Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

This summer, I learned the hard way, yet again, that stone fruits (specifically peaches, nectarines, and plums) really aren’t ready for prime time up here until August (apricots seem to usually be ready much sooner). I always try to force my will upon the stone fruits sometime in late June/early July, and every time I lose. This year I ceded the issue when I royally screwed up a nectarine crostata that shoulda woulda been delicious if not for unripe, horrifically uncooperative fruit.

So, we’ve been enjoying berries instead. Perhaps it’s the inner contrarian in me, but I absolutely love finding savory recipes for berries, despite the fact that they are so perfect in desserts and drinks. And make no mistake, I love berries in desserts and drinks! But, we’re consuming less sugar these days, so this just fits our lifestyle better, I guess. Fortunately, there are many, many methods of showcasing berries in all their sweet-tart glory that don’t add any sugar and are perfectly at home as your main dish for dinner.

grilled venison chops with blackberry-sage brown butter

Like this one. This one is beautiful. It came together very quickly, yet I would have happily paid $30 in a restaurant for it. This is one of the first recipes I made in the new apartment, (which is why the photography is subpar) as I was dying to try out my brand new indoor grill pan, and it taught me the value of saran-wrapping your smoke detector! Hashtag newer building problems.

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

No matter. All worth it. Well, for us anyways. I suppose the neighbors may respectfully disagree… I hope y’all enjoy it!

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
4 (8 oz.) venison chops
2 tbs canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish
12 fresh blackberries, sliced in half

Directions:
Preheat your outdoor or indoor grill pan to high.
Brush both sides of the chops with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops and grill 3 minutes on the other side, until you have a nice brown exterior and the inside is between medium-rare and medium. Venison is incredibly lean, so you really, really don’t want to cook them even a second past medium.
When done, transfer to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
While the venison is resting, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced sage leaves and cook, occasionally stirring and turning the leaves, until the edges curl and the butter is dark amber but not black or burnt, about 5 minutes. Add the blackberries to the butter and cook for 20 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the butter onto 4 large dinner plates. Top with the venison chops, and spoon some of the blackberries and butter over each top. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Like many other Gen X Americans, my first experience of squid was in the form of fried calamari with the cocktail dipping sauce. I’d heard of this restaurant appetizer in my teens, but unsurprisingly, I was incredibly reluctant to try it, given the squeamish picky eating and all. Also unsurprisingly, it was my then-boyfriend and now-husband who convinced me to give it a taste.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

And so I fell down the rabbit hole. Needless to say, I loved fried calamari and started ordering it whenever I got the chance. It wasn’t until some years later that I thought that maybe I should try squid in non-breaded, non-fried states as well.

We’ve grilled it many times, which is harder than it looks to get the perfect texture, and possibly why I’ve yet to blog grilled squid. I’ve also got in mind a stuffed squid dish I want to try, and rest assured squid is delicious in paella or over pasta.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

But stir-frying the squid, I’m very happy to report, is probably one of the easiest methods of cooking this type of seafood out there. It takes almost no time to cook, and a primarily Asian cooking method yielded this beautiful Italian-style quick and healthy dinner. The tomatoes are bright and acidic, yet slightly sweet, and their soft texture plays well against the firmer squid pieces. However… don’t forget the bread. You’ll want it and sorely miss it if you forget to pick any up from the store. Don’t ask me how I know this. Enjoy!

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Source: Food & Wine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 ½ lbs. mixed cherry tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs. small squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/3-inch rings and tentacles halved
1 ½ tbs white wine vinegar
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes just start to blister, 4 minutes. Stir in the squid and cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the squid turns opaque, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Well, we’ve been in our new neighborhood almost a month now, and we’re experiencing the typical trials and errors of learning a new area, including misadventures in new forms of public transportation, taking wrong turns, and just generally not yet knowing where everything is. One of the first undertakings was locating the grocery stores though.

