Category Archives: Holiday recipes

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

red white blue potato flag title image

Hot sunshine on the back of my neck. The smell of peaches and cantaloup in the fruit bowl on the table. Fragrant gardenia blossoms in a vase. Watermelon, baked beans, grilled hamburgers and my mom’s homemade potato salad. The sound of the diving board followed by a splash.  All of these mean summer to me. And when it comes to that potato salad no one makes it better than mom!

red white blue potato close up

Whenever we gather for family cookouts we always need potato salad. Make a big bowl full and hope for leftovers for lunch the next day. Bring it to your next summer gathering because it’s easy and tastes even better when you make it ahead of time.

red white blue potato line

I love the look of the multi-colored potatoes in this recipe, but if you can’t find them you can use new potatoes of any color. Red Finn and Red Thumb are two varieties that actually have rosy colored flesh. Purple Peruvian has a striking blue flesh all the way through that intensifies when cooked. Yukon Gold is creamy colored. The standard red-skinned potatoes are also delicious.

red white blue potato salad horizontal

*a note about mayonnaise: the very best mayo to use is a homemade (and fermented) one such as this recipe or this one.  If you aren’t making your own then please read the labels on the store brands and buy one made from safflower, sunflower, coconut or maybe grapeseed oil. Just avoid the ones made with GMO soy, corn and canola.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
 
Grammy (my mom) makes the best potato salad. Simple to make and great for cookouts and potluck.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs new potatoes or fingerling potatoes, multi-colored
  • 3 eggs, preferably from pasture-raised hens
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 green onions, or half of a sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub the potatoes, cutting large potatoes in half, and place them in a pot and cover with filtered water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are just tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
  3. In a separate smaller pan, cover the eggs with cool water and bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander and allow them to cool until able to be handled.
  5. Drain the boiled eggs and peel the shells off.
  6. Finely chop the celery and green onions (or sweet onion) and place into a large bowl.
  7. When the potatoes and eggs are cool enough to touch, chop the potatoes into bite-size chunks and place them in the bowl.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt over the chopped potatoes.
  9. Chop the eggs and put them in the bowl with the potatoes and vegetables sprinkling again with the sea salt.
  10. Crumble the dried dill over the top of the potatoes and eggs.
  11. Gently toss to mix the potatoes with the rest of the vegetables, but do NOT add the mustard or mayonnaise yet.
  12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.
  13. Just before serving time stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and additional salt plus freshly ground pepper, tasting to adjust for enough salt.
  14. Some people like creamy potato salad, others like it more dry, so add mayonnaise to your taste.

  red white blue potato salad square

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Roast Leg of Lamb

carving lamb

tender slices of medium-rare roast lamb

Lamb has a long, rich, worldwide culinary history. Enjoyed in ancient China, Greece, Italy, Iraq and Romania, sheep were one of the earliest of the domesticated animals. Even today the Romans claim they have the best pastureland in all of Italy and therefore the best tasting lamb. The roast leg of lamb is traditionally found on the Sunday family dinner tables in France, but it makes a wonderful main course for any holiday or family gathering.  Not only is roast lamb delicious, it is thankfully also easy to prepare.  Roast leg of lamb will grace our family table this Easter, and I hope you can enjoy it at your house too.

A whole leg of lamb usually weighs anywhere from 4 to 8 lbs. Choose the size that best fits the number of people you will serve, and be sure to get enough for leftovers. Roast lamb stew, sandwiches, and stir fry are all delicious.

For the richest flavor schedule your lamb preparations for the day before you plan to serve so the meat can absorb the flavors of the herbs and seasonings.  In the recipe below I give you two options for the herb blend. The oregano and lemon blend will give you more of a Greek-style flavor, while the rosemary blend is more Tuscan/French. I give measurements for a 5-6 lb. leg of lamb. If yours is larger then just scale up the seasonings a bit so you’ll have enough to cover the whole thing. Roasting the meat at high heat and then reducing it to finish at a lower temperature will give you tender, juicy meat even with grassfed, pasture-raised lamb.

