Braised Mexican Pork Loin Rib Roast

Contains:  Nightshades, legumes.  Is:  Gluten-free, mildly spicy.

recipe, pork, meat, braised loin roast, Mexican, black beans

Carving the finished braised pork loin.  Add items still in the pan when serving.

Haven’t done anything Mexican recently, so I got inspired to go check out a Mexican goat recipe – and there really is such a thing, done as a stew.  However, this is a Rib Roast I’m cooking, not out and out stewing meat, so I modified the following recipe-idea to become a braise.  I originally did this with a goat loin rib roast, and it was good.  But I didn’t write mine up or take photos… so… here I repeat, using pork instead – no more goat available!

Mexican Goat Stew

But yeah, this one will be an oven-braise instead.  Simply similar ingredients, although prep varies enough from the above in that I call this “inspired by“.

I’ll be using dried Guajillo chili peppers – the author notes these may well be preferred although he/she didn’t have any to hand.  But feel free to go chipotle (which are smoked jalapeños).  But at any rate, I like learning about new things:

“A guajillo chili or guajillo chile (chile guajillo in Spanish, meaning big pod) is the dried form of mirasol chili, a landrace variety of chile pepper of the species Capsicum annuum, and is the second-most commonly used dried chili in Mexican cuisine after poblanos (ancho).” Wikipedia.

According to the Guajillo package I have here, the Scoville rating is 6000 units, which puts this on the mild side of life.

Mexican, recipe, black beans Guajillo chili, pork loin roast, braised, goat loin roast

Yes, a political fight may occur between Penzys and Goya in my braising pan. So be it. Both already existed here.

It also appears that the best flavors are imparted to the chili by toasting them on both sides for about 3 minutes in a dry heavy duty skillet.  Recipes appear to call for them deseeded, but you judge your own heat tolerance needs.  (I left in the seeds as you can see from the photos.

recipe, Guajillo chili pepper, black beans, braised pork, braised goat, Mexican

A great dinner, and provides great leftovers!

The goat mentioned in the source recipe can be substituted with lamb or mutton (adult lamb), or as here, with pork.

Prep Time:  15-20 minutes, accounting for roasting of the dried Guajillo.
Cook Time:  3 hours.
Rest Time:  10 minutes.
Serves:  3-4.
Cuisine:  Mexican-inspired.
Leftovers:  Certainly!

Braised Mexican Pork (or Goat!) Rib Roast

  • Around 1 3/4 pounds rib roast, bone-in (6-8 ribs).  
  • 1 yellow or white onion, quartered or “sixthed”.  
  • 2 plum tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or more, your discretion)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 dried Guajillo chili peppers, dry-roasted briefly in a sturdy skillet, then coarsely chopped. Remove or keep seeds as you wish.
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup water
  • 15.5 oz. can black beans, including juice
  • salt to taste
  • Optional cilantro, as garnish.  (Parsley can work for the cilantro-intolerant.)  

Preheat oven to 350 F / C.

Brown the rib roast on all sides in a skillet.  About 2-4 minutes a side at medium high temperature.

To an oven-ready pan, add all ingredients except the cilantro.

Place in oven and let this cook for about 3 hours.   Carve, planning on each person (or each serving) to have two ribs apiece.  Serve with cilantro garnish.

Side serving suggestion:  corn on the cob.  No, I did not cook the corn with the meat – added for photography’s sake.  Maybe also serve with some roasted, mashed, or scalloped potatoes.

Pork, goat, recipe, braised, rib roast, black bean, mexican, guajillo


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Posted in Cooking, Meats, South of the Border | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prepping to Sell or Donate Home Grown Chicken Eggs

(This is the full and complete version of this blog post.  It was uploaded as incomplete this past Tuesday by accident.)

These are my personal guidelines that I follow for donation or sale of extra chicken eggs from my back yard, with reference to USDA guidelines.

Do check your state/region/country requirements – which may well supersede anything I say here, which works for where I live.

homesteading, eggs, chickens, clea

A near-dozen eggs. With a couple of quail ones.  I am not selling quail eggs at this point in time – they’re too new here. 

The first set pertain to eggs that get washed.  The second set pertain to eggs that are not going to be washed prior to donation – and this is to assist those in countries where eggs are not washed by mandate prior to sale.  Or to friends of mine who prefer to receive unwashed eggs.  It is assumed that these knowledgeable friends wash theirs just prior to use!  I don’t pre-wash most of my own personal-use eggs until  they’re ready to be used, but there are a couple of exceptions which I will get to in this post.

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Very occasionally I know which egg came from which hen.  I observed Celeste lay this one.  Elsewhere, I recognize the Rhode Island Red’s egg because her eggs are darker than all the other layers’ eggs here. 

  1. Collect the eggs from your happy hens.  Place in collecting basket or apron, and bring to your kitchen.
  2. Sort eggs upon home arrival.  Essentially clean and uncracked eggs will be reserved as gifts / donations / or potentially for sale.  Cracked eggs (hairline or otherwise) must be removed from potential gifting, donating, or selling.  (I look at them closely and decide if I want to eat them myself – these must go in the fridge and be cooked thoroughly within the next couple of days.   I will NOT share them!)  Dirty cracked eggs are immediately composted.  Dirty eggs that are not cracked – these are ones that usually were laid during rainy conditions, and are mud and muck caked.  If more than a slight surface dirt, I won’t sell, donate or gift those, either.  Sometimes I have scrambled them and served them back to the chickens – preferably the cockerels or immature hens so they don’t associate Egg with Food!  But, depending, I may eat them myself, well-cooked.   (Omelets or hard boiled, or in baked goods.)
  3. I gather up eggs by the dozen (or half dozen), and wash them prior to my taking them to donate or sell.  Follow the instructions on the liquid bottle of egg cleanser, or the instructions on the cleansing wipes.  I prefer the wipes.  I will use one wipe for approximately 6 eggs – and then rinse with tap-temperature water.  After cleaning, which process removes the protective cuticle that surrounds the shell, I return the batch to the refrigerator until I sally out with them….  I DON”T use these products for eggs I eat myself – it is simply extra precaution for eggs you are providing to others.  People who obtain unwashed eggs from you can simply  wash them just prior to their eating of them.
  4. Don’t wash any eggs you plan to incubate for growing baby chicks.
  5. ALWAYS refrigerate eggs after washing.  ALWAYS refrigerate any cracked eggs, washed or not.
  6. DON’T wash your eggs and leave them out after washing.  The protective cuticle that you’ve washed off (whether using just water or the products mentioned) was there to keep air and microbes from migrating into the porous structure of the egg shell.
  7. If you prefer not to refrigerate your eggs:  Note that if you lack air conditioning and the temperatures rise into the upper 80s F (30 C or thereabouts) – chicks may start developing in the eggs (assuming you have a rooster).  Refrigerate anyway or eat within a couple days.  Also, if the hens are laying for you in winter in unheated coops, if they aren’t fresh-laid and you bring them inside – and condensation develops – put them in the fridge.  The condensation will affect the egg coating adversely.
  8. (Sometimes extreme cold will lead the eggs to freezing, and they will crack with ice expansion from within.   When thawed, this yields perfectly fine whites but weirdly textured yolks.  Still edible, however.  They just won’t scramble very well.)
homesteading, eggs, chickens, selling

Egg cleaning products.

