[PHX + ABQ] Spring update

Phoenix: We’re staying here in Arizona a bit longer than usual. We’ll be at Roadrunner Park and Ahwatukee Farmers Markets through the weekend of May 14/15 this season. If you need to stock your freezer and pantry for the summer, please let us know. It’s officially still spring, but temperatures are forecast in the high 90’s the next 2 Saturdays, so we recommend shopping early and bringing pre-chilled coolers/cooler bags and gel packs. If you’d prefer to pick up or shop at our home, please do schedule an appointment. If you’d like to join Kenny’s Kelvinator club, we currently have both 7 cubic ft and 14 cubic ft freezers available for pick up or delivery. Generally, you can plan on storing 20 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer space. 

Albuquerque: We intend to begin the Los Ranchos Growers Market in New Mexico in late May 2022 and continue most Saturdays throughout the summer. We have pork and beef ready for harvest during the summer and early fall. We are bringing A TON of salmon to New Mexico and look forward to seeing you soon. Advance orders are welcome.

Our many thanks to you all, we appreciate you so much! As always, we welcome your comments, questions and insights.

Brenna & Kenny

Kelvinator and elderberry

I have been searching for superior complementary products to support my friends and family since I sold the first filet of salmon in 2002. Equipment and super foods both fall into this category.

The most precious food in the world is also the most delicate. Colder temperatures extend the lifetime of perfectly harvested plants and animals. Since energy is vibration, super cold deep freezing slows the vibration until you prepare it. I have settled on Kelvinator commercial chest freezers with full confidence that the last filet or ground steak 2 years later will taste as good as the first out of the box. 

As a proof, I picked and froze fresh elderberries last summer in 5 gallon buckets with good seals in my commercial freezer. Quarts of elderberries are $20 each and guaranteed to stain your fingers for the finest syrup you’ll ever sip. I use them to infuse extra power, flavor, and color into my meades and melomels.

My Kelvinator club is slowing growing. Peace of mind is a stainless steel treasure chest on wheels with plenty of meals vacuum packed in suspended animation ready to prepare just in case. 7 to 21 cubic foot freezers full of food are available to order for delivery or pick up.

We plan to be in Phoenix a few more weeks before we head back to New Mexico for the summer to harvest pork and beef.

Kenny

Give the people what they want

It’s a fine Friday night and our truck is loaded with salmon, beef and honey for the farmers markets in Phoenix this weekend. Weather is going to be perfect and we’re looking forward to seeing you.

As you may know, we tend to rely on our local farmers markets to supply the foods that we do not hunt, gather, harvest or grow ourselves. That means lots of produce and a bit of dairy, and maybe a surprise once in awhile. Here’s a quick easy salmon recipe using only ingredients available now at your favorite Phoenix farmers markets. 

Keta Salmon with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 Keta Salmon Loin OR 3 Keta Salmon Tail Portions

1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (reserve greens for salad)

2 large watermelon radishes, thinly sliced

2 lemons, cut in half crosswise, seeds removed

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

3 tablespoons Bariani Olive Oil

Kenny’s Spice Rub

1 teaspoon Raw Honey

12 ounces+ mixed greens. I used a lettuce mix, some spinach, a variety of microgreens and the green fennel fronds. Then we added 1 large bunch of I’itoi onions and a few cherry tomatoes. You can go with any of your favorites here. When it comes to salad, I’m a fan of as much variety and abundance as possible.

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, toss the sliced fennel bulb, radishes, lemons, garlic, 1 tabelspoon of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon Kenny’s Spice Rub (or salt and pepper). Roast until fennel and radishes begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

Season the salmon with Kenny’s Spice Rub (or salt and pepper) and nestle into the fennel and radishes. Roast until the salmon is opaque throughout, about 12-15 minutes total.

Remove roasting pan from oven. Careful, it’s hot! Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into a small bowl and mash into a paste. Squeeze the lemon pulp and juice into the bowl. Stir in the honey, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and another dash of Kenny’s Spice Rub. Place the salmon fennel and radishes on the greens. Drizzle with the dressing. 

I used a large salmon loin filet for this recipe. It was almost 3 pounds total and cooked enough to feed 4 salmon lovers at my house + a serving for the neighborhood high school wrestling champ. It took 15 minutes to fully roast. We skinned the salmon before plating to save a bite or two for the chihuahuas. If you’d prefer to eat the skin yourself, it is highly nutritious and a family favorite here when fried to extra crispy.

You could use any roasting pan or glass baking dish. I used my largest 14″ cast iron skillet.

The original recipe called for 2 large bulbs of fennel, I only had 1 so I added the radishes because I recently learned that I LOVE roasted radishes and the watermelon radishes, are big, beautiful, local and in season.

Enjoy,

Brenna

What’s the deal with halibut?

