Karen loaded us down with so many farm fresh goodies the other day on our trip to Wildhaven Ranch that we had to do two blog posts- one just for the recipes! We got straight to cooking when we got home and haven’t stopped experimenting with the free-range products since. In fact, we might even have to do another post sometime soon with ANOTHER round of recipes.
This past week we were mostly excited to work with some of the more unfamiliar to us cuts and pieces of meat. I can’t believe it, but this included pig skin and goat testicles, or as my Grammy called them when I told her about it- “literal nuggets.”
First up, Fried Goat Testicles.
These were surprisingly easy to make, a lot less “quease”-inducing than I expected, and mild. Alfonso also said they made him feel more powerful. Men. I don’t know if testicles will become my new go-to protein, but I wouldn’t turn away a nice crispy one. Nothing wrong with a good testicle every now and again.
Fried Goat Testicles Appetizer with Sriracha (Literal Nuggets)
2 goat testicles (preferably from Wildhaven Ranch), sliced into 3 pieces each
1.25 cups flour
2 eggs (preferably from Wildhaven Ranch)
3/4 t salt
3/4 t pepper
1/2 t smoked Spanish paprika
2 cups oil for pan frying
sriracha for dipping
Heat the oil to 350ºF in a deep frying pan. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and place in a separate bowl. Dredge a testicle slice in the flour mixture, knocking off the excess. Pass it through the egg mixture and then the flour mixture again, each time knocking off the excess. Repeat for all 6 pieces. Place immediately into the hot oil and cook until golden on both sides. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Serve with sriracha.
Alfonso makes gelato at work and I have been dying to make some at home. We’ve been a little gun shy, for fear that the texture would be too “icy” since we don’t have an ice cream maker. Although, I’ve been whining about wanting an ice cream maker for the last 3 years, so maybe we should just buy one. Or not, because in Casa Castejón we like to do things the hard way. It’s a trait we both individually brought to the relationship, but when you multiply it…boy, is it fun!
So, gelato the hard way it is! Except, it really wasn’t that hard. We checked out the “Freeze and Stir” method from The Kitchn. It still turns out a barely noticeably “icy,” but the texture is better than anything I could have expected without an ice cream machine.
Also, you don’t expect the eggs to be a big part of the flavor profile in ice cream, but these gorgeous free-range eggs from Wildhaven Ranch gave the end product a beautifully whole, rounded out creaminess. There’s something about the yolks of stress-free birds that are out in the vitamin-giving sunshine everyday that just fills your mouth with joy.
The eggs, the organic sugar, and the super juicy local strawberries made this one dynamite gelato. I was kind of proud of us.
Strawberry Vanilla “No-Machine” Gelato
1 quart fresh, ripe strawberries, pitted and halved
1.5 cups milk
4.5 oz. sugar, divided
3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
4 large free-range egg yolks (preferably from Wildhaven Ranch)
pinch of salt
1 t vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Place the strawberries, 1 T sugar, and a splash of cream in a bowl and let macerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, blend the strawberries until smooth. For the smoothest texture, pass the mixture through a cheesecloth- this step is optional. Whip the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until fluffy, doubled-tripled in volume, and pale yellow.
Heat the milk and heavy cream over medium heat until just before boiling. Add the milk mixture to the egg mixture very slowly so as not to scramble the eggs, whisking as you go. When completely combined, add the salt, strawberry purée, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds and mix well. Pour in to a 1 quart freezer-safe container. Place in the freezer and re-stir the mixture completely every hour, scraping down the sides and mixing until homogenous. Do this until you can not longer properly stir it. Freeze until desired consistency. Serve topped with strawberries.
Like I’ve mentioned before, we like to make meals that will last a couple of days or that can be added to in order to last longer throughout the week. It makes it so much easier for Alfonso to eat real, wholesome food when he comes home late at night. He is no stranger to the nutritionally empty ham and cheese, or worse the fast food burger.
Braised Lamb Rib Chops to the rescue!