They are very different from my old ones, and now every time we want/need to grocery shop, we face the decision of closer to home but less quality, or further from home and better quality. I hate to admit it, but closer to home often wins. This store isn’t terrible by any means, it’s just lower quality than the other one. Their produce section isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but it can leave things to be desired at times, and it seems like no one is ever working the seafood counter. They do have one glorious section in the butcher section though.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

In between the prepared chopped veggies and the ethically challenged chickens, there are a few cases of high quality and off-the-beaten-path meats from companies I love and trust. You’ll find extremely good andouille sausage, duck – sometimes whole and sometimes in parts, rabbits, pork bellies, and lamb pieces. However, I have learned the hard way that this section changes almost daily, and is very unpredictable in what they’ll have stocked on any given day. So if you see something you want, you really can’t trust that it’ll be there the next week, or even the next day.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Which is what prompted me to grab a beautiful whole rabbit simply because they had it, and then figure out what to do with it when I got home. I decided: tacos. They sounded good and I had some corn tortillas about to expire. So why not?

I seasoned the whole rabbit simply with salt, black pepper, and paprika, then roasted it in the oven until cooked through and tender. Shred the meat off the bones (which is a bit more of a particular process than with chicken, but you get the hang of it) and toss in Mexican adobo. Messy and incredible. Enjoy!

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Source: adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos by Ivy Stark

Ingredients:
1 whole rabbit, 2 ½ – 3 lbs, left whole, inside organs removed and any excess skin trimmed if necessary
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Sweet paprika
Olive oil
4 guajillo chiles, stem, seeds and membranes removed
2 ancho chiles, stem, seeds and membranes removed
3 black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
½ stick cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
½ tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano
1 tbs white wine vinegar
8 corn tortillas, warmed
Taco garnishes of your choice (I used guacamole, minced cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Sprinkle the rabbit with kosher salt, black pepper and sweet paprika all over. Brush with olive oil. Drizzle more olive oil all over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the rabbit on the baking sheet.
Roast the rabbit for a total cooking time of 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes – check with a meat thermometer, it should read 160-165 F when done. Baste with the oil every 20 minutes, and flip the rabbit halfway through.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, just until you can handle it. Remove the meat from the bones and tear it into large shreds. Set aside.
While the rabbit is roasting, make the adobo sauce. Place the dried chiles in a dry saucepan and toast over medium-high heat until fragrant, a few minutes. Pour in enough water to cover the chiles, then bring to a rolling boil. Once it is boiling, shut off the heat, cover the pan, and let steep for 20-30 minutes, until the chiles are softened.
Meanwhile, in a dry small skillet, add the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin. Toast over medium heat just until fragrant, shaking the pan several times. Place the spices in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Lift the softened chiles out of the pan and place them in the blender, along with the dried spices, the garlic cloves, and the leaves from the thyme and marjoram sprigs. Add the vinegar, plus salt to taste, and about 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid. Puree until smooth, adding more soaking liquid if it is too thick.
Place the shredded rabbit into a large bowl, then top with the adobo. Stir to combine thoroughly. If it has gotten cold, rewarm over the stove or in a microwave.
To assemble, spoon some adobo rabbit into a warmed tortilla, then garnish with whatever you choose – guacamole, salsa, cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, a squeeze of lime, pickled jalapenos, chopped raw onion…

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

Whenever Matt and I travel to another city, one of our top priorities is always Find The Chinatown. Every success has richly rewarded us with a delicious meal, and occasionally we’ll conclude that the Chinatown meal was one of the best of the trip. All this hunting may seem silly seeing as we live in a city that boasts not one but two huge Chinatowns (and I somehow managed to live in New York for about five years before I found out about the second one. It’s okay to judge me; I judge me), but I suppose the heart (or in this case the stomach) wants what it wants.

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

While I do love the bustling, crazy enormity of New York’s Chinatowns, particularly the Manhattan locale, I’ve found that the smaller ones grab me more. My hands down favorite is London. The neighborhood restaurants specialize in duck, and that meal was one of the best I’ve had in my life. (They took a Peking duck, chunked up the meat, then coated it in egg whites and deep fried it, then coated it in some kind of sauce I’d never tasted before. No words for it.)

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

I also had quite a memorable trip to Boston’s Chinatown, where I ended up attending the University of Humiliating Hard Knocks, majoring in White Girl Doesn’t Know How to Properly Use Chopsticks when I ordered a whole duck leg in broth. Delicious, don’t get me wrong. Also, an embarrassing mess.

