I didn’t make a meal plan this week. In part, because of the chaos of the holiday weekend, but also some distraction on my part. I was working hard to complete my 40 bags challenge before Lent was over. And work in the yard, and…and…and. So I must confess at the end of last week I started changing things from my plan, and then I didn’t even write one this week. And yesterday, with all shame, because of a lack of planning on my part, I had to throw out some organic chicken that I bought. Simply because I was off my game and I didn’t throw it in the freezer. Because I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what was coming.
I’ve become super addicted to Cobb Salads. It started at Publix one day when I was getting some sandwiches to head to the park and I saw it there in the case. I fell in love. Avocado, blue cheese, turkey, bacon…and not turkey bacon! This salad is the real deal!! I love salad so much, but I hate to get them out, because all salad dressing contains soybean oil. This drives me crazy! On the other hand, it is hard to make a good salad at home, because it means you have to have so much stuff on hand.
I have never been a fan of mayonnaise, but I did spend all of my life eating some low fat or fat free version of it. I still would only use it for potato salad or tuna and would usually opt for some oil and vinegar type of dressing. When we adopted a traditional diet and I started reading Nourishing Traditions I found one of the main culprits in some of the health problems my family was having was soy. I cleaned house, nothing with soy could come in the doors..and along with that my husband’s jar of Hellmans. Oh, did I mention that Andy LOVES mayonnaise….loves! Luckily along with the demise of that white goo, I found a recipe for real mayo that is not only a spread that will make every sandwich taste worlds better, but will nourish your body.
First, you need good eggs…really good eggs. From a farmer. A person you look in the eye. A person you chat with, shake hands with, a person who knows the names of your kids. My eggs came from a man named Larry. A sweet grandpa who one day even went out to the coop to get eggs for me. Hand washed them, while my kids chased his chickens. A man who hand washes every milk jar in front of a sunny window to make sure each customer big and small gets the freshest safest glass of milk. I love this man! I trust these eggs, I eat them raw. And yes, real mayo contains raw eggs…per say. Technically, in the traditional recipe for mayo and other things like key lime pie, the eggs are added to an acidic substance which “cooks” the eggs.
On top of good eggs and good oil, this mayo is lacto-fermented with whey. So you get a probiotic punch on top of a moist sandwich or perfect chicken salad. This recipe has changed my perspective on mayo, just like when I switched from light “buttery” spread to real butter. And well judging my the name of my blog, you can guess my opinion on butter! You can slather this stuff up, make salad dressings, salads, whatever and never even consider ordering “light mayo” again.
Here is the recipe from Nourishing Traditions: (I ususally do it 4-5x depending on how many eggs and oil I have, it will keep up to 2 months in the fridge)
1 whole egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of whey
3/4-1 cup of extra virgin olive oil or expeller-pressed sunflower oil or a combination (you need to do this part to taste, I have landed on 1/2 evoo 1/2 sunflower oil)a generous pinch of salt
In a food processor add all of the ingredients, except the oil. Process for 30 seconds. Drizzle oil through top while motor is still running. Drizzle until a thickened consistency is achieved. (It will not be quite as thick as mayo from the store yet, but not runny either) Taste it, add salt or lemon juice to taste (It isn’t quite as bland as mayo, but trust me you will really enjoy this stuff!). Once you are happy with the taste, jar the stuff up and let sit on the counter for 7 hours before refrigerating. (It will thicken over this time.) I know this sounds weird, but trust me…trust the farmer who you bought the eggs from. Your taste buds and body will thank you for this stuff!
As a child I grew up on those little individual pot pies. They were so good, flaky crust, warm gravy inside. But as an adult I shudder at the list of ingredients almost too long for that tiny box. In years past, my “healthy version” of pot pie involved skim milk and baking mix, sometimes canned soup. I again gag at the amount of unknown, unpronounceable ingredients I was putting in my family. And if I am totally truthful, they lacked any sort of good taste, so it wasn’t really something I made all that often anyway.
Chicken Stock With Meat
1 whole organic or pastured Chicken with Gizzards if possible
5 carrots, ends cut off
1 large yellow or Vidalia Onion, peel removed, cut in half
2 Garlic Cloves (more if you love Garlic)
The center part of Celery (the part with the skinny stalks and leaves)
Any other extra veggies you have lying around*
1 TBS of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Optional: Fresh herbs if available–Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, or Parsley
1 TBS of Italian Seasoning
1 tsp of ground Sage dried
Get the largest pot you have. If you are lucky enough to have one with a pasta insert, this will save you a lot of time at the end. Add all of the ingredients, then cover with cold water. (Very important that it is COLD!) Leave room at the top for foaming. Bring to a boil on high, removing foam as it appears on top, and then cover and reduce to 2 settings higher than low (3 on my stove). Let simmer as long as possible, but no less than 3 hours, all day if possible. Maintain the stove setting so it does not boil over. If you need to be away from the house and don’t want to leave your stove on, you can do all of the above with a Crock Pot, use the high setting for an hour or two if possible and then cut back. In the Crock, it will need to simmer all day, if possible as long as 24 hours. I don’t like to use the Crock when I am making stock from a whole chicken, because sometimes the meat is soggy and can’t be used for chicken salad. But when making stock from only bones (next recipe), the crock is fine.
When done simmering, pull all ingredients out. This is where you will be thankful if you have a pasta insert. Discard all veggies except the carrots, and all gizzards except the liver. With a potato masher, or your fingers, mash the carrots and liver into a pulp and add back to the liquid. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the chicken and reserve for soup, casserole, or chicken salad. If you let the meat get cold or store with the bones in, in the fridge, it will be very hard to pull off the bone later. You can store stock in the fridge for 3-4 days, and freeze extra after that. I am experimenting with ideas to freeze different portions of stock…blog post to come later.
Here’s another option:
Chicken Stock with Bones–Roasted or Smoked
During the cold months, my favorite thing is to Roast Chicken. In the summer, I send all my whole chickens to my husband and his smoker. This leaves me with a lot of flavorful bones. The stock that comes from that rich flavor of Chicken that has been roasted or smoked is not to be missed. Save the bones by freezing them if you don’t roast enough Chicken in one week. You can also use bones from Chicken you have Grilled.**
Ingredients and Directions same as above, substitute the bones of 2 or more chickens or equivalent parts for 1 whole Chicken in the recipe above. If using Smoked Chicken only add onion, the smokey flavor will not allow any of the veggies to come through.**
Benefits of Homemade Stock
1. Using something you would normally throw away.
2. The addition of vinegar breaks down the Calcium and Phosphorous in the Bones making it readily available for your absorption.
3. Good Stock will do most of the work for you in a recipe. Rice, Quinoa, or Polenta cooked in homemade stock will rival anything you can order at a restaurant.
*I know this part isn’t specific, but anything you don’t think you will eat before it spoils, throw it in..broccoli is the only thing I’ve put in that I was disappointed with. Bell Peppers, Beets, Green Beans, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes…all of these will add dimension and flavor to your stock without overpowering it.
**Grilled Chicken won’t change the flavor that much unless there is a considerable amount of charred meat or bones. Smoked Chicken makes a stock very unique to itself. My favorite way to use Smoked Stock is to cook beans or greens in it, add it to my barbecue sauce, or use it to supplement the smoky flavor of a dish I am putting Bacon or ham in.