’s a rather odd turn of events, and I’m not quite sure what eels have to do with anything.]
I’ve been intrigued ever since Martha floated the idea of spatchcocking your Thanksgiving bird and we gave one a test drive this Saturday. The process started on Wednesday when I actually performed the manual labor of spatchcocking. Full disclosure: it’s not as easy as they (i.e. Martha Stewart) makes it sound. It’s actually really hard and was accompanied by a lot of cursing and moments when I really didn’t think I was going to finish (thus ending up with a half-cocked turkey). But I muscled through, flipped it over, had husband break the breastbone (We think anyway. Again, not as easy as it sounds and it never really made a discernible “popping” sound like you would expect). But, it was flat and that’s all we were going for. I dry-brined it for a few days, rinsed it off and let it air dry in the refrigerator overnight. I made a paste of herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil and cooked in a 450 degree oven for about 80 minutes. Turned out great! Would I do it again? Yes, for quite a few reasons with one caveat:
  1. It makes it really easy to move it around and store because it’s flat on a sheet pan.
  2. You can use the backbone, giblets and wings* to make a great turkey stock for gravy while the turkey is dry-brining (* I also removed the wings after cutting out the backbone).
  3. It’s really easy to carve once it comes out of the oven and rests.
  4. It produces a lot of great crispy skin.
  5. It’s fast.
  6. And it’s easier IF (this is where the caveat comes in) you either (a) have really, freakishly strong hands or (b) have a GREAT pair of kitchen shears. Mine are not great, as I found out.
So, I will definitely be doing this again – after I buy a new pair of good, sharp kitchen shears. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you should consider spatchcocking your Holiday turkey!

Photo Martha Stewart Living

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Farm Dinner to Benefit Angelic Organics Learning Center

Don’t miss the 3rd annual farm dinner benefit presented by the talented chefs from Sunday Dinner. Enjoy a gourmet, seasonal meal in the abundant fields of Angelic Organics.

As in past years, this event will sell out quickly! Tickets must be purchased in advance to secure your reservation. Each seat is $100 (BYOB) and proceeds support the Learning Center.

Enjoy good company, farm tours, farm goods and an amazing meal served BBQ-style. This year’s menu includes:

MAIN COURSES
  • Confit and Grilled Becker Lane Pork
  • Grilled Burgers with Heirloom Tomato, Horseradish Cheddar and Arugula
  • Micro Beer Brats and Stewed Peppers and Onions
  • Grilled Flatbreads with Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
SUMMER SALADS
  • Ratatouille Pasta Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Squash and Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Goat Cheese
  • Summer Slaw with Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill and Creme Fraiche
  • Grilled Corn with Cilantro Jalapeno Butter
  • Mixed Green Salad with Shaved Zucchini
DESSERT
  • Shortcakes with Market Summer Berries and Sabayon
Buy tickets now and view additional event information.

P.S. This beautiful burger logo was designed by none other than the talented designers at Kitemath – Jake Veness, Bridget Murphy, Chris Jennings and myself!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

What does one do with one fennel bulb?

Usually when I lament the challenges of my CSA box, it’s along the lines of “What am I going to do with all this [insert vexing vegetable here]”? But sometimes just the opposite can be problematic – what to do when you only get ONE of something? Most recipes call for a pound of this or two to three of that. But when you’re staring down one, lonely vegetable, it’s hard to figure out what to do. Sometimes my solution is to trade that odd vegetable with something else in the swap box; hoping that someone else can use my one to make two. But it’s a rare occasion when we get fennel and I wasn’t about to give that up. Solution? Thinly slice it along with a sweet onion and caramelize it. That simple combination works wonders on top of a burger, as a condiment on a steak or veggie sandwich or folded into an omlet. My next hill to climb? The pesky one-off kohlrabi...

