spicy shredded beef tongue

“ICK!”  “GROSS!!”  “NASTY!!!”  “Are you really going to eat that?”  Damn right I am…come on now…gimme some tongue.  When I made this last week, I posted some photos on FB of the whole cooking process.  The comments above were some of the views expressed by folks out there.  I didn’t know that cooking beef tongue would honestly stir up such a buzz.  Aside from the FB banter, some other people even went to the lengths of texting, BBM’ing and calling me to see if I was out of my mind or indeed for real cooking this dish!?  LOL.

Having heard this…you may then wonder, what made you decide to give this dish a go in your own kitchen in the first place?  Well…the answer to that is, Dusty and I had eaten cow tongue a couple times before at this really nice Japanese restaurant.  I am fully up for trying pretty much anything once.  Worst case scenario…if I don’t like it…I won’t make it again.  Pretty simple.  When cooked properly, beef tongue is extremely tender, tasty and basically melts in your mouth.  I wanted to try making it myself.  Something many will never get to experience, because they are simply ‘too scared’ to try new things.  Come on…live a little.  Funny and ironic though, as many of those same people, are cool with eating things like processed hot dogs and other ‘crap food’ with a million and one ingredients in it, that they can’t pronounce!  YUM!!   ;)

Well would you lick at that!  (Thanks Amy Kubal for the pun)  Off topic already.  Okay, back to the tongue (all sarcasm aside).  Beef tongue is part of the cow that has been consumed by various cultures for many years now.  It is a fatty muscle, that is high in protein and B-12 and low in sodium and carbohydrates.  Super nutritious and even more delicious.  About a month ago, while roaming the farmer’s market one fine Saturday morning…I must have had tongue on my mind.  I decided to ask the farmer at the Green Gate stand if they had any tongue left for the taking.  I was indeed in luck, as she replied…’I think we have one left!”  I must have been up and at it earlier than usual that weekend, because they usual sell out quickly.  A minimal eight dollars and change later, and I was off to continue to rest of my shopping.

It came frozen in butcher paper…and stayed that way for a few weeks before I decided to cook this bad boy up.  A huge fan of shredded pork, I knew that I wanted to make this in a similar fashion.  I had also just made a huge batch of my homemade guacamole and salsa…so I thought the shredding of the meat would be the perfect technique to create some lettuce tacos.  The Crock-Pot…aka, the Original Slow Cooker (now my new BFF) had to be a part of this first time experience as well.  NOW, I want to take all of you a a visual and descriptive journey of how to make your own beef tongue…without being frightened.  Come along and have a read, as I break it down into easy-to-follow steps!

spicy shredded beef tongue
Main
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • In the Crock-Pot
  • 1 beef tongue
  • 8 + garlic cloves - whole
  • 2 celery stalks - chopped in pieces
  • 4 shallots - chopped into quarters
  • small handful of whole peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • beef broth - enough to fill pot ¾ way full
  • In the cast iron pan
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil/butter
  • 2 medium onions - finely sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper - finely sliced
  • 1 hot red pepper - finely sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh cilantro - chopped
  • top with homemade guac and salsa
Instructions
  1. if frozen, start by de-thawing meat in the fridge. Open package and stare at the tongue for a few minutes
  2. continue by pouring in your broth (can use homemade or store-bought)
  3. next, add in loads of whole garlic cloves, some chopped up celery, several halved shallots, a sprinkle or two of whole peppercorns and finally a few bay leaves
  4. put the lid on and set it to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours
  5. when your beef tongue has finished cooking, take a pair of tongs and remove it from the liquid and place it on a wooden cutting board (or similar surface)
  6. take a very sharp knife and actually cut and sectioned the tongue into quarters and peel skin
  7. once you have removed and discarded ALL the skin, you are ready to start shredding the meat
  8. take a fork or two and basically start running them through the chunks of meat, to pull it all apart
  9. in a cast-iron pan (preferably), heat some coconut oil or butter on medium
  10. next, add in the thinly sliced onion, bell pepper, hot red pepper and cook until softened
  11. then, scoop out all the cooked garlic cloves, celery and shallots and transfer them into the cast iron pan to join the party
  12. continue cooking on medium-high heat for a few more minutes
  13. after that, take your shredded beef tongue and add it into the pan
  14. next, take a spoon and mix thoroughly, until all the ingredients are combined
  15. finally, sprinkle in your desired spices and continue to stir
  16. garnish with some fresh cilantro
  17. enjoy!

