Gurkensalat (creamy German cucumber salad)

This is a simple salad that my mother used to make when cucumbers were plentiful.  I’m sure the recipe came from her mother who was of German descent.  My mother often remarked that her mother used sour cream in cooking and salad making and almost never used mayonnaise.  My mother liked sour cream so much that she would eat it right out of the container.  And, I confess, I do too.

My mother never had the benefit of English cucumbers which are now very popular.  They are sweeter.  Their seeds are much smaller.  And they are perfect for this little salad.

This is a salad that you can make ahead.  In fact, it must be made ahead.  But the timing is not strict.  This is a relaxing kind of summer salad.

Gurkensalat is a wonderful and different take on cucumbers.  One that will be a hit at a large picnic pot luck or a quiet summer supper on the porch.

Do seek out English cucumbers as they are delicate and delicious.

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These beautiful English cucumbers were purchased at Muth Organic Farm at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.

 

Ingredients:

1 large English cucumber
salt
1 tablespoon of fresh dill or 1/2 tablespoon of dried dill
4 oz. sour cream

Directions:

1. Peel the cucumber.
2. Slice very thin.
3. Place the cucumber slices in a colander.  Place the colander in a bowl.  Lightly salt the cucumbers.


4. Allow the salted cucumbers to drain for 30 minutes (no more than an hour).
5. Take the cucumbers out of the colander.  Discard the liquid.  Pat the cucumbers dry. (slightly)


6.  Add the dill and the sour cream.  Stir together.  IMG_8559
7.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  This salad can be served as soon as it is mixed but it also does well to rest in the refrigerator.
8.  Garnish with fresh or dried dill.
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Funny story.  I love fresh dill.  The way it tastes.  The way it smells.  Every year I buy a dill plant for my little back deck herb garden.  And every year my dill dies and gets sucked back into the earth.  And every year I feel like a failure.  (you have to know that my late father had an enormous green thumb and his dill would grow and grow and grow until you couldn’t use any more).  So recently I spoke with Rick Hymer (a farmer at our local Collingswood Farmers’ Market).  He sells herbs in pots, but no dill.  Why?  He explained that dill is a tall plant.  When it is planted in pots, as it would need to be to sold at the market, it grows tall.  And then it dies.  Not to disappoint me, but because it is done growing.  He went on to explain, with a smile, that the best way to grow dill is from seed.  He advised the $1.29 for a packet of seeds was a better investment than the plant.  So that’s why my father’s dill always grew better than mine.  Thanks, Rick Hymer, that makes me feel better!iu

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a taste of summer

Summer is starting and with it the wonder of our Garden State is obvious once again.  On my most recent shopping trip to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market I found first corn, first eggplant, loads of beans and peas, greens, spring cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, beets, and all variety of summer squash!  It has begun!  My favorite eating time of the year.

Dinner was a joy to prepare and a delicious taste of summer.

On my plate was a fresh and tender salad of oak leaf lettuce, English cucumbers, and red and yellow grape tomatoes tossed with a light vinaigrette.  A melange of summer squash, spring onion, sweet white corn, and tomatoes with a mixture of melted favorite cheeses.  And a bison petit tender sliced into medallions with fried maitake mushrooms.

This whole meal took about 30 minutes to prepare.  Great for easy summer dining!

Bison Petit Tender Medallions with Maitake Mushrooms

Ingredients:
1 bison petit tender (about 1 lb.)
salt
butter (for the pan)
maitake mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Thaw the bison petit tender.  Set the meat on a paper towel and let it dry for 15 or so minutes. IMG_8490
  2. While the bison meat is drying shred and fry the maitake mushrooms in butter.  I used maitake mushrooms but any mushroom you like will do.  I prefer maitake in this recipe because the small pieces of the mushroom fry up crisp and give a nice mushroom/onion taste and feel to the dish.
  3. Slice the whole piece of meat into 1/2 inch thick medallions
  4. Lightly salt and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Melt butter in a large frying pan
  6. Place medallions in the frying pan.  Fry each piece for 2 minutes.  Flip and fry one minute more.  Remember bison can easily overcook so watch your time and look at your meat in the pan.
  7. Add the mushrooms to the cooked medallions and serve.IMG_8499

    (I have researched cooking with grass fed/pasture raised meats.  I have found that butter is the preferred “oil” for such meats.  I’ve tried oil and butter.  I much prefer butter).