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Well Done Burgers Done Well

shown here topped with caramelized onions & fennel, avocado and brie

Friday, June 26, 2009

box no. 02 | 2009 | veg | contents

• Lettuce (butterhead, two star, and black seeded simpson)
• Spinach
• Tatsoi
• Radishes
• Turnips
• Zucchini
• Summer Squash
• Cilantro
• Summer Savory
• Scallions
• Garlic Scapes
• Broccoli

source: Angelic Organics

From the Archives...
Veggie Cold Cut Deli Style Sandwiches
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

box no. 01 | 2009 | veg | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

• Lettuce (a green two star, a red magenta, and a lovely green butterhead)
Arugula
• Spinach
• Choi
Radishes
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Basil
Thyme
Popcorn
Scallions (purple and white)


source: Angelic Organics

From the Archives...
Mediterranean Couscous with Zucchini, Chickpeas & Feta
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe




Zucchini on Foodista

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Simple Series :: New Red Potatoes

From Panfried Smashed Potatoes to Boiled Potatoes with Parsley, the Simple Series will help you figure out what to do with all those potatoes...

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Simple Series :: New Red Potatoes

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

may 27, 2009 | veg | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

Romaine lettuce
• Baby Boc Choi
New Potatoes
Purple Asparagus
Kohlrabi
Rhubarb


source: Genesis Growers

From the Archives...
Potato & Leek Flatbread with Roasted Garlic
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

may 25, 2009 | meat | contents

One medium monthly share:
• Pork Chops (2 packages)
• Ham Steak
• Ground Pork (Unseasoned; 1 lb)
• Pork Sausage
• All Beef Summer Sausage
• Sirloin Tip Roast (3.7 lb)
• Ground Beef (2 lb)
• Ground Lamb (1 lb)
• Chicken (1/2 and 1 whole cut-up)
• Eggs (3 dozen; additional – not included in share)

source: Grass is Greener Gardens


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

may 16, 2009 | meat | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

• Pork Chops
• Pork Bratwurst
• Pork Sausage
• Ham Steak
• Burger Patties
Ground beef (2 pounds)
Chicken
Eggs (2 dozen)

source: Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm

From the Archives... Healthy Sloppy Joes
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

may 13, 2009 | veg | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

Asparagus
Rhubarb
• Green Leaf lettuce
Kale
• Mesclun mix
• Red cabbage


source: Genesis Growers

From the Archives... Rhubarb Crisp
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe



Friday, May 08, 2009

Radish & Chive Sandwich with Cream Cheese

This week I’m trying out a new recipe format with one of my favorite Spring treats – Radish & Chive Sandwich with Cream Cheese. Some recipes don’t fit well into a traditional format. Either they’re much too simple to really justify a recipe at all or the preparation is such that specific measurements and directions aren’t necessary. The Visual Recipe format offers a simple, concise visual recipe that’s easy to follow and easy to prepare. I would love to hear what you think of the new format!


Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Radish & Chive Sandwich with Cream Cheese

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Technical difficulties...

update 5-7-09... we’re back up and running!

My hosting provider is currently experiencing some issues. You will not be able to download recipes until they’re back online. But if/when you can see my 24 Boxes masthead image, then that means all is well. Oh technology! ~ J.Noelle

may 6, 2009 | veg | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

Asparagus
Carrots with greens
Chives
Broccoli
Romaine
Radishes
Spinach


source: Genesis Growers

From the Archives...
Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

april 29, 2009 | veg | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

Carrots (the end of the overwintered carrots)
Scallions (planted last fall in the field and overwintered)
Potatoes (end of these until the new crop comes in)
Red and Green Leaf Lettuce
• Collards
Broccoli


source: Genesis Growers

From the Archives...
One-Skillet Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe




Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Review | A Homemade Life

This is more of a public service announcement than a simple book review. I am so enamored with A Homemade Life that I feel it’s my mission to make sure that all of my foodie (especially my female foodie) friends READ THIS BOOK. It’s more than a memoir and not necessarily a cookbook (but there are lots of recipes). It’s funny, familiar, poignant, sometimes sad, bittersweet and very romantic.