The USDA specifications detail sell-by and use-by dates.  Sell-by is 30 days after filling a carton of a dozen eggs – I guess this gives the egg farmer a couple days of leeway here.  Use by adds 15 more days to this – 45 days total.  They tend to skew conservatively on dating.

There may be different regulations in other countries.  If in doubt, do the float test – eggs that float to the top should be discarded into compost (or wherever).  If they simply try to float but still remain under near the bottom, they’re fine.  But should be used soon.

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Pickled Quail Eggs Three Ways

Contains: Eggs. Added sugar for one recipe.  Is: Vegetarian.  Two recipes are Paleo, Whole30.   

Quail eggs, pickled, recipe, vinegar, pickle juice, Five spice, dill, beets

From left to right: Pickled with unsweetened dill pickle juice (dill and a little jalapeño added), Pickled with beet juice, vinegar, sugar (cloves and cardamom added). Pickled with rice wine vinegar and Chinese 5 Spice added.


One can also make these appetizers using chicken (or duck) eggs, but in such a case it is best to let them marinate for FIVE days as opposed to the one or two days needed here.  Thickness matters.  It will take a LOT longer for the pickling juices to penetrate a chicken egg than a quail egg.

You can use the pre-canned pre-shelled hard-boiled eggs found in a few supermarkets, but readily available in Asian (Chinese. southeast Asian and east-Asian) markets.

Many supermarkets, depending on where you are located, will sometimes sell tiny cartons of raw refrigerated quail eggs.  These you would take home, hard boil or steam on your cooktop, gently peel, and then carry on with the pickling process.

The ones I used herein were largely pre-canned, as my own home-raised quail have only just started laying eggs, and I was bringing all three recipes to a pickling/fermentation-themed pot luck, having enough of each type so that each attendee would get to try at least ONE egg from each recipe.  No – these recipes are NOT about fermentation, just the pickling end of the equation.

I’d thought I had two cans of quail eggs, but alas, only one.  So I did dip into my stash of fresh quail eggs from my “children”.  The can held 21 eggs, so expect about 20 more or less in any 15 ounce / 425 gram standard can.  (Some of the weight is water weight.  Drain off, for use.)

recipe, pickled eggs, quail eggs, beet, dill, rice vinegar, Chinese 5 spice

Serving all three types of quail pickles. They seem to have been a success. You can always play with ratios for more or less sour pickling results.

Since I was bringing these as a batch of several recipes to a pot luck, I only made ten of each variety.  If you pick just one, make more – to this end, I wrote the recipes up as a ratio for the liquids.  Also note, that you want enough volume to completely submerge the eggs, and this amount will vary depending on the dimensions of your marinating vessel(s).

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Eggs are not suitable for Water Bath Canning – not acidic enough.  I am not going to recommend Pressure Canning here, either.  I am uncertain about textural outcome, and have no desire to try.  I do find food like this – that will never be subjected to water bath or pressure canning – a good place to re-use caps for short term refrigerator storage.  

The Recipes:  

I.  Dill Pickle Juice Pickled Quail Eggs.

2  Red Wine Vinegar and Beet Juice Cardamom-Seasoned Pickled Quail Eggs.

3. Asian-Inspired Rice Wine Vinegar and Chinese Five-Spice Pickled Quail Eggs.

.Prep Time:  10-15 minutes.
Cook Time:  Only necessary for the beet juice recipe.  5-10 minutes.
Rest Time:  Until cool, beet juice recipe only.
Marinating Time:  2 days ideal.
Serves:  Appetizers.  According to the can, “one serving” equals 5 quail eggs.
Leftovers:  Refrigerate up to a month, but they won’t last that long…

Dill Pickle Juice Pickled Quail Eggs.

Quail eggs, pickled, recipe, vinegar, pickle juice, Five spice, dill, beets

Use any unsweetened dilly pickle juice. Folks would save all their leftover dill pickle juices for several purposes, such as this one.

This one is essentially the recipe handed down to me by my parents, and yes, they used quail eggs (from the Asian market), too.

Quail Eggs Pickled with Dill Pickle Juice

  • 10 hard boiled and peeled quail eggs. 
  • Dill pickle juice, unsweetened, to cover.  
  • Fresh or frozen dill fronds.  Two or three fronds per 10 eggs, coarsely chopped.
  • Dill seed (optional), about a quarter teaspoon per 10 eggs.
  • For a spicy option, add 1/4 or 1/2  de-seeded jalapeño pepper, chopped finely. Or spicier yet:  a Thai pepper or two, sliced half-wise longitudinally, de-seeded.  

Put everything in a container, making certain that liquid covers the eggs, add the lid, shake hard, and let marinate 1-2 days in the refrigerator.  Shake once or twice a day

Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks.

Red Wine Vinegar and Beet Juice Cardamom/Clove-Seasoned Pickled Quail Eggs.

Quail eggs, pickled, recipe, vinegar, pickle juice, Five spice, dill, beets

Canned eggs, canned beets with juices.

I cribbed the ratios from this recipe, and seasoned the mix as per personal inclination.  Due to the added sugars, this recipe is neither Paleo nor Whole30.

Red Wine Vinegar and Beet Juice Cardamom/Clove Seasoned Pickled Quail Eggs

  • 10 hard boiled and peeled quail eggs.
  • 1 part beet juice from a can of beets.  (Measured as volumes, here).  1/4 cup.
  • 1 part water. 1/4 cup.
  • 1 part red wine vinegar (white or apple cider will do as well).  1/4 cup
  • 1 part (v/v/v/v) sugar – I used coconut palm sugar, but regular brown or white will work.  I also cut back a bit on the sugar due to my own taste buds.  1/4 cup.
  • About 3 slices of beets from that can, julienned or sliced further into thin strips.  Per ten eggs.
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or  5 whole cloves.  

Put everything in a container, making certain that liquids cover the eggs, add the lid, shake hard, and let marinate 1-2 days in the refrigerator.  Shake once or twice a day.

