bison chipped steak poutine

The Buck Wild Bison guys are doing a great business every week at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, with good reason.  The meat is lean and delicious.  And they are very helpful and friendly.

This week I bought some chipped steak.  This is the cut of meat used for steak sandwiches.  fullsizeoutput_4a08

Poutine is an increasingly popular French Canadian fast food.  It consists of thick French fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and meat gravy. Poutine is easy and a crowd pleaser.  Adding bison to it raises the bar.  (Husband was skeptical when he heard the name but, when he heard the ingredients, he was willing to give it a try.)

Cheese curds are sometimes (read rarely) available from Hillacres Pride at the market.  When they are available, grab them.  They are delicious.  Luckily cheese curds are also readily available in many local supermarkets.IMG_5298

You can make your own fries.  Cut the potatoes, dry them, fry them or you can use your favorite frozen fries.  Just make sure they are the thick cut variety. fullsizeoutput_4a05

 

Ingredients:

frozen French fries
bison chip steak
butter
cheese curds
mushrooms
extra brown gravy (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare French fries.
  2. While you are preparing the fries (and this is another reason to use frozen), fry some mushrooms (from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms at the market every week!) in butter.IMG_5308
  3. Put two tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan.  Melt it.  Then dump the package of chipped bison steak into the pan.  Stir it around until the meat is no longer red.
  4. Prepare each plate or make a large platter for everyone to share.  First layer the fries.  Next distribute the cheese curds on the hot fries.  Now top with the cooked bison chipped steak and all of it’s gravy.  (If your feel you’d like more gravy you can use gravy you’ve saved from a roast bison or you can use your favorite jarred brown gravy).

    The dish should be hot enough to melt the cheese curds.  If you need to warm your poutine, put it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.  Do not microwave.

And that is it.  Easy enough to feed the kids on a weeknight.  And fun enough to serve casually to guests.

The bison chip steak makes this meal.  It is easy to cook, juicy, and delicious!

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sugar snap peas in a snap

Sitting pretty on the edge of Les Viereck’s table at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market this week was the first of the snow peas and the sugar snap peas.  I purchased a one pint box of snap peas for a quick and easy spring vegetable treat.

Sugar snaps are very easy to cook.  And different.  After a long winter of the same old things, I was excited for the treat.

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Ingredients

1 pint box of sugar snap peas
3 small scallions (green onions)
two large crimini mushroom caps
two tablespoons of butter
salt to finish

Directions

  1. Place a frying pan on medium high heat and drop in the butter.IMG_5276
  2. Slice up three small scallions (green onions… another fresh spring treat from Our Yards Farm) and place in the frying pan and melting butter
  3. Top and tail the snap peas (cut off a little of each end) and place in the frying pan with the melting butter and scallions.IMG_5288
  4. Cube up, into tiny cubes, two large mushroom caps.  Place the mushrooms in the pan together with the butter, scallions, and snap peas.IMG_5289
  5. Saute for a minute or two.  Stir so all ingredients are coated with butter and none are burning.
  6. The snap peas will change from a bright green to a duller green.  When they do, take off the heat and put a lid on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with some coarse Kosher salt, and serve.

Very simple.  Quite delicious.  A light spring pea flavor. feb4bd303b66685a763053a920d763c4

Johnny Marzetti…a born guest.

Johnny Marzetti is a real crowd pleaser.  His appearance will make your next pot luck or picnic the hit of the summer season!

Don’t know Johnny Marzetti?  To know him is to love him.  Johnny Marzetti is an Italian dish created in Marzetti’s restaurant in 1896 in Columbus, Ohio.  It is a simple and delicious casserole that will replace that same old baked ziti as your “go to” contribution to any get-together.  It’s that easy and that delicious.

