Posts Tagged ‘grassfed’

Middle Eastern Grilled Goat Kabobs

Monday, August 1st, 2011

{This is, obviously, a not-so-meatless recipe. Check back next week for a fresh and seasonal Meatless Monday recipe.}

As a devotee to all-things-dairy, I was excited to spot the “Goaterie” blog party mentioned on Twitter. Of course, there’s more to goat (or from) than cheese, so it seemed time to give the meat a try. Fortunately, I knew right where to turn for “happy” goat meat — Painted Hand Farm at the Bloomingdale Farmers Market in DC. When I asked which cut of meat would be best for cutting up, I was steered towards the leg — more meat than the shoulder. I bought two small leg pieces and headed home to research recipes. I originally had a curried dish in mind, but the Middle Eastern kabob recipe jumped out at me. I had read complaints about goat meat’s toughness, so I employed my favorite tenderizing marinade: yogurt. In this case, goats-milk yogurt, of course. The result was quite tasty — grilled to medium rare, the meat was still tender and moist. It has a flavor somewhat in between that of lamb and chicken, and in fact, goat meat has less saturated fat than even chicken. I used my favorite purple bell peppers from the market, but you can use any color you prefer.

middle eastern grilled goat kabobs

Recipe: Middle Eastern Grilled Goat Kebabs
Adapted from Blue Kitchen


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup goat milk yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed goat meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 6 bamboo or metal skewers
  • pita bread

For yogurt sauce, layer the following in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 cup goat milk yogurt
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • several leaves fresh mint, chopped

Instructions: Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Grind cumin in mortar; add garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and cinnamon and grind to a paste. In a large bowl or 1-gallon plastic bag, mix the spice mixture with pomegranate molasses and yogurt.  Add goat meat and rub to coat pieces evenly with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. While meat marinates, soak bamboo skewers (if using) in water.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove goat from marinade. Thread goat pieces and pepper pieces on to skewers. Grill, turning frequently, for 5-7 minutes for medium-rare. Serve with yogurt-tomato sauce and warm pita bread. Makes 3-4 servings.

Goaterie badge

This post is being shared with the Goaterie event hosted by Creative Culinary and La Fuji Mama. If you’re curious about cooking with goat meat, check out Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza (and Curious Chef product review)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’ve written a lot about apples this fall, but I’d be remiss not to mention that other star of late autumn fruit stands: the pear. From crisp Asian pears, perfect for salads, to sweet Bartlett pears, poached for dessert, and the boy’s favorite, toddler-hand-sized Seckels, we’d be hard pressed to take sides in a pear-apple face-off. We always enjoy the samples offered by Papa’s Orchard at the West End Alexandria farmers market, and the boy has been known to devour a Seckel (or two) before finishing our stroll through the market.

These sweet and savory pizzas also feature two other of my local farmers market favorites, grassfed lamb sausage from Valentine’s Country Meats and fresh ricotta from Keswick Creamery. The pizza crust was made from frozen dough I picked up from the Italian Store for pizza-making emergencies. Of course you could make your own, if you prefer. There are few better ways to get kids into the kitchen than with make-your-own-pizza night. Thanks to the kid-sized tools from Curious Chef (see below), the boy was able to help with rolling out the dough, slicing the pears, and of course, decorating the pies.

Recipe: Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza


  • pizza crust for 2 pizzas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet pears, thinly sliced
  • several fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions: In a skillet, crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain excess drippings and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or pizza peel, if you have one. Spread several tablespoons of ricotta over the crusts, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, each. (If your ricotta is particularly moist, use less oil.) Spread pears and onions around, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, and scatter sausage over the top. Drop a few more spoonfuls of ricotta over the pears. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Makes 2 pizzas. Enjoy!

curious chef pizza kitCurious Chef Product Review: We received the Curious Chef pizza kit to try out, as seen in the photos above. The boy was beyond trilled to have “my very own!” knife and rolling pin. The knife is made of sturdy plastic that actually can cut through an apple or pear, without fear of slicing off finger tips. Ever since our pizza making fun, when he sees me slicing something he gets out his own knife from his kitchen drawer and demands to help. The easy-grip handles make the tools perfect for small hands, and it’s nice to be able to set him up with his own cutting board and knife to keep him busy while I’m prepping the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Curious Chef gets a big thumbs up from the Foodie Tot. (My only complaint is that the white plastic isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more kid-appropriate than stocking up on fancier, and more breakable, items from somewhere like Williams-Sonoma.) View the full product line (and safety information) at

*Disclaimer: all reviews are the opinion solely of myself and my son, and are not financially compensated in any way.*

At the Fairfax County Farmers Markets: Ready-to-Eat

Friday, August 14th, 2009

So, I don’t know if you’ve heard me mention it, but last week was National Farmers Market Week. Unfortunately I didn’t top last year’s personal record of five markets during the week; in fact, I only made it to four as our weekend plans were curtailed by a sick child. But, I did take advantage of the chance to revisit the McLean Farmers Market for the first time this season, and to finally check out one of the markets managed by Smart Markets, Inc.