Drain whatever portion you plan to provide, and serve with toothpicks.

Asian-Inspired Rice Wine Vinegar and Chinese Five-Spice Pickled Quail Eggs.

Quail eggs, pickled, recipe, vinegar, pickle juice, Five spice, dill, beets

Rice wine vinegar, ready and waiting…

This is my own adaptation from the parental recipe – I don’t buy pickles often, and thus don’t typically have a stock of pickle juice to hand.

Note that rice vinegar is less acidic than white, red or apple cider vinegar.  For those, I suggest a 1:1.25 or a 1:1.5 v/v vinegar to water ratio. Here, using the rice vinegar, I am going 1;1.

Rice Wine Vinegar and Chinese Five-Spice Pickled Quail Eggs

  • 10 hard boiled and peeled quail eggs. 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, unsweetened (NOT the sushi rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water.  
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice seasoning.

Separately, mix the vinegar with the water, 1:1 v/v.  (If this will NOT cover your eggs, add more of these liquids at the same ratio, see below.)

Put the eggs in your container.

Put everything else into that container, making certain that liquids cover the eggs, add the lid, shake hard, and let marinate 1-2 days in the refrigerator.  Shake once or twice a day.

Drain whatever portion you plan to provide, and serve with toothpicks.

There are a LOT of options here.  You can simmer up a vinegar broth with water, shallots and peppercorns (to release the flavors of the seasonings – let cool before pouring over eggs).  Or try Indian style with home-made spicy okra pickles – using both the pickled okra and the eggs for a presentation, and including turmeric, onion, and slightly-crushed cumin.  Or… be guided by your personal culinary byways.

And if I had have enough quail eggs here to experiment this time, I would have tried a brined (without vinegar) quail egg preparation.  Nothing wrong, however, with reserving for a future blog post!

recipe, pickled quail eggs, pickle juice, beet, dill, Chinese five spice

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Bison (or Beef) Steak Tartare

Contains:  Raw meat, egg, optional soy.  Is:  Quick and easy, gluten-free.

bison, beef, tartare, raw beef, gluten-free, recipe, pear

It’s hot in July and August. So why not a dinner requiring no cooking? (Just source your ingredients PROPERLY!)


This is essentially steak tartare, which is raw meat from a very healthy source, and very fresh (or freshly thawed if you get the meat shipped to you from afar, like I did).  I opted to go simple this time, but did steal a few ideas.

Beef tartare has its origins in Mongolia, and the French have adapted a preparation to their own needs.  Korea also has a variety of foods that can be served raw (“hoe”).  The “yuk” part of the name Yukhoe refers to beef.  I opted against doing the Korean variant this time.  Mainly because I didn’t want the sugar that recipe called for.

The Korean recipe I found called for an Asian pear as a side garnish.  I have some regular Anjou pears around, so I used that.  I also used the idea of lemon juice that a couple recipes had.  I remember Dad making steak tartare when I was a kid – very fresh ground beef, which he added ground black pepper and probably a little salt to, topping with an egg yolk and capers.

The raw egg yolk atop is optional.  I am raising my own chickens so I have no problem grabbing one of their raw yolks for this dish.   To be extra safe, I chose an egg laid that morning.  If an egg is contaminated with salmonella, it’s in the white part, by and large.  To be extra safe, use as fresh an egg as you can, one grown locally to you.  Crack carefully and discard the whites (or reserve for some recipe that requires the whites – it freezes well).  If you have quail eggs, those would be so much better – my baby quail are as of yet too young to be supplying me with any.

bison, beef, tartare, raw beef, gluten-free, recipe, pear

Starting to dice and slice.

For the meat, I used 5 ounces of bison tenderloin petite fillet – my bison comes from – I bought their starter pack a few months back, and it came with two parcels of that cut.  (I made a regular pan-fried steak with mushrooms out of the first allotment.  Yummers.)  If you use beef, I’d certainly NOT use a supermarket slab – I’d use something from a local farmer who uses transparent and ethical growing procedures for his or her herd, and for their processing.  You could possibly used pre-ground meat, but I’d think the texture of larger bits would be off – and I wouldn’t trust it as much anyway as some cut I can slice up myself.   You can use ANY LEAN steak-quality cut for this dish.  Lean is important, please.  Too much wads of fat in, say, a ribeye, to do that raw.

Regards to the bison, normally I don’t find beef tenderloin to be all that flavorful.  It may be because this is bison, or it may because this animal was 100% pastured, but this was definitely  a flavorsome cut.  I will note that the previous identical cut I got at the same time – which I cooked conventionally in a skillet to medium rare (with a nice sear) was decidedly more flavorful than beef tenderloin I have had in the past.  So I just don’t know if the improvement is from the species, or how it lived its last months.

Recipe made back in April 28th, 2020, under quarantine.

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  What???
Rest Time:  Not applicable.
Serves:  1, simply make separate individual servings for more.
Cuisine:  A checkered history.
Leftovers:  NO.  Not unless you plan to COOK what’s left.

  • 1 5-6 ounce LEAN buffalo or beef fillet (very fresh, from a reputable source)
  • 1 Asian or other pear, cored and sliced into thin slivers.
  • 1/2 scallion / green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free low sodium soy sauce or tamari (for soy-free, opt for coconut aminos)
  • Freshly ground pepper, and salt, to taste
  • 1 very fresh egg yolk, unbroken.
  • Juice from 1/3 lemon.
  • Optional ideas:  a sprinkling of sesame seeds, or perhaps a tablespoon of rinsed capers.  Perhaps a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
Note:  to serve more than one, just double everything and prepare this to be dispensed individually to all the people who plan to eat this.  
Place the beef in the freezer for about 50 minutes, to make it easier to slice thinly.
Prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing the garlic, scallion, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons caster sugar, freshly ground black pepper, sesame oil and sesame seeds in a bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
Peel the Asian pear and cut into matchsticks.
Remove bison from the freezer.  Rinse it with cold tap water.  Pat dry with a paper towel..
Cut or mince the beef finely using a knife – not a grinder.   Then immediately add the scallion, soy sauce, salt, and pepper and mix using your hands.

Place the chopped bison or beef steak in the dish, with the pieces of pear around.  NOTE – you can form the meat mixture into a shape by putting it into a small ramekin, pressing down, and then upturning it over that serving plate.  This is not essential.

Make a slight concave area on the top of the meat mixture, and gently drop in your egg yolk.  (Feel free not to use if you wish not to.)  Squeeze the lemon third over the top of this, and add any of the optional ideas from above as your tastes dictate.

Serve immediately.