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A taste of summer and lovely easy meals to come.  IMG_8504

Where to purchase these ingredients at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market:

Grape tomatoes (yellow and red) – Fruitwood Farm
Corn – A. T. Buzby Farm
Zucchini and patty pan squash – Muth Organic Farm
English cucumbers – Muth Organic Farm
Maitake mushrooms – Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms
Oak leaf lettuce – Savoie Organic Farm
Cheddar cheese and butter – Hillacres Pride
Bison Petit Tender – Buck Wild Bison

50 ways to eat your bison (well, not 50, but a lot)!

Did you know that a bison quarter-pounder burger has only about 124 calories with only 6 grams of fat and 17 grams of protein?

Did you know that bison are raised outdoors in their normal habitat and eat their natural diet?
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Did you know that bison are a tremendous source of lean protein?

Did you know that bison is full of energizing B vitamins, selenium (which fights inflammation), zinc (which supports a strong immune system), and iron?

Did you know that shoppers at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market are fortunate to have Buck Wild Bison selling their wonderful bison meats every week?  Every week!

 

 

So….

That’s all good…but what does bison taste like?  Is is good?  How do I cook it?  Will my kids eat it?

Bison tastes similar to beef but it is leaner, lighter, and more luscious!  How can it be all that?  It just is.

Because bison meat is so lean and finely marbled, the cook must be slightly cautious when cooking.  Use a lower temperature and a shorter cooking time than when cooking beef.  Or, as my husband would instruct…”pay attention”.  Don’t throw that steak or burger on the grill and walk away!

Bison is a great alternative to beef, chicken, or fish.  It’s lower in fat than all three!

Try a “brick” (of ground bison)….or a pack or burgers or a steak, a sausage, a roast or…..

You can substitute BISON for any beef dish your create.

Simple instructions on how to GRILL a bison burger:

Cook burgers over no higher than medium heat to prevent the patties from drying out.  For a gas grill that would be 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  A charcoal grill has reached the correct bison grilling temperature when you can hold your hand about three inches above the grate for four or five seconds.

GRILL 1/2 inch ground bison patties with the lid down for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (a good internal temperature for all your bison cooks).

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Recently I made BISON BURGER CHEESESTEAK SLOPPY JOEs.  That is a mouthful of a recipe title and it was a delicious mouthful of bison ground meat.

Ingredients:
onions, mushroom, and red peppers chopped small and fried in olive oil.
ground bison ( 1/4 pound for each)
snowflake (or soft rolls)

Directions:
1.  Fry up your vegetables (add or subtract your favorite ingredients…be creative)!IMG_8223
2.  Form your patty.
3. Place your patty on a medium hot griddle or in a frying pan.
4.  Fry on each side for 30 seconds.
5.  Break up the patty with a spatula.  Add vegetables.  Continue chopping all ingredients together.  Add cheese.  Chop some more.

 

 


6.  Scoop up and slide onto a soft roll.  IMG_8233

 

REVERSE SEAR COLD GRATE GRILLED BISON RIB EYE
Also recently husband and I enjoyed a bison rib eye steak which he cooked using the Reverse Sear Cold Grate method (if you are interested you can find video on YouTube).  Essentially you cook the steak on the indirect (no heat underneath) side of the grill until it reaches an internal temperature of about 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  Take the meat off the grill…add coals to make a hot fire…put the cold grate on the grill and cook the steak on the cold grate for 1 minute, flip 1 minute more, flip 1 minute more, flip 1 minute more.
The method is a little more complicated than throw that steak on the grill but the results are delicious.

