Buffaloed by Bison?

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly the most adventurous eater. Oh, I’ll try new things, but ask my family and friends and they’ll tell you that nine times out of 10, I order chicken when dining out. Unless of course, I can afford to have steak (I’m looking at you, Mr. Paul’s Chophouse – a maybe once-a-year treat but oh so worth it!). But I do love chicken. It is my protein of choice not just when dining out, but at home, too.

A few years ago, I began hearing about bison meat – that it was tastier and healthier than beef, but I never saw it in the grocery stores around my house. I’m sure Whole Foods has it, but my nearest Whole Foods requires two freeways and fighting traffic in a business district to get there. So when I saw a one-pound package of ground bison last week at my local Aldi, I felt like I’d won the lottery or something. I finally found bison! It was rather exciting. To me, anyway. I put it in my cart, already planning to make burgers with it. I do love a good burger, and I hadn’t made any in a while.

The big question was, how to season it? Since it’s a red meat similar to beef, I figured I probably couldn’t go wrong treating it like I would ground beef, so I settled on McCormick’s Worstershire Pub Burger seasoning blend, with a little garlic salt sprinkled on during cooking. It smelled…different. So different that I was a little concerned that maybe I wasn’t going to like it. I wouldn’t say it was gamey, but the scent was quite different from beef. Maybe a bit like lamb, and I hate lamb. HATE IT.

But I soldiered on – I was already committed to trying this bison and I was going to see it through. I waited until it was almost finished cooking (to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, just like beef) before I added a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, let it melt down over the top of the burger, then served it protein style (sans bun – gotta watch those carbs, ya know), with a chopped salad.

I cut off a piece, speared it with my fork, put it in my mouth, and…

It was…

GOOD.

Actually, it was VERY GOOD. It wasn’t odd or gamey at all. It tasted a lot like beef, but richer and very tasty. Maybe a little dryish, but I’m not sure if that is because I overcooked it or that it’s pretty lean – only 10% fat. Regardless, I quite enjoyed it and will definitely purchase it again!

After I eat the other three bison burgers that are chilling in my freezer.

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Meal Planning

Bison. It’s what’s for dinner… tomorrow.

Cooking with Nancy: Chicken Shawarma

Ever since I first had chicken shawarma, I have been in love. A few years back when my nephew Julian was a baby, I used to babysit him when my sister and brother-in-law wanted to go out for the evening. Since they live a good hour’s drive from my house, it usually involved spending the night. They would treat me to dinner, and I always picked carry-out from this little Middle Eastern restaurant not far from their house that had the best chicken shawarma. Sadly, the restaurant went out of business a few years ago. I always meant to look for a recipe for shawarma, but never did, until a couple of weeks ago one came to me! Our local paper, The Detroit Free Press, had an article about the Muslim celebration of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, and the paper included some Middle Eastern recipes for the holiday. Among them was CHICKEN SHAWARMA!!

I was surprised at how easy it was – I made the marinade last night and let it sit all night and all day today. I think the chicken was marinading about 18 hours by the time I got around to cooking it this evening! I didn’t eat it as a sandwich – instead I sliced the cooked chicken breast and served it over a bed of brown and wild rice (Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Brown and Wild Rice with Broccoli and Carrots), but I will definitely make it as a sandwich next time – this would make a good lunch!! Here’s the recipe (the recipe as it appears in the newspaper is in italics; my notes are not. The photos are mine) –
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Cooking with Nancy – Tabbouleh

I’ve been trying some new recipes lately and being the foodie that I am, I thought, now why am I not sharing them with my readers??  So, from time to time I will feature a recipe on this blog.  First up is tabbouleh.  The recipe is from the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger.  I didn’t have bulgur so I used couscous, nor did I have red onion – I used green onions.  I also omitted the lemon zest and ground cumin.  I made a half-recipe, but the ingredients are for the original, whole recipe:

Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

1 cup bulgur wheat

1 1/2 cups boiling water

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)

1 large cucumber, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 cups finely chopped parsley leaves

1/3 cup finely chopped mint leaves

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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