Molly Wizenberg is author and creator of the award-winning blog Orangette. Her writing and storytelling style will make you feel like you’re one of her closest friends. You fall in love with her, her cooking and eventually (just like she did), you fall in love with her fiance then husband. Prepare to laugh, cry, laugh some more and then cook.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Simple Series :: Kale

The Simple Series is back! It’s actually harder to compile three simple preparations than it is to post a more complicated recipe. But with Kale, I’ve been finding that the simpler the better and while I’m a fan of all three recipes featured in this Simple Series (including Raw Emerald Kale Salad and Steamed Sesame Kale), I am absolutely addicted to the Kale Chips. They are exactly what they sound like – crispy pieces of Kale with just a sprinkling of salt and a little olive oil to help them crisp up (baked, not fried). I realized just how good they were when a friend asked me how long they would keep in an airtight container, and I said “I have no idea – they’ve never lasted that long in our house!” Guilt-free chips...

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Simple Series :: Kale

Friday, April 17, 2009

april 18, 2009 | meat | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that item.

• Pork Chops
• Pork Sausage
• Ham Steak
• Beef Arm Roast
• Burger Patties
Ground beef
Chicken
Eggs (2 dozen)

source: Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm

From the Archives... Skillet Lasagna
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe




Wednesday, April 08, 2009

april 8, 2009 | veg | contents


Radishes
Carrots with tops
Mint
Thyme
• Beets
• Parsnips
• Baby Turnips with Greens
• Boc Choi
Red onion


source: Genesis Growers

From the Archives...
Roasted Radishes with Soy Glaze & Scallions
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe




Sunday, April 05, 2009

Carrot & Apple Salad with Yogurt, Mint and Honey Dressing

My box season is starting so much earlier this year thanks to my new 2009 Spring subscription from the Genesis Growers CSA. I anxiously picked up my first box, not really knowing what to expect. It is, after all, April in Chicago, and there’s not much growing. But the box was heavy and packed with onions, beets, potatoes and giant carrots – some of the biggest carrots I have ever seen (the beets were giant-sized, too!). After a winter of heavy, warm foods I was craving this crisp, tart but slightly sweet Carrot & Apple Salad with a yogurt, mint and honey dressing. Exactly what I needed to brighten a dreary, rainy Spring day.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Carrot & Apple Salad with Yogurt, Mint and Honey Dressing

Friday, April 03, 2009

april 1, 2009 | veg | contents


Carrots
• Beets – quite possibly the biggest beets I have ever seen!
Red potatoes
Parsnips
Kale
Chinese non-heading cabbage
Spanish onions

source: Genesis Growers

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Peak-Season Produce Map

Check out this super cool Seasonal Ingredient Map to see what’s fresh in your area, plus find ingredient descriptions, shopping guides, recipes, and tips:

Monday, March 23, 2009

mar 2009 | meat | contents

Ground Beef (2 lbs)
Pork Sausage (1 lb)
Ribeye Steak
Ham Steak
Bacon
Chicken (one whole and two half fryers)
One Dozen Eggs

Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm is an old-fashioned family farm located north of Ottawa, IL on the banks of Indian Creek. Jody and Beth Osmund returned to this family farm to five years ago to embark on sustainable farming and raise their sons: Richard, Duncan and Jack. Their animals are raised in healthy environments, so drugs and hormones aren’t necessary to promote growth or maintain health.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The March Melting Pot

I often come across articles, events or tidbits about cooking or local food, but they’re not enough on their own to warrant a whole article. So, I thought I would start collecting these and post a miscellaneous article with random thoughts, resources and interesting information. Here goes:

First up, the 5th Annual Ramp Fest at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Friday, April 5. Ramp Fest is The Land Connection’s annual Spring fundraiser, inspired by the wild ramp, allium tricocum, which is the first edible green to come up each spring, and which Chicago was named after (who knew!). Enjoy spectacular dishes featuring the vegetable of honor created by the likes of Paul Kahan: Blackbird Restaurant, Carrie Nahabedian: NAHA, Sarah Stegner & George Bumbaris: Prairie Grass Cafe, and Paul Virant: Vie Restaurant. For ticket information, visit TheLandConnection.org > events.