First step.  If frozen, start by de-thawing meat in the fridge.  Open package and stare at the tongue for a few minutes.  To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to react when seeing it for the first time.  I had seen photos before of what a cow’s tongue looks like, so I suppose I wasn’t surprised.  It didn’t really bother me in the least.  I actually thought it was kinda cool!  AND…YES, it totally looks like a tongue, because IT IS ONE. Skin and taste buds to boot.  Don’t worry, you don’t eat that part.  Sorta neat to run your fingers over though.  I wanted to totally take side profile shot with the cow tongue looking as though it was coming out of my mouth. Dusty fully caboshed the idea.  HA!  He said I was getting carried away (maybe he was right!?)  Next, I gave it a wee rinse, and threw it in the Crock-Pot.

Continue by pouring in your broth (can use homemade or store-bought).  I actually had some store-bought beef broth on hand, so I went with that.  Next, add in loads of whole garlic cloves, some chopped up celery, several halved shallots, a sprinkle or two of whole peppercorns and finally a few bay leaves.  As you can see, the bay leaves are not in the photo, because they were somewhat of a late addition.  I added them in after the pic was taken.  Once all the previously mentioned items are in and floating around and hangin’ with the tongue, put the lid on and set it to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.  I originally set mine for 8 hours, but actually ended up leaving it on a little longer.  It cooked for a total of 9 hours!!!  I figured the longer the better in this case.  I was right…the beef ended up being so juicy and succulent.

Soooooooooooooo…after the 9 hours of cooking away in the Crock-Pot, the house smelled incredible.  We were in and out all day, and every time we walked in the door…we were welcomed with such a comforting aroma.  When your beef tongue has finished cooking, take a pair of tongs and remove it from the liquid and place it on a wooden cutting board (or similar surface).  I think this next little piece in the process is where some folks may get a little squeamish.  Dusty was fully game to eat the end-product, but truthfully wasn’t a huge fan of what needed to be done next.  Oh yes…the removal of the ‘taste buds’, aka taking the ‘skin’ off the tongue.  With a eye (and a hungry belly) focused on the meat inside, I took a very sharp knife and actually cut and sectioned the tongue into quarters.  This size of chunks was much more manageable to work with.  Again, I wasn’t exactly sure how I would do with such a task, but I was totally good.  The ‘skin’ actually peeled off super easy, with minimal effort to be honest with you.

Now…come on…take a look at this beautifulness.  What is not to love right?!?   Once you have removed and discarded ALL the skin, you are ready to start shredding the meat.  Take a fork or two and basically start running them through the chunks of meat, to pull it all apart.  Do so, until you have reach your desired shreddedness (new word).  This step is also quite simple, as the meat basically just falls apart, because of the slow/low temperature cooking time it spent in the Crock-Pot.  Chunk by chunk, continue the same thing, until the whole tongue turns into a nice yummy pile of meat on your cutting board.  Of course at this point I had to sneak a wee nibble and taste.  If somewhat walked into your kitchen and did the same, I assure you that they would probably mistake the tongue for a pot roast or something of that sorts.  Be patient…we are almost there.  At this point, you could eat it just like this (plain), if you so chose to…but we decided that we wanted to spice up our life a little further.

