Category Archive for: ‘Protein’
Fried Chicken and Corn bread

Doesn’t that sound good?  Since I’ve now been a flexa-vegan-tarian for 5 weeks now and counting, the fried chicken is making my mouth water like all get out.  I thought I’d treat the crowd who isn’t beating themselves with a stick (read going on a diet) with a couple of great recipes from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  These are consistantly the best pan fried chicken and corn bread I’ve ever eaten.  The down side to these recipes is that like all great cooks, Beverly and Ella Ween don’t use a recipe, but cook by “feel” instead.  I’ll do my best to provide you with repeatable recipes.

Corn bread

Beverly’s corn bread is crisp on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.  It smells great and is good with just about anything or nothing at all but a little butter.  She insists on using self-rising Martha White brand flour and self-rising White Lily brand corn meal and who can argue with perfection.  She coats the 9″ cast iron skillet with a heavy helping of Crisco shortening, but I bet lard would be good too.  The batter is a mixture of white flour and Corn meal but is heavily weighted to the corn meal side using 3 cups.  The wet ingredients are 2 eggs and a cup of butter milk.  She cooks it hot at 425-450 and it comes out with a crispy crust because of the Crisco in the skillet.

Click here for the full recipe


Pan Fried Chicken

Considering my new status as a non-meat eater, it is going to be hard to get through this post.  My mouth is already watering from the memories of crispy, tender, succulent fried chicken…  …Ok, I’m back now.  This chicken that my mother-in-law, Ella Ween makes is hard to describe, except to say I could easily eat a whole bird, piece by delectable, scrumptious, luscious piece.  Ella Ween achieves a great piece of chicken by removing the skin and generously seasoning the pieces with salt and pepper before dredging in a wet mix of egg and butter milk followed by a dry coating of seasoned self-rising flour.  I’ve seen that or done that before you might be thinking.  Yeah, you might have but did you use self-rising flour or follow that by browning the chicken on both sides in the hot oil, then lowering the temperature and covering the pan while simultaneously frying and steaming the bird?  I didn’t think so.  People, this is seriously good chicken.

click here for the complete recipe




De-Boning a Whole Chicken

De-Boneing and stuffing a whole chicken is from  Anna Maria Volpi   at

Learn How To De-Bone A Whole Chicken

De-Boneing and stuffing a whole chicken has become a tradition for my family for Thanksgiving.
Before stuffing the chicken we must remove the bones.  Most chefs slice the chicken open to access the bones, then sew it back as with the video later in this blog.  The technique I’m going to describe here via Anna Maria Volpi different and most spectacular.  Her technique is a little more elaborate.
The bones are removed from the opening in the bottom of the chicken, without cutting or breaking the outer skin.  The result is the original chicken’s shape!
She learned this technique from her butcher father.  It is not easy, but worth doing for a special occasion.
The best result is obtained by using a chicken, about 5 – 6 lbs.

Widen The Neck

Widen the neck opening until you find the junction of the wing and the rib cage. Cut the ligaments with a sharp knife to separate the wings.
Using your fingers and a knife separate the wishbone.  After freeing the wishbone,

Cut The Cartilage Holding The Breastbone

Cut the cartilage that holds it to the breastbone.  Insert the hand in the neck opening, and separate the meat from the bones all around the rib cage and backbone.  Turn the chicken over as necessary.  Use a knife to cut the white cartilage from the skin.

Separate The Rib Cage

Separate with a knife the rib cage from the skin and the breast meat where necessary.

Remove The Wing Bones

Free the wing bones and remove them.  Now all the the bones of the rib cage and the backbone are fully separated from the skin and can be removed from the bottom opening.

Separate The Skin From The Legs

Cut the skin around the end of the legs to separate it.  From the bottom opening scrape the meat from the thighbones and remove them.

You Are Ready To Stuff The Bird

The chicken is now completely boned and ready to be stuffed.
Thank you Anna Maria for such great information – jughandle

The following is a great video on the normal way to de-bone a chicken

Marinades, Brines and Rubs


Marinades are flavor-infusing liquids best suited for tougher cuts of meat. In addition to herbs, condiments, spices, and oils, marinades typically include an acid, like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, even dairy.

Adding sweet ingredients to the marinade can help form appealing caramelized, crispy coatings on grilled meats.  The acids in the lemon juice, wine, vinegar, butter milk, etc will actually cook the protein in the meat by chemical reaction.