In the beginning of my fishing career, my biggest dilemma was salmon or halibut. King crab was already wrecked in the 1980’s due to overcapitalization and global mismanagement. Top crew had fled salmon boats to jump on halibut boats as the price for salmon plummeted and halibut soared into the stratosphere. I saw an opportunity to get in cheap and wait for the market to stabilize. Ten years later, the salmon industry was in worse shape, while halibut was still ascending. I questioned my ability to make good business decisions when salmon dock prices hit 5 cents a pound while halibut was at $3.75 to the fisherman. 

It reminded me of my Grandfather’s stories of the dustbowl days in northeastern New Mexico. He was a market contrarian. When others were selling out, he was buying small farms and ranches and built an empire of cattle, wheat, and corn over a 60 year period. He gave advice to anyone who would stand still to listen. A true statesman with a moral code, he enjoyed a reputation as the “Sage of Sedan”.

Salmon has proven sustainable over the last 20 years, while halibut stocks have been in slow decline. Salmon fishing with a well trained crew is a pleasure to me, while halibut fishing felt like a prison sentence with a chance of drowning.

In spite of my personal feelings, halibut is a resource in demand and available as a luxury fish. Well harvested halibut by a dedicated crew can be an amazing experience. Half of the time, when you order halibut off a menu in America, it is substituted with another whitefish, farmed or wild caught, with or without the retailers knowledge.

I have maintained healthy relationships with honorable fishing boat captains in Alaska. After catching millions of pounds of fish, I am an expert on grading fish quality. I am proud to share the highest grade of halibut I have seen in years. Pearly white, boneless, skinless half pound portions with a pedigree. Come see us for halibut filet! Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Alaska Halibut with Lemon Dressing

1-1.5 pounds of Alaska Halibut Filet (cut into 4 portions)

6 Tablespoons butter, divided

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

4 sprigs rosemary

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks (white and light green part only), sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

5-6 ounces baby spinach leaves

2 Tablespoons dry white wine or vegetable broth

Directions:

1. Heat broiler/oven to medium-high heat (450F). Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Arrange filets on a lightly buttered baking sheet.

2. Broil 5-7 inches from the heat source for about 5 minutes. Remove fish from oven, and place 1/2 tablespoon butter on top of each filet. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then season with sea salt and pepper. Return to oven and cook an additional 4-6 minutes for thawed/fresh fish OR 7-10 more minutes for frozen filets. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.

3. Meanwhile, add remaining butter to saucepan with the lemon zest, remaining lemon juice and mustard. Heat gently, whisking until melted, then add the rosemary. Keep warm.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan’ cook the leeks and zucchini over medium heat until soft. Add the spinach and wine or broth, stirring until the leaves have wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

5. Serve the halibut and vegetables, pouring the warm lemon and rosemary dressing over filets.

Cheers,

Kenny

Osso Bucco – Braised Beef Shanks

Our cross cut beef shanks contain a marrow bone and are an ideal cut of meat for braising and later utilizing the remaining marrow bones as part of the next batch of broth. Cooking meat on the bone yields a richer, denser, more nutritious meal. A traditional Italian dish, this recipe is similar to a pot roast and is best when planned in advance. I imagine it can be done in a slow cooker or instant pot a little differently, but I’ve always braised these in my dutch oven for many hours on a cool or rainy day.

Ingredients:

1 Beef Shank per person

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

3-4 cups beef stock

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 large can of tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

several springs thyme, tied together

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, crushed

sea salt and pepper

Directions:

Thaw beef shanks completely overnight in the fridge. Dry well with paper towels. In a heavy, flameproof casserole, sauté half the onions and carrots until soft in butter and olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same casserole, brown the shanks two at a time, transferring to a plate. Pour out browning oil. Add wine and stock, then bring to a boil and skim. Add tomatoes, garlic and seasoning. Return beef shanks, sautéed carrots and onions to the casserole, cover and bake at 300 degrees F for several hours or until tender. Remove shanks to a platter, remove thyme and reduce the sauce by boiling, skimming occasionally. Spoon sauce over beef shanks and serve. Excellent with polenta, rice or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy,

Brenna

Slow Roasted Salmon with Turnips & Swiss Chard

It’s a great time to come visit us at the Roadrunner Park or Ahwatukee Farmers Markets. Nearly all of these ingredients are in season and currently available at the markets. Most of us need more ways to eat leafy greens and I’ve always been a big fan of small salad turnips. This low heat method, yields a deliciously juicy salmon dish.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds salmon filet

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Sea salt

4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

1.5 pounds small turnips, scrubbed, halved, quartered if large

Freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches Swiss chard

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Pat salmon filet completely dry with paper towel and place in a large baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and gently rub into fish. Season with salt and scatter garlic around. Bake until salmon is medium rare (mostly opaque but still slightly translucent in the center) 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of filet.

