Sauerkraut Quesadillas


sauerkraut quesadillas

The combination of sauerkraut and quesadillas sounds a bit odd, but it totally works. The sauerkraut is added after cooking to preserve the probiotic content of this traditional food. Try different combos of cheeses and sauerkraut flavors. I put some of our favorites below.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp grass-fed butter
2 sprouted large tortillas
1 ½ cup shredded grass-fed cheese, pepper jack or mild cheddar
1/4 cup traditional plain or caraway sauerkraut

Instructions:
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter and swirl to coat the pan. Add one tortilla and spread the cheese overtop. Add the second tortilla. Cook until underside is browned, approx 3 minutes. Flip. Cook until other side is browned, approx 2 minutes. Remove from heat, carefully peel back top layer and spread sauerkraut evenly overtop of the cheese.

sauerkraut quesadillas
Cut with a pizza cutter into slices and serve warm with a side of salsa.

Simple Summer Tomato Sauce


This sauce requires tomatoes at the peak of ripeness.  If it is not tomato season, don’t even bother!  If the sauce is not thick enough, after blending, simply bring sauce to a light boil before adding olive oil and pepper, allowing the sauce to reduce to desired thickness.

1 tbsp butter
1½ cups diced sweet onion (1 medium)
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
6 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes (6 large)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper

Instructions:
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Add onions.  Sauté for 10 minutes; onions will be softened.  Add garlic.  Sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally; garlic will be fragrant.  Add tomatoes and sea salt.  Raise heat to medium-high, stirring, until tomato juice comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes; tomatoes will be softened.  Carefully blend in a blender until smooth.  Return to the rinsed pot and add olive oil and cracked pepper.  Re-season with sea salt to taste.

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Tart Apple Turkey Burger


Ingredients:
2 tbsp bacon renderings, divided
1 cup 1/4” diced sweet onions
1 cup peeled & 1/4” diced green apple
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cayenne pepper or 3 dashes powdered cayenne pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. pastured ground turkey
1 pastured egg yolk
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Instructions:
In a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt bacon renderings.  Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; onions will be softened.  Add green apple and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; apple will be softened.  Add garlic and cayenne.  Sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly; garlic will be fragrant.  Add chopped fresh parsley.  Turn off the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, cooled apple mixture, egg yolk, coconut flour, mustard, sea salt & pepper.  Using clean hands, mix to combine.  But, avoid over-mixing, which can make meat tough.  Divide meat into 4 quarters and form each quarter into a burger.

In the same large cast-iron skillet used for the green apple mixture, add the additional tbsp of bacon renderings and warm to medium heat.  Add burgers.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Turn, reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Sweet Skillet Shrimp


Ingredients:
4 tsp bacon fat, divided
1 lb peeled, deveined & tails-off 16-20 count shrimp
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper, divided
2 cups sauté sliced sweet onion (approx 1 medium onion)*
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 minced cayenne pepper or 1/8 tsp cayenne
5 cups 1” diced heirloom tomatoes (approx 3 large)**
1½ cups ¾” diced ripe mango (approx 1 large mango)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, roughly chopped

Instructions:
In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, melt 2 tsp bacon fat.

Swirl pan to coat with oil and allow pan to get good and hot.

In a single layer, add shrimp, and sprinkle with ½ tsp sea salt and ½ tsp pepper.  Cook shrimp two minutes on the first side.  Flip in a single layer.  Add another pinch of sea salt & pepper to the second side.  Cook an additional two minutes.  Remove to a plate to cool.

Turn heat down to medium.


Add remaining 2 tsp bacon fat and onions.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes; onions will be softened.  Add garlic and cayenne.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds; garlic will be fragrant and cayenne will make you want to cough!

Turn heat down to medium-low.



Add tomatoes, ½ tsp sea salt and ½ tsp pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.




Add mango and shrimp.  Stir to combine. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes.  Allow sauce to thicken slightly.


Turn off heat and stir in basil.  If necessary, re-season with additional sea salt & pepper.


Serve in a wide bowl with a piece of toasted, crusty bread.  Can also be served over spaghetti squash or noodles.

