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
It's time to pack up the slow cooker and uncover the smoker. The weather is mild and the snow has melted — grilling season has finally arrived!
There is nothing better than the simplicity of cooking over fire. Your meals don't have to be complicated because the char of the grill adds an ton of flavor. Start off easy this month with steaks, chicken, or sausage. Toss a bunch of veggies on and you've got yourself a meal!
We grilled green sausages, grass-fed bison hot dogs, organic cauliflower and scallions for an incredibly easy Monday night meal.
We also added some sauerkraut and pickles to round things off. It was flavorful and not one pan in the house was used.
Stop in and stock up on all your grilling essentials, including Big Green Egg accessories.
We get a lot of diehard Paleo customers in the shop as well many who are curious about the tenants of the diet. The following is a general overview of the plan. Not only is it very meat-friendly but it’s more of a guideline for eating than a traditionally restrictive “diet.” Paleo is based on the notion that for optimal health, modern humans should return to a pre-industrial era by eating real, whole, unprocessed foods that promote healthy metabolic, digestive, and immune systems.
This means avoiding grains, gluten, legumes, dairy, corn, soy and sugar. And instead, filling up on grass-fed meat like cattle, bison, goats, lamb or wild game. The Paleo Diet also includes pasture-raised chicken, eggs and pork, and wild-caught seafood. In addition, one should eat a variety of vitamin- and mineral-packed, organically grown, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
The Paleo Diet embraces healthy fats. The right types of fat are essential in maintaining healthy arteries, brain function, healthy skin, as well as decreasing systemic inflammation. Healthy saturated fat comes from grass-fed meat, poultry, seafood, ghee, butter and coconuts. Also encouraged is monounsaturated fat from olive oil, nuts and seeds, as well as a healthy amount of Omega-3.
The Paleo plan welcomes fermented foods that work to support your digestive system with naturally occurring probiotics that boost immunity. Kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi are all great options.
This seems like a lot to remember but it's really not. Below is an excellent and handy cheat sheet from the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilipino. As you can see, following this "diet" is hardly restrictive!
Because Paleo is viewed as a template to healthy living, there is room to personalize. Many people find that chocolate, some dairy, and some alcohol fit nicely into their personal regime. However, it’s recommended one stick to the Paleo template at its most basic before adding or subtracting. You may discover food intolerances, reactions, or or allergies you didn’t know you had.
Scientists are beginning to see the benefits of this way of eating. Test subjects who adopted the Paleo Diet reported significant improvements in their general heath, body composition and energy levels. Doctors are finding that it reduces the risks of many diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Some reported benefits are:
The Organic Butcher offers wild, grass-fed game meats, free-range chicken and wild-caught seafood, plus some prepared Paleo foods for your convenience.
Try our Bison Meatballs or Green Sausage (chicken or pork) and build your meal from there!
One of the quickest selling items in the shop is our homemade sausage. In particular, our Green Sausage. A savory mix of pork, swiss chard, dried shallots, garlic, and various herbs our Green Sausage can be enjoyed simply grilled by itself, but the possibilities to mix it with other dishes are endless. We decided on pasta...
And, since I'm making a pasta dish I thought I would add an Italian appetizer, the Caprese salad. We have the best fresh, locally made hand-crafted mozzarella cheese from Blue Ridge Dairy Co. in the shop along with every other ingredient you need for this dish.
Tonight I paired these dishes with our Sancerre white wine. Delicious with lighter dishes like fish and poultry, it also pairs well with mild cheeses. It's fresh, crisp but delicate with subtle flavors of minerals and flowers. Perfect for a breezy summer night and a great white wine all around!
Step 1 - Gather all of your ingredients!
Step 2 - Grill or sautee your sausages until fully cooked. Let them cool, then slice them to desired size and set aside.
Step 3 - Bring to a boil a pot of heavily salted (3 TBSP or so) water. Save the salted water you boiled the pasta in to add to the pasta and sauce as needed. The trick to pasta is to boil it in heavily salted water for just about 1/2 the time instructed then finish cooking in your sauce.
Step 4 - As your water is boiling, get your sauce going. I used one stick of grass fed butter, 3 smashed cloves of garlic, and a bundle of thyme. The garlic and the thyme will be removed and are just to impart flavor. Dice your shallot and add to the sauce. Let these cook together for a few minutes then add 1 cup of chicken stock. Then add 1 cup of wine and let it cook off for approximately 2 minutes. Discard the thyme and garlic.
Step 5 - Bring it all together! Strain your half-cooked pasta (save the water!) then put the pasta in your sauce to finish the cooking process. Add the sausage and cook together until the pasta is almost done while adding the saved water to keep everything in a nice amount of sauce. I usually end up adding about a cup of this water to make it all perfect. I like to add the spinach at the very last minute to it still had a little crunch to it.
Step 6 - Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into your finished pasta, sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy!
**A few notes - I like to add a few dashes of red pepper flakes for a little kick as well. I made this dish without much dairy, but it would be delicious with the addition of a little cream and some parmesan on top.