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The ingredients are easy to get at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Butter, ground beef, and shredded cheddar cheese from Hillacres Pride.Crimini Mushrooms from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms, onions from Formisano Farms, canned Jersey tomatoes from Flaim Farms (I think in season, fresh crush Jersey tomatoes would be fantastic!), pasta from Villa Barone.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of olive oil (or butter if using grass fed beef as we are here).
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 pound of crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 lbs. ground beef (you could use bison or even ground turkey)
1 twenty-eight ounce can of crushed tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 pounds of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound of pasta, cooked and drained

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook pasta.IMG_5233
  3. Set a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add oil and onions and saute until onions are translucent (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Add mushrooms and saute until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add beef (bison or turkey) and saute until it begins to brown, breaking any lumps (about 7 to 10 minutes).
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in crushed tomatoes and their juice.
  5. Add all but 1 cup cheese.
  6. Transfer to a 10 x 15 inch baking dish.
  7. Add cooked pasta.  Mix gently.IMG_5241
  8. Scatter remaining cheese on top.IMG_5246
  9. Bake until cheese topping is browned and bubbling (about 35 – 40 minutes).  Serve.

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Johnny Marzetti is a born guest! And one of my favorites.

All life is an experiment. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 18th season of the Collingswood Farmers’ Market opened with sunshine and promise.  The promise of new vendors and new foods.  While I always have in mind what is in season and what will likely be offered for sale, I always am ready to try something new.  To experiment.  To experience.

The first new vendor I spotted was Buck Wild Bison.  I approached the stand and three very friendly and knowledgeable men engaged with me in conversation about exactly what bison tastes like.  I am a longtime buyer of grass fed and pasture raised beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from Hillacres Pride so why should I try bison.  Well, because all life is an experiment.  Bison is lower in fat than chicken, I was told.  And the taste is not as strong as grass fed beef.  Remembering that it took some time for my husband to like the taste of grass fed beef, I thought I would give it a try.

Next we discussed how to cook it.  I offered that my husband had just bought a new charcoal grill and would likely want to experiment with that method of cooking bison.  I was given several suggestions and it was decided I would buy rib eye steak and my husband would grill it.   I was told to grill it for a shorter amount of time and a lower temperature than beef (160 degrees internal temperature) but that would be the only difference.  Easy.

Excited with my first purchase of the first market I continued down the aisle.  Of course I bought strawberries from A. T. Buzby and Springdale Farms.  Of course I bought asparagus from the same two farmers.  Of course I bought sour dough bread and oatmeal raisin cookies from Wild Flour Bakery.  I turned to face Flaim farms and spotted the whitest, smoothest spring potatoes I had ever seen.  No discussion.  Had to have them.  Spinach from Our Yards.

I filled my wagon twice.  Offloading in the middle of the market.  I bought those “little girl” eggs (double yolks on two of them this week!), some mushrooms, and some sauce and antipasto ingredients.  I was one happy woman!  The market is open and all is right with my food world!

Dinner on market day is always dictated by the market.  Our market day dinner was grilled bison rib eye steak (from Buck Wild Bison), sautéed mushrooms (from Davidson’s exotic mushrooms), creamed spinach (from Our Yards), parsleyed Spring potatoes (from Flaim Farms), sliced hot house tomatoes (from A. T. Buzby).

Directions for a most delicious farmers’ market inspired  meal……….

Thaw, dry, and I lightly salt the bison steak.  My husband grilled at a lower temperature for a shorter amount of time.  He used his thermometer to determine the internal temperature.  The steak was removed from the grill and left to rest for 6 minutes.

Cut up the potatoes, skin on, and boil them until a knife blade can be inserted easily.  Then drain the potatoes, drop a large knob of butter, sprinkle with dried parsley (fresh can also be used), sprinkle with some Kosher coarse salt, and slightly smash.

Melt equal amounts of butter and olive oil in a frying pan.  Clean and cut up the mushrooms.  Watch for the butter to melt and bubble up and then down. When the bubbles go down slightly, toss in the cut mushrooms.  Stir until the butter and oil is absorbed by the mushrooms.  Lower the heat slightly and stir intermittantly until you see the mushrooms shine as they are releasing the oils.  When the mushrooms are browned to your liking turn off the heat and set aside to serve with the bison steak.

Rinse the spinach thoroughly.  Spinach can be sandy.  With some water still on the leaves, drop into a skillet with a knob of butter and a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Saute over medium heat.  Turn with tongs.  Turn off the heat when the spinach starts to wilt.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cornstarch or finishing flour.  Turn again with tongs.  Put a lid of the pot.  When you are ready to serve, turn the heat back on under the pan, pour in about a 1/4 cup of cream, let it bubble a little to thicken. Serve.