*  To cut a sauté slice, slice the onion in half from root to stem.  Lay flat and cut ¼” off of both the root and stem ends.  Peel both sides.  Lay flat.  Thinly slice onion from cut end to cut end.

** Do not seed tomatoes. 

Ground Beef with Peas and Carrots


Sautéed Ground Beef with Peas & Carrots
Yield: 5 cups

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
1-cup ¼” diced red or yellow onion
1-cup ¼” diced carrots
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 tsp dried mustard
two dashes cayenne
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
1-cup 24-hour homemade beef or chicken stock
1-cup frozen green peas

Instructions:

In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, melt ¼ cup butter until foaming.  Add onions and carrots.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently; onions will have softened.  Add thyme or rosemary and beef.


Continue sautéing for 5 minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.


Add mustard, cayenne, vinegar, sea salt, pepper and stock.  Stir to combine.  Still over medium heat, bring to a simmer and maintain simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in peas, cover for 3 minutes and serve.

Delicious served with lacto-fermented sauerkraut.

Squash Noodles with Red Sauce


Serves 6-8

This dinner is a family favorite, and it happens to be a breeze to make! The key? Spaghetti Squash serves as the low-starch substitute for noodles. Homemade marinara sauce may be used, but this meal is designed to be a last-minute dinner, therefore a jar of quality marinara sauce works just fine!

Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash
1 1/4 lb grassfed ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic (approx 3 cloves)
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 jars marinara sauce *
sea salt & pepper
parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions:
About an hour before dinner, preheat the oven to 400˚. Locate either a roasting pan with rack or a cookie sheet with a cookie rack set inside of it.  Cut the spaghetti squash from vine stump to end. Scoop out the seeds. Place the spaghetti squash on the rack cut side down and fill the pan with water until almost reaching the rack, but not touching the spaghetti squash. Prick the skin of the squash with a fork 10 times each. Place the squash in the hot oven until a fork pierces the squash fairly easily or an indention is left when squeezed, approx 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the squash is cooking – In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter until foaming. Add the meat and onions, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook until pink is gone from meat and onions are soft, approx 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce.  Stir to combine. Simmer while the squash finishes cooking. Five minutes before the squash is ready, add the zucchini to the sauce.  The zucchini will soften, but maintain a bright green color and al dente texture.

When squash is ready, remove it from the oven. Flip the squash over and add 1 tbsp butter and generous salt & pepper to each squash cavity. When the squash cools enough to touch, use a fork to scrape the strings of spaghetti out of each side of the squash and into a large bowl. Toss squash gently with fork to even out the seasoning. Pour the meat sauce over the spaghetti. Top with parmesan or chopped parsley.

* Ground chicken or turkey may substitute for ground beef.  Follow the same procedure, except use 2 tbsp of butter instead of 1 tbsp to cook the meat. I find chicken and turkey need the supplemental fat for moisture and flavor.

* Don’t scrimp here!  The taste of the jarred marinara sauce can make or bread this meal.  Last night, I used Seeds of ChangePuttanesca Napoletana” brand to much success. I also adore a brand called Dave’s Gourmet “Red Heirloom”. Keep trying till you find a one that tastes great without any additional adjustments in seasoning. This is designed to be a fast meal!

The New Taco Dinner


Homemade Taco Meat
Ingredients:

3 tbsp + 1 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup 1/4″ diced onions
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1 lb ground grass-fed bison *
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp molasses
1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:
In a large saucepan with tall sides over medium heat, melt butter until it begins to foam. Add onion, mushrooms and bison. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon occasionally; mushrooms will be softened and meat will be cooked through. Add garlic, oregano and chili flakes. Stir to combine. Add paprika, cumin, chili powder, molasses and sea salt. Stir to combine and continue to simmer over medium heat for an additional 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 tbsp butter. Stir to melt and incorporate. Serve warm.

* Grass-fed ground beef may be substituted.

Traditional Re-Fried Beans
Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked pinto beans *
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (approx 1/2 medium)
3 tbsp pastured lard **
1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions:
In a large saute pan, melt lard over medium heat. Add onions. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes; onions will be softened and slightly browned. Add cooked beans. Mash with a potato masher for 1 minute; mixture will be mostly smooth and well combined. Stir in sea salt. Serve warm.