Roast Leg of Lamb
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
 
Fragrant roast lamb makes a festive main dish for any family occasion.
Ingredients
  • 1 leg of lamb with the bone, about 5-6 lbs.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tblsp fresh rosemary needles pulled from the stem
  • 1 tsp each of Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • OR for Greek-style flavors replace the rosemary with 3 Tblsp fresh oregano leaves plus the zest and juice of half a lemon
Instructions
  1. For best flavor season the lamb the day before, or at least several hours before, you plan to serve.
  2. Place the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small food processor and process into a finely minced puree.
  3. If you don't have a food processor you can mince the rosemary as finely as possible and then use the back of a large spoon to crush and mix the rosemary, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Use the tip of a sharp knife to make a dozen or more 1" deep slits all over the surface of the meat.
  5. Insert ½ tsp of the herb mixture into each of the slits, pushing it down into the meat until you've used it all up.
  6. Wrap the lamb tightly and refrigerate for up to one day.
  7. To roast, remove the lamb from the refrigerator an hour before roasting time to allow it to come to room temperature.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Remove the wrap and place the lamb in a roasting pan with the fat side facing up.
  10. Place the lamb in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  12. Continue to cook the lamb for another 50 minutes, basting with the accumulated juices from the bottom of the pan.
  13. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  14. Medium rare is an internal temperature of 145 degrees, medium is 160 and well done is 170.
  15. When the meat is done to your liking, remove the lamb from the oven and tent with aluminum foil allowing it to rest about 15 minutes to absorb the juices and be ready for slicing.
  16. If your lamb is over 5lbs plan on an extra 30 minutes of cooking time per pound.

 

lamb before

leg of lamb with rosemary garlic herb rub

 

leg of lamb

golden roasted leg of lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This blog has been liked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays at Whole New Mom and Wellness Wednesdays at Richly Rooted.

 

 

 

Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty)

I was looking for a good Irish potato joke to start off this blog, but didn’t find one so this will have to do:  What’s Irish and stays out all night?  Paddy O’Furniture!  :)

Just about everyone loves potatoes somehow, whether mashed, french fried, baked, stuffed or made into chips.  These potato pancakes combine some of the best ways to cook potatoes into one delicious dish.  Part of the potatoes are boiled then mashed, part are shredded raw, and then the whole thing is stirred into a thick batter and fried into golden brown, crispy cakes. They’re great served up with a plate of Irish Sausage, or you could even eat them for breakfast along with a fried egg or two.

Irish boxty potato pancakes

Be sure to buy organic potatoes for this recipe. Potatoes are always on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of most heavily sprayed vegetables and fruits. Choose a flavorful fat to fry these in. I like butter or bacon fat, but you can also use coconut oil or ghee. Remember, healthy saturated fats like these can withstand high heat without going rancid.

Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty)
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: Irish
 
Crispy golden brown potato pancakes.
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds of Russet or Irish potatoes
  • ⅓ cup of arrowroot powder, or buckwheat flour, or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk or cream
  • ¼ cup of diced onion
  • butter or bacon grease for the pan
Instructions
  1. Cook ¾lb. of the potatoes either by baking them for 1 hour at 350 degrees or by cutting them into fourths and boiling them in salted water until they are tender. If you boil them be sure to remove them from the water and let them dry out, you don't want soggy potatoes.
  2. Allow the cooked potatoes to cool, then mash them with a fork or potato masher.
  3. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix together arrowroot, salt, and baking powder, and whisk in the milk.
  4. Use a food processor with the shredding blade to shred the remaining ¾ lb of raw potatoes (or shred with a hand grater), placing the shredded potato onto paper towels or a tea towel to get rid of any excess moisture.
  5. Mix the mashed potato, shredded potato and diced onion into the milk mixture and stir to combine well.
  6. Heat a large cast iron griddle over medium heat and add butter or bacon grease.
  7. When the griddle is hot and butter is melted scoop up about ¼ cup of the potato mixture and press it onto the skillet, spreading it into a circle.
  8. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until it is nicely golden brown, then remove to a warm platter and continue with remaining potato mixture.
  9. Makes about a dozen Boxty.

Irish boxty and sausages

Irish Sausages

Pork sausages have been a part of traditional Irish fare for thousands of years, first with the wild boar that roamed the British Isles and then later the domesticated pig kept in herds on the noblemen’s land. Ireland’s well-known butter and cheese are another reason for keeping pigs – the leftovers from making these dairy products, whey and buttermilk, are perfect for feeding to pigs so that nothing was wasted.  Even so, pork was traditionally never eaten fresh very often. Cured bacon and ham was more common as was mixing the ground pork with salt and seasonings to make sausages. Not only do these traditional methods of preparing pork give it an added depth of flavor, they also make the pork healthier to eat.

middle ages boar hunting pictureMost store bought sausages today are made from CAFO pork and are filled with artificial flavorings, chemical preservatives and MSG.  Making your own sausage is easy and allows you to control exactly what goes in and what doesn’t. These Irish sausages are free-form patties, but if you have a sausage stuffer feel free to make your own links with this recipe. You need to make the sausage at least a day ahead for the flavors to deepen and for the meat to “cure” a bit from the salt.