I think this would go nicely with a good-sized tossed salad.  Maybe a few raw oysters or clams with mignonette as an appetizer, to keep this raw theme going.  Fresh berries for dessert??

Bison, beef, raw, tartare, recipe, gluten-free

(Don’t invite Gordon Ramsey… IT’S RAAWWWWW!)


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Baked Chicken Thigh with Scalloped Potato, and Canned Plum Tomato

Contains:  Nightshades.  Is:  Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, quick and easy (or at least, very easy.)

recipe, chicken, chicken thigh, potato, tomato, Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free

Served Up!


There are days you just don’t want to make too much a bother in the kitchen.  But you want something to eat for dinner, and for whatever reason or reasons you don’t want to go out.  Or be bothered picking up take-out, which up here is a hike.

This was made for dinner the same day I made the more elaborate Vegetarian Moussaka that I’d had for brunch.  (For logistical and blog-structural reasons this one has been posted later.)

Baked Chicken Thigh with Scalloped Potato, and Canned Plum Tomato

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes.
Rest Time: 2 or three minutes.
Serves: 1.
Cuisine: ???
Leftovers?:  Yes, but the chicken skin will have lost its crisp.

Baked Chicken Thigh with Scalloped Potato, and Canned Plum Tomato

The ingredients below serve ONE.  Multiply by the number of people in your household.

  • One very large chicken thigh, bone-in, skin on.  (OR two small ones.)
  • 1 medium sized Yukon gold potato, sliced into thin segments of 1/4 inch or less.
  • 1 whole tomato from a canned whole tomato tin – sliced in half – plus about 1/4 cup of juice from said can.
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, either mild Hungarian, or spicy/smoky.  Your preference.  I’ve also discovered cumin works just as well if you lack paprika.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve more, just multiply.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F / 190 C.

In a baking pan, place the thigh(s), and layer the potato slices alongside.  Add the tomato and juice over the potatoes.  Squeeze the lemon/lime over the chicken.  Dust everything with the paprika or cumin, and with the ground pepper.  Scatter the nutmeg and salt over the potatoes.

Bake a large thigh for 40-45 minutes.  Smaller thighs can stop at 30-35 minutes.

Turn the oven on to BROIL for 2-3 more minutes, just enough to crisp up the chicken skin.

Serve and enjoy.

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The Quail Have Started to Lay! Plus, How Quail Differ from Chickens

New Homestead Developments!

As of this morning, July 21st, I have a total of 4 quail eggs.  Produced by my in-house Coturnix!

Homesteading, quail, coturnix

An adult Coturnix quail, which I am assuming is a male.

Apparently I have at least two or three females and at least one male.  There are  seven mature birds of this species here.  I am not good at sexing Coturnix quail yet – and these quail are of different coloration patterns to begin with.

I found the first three on Sunday (the 19th), and like chickens, quail don’t lay more than once a day.  However it is possible I missed a lay that may have happened the day before – I wasn’t really paying attention to them that day, and it was a small egg I noticed when I changed their bedding Sunday, blending into their old bedding.  I found the fourth just now this morning.  And yesterday morning, I saw mating behavior.

For the first 3-4 weeks, assuming a continual good supply of eggs, I plan on eating.  After that, I am planning to incubate and hatch these future quail.  I am not confident that the initial run of eggs would be fertile or thriving.

Homesteading, quail, quail eggs, coturnix

The first three eggs laid here! Size from one half inch to 0.75 inches.

How Quail Differ from Chickens – Besides Size!

When I discuss quail, I am only referring to Coturnix quail.  Here in Massachusetts, only Coturnix and button quail are legal to own and raise without a permit.  All other species are native to the US, and thus Massachusetts notes that permitting is needed.  Other state requirements may vary so check yours.  And other countries may have other requirements, or no restrictions at all.

Quail and chicken share the same scientific lineage classification, down through order (Galliformes) and family (Phasianidae).  This family also includes pheasants, peafowl, ptarmigan, (and some classifiers also include turkey, and guineas).  The family consists of heavy, ground feeding birds, and includes a wealth of “game” birds.

Next in the order of classification:  Chickens are in the genus Gallus (contains 4 living species, all considered Asian junglefowl; my quail are in the genus Coturnix, which covers 6 species of still-extant quail.  (Some of the information in these past two paragraphs came from Wikipedia.)

Button quail are super-tiny, and are not really of interest for raising unless one is a dedicated hobbyist.  My plans are for meat, eggs, and the propagation of future generations.

homesteading, chick, Plymouth barred rock

A young Plymouth barred rock chick, currently of the same size as the quail.

Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) are domesticated.  You can even make some of them your friends – which is to some strong level, but not completely, breed-dependent.  They descend from the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus), a southeast Asian bird.  Quail (Coturnix japonica) are not domesticated.  Although I have found a few online posts about be-friended quail, don’t go into raising these expecting to develop some pets. However, being small, they are easy to care for (once they get past the first couple weeks of life).  There are a number of different breed of Japanese quail, and my batch contains a hybrid mix of several of these.  No, I don’t know which is which, and besides this will express phenotype (how they appear) as opposed to true genetic genotypes.  

Chickens and quail can eat the same feed.  When these quail were babies, I used a dedicated grain-coffee-grinder to chew up their food for them, not to a fine powder, but to something more suitable for their baby beaks to take up.  I used (chicken) chick starter feed.

homesteading, quail, coturnix

A frontal view of this quail (same quail as the the one at the top of this post.) Quail won’t stand still for photography.  Notice the delicate feet in comparison to the chick. 

You can get day-old chicken chicks to order via hatcheries with a minimum of a 3-bird order, depending on hatchery and where you are located (they take into account likely weather, and distance from hatchery) – I had a 7-minimum order).  Day-old quail from hatcheries require a minimum of 25 babies, or in most cases, a minimum order of 50.  Really?  I can’t do that, but if you are able to, pool with your neighbors who might desire to raise them as well!  At any rate, I got my day-old’s from a local quail breeder, and I could specify a LOT less than a hatchery can safely ship (that’s why hatcheries do it… body warmth keeps them alive during the USPS shipment timeframe here in the US. – well, as long as we actually HAVE a United States Postal Service here.)

Baby quail are less hardy (by far) than baby chickens.  I’ll talk about that in some future blog post.  Just one word to the wise:  Don’t go down in the middle of the night to replace water in a shallow dish without wearing glasses, should you be myopic.  I set the dish back down on a young’un because with my blurred vision, it faded into the background of pine chips.  This one was dead when I went back down in the morning.  NOTE, I have discovered, for future quail-rearing expeditions, that you CAN buy young quail waterers that you can fill up so you don’t have to stumble downstairs overnight just to hydrate your babies.  Or to put what you scrounged up to use atop one, inadvertently.  Said waterers are not easy to find, but now I am PREPARED!

