The lesson this week goes beyond meat; although the title may not scream it. If you have attended any of our classes or followed our blog then hopefully you know what kind of meat you should be buying. I’m not talking about 96% lean or fat free ground turkey. I’m talking about grass-fed, pastured, local, hormone and antibiotic free, all of those things. If you are not sold on only eating this type of meat, please do your homework! Here are a few things I recommend:
- This article from Mother Earth News
- Watch the film Fresh
- Watch the film Food, Inc and read the book
- Read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Even the young readers’ version is good for adults.
- Read Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food
While I try my best not to be too preachy and encourage people to make their own decisions about food, meat is not negotiable. Buy local meat from a farm who feeds their animals what they were meant to eat – grass. No hormones. No Antibiotics. No feedlots. If you can’t do this, then don’t eat meat. People can no longer ignore what goes on behind the curtain to produce the cheap meat they are addicted to. If you want to remain blissfully unaware then you are being irresponsible. There I said it. Now we can move onto the cooking.
But I digress. Back to condiments. Each culture has their own traditional condiments, many of which are fermented. Think sauerkraut, kimchi, Indian chutney’s, ketchup (yes, ketchup), and yogurt. Fermenting serves two purposes. First, it’s a method of preserving. That was important before refrigeration. Second, it provides a healthy dose of good bacteria helping our bodies digest food better. What does that really mean? Minerals are made more soluable, vitamins increase, and our bodies are benefiting more from the food we are taking in. I think everyone has at least heard of probiotics at this point. That’s what we’re talking about here. The popularity of probiotics has soared over recent years, but unfortunately the processed food world has taken a good thing, tried to put it in everything from crackers to candy bars, and has further warped America’s perception of what is healthy. Adding something good to a processed food item does not make everything else in that item good, too. In fact, all of the other bad ingredients is probably negating anything good that could come from the probiotics! If I didn’t make it clear before, here is a short list of all of those “good” things that fermented condiments can do for us:
- Aids digestion and suppresses disease-causing bacteria.
- Treat overgrowth of bad organism in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Prevent and treat diarrhea, including the infectious diarrhea, particularly from the rotavirus.
- Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and possibly, inflammatory bowel disease.
- Replaces the friendly intestinal bacteria that are destroyed by antibiotics.
- Prevent and reduces the recurrence of vaginal yeast infection, urinary tract infections and cystitis.
- Improve lactose absorption in people who are lactose intolerant.
- Enhances the immune response. Studies have suggested that the consumption of yogurt and milk that contains specific strains of acidophilus supplements improve the natural immune response.
- Aids the treatment of respiratory infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Lower the risks of allergies such as asthma, hay fever, allergies to milk and skin reactions such as eczema.
- Help in treating high cholesterol.
So, to sum it all up, our ancestor’s condiments did all of those things for them. What are our condiments doing for us?
Here are the recipes from Thursday’s class. We made a homemade, lacto-fermented ketchup with whey, a teriyaki sauce made with naturally fermented soy sauce, and then combined those two with a few other ingredients to make a barbecue sauce. The ketchup went into the bison meatloaf and we learned how to cut up a whole chicken, which was then cooked in the crock pot with the barbecue sauce. I hope you enjoy!
Homemade Ketchup (Lacto-fermented)
I grind pickling spice and add it straight to the ketchup. If you do not own a spice grinder, steep one full tablespoon of pickling spice in the apple cider vinegar before adding the vinegar to the other ingredients. Strain the spices out.
1/4 cup whey*
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon pickling spice, freshly ground
juice of one lemon
*Note: Whey is the by-product of the cheese making process or can be obtained by straining plain yogurt. To do this, line a fine meshed strainer with cheesecloth and suspend the strainer over a bowl. Place plain yogurt in the strainer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The whey will separate and drain into the bowl leaving you with a thick yogurt cheese. Use that as a protein packed replacement for cream cheese.
This is adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe. It starts with making a tomato relish, which goes into the meatloaf, as well as, on top of each muffin. I’m using bison, because I like the rich flavor and it has more protein and iron than beef. I like to make miniature meat loaves to save time and simplify the freezing of leftovers. Makes 12 muffins.
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leave
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 roma tomatoes, finely diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1/8 cup parsley, chopped
2/3 cup ketchup
salt and pepper
1 lb. bison
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 cooked quinoa*
salt and pepper
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
This makes a great marinade for meat or vegetables. It would be particularly good with salmon.
3 gloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/2 cup naturally fermented soy sauce
Homemade Barbecue Sauce (lacto-fermented)
This sauce is the love child of ketchup and teriyaki sauce with a few added ingredients. Feel free to adjust the sweetness or spiciness. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to barbecue. This is a basic sauce that can be twisted a million different ways. Add some bourbon or curry or lime, you name it. Get creative!
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/4 – 1/2 cup raw honey (or more if you like a sweeter sauce, like me)
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper (or more if you like a more spicy sauce, like my husband)
juice of one orange
Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken
This can be served in pieces left on the bone or shredded. I prefer to shred the meat, because it’s easier to eat and share with a crowd.
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
2 cups barbecue sauce
salt and pepper