If you have two sets of hands in the kitchen…one of you could be shredding the tongue, while the other is slicin’ and dicing’, while getting prepared to sauté up the veggies on the stove-top.  In a cast-iron pan (preferably), heat some coconut oil or butter on medium.  Next, add in the thinly sliced onion, bell pepper, hot red pepper and cook until softened.  From there, I took a large slotted spoon and removed all the ‘original’ ingredients from the Crock-Pot cooking.  Why waste food right?!  So I scooped out all the cooked garlic cloves, celery and shallots and transferred them into the cast iron pan to join the party.  Continue cooking on medium-high heat for a few more minutes.  After that, take your shredded beef tongue and add it into the pan.  Take a spoon and mix thoroughly, until all the ingredients are combined. Finally, sprinkle in your desired spices and continue to stir.  Once everything looks good-to-go, garnish with some fresh cilantro.  Wash your lettuce leaves to get them ready as well.  Finally, FINALLY…load ‘em up with the spicy shredded beef tongue and top off with some homemade guac and salsa.  Enjoy!  “Be brave.  Try it.  You won’t be disappointed!”

baked chicken thighs – 3 ways!

Chicken thighs…marinated three ways to suit your fancy.  Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure if I really cared for good ol’ thighs to be honest with you, as I had never really had them before.  This may be somewhat surprising, but I had previously just overlooked their goodness.  Who knows why?  Basically, the inaugural recipe of such began when I was at the butcher shop, unable to find some chicken breasts for dins one evening.  Sitting lonely, neighbouring the section which once sat the breasts, were some boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Without much thought, I snagged them and was on my way.

With this new (to me) poultry part in my possession, I decided to get a wee bit creative and whip up some simple, yet flavourful marinades to soak these bad boys in.  I had 12 chicken pieces in total…and decided to separate them equally into three Ziplock bags, containing different marinades.  Funny enough, as it turned out, the night I intended on baking them, I got tied up and just turned to having leftovers that night.  Regardless, they were all ready to go (minus the actually cooking process), so the chicken thighs were fortunate to be able to sit, immerse in the liquid concoctions overnight in the fridge.

Fast forward through the magical world of the www.  Verdict…2 thumbs up!  They turned out super moist and tender, totally filled with an abundance of juicy flavour.  They def get additional bonus points, if you are on a budget, as chicken thighs are a very affordable option.  Similar to that of their white meat counterpart, they can either come with the bone-in or boneless…and also with skin-on or skinless.  The choice here is ultimately yours…personal preference I suppose.  I think I want to try boneless chicken thighs, with the skin-on next time!  Lastly, I must also mention that these delicious chunks of meat serve as terrific leftovers.  I found myself quickly grabbing a couple thighs in the morning for breakfast, as I was literally darting out the door for work.  A super sweet option for those who are often on the go!

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the ‘marinade’, can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegarlemon juice, or wine or enzymatic (made with ingredients such as pineapple or papaya.)[1] Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items.

It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.[2] The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines. For example, in Indian cuisine the marinade is usually prepared with a mixture of spices. (Source: Wikipedia)

Note:  I will try to be as accurate as possible, but not gonna lie – mostly eyeballed it, test-tested and hoped for the best when it came to the amounts of olive oil and balsamic that I put in!!!  I will make these again in the next week or two, and re-jig the recipe to include the exact measurements for y’all.

Marinades (12 chicken thighs total – each marinade was made for 4 chicken thigh pieces each.  You may want to adjust, depending on your quantity)

Balsamic

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • balsamic vinegar (equal parts oil and vinegar)
  • 3 shallots – finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard – good quality
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Lemon

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 1.5 lemons – squeezed
  • 3 tbsp Italian seasoned herb mix (dried basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, black pepper)
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Smoky

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 2 limes – juice squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 shallots or small white onion- finely sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle
  • 2.5 tsp of chili powder
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Prep