Irish Sausages
 
Author:
Recipe type: sausage
Cuisine: Irish
 
Homemade pork sausage patties with savory herb and garlic seasoning.
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs ground pork (preferably pasture-raised)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried fennel seeds
  • 1 to 1½ tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg (preferably from pasture raised hens)
Instructions
  1. Place the ground pork in a large bowl.
  2. Place the dried herbs, sea salt and pepper in a spice mill and grind them into a powder, then add them to the pork.
  3. Mince the garlic or use a garlic press and add it to the pork along with the vinegar.
  4. Use your hands to mix the herbs and garlic into the pork until very well combined.
  5. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
  6. When you are ready to cook the sausages remove the pork mixture from the refrigerator and add the egg, mixing well with your hands.
  7. Shape the pork into patties about 3oz. each and pan fry in a hot skillet with a little butter or lard to keep them from sticking.
  8. Cook about 4-5 minutes per side until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink in the middle.

Irish sausages and boxty

 

 

Warm and Creamy Crab Dip

Goodings groceryLong-time Florida residents will recall Gooding’s supermarkets.  Started in the 1960s, Gooding’s was at one time the premier grocery chain in Central Florida.  When we first moved into our neighborhood Gooding’s was the closest grocery store. I remember the first time I walked in I was stunned by the large gold chandelier hanging in the center of the frozen foods section.  Always immaculately clean and filled with friendly people, as a brand new mommy I depended on their prepared foods deli during those first months when I could hardly get a shower much less figure out how to make dinner!  But then the owners retired and closed our store. The building sat vacant after Winn Dixie failed to Wow the neighborhood. Now it’s turned into LA FItness. I still miss Goodings. In its heyday they were the ones to turn to for holiday and party catering.  I remember one snazzy party given by a friend that included several dishes from Gooding’s catering department. One in particular was so delicious that I had to have the recipe. I wrote a letter to Gooding’s and received a hand-written reply from one of their chefs along with the surprisingly simple recipe.  If you are in need of a little something special for your Valentine’s Day table this one will come together in a flash, and taste like you spent a long time in the kitchen. In addition to the serving suggestions given it would also be good with fresh vegetables like yellow and red pepper strips, snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets or fresh mushrooms. Be careful when choosing the crabmeat. Many canned varieties are preserved with heavy chemical preseravatives. If you can find fresh or frozen that would be great.

Warm and Creamy Crab Dip
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
 
Rich and creamy dip perfect for any party
Ingredients
  • ½ lb lump crabmeat
  • 2 lbs organic or homemade cream cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 Tblsp white wine
  • garnish with green onions, red pepper slices or toasted almond slices
Instructions
  1. Place crabmeat and cream cheese in a sauce pan, cover and heat gently about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir until blended.
  3. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and wine, mixing gently.
  4. Serve in chafing dish or small crock pot with desired garnishes.
  5. Serve with toasted slices of sourdough bread, fresh vegetables, or crackers.

Serve in chafing dish (or fondue pot or small crockpot), garnish as desired. Serve with pretty round crackers or small round slices of sourdough baguette or canape bread.

From Jim Butler, Gooding’s Catering (1997) crab Lump meat

 

Really Raw Homemade Egg Nog

Creamy, nutmeggy, cold and delicious – eggnog has always been the holiday flavor I love the most.  As a kid I could hardly wait until those cartons of eggnog first hit grocery store shelves. Later, trips to Oklahoma with my husband always included a stop at Braum’s for eggnog ice cream.  It didn’t occur to me this was something I could make myself I mean come on – you have to use raw eggs!  Fast forward a few years – I discovered real food: pastured eggs, raw milk, raw cream – all the wonderful nutrient dense foods eaten by healthy people throughout history. My family was thriving with these foods; we’d made so brown eggs croppedmany changes to our way of eating. When the holidays rolled around I was so disappointed to read the cartons on my beloved eggnog and realize I really did not want to drink this stuff anymore!  That’s when I finally realized this is a drink that’s been around in some form or another since the middle ages – it’s traditional fare, you can make it yourself!

I found a recipe and adapted it to using the delicious raw milk and cream I’d been able to find locally along with some eggs from hens raised locally outdoors. I’m sharing my adapted version with you – I hope you take the time to try it this holiday season! You can make this with organic milk and cream (not ultra pasteurized), but don’t eat grocery store eggs raw.