Always marinate in the refrigerator. And remember, if you’re basting with a liquid in which raw meat marinated, do not apply it during the last three minutes of grilling.

The good news:

Chicken, turkey and fish will take on marinade flavors much more quickly and effectively than red meats.  Fish only need to marinate for 30 minute to an hour.  Chicken and turkey 2 to 3 hours.  Red meats need at least 24 hours to work at all.  The more acid in the marinade the better and quicker it will work.

The bad news:

Marinades only penetrate the meat 1/8 inch at the most no mater how long you soak them.  Think of marinades as a sauce and don’t waste money on expensive ingredients for your marinades.  If you use sugar the sugar will tend to burn on the surface of the meat.  If you like charred meat, fine.  Don’t use alcohol either.  The alcohol will only cook the surface of the meat sealing it from further penetration of the other flavors.  If you use salt in the marinade then you are actually brining your meat.  See Brines below.


Brines are salty solutions that help lean meats hold their moisture so they stay juicy and tender during grilling.Brining is a popular method for preparing poultry, particularly turkey, and lean meats, like pork, that tend to dry out on the grill. Sugar, spices, and herbs are sometimes added to the liquid as well.Soak meats in a container large enough to submerge the meat completely without allowing it to float in the solution. Store in the refrigerator.

Before grilling, rinse brined meat to remove excess salt and dry it with paper towels.

Remember high school chemistry? Yeah, me neither.  But I do remember something about osmosis.  But I remember that in osmosis through a semi permeable membrane like the flesh of the meat, water or other liquid will flow from a lower concentration of salt to a higher one, back and forth until the concentrations are equal.  So first water flows out of the meat and salt flows in which starts to break down the proteins in the cells.  Additonal water will flow into the meat as the protein breaks down causing the meat to be more moist.

The brine can also be used as a vehicle to carry other flavors into the meat with the dissolved salt.  Hence the sugar (to balance the salt) and other flavors that will dissolve in water.

Obviously, there’s more going on than simple osmosis. It is true that salt enters the meat (it tastes more salty after brining). But why is it also more juicy? Well, when water flows out of the meat, salt flows in and begins to break down some of the proteins in the cells. In the broken down state, the molecules become more concentrated and the solute levels rise within the meat. This causes additional water to flow into the meat.

How Stuff Works has a short article describing osmotic pressure with a diagram that may be helpful to visualize the water flow.

What has happened is that through brining, we’ve caused a state change in the cells so that they will draw and hold more water than before. As we cook the meat, the heated proteins will begin to draw in tighter and squeeze out water, but, hopefully, enough water will remain to produce a juicy, tender piece of meat.

Always start with a cold brine.  Refrigerate or ice the meat while brining to prevent bacteria from forming.  Brine for 2 hours per pound of meat and cover the meat with a solution of 1/2 cup of salt per gallon of water.  The other stuff like sugar and herbs are just bonus flavors.


Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to add spicy or smoky flavors. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When oil or another wet substance is included, it is called a wet rub. A little moisture helps the rub adhere to the meat.

Rubs are an easy way to infuse the surface of your grilled meats with exciting ethnic flavors–from Cajun to Korean.

Setting aside rubbed meats for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight allows the spices to permeate the meat as much as possible.

Rubs are most effective when used on slow cooking meat as opposed to a fast grilling method.  Slow cooking allows the meat’s juices to blend with the rub while high heat grilling only burns the rub on the surface.


Good luck with your flavoring methods.  Here at the Fat Farm we almost always use either McCormik’s lemon/pepper or just plain salt and pepper.  We let the meat speak for it self – jughandle

Beef Wellington – How to make it tonight

Want to make a killer presentation to your guests tonight try this –

Yes, it looks extremely difficult, but it isn’t.  Beef Wellington is beef tenderloin covered in a layer of prosciutto ham, a button mushroom paste then wrapped in a coat of puff pastry.  Easy.  This isn’t a soufle, you’ll get this right the first time.