Back to differences:

Quail can FLY, and they love to POP UP, vertical like helicopters, but a lot faster.  Chickens flail about the task, and while they have some upward momentum, they go just about as much horizontal as vertical, all things considered.  Chickens, when they land somewhere outside of their brooding box (still immature here), or outside whatever penned them in — will act a bit confused.  Quail will just keep going.  They’re like popcorn, popping because they CAN.  (The word is, either house them in something with a LOW ceiling, or something with a high – six feet or two meters more – ceiling.  So they don’t hurt themselves.)

If you let them free range, quail will probably NOT come home at night.  Plus they are great predator feed.  So are chickens, but they stand a better chance at self-defense from smaller predators.  I’ve seen where people have made quail tractors, so they can let them forage better – but if you make one, put in a floor of some sort.  Due to uneven ground (even discounting burrowing) predators can easily get in, and a small one like a weasel or skunk can have a great dinner at your expense.

Quail don’t roost at night. Or at least they don’t require it.  They are not known to roost in trees in the wild, either.  Quail and chickens are both diurnal, and are ground feeders.

Quail don’t do nesting boxes.  And, if they are going to go broody, it won’t happen until the hen has laid her batch of eggs to nest.  Even so, a variety of sources have indicated my best bet for making a second generation is to incubate and hatch out my own quail.  

Male maturity is so much MUCH more obvious with chickens than with quail. It turns out that male chickens grow much larger than their hens, while quail males may be smaller than the females – who, after all, have to lay those (to them) ginormous eggs!

I have seen sources that claim that the best ratio of male to female quail for breeding purposes is 1:3 or up to 1:6.  Depend on whom I read.  Chickens usually do best with a 1:5 and ABOVE ratio – roosters need more hens than do quail.  (And, the hens will THANK YOU for that!)  In any case, dalliances work the same way in both species.

Quail will start producing eggs between 2-3 months.  Chickens – well, my first batch of heritage hens took from birth at the first of May until mid-November to start production.  Chicken eggs will start out small, but my quail gave me full-sized (for quail) eggs at the outside – 2 of 3 eggs.

Both chickens and quail enjoy sand baths, which I provide for them at maturity, or when they enter long term housing.

Both like grit to help them digest better, and mature females like calcium supplements they can enjoy ad libitum.  Use the baby chick grit and baby chick calcium supplement for the adult quail – I suspect grinding up either of these with your dedicated “coffee” grinder will not be a good idea for said grinder!   In any case, I wait about three weeks or so to provide grit.

Don’t house them together.  They have different personalities, and it just isn’t a good idea.  No intention of experimenting – even though my baby chicks and my adult quail are currently of equivalent sizes. (Even if in the lower photo montage this doesn’t appear to be the case.)

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Savory Gluten-Free Tapioca, Oat & Buckwheat Bread

Contains:  Eggs, nightshades (as seasoning)  Is: Gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free. 

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The bread, savory and moist. Butter and raspberries are included on the plate.

Out of a challenge with a group of friends, we needed to make dishes with unexpected substitutions.  Yes, if you are doing this sort of thing often, you may well know a lot of standard subs, but this was indeed fun.  (A very interesting one was a chicken salad made with avocado instead of mayo, and another was a vegan cheese spread made with almonds and a couple other ingredients I can’t recall, but without nutritional yeast.)

So I chose to make a gluten-free bread, which when buying stuff at a grocery, I steer WELL AWAY from!  The list of ingredients on those loaves make me shudder!  Meanwhile I found an intriguing recipe that would allow me to fill it with savory ingredients to (ahem) spice it up.  It really DID work very well.  The texture was more dense than a wheat-based bread but it was moist enough to make up for that – NO dry and hard here!

This is the source recipe:  Plum Deluxe’s Tapioca Bread.

gluten-free, recipe, bread, oat, tapioca, buckwheat, paprika

A close up on the “crumb”.



This is a bread recipe that does require instant rising yeast.  So you do end up proofing yeast as per most wheat breads.  While this bread rises quite well, it is far too “liquid” to pound and knead it, so no need for that step, or a dough hook on a KitchenAid.  (I did all mixing steps by hand.)

gluten-free, recipe, bread, oat, tapioca, buckwheat, paprika

Yeast I was able to find earlier during everyone’s “baking rush”.

The flours:

Tapioca:  This is sold either as tapioca starch or flour, and is obtained from the South American cassava plant.  I’d specifically bought it last winter to re-create a Vietnamese dumpling dish – which I’ve attempted once but while it tasted fine, needs some serious work in the aesthetics department before I roll it out here.

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As it says…

Oats:  You want oat flour, and you especially want to purchase oats produced in a gluten-free environment, if you are feeding a celiac.  Many oats are heavily cross-contaminated with wheat.  You can purchase as a flour, or you can do what I did: toss rolled oats into a grain-exclusive coffee grinder, and grind it down to flour consistency.   Measure oat volume in the flour stage.  Note that oats are a grain.

Buckwheat:  Buckwheat flour is not from any wheat despite the name, but actually is a flour obtained from a plant that’s a close relative to (get this!) rhubarb. It is a denser pseudo-grain, but imparts a solid flavor.  I have a GF buckwheat pancake recipe here on this blog, which I enjoy with blueberries in the mix.

Other Options:  The source recipe mentioned one could potentially sub in millet and/or rice flours for the oats and buckwheat, while still retaining the tapioca.  I do have both of those – but the originals sounded just so much more flavorful and interesting!


Xanthan Gum:  The day before putting this recipe together, I discover that this was an item my recipe called for!  Not something in my pantry.  Probably not in a lot of pantries!

Hunting around, I found a site that provided 8 or 9 subs for xanthan gum (one of the nine would probably not work with this particular recipe, but I didn’t have it anyway.)  Of the potential substitutes I did have:  flax seed or egg white.  You’d think I’d have corn starch in my pantry, but I refuse to buy corn starch in that all I’ve seen available is heavily GMO.  Mind you, I have NO objection to the technology per se, but when I cook at home, I prefer not to buy Round-Up Ready foodstuffs.  (For corn starch, I usually use potato starch or arrowroot starch as a substitute – but neither of those were listed as an option here – and I was already thinking I might be over my head in creating this bread, to begin with!)  This is the source list of substitutions and how to use:  Nine Substitutes for Xanthan Gum.  

There were going to be enough eggs in this recipe, so I opted for the flax seeds.  I’d bought them a couple years back and never had found a good reason to use them.  So I ground a bunch up – the finer the better, or they can taste “gritty” depending on application.

gluten-free, recipe, bread, oat, tapioca, buckwheat, paprika

Ground flax, and whole flax seeds.

