Labor Day is fast approaching and if you're anything like us, your weekend is packed with get-togethers, parties and plenty of opportunities to flex your culinary muscle. If inspiration hasn't struck yet, here is a list of ideas to get you motivated. Whether you're into smoking, grilling or slow-cooking, we've got you covered.
It's a busy week, be sure to call ahead to place your order.
Labor Day Items
And don't forget about our great selection of wine and beer.
Welcome to the first installment of our new Fall Recipe Series! The weather hasn't exactly cooled off but school is back in session and our mindset has shifted away from summer and toward cozier nights.
This recipe is simple and flavorful, but won't heat your kitchen up like a stew simmering all day. It's originally from Nigel Slater's book Tender but we've adapted it to make it a bit easier.
This dish is both paleo and gluten-free IF you can find Jerusalem artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are tubors that look like ginger root but have a flavor more in line with a potato. They can be mashed, roasted or pureed and boast less carbs than a sweet potato.
Sunchokes are in season from October - April, so should be in stores and farmers markets soon. We substituted small new potatoes and purple potatoes for some color in the meantime. The final product was delicious.
Pork Sausage with Jerusalem Artichokes
8 pork sausage links (our gluten-free Bratwurst or Mild Italian work well)
4 medium yellow onions, cut into thick segments
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, halved
2 cups Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes
1 large lemon, cut into segments
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp grass-fed butter
Chicken stock or water to cover – about 2 cups
Salt to taste
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the butter over medium heat, add onions and sauté until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes (or potatoes) to the pan. Cook for a few minutes then squeeze the lemon segments and add them to the pan. Add fennel seeds and salt, then cover the vegetables with stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
When the Jerusalem artichokes are tender, uncover, and cook on high until all of the liquid has evaporated. Be sure to take your time and allow the vegetables to caramelize. Color equals flavor!
Meanwhile, grill or pan-cook the sausages until cooked through and browned.
Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.
Wine suggestion: Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc
The question of which dietary fats are good and which are bad has caused a lot of confusion lately. Some fats are heart-heathy, some are not. Some oils are processed with chemicals, some are not. Some break down at high temperatures, some do not. Some sound healthy because of the word vegetable in their name, but aren’t. What’s a cook to do?
We thought we’d put together a short primer on which fats to use and when. Bookmark this page and refer to it when in question.
Most cooking oils on the market are processed with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle. Highly processed seed oils contain very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, that can have detrimental health effects when consumed in high quantities. Sadly, these oils are in nearly everything we eat nowadays. Grain-fed livestock, is also high in omega-6. A diet high in omega-6 is associated with an increase in inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer to mention a few.
Here are the industrial oils to toss from your kitchen:
Refined palm oil
Refined peanut oil
These are the saturated fats and healthy plant-based oils from meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and avocados that are loaded with omega-3s. It has recently been debunked that saturated fats cause heart disease. In fact, it’s the very removal of these from the American diet and the increase of sugar and carbohydrates that has attributed to a whole host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammatory conditions.
Saturated fat has been shown to have positive effects on the body, including helping the liver to function more effectively, boosting the immune system and aiding in the regulation of hormones.
Some things to keep in mind during food prep:
Best fats for hot use (with their smoke points):
Beef tallow (400°F)
Duck fat (375°F)
Avocado oil (400°F)
Coconut oil (350°F)
Extra virgin olive oil (325°F)
Grass-fed butter (350°F )
Best for cold use:
Extra virgin olive oil
At The Organic Butcher, we carry a wide array of high quality oils and animal fats, and can help guide you toward the right choice for your needs. Just ask!
Tired of chicken breast for dinner but not in the mood for red meat? Throw our Berkshire Heritage pork chops on the grill for an easy, but over-the-top delicious meal.
Berkshire pork is a heritage breed of pig, which was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. It is thought by many to be the Kobe beef of pork. It is said to have a very specific taste, not generic and bland or mild like regular pork.
Berkshire pork is a richer pink, almost red color and heavily marbled. They were specially bred for the King of England for his own personal meat supply, because of the excellence in the meat.
To take this pork to the next level, rub both sides with our Butcher Shop Steak Rub. For medium-thick pork chops sear both sides of the chops briefly over high heat to get a nice crust and then move them to an area of less intense heat, cover the grill, and let them cook through. Or leave a little pink inside for the perfect chop.
