Default Wings: DIY

Wings are such a quick, easy, and often very cheap way to make everyone happy. They’re frequently labeled at the butcher counter as “party wings” and are already split up into the flat wing and the drumette, which is perfect for me because The Boyfriend prefers the drums and I want *all* the flats. For a little while I was preparing a new recipe each time we wanted wings, until I finally figured out my “go to” or The Default. If you love wings, but you and your meal buddy want different flavors, this is the recipe for you. The Default delivers perfectly crispy wings with a delicious dry rub every time, ready to be eaten as is or drenched in your sauce of choice.

Equipment:
Oven
Large glass pan
Tongs

Ingredients:
1-2 lbs “party wings”
2 tbsp cooking oil or animal fat of choice
1-2 tbsp granulated garlic
2-3 tsp Diamond Crystal salt

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease one or two glass pans with your fat of choice, using a silicone brush or other preferred utensil to coat the whole bottom of the pan and up the sides. (You may need two pans if you are making more than one pound of wings, if they are too close together, it can overcrowd the pan and they won’t cook as well or as evenly).

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WTF: The Easiest Stir-Fry Ever

Yea yea, I know, I haven’t posted a recipe since April. I don’t really have an excuse – I just haven’t been writing much, though cooking plenty. So let’s just skip all the apologies and whatnot and get down to business.

If you saw my post on the SlowCarbSnacktime Facebook the other day, I mentioned that I want to start a new series of posts for the blog entitled “What’s in The Fridge” or WTF. After some feedback from friends and readers, I realized what the people want: fast and easy options for living a slow carb life. Many of my recipes comes from the same “base” recipe – once you know how to cook a type of dish or protein, you basically have free reign to make it your own, fit it to your needs and the foods you have on hand. I’ll be sharing some of these “build-a-bear” style recipes to help you get things started, with some ingredient recommendations to make it your own.

Before we get started with the recipe, a mini update just to say that I have changed my Instagram username. Neither blog nor their respective Facebook pages will be changing, but I decided to update my IG to something more inclusive of the actual content I post and to better reflect my personality. You can now find me on Instagram @lipsticksanddeadlifts.

On to the easiest stir-fry ever! Due to the make-your-own style of this recipe, I have not included any photos for the time being.

You will need: 
Large non-stick pan
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Spatula
Tongs

Ingredients: 
1 lb sausage in casings (pork or chicken)
10oz bag frozen pepper strips
10oz bag frozen sliced mushrooms
1 onion, halved and sliced thin

Seasoning & Spices: 
salt
garlic powder

Since I’m working with frozen veggies, it takes a bit longer to cook, but it’s worth it for the added nutrients.* Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat and dump in the peppers and mushrooms – you don’t need any cooking fat right now, the veggies need to defrost and lose some of their water. Stirring occasionally, cook the veggies until the water begins to evaporate (7-10 minutes) and then add in the onions. The onions will also let go of some water – once all the liquid has evaporated, add your cooking fat (ghee, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, etc), salt, and any herbs or spices you like.

mild-links220_0Once the vegetables begin to caramelize, add in your sausage links. I prefer to use uncooked sausages and usually buy Mulay’s brand, but cooked sausages like Aidell’s Organic are just fine too! Just be sure to check your ingredients. If you are using raw sausage, let them cook for 5-7 minutes, turning once – continue to stir the veggies as well. Using tongs, remove the sausages one at a time to the cutting board and slice them into rings. If you are using pre-cooked sausages, you can slice them right away.

Continue to cook the veggie-sausage mixture until the sausages are cooked through, mixing occasionally so that nothing sticks to the pan. Serve immediately.

***

Okay, so that’s my basic sausage stir-fry, but you can make it work with almost any veggies you have available. Here are some options that I have tried or would, but you can use whatever you like:

  • fresh or frozen sweet peppers, sliced
  • fresh hot peppers, chopped
  • fresh or frozen mushrooms, sliced
  • onion (any kind)
  • scallions
  • shallots
  • broccoli
  • cabbage, sliced
  • green beans
  • carrots

Some herb and spice options, though I would not recommend using them all at once:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Chinese five-spice
  • oregano
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • white pepper

*Notes:

If the veggies you’re buying are out of season, you’re better off buying frozen vs. imported. Produce begins to lose nutrients once its picked and the longer it takes to get to your plate, the less you benefit from it!

