Market Musings Blog

Take a Gallon Freezer Bag…

. . . load it up with a tasty eight-piece Kadejan chicken and some simple seasonings, seal the bag, pop it in the fridge to marinate, and in a couple of hours—or a couple of days Read more …

Local Foods for Your Grill

2014_Grilling Corn enews

In honor of the Eat Local America Challenge this month, I am bringing you an awesome local recipe to use at your late summer barbecues! I picked up all of my local ingredients from Mississippi Market of course; Read more …

Kraut and Brats: A Marriage Made in Minnesota

brats on the grillLabor Day is just around the corner which means we are heavily into our biggest brat-grilling season. Happily, there’s a vegetable out there that invariably forms a happy marriage with brats: cabbage. Brew up a batch of tasty red kraut in no time at all and enjoy a tasty tangle of it atop a grilled brat wedged into a heated St. Agnes brat bun slathered in whole-grain mustard. Read more …

Mexico’s Great Plains Food

It’s grilling season again, time to consider the beauties of skirt steak. It’s best cooked very quickly, then cut against the grain, and served norteño style: wrapped in wheat floor tortillas, accompanied by only grilled onions and perhaps a simple, fresh salsa.

Does this sound something like fajitas to you? Read more …

Fish Friday: A Tea Take on Tuna

My last contribution to Market Musings was all about tea, and ever since there’s been an ever so quiet whisper in my head to actually cook with matcha powder again.  This powdered form of green tea has a very distinct flavor, and, if used correctly, can yield itself a magical secret ingredient in a number of dishes.  Read more …

Hoppin’ John for good luck in the new year

New Year’s Day in the American South is celebrated in many families with Hoppin’ John, a stew made with black eyed peas. Some people add a penny or other small trinket to the beans when serving them. Whoever finds it is promised especially good luck in the new year. As many recipes can be found for Hoppin’ John as there are cooks who make it, so use this one as a foundation for creating your own version. Read more …

Thanksgiving Central

Cranberry_Pecan_Skillet_Stuffing_vertictal web

photo courtesy of strongertogether.coop

Digging through dozens of recipes? Reading Thanksgiving recipes until your eyes weep? We’re keeping it simple! Here’s what we think every memorable Thanksgiving meal needs: Read more …

Warm breakfast ideas

I had a realization this week. I looked down at my staple summer breakfast -a bowl of fruit, yogurt and granola- and was no longer satisfied. It just wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I wanted something heartier. I wanted something… warm.

Luckily I work here, where everyone is talking about (or eating) food, all the time. Apparently, I wasn’t the only craving something different for breakfast. As I strolled around the office, I noticed that Lauren had unpacked her Oatmeal-in-a-jar and Luke was eating a hot breakfast sandwich at his desk.

Beyond those two stand-bys around here, I was also pointed to these two recipes, both warm & hearty, yet satisfying in different ways. Read more …

Notes from the Field – Hill & Vale Farm

Jay visits Hill & Vale 005Benjamin, one of our in-house butchers, and Jay, our West 7th meat & seafood manager, made the trip to Wykoff, MN to visit Joe & Bonnie Austin, the owners of Hill & Vale Farms. After their visit, Jay said, “We always knew that Joe and Bonnie cared about their animals but being able to talk to them face to face and see their farm really drove it home that they not only take great care of their animals, they also care deeply about their land.”

 

Wykoff MN map

Hill and Vale is a 380-acre farm in southeastern Minnesota that supplies food co-ops with beef and lamb. All of the animals are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Their diet primarily includes pasture/hay, with grains added in the later growing and finishing process. Read more …

Adventurous Eating for Omnivores – Offal

Humans have eaten offal (the internal organs of slaughtered meat animals) throughout recorded history, but doing so fell out of fashion in this country following World War II, except among cooks and diners retaining traditional foodways. My Minnesota German mother and her siblings relished headcheese, blood sausage, and other foods that left my San Francisco-born sister and me faint. But we loved beef or calf liver and onions, chicken hearts and livers, and tongue sandwiches. In this, we were a minority. Only the most recent immigrants managed to keep the sale of tripe, pork intestines, kidneys, and chicken feet in somewhat lively commercial circulation, largely in their own communities’ meat markets.

nose to tale eatingAnd then, in 1999, the London chef Fergus Henderson published Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking, and the next thing you knew, every northern European and North American chef under forty, along with plenty of home cooks, rediscovered offal. And a good thing it was, because these formerly discarded odds-and-ends from the meat trade are inexpensive and very tasty.

At the same time, there’s no question that many of them are acquired tastes for those who didn’t start eating them young. Because organ meats are particularly strong in flavor, the easiest way to develop a taste for them is to take down their flavor a bit by first soaking them in lightly salted water; I’m thinking here most particularly of kidneys and liver.

Definitely the go-to offal meat for first timers is beef or calf’s liver. Fifty years ago, it made a weekly appearance on a majority of American dinner tables, accompanied by fried onions and/or bacon. Children either loved it or hated it, and most adults tucked into it with zest. Liver is very high in iron (and cholesterol), and it’s not something you want to eat daily, but it’s a terrific meat to try—low in cost (because low in demand), and because Mississippi Market’s beef liver comes from Thousand Hills’s pasture-raised cattle, it’s a powerhouse of nutrients and flavor, with less saturated fat than that from feedlot beef liver.

Calf’s liver is milder in flavor and slightly tenderer in texture, but beef liver is a better value. If this will be your first venture into cooking beef liver, here’s how to prepare it. If you’re feeling hesistant but committed, fry up some bacon along with the liver; the two complement each other beautifully.

Beef Liver for Those New to It
Soak the liver first, using 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 quart of water, for 1 hour. Pat the liver dry before searing it in a cast-iron skillet or a broiler. Beef liver and fried onions go together like salt and pepper, so be sure to include onions when you cook the liver.

Most people like to eat liver pink in the middle; the times given below are for medium-pink.

Ingredients:
1–2 slices of bacon (optional)*
¼–½ onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Beef liver (4 oz. per serving)
* If you’re not using bacon, fry the onion and liver in mild olive oil.

1. In a cast-iron skillet, fry the bacon first on MEDIUM till it’s almost crisp; remove bacon slices to a side plate and cover to keep them warm. (You may want to chop the bacon up after it’s cooked.)
2. Fry the onion slices in the bacon fat until they soften and start to brown. Scrape them to the side of the skillet and add the liver.
3. Raise the heat to MEDIUM-HIGH, add salted and peppered, dried-off liver, and fry it on one side for about 2 minutes. When it’s nicely browned, turn it over and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
4. Put the bacon back in the pan and swab the slices or chopped pieces over the onions and liver. Remove the liver, onions, and bacon from the pan.
5. If you’re broiling: Broil the bacon first about 3” below the heat source, remove from broiler pan, then put onions, swabbed with olive oil, in broiler pan and cook until bubbly and slightly golden on each side. Salt and pepper the liver, then broil it for 1 minute per side; combine all ingredients off the broiler.
6. Serve with a simple side of greens (cooked spinach, chard, kale, &c., garlic, and red pepper flakes, finished with sherry vinegar or lemon juice).