Randy’s Mom’s Sunday sauce and meatballs.

I spend a lot of time looking and asking questions when I go to Collingswood Farmers’ Market each Saturday morning.  It is where I buy my food for the week.  I talk with the farmers and vendors and I make friends.  This year I made a new friend in Randy Lee of Buck Wild Bison.

Randy and I talk recipes and cooking.  Randy is a friendly food guy.  And he likes my use of bison.

After my bison meatloaf recipe posted Randy told me about his mother’s meatloaf (his favorite birthday dinner!) and her sauce and meatballs.  Randy loves his mom and he loves her cooking.  Since I give out my recipes on this blog, I asked Randy if I could have his mom’s recipe for sauce and meatballs and I promised to incorporate bison into it. Randy’s mom has yet to embrace bison.  I also promised to write about making it.

A few weeks went by and the recipe appeared mysteriously from the inside of a wallet of a friend.  I was told that this recipe was handed down from Randy’s grandmother (his father’s mother) to his mother before her wedding day.  This is no ordinary sauce and these are no ordinary meatballs.  This is no ordinary recipe.

Here it is:

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For the sauce:
4 (large) cans tomato sauce (I also rinsed the excess sauce out of the cans with 1/2 can   water and poured the water into the sauce pot
1 can tomato paste
1 heaping tablespoon garlic powder
4 heaping tablespoons sweet basil (I used dried)
1 tablespoon sugar
salt
pepper

 

 

For the meatballs:
3 pounds ground beef
1.5 pounds ground pork
(I used one pound of ground beef and one pound of ground pork from Hillacres Pride and one pound of ground bison from Buck Wild Bison…and had a pot FULL of meatballs)
1 full cup of Italian bread crumbs
2 (large) eggs
garlic powder
salt
pepper
grated Asiago cheese (I used a cup)

The meatballs are cooked in the slowly simmering sauce.

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This recipe makes a lot of sauce and a lot of meatballs.  (Did I say that already?  I think I did!)

 

I followed the recipe as written.  Some measurements I had to guess using my years of cooking experience.  The cans of sauce are the big ones.  I substituted one pound of bison, one pound of beef, and one pound of pork for the beef and pork in the recipe.

This is a good and generous recipe.  It fed three families the night I made it.  And even my three year old grandson liked it!IMG_6711

The weather is supposed to be getting cooler here in the Mid-Atlantic.  A pot of sauce filled with meatballs is about the perfect thing to make for a traditional Sunday family dinner!

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Thanks for sharing Randy’s mom!

 

 

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Micro greens!

There is a new vendor at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Indogrow Farms.
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Patrick Gigliotti and Louis Monte grow nutrient-dense micro greens in a vertical farm in their Cherry Hill NJ home.  Yes.  They grown tasty and extremely nutritious food in their home for local restaurants and local markets.

Their beautiful display was certainly inviting but I will be honest, when I saw the trays of greens I thought I was going to have to take the plants home and either tend to them or throw them away as I know I would ignore them to death.  When I spoke to the farmers they explained that they grew the greens,  harvested them, and made delicious mixes of the little guys in several carefully chosen combinations…that were in plastic bags.  Ready to take home.  Ready to eat.  Yay!

There were four varieties on offer.

THE ITALIAN.  A mix of buckwheat, endive, radicchio, red Russian kale, and Italian basil micro greens.

THE FUSION.  A mix of fenugreek, purple kohlrabi, wasabi, Thai lemon basil, and sweet pea shoots.

THE ROBUST.  A mix of Sunflower shoots, buckwheat, and sweet pea shoots.

THE ZESTY.  A mix of arugula, spicy brown mustard, wasabi, and sunflower shoots.

 

My daughters and I tried all four and used them in a variety of ways.

The first “recipe” I tried was to put them on a turkey sandwich.  Sourdough bread, turkey, mayonnaise, and a nice pinch of micro greens.  Absolutely delicious.  And much more nutritious than lettuce.  Did I mention delicious?  Very.


Next my husband and I grilled some bison rib eye steaks and had a big salad topped with a large handful of micro greens.  We even ate some on top of the steaks.  Delicious again. Crisp.  Fresh.  Easy!  (You don’t have to make a salad with anything more than the  micro greens dressed with a mild vinaigrette and enjoy).

 

Daughter One braised an Osso Buco cut of bison and served her greens over a side of grits.

Daughter Two made turkey wraps for lunch and turkey burgers for dinner.  All incorporating the micro greens.  Along side the turkey burgers she served sliced tomatoes and turnip oven fries.  (her fancy turkey burgers recipe is a the end of this post).

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Microgreens on top of any burger…with a Jersey tomato would be nothing short of marvelous!

For breakfast the next day I made a simple scrambled country fresh egg topped with micro greens with a bread knot on the side.

