I am a recipe follower - not a recipe creator. I am a virgo, details are my thing. (well…except when it comes to laundry and dusting….) When I was a little girl, one of our dinner staples was City Chicken, silly me, I never knew it wasn’t really chicken. I haven’t had City Chicken in many, many years. Last weekend, we went to one of our favorite farms (http://bruntyfarms.com) to pick up our fist Summer Bundle. A collection of Brunty beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey. I was thrilled to find a one pound package labeled, “City Chicken Pork.” So yesterday evening, on our hottest day of 2013, I decided to make City Chicken for my family. I read through recipes, I had some ingredients some of the recipes required - I am gluten free - and pleasing sons and husband in the same meal isn’t easy. So I went rogue with my fingers crossed…..
- 1 pound of pork cubed into cute little pieces that are called chicken
- 1/2 Cup coconut flour
- salt and pepper - about 50 grinds of each if using “grindy salt” as my brother-in-law calls it
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dried vegetable powder (this is something I make in the late summer with our leftover cucumbers, squash, etc….. I dehydrate and crush them and use them as a seasoning all year long.)
- 2 cloves garlic (but we are a garlic-lovin’ group!)
- 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 container frozen turkey stock we made last summer also
- wooden skewers
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil, dried garlic and dried veggie powder in a bowl and stir until it is well blended. Roll each pork piece in the mixture until completely covered and place them on a dry plate. Then put 3-4 cubes on each skewer.
Take the fresh garlic clove and cut it in half, rub the bottom of your cast iron skillet with the garlic and leave the clove halves in the skillet.
Preheat oven to 350F
Heat 1/4 cup EVOO in the cast iron skillet. When the oil is hot, but before it begins to smoke, add the skewers to the pan. Brown each side 3-4 minutes until all sides are golden and crispy.
With the pork in the skillet, pour in the chicken stock and add another garlic clove and a smidge of dried basil. Bring to a simmer and transfer the skillet to the oven, uncovered. After 30 minutes, turn the skewers and cook another 30 minutes.
I made my husband a side of Farro to go with his - and my sons a side of pasta. All plates were empty in no time.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with a myriad of food “sensitivities.” (sugar, wheat, gluten, shell fish, citrus, mushrooms, and a few random other things). Up until that point my husband did all of our food purchasing and preparing. I knew very little about where my food came from, nor did I care. Fast forward two years and today I prepared buffalo wings for us with blue cheese dressing……but not just any buffalo wings…..mine were quite special. The wings themselves came from a farm no more than two miles from our home. The chickens lead happy lives, were raised without hormones, antibiotics and fed only non-GMO grains. The buffalo sauce started as seeds planted under grow lights in our family room, they grew up to be hot peppers that after harvesting I fermented and canned to become extremely hot, hot sauce. The onion powder, parsley, and garlic powder that I sprinkled on the wings while they baked, we grew, dehydrated, and crushed. The blue cheese dressing was just as special. I started by making my own canola mayonnaise. Two years ago I never even knew I could make my own mayo, I had absolutely no idea where mayo came from. Then I used my own mayo to make blue cheese dressing. This was a meal worth celebrating - and so we did. We sat outside on this unseasonably warm fall day and enjoyed our time together.
Homemade isn’t as simple as “they” make it sound. I read all kinds of different blogs/web sites that share “simple” ways to Do It Yourself. I’ve noticed a trend…..it’s never as simple as described. I often find myself googling things like, “How do I thicken my homemade mayonnaise?”. I suppose if the writers gave too much information, no one would bother. That is my theory anyway - that they intentionally leave out pertinent details to lure us in. It’s so easy to make homemade body wash that you are a lazy ass if you buy it……don’t buy laundry detergent, in a few short steps you can have months worth for only pennies….the list is endless. I, of course, have been lured. I make body wash (be prepared for your kitchen to smell like soap for days), I make mayonnaise (I’ve learned to mix it in the freezer bowl from my ice cream maker), I make laundry detergent (still looking for a storage solution). My list is long.
Since I’ve been lured, I will continue on. I will continue to try to “simple, homemade” versions of complex things, only to learn there is no simple answer. Doing it ourselves takes time, effort, and willingness to learn.
I tried a new recipe yesterday - Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken - it was awesome!! And crazy easy. I found the recipe somewhere on one of the many food blogs I read - it called for a dry packet of Ranch Dressing mix. Since I prefer to cook with real food, not chemicals, I found a recipe for home made ranch dressing and used those items instead. I put a whole fryer that had been cut up into our slow cooker and added Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, fresh chives, parsley and dill weed, garlic powder and onion powder (that I had dried/powdered earlier in the season), salt and pepper. Unfortunately I don’t measure when I cook - I “eye-ball” it - when the ratio looks good, I stop adding. It cooked ‘till the bones were easy to remove, added some butter, and cooked some more. I served it with my amazing homemade blue cheese dressing and got rave reviews.
Over the winter I saw a recipe for a gluten free pizza crust that uses cauliflower. I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower but when we saw some fresh at the farmer’s market this weekend I decided we had to give it a try……
This is the crust after it’s first bake……now ready to top.
we piled on tomatoes (red and yellow), bacon, broccoli, herbs and cheese…..
The texture wasn’t the greatest and it had to be eaten with a fork, but the flavor was fabulous! This is my new favorite crust. Next we’re going to try using it in other recipes that call for some type of a crust - like zucchini pie and spaghetti pie.