The main hurdles out of the way, what about spices???

Paprika:  The recipe went with smoked paprika.  My smoked paprika is also a HOT paprika, and I didn’t feel this belonged in a bread recipe of this sort.  The idea is flavor, not knocking one’s socks off, welcome as that is often in other dishes. So I did mild Hungarian paprika.   But from here on in, I deviated from seasonings.

Turmeric:  I simply felt like it.

gluten-free, recipe, bread, oat, tapioca, buckwheat, paprika

Fenugreek (methi) leaves. Earthy with a hint of sweet.

Kasoori Methi/Fenugreek Leaves:   As I was already moving towards the Indian subcontinent??  Why not?  Methi translates to fenugreek in Hindi.

Toasted Black Sesame Seeds:  Another “it fits the bill”, and I can’t find my collection of those wonderful nigella seeds I know should be around here, which the original recipe suggested.

PS another note:  Somewhere I read that subbing the eggs with flax seed (for vegans) doesn’t work well with tapioca recipes.  The FOUR eggs in this recipe must mean something?  

gluten-free, recipe, bread, oat, tapioca, buckwheat, paprika

A loaf, just loafing around.

Prep Time: 40 minutes. + 1 hour of yeast rising.
Cook Time:  45 minutes.
Rest Time: 15 – 20 minutes.
Serves:  Depends on how you slice it, or use it.  Certainly ample for 6, probably more.
Leftovers:  Yes.  Serve cold or toasted.  Best on the day of, or day after, the making.

Savory Gluten-Free Tapioca, Oat & Buckwheat Bread

As noted, feel free to vary around the seasonings in this bread!   Opting less-savory should work very well, too!

  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup boiling water, use as soon as it boils
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup oat flour, gluten-free
  • A few sprinkles of rolled oats, gluten free
  • 2 tablespoons coconut (or white) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • About 2-3 tablespoons loosely packed dry crumbled fenugreek leaves
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Toasted black (or white) sesame seeds for topping.  Use nigella seeds if you have them!  

To the warm water (hot water from tap) add the yeast, mix gently, set aside.

To the boiling water, remove from cooktop, add the finely ground flax seeds.  Mix, set aside.  It is okay if SOME evaporates.

To a large bowl, add the three flours, the sugar, salt, baking powders and seasonings.  Mix by hand.

To a smaller bowl, add the eggs, olive oil, and vinegar.  Mix by hand.

To the yeast bowl, add the flax seed bowl, assuming the flax seed liquid is just tepid at this point.  Pour all this into the egg/oil/vinegar bowl, and mix.

Add the liquids to the dry foodstuffs bowl, and mix together so that everything is combined.  The batter will look very liquid – almost pancake consistency (which really threw me off when I made this!)

Pour into a lightly-oiled medium-sized bread loaf pan – I only had the small loaf pans, in which case divide half and half to each.

Set into a warm spot to rise for about half an hour – mine doubled in size.

Towards the end, pre-heat oven to 350 F / 177 C.

Top the loaves with the sesame seeds.

Bake a medium sized loaf pan for 45 minutes.  Bake the two small loaf pans (if using) for 35 minutes.  The tops should brown up nicely.  Remove afterwards,  and allow the pans to rest on a rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  These loaves are also suitable for slicing for sandwich bread.  I provided butter (Kate’s Creamery) for my friends, but let your imagination roam.

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Sous Vide Bison Tongue: Low Temperature, Steak Style – Two Recipes

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Tongue steak with asparagus, potatoes, sous vide, onions, au jus

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Tongue salad with lettuce, tomato, Chinese chives, oil and vinegar

Contains:  Nightshades (but you can opt out, and season differently.)  Is:  Offal, not awful.  Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free.  

This recipe and the follow up preparations will work with beef tongue as well as bison.   Being that tongue is naturally a tough meat, a long sous vide time will result in tender, tasty steaks in either case.

After sous-viding, I took half the tongue and put it into a salad, cold.  I saved all the juices in the bag and used this with the other half, quickly reverse-seared, and served up with a creamy horseradish sauce, along with asparagus, at a different meal.  So, here are two recipes for the price of one sous vide preparation.

tongue, beef, bison, buffalo, steak, salad, paleo, gluten-free,

Slice portions into thick steaks, and portions into smaller bites (the smaller for the salad).

I prepared this tongue using a sous vide plan for medium rare tongue steaks – never having had medium rare tongue before, I was also game to try this.  The site said 131 F / 55 C for 2 to 3 days, but I decided to up this to 133 F / 56 C, simply due to the fact that if the temperature gauge in the sous vide device was a little bit off, this could be below the USDA cooking recommendations of not sous-viding at less than 130 F / 54.5 C for extended periods of time.  I cooked this for about 2 hours short of three full days, which meant in my case that it was ready for breakfast.   Or, brunch.  

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I’ve finally had the opportunity to try medium-rare tongue. Cooked properly, this is very tender and tasty.

The drippings from the bag post sous vide are lovely.  I accidently took a sip from the mug I’d set them into (thinking it was my coffee mug) – after the true shock of realizing this wasn’t coffee – I discovered this might in itself be a base for a tasty broth or soup.  (I didn’t do that, as you will see below.)  While I considered thickening the sauce, I am usually just as satisfied with “au jus” – and the potato added a touch of thickening anyway.

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Cooked tongue prepped with paprika, ready for the skillet dish.

For the steak preparation, I very lightly seared the steaks in a pan.  I wanted to keep the interior medium rare, so I went with a thick steak cut.  You can add vegetables as you choose or have to hand.

A good horseradish sauce dip to the side completed this dish.


The creamy horseradish sauce I used.

For the steak salad, I didn’t sear the meat – although that’s always an option should you like.   I served it cold, but it could just as easily be added to the top of a salad, warm.

I didn’t eat this tongue all on one day – spaced it out over two or three.  The salad I treated as a brunch, skipped lunch, and had something unrelated for dinner.

recipe, tongue, beef, bison, buffalo, steak, sous vide, asparagus, whole30, paleo, gluten-free

Searing the steaks, awaiting the potato and juices.

Sous Vide Bison Tongue:  Steak Style

  • 1 bison (buffalo) tongue
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (make your preferred combination of smoked, hot, or mild Hungarian)

Procedure:  Poke holes in the tongue with a paring knife.

Rub down the tongue with the paprika.

Place in the sous vide bag and use either water displacement or vacuum sealing to seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Set in a 131 F / 55 C water bath, and sous vide for 2 – 3 days.  (I ran this about two hours shy of three days).

