Monthly Archives: October 2009
I love roasted beets and like to make them a feature sometimes for a dinner salad. I bought 3 different varieties, red, golden and pink. While similar in flavor the golden and pink varieties were slightly milder and perhaps less sweet. They were all delicious and made for a terrific salad topped with goat cheese and toasted pecans. Beets are high in nutrients, are a good source of folate and can help reduce inflammation. Beets get the Arthritis Kitchen stamp of approval.
I roasted these in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. I oiled my hands, and gave each beet a thin layer of vegetable oil, wrapped each on in foil and into the oven. After roasting, I let them cool slightly, put on a pair of disposable gloves and rubbed the skins off. The skin comes off without any resistance at all. Avoid the temptation to rinse them under water. I find as with roasted peppers this takes away flavor.
I made mouth watering, delicious venison chops last night. I went to the butcher intending to buy lamb chops but when I saw the venison I just couldn’t resist. I used a recipe I have tried before from Epicurious as the base and tweaked it along the way with very good, four star results. The recipe uses tart cherries as a feature ingredient for the sauce and this is very high on the list of foods that are excellent for people with Arthritis. I don’t use this ingredient often and love it when I can add it to my cooking. This sauce could easily be used with pork or beef tenderloin or lamb chops instead of the venison which may be hard to find or not to everyone’s taste.
Arthritis Kitchen’s Pan-Seared Venison with Rosemary, Currants and Tart Cherries.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 venison tenderloin chops
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon tart cherry concentrate
- 3/4 cup homemade stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon blueberry compote
- 1 tablespoon dried currants – rehydrated
Venison is a very lean meat and you need to be careful not to overcook it. I first made a mixture of finely chopped rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and rubbed it on the chops then seared 1 1/2 min on each side then into a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes then rested covered in foil for 5 minutes. As soon as the chops were in the oven I deglazed the pan with the wine, added the stock and rest of the ingredients and reduced to a sauce like consistency. As the sauce reduced I added a branch of rosemary which I first rolled on the cutting board to ‘bruise’ and release its flavors. This steeped until ready to serve and was then discarded – the rosemary branch added an additional layer of flavor that really made this dish stand out.
Because the venison was a very hands on recipe, I chose very easy sides. The baby potatoes are the Arthritis Kitchen Tip of the Day. These gems are yellow fleshed potatoes from The Little Potato Company and are pre-washed and all the same size, which is tiny. I made a small X on the top of each on then microwaved them for 10 minutes. It could not have been easier and they were light and creamy with very tender skins.
Cooking with Apple Cider
I am really enjoying the combination of pork with apples and like to kick it up a notch in flavor and arthritis friendly ingredients by adding apple cider vinegar. I use bone-in thick pork chops, season with salt, pepper and dried sage. Sear in pan both sides until nicely brown. Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake at 400 15-20 min. I deglazed pan with a splash of white wine then added the sliced apples and green onions and satue to soften but not turn to mush. I then added 1 1/2 Tbs of good quality apple cider vinegar and seasoned the dish to taste with salt, pepper, dried sage and a dash of cinnamon.
Served it with sides of brown rice and roasted asparagus. This is a new rice product that I tried and would like to report it is fantastic. Good quality organic brown rice that is ready in 1 and a half minutes. This is not “instant” rice but is basically instant to prepare. I added some butter to it when serving and we really loved it. The texture and flavor was top notch and was ready in a flash.
This has become a favorite side dish at my house. I originally got the idea when visiting friends and they served a delicious combination of roasted butternut squash and leeks. It is super simple, super good and very nutritious. Butternut squash is an inflammation reducing ingredient so I like to cook with it. I also enjoy its versatility. Roasting it along with the leeks is a terrific way to bring out the flavors of this winter squash. This side goes great with any roasted meat and is something you can just put in the oven along with whatever else you are making to save from having to prep at the stove. What you need: 1 butternut squash peeled and diced, 2 medium size leeks cleaned and sliced into rings. Salt and pepper and olive oil. Toss all ingredients in a glass baking dish cover with foil and bake until 1/2 done. Remove foil for remainder of cooking to slightly brown. Times depend on oven temp. I bake at 400 if on its own and at 350 or whatever my oven is on for another dish. Total time is generally 50 min – cook until your preferred tenderness.