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

I think next time I should stick to ordering these classic Chinese lacquered ribs, which don’t require chopsticks, thus saving my dignity, and my lap! Or, I can practice my chopsticks skills more; or I could just make these at home. The code has been cracked (thank you Steven Raichlen!) – these are authentic and easy and just all around incredible. A wonderful trip down our Chinatown memory lanes. Enjoy!

Chinatown Baby Back Ribs

Source: just slightly adapted from Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs by Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
¼ cup soy sauce
2 ½ tbs Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 ½ tbs Asian dark sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and gently crushed
3 slices fresh ginger, peeled and gently crushed
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
1 rack pork baby back ribs, trimmed

Directions:
Place the hoisin, sugar, and five-spice powder in a nonreactive mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Add the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and sesame oil and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. Set one-third of the marinade aside to make the sauce.
Place the ribs in a nonreactive roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the remaining marinade over the ribs and spread it all over the rack with a spatula. Turn to coat both sides. Let the ribs marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and as long as overnight, turning them 3 or 4 times. Alternately, you can marinate your ribs in a large resealable plastic food storage bag.
Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. Place a drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the ribs well and place them in the center of the grate bone side down over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the ribs until dark brown and very crisp on the outside but tender inside, 1 ½ to 2 hours. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about ¼ inch.
Meanwhile, transfer the reserved marinade to a nonreactive saucepan, let come to a gentle simmer over medium heat, and cook until thick and flavorful, about 3-5 minutes. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then strain it into a bowl. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the ribs, baste the meat side with some of the sauce to let it laquer up while they finish cooking.
When the ribs are done, transfer them to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut the rack into individual ribs. Brush with a little more of the sauce, then sprinkle the scallion greens on top for garnish. Serve immediately with the reserved sauce.

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Sweet cherries are flooding my local grocery store! I know they usually take a backseat to their coveted and more popular sour siblings, but I always love that sweeter version of the fruit and eagerly await their in-season arrival each year. I bought way too many and am happily scrambling to find ways to use them up.

sweet cherries for couscous salad

This salad is the second thing I made with my stash. The first thing was a whole roast duck with a fresh cherry-rosemary sauce on the side. It was so delicious, and I really wanted to share it with you, but this brings me to the point in this post where I start apologizing for my food photography of late. The new place has a completely different layout than the old place. There’s more windows, but they aren’t directly off the kitchen, and I have less space for food styling. But the layout is open enough that natural light does reach the kitchen where I’m photographing, if it’s not overcast or nearly sunset. So I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. That duck most definitely fell into the DOESN’T WORK category. Obviously you’ve figured out by now that I’ll share less-than-perfect food pictures on this site, but, come on, I do have my limits! It has to still look like food, you know?

couscous salad with cherries and feta

So hopefully this second, and no less delicious than the first, savory cherry dish works well enough to post without hanging my head in food photography shame. Because I seriously couldn’t get enough of this. It’s perfectly balanced in flavor and texture, equally tasty served cold or room temperature, easy to throw together, and just so perfect for hot summer days. I hope you love it as much as we did!

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Source: Heather Christo’s Generous Table by Heather Christo

Ingredients:
2 cups sweet red cherries
2 cups water
4 tbs olive oil, divided
kosher salt
2 cups couscous
3 tbs minced shallot
3 tbs red wine vinegar
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
½ lb. feta cheese
2 tbs chopped pecans, or slivered almonds

Directions:
Pit the cherries into a small bowl and let them sit while you make the couscous. Some of their juices will drain into the bowl (not much though!).
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 tbs olive oil, and ½ tsp kosher salt to a boil. Add the couscous and stir. Cover the saucepan and shut off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then open the pot and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool a bit.
Slice the pitted cherries into thirds and set aside in another bowl. Add the shallots to the juice in the first bowl. Add kosher salt to taste, the remaining 3 tbs olive oil, and the vinegar. Whisk to create the dressing.
Add the dressing, along with ¼ cup of the minced parsley, to the couscous and gently toss to coat. Add the cherries and stir to combine. Crumble the feta cheese over the couscous, then add the remaining parsley (you can save a little for garnish if you want), and the pecans or almonds. Toss to gently combine. Taste and season with extra salt if needed, but remember that feta is pretty salty already – mine didn’t need anything more.
Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
I loved this both at room temp and chilled – probably prefer room temperature if I HAD to choose, but I really loved both. Also, this makes a TON! Couscous really expands. Feel free to cut it in half.