* To achieve 3 full cups of cooked pinto beans, use a double batch of the Cooked Bean recipe.  Store the leftover in the refrigerator with the cooking liquid.  Drain and rinse when ready to use in other recipes.  Cooked beans are delicious in a tossed green salad.  In a pinch, two cans drained and rinsed equals 3 cups cooked beans.

** Pastured beef tallow or grass-fed butter may be substituted, but I like the flavor of lard.

Other Taco Ideas…
Sprouted Corn or Wheat TortillasAdd additional health to your meal with sprouted shells. Sprouted means that the grain has been soaked and literally sprouted or grown a bit. This activates the enzymes in your food and makes the grains highly digestible. My favorite brand of Sprouted Corn Tortillas is by Food for Life.
LettuceFinely chopping or shredding Romaine is the key to “Taco-Style” lettuce.
TomatoesIn the summertime, try heirloom!
CheeseIf you can get your hands on a Raw Milk Cheddar, that’s the way to go!
OlivesDoesn’t have to mean canned black olives! Find an olive bar and try something new. Make sure to pit them, chop them or slice them to make them feel like “Taco-Style” olives.
OnionsTry red onions, scallions or sweet onions. If you are in the Southeast, definitely try Vidalia Onions!
Sour CreamOrganic is very important when it comes to Dairy Products.
GuacamoleTry homemade! Store-bought is fine too, but read your labels. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
SalsaSee Guacamole’s Tip!

Seared Scallops with Creamy Carrot Puree


Makes 1½ cups carrot puree
Serves 4

Scallops are delicious, fancy and take about 5 minutes to cook.  Growing up a vegetarian in land-locked Atlanta, GA, I spent my first few carnivorous years hesitant to dive into seafood.  But after taking the scallop plunge, I’m hooked.  Like most seafood, just don’t overcook them.  A hot pan is very, very important, and they should come off when they are somewhat firm and bouncy without being hard.  Another key is to avoid crowding the pan.  Cook in two batches, if necessary.  Simply divide the scallops and cooking oil in half for each batch.  Try once or twice, and you will have this easy but upscale, entertaining-friendly dish mastered.

Creamy Carrot Puree Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup diced shallot (approx 1 shallot)
1 tsp minced garlic (approx 1 clove)
2 cups peeled & ¼” sliced carrots (approx 4 medium)
½ cup filtered water
½ tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste
generous pinch of cayenne pepper
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (approx 1 orange)
1 tbsp butter

Seared Sea Scallops Ingredients
12 large sea scallops, rinsed, de-muscled and thoroughly dried (approx 1 lb) *
1 garlic clove, peeled & smashed
½ tsp sea salt, divided
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper, divided
3 tbsp ghee

Creamy Carrot Puree Instructions
Before beginning carrot puree, prep scallops per ingredient list instructions, which will allow scallops to return to room temperature.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, warm extra virgin olive oil until glistening and add diced shallots.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and sweat shallots for 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally; shallots will have softened.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, garlic will be fragrant.  Add carrots, water, sea salt and cayenne.  Raise heat to bring liquid to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook carrots for 10 minutes; carrots will have softened.  Adjust heat up or down to maintain a rolling simmer.  Carefully pour sauce into a blender with the orange juice and blend until creamy.  Pour sauce into a small saucepan.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Re-season with sea salt to taste.  Set pan over low heat while you cook the scallops.

Seared Sea Scallops Instructions
Return attention to the original large cast iron skillet.  Wipe pan out with a paper towel.  Evenly sprinkle topside of thoroughly dried scallops with ¼ sea salt & ¼ tsp pepper.  Over medium-high heat, melt ghee and whole clove of garlic until glistening and very hot without smoking.  Garlic clove will be sizzling fairly aggressively.  Add sea scallops to the hot oil, seasoned side down. Sauté scallops 2 minutes.  As soon as scallops are placed in the pan, remove and discard garlic clove, which has done its work by flavoring the oil.  While the first side cooks, season the second side with ¼ tsp sea salt & ¼ tsp pepper. After 2 minutes, flip scallops with tongs.  Sauté an additional 2 minutes.  Raw scallops are translucent and squishy.  Cooked scallops are firm and slightly opaque, but not hard.