Tomatoes.  Just slice them and sprinkle with some coarse salt.

Meanwhile, wash and slice some strawberries.  NJ Fresh!  Dessert…with or without ice cream…but always with whipped cream!

Dinner was an experiment.  A successful experiment.  Bison is delicious.  Light.  It tastes like beef.  A mellow, quiet sort of beef.  Delicious and well worth your time and effort.

Bison.  An experiment that works!  Can’t wait to try the kielbasa!

 

breakfast for dinner

Decades ago when my daughters were little girls and when my husband travelled for work a lot….the best meal of the week was when we had breakfast for dinner.  Breakfast for dinner was even better than pizza or fast food with a tiny prize.

My nest is empty now and I have begun serving my husband breakfast for dinner.  At first he was skeptical but then I explained that I had frozen bags of those delicious NJ blueberries purchased at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market during the summer.  He was intrigued.

My husband loves blueberries but he has a discerning palate, so when blueberries are in season (mid-summer) I buy pints of them from all the different farmers who sell them at the market and that is nearly all of them (AT Buzby, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farms, Fruitwood Farms, Hymer Farms, Wm. Schober & Sons, Springdale Farms, Viereck Farms…and then there is Green-Ford Bluebery Farm.  Husband tastes them all and rates them.  It is interesting to note that when the berries are fresh and sweet he will simply rinse them and eat them by the bowl.  A pint fits in his favorite bowl.  But, when he’s enjoying his blueberries in a pancake…frozen is what he wants.

Blueberries are easy to freeze.  Rinse them.  Spread them out on a towel or paper towel.  Let them dry completely.  Put in a bag.  Put the bag full of blueberries into the freezer.  They will keep all winter and spring.

So here’s how breakfast for dinner goes in our house.

Fry some bacon (or microwave it or bake it…I still like it fried).  I only use Hillacres Pride no-nitrate bacon.  I heard someone ask once if the non-cured tasted the same as the cured bacon.  Yes…indeed it does.  But you don’t get the added stuff….just pork bacon in it’s pure form.  Delicious!

Break some eggs in a bowl for your scrambled eggs.  I love the “little girl” eggs from DanLynn Farms.  Brown and green shells and oh, so fresh!  Beat them with a fork.  Set aside.  Scrambled eggs cook up quick so that is the last dish prepared….after the pancakes.

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Now make your pancake batter.  This recipe makes 9 six inch pancakes.  You can also use your favorite pancake batter mix.  Breakfast for dinner is supposed to stress free!

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs unsalted butter, plus some for griddle
3 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

  1. Whisk flour, powder, soda, salt, sugar. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter. Pour into small mixing bowl. Add buttermilk, stir. Add eggs (beat them in the measuring cup you used for the butter), stir a lot.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
  4. Heat griddle for at least 2 minutes over medium flame. Pan pre-heat is critical. Also, the few minutes that it takes to heat the pan winds up being the same amount of time the batter needs to “settle.”
  5. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters, it is hot enough. Plop ¼-tsp fat into the pan and push it around with your pancake flipper. (From time to time, you may need to add a bit more in between pancakes. Fat is unnecessary with a non-stick surface.) Using a 4-oz ladle, about ½-cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Scatter with blueberries. (If frozen, no need to thaw beforehand.) When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 minutes, flip. (Stick with 2 minutes. If pancakes are cooking quicker or slower, adjust flame.) Cook until golden on bottom, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven set to 175 degrees F.

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It’s nice to put the finished pancakes in the oven to keep warm while you scramble the eggs to go with the bacon and pancakes.  That way everyone can sit down and eat together.  Family dinner has always been important to us.  Just us two makes for nice conversation.

Husband was skeptical about breakfast for dinner (that and he is not a big egg fan) but blueberry pancakes made from frozen NJ blueberries has won him over.  And a little pure maple syrup warmed in the microwave makes the meal even better.  I am not a syrup person.  That’s because, as my husband says, I’m sweet enough.  But I do like butter.  Butter.  And a little more butter.

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Breakfast for dinner is best eaten in your PJs and robe followed by a very, very, very good movie.