You can even just open the bag and eat a handful!

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And, if you have any leftover, you can take them to work for your packed lunch on top of leftover spaghetti!52770959936__B7BA3940-6B79-4A30-AAF1-75D2C9386797

Whenever my father wanted us kids to eat something good for us…or try a new food…he would do a little dance and he would sing a little rhyme….”Nutritious. Delicious.  Makes you feel ambitious”.  He would definitely be right about Indogrow Farms Micro Greens.

 

Fancy Turkey Burgers –
1 pound of ground turkey (white meat, dark meat, or mixed)
1 tbsp of Julie’s Herb Blend (from Our Yards Farm)
1 tsp of Julie’s Basil Salt (from Our Yards Farm)
1 egg (from Danlynn Organic Farm)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried onions
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic

4 rolls (from Amber Grains Bakery), optional
1 tomato (from A. T. Buzby)
1 ball of Villa Barone fresh mozzarella
1 bag of microgreens (from Indogrow Farms)

Directions:
Mix the first 7 ingredients.

Form into 4 wide, thin patties and bake on a foil-liked cookie sheet in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes (or desired doneness), flipping once.

While they’re cooking, slice the tomato and the mozzarella.

Take the patties out of the oven.

Place once slice of mozzarella on each, and put back in until the cheese is melted to your liking (I sometimes use the broiler for this).

Take the burgers out again, top with tomato and a big handful of microgreens, and eat either on a plate or a roll.

Eggs – Danlynn Organic
Rolls, bread – Amber Grains Bakery
Spices – Our Yards Farm
Micro greens – Indogrow Farms
Tomatoes – everywhere!  Our Yards Farm, Springdale Farms, Flaim Farm, Hymer Farm, Viereck Farm, Formisano Farm,  Savoie Organic Farm, DanLynn Organic Farm, Fruitwood Farm
Mozzarella Cheese – Villa Barone, Springdale Farm
Bison – Buck Wild Bison

 

 

Smoked Boston butt

A long time ago, when I was a small girl, there were a few truths about summer.  Swimming was an everyday activity.  Staying up late (until it was dark!) was not a problem.  Each morning began with a promise of fun.  And fathers grilled burgers over hot and shooting flames until the outsides were crisp and smokey and the insides were dry.  That’s what catsup’s for, isn’t it?

A few years ago my husband decided, in summer,  that he wanted to grill better.  Swimming still happens.  Staying up late is still available.  But my husband wanted to combine grilling with fun (and deliciousness)!

He says the key to good grilling is paying attention.  That’s how this started.  He paid attention and burgers were juicy and chicken was moist. Why even pork chops were completely delicious!  So when he wanted to get a new grill (full disclosure…we do charcoal.) I said sure!  So he studied and researched and decided on a fancy name brand kettle grill.  And the grilling improved exponentially.  I don’t think it was the grill, I think the griller was paying even more attention than before.IMG_6485

After a while of regular grilling and learning about the cool side and hot side of a grill.  That’s where only half the grill has a coals.  Husband decided he to purchase a modification for the grill that would allow the kettle to be a smoker.

Recently I purchased a four pound Boston butt pork roast from Hillacres Pride Farm stand at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Their meats and poultry (lamb, pork, beef, chicken) are pasture raised and grass fed.  Their pork is consistently delicious.

First, the dry brine.  The meat was sprinkled with Kosher coarse salt on all sides and placed in a container overnight.  I made a snake of aluminum foil to place under the meat so it could stay out of the juice and  dry properly.

Early the next morning the grill was lit and the smoking apparatus was in place.  Next I dried the meat with a paper towel and sprinkled on the rub.  We chose one that was already mixed.  We chose it by smell.  The rub should be something you would like to eat as its flavors permeate the meat and make the crust around the roast (called the “bark”).

Two other pieces of equipment that are essential to the smoking process are thermometers.  One thermometer monitors the temperature  inside the kettle with the lid on.  This is your oven.  The other measures the internal temperature of the meat as it cooks.

The fire itself is made from charcoal briquettes and two or three pieces of wood are added.  We added hickory chunks.

The meat was placed on the grill.  The thermometers were set up.  The lid was put on.  And then we waited.

Four hours after the meat was put in the grill the “bark” started to form.  The “oven” temperature was stable at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.  The internal temperature of the meat was 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  We want the “oven” temperature to be stable and we, ultimately want the meat to register around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.IMG_6368

Boston butt is not an expensive cut of meat.  It has marbled fat.  And, as I said earlier, Hillacres Pride pork is consistently delicious and tender.IMG_6484

All day the aroma from the grill filled our yard and porch.  The sides were easy.  Cole slaw and baked beans.  And some brioche rolls from Wild Flour Bakery, also at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.