  • for each individual marinade – measure and pour all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag
  • add chicken thighs into the bag and zip closed
  • use your hands to shake and ‘massage’ the marinade mixture into the chicken pieces
  • allow to soak and absorb all the flavours for at least 2 + hours (I let marinade for 24 hours – the longer, the better)
  • when ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • remove chicken thighs from bag, and place in a single layer, in an oven-proof dish (Corningware), covering with the liquid marinade
  • bake for approx. 30-45 minutes, until juices run clear (watch them, as you don’t want to overcook/dry-out)
  • broil for an additional 3-5 minutes if you want the outside crispy (optional)
  • remove, set aside and serve
  • enjoy!

loaded beef & bacon chili

We made this concoction up last night for dins.  Slightly similar to a previous chili recipe of mine, HOWEVER def jazzed up with more flavour and bacon!  I have to say…the bacon was a solid addition.  Today, it has served me very well as a breakfast, lunch AND dinner.  I kid you not!  Some people get all weirded out my eating the same kinds of meals several times in a row and making use of their leftovers.  Not this gal.   More specifically, when it comes to stews, chilies and soups…sometimes they are even better the next day.  Anyhoo, I am keeping in short and sweet tonight.  Hitting the hay…and off to the states tomorrow to do a little shoppy shops!!!  LE CREUSET outlet store…here we come!  TA TA for now…

loaded beef & bacon chili
Main
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • coconut/olive oil- for cooking veggies
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 8-10 slices of bacon - or more if desired!
  • 1 can diced tomatoes- organic (just tomatoes- look at ingredients)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes- same as above
  • 2 package mushroom- quartered into chunks
  • 3-4 large carrots- coined
  • 3 stalks celery - chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion- thickly diced
  • 3 zucchini- diced into chunks
  • 2 red pepper- chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp ground smoked chipotle chilies
  • loads of chili powder - add and taste - repeat (to reach desired flavour and colour richness)
  • fresh cilantro- chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. start by browning the ground beef, on medium heat in a frying pan- set aside
  2. in the meantime, bake the bacon in the oven at 325 degrees, until fully cooked - set aside to cool, then break into chunks
  3. in a separate dutch oven (large), sautee all the veggies in coconut/olive oil on medium heat, until cooked (softened)
  4. drain most of the liquid from the veggies, as you don't want it too watered down
  5. then take the ground beef and bacon pieces and add both to the veggies in the dutch oven
  6. next, add in both cans of tomatoes and stir throughly
  7. then, sprinkle in desired amounts of spices (taste test as you go - we put in lots as that is the way we prefer it!)
  8. let cook on low-medium heat- stirring occasionally
  9. dish and garnish with fresh cilantro
  10. enjoy!
Notes
• The above recipe is wonderful for freezing smaller portions, because of it's size. I also enjoy using the leftovers as a yummy topping on eggs or over greens. • One of my 'readers' the other day, suggested that it may be a tasty topping for my twice baked chipotle sweet potato. Good call!

creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac

I have made guac many times before, but have recently updated my recipe with a couple sweet tweaks here and there. The ‘new & improved’ version, so to speak!  In my opinion, making that perfect guac, honestly has a lot to do with finding the perfect avocados.  Catching them at the right time, is key.  They need to be ripe and ready to go, but not starting to go brown inside.  Sidenote: how many times have you bought avocados and thrown them out???  They go fast!  There lies the fine line. The second point to securing amazing flavour is mincing your fresh garlic, rather than just chopping it up.  I find this makes a huge difference is giving it so much more flavour.  Garlic breath beware!