Instead of serving the meat with a side, I decided to braise it and then pull the meat for a pasta. If you make your braising liquid pasta-sauce-like it turns in to an easy tomato sauce for your favorite noodle. These Wildhaven Ranch lamb rib chops really didn’t need a whole lot of heavy seasoning on account of their depth of flavor- so good, Biddlecoms!
The searing in the beginning is really what takes the most attention, after that you can pretty much pop it in to the oven for the afternoon and tend to your nails or something. Or, you know, work on immigration reform. Us women are multi-faceted.
Braised Lamb Rib Chops over Pipette Rigate
1/2 box of pipette rigate
6 lamb rib chops, trimmed (preferably from Wildhaven Ranch)
1 large can whole organic tomatoes, 28 oz.
juice of 1 lemon
1 onion, 1/4 inch sliced
2 carrots, small diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
olive oil to sear
1 t pepper plus more to season
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 t salt plus more to season
2 bay leaves
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium/medium-high heat in a Dutch oven and season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper. Sear each side of the chops for 1-2 minutes, until a crisp- but quick- crust forms. Remove the meat from the Dutch oven and set aside as it is done. You will probably have to do 2-3 rounds.
Without cleaning the Dutch oven add a sprinkle more of olive oil, lower the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté the onions until tender and slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme and stir around to mix the flavors for another minute. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan, getting all the good bits up. Add in the tomatoes (including juices from the can) and completely smash the whole tomatoes right into the onion mixture. Add the bay leaves.
Return the chops to the Dutch oven in a single layer. Cover and place in the oven for 3-5 hours, depending on how big they are. Mine took about 4. You will know it is done when it easily falls off the bone with a fork. It will be tough before it goes tender.
When the meat is done, boil the pasta with a little salt and olive oil. Serve the lamb rib chops over a bed of simple pasta or remove the meat from the bone and mix in the sauce and meat into the pasta (as seen here).
Alfonso is definitely enjoying challenging his culinary skills with all the different proteins from the farm. We’ve never made rib chops before, we’ve never tried testicles before, and we’ve certainly never made homemade pork rinds before! Alfonso started the process this morning and I finished it off this afternoon. It takes me a minute to get over the fact that I’m touching testicles, pork skin, etc., but I’m so glad this particular category of fear conquering is turning out so delicious.
The pork rinds take a little time, but you can make a lot and they are an easy snack to put out, especially with a crispy, cold one! You start with the grossest looking part, the boiling. This is to easily remove the attached fat without ripping the skin.
I am so glad we are getting to try all these different things from Wildhaven Ranch. Some of the goods I would never have thought of picking up, until now. Even if you are eating something naughty, like pork rinds, you can feel good about the nutritional value of the animals from where it came. Just close your eyes and pretend you didn’t just dump 3 cups of oil into the fryer. Actually, don’t close your eyes around hot oil. Keep them wide open, or you might just burn down part of your kitchen like Alfonso did in his crazy college years. Thank god he’s refined his skills since then. But, that’s a story for another day.
large pieces of pig skin
3 cups of oil for frying
Boil the pig skin for 1.5 hours and then let cool until able to handle. Scrape the fat off the back of the skin with a spoon, so as not to cut the skin. Place in a dehydrator or on the lowest temperature in your oven with the door cracked. Leave it for around 8 hours. The skin should be dry, but not yet crispy. Remove, let cool, and cut in to 1-2 inch pieces.
Heat the oil to 350ºF in a deep, sturdy pot or a fryer. Drop in the skin pieces and let fry until puffed up and floating on top of the oil. Do not crowd the oil. Remove and let dry on a rack.
We have plans to keep pulling from the Wildhaven Ranch Santa sack in our freezer this week and see what we can whip up from there. One of my sisters and her boo thang are coming this weekend, so maybe we’ll see how far their palates can stretch, right Kristin?
Thank you again to Wildhaven Ranch for the awesome ranch life morning and the freezer full of inspiration! I’m 100% positive there is another Wildhaven Ranch: The Recipes post in my future. Don’t forget to check out their facebook page!