 

 

 

Buck Wild Bison sells their own chili.  Quick and easy for a week night dinner.

 

 

 

And Buck Wild Bison also sells their own hot dogs.  My grandsons love them!image1.jpg

 

And here are some links to bison recipes (from this blog) that are easy and delicious.

bison meatloaf

bison short ribs

Bison tomahawk on a summer afternoon

bison brisket tacos

bison chipped steak poutine

Petit Tender Medallions

 

With apologies to Paul Simon………

The problem is all inside your head
She said to me
The answer is easy if you
Take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle
With this meat
There must be 50 ways
To eat your BISON.

She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
Further more, I hope my meaning
Won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself
At the risk of being rude
There must be 50 ways
To eat your BISON.

Turn down the heat, Pete.
Grill it real slow, Joe.
Shoot for 160, Trixie.
And get BISON glee.

She said it grieves me so
To see you hesitate
I wish there was something I could say
To make you grill again.
I said I appreciate that
And would you please explain
About the fifty ways?

She said why don’t we buy
Some BISON from Wild Buck
I believe that over dinner
You’ll begin to taste delight
And I realized she probably was right.
There must be fifty ways to eat your BISON.

Grab  some chili, Millie!
Grill a steak Jake!
How about some hot dogs and beans Dean?
Or make a poutine Jean!

Make a new plan, Stan
Just listen to me
We don’t need to discuss much
Just buy a brick (of ground BISON) Rick
And get BISON GLEE.

 

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Elegant beet stacks

I was never much of a beet fan.  My mother never made them.  As an adult I stayed away from them because the first time I tried to cook them my hands were stained dark purple for days.  But the farmers at Collingswood Farmers Market continued to tempt me.  They grew and sold the standard dark purple burgundy.  But then they put out lighter red with a spiral colored interior and golden beets.  Golden beets.  That sounded like food of the gods!

Elsewhere in this blog is a post explaining how to roast beets.  It’s simple and your fingers do not get permanently dyed.  I will explain again quick and easy beet roasting.  But now….what to do with them?

Beets are easy, nutritious, and delicious…and now they can be a lovely addition to your elegant dinner table.  Yes, elegant.

To roast a beet….
Scrub the outside of the beet with water and a vegetable brush.  They grow underground after all.  Cut the leaves off (people do eat them…but that is not what we’re talking about today).  Wrap each beet in a small piece of aluminum foil.  Place each foil packet on a rimmed sheet pan.

Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.  You will start to smell them (very sweet) and some of the sugar may ooze out of the foil…done.  Let cool (so you can handle them).  When the beet is cool enough to handle, peel it.  IMG_8290You can use a knife, a spoon…your hands.  The beets will be soft and the outer skin will come off easily.

Slice each beef into thin disks.

Pour your favorite vinaigrette dressing on them and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.  (You can do this a day or two ahead and let them marinate for a day or two in the refrigerator.  I like to have a jar of them to toss on salads all week).IMG_8293

If you want to make a simple salad to brighten up the dinner table, stir up the bowl of beets with the marinade and top with small pieces of feta cheese.
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To make a more elegant dish place one slice of beet on a plate, top that beet with basil and feta soft cheese (from Hillacres Pride), place another slice of beet on top of the cheese, more cheese, a last piece of beet.  Three slices of beets makes a very nice presentation and, with the soft cheese, is quite the right portion.  Not to mention delicious.
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My husband, who is not always aware of elegance on the table, commented on the appearance (“wow”), and the taste (“good”), and the portion (“just enough”).

 

 

Beets can be found at Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm, and Muth Organic Farm (the beets for this recipe were purchased at Muth Organic Farm.

Olive oil to make your favorite vinaigrette  can be found at Villa Barone.

Pesto and Feta Soft cheese, and plain Feta can be found at Hillacres Pride.IMG_8296