Arthritis Kitchen Tip – Prepping the Squash: Trying to break down a large butternut squash is a chore for most anyone but if you have limited strength or use of your hands or arms it can be seriously daunting. I find the following method provides the most stability when working with squash and produces effective results with the least amount of effort.
- Use your largest, sharpest knife – do not use a serrated edge flexible knife for this job
- Cut the squash in half as if sawing a log in half.
- Turn cut side down with the flat surface on the cutting board – root side up.
- Slice through the squash length wise across the root end.
- Using vegetable peeler, peel squash to remove thin top layer of skin.
- Dice or prepare as needed for recipe.
I love making risotto and you will usually find one on our table shortly after we have roasted a chicken or a turkey. Using a really good stock is the key to a great risotto. The above was made from the stock I made yesterday from the turkey carcass from last weekends bird. I had broken up the carcass and placed it in the freezer last week and got around to making the stock on Saturday morning. I pre-heated the oven to 400 and placed the bones on a baking sheet lined with foil. Gave them a good roasting for about 20 minutes or so until they were nicely browned. Then its into the stock pots with celery, onion, carrot, pepper corns and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to a boil then gently simmer for 2-3 hours. Discard bones, and veg and you are left with a wonderful stock to be used however you like. This batch of stock produced enough for this risotto along with another 10 cups that are portioned off into containers in the freezer.
Dinner was great. I think this makes a record of amount of posts for me in one day. I logged and blogged a day in the life of The Arthritis Kitchen for Thanksgiving 2009. Lots of leftovers and no cooking for me tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
Here is a picture of stuffing. This turned out to be really good. Red onions were a nice touch.
The Arthritis Kitchen is pleased to announce that the turkey went in the oven at 3pm. I don’t stuff the bird but do add some aromatics inside while it roasts. Today I used some yellow and red onion and some fresh sage and rosemary from the garden. I loosened the skin over the breast and stuffed in some individual sage leaves although its hard to see in the before picture. Salt and pepper tops it off and into a 325 oven. Its a pretty small turkey, just under 9 lbs. I’ll baste throughout and see how its doing at the 2 hour mark.
Here are the results of my Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie efforts. I always add lots of extra cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to my regular recipe for a nice spicy pie. I usually just buy a store bought crust but I wanted to make a really nice deep dish variety so decided to make my own crust. I made it in the food processor and and couldn’t have been easier. The crust was easy to handle and I had enough for two pies.
I wanted to make a crust from scratch so I can use my deep dish pie plate for the pumpkin pie I’m making later today. Using the food processor seemed like the way to go to save both time and strain on my hands.
Ingredients for making pastry are supposed to be really cold to produce the best results. Because of my arthritis I tend to work slower than most so I took a few additional easy steps to ensure everything kept its chill as I worked at a pace that was comfortable for me. I chilled the bowl and the blade in the freezer so it would be super cold. Measured out the ingredients (I used a mixture of 1 cup lard and ¼ cup butter) cut the fat into cubes, re-chilled in the fridge on a plate. Put flour in the processor, added the cubes of shortening and butter and pulse a few times until it’s the right texture.
Because I made the full recipe and the processor was quite full, I emptied the mixture into a bowl to make sure it had the texture I was looking for and was mixed all the way through, I then put it back into the processor added the ice water and a few more pulses it was done. Formed into a ball, covered in plastic wrap and rest for 30 min.
Today is Thanksgiving – my favorite of all holidays. I am up early before anyone in my house and am excited about the cooking I’ll be doing today. I will start this morning with pumpkin pie. Making a pastry from scratch and using the food processor as my Arthritis Kitchen tip. The rest of the meal will be roast turkey, traditional stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted yams, baby brussel sprouts sauteed with shallots and bacon, oh yes and I made cranberry sauce last night. This is actually going to be an easy meal to make because I prepare almost everything in advance and then just figure out the timing of it all. Yes, I will be cooking all day but that truly makes me happy. I look forward to big cooking days when I can spend them in and around the kitchen. I am going to make a conscious effort to work smartly, not overdo it and take it easy on my arthritic joints throughout the process. But first….its way too early to be making noise so I will settle on the couch and watch some Food Network shows and enjoy the quiet morning.
Happy Thanksgiving and as Jacques Pepin would say “Happy Cooking”.