S’Mores Oat Bars

S'Mores Oat Bars

Happy Fourth of July!! At the risk of being obvious and perhaps a little unoriginal, I’m blogging something s’mores today. It seems the childhood campfire obsession just never, ever gets old, even that said campfire from our childhoods was proverbial at best. Adults just don’t seem to ever outgrow that graham crackers-milk-chocolate-marshmallows combination. If you’ve ever looked at Pinterest, then you know that our beloved S’more has gone on to take on more iterations than our human minds can fathom – it seems you can take *any* dessert and make it into a s’more.

marshmallows and chocolate chips for S'Mores Oat Bars

So today I’m sharing a recipe I found from King Arthur Flour, which called it a S’Mores Granola Bar. With all due respect to KAF, this is not a granola bar, my friends. I just can’t call it that, because using the phrase granola connotes healthiness, and this little treat is not healthy or virtuous in any way. It’s just a delicious cookie that will remind you of s’mores. That’s it.

S'Mores Oat Bars

And that’s totally okay! Enjoy it for what it is, just don’t delude yourself into thinking you or your kids are getting any real nutrition here. Because you’re not. But still, it’s delicious and you should absolutely enjoy a treat tonight after your grill fest! And now I shall sign off, wishing you and yours a wonderful and safe Fourth of July celebration! As for me and Matt, we will be hanging shelves and rearranging furniture. Sigh…

S'Mores Oat Bars

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
6 tbs unsalted butter
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbs maple syrup or honey
2 ¼ cups rolled, old-fashioned oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 ¼ cups mini marshmallows

Directions:
In a medium-to-large-sized saucepan set over medium heat, melt and stir together the butter, sugar, and syrup, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the oats, flour, salt, and graham cracker crumbs.
Press slightly more than half of the mixture into a lightly greased 9×9” square baking pan. Let cool completely.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top, then the marshmallows. Top with the remaining crust mixture. I found this easiest to do just by dropping chunks of it evenly over the whole thing with your hands. Don’t try to spread it evenly – it won’t do that anyway, and you’ll just mess up your marshmallows by trying.
Bake the bars 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest for 20 minutes, then if you can, cut them into squares while they are still slightly warm. They taste excellent room temperature though.

Strawberry Gazpacho

Strawberry Gazpacho

Please meet the first meal I cooked and photographed in our new place for the blog! Except that technically I didn’t cook anything… because gazpacho… but still! Summer fruits and vegetables are popping up everywhere in my neck of the urban woods, and in fact as I write this I’m planning my first venture to scope out my new city’s farmers markets!

For me, the default in using summer fruits has always been desserts or other baked goods that are really just desserts with slightly less sugar masquerading as breakfast items. It’s easy, it works, everyone loves it. Pardon the pun, it’s low hanging fruit. These sweet berries, melons, and stone fruits are made for sweets.

strawberries for gazpacho

But, I’m feeling more savory (that’s code for cranky – moving is a real pain!) than sweet these days, so I plan to use this wonderful summer bounty in more salty, umami, main-course-type recipes this year. Not exclusive of sweets of course – that wouldn’t be any fun!

Starting with some of the first berries we see in late spring/early summer up here – strawberries! The ones I’m finding lately are perfect – juicy, sweet, plump, and bright red. While gazpacho is traditionally made with tomatoes, I very pleasantly discovered that strawberries make a wonderful stand-in. This strawberry gazpacho is sweeter and less acidic than its more typical tomato sibling, but with the same basic flavor components and textures. As all gazpacho should be, it’s light and refreshing, and packs a ton of flavor into a healthy, guilt-free meal or side dish. Enjoy!

Strawberry Gazpacho

Source: adapted from Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and rough chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
3 tbs dry red wine
3 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups vegetable stock
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, plus a little more for garnish
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
Add the bell pepper, celery, scallion whites, red wine, lime juice, vegetable stock, ginger, coriander, and strawberries to your blender. Puree until very smooth. Do this in batches if need be. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. If you prefer your gazpacho chilled, then place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you prefer it room temperature, then pour it into serving bowls and garnish with the scallion greens and some extra sliced or chopped fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.