Really Raw Eggnog

4 large eggs from pastured hens, separated into yolks and whites
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 Tblsp sucanat or rapadura
1 pint whole, raw milk
1 cup raw cream
1 1/2 to 3 oz. bourbon (opt.)*
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg plus more for garnish

In a large bowl or mixer, beat the egg yolks until they change color to lemony yellow. eggnog cups Gradually add the maple syrup and beat until well combined.  Add in the milk, cream, bourbon (if desired) and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Keep this mixture chilled while you whip the egg whites.

Place the egg whites in a very clean, dry grease-free bowl of a stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment.  Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sucanat and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
Gently whisk the egg whites into the milk mixture. Chill well and serve garnished with more freshly grated nutmeg.

*The original recipe called for 3 oz. of bourbon but we are not big drinkers and found that half that amount was plenty to give it the flavor without overwhelming the taste completely. You can leave out the bourbon entirely if you wish.

BONUS: To make this into ice cream omit the bourbon and pour the entire mixture into the container of your ice cream freezer and freeze according to the directions for your freezer. If you leave the bourbon in the ice cream may not freeze beyond very soft-serve stage.

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins

cranberry orange muffin‘Tis the season for all things cranberry! It’s also the beginning of citrus season which means fresh oranges should be available in stores or, if you’re lucky, in your backyard.  This recipe uses both the juice and the zest so you are better off choosing unsprayed oranges from a friend or buying organic.

These muffins come together quickly, especially if you use a food processor. Almond flour instead of wheat flour keeps these both gluten-free and grain-free for those of you trying to avoid that.

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (if yours is big shreds, pulse it a few times in the food processor or blender to make it smaller)

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

zest and juice of 1/2 fresh orange

2-3 Tblsp raw honey

1 egg (preferably pastured or organic)

2 Tblsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped fresh or dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 11 muffin cups. (I can’t get this to stretch to 12, so grease 11 and put a little water in the bottom of that 12th muffin cup to keep it from scorching.)  Mix together almond flour, coconut, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a food processor or mixer.  In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, butter, egg, orange juice and vanilla.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the cranberries and pulse just until mixed. Spoon the batter evenly into the 11 buttered muffin cups. Bake in 375 oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool still in the muffin tins for 2 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.  cranberry orange muffin 2

 

 

 

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

cranberriesGrowing up I was never a big fan of cranberry sauce – that jellied stuff from a can just didn’t do anything for me.  Then, probably 20 years ago now, I saw a tv chef promoting a way of cooking that used only fresh ingredients instead of processed foods. That was years and years before I ever heard about Weston A. Price or the traditional foods movement. Watching this woman demonstrate several holiday dishes using mostly real, fresh ingredients I knew they just had to taste great. I grabbed pencil and paper and wrote down the recipe, bought the ingredients and gave it a try. For the first time in my life I was able to really enjoy cranberry sauce!
About seven years ago, when I learned about unrefined sweeteners, I changed up the cranberry sauce to make it totally fresh and unrefined by ditching the white sugar.  I make mine this way now exclusively. Here I offer a choice of either sucanat or honey as a sweetener. If you choose the honey be sure to use a mild, light colored honey rather than an assertive one. Orange blossom or clover would be a good choice. Sucanat is stronger flavored with a hint of molasses. Another option might be coconut sugar. Just don’t use agave as that one is highly refined. This recipe can be made up to two days ahead and stored in a glass or other non-reactive container in the refrigerator.
cranberry sauceFresh Cranberry Sauce

1 package fresh cranberries, organic if you can find them (12 oz.)
1 large orange, organic if possible
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup honey OR sucanat (plus a little more to taste)

Wash the cranberries and pick out any shriveled or rotten ones. Place the berries in a medium saucepan.
Wash the orange, scrubbing the peel well. Use a microplane grater or a citrus zester or a vegetable peeler and zest about a tablespoon of orange zest. (The zest is the colored portion of the citrus peel.) Add the zest to the cranberries. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl or measuring cup. You need about a 1/2 cup of liquid so if your orange isn’t very juicey you can add a little water to make up the difference. Room temperature fruit gives more juice than straight-from-the-refrigerator fruit.
Place the orange juice and the ginger and cinnamon into the saucepan. Stir in the honey or sucanat and place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. When it comes to a boil turn the heat down a bit to a simmer and allow the berries to simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. At about halfway through the cooking time taste the sauce. If it is not sweet enough for your taste you can add a little more sweetener – probably up to 1/4 cup more if desired.
Continue to simmer and stir while the berries pop and the mixture cooks. Remove from heat after ten minutes total cooking time and allow the sauce to cool somewhat. Mixture will thicken as it cools. At this point you can pour it into a serving bowl or into another container to chill.