My new version of homemade guac is creamier, yet still a little on the chunky side.  You know…kinda like ‘crispy’ and ‘saucy’ wings…I like a happy combo of both.  The generous amounts of squeezed lime juice and cilantro make it so FRESH!  I love that guac is so filling and serves so many purposes.  Throw it on some meat, use it as a dip for veggies, top off your fav kind of eggs…or just gobble it up on it’s own!  Whatever the case may be, chances are you will be adding it to anything and everything in sight.  It is so good and highly addictive…I fully ate almost the entire batch (and it was a huge batch) all by my lonesome!  Okay…enough chit chat.  Here is is…

Note:  I have made changes/additions below that differ from my original recipe.

creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac
Condiment, Side
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados (ripe - soft, but not too soft to the touch)
  • 2-3 small white onions - finely diced
  • 6 plum tomatoes - finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2-3 limes - freshly squeezed juice
  • fresh cilantro - chopped (lots!)
  • coarse sea salt - several pinches (I used rosemary & lemon)
  • ground black pepper - generous amounts
  • ground cumin - a pinch or two
  • ground cayenne - a pinch or two
  • hot sauce or chopped jalapenos - to kick it up a notch (optional)
Instructions
  1. peel, cut and de-pit avocados, into a medium-sized bowl
  2. add in onions, tomatoes, garlic and lime juice
  3. using a fork, begin mashing all the ingredients together
  4. then, add in cilantro, sea salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and hot sauce/jalapenos (optional)
  5. continue the mashing process until you have reached your desired consistency
  6. enjoy!

twice baked chipotle sweet potato

Well hello there.  It has been awhile.  I have missed you.  Hope you all have been enjoying some quality family and friend time over this holiday season!  We had a wonderful Christmas filled with loads of laughs, wicked eats and special moments with our loved ones.  The Duster and I are both feeling very fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible people. Infectiously, we wish the same to you and yours!!

Since opening up my stocking on Christmas morn, I have been dying to try out this new wee kitchen gadget that I received as a gift from my mother-in-law.  It is the Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Press.  I had never before seen this sweet little tool and was pumped to give it a go!  Coincidentally, in my mind I had been conjuring up this idea for a twice baked sweet potato recipe for some time now.  I knew lots of crushed garlic, bacon and chorizo were all ‘musts’ in this one…so it was the perfect opportunity to put ‘The Rocker’ to the test!

Let’s just say…I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.  This quirky kitchen gadget is better than any garlic press I have ever tried before!  I highly recommend that it finds it’s way into your utensil drawer as well.  Super sturdy, a breeze to clean…and crushes the garlic in it’s entirety – sans mess!  This product was also a main player and motivation for me to create a new and very garlicky guacamole recipe that is ADDICTIVE!  I created a big batch on Boxing Day for a fam dins and other one today for us here at home.  It is some serious business.  I just can’t get enough!  YUM!!!  Stay tuned for my upcoming recipe blog post on this.

I am presently off on holidays for two weeks, so I have been a busy bee in the kitchen creating new recipes and making some of the visions that have been twirling around in my head, come to life!  I have to be honest, this recipe isn’t a ‘quick paleo’ or ‘on-the-go’ style recipe, but extremely fabulous for a special occasion or weekend dins, when you have a little more time on your hands.  The end product is def worth the wait.  I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen, cheffin’ up this bad boy.  A total meal onto itself…the combo of flavours and ingredients are guaranteed to make your mouth water and your belly smile.

Alright…signing off for today!  Sending huge amounts of love & goodness to you for 2012!!!  Keep an eye on my website, as I am currently working on some new projects…