Nine and one half hours later the butt reached the goal internal temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit.  Husband took the pork off the grill.  I pulled it apart.  And we ate the most delicious, moist, flavorful pulled pork we’d ever tasted.  The bark was magnificent!


The meat and bark were delicious on their own.  We added some Apple Butter Barbecue sauce from Schoeber’s Farm.  The next level!

There was enough to share so both daughters and their families enjoyed as well (even the three year old like it!) ….and I even had enough for sandwiches!

If you are a fan of smoked meats or if you want to try this yourself, I encourage you to use good quality meat…like that from Hillacres Pride.
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A pulled pork from Hillacres Boston butt can also be made in the oven or your slow cooker.  It will still be delicious.

Slow Cooker :  Put the thawed Boston butt into your slow cooker on top of some cut onions.  Season with some salt.  Almost cover the meat with root beer (one of my daughter’s uses Dr. Pepper).  Organic sodas can be used here.  Put the lid on and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Conventional Oven : Put cut onions in the bottom of a lidded casserole dish.  Set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle roast with salt and any additional seasoning, to taste.  Put a piece of foil over the pot and the place the lid on top to seal in the juice.  Bake for 3 hours.

Ingredients:
Boston but pork roast (boneless or bone in) – Hillacres Pride
Brioche rolls – Wild Flour Bakery
Barbecue sauce – Wm. Schober & Sons

Brownies from scratch!

My husband and grandson love brownies.  They requested them for the long Labor Day weekend.  Of course.  No problem.  After all I use a mix and can make a pan of brownies with my eyes closed.  I don’t eat brownies, or chocolate….allergic.  My husband said that’s why he married me.  More chocolate for him.

I went to my brownie mix shelf and it was bare!

I had already been out shopping earlier and was really looking forward to not going out again until the weekend was over.  Years ago I made brownies.  Lots of different kinds.  So.  just get the recipe and get started.a-basic-rule-of-baking-is-that-in-general-its-almost-impossible-to-make-an-inedible-batch-of-quote-1

Dry ingredients;
2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Wet ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (if you can’t find chocolate extract these are still delicious using 2 teaspoons vanilla extract).

Extra ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 cup of coated chocolate candies

Directions:
1. Stir together all dry ingredients.
2.  Beat eggs with vanilla and chocolate extracts.  Add to the dry ingredients.
3.  Pour the oil into the mixture and stir with a large spoon until well mixed.
4.  Dump in the chocolate chips.  Stir.
5. Spray a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with baking spray.
6. Spread batter in the prepared cake pan.
7. Top with coated candies. (you can substitute any of your favorite miniature candy)
7.  Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Let the brownies cool in the pan before eating.
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My husband doesn’t think I ever need to buy brownie mix again.

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BBQ bison meatloaf

I love meatloaf.  Never got enough of it as a kid.  My parents, like most parents in the 1950s, weren’t rich and when they first were married my mother made meatloaf with frightening frequency.  So.  We had meatloaf but not as much as I would have liked.

This is a delicious meatloaf that requires a couple of tricks that make the whole thing even more wonderful, especially for bison which is very lean and needs a lower temperature and a shorter cooking time.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground bison
1 carrot, diced small or grated large
1 stalk of celery, diced small or grated large
1 small onion, diced small or grated large
3 medium mushrooms, diced small
2 Tablespoons butter (for frying)
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
1/2 cup panko (or bread crumbs or oat meal)

Directions:
1. Thaw the ground bison
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Yes, 325.  The lower temperature works best with the bison as it is so lean).
3.  Prepare the carrot, celery, onion, and mushrooms.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the vegetable mixture until just softening. Let cool.
4.  When the vegetables are cool enough to touch, mix into the meat, adding the ketchup, and mustard.  Best to use your hands.
5.  Now add the egg and the panko (or bread crumbs or oatmeal).
6.  When well mixed, place in a baking dish and shape into a loaf.  Your loaf will be soft but should easily be formed into a loaf.IMG_6386
7.  Put in the oven for 30 minutes.
8.  After 30 minutes pour about 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce on top.  Return to the oven for 45 minutes.  IMG_6396
9.  Serve and enjoy!

I had some leftover, it’s just my husband and I, and the meatloaf was moist and delicious for lunch the next day!

I buy my bison from Buck Wild Bison at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Look up their website.  You can mail order from them.

To round out the meal I made steamed delicata squash mashed with butter and green beans.  And, of course, a sliced Jersey tomato!

Bison – Wild Buck Bison
Carrots – Our Yards Farm (ugly but oh so sweet!)
Onion – A.T. Buzby
Celery – Flaim Farm or Formisano Farm
Mushrooms – Davidson’s Mushrooms
Delicata squash – Flaim Farm
Green beans – Springdale Farm (also available at Hymer Farm, Viereck Farm, Savoie Organic Farm)
Jersey tomatoes –  everywhere!