Remove, allow to cool just enough to handle, and pull off the skin.  On bison, some of the skin will come off (the tougher parts) but the thinner, less tough pieces, I allowed to remain.

What to do with the tongue, now prepped??
Two recipes follow, steak or salad!

Bison Tongue Steaks au Jus with Potato and Asparagus

(Up front, a tongue steak isn’t going to look like a ribeye or even a flank steak.  It is a different style of steak, just as filet mignon, ribeye, or flank really don’t resemble each other, either.)

  • Sous vide bison (or beef) tongue as prepared above.  (I used half a tongue for two people; this will vary depending on size and interest.)
  • Sous vide juices.
  • 1-2 potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold or similar.
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped.   
  • 8 or MORE stalks asparagus, tough bottom ends broken off and discarded; tops either chopped or hand-broken into lengths of preference.  Optionally, leave the used portions of stalk unbroken.  
  • About 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon paprika.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the potatoes:  Remove bad bits.  You will not need to skin these potatoes unless desired.  Coarsely scallop them to about half an inch in thickness.  Simmer in a pot of water about 15 minutes.  Drain when done and set aside.  Meanwhile, finish any mis en place, and start cooking the rest:

Add butter to a medium-hot skillet, and then add the chopped onion.  Sauté the onion until at least translucent.  Browning them lightly (not burning) would also be tasty.

The asparagus used consisted of medium-thickness stalks.  For medium or thick stalks, add these now.  Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring.

Season the tongue with the paprika.

Add the room temperature (preferably) tongue and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes a side of each steak, raising the heat if desired.  Add any salt and pepper to the skillet, and then, if one has not already done so, add any thin-thickness asparagus.

Add the drained cooked potatoes, and the au-jus from the cooking bag.  The latter will serve to deglaze the pan.

Cook until the juices and food are hot all the way through, and serve.  Have horseradish sauce or a good Dijon or spicy brown mustard on the side.

Leftovers:  Reheating stovetop is best, but a microwave serves in a pinch.

Bison Tongue Salad

(You can make this salad with just about any tongue preparation method).  Serves 1-2 people.

  • Cooked tongue (chilled or room temperature), sliced into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 whole tomato, preferably farm-stand quality.
  • Leaf lettuce of your choice.
  • Chinese chives, scallions, red onion slivers – your choice
  • Your favorite dressing, to taste. 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Artfully assemble each salad on a plate, and serve.

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For reference, here are the other tongue recipes I’ve posted at this blog:

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Sous Vide Bison Tongue: Braised & Pan Fried Style

Contains:  Nightshades (but you can opt out.)  Is:  Offal, not awful.  Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30. 

Yes, this post does include photos of actual bison tongues.  Consider this a squeamish alert.

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This bison tongue was obtained from Wild Idea, a bison-raising venture in Montana.  And they are effectively raised wild, as the ranch covers a LOT of square mileage – well over a hundred I believe.

For the first sous vide venture, I decided to go for a braising, “firm but shreddable” which in the below is recommended to cook for 1 to 2 days at 156 F / 69 C.  One day seemed enough to me.  The link refers to beef but bison/buffalo should not be any different.  The site below also has recommended temperatures for braising that is suitable for seriously shredding the tongue meat (higher, obviously), but I really only like meats that become very shreddable if the purpose will be carnitas or tacos.  (Well, a truly tough meat such as beef brisket is great that way, too…)   The second part of my decision, in order to differentiate this recipe from older profiles I’ve used, is to then slice the tongue relatively thinly, and fry it in a skillet.  With things that happened to be around the house, anyway.

For the second, I’ve prepared using a sous vide plan for medium rare tongue steaks – never having had medium rare tongue before, I was also game to try this.  The site said 131 F for 2 to 3 days, but I decided to up this to 134 F / 57 C, simply due to the fact that if the temperature gauge in the sous vide device was a little bit off, this could be below the USDA cooking recommendations of not sous-viding at less than 130 F for extended periods of time.  That as noted will be my second recipe, and I plan to serve as a salad.

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I’m going to mention once again we grew up with mother’s home-cooked tongue recipe, and frankly I never saw anything “odd: about eating this delicious piece of meat.  It may well have been something her own mother would make back down in Kentucky.  Truth be told, tongue is a muscle, not an organ, anyway.

RECIPE ONE: (Braised at 156 F / 69 C).  Prepared  to be served April 12th, 2020).

For this I wanted to be simple.   I didn’t even bother to add salt to the sous vide bag.  There’s a certain natural saltiness to tongue anyway.  Ground cloves, however, sounded like a great way to bring this dish to a flavor ambiance that Mother always used.  Adding slits through the skin and into the meat would help the clove flavor permeate deeply.

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Slicing the bison tongue prior to pan frying it. Crosswise first.

Since this was a braised endeavor, I cut the slices relatively thin – and I cut the tip longitudinally – but you can cut the whole thing the same way as the back of the tongue.  (I simply did  the longitudinal method to show the tongue for photography.)

recipe, tongue, bison, buffalo, beef, sous vide, cloves

Followed by my longitudinal cuts. A very good and tender meat.

To be honest, you don’t even need to pan fry this.  I simply did it for the extra flavor – and besides I’ve never pan fried nor seared tongue before, so I figured, why not???   

For the veggies, I wanted something that would join this in the skillet and would pan-fry nicely (and which would happen to be in my home).   You can start the peppers with the onions, or do as I did and add the pepper after the onion and then the meat – I know I’m rather alone on this, but I really really prefer my peppers (bell or poblano) to have some more au-dente crunch to them.  (I wrote the recipe for those who would prefer the peppers a bit more cooked.)

bison, tongue, buffalo, beef, sous vide, recipe

Add the tongue after the onions get a bit translucent. You can also add the peppers when you start the onion – which is what I describe in the recipe proper. I simply like peppers more au dente than most do.

The drippings from the tongue are good – you can save what you don’t use in the cooking step for gravy makings for some future dish.  Thickened up, it may even be great over mashed sweet potatoes, or over scalloped Yukon golds, with that clove profile.

The tongue cooked this way is quite moist, and holds a good flavor.  You don’t need condiments for it, but if you like, a good Dijon mustard and/or horseradish makes for an excellent side choice.


bison, buffalo, beef, tongue, sous vide, recipe

Everything simmering away. At the end I’d added some broth from the sous vide bag.

Leftovers can be re-heated and enjoyed as-is, or chop this into a salad.  Or put the slices into sandwiches, either hot or cold.  This is slightly shred-able, so you could enjoy adding leftovers to tacos.

Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Sous Vide Time: 24-48 hours.  I used 26 hours.
Sous Vide Temp:  156 F / 69 C.

Cook/Sear Time:  15 minutes.
Rest Time:  Not needed.
Serves: 3-4.
Cuisine:  American, with probably a bit of Southern or Pennsylvania Dutch accent.
Leftovers:  Yes.  Just re-heat.  Or, eat cold.

Braised Sous Vide Bison Tongue, Pan-Fried Finish with Onion & Pepper

  • One bison (or beef) tongue.
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cloves.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 1 large bell pepper or (as I did) 2 poblano peppers.  De-seeded and chopped.
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
  • Optional:  Dijon mustard, a brown spicy mustard, or horseradish (which can be “prepared” ie, this is just shredded horseradish — or a creamy horseradish sauce).

Pre-heat the sous vide pot to 156 F / 69 C.

Take the raw tongue, and make piercings into the skin and flesh, using a paring knife.

Rub the ground cloves all over the tongue, including into the slits.

Insert the tongue into a large sous vide bag, and either vacuum seal or use a silicon zip lock style bag with water displacement method.  (If you don’t have large enough a bag, using two smaller bags and cutting the tongue in half will also do.)  I recommend NOT using a store bought plastic zip lock bag as the plastic used for those will give an “off” taste to the meat at the temperature used here.

Place the bagged tongue in the water bath, weighing it down if necessary with a suitable object.  Cover the top of the pot or bath with a lid or foil.

Allow to sous vide for 24-48 hours, checking water level often to make sure that the water hasn’t evaporated too low – add more as needed.

Prep the veggies shortly prior to the end of the sous-vide time.

Remove tongue from bag when ready to use, reserving the liquids.

Try to remove the skin – for some reason I was not able to do so (as I can with tongue cooked by more conventional means.   If you can not, either, it turns out that the skin prepared as this was prepared, is actually soft and edible.

Begin to sauté  the veggies in a large skillet, with the cooking oil.  Allow to cook until the onions go translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

Slice the tongue into approximately 1/3 inch slices, and add to the skillet, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the meat of each slice to brown, about two minutes, and flip to fry the other side.

Add about 1/3rd cup of the sous vide broth.

Cook down for about five more minutes, turning the meat once or twice.

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Mussels with GF Shirataki Noodles, Cheese, and Seasonings

Contains:  Shellfish, dairy, nightshades if you use the ancho powder.  Is:  Gluten-free, grain free, soy-free, quick and easy.

mussels and noodles served

This Noodly Mussel Dish.

About shirataki noodles:  They are made with Japanese white yams / konjac flour, although there is a brand that makes some of them with soy.  I’ve never tried those.  These white yam noodles are good for people who want to go keto, or in the case of folk like myself, who really want to cut down on the carb calories but still have something with a noodle happening in their recipe, no matter what they’ve eaten otherwise that day.  No carbs.  I find regular pasta to feel “heavy”, and while I’ll definitely eat regular pasta (not being celiac or intolerant), many days I simply just feel like eating these.  They’re also VERY quick-cooking, and very much gluten-free.  Dietary fiber is low -so balance out your daily diet accordingly.  There’s really no intrinsic flavor but they can take on flavors.

mussels, shirataki, noodles, recipe

Here is one brand of shirataki white yam noodle. No, I don’t get any bennies from promoting any foods on this blog.

Obviously, with this recipe, you can sub in other pasta/noodles, but in most cases they’ll need longer to cook – you may want to cook those in a separate pot so you can be ready when the cooked mussels are ready – although that’s not entirely necessary.

And if you want clams, use clams!

recipe, noodles, shirataki, mussels

Mussels opening up, and water starting to foam.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes.
Cook Time: 5 minutes.
Rest Time: Not needed.
Serves: 1 as a complete meal, maybe with some salad nibblings.
Cuisine: Maritime inventive.
Leftovers: Yes but don’t re-heat very long.

Mussels with Shirataki Noodles and Seasonings

  • A pound or so of raw mussels, weighed in their shells.  
  • 1 package (7 ounces / 200 grams) shirataki noodles, preferably in fettuccini shape.  SEE ABOVE.
  • 2 ounces Fontina or other melting cheese, sliced thin.  Or shredded.
  • 1/8 or so teaspoon of ancho chili powder.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.
  • 1/8 or so teaspoon oregano.
  • Ground pepper and salt to taste.
  • Wish I’d added:  scallions/green onions, probably just one, chopped.  A sprinkle of sesame oil and/or seeds.  And, y’know, just a sprinkling of rinsed capers, as well.  All this at the very end.  

Sort the mussels.  Any that are open (beyond an 1/8th or so of an inch, discard).  You can remove beards from the shells now, too, if necessary but since these will be served shell-less, I do this at a later step.

Bring a pot of water to boil, eyeballing it to be reasonably confident the mussels can be submerged here.

Toss in all the good mussels.  Allow the water to return to a boil.  With a large spoon, move the lower mussels around so they all have a chance to open.

When the shells start opening, and the water rises up with foam – you are done.  Turn off the burner/hob and remove the pot from that spot.  Drain through a colander.

Remove the mussel meat from the shells and reserve this meat, but discard ANY mussels that don’t open up.  They’re dead, Jim.  (If you don’t move the lowest mussels around during cooking, it is possible some can’t relax their adductor muscles and open up, giving you a false negative – if in doubt return those few to boiling water for another minutes – at that point if they don’t open, give them up.)

It is also at this point when you are removing the mussel meat from their shells, if any of the coarse “beard” material decides to come along, tear it off with your fingers and discard.

This process actually takes a lot more time to describe than to do!

Now, rinse the shirataki noodles, and add them to a pot of water, bringing this to a boil.  (If you are using other sorts of pasta, refer to the box instructions).

When those are ready or at least au dente, drain out most of the water, but leave at least a half cup.

Return that water, the noodles, AND the mussels to the pot.  Simmer another scant minute.  Drain again, and drop the noodles and mussels into a bowl, quickly adding in the cheese, pepper, salt, oregano, ancho chili powder, and lemon juice, and mix thoroughly with a spoon or even your hands.  You can also add in some or all of the “Wish I’d Added” ingredients now, too.  Allow the heat of the noodles and the mussels to melt that cheese.

Then.. serve.  Turned out to be a full course for me.

Recipe made May 15th, 2020.  Since I couldn’t find shirataki noodles nearby in Massachusetts (they were in my favorite supermarket back in Connecticut), I started ordering them on line last winter.  Some brands store at room temperature (these ones for instance), others state to refrigerate even prior to opening.  

Mussels, shellfish, cheese, shirataki, noodles, gluten-free

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