One of the things I love about farmers markets is that it feels so European to pop by a market and pick up something fresh for dinner that night. Unfortunately, the after work/school rush to get something to eat on the table doesn’t exactly evoke the leisurely French lifestyle I have in mind most nights. So when we can visit a market and get something already cooked, or that we can eat right on the spot, that’s a winning formula in my opinion. Here are a couple prepared food options that we came across on our market crawl.

mt olympus peppers vaMcLean Farmers Market: This market is held on Friday mornings, so if you time your visit near the end you can pick up lunch in the form of Emine’s savory baklava, some fresh peaches from Reid’s Orchard, and dessert of Middleburg Creamery ice cream or a whoopie pie (pumpkin or chocolate) from Valentine’s Country Bakery & Meat. Be sure to take home a Shoo-Fly Pie from Valentine’s for later. If there were an award for most colorful market stand, I’m pretty sure Mt. Olympus Farm would win hands down with their amazing rainbow array of sweet and hot peppers. (McLean Farmers Market, Fridays, 8:30am-12:30pm; Valentine’s can also be found at the Fairfax County Oakton, Annandale, Mount Vernon and Reston markets, not to be confused with the Reston Smart Market, below.)

Reston Smart Market: This market was lighter on produce and heavier on the condiments and baked goods, including two pastry shops and Anne’s lemonade and bread stand. There’s also a winery table, for your after-work happy hour sipping, and a children’s story-time area in the center. There was a kids’ cooking lesson taking place as well, though I have to confess that my son turned up his nose when asked if he wanted to help make a salad and made a beeline to the man offering free cake samples instead. We met two young men from New York who are learning the farming ropes in preparation for starting their own organic farm in the future; in the meantime, check out their Grinning Greens line of vinaigrettes and marinades.

reston smart market va

After a quick round of samplings we made our way to the gleaming silver food cart of Local Sixfortyseven. You may have read about this recent addition to the burgeoning local food cart scene; the husband-and-wife team of Derek and Amanda Luhowiak are taking farm-to-table on the road to area markets and cooking up juicy fresh burgers from Fauquier County’s Angelic Beef, Polyface hot dogs and soups and salads featuring ingredients from the markets or their own garden — on eco-friendly compostable dishes, no less. (Though I didn’t notice a composting bin at the market?) I’ve always lamented burger joints that don’t serve milkshakes, but after sampling Sixfortysix’s blackberry ginger thyme pie I’m fairly confident in declaring that burgers and pie may just be the new happy meal.

local sixfortyseven pie

(Reston Smart Market, Reston Town Center, Thursdays, 3:30-6:30pm; but Jane Black notes that Local Sixfortyseven is not guaranteed to be at Reston every week. Find them on Facebook to stay up-to-date.)

Don’t Forget! Submit a photo of your tot(s) at the market to the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets Flickr pool by August 31 and you’ll have a chance to win a kid-sized reusable market tote filled with foodie goodies. For an extra entry into the drawing, blog about your local farmers market with a link back to this post &/or retweet a link to the “Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets” contest. More bonus points for sharing why you love your farmers market.

The Copper Pot and more at the Oakton Farmers Market

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

FoodieTots @ the Farmers Market Week continues with a field trip to the Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market to sample The Copper Pot by Chef Stefano Frigerio.

copper pot food co jamIt’s opening week at the Fairfax County Farmers Markets, and perhaps the most publicized new vendor in local market history was the Copper Pot Food Company by Chef Stefano Frigerio. An Italian-born chef-turned-stay-at-home-dad, Chef Frigerio turned to home preserving to stay connected to the kitchen and the local farmers he developed relationships with during his days cooking at DC’s Maestro and Mio restaurants. We really enjoyed Chef Frigerio’s cooking at Mio, so I was eager to check out the new product line of jams, pastas and sauces. One of the nice things about markets further out in the ‘burbs is the more leisurely pace and ability to actually converse with the farmers and vendors. Chef Frigerio explained that he started making jams out of concern for his kids’ love of sweets. “I can’t feed my kids high fructose corn syrup every day,” he said, describing his son’s ability to slurp down an entire jar of jam at once (if allowed). Jam flavors include orchard fresh apple, white fig & balsamic, peach & prosecco “bellini,” and strawberry & vanilla bean. Now despite my foray into jam making last summer, I actually don’t eat a lot of it as I find so many jams are too sticky sweet for my taste. The strawberry & vanilla, in contrast, tasted just like strawberries at peak ripeness and was not at all cloying.

