Heirloom Simplicity – The Last of the Tomatoes

Boo!  It’s the last of the tomatoes this season.  Whether in your backyard, the farmer’s market or your supermarket – for most of us – it’s the end of tomatoes.  There is no better way to say bye-bye to tomatoes than to enjoy a lovely heirloom tomato in its simplest form.  Simply slice it up, add a few drops of olive oil and some chunky sea salt.  See you next summer!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Spunky Apple Salad

Apples are awesome, but do you ever get bored with them?  Here is an easy recipe to spice up your apples!  It’s a great breakfast choice, filled with energy and fiber OR a nice after-gym snack.

Apple Salad

Cinnamon Poppy Apple Salad

Ingredients

1 Large Granny Smith Apple

1 Teaspoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds

1 Oz Walnuts (28 g)

1 Dash Cinnamon

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients together!  That’s IT:)

Oh Dear! How to Cook a Deer Filet

Deer meat is delicious, ecological and if you shoot-your-own, economical.  While long-cooking stews or heavily flavored recipes are many, few rely on the naturally delicious deer flavor as a base.  I’m here to tell you – deer filet is delicious as is!

Deer Filet

Grilled Deer Filet

Ingredients

Deer Filet (Whole, Uncut)

Sprinkle of Salt

Sprinkle of Pepper

Instructions

On a really hot grill or pan, cook the entire filet on each side for about 30 seconds, depending on thickness.  If the filet is odd-shaped, be sure that every side is seared – you may have to use tongs and hold the sides against the pan to do this.

Deer filet should always be cooked rare or medium rare.  It’s a low fat lean meat and will be tough if you cook it more.  If you prefer your meat more well done – choose another cut and leave the filet for the raw meat lovers:)

TIP: See if your butcher can put the filet in a vacuum pack.  It’s the best cut and really a shame to put it in the freezer.  Vacuum sealed packs can last a long time if kept cool and air tight.

TIP: You can always cook more, but never less.  After I sliced this open, I cooked the piece on the right just a tad more.

Cooking French Style: Raclette for Cheese & Potatoes

A traditional raclette consists of a giant wheel of cheese being melted and then the melted cheese being scraped off onto a hot baked potato waiting on your plate; raclette’s etymological origins are from a word for scrape.  Today, there are table top raclettes so everyone can do raclette at home:)

In my last post, I gave instructions for cooking meat and grilling veggies on top of the raclette (on the grill).  Today, we’ll go over how to use the cheese melter on the raclette.  Directly below is what is looks like when it’s finished cooking:)

 

Raclette with Cheese

Ingredients

Raclette Cheese

Thinly Sliced Veggies

Pre-cooked Firm Potatoes

Instructions

Choose quality ingredients.  French Raclette cheese can come with added colors, preservatives and flavors.  Look for one that says “sans colorant” and check for “e” numbers in the ingredients.  Now that you have good cheese, slice your veggies thin, gather your friends and do raclette!  Heat up the raclette (check that the coils are bright red) and then start preparing your spoons.

Slice the potato (about 1/4″ thick) and put it in the raclette spoon.  Place the cheese on top, put the spoon under the heat and wait until the cheese is runny and enjoy!  Unlike veggies that you grill on top, you do not need to add any oil to the veggies if you put cheese on top of them.  Don’t pile them too high or else the cheese will stick to the raclette and make a disaster to clean up.  Here is an example of how much food & cheese will work without spilling over – it’s a bit on the safe side:)

 

Grilling French Style: Raclette for Meat

I’m ba-ack from my vacation in France, so the next few weeks or so will be posts relating to French food.

What is raclette?

While typically “French,” the raclette originated in the Swiss mountains as a way for shepherds to heat up their food.  The raclette is a source or heat that melts cheese and comes in a table top model or a larger grill used in restaurants.

Raclette is popular in the Alps and typically found in ski resorts and mountain cabins.  Modern raclette machines for home are made for the table top.  There is a grill top where meat is heated.  Typically they use lunch meats (charcuterie) – since we don’t eat lunch meats (nitrates!) we opted for the healthier option of lean locally raised beef.  There are two parts – the meat and the cheese.  We will split up the two processes and start with the meat cooking.

Grilling Meat & Veggies on a Grill-top Raclette

Ingredients

Meat of Choice

Assortment of Veggies

Oil or Butter

Salt & Pepper

Fresh Herbs

Instructions

STEP 1: Set up in advance with cooked potatoes, sliced veggies and all ingredients on hand.  Slice the meat into 1-4″ pieces and marinate if desired.  TIP: Use beef – it’s safe cooking temperature is much lower than chicken or pork and it’s less likely to cause food borne illnesses.

STEP 2: Since the grill is heated from below, before you start cooking, make sure your raclette is glowing red for a few minutes.  Just take a peek from below.  If it’s not hot, your meat will slowly warm and won’t come out as grilled properly.

STEP 3: Get grilling and racletting!  It takes a few minutes to get everything cooked, so keep this in mind.  Put the meat on the grill with any seasoning.  In this case we used fresh thyme that was growing right outside our cabin:)  Since the meat wasn’t so fatty and it was a vacation, we added a bit of butter.

Simply put the meat on the top portion of the grill, with the herbs on the grill side.  Depending on how well you like it cooked, flip it halfway through and grill until complete!

If you are grilling veggies on the top, be sure to add a bit of fat, if you don’t they will come out dry and puffy.

Yummmmmmmy raclette grilling!

STEP 4: Enjoy!  (No worries, next post will be on the trays, veggies & cheese).  My husband got a real kick out of putting the meat on top of the potato to eat it.  There’s probably a proper way to do it, so be playful:)

 

 

Thanks so much for reading and see you soon with Part II – cheese & veggies!