Which leads me to my second feature: The Land Connection.
Their Vision
: to support and foster the growth and creation of community-based food systems in the Midwest, in which every farmer has the opportunity to grow food in a sustainable manner, and every person has the choice to enjoy local and organic foods.
Their Mission
: to establish successful farmers on healthy farmland, ensuring an abundance of delicious, local, and organic foods.
A great cause that is worthy of our support (and you get to eat ramps!). For more information, visit TheLandConnection.org.

I found out about the Ramp Fest and The Land Connection in the latest issue of edible Chicago, a magazine featuring news of the region’s family farmers, brewers, food artisans, chefs, home gardeners, and others who have a dedication to producing and using sustainably produce, local, seasonal foods. You can pick up free copies at various locations around the city and suburbs (I grabbed mine at the Chopping Block), you can read the content online, or you can subsribe and have it delivered to your door four times a year for $28.

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand is now open on a permanent basis and offers edible local and seasonal products all produced within 250 miles of Chicago. The Farmstand was recently featured on WGN Lunchbreak and highlighted local buttermilk, scone mix, soups and more that are available for purchase. For hours and more information, visit the Farmstand’s website.

And one more local, seasonal shopping spot that’s not open quite yet (as far as I know, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but very soon we’ll be able to buy local, organic and healthy food at the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square. For updates and more information, visit www.dillpicklefoodcoop.org or call 312-523-8299.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock

I finally broke down and purchased a slow cooker that I had in my Amazon wish list for almost a year. It’s been close to a month since it arrived all shiny-new and stainless steel and, funny thing is, the only thing I’ve made so far is chicken stock – lots and lots of chicken stock. It’s become a joke now in our house that I’m stocking up on stock (you can never have too much homemade chicken stock). Making stock in a slow cooker cannot be any easier. And after doing some research online and reading up at Cook’s Illustrated, I determined that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to end up with a really flavorful, full-bodied stock. Throw some chicken (wings, backs and/or necks), an onion (with the skin, adds a nice golden-brown color), garlic, salt and bay leaves in a slow cooker, set it to cook and forget about it. Eight hours later (or four hours on high), you’ve got yourself three quarts of homemade stock that you can use within a week or freeze for up to three months.

For safety reasons, it’s always a good idea to cool down soups, stocks or stews before transferring them to the refrigerator. Putting hot-off-the-stove foods directly into the refrigerator can increase the interior temperature to more than 50 degrees – which is unsafe for all of the food inside. You can let the food cool down on the countertop for an hour and then transfer to the refrigerator. Or, you can cool it down more quickly with a cooling paddle. A Rapi-Kool Food Chiller, or cooling paddle, cool sauces, soups, stews, and other hot foods quickly and easily. It allows you to insert a shaft of cold directly into the core of the food. You can find cooling paddles at restaurant supply stores online such as Ace Mart, item number KATRCU-64.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock

Sunday, February 22, 2009

feb 2009 | meat | contents

Ground Beef (2 lbs)
Sirloin Steak
Italian Sausage
Pork Shoulder Roast
Pork Chops
Chicken (one whole and two halves)
One Dozen Eggs

Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm is an old-fashioned family farm located north of Ottawa, IL on the banks of Indian Creek. Jody and Beth Osmund returned to this family farm to five years ago to embark on sustainable farming and raise their sons: Richard, Duncan and Jack. Their animals are raised in healthy environments, so drugs and hormones aren’t necessary to promote growth or maintain health.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spiced Party Nuts

Oh my. I had never experienced homemade spiced nuts before making them on New Year’s Eve. Man, they are good. The flavor of homemade versus store bought spiced nuts is incomparable. You really get a lot more bang for your buck if you can spare a few minutes to create your own (all three of these recipes takes less then 20 minutes and that’s including cooking time). They’re fresher, bolder and you have the flexibility of playing with the flavors. Say goodbye to expensive, stale, store-bought nuts and try one – or all three! – of these. Be forewarned: they’re addictive.

Note: all three recipes have slightly different cooking techniques.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Spiced Party Nuts