XXX: Spiced Up Chicken Salad

With the very last of our warm weather, we’ve been using the grill basically every day, and this meal was no different. Since I first came up with this dish, we’ve had it at least three times and it is definitely a new house staple.

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1-2 tsp za’atar
1-2 tsp harissa
2 tsp high quality oil (olive or avocado)

For Salad:
1/2 cup sugar-free mayo or to taste
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

In a mixing bowl, drizzle oil over chicken thighs. Add harissa and za’atar and mixed gently until coated well. Grill on medium heat until cooked through (or oven roast at 425*F for about 20 minutes). If you are grilling chicken specifically for this recipe, let the meat cool completely and refrigerate for at least an hour before chopping – you don’t want the onions to soften or the mayo to melt! I specifically made extra so I’d have leftovers to make this spiced up chicken salad for lunch the next day, so I’m working with meat right out of the fridge.

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To a large bowl, add chopped 1/2 of a sweet yellow or Walla Walla onion. I highly recommend chopping the onion quite fine, I don’t think I went small enough and ended up with lots of mayo-covered onion at the bottom of the bowl (though The Boyfriend did not seem to mind this and cleaned out both plates).

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, coarsely chop chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and add to the chopped onion. I have been relying on my squeeze-tube mayo lately, but I am estimating that I used about 3/4 cup. This really comes down to personal preference, so add a little bit at a time, stirring and tasting until you get to your desired consistency and flavor. Season with salt, pepper, and tarragon to taste and mix well.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Recommend eating within 24-36 hours.

Homegrown Summer Ghee

I’m sure by now you have heard plenty about clarified butter. No? Let me explain, ’cause it’s pretty wonderful. Clarified butter, also known as ghee, is made by separating milk solids from butterfat and removing them. This Yahoo article sums it up quite nicely: “A staple of Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cuisine, ghee is made by heating butter until the milk solids are separated and then removed, meaning it’s not dairy, just fat—mostly saturated—which is essential to brain health, muscle recovery, and immunity.” … “It’s ideal for cooking at high heat (less prone than olive oil to go rancid when crisping or frying). And, with a rich, nutty flavor, it’s delicious on everything from lobster to Brussels sprouts.”

Now that you know the truth, it’s easy to see why the dairy-free product has become so popular with slow carb and paleo eaters. The best part is… it’s ridiculously easy to make. I’ve made clarified butter before, it really is quite simple, but I tried a few new things this time and it’s pretty damn hard not to eat this batch straight off a spoon!

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Putting my little garden to work! Fresh homegrown basil.

Appliances/Equipment: 
1 large pot
1 fine mesh strainer (small)
1-2 ice cube trays
1 sealable container (preferably glass)
Measuring Teaspoon
Measuring cup or small pitcher
Large bowl or pitcher with pouring spout

Ingredients: 
~ 1 lb grass-fed butter, unsalted
4 oz fresh basil (bonus points if it’s homegrown!!)

Cut butter into chunks and add to a clean pot. Over medium-low heat, melt butter until completely liquefied, stirring often to prevent burning. While the butter is melting, rinse basil with cold water. Gently pat/roll dry with a paper towel and remove all leaves from the stems – I do this by lightly pinching the base of the leaf between my thumb and forefinger and it just pops right off; discard the stems.

Lay the leaves out and pat both sides dry again. Using your hands, tear the basil into small pieces – small enough to fit several into each individual ice cube mold (but don’t throw them in yet).

Once the butter has melted completely, remove it from the heat. Set up your strainer or a piece of cheesecloth over a large bowl or pitcher and pour the liquid through – this is the first step in separating the milk solids from the butterfat.

Now, set the strainer over a measuring cup and pour butter through again – you don’t actually need to measure anything here, I just found my measuring cup to be the best shape for the steps that follow.