2) Meanwhile, combine turnips, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup water in a large skillet; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until turnips are fork tender, 15-20 minutes. Uncover and cook, tossing occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and turnips are golden, 5 minutes.

3) While turnips are cooking, remove ribs and stems from Swiss chard leaves. Thinly slice ribs, stems and leaves crosswise. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in another large skillet over medium high heat. Cook shallot and Swiss chard ribs and stems, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add Swiss chard leaves and cook, tossing often, until leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes. Toss in cilantro, parsley, and lime juice. Season with salt.

4) Drizzle salmon with sesame oil. Serve salmon with Swiss chard and turnips, topped with sesame seeds.

ENJOY!

Do bees have allergies?

It’s bee pollen season at the farmers market. Every year about this time, people with seasonal allergies start showing up for a jar of local honey because they “heard it helps.” Most natural honey is a saturated solution of glucose and fructose. Raw and unfiltered honey from anywhere in the country you live in contains small amounts of pollen, propolis, royal jelly and hydrogen peroxide, providing all of the medicinal value of honey.

Bee pollen is the male part of all flowers collected by bees looking for nectar. Bees store it in the hive to eat with honey throughout the year. Bees are the ultimate preppers to emulate. Pollen is mostly made of crude protein, carbohydrates, enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals.  It is a shining example of a SuperFood.  It provides more energy than it takes to digest.

I believe that eating American raw honey while in America is a tasty treatment for allergies because of the nutritional support pollen provides that is suspended in unfiltered fresh honey.  Minor allergy attacks throughout the day might be soothed with a spoonful of honey, while a concentrated pollinated honey might be desired for extra strength and performance.

Sensitivity to pollen presents as an itchy throat or eyes and inflammation. My parents generation called it hay fever. Eating honey is micro-dosing pollen.

If you search the internet for praise or problems with bee pollen, only believe about half of what is said and consider the source. The biggest problem with bee pollen typically occurs when consuming too much too soon. Always remember that honey and pollen need a lot of water with a pinch of sea salt to do the most good. Start with a few grains of pollen at a time mixed in your honey jar and use as a sugar substitute. High performance athletes utilize pollen and honey mixed into homemade power bars and sports drinks.

A majority of medical professionals say the benefit of consuming bee pollen is not worth the risk of anaphylaxis. There is no official scientific proof that honey and bee pollen do us any good, yet married beekeepers eating honey daily live longer than all other careers or lifestyles with the least amount of cancer.

Pollen Power Ball Recipe

Mix 1/3 bee pollen, 1/3 honey and 1/3 cocoa powder and a pinch of sea salt. Roll into a ball the size of a quarter, wrap in cellophane.  This mix is shelf stable and suitable for high energy demand of extended heavy labour and marathon-like exertion.  Sensitive people should not consume this amount of pollen.

The Original Electrolyte

For rapid hydration, juice 1 lemon and stir in an equal part honey and add a pinch of sea salt, then dilute to one gallon. Drink fresh or allow to ferment.

Super Treat for kids of all ages

I have a silver spoon bent slightly to hold honey level in the freezer.  Cold honey has the texture of caramel.  Replace the treat of a plastic honey straw  with the ease of refilling a favorite silver spoon with trusted goodness over and over again.  Any spoon will do, but a spoon special to you makes it a ceremony to be cherished with zero guilt of any kind.

Kenny

Steak tacos are the answer

Top Round Steak is an under appreciated cut of meat. The round is a sub primal cut from the leg of the beef. While it is one of the most flavorful and robust cuts, it is not known for its tenderness. Generally, that tenderness can be achieved with any slow cooking method. Since so many of us are looking to cut down our prep and cook time, we’ve simplified this cut by having our butcher mechanically tenderize these top round steaks. They’re lean, thin cut, and ideal for marinating and cooking quickly. Tenderized Top Round, or Cubed Steak, is the traditional cut for chicken fried steak or steak fingers. It’s a perfect substitute for flank or skirt steak, or any other cut you’d marinate and grill or sear for tacos or stir fry.

Tacos are usually our go to option for dinner on a whim. When everyone pitches in, we’re seated at the table and passing the toppings in 30 minutes or less.

Quick Steak Tacos

1 Beef Tenderized Top Round Steak (about 1 – 1.5 pounds)

For the Marinade combine:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

Mix the marinade well and completely coat the meat. Marinate top round steak for 1 to 24 hours. The longer you marinate, the tastier and more tender your steak will be. For grilling, it’s easier to leave the steak whole. For skillet searing it’s easier to slice the meat prior to marinating.

Remove steak from marinade and gently pat dry. Grill, skillet sear, or broil your steak 2-5 minutes per side for medium rare to well done.

Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas. The more toppings the better! Our favorites include various salsas, guacamole or diced avocado, shredded cheeses, queso fresco, sour cream, onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, micrgreens, lettuce, radishes, shredded cabbage and pickled onions or carrots. Bonus points for overstuffing your tacos!

Enjoy,

Brenna

Smoked salmon since 2002

Our first farmers market was February 9, 2002 at Stetson and 5th Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale. We had one table and one tent strapped to an old jeep with one product in a cooler. A few months into it, I started bringing a small smoker to promote the product and attract attention. Nothing works better than a fresh free sample of smoked salmon on a toothpick with the aroma of hardwood smoke hanging in the air. Sometimes we could see a stranger catch the scent 100 feet away and make a bee line to the source with a smile of anticipation.

We have hosted many smoked salmon classes to interested parties over the years. Some stick with it and enjoy the process and ritual, while others never do it again and appreciate my effort providing all the necessary steps to provide a freezer stable ready to eat product. 

My old and dependable smoker caught on fire last spring. I decided to take a break from the ritual of thawing, fabricating, curing, smoking, drying, chilling, vacuum packing, freezing and labelling. I have spent the last few months thinking about purchasing a commercial smoker vs. building a custom unit. What size to buy or build is what I am contemplating now. Past trends and sales records help, but the future will determine whether decisions made now are good, bad, or indifferent. So, I ask you good people for input. Who wants smoked salmon? Sockeye is by far the most popular. What package size do you prefer? Two equal portions totaling 5 to 7 ounces sells the quickest so far, but variety helps the larger market. A sea salt cure with hardwood hickory smoke has won the ten year experiment on what you the customers prefer to eat and feed your families and friends. 

Help me help you by ordering smoked salmon in advance. The response from this story will determine how much capital we commit to continuing the smoked salmon business.

Our email list consists of approximately 2200 subscribers. About 600 typically open and read the contents of an average post. One percent usually respond directly with an order or comment. Be that one percent if you want me to smoke some salmon for you ASAP. 

Cheers,

Kenny

My favorite health food

I have made a habit of not having packaged food around the house and eat homemade food from basic ingredients. In moments of human weakness disguised as reward, I am guilty of blatant disregard of my professed lifestyle by rushing to the closest store for ultra novel hyper palatable junk food in the form of ice cream, cookies, and potato chips of all kinds. This is usually consumed in a bacchanalia of overindulgence until no evidence of it remains. Almost like it never happened. Realizing these psychotic outbreaks need to change, I set on a path to emulate the experience without sacrificing my moral code. 

It started with chocolate chip cookies. Stocking the ingredients of Kerrygold butter, King Arthur flour and gourmet sugar and chocolate drops was the first step. Knowing the ingredients were in my cabinet and convinced they will taste better than any packaged purchase, I began to explore making treats.

Next step was to render pork fat to fry chips and donuts. Pork fat is the king of frying oils. It also has the second highest vitamin A and D in the world, making it a true health food. Frying a lot of potatoes is all labor and almost no cost. Dipping sauces whipped from sour cream and spices keeps the blood sugars in better order than bottled ketchup, ranch or bbq sauce full of corn syrup, vegetable oils and preservatives. 

My latest emulation is the fast food burger and giant burrito. I like to keep 4 pounds of ground beef/pork thawing in the fridge at all times. Dicing onions, roasting potatoes, peeling green chiles and shredding a large pile of real cheese takes hours of effort and clean up. However, the gushing compliments I receive after the family has eaten a mountain of authentic burritos makes it all worth while.

Ice cream got my attention a couple of years ago. At first, I rationalized buying only high end brands with better and fewer ingredients. Thinking I could engineer a better product, I spent hours researching recipes and testing different ice cream makers. When I stock all the ingredients on hand, it is easier, faster and cheaper to make a half gallon of sweet ice cream than run to a store to satisfy the immediate gratification of purchase and consumption. 

Ultra premium ice cream is a combination of milk, cream, eggs, honey, salt and freezer technology. Real dairy is made of protein, lactose and fat soluble vitamins. Real eggs are full of necessary cholesterol and protein. Honey is pure magic and salt is electrolytes. Put it all together with love in a machine that drops to -30 degrees F in twenty minutes while churning in air bubbles create what I call the Frozen Land of Milk and Honey.

Quart of Whole Milk

Quart of Heavy Whipping Cream

6 Whole Eggs

Pound of Honey

Pinch of Salt

Dash of Vanilla

Swig of distilled neutral spirits

I bought and tested many ice cream machines and finally settled on a 1.5 L Whynter brand ice-less with a built in refrigeration compressor. When I mix the right ingredients with enough love into the right machine, the result is so tasty and satisfying that I believe it is actually a health food disguised as an indulgent sin.

Warning! If you attain this elevated effort, you might not enjoy store bought ice cream ever again at any price.

Enjoy,

Kenny