At the Store

You are going to make Beef Wellington in a green peppercorn sauce with fingerling Potatoes and warm wilted winter greens.


for the mushroom paste

for the beef
  • 1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
  • 1 pound puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator – keep it cold
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Minced chives, for garnish
for the green peppercorn sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 box beef stock
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved
for the Mushroom paste
  • Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat.
  • Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • This paste should be fairly dry so as not to make the pastry soggy
  • Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
for the beef
  •  Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil – about 2 to 3 minutes if you want your meat med rare.  Cook 2 -3 minutes longer for med.
  • Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board.
  • Overlap the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef.
  • Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of the mushroom paste.
  • Season the surface of the paste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
  • When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard.
  • Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the mushroom paste covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together.
  • Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic.
  • Set the beef in the center of the pastry upside down and fold over the longer sides, brushing the pastry with egg wash to seal.
  • Trim ends if necessary then brush the ends with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef – saving the scrap ends to use as a decoration on top if desired.
  • Top with coarse sea salt.
  • Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
  • Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash to brown, then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife – this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. If the beef is a little low remember it will continue to cook while resting.  It is more important to not burn the pastry.
  • Remove from oven and rest 20 minutes before cutting into thick slices.
  • Garnish with minced chives
for the green peppercorn sauce
  • Add olive oil to pan after removing beef.
  • Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then,
  • off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. Please keep your hair and face out of the flame
  • After the flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half.
  • Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard.
  • Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

 How to Roast Vegetables



Seafood: The Good and the Bad

Most of us are aware of the chemicals and polutants found in the flesh of many of the sea foods we are offered at the store.  But do you know that there are still many “super green” fish and shellfish that we should and can be eating?


What do I mean by “Super Green”?  First of all a SG food must be healthy, and sustainable.  “Farming” or raising these food sources must also be good for the environment and not add to the problems we already face with depletion of our natural resources.


Good Fish and Shellfish and Why

  • Albacore Tuna that is Troll or Pole Caught in the U.S. or British Columbia – This fish is only SG if it is troll or pole caught because these methods catch fish smaller than 20 lbs which have a lower continent of mercury and are caught in the colder waters of the US or British Columbia making them higher in omega 3.  The hard part is how to determine if the fish you are looking at meets those standards.  Read the labels or look for Blue Eco Label of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). 
  • Mussels and Oysters that are farm raised – These shellfish pack a large amount of omega-3s and oysters are high in iron.  But what makes these SG are that they both feed off the natural nutrients and algae in the water, filtering the water, thus improving water quality.  It is more healthy to eat these shellfish cooked as the raw shellfish, especially from warm waters may contain harmful bacteria.
  •  Pink Shrimp ( wild-caught in Oregon) and Spot Prawns (wild-caught in British Columbia) – Again, look for the MSC-certified  Blue Label sticker.  The U.S. has strict regulations about net caught anything.  The reason being is that nets drag the ocean floors and damage the coral ref which are the habitats of most of the oceans fish.  The best source of shrimp would be from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest where the shrimp are caught in traps  Avoid imported shrimp, farmed or wild net caught.
  • Rainbow Trout (Farmed) – I know it is hard to remember that one farmed fish is bad and another good but again, look for the blue label.  Lake trout are available in some parts of the country but they are very high in contaminants.  Almost all trout you’ll find in stores will be rainbow trout which are raised in freshwater ponds and protected from contaminants being fed a fishmeal diet designed to conserve resources.
  • Salmon (wild-caught in Alaska) – Salmon in Alaska are very well managed.  Their numbers are tracked and monitored to keep from over fishing during a particular season.  Also the natural streams the fish spawn in are checked regularly.  These fish are a great source of omega-3s and have very few contaminants.  Avoid at all costs the farm raised salmon because the pens they are raised in are full of parasites that threaten the entire salmon population, wild and raised.
  • Sardines (Pacific – wild caught) – Here is one you might not have thought of.  Sardines have more omega-3s than salmon or tuna and are high in vitamin D.  They reproduce quickly and therefore are sustainable with the new regulations.

 Fish to Avoid

  • Bluefin Tuna – This fish is threatened.  Because it is still prized for culinary uses it still can sell for over $150,000 per fish.  Bluefins are high in mercury and also carry an EDF health alert. (Environmental Defense Fund)
  • Chilean Sea Bass (also marketed as Patagonian Toothfish) –the sea bass has been prized on menus for years.  That is one of the problems.  These fish can live over 50 years but are very slow to reproduce, thus making them easy to over fish.  There is only one well-managed fishery the is MSC-certified.  Look for the blue sticker.
  • Grouper – These are huge, delicious fish that live to be very old.  Because they live so long they are high in mercury and are also on the EDF health advisory list.
  • Monkfish – this is one of my favorite fish.  It used to be cheap and was marketed as imatation crab and lobster because its texture resembles lobster.  Alas, it too became popular and is now over fished.  Monkfish is making a come back because of strict netting regulation, so look for the MSC label.
  • Orange Roughy – Now here is a fish that, like the grouper, is very long lived but reproduces slowly making it vulnerable to over fishing.  The Roughy can live to be over 100 years old, so it has high levels of mercury and is also on the EDF health advisory list
  • Salmon (Farmed) – as I explained before, the farm raised salmon are raised in pens in the ocean and are tightly packed.  These pens are treated with antibiotics and full of salmon threatening parasites.  Farmed raised salmon are on the EDF list also.
These are all fish that are either over fished are high in contaminates or both.  Go to The MSC certified “fish to eat” page to see pictures and updates on the available seafood.
Chicken Soup Progressive Recipe (stone soup)