* To remove the muscle on the scallop, run a finger along the side of the scallops.  If you feel a harder piece of meat about ¾” long, pull at either end like a roll of toilet paper until a flap lifts.  Gently cut off the flap with a paring knife.  Clean scallops before making the carrot sauce, so that the scallops have reached room temperature before searing.

To Serve
Plating food is the cook’s chance to be creative, but here’s a suggestion to get fancy!  On a white plate, make ¼ cup mound of carrot puree slightly off-center.  Using the backside of a spoon, place on the mound of puree and drag to the right mirroring, but not touching, the edge of the plate to create a teardrop shape of sauce.  Place 3 scallops on top of the sauce.  Serving something bright green on the other side of the plate is a nice compliment.  Repeat for all 4 plates.  Carrot sauce does not have to be hot at service, but scallops do!  Serve immediately.  Additional sauce may be served on the side.

Millet Salmon Cakes with Creamy Dipping Sauce


Those who have a tough time digesting wheat find millet a welcome alternative. It can be found in all health food stores and even some regular grocery stores. Leftover millet is delicious in the morning with cinnamon, berries, honey and raw milk.

Salmon Cake Ingredients:
7 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 cup 1/4″ diced red onion (approx 1/2 medium)
1/2 cup 1/4″ diced fennel (approx 1/4 bulb)
1/2 cup 1/4″ diced celery (approx 1 stalk)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lb salmon, skinned & steamed or poached *
2 cups cooked millet **
1/4 cup ground flax ***
1/2 cup chopped soaked walnuts
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 pastured eggs

Salmon Cake Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400˚.  In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter.  Add onions, fennel and celery.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; veggies will have softened.  Remove from heat, stir in parsley and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Using clean fingers, flake salmon into a large bowl, being careful to remove any bones.  In a separate small bowl, toss cooked millet with ground flax until millet is coated.  Add millet/flax mixture and walnuts to salmon without mixing, set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together sea salt, pepper, lemon zest, Dijon mustard and eggs.  Add cooled sauteed vegetables to the samon bowl and pour egg mixture over the salmon.  Gently toss all ingredients together with a fork.  Using 1/3 cup measurement, measure out and form 12 salmon cakes.

Locate a regular sheet pan.  Place 2 tbsp butter onto the  sheet pan and place in the oven to melt, approximately 3 minutes.  Remove pan and use a pastry brush to spread butter evenly onto the pan.

In the same large skillet used for the vegetables (no need to clean it) over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter.  Add six patties to the pan and saute for 4 minutes; bottoms, when checked by slightly lifting the edges with a spatula, will be lightly browned.  Using a spatula and clean fingers (fingers may be used on the side of the cake, which will still be cool to assist in flipping), gently flip cakes over (browned side up) onto the buttered sheet pan.  In the saute pan, melt an additional 1 tbsp of butter.  Saute the second batch of salmon cakes for 4 minutes, and add those (browned side up) to the sheet pan as well.  Bake cakes for 10 minutes.  While cakes are baking, mix together the yogurt dipping sauce.

* I ask my fishmonger to skin & steam the salmon for me.  It enables these cakes to become a simple weeknight meal.  To Poach Fish at Home: Remove skin.  In a large pot filled halfway with water, add 1 tbsp sea salt.  Bring water to barely a simmer.  Occasional bubbles will float to the surface, but the water will not be bubbly.  Add salmon, bring water back to barely a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove fish and drain well in a colander.

** How to cook millet: Soak 1 cup of millet overnight in water to cover by 2″ and 1 tbsp whey (optional) for 12 – 24 hours.  After soaking, in a fine mesh strainer, rinse millet well. In a medium saucepan with a lid over high heat, bring 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock and 1/4 tsp sea salt to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Take off lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and proceed measuring 2 cups for use in this recipe.  Store the remainder in the fridge to serve with beans or with cinnamon and raw milk for breakfast.