Pistachio Crusted Pork Chops

Pistachio Crusted Pork Chops

This was the last meal I made and photographed for the blog in our old place (moment of silence please. Ha! Just kidding!). This meal came at that in-between stage you hit during a move: where you’re well into the throes of preparing for the movers to come, but you aren’t yet on the days on end of take-out diet because the kitchen is inaccessible. In other words, the meal you cook has to be quick and simple. And hopefully it can use up a fridge or pantry staple that you don’t want to throw out, but there’s not enough of it in the can/bag/jar/bottle to justify moving it to the new place.

pistachio crusted pork chops

I found an open bag of roasted pistachios in the refrigerator, then found this pork chop recipe, and as they say, dinner was served. I can honestly say that I would have made this meal anyway, and would happily make it again (unlike some of the slop I threw together in the last days of having a working kitchen, ahem).

Pistachio Crusted Pork Chops

The pork chops were tender inside and crunchy outside, tangy from the pistachios and mild from the pork flavor. Easy to prep and easy to clean up. I adore a good nut-crusted protein anyway, but for whatever reason I don’t think I’d had anything crusted with pistachios, and I’ve concluded that I have missed out a great deal. The flavor really pops. I hope you enjoy this one, moving or not!

pistachio crusted pork chops

Recipe notes: you could really use whatever pork chop you prefer for this. It would work on thin-cut, thick-cut, bone-in or boneless. I used a thick-cut bone-in chop, simply because that’s my favorite one that I find is most flavorful and easiest to cook. If you’re going for thin-cut, you’ll need to cut back on the cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.

Pistachio Crusted Pork Chops

Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray, November 2008

Ingredients:
½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1 clove garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
Kosher salt
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
Fresh cracked black pepper
4 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup olive oil

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Using a food processor, finely grind the nuts, garlic, lemon zest, and ½ tsp kosher salt. Be careful you don’t overdo it and make nut butter here. Transfer the ground nut mixture to a shallow bowl or pie plate, then whisk in the breadcrumbs.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Dip each chop into the egg, let the excess drip off, then coat both sides well with the nut mixture. Transfer to a plastic plate or baking sheet as you go.
In a large, oven-safe skillet, such as a cast iron, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork chops and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 F, about 15-20 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

rosemary honey walnut ice cream

Sometimes a brand new internet connection with a brand new company can feel like the absolute most exciting thing in the entire world. When you’ve been without it for eight days, it is sorely missed! No more though. Now we just need to work on having a place to sit other than the floor or a bed.

All joking aside, the new place is coming along nicely, and by the end of this week we should actually have real furniture in the living room! Today our bar stools are supposed to arrive, and I’m quite thrilled to have a place to sit down while eating meals! Oh the things I’ve taken for granted in the past…

rosemary and walnuts for ice cream

In the meantime, I will share this possibly odd-sounding yet superlative ice cream, something I made a couple months ago, which quickly became a hot item on the use-this-up-and-don’t-dare-waste-a-drop-before-we-move fridge and freezer list before we left our old apartment in Queens. I kind of wish I had some right now.

Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

I was a little weirded out by the addition of rosemary in ice cream too. I mean, mint – sure; basil – okay; but rosemary is really not an herb we associate with desserts, and the only times I’ve seen it included in sweets recipes it’s a scant amount buried in a crumble topping or a sprig used to lightly flavor something. Here you have real, fresh rosemary leaves minced up and mixed into ice cream base as it is churning. I thought that would taste way too strong or whatnot, but it’s actually one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, ice cream has no right to taste this good!

Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

I highly recommend. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Scoop Adventures by Lindsay Clendaniel

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ¾ cups heavy cream, divided
¼ tsp kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
¾ cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and chopped

Directions:
In a medium saucepot, combine the milk, ¾ cup of cream, and salt. Heat until the dairy is scalded, meaning bubbles are just starting to form at the edges. Do not boil. Shut off the heat as soon as it scalds.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and honey. Once the dairy mixture is warmed, slowly pour about ½ a cup of it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs so they do not scramble on you. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the dairy mixture in the saucepot, whisking constantly. Turn the heat onto medium-low and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency and coats the back of a spoon. This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and set a strainer on top. Once the custard is done, pour it through the strainer and mix it with the cream. Let it come up to room temperature. You can do this by setting the bowl in an ice bath to speed the process. Be sure you stir every few minutes or the dreaded “skin” will form on top. Once the mixture reaches room temperature, set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Once thoroughly chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the rosemary and walnut pieces. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container and let it set up in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

Braised Goat Tacos

Braised Goat Tacos

I’m an animal lover anyway, but I harbor a special love for goats. Not sure why, but then again why not? The babies are just beyond adorable, and I love that obnoxious free spirit they all seem to inhabit in spades. As I heard a farmer put it once, “goats have… opinions.” There’s a little farm out on the North Fork of Long Island that allows you to stop and bottle feed their baby goats; one of the funniest and most fun things to do in the area. One of them ate my scarf.

Braised Goat Tacos

So I suppose if you feel as I do, it would be strange to eat goat meat, and maybe that’s part of why I hadn’t tried it until recently. But, after reading up on it, I discovered that Americans are one of a few countries that don’t eat it, and that may not be a good thing. There are many compelling yet admittedly preachy reasons for carnivores to incorporate more goat and less cow into their diets (click here if you’re interested in finding out more). So, I figured let’s try it!

Braised Goat Tacos

Okay, sold. It’s delicious and no, it doesn’t taste like chicken. It doesn’t taste like beef. Or lamb. It’s its own thing – it tastes like goat! And goat is extremely tasty – very earthy and with a slight almost sweetness that you don’t find in beef or lamb. Just delectable, really.

Braised Goat Tacos

Recipe notes: you’re looking for around 3-4 pounds of goat meat. So if your goat meat includes bones, take that into account. The meat I found looked like garden variety stew meat, but each piece actually had some bones on it (it reminded me of pork neck or oxtails). I still don’t know what cut of meat it was (and apparently the store clerk didn’t either!). But basically, you’re slow cooking the meat until it’s very tender and can be shredded. So boneless stew meat chunks are fine, as is meat on the bone, as mine was. Enjoy!

Braised Goat Tacos

Source: adapted from Michael Symon’s Carnivore by Michael Symon

Ingredients:
1 cup white wine or sherry vinegar
1 cup plus 3 tbs olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbs cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbs coriander seeds, toasted
2 tsp ancho chile powder
¼ tsp chile de arbol powder (can sub in cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes)
2 tbs packed brown sugar
3-4 lbs. goat meat (see note above), cut into stew chunks
1-2 bottles Mexican beer
1 (15 oz.) can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
Corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Crumbled queso fresco, for serving

Directions:
In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, both chile powders, and brown sugar. Add the goat meat to a large (gallon-size) resealable plastic food bag, then carefully pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag, then squish it around to coat the meat thoroughly. Set the bag in a bowl or baking dish and stick it in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Season each piece with salt. Reserve the marinade. Put a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Brown the meat, making sure not to crowd the pan, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary.
Once all the meat is browned, add it all back into the pot, plus any accumulated pan juices. Now add the reserved marinade, 1 bottle of beer, and the tomatoes. The liquid should almost cover the goat meat. Add some or all of the remaining beer if necessary. Bring to a nice boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook around medium-low for about 2 hours, until the goat is very tender and can easily shred with a fork or your fingers. Depending on your cut of meat, this might take only 90 minutes or it might take as long as 3 hours. You want to keep this at a gentle simmer the entire time – enough to actually cook the meat but not hot enough so that it scorches. I checked on mine every 20-30 minutes and gave it a stir to keep it on track.
Once the meat is cooked, remove from the heat and let the goat meat cool in the pot. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones, shred it, and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Discard the bones and fat.
Strain the liquid into a smaller saucepan over low heat and warm it back up. I found it necessary to do 2 strains: once through a fine-mesh sieve to discard the solids, and then I ran it through a fat separator. While I’m not averse to a little animal fat, this particular goat netted a quite-ridiculous amount!
Spoon the warm sauce over the shredded meat. You probably won’t need all of it, you just want to coat and moisten the meat. Taste it here for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Serve in the warm tortillas garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and queso fresco.