twice baked chipotle sweet potato
Appetizer, Side
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes - halved
  • 2 hot chorizo sausages (pre-cooked) - diced
  • .5 lb bacon - baked and chopped into pieces (I used back bacon ends from my local butcher shop)
  • 1 large package of white mushroom - diced
  • 3 small white onions - thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp of smoked chipotle
  • fresh chives - chopped
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • butter (from grass-fed cow) - optional
Instructions
  1. start by cooking bacon in oven on a tin foil-lined pan
  2. bake at 325 degrees, until bacon has achieved desired crispiness, set aside to cool
  3. next, slice sweet potatoes evenly in half
  4. take some of the leftover bacon fat and brush on the flesh side of the sweet potato
  5. place the halves face down on another foil-lined baking pan
  6. bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until inside is tender (time may vary depending on size of sweet potato - can check using a fork to press on skin side)
  7. when done, set aside and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes
  8. in the meantime, on medium, heat all leftover bacon fat in a skillet
  9. add in onion and garlic and cook until translucent
  10. then, add in mushrooms and smoked chipotle
  11. cook until softened and slightly browned
  12. then, add in chopped bacon and chorizo sausage (pre-cooked) to the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes - stirring occasionally
  13. when finished, take baked sweet potatoes and remove insides into a bowl using a spoon
  14. take the mixture that you created in the skillet and combine with the softened sweet potato insides - mix well
  15. take the empty skins and fill them up with the mixture from the bowl
  16. place stuffed skins back on the foil-lined pan and broil for 5 minutes or so, until they are slightly browned and crispy on top (keep a close eye on them, as you don't want them to burn!)
  17. remove from oven and garnish with some sea salt, ground pepper and chopped chives
  18. top with some butter (if desired - optional)
  19. enjoy!

bacon crusted chicken strips

Okay…well this is how my brain works.  Home from the gym and bum is fully parked on the couch.  ‘The Duster’ utters the classic line…’what do you want for dinner?’  I responded….’hmm let’s see!?!’  We could make those ‘breaded chicken strips!?’  Ya…that’s a possibility…

I peeled myself off the couch to take a peakeroo in fridge to see what else we could throw in the mix.  With a slight notion of something ‘shake and bake(ish)’ floating through my mind…the pound of bacon jumped out at me and gave me the following idea!  Why not take a similar version of our original ‘breaded chicken strips’ and make ‘em extra fancy schmancy by grinding up some farm fresh pork bacon in there.  What is not to love, right?  I thought the flavour of the chicken-bacon combo would be to die for…and I was right (although my husband was someone reluctant to trying this idea in the beginning).  To be honest, I was a little skeptical myself.  I wondered if the mixture would stick properly and fry up to a nice and palatable consistency.  Everything worked out fabulously in the end.  This recipe is a definite keeper for us.  It will serve as a yummy treat every once in a while.

5.0 from 1 reviews
bacon crusted chicken strips
main, appetizer
2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb bacon (good quality)
  • 2 chicken breasts - flattened and sliced into strips
  • a few shakes (sorry, don't remember exact amount) almond flour
  • 1-2 eggs - whisked (for dipping)
  • assorted spices (optional)
  • sea salt and ground pepper
Instructions
  1. start by lining 1 or 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil
  2. place bacon strips by laying them out flat on the sheet(s)
  3. put in oven (separately) and cook at 325 degrees, until desired crispiness (do not overcook)
  4. remove from pan, and set aside to cool
  5. when cooled, put strips of bacon in a 'magic bullet' style device and grind
  6. pour this mixture into a separate bowl
  7. add in some almond flour and desired spices (optional) to create the 'crust' mixture
  8. meanwhile, flatten chicken breast, using a meat mallet
  9. cut chicken breasts into even(ish) strips
  10. re-add some leftover bacon fat back into a frying pan and heat on medium
  11. take each chicken strip and dip in in egg and roll is 'crust' mixture, making sure they are fully coated
  12. arrange in the frying pan and cook for approx. 3 minutes or so on each side (depending on thickness)
  13. using tongs, flip when ready and repeat on the other side (keep a close eye, as you do not want to overcook them)
  14. served with a side garden salad and sliced avocado
  15. dip in homemade sauces or mayo for added pizzazz
  16. enjoy!
Notes
• if you do not wish to use bacon in your recipe, follow the above steps while just omitting this ingredient and adding in a little extra almond flour to create the 'breaded' effect • play around with different spices such as, cumin, paprika, cayenne, cajun etc • also, feel free to fry them in a pan, using coconut oil, as an alternative