*** To preserve the delicate oils in the seed from going rancid, flax seeds should be bought whole and ground at home just before use in a clean coffee grinder.  Store whole seeds in the freezer.

Creamy Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup raw creme fraiche or greek yogurt
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, both white and green parts (approx 2 scallions)
1/4 tsp lemon zest *
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
3 dashes cayenne pepper

Creamy Dipping Sauce Instructions:
While salmon is baking, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Chill until service.

To Serve:
As an entree, serve 3 salmon cakes per person with 1/4 cup of creamy dipping sauce on the side, drizzled over the cakes or on the plate under the cakes. As an appetizer, serve 1 salmon cake per person with a heaping tbsp of sauce.

* Make sure to zest the lemon before juicing.  It is impossible the other way around!  Also, organic becomes very important when using the zest of a fruit.  A stronger concentration of pesticides is found on the skin.

Molly’s Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner


Serves 6

Don’t be scared off by fermented fish sauce, which is a traditional seasoning used in Southeast Asian cuisine and available in most grocery stores. Worcestershire can definitely be substituted. I am simply allergic to soy, a common ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, so I often use fish sauce as a substitute. Plus, feel free to use whatever pasta you’d like. I simply prefer the brown rice pasta as a break from gluten from time to time. And, I mean it when I say optional about the fresno pepper. I am on a bit of a fresno pepper kick lately, and I first fell madly in love with thinly sliced fresno peppers in a lamb meatball dish at Rustic Canyon restaurant. But, the dish is just fine without them.

Ingredients:
2 lbs grass-fed beef
1 cup homemade sourdough breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
2 tsp fish sauce *
1 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion, divided
2 tbsp minced garlic, divided
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, divided
2 tsp + 2 tbsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 portabella caps, gills removed & 1/4″ diced
1 cup red wine
6 cups marinara (2-32 oz jars)
1 fresno pepper, seeded & very thinly sliced into rings (optional)
2 packages brown rice spaghetti

Instructions:
In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, egg yolk, fish sauce, 3/4 cup sweet onion, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix carefully with your fingers. Be careful; over-mixing creates tough meatballs. Using a 2-1/4″ ice cream scoop, form the mixture into flat scoops to create 16 – 18 meatballs, slightly larger than a golf ball. As formed, place meatballs on a clean plate.

Meatballs will be browned in two batches. In a 4-quart stockpot with a lid over medium-high heat, melt butter and extra virgin olive oil until glistening. Tilt the pan to cover the bottom with melted fat. Place half the meatballs into the hot oil, spaced out evenly. If the fat is beginning to brown and sizzle aggressively, turn down to medium and saute meatballs 2 minutes per side, until nicely browned. When properly browned, meatballs turn easily using a spoon, spatula or tongs. If meatball will not turn, it is not ready to be turned. If it is still sticking after additional cooking, use a kitchen spoon to gently scoop under the meatball and dislodge the meat from the pan. If this happened, the heat was too high. When meatballs are browned, remove them with tongs onto a clean plate. Continue with the 2nd batch. No additional oil will be needed in the pan, which will have plenty of fat by now. Add browned second batch to the plate with the 1st, do not discard pan drippings and turn off heat.

Using the same stockpot (without cleaning) over medium heat, add the remaining 1 cup sweet onion and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally; onions and mushrooms will have softened. Add garlic, and saute, while stirring, for 1 additional minute. Add wine. Boil for 1 minute, while using a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add marinara, 2 tbsp parsley, remaining 2 tbsp oregano, 1 tsp sea salt and remaining 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir to combine. Nestle browned meatballs into the sauce and gently stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. While sauce is simmering, bring a very large pot of water to a boil with remaining 2 tbsp sea salt for cooking pasta. After 30 minutes of simmering sauce, remove cover, stir and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes. During the sauce’s last 10 minutes of cooking, add pasta to the cooking water and cook according to package directions. Once pasta is ready, add remaining 1 tbsp parsley and thinly sliced fresno peppers to sauce. Serve family-style.