This is going to be fun.  I am going to start out with a “how to make a chicken stock” and you all are going to add ingredients to the soup to make the final recipe. Please


Start with a very large pot, 12 qts if you have it.  We are going to make a lot of soup to freeze for later.

add 2 gal (8 qts) of filtered water.  If you don’t have a pot that large, fill the one you have about 1/2-2/3 full of water

Add at least 1 whole chicken.  Fryer or a roaster.  I’d pick a roaster because they are larger.

Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a fast simmer for at least 2 hours.

The chicken should fall off the bone.  Remove chicken from pot and reserve, pulling the bones from the carcass and throwing them away.

Continue to reduce the stock.

1.  (jughandle would add) Salt and pepper to taste

2. (Darlene would add) 2 carrots, 2 celery and  1 onion, diced then sauteed in olive oil before adding.  This is known as a  mirepoix of veggies.


3. (Mittie would like to add) fresh thyme & tarragon. If you have a herb garden pick a few stems and strip the leaves into the liquid.  If you don’t like stuff floating around in your soup (I really don’t know why), you can do a bouquet garnie which is just a fancy name for wrapping your herbs in a piece of cheese cloth so it can be removed later.


4. Thank you Mittie, it is smelling good now.

5. What we should do now is to remove all the solids from the broth

  • first cool the broth to room temp or cool enough to handle
  • then strain out the solids with a strainer or cheese cloth
  • put the strained broth into a large bowl or pot and put into the refrigerator
  • the next morning the chicken fat will be solid on the surface
  • skim or ladle off the fat.
  • You now have a great chicken stock/broth to use in the following recipes
  • you can also freeze in plastic bags or bowls for later use

6. Darlene wants to make a Tortilla soup from the chicken stock. (please click on the link for the recipe)

7. Jughandle wants to make Italian Wedding Soup (please click on the link for the recipe)



Soft Shell Crab

One of the best things to eat are soft shell Crabs.  I just love the flavor of a nicely sauted crab and the way it’s naturally sweet sea food flavor is enhanced by the melted butter and herbs.  But my favorite is a soft shell crab Po Boy sandwich.  The crispy fried legs sticking out of  toasted French bread or hoagie roll and smothered with Tartar sauce.  Delicious


Soft shell crabs are in season from May until September, but if you aren’t near the beach, and even then, you’ll most likely be eating a frozen one.  Freezing is not quite as good if the chef doesn’t dry the crab out before cooking.  I’ve only had fresh soft shell crab once and it was amazing.

About the Crab

The crab is a Blue Crab that is molting (shedding its shell) in order to grow larger.  The crab farmers only have a 1-3 hour window of opportunity to harvest the crabs in the “soft” form by collecting the crabs just before they molt and watching them until the perfect moment.   After that the new shell starts to harden.  The hardening process can be slowed for fresh soft shells by putting them on ice, but freezing obviously stops the process completely.

How to Clean


To clean the crab before cooking all you need is a sharp pair of scissors.  First turn the crab over and find lungs (left picture above), which are a fibrous like tissue right where you might think they are supposed to be.  Cut them off.  Then look for the apron which is also on the bottom and is hard, cut it and anything that seems too hard to eat off.  Finially flip the little guy over  (right picture above) and cut off the head and eye section.  Pat him dry and you are ready to go.

Buying the Crab by Size

Look in the frozen sea food section of your store or ask the fish monger, they will point you to the right spot.  Many stores carry pre-cleaned crabs or the fish monger can clean them for you.  The Prime size is good for sandwiches, but any size will do.  The larger ones are easier to clean.


If you can’t find them at your local store, you can also buy 2 dozen small crabs from our Fat Farm Store , or here at the store for 12 crabs totaling 1.5 lbs and have them shipped to your home.

Look for several recipes from frying to sandwiches under the recipe tab – Jughandle