Served with an arugula salad and a nice vinaigrette, and you've got yourself a meal fit for a king!
We are happy to butterfly our free-range and organic chickens upon request. We recommend seasoning the chicken with one of our Dizzy Pig rubs or our newest product, Amola Bacon Salt.
Once seasoned, place on grill breast side down over flames at 350 degrees for ten minutes, flip and cook an additional 30-40 minutes over indirect heat. If cooking on the Big Green Egg we recommend smoking chicken over indirect heat at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.
Try Dizzy Pig rubs on all sorts of meats. They are particularly amazing on chicken and are gluten- and MSG-free.
We are very excited to offer Amola Bacon Salt. Amola produces globally inspired infused salts. Their Bacon Salt is made with real heritage breed pork for a pure and intense flavor. Try it on chicken, popcorn, eggs, sautéed green vegetables or anything else you want to add that smoky bacon goodness too. It is especially good with dark chocolate. Let us know what you think!
St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner but there is still time to try your hand at making authentic corned beef for the holiday.
Corned beef is a preparation in which a cut of beef, traditionally the brisket, is cured in a brine solution along with various seasonings, and then slowly simmered until it's tender and flavorful. Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Corned beef remains popular in the United Kingdom and countries with British culinary traditions. Contrary to popular belief, corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish, but originates as part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Irish-American culture.
The Organic Butcher carries pickling spices for your convenience but you can also make your own. The following is a recipe from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing for both the spice mix and home curing.
2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp allspice berries
1 tbsp ground mace
2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
2 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp ground ginger
Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them; keep lid handy in case seeds pop. Crack peppercorns and seeds in mortar and pestle or with the side of a knife on cutting board.
Combine with other spices, mix. Store in tightly sealed plastic or glass container.
For our pre-made corned beef, we typically brine cure our brisket for 7-10 days flipping the meat every day or so. We do not use curing salts in our preparation but do sell Instacure #1 by the tablespoon for those who prefer it at home.
HOME-CURED CORNED BEEF
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
½ cup sugar
4 teaspoons pink salt or Instacure #1 (sodium nitrite), optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons pickling spice
1 4-5-pound first cut brisket
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped.
In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (if using), garlic and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion and celery. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.
Keep warm until ready to serve. Meat can be refrigerated for several days in cooking liquid. Reheat in the liquid or serve chilled. Slice thinly and serve on a sandwich or with additional vegetables simmered until tender in the cooking liquid.
Switch it up tonight with our line-caught Coho salmon from Alaska. Coho is slightly milder in flavor than Sockeye but with the same beautiful red-orange color. Because wild salmon is not in season, this is the highest quality fish on the market right now. It's frozen at sea to ensure optimal freshness.
Salmon is extremely high in healthy omega-3 fats and is as satisfying in flavor as a piece of steak. We love the recipe below for it's added punch of hot, spicy, sour and sweet. These four elements are what make Asian cuisine so savory.
The recipe calls for Sriracha sauce but a great alternative would be KimKim Korean Hot Sauce. It's locally made in Virginia and is similar to the more common ssamjang sauce found on Korean tables.
We also highly recommend Noble Barrel Matured Maple Syrup. It's unlike anything we've ever had. They pour their heart and soul into crafting this syrup. This blurb from their site says it all:
The Noble brand of handcrafted wares is proud to bring you Noble Tonic 01: Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup. Noble procures medium amber grade Maple syrup from heritage sugar shacks in the ancient maple orchards of Québec. The syrup is then matured in Tuthilltown charred American oak barrels, with just a hint of raw Tuthilltown bourbon. This combination and process produces a distinct bourbon, maple and oak flavored syrup. Tuthilltown is New York's first whiskey distillery since the age of Prohibition. This small batch micro-distillery, using locally sourced heirloom corn, apples and grains, embodies the new American pioneering spirit of our age. Noble Handcrafted reflects this same spirit. We hope you enjoy this collaboration of tradition and craft.
Salmon with Sriracha, Maple Syrup & Lime (From the cookbook It's All Good)
1 1/4 lbs salmon filet
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha or KimKim Korean Hot Sauce
1 tbsp Tonic Maple Syrup
Course sea salt
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together the lime zest and juice, sriracha, and maple syrup along with a pinch of salt. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, place the salmon on top, and pour the mixture over it. Roast until the salmon is done to your liking, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.