At this point, you should see the butter start to separate – the milk solids will sink to the bottom while the butterfat will float to the top. Using a measuring teaspoon, layer a small amount of the butterfat only into the bottom of each ice cube mold. On top of this base layer, place a small piece of basil. Cover with butter and repeat the butter-basil layering process until all the cubes are full – I think I got 8-10 pieces of basil in each one, possibly more. Remember to only use the butterfat for this, the idea is to keep it separate from the milk solids!

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So I used an entire pound of butter for this and ran out of ice cube trays. If you encounter the same problem, you can repeat the layering process on a larger scale in any container with a lid, but glass is preferable. Remember to put a layer of the butterfat in first so the basil doesn’t stick to the container.

Place ice cube trays in the refrigerator until the ghee solidifies – at least 12 hours. You can toss them into the freezer just like that, or if you are lazy like me, bang them all out at once and store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag for easy access later on.

Enjoy!

I’ve already used these little ghee cubes a few times and they paired wonderfully with my Saturday Morning Shakshuka and my Thai-ish Spicy Peanut Chicken.

Rosemary Bone Broth

I have written, deleted, and re-written this post like 10 times now. There is just so much information about the endless benefits of drinking bone broth, I’m kicking myself for not trying it earlier. It’s delicious, it’s super easy, and it’s really really good for you – what more do you need? Just ask your butcher for a few pounds of beef soup bones – femurs or knuckles – and get cookin!

No, but seriously – the list of health benefits is astounding. Bone broth is packed with nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as amino acids like glycine and proline which promote a healthy gut, and aid in digestion, growth, even muscle repair. I could write about all the good stuff in bone broth for ages, but let’s just get to how you can make it at home and then you can see all the benefits for yourself!

Special Equipment/Appliances: 
Large slow cooker/crock pot
Fine mesh strainer
Cheese cloth (optional but recommended)
Mason jar or other glass container(s), for storage

Ingredients: 
2 lbs beef soup/marrow bones (femur or knuckle)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
~ 4 L cold water (about 16 cups)

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Add marrow bones to slow cooker. Cover with water by at least 3″ – this took about 3.5L (~14 cups) for my 5 quart crockpot. Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 3 large sprigs fresh rosemary (the rosemary will be removed after the first 12 hours, so if you are using dried herbs or smaller pieces, I recommend placing them in a spice bag or using a string to tie them). Note: Do not, I repeat DO NOT, add salt. As the broth reduces, the salt will likely become too concentrated and will ruin you broth – it is best to add other herbs and seasoning later, in individual portions, when serving.

Set on low for 36-48 hours.

After the first 12 hours, remove the rosemary. Left in for longer, it will become bitter and start to disintegrate.

After 24 hours, add back some of the water that has evaporated. You still want to keep the water line about 3″ over the top of the bones.

The longer you let it simmer, the better it will be, but I am impatient and only managed 42 hours before I had to have it!

Line your mesh strainer with a thin piece of cheesecloth (one or two layers) and place it over a large bowl or mason jar. My strainer is quite large so I had to do this over a bowl and then pour it into the mason jars for storage.

Using a large ladle, run the bone broth through the strainer and cheesecloth – this ensures there will be no muck or bone fragments in your pretty broth! If you used a separate bowl like I did, carefully transfer your broth into your storage containers (I used large 1/2 gallon and quart mason jars). If you have a smaller strainer, you can place this over the top of your mason jar to strain it one final time – not necessary, but certainly won’t hurt.

Leave uncovered on the counter to cool. As the fat comes to the top and solidifies, you can remove it with a spoon if so compelled, but it will render back down when microwaved so feel free to leave it in if you like it! Store in the fridge for up to one week.

Just be mindful, when you take it out of the fridge, it will act and look like jello. You made cow jello, and it is amazing!

To serve, season with salt and pepper and microwave about two minutes per mug. This would also make a great base for French onion soup, but we quite like it as is.

Enjoy!

Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice

A few months ago, The Boyfriend and I took a little trip through Seattle and Vancouver, BC to celebrate his 30th birthday. While in Vancouver, we had the good fortune to grab seats at the bar at one of the renowned Guu Izakaya restaurants. The special that evening just happened to be kimchi fried rice with pork intestine… and we’ve been talking about it ever since.

There’s just something about fried rice – it’s both exotic and comforting, simple and complex. I could philosophize for ages, but let’s just get to the cooking.  I’ve made cauliflower rice before, so switching out regular rice for the cauli-good-stuff was no big deal. I had originally intended for this part of dinner to last us at least two days, but that just didn’t happen. Thankfully, cauliflower is packed with far more nutrients and other healthy goodies than rice so no real harm in filling up, other than the lack of leftovers. Guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Ingredients: 
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz kimchi
5 slices bacon (optional*)
3 large eggs
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Food processor or food mill
Large non-stick pan
1 small bowl

* if you are not using bacon for dietary or personal preferences, you will need about 3 tbsp of oil (avocado recommended) to replace the bacon grease.

Wash and clean the cauliflower, chop into medium-sized florets, and set on a paper towel to dry. Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or run it through a food mill until it resembles rice (you can see the full length recipe in detailhere). Place cauliflower “rice” in a large microwave safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds, and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, chop 8 oz kimchi into smaller pieces (I make them just slightly larger than “bite size”) and set aside. Again using a sharp knife, slice bacon strips into smaller, bite-size pieces. Finally, using a fork or whisk, scramble three eggs together in a small bowl.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (~ 8/10). Add about half of the bacon pieces, using tongs or a spatula to make sure they don’ t stick together. After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the bacon pieces – varying the cooking times makes for a fun change in texture and keeps everybody happy (The Boyfriend prefers the crispiest of bacon, I’m less excited by this). Continue cooking bacon for 3-5 minutes, stirring/flipping often to insure even cooking and that pieces don’t stick together.

Add all 8 oz of kimchi to the pan, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Dump the entire batch of cauli-rice into the pan, stirring immediately so it’s not just sitting on top of the bacon and kimchi (it will start to burn this way). Continue cooking cauliflower mixture, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower begins to brown. Finally, dump the scrambled eggs over the cauliflower mixture, stirring/flipping all contents of the pan (so the eggs are fully incorporated) for about 3 minutes or until eggs are no longer raw.

Remove contents of pan to a large bowl and serve immediately.

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Devilish Egg Salad

I really love eggs, like.. a lot. They are the perfect slow carb food: one chicken egg packs 6g of protein, 5g of fat, less than 1g of sugar, as well as vitamins A, D, B-6, and B-12. As you can imagine, we eat a lot of eggs in this house. Duck, quail, chicken, I love ’em all. I also really really love deviled eggs, but rarely have the patience to neatly put them together when it’s just for The Boyfriend and myself. Enter: the deviled egg salad – same ingredients, half the time, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. (For the real deal, check out my Top Secret Deviled Eggs).

Appliances/Special Equipment:
1 medium-sized pot
1 medium-large mixing bowl
1 small baking spatula (rubber or silicone)
1 egg slicer or sharp knife

Ingredients: 
5 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2-3 anchovy fillets (canned in oil)
1/2 tsp oil from canned anchovies
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Prepare eggs to medium temperature, according to The Perfect Boiled Egg (~5 minutes), and peel immediately. Using a sharp knife or egg slicer, cut the eggs in half, and then again into small pieces. Add chopped eggs to mixing bowl.

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Using two forks, shred anchovies into small pieces; add extra anchovies if you like saltier foods. To the eggs, add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, shredded anchovies, 1/2 tsp of oil from the anchovies, paprika, and white pepper. Gently mix with rubber/silicone spatula, making sure to just coat the egg whites and yolks rather than making a mushy mess – you want this to hold up as a salad, after all.

Transfer egg salad to a serving dish or resealable container – other than looking pretty, this is a good way to make sure everything at the bottom was mixed well without risking it turning into mush.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving (or just dig in if no one’s watching).