copper pot food co ravioli

Chef Frigerio also offers fresh, handmade pastas and tomato sauces. When asked how the reception was at his first market this weekend (14th & U in the District), he expressed surprise at how quickly he sold out of his braised rabbit ravioli – something he claimed people rarely ordered at the restaurant. I picked up some of the rabbit ravioli and a jar of the roasted shallot Barolo tomato sauce for a quick dinner. Sure, at $10 for 8 ravioli it was a little pricey, but having an Italian chef in your pantry is a nice treat for a busy weeknight! The tomato sauce was richly flavored and will definitely make a repeat appearance on our table.

Other vendors at the market included Long Meadow Ecological Farm (“no spray” asparagus, radishes, watercress and other greens from VA’s Shenandoah Valley), Kuhn Orchards (IPM fruits, rhubarb and asparagus from near Gettysburg, PA), Garner’s Produce (more VA strawberries, asparagus and plants), Lois’s Produce (Northern Neck VA, strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, flowers – and their website promises artichokes in late summer!), Cenan’s Bakery (Vienna, bread and pastries), Bees ‘n Blossoms (VA honey and soaps), Emine’s sweet and savory baklavas (also available at Old Town Alexandria), Fields of Grace farmstead cheese (and curds, from Remington, VA), and Valentine’s Country Meats with hormone-free, grass-fed/free-range Angus beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, incredible pastel eggs (pictured below), pies and sweets.

vienna oakton va famers market

As if the first rhubarb sighting of the season wasn’t exciting enough, Kuhn was giving away free sample of asparagus with every purchase. As with most Fairfax County-managed markets, local gardeners were on hand to offer free gardening advice.

This is a great market and I appreciated the detailed signage at most vendors explaining their growing practices; when markets get busy, it gets difficult to ask farmers about their methods so signage is a great way to provide more transparency for market shoppers. (Of course, you should always feel free to ask for more information!) And Fairfax County requires that all vendors be within a 125-mile radius of the county, so you can be assured that the products are truly local.

The Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market is located at the Oak Marr RECenter, 3200 Jermantown Road, and open Wednesdays from 8am-noon, May through November 18. Find Chef Frigerio and the Copper Pot Food Co. at Fairfax (Tues.), Vienna/Oakton (Weds.) and Herndon (Thurs.) markets in Virginia and Georgetown (Weds.), 14th and U (Sat.) and Bloomingdale (Sun.) markets in the District.

Lamb and Leek Stew

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Did you know that lamb is one of the healthier red meats? It’s high in B vitamins, zinc and iron and half its fat is unsaturated. Its tenderness also makes it easier for young toddler palates, who tend to be more sensitive to tougher meats. Of course, it is also more expensive, particularly if you’re buying local and/or grass-fed, hormone-free lamb. If you’ve ever noticed, lamb is very popular in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, where it’s often cooked as kabobs or in some sort of stew — which is a great way to use a cheaper cut of lamb and stretch it further, especially if you increase the amount of vegetables in the recipe. I recently made this stew, bulked up with carrots and served over basmati and wild rice — it was delicious. You could even make it with leftover leg of lamb from your Passover or Easter meal, if you somehow wound up with too much meat.

Recipe: Lamb and Leek Stew
Adapted from Epicurious

lamb leek stew


  • 1 to 1.5 pound lamb* shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green part, thinly sliced
  • 3 small carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (zest optional)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in dutch oven on stove over medium high heat. Season lamb meat with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 5 minutes total. Remove meat to plate and cover to keep warm. Add leek, carrots and onion to pan and cook 5-7 minutes, until onion is soft. Stir in parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, a pinch of salt and ground pepper, and lemon juice (and zest if using). Cook one minute. Return lamb to pan and add stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and place pan in oven. Cook, covered, for 1 hour. Lamb should be tender and the liquid mostly absorbed. Sprinkle with additional fresh parsley and serve over rice. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Notes: The original recipe calls for lemon zest. My husband has a weird objection to zest in his meat, so I used juice instead. Use both for a fresh zing that lightens this stew for spring.

* Farm Source(s): lamb from Fields of Athenry (Va.). You can also get excellent lamb from Smith Meadows at the Del Ray Farmers Market and other DC/NoVA markets.