The Daily Graze

Melissa Davis' Better Nuggets

2014-09-29 10:57:07 herondale

Another Herondale-inspired recipe by our in-house Chef-in-Chief, Melissa Davis!


Love chicken McNuggets?

Craving a tiny wad of extruded battery fowl paste coated with sodium drugs, fried in deathly trans fats? Accompanied by soon-to-be Pacific gyre plastic tubs of processed sugar faux-honey mustard or corn-syrup barbecue sauce?

Please. Don’t.

Herondale has a better nugget.

Peele Chicken Pillows

A very fit friend recently said he needed a weekly McNugget fix while training for a marathon. So I created this recipe for him. And tweaked it for maximum yumminess without Evil Death Ray ingredients.

I normally list all the bits necessary for the recipe, but this is an elastic concept. You only need a Cuisinart or a blender. And nuts, seeds, grains, bread crumbs, spices, of your choice. Also a Herondale no-steroid, free-range, ass-kicking hen boob. And about 45 minutes of Zen time.

Make this. The runner dad (above) and your finicky children will beg you for more.


J. Peele Chicken Pillows

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, grind up a handful of each (or some of) the following: raw almonds, sesame seeds, oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or whatever nuts and grains you have with a heal of grainy old dried bread. Pulse until course, not finely ground.

To that add home-made Old Bay seasoning, which is a mixture of ground up bay leaves, celery seed, paprika, dried hot chilis, dried ginger, white and black peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, mace, cardamom, salt and mustard seed. You can Google the proportions. Or, you lazy-ass bastard, buy prepared.

Remove two Herondale chicken breasts from bones with a sharp knife. (Medium knife skills needed here, just try to make a filleted chicken breast. If you have breast bits, save the bits and mound into an inch-sized lump.)

On parchment paper or wax paper, pound breast to ¼ inch. Cut pounded breasts into t 1x 1 inch nuggets, or as close as you can get.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Whisk two eggs from your hens out back (you don’t have chickens? Okay, fine, Herondale will cover your ass here, again) on a flat plate. Dredge chicken cubes and mounded bits in egg, then in the above grain/seed/bread coating. Place pieces on the oiled baking sheet, making sure not to crowd the nuggets.

Bake in oven until done (about 10-12 mins).

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Moroccan Lamb Stew

2014-09-02 19:35:19 herondale


Another amazing recipe courtesy of Herondale Chef-in-Chief,  Melissa Davis !

  • This braised concoction is very forgiving. If you add a little to much of this or of that, it’s fine. Just give yourself about four hours from the first chopping of the onion to the completed dish. Great dinner-party pleaser. Fabulous on whole wheat couscous or a quinoa/brown rice mixture. Or egg noodles. See. Very forgiving.

Moroccan Lamb Stew


  • (Makes 6 servings)
  • Olive oil

2 yellow onions, finely chopped

  • 3 carrots, chopped*
  • 3 pounds Herondale cubed stewing lamb
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2½ cups beef stock

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes**

  • 1 cup chopped dried dates
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Hot pepper flakes or cayenne or espelette dried pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley as garnish


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

2. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm about two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Place the flour in a Ziplock bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the lamb in batches, seal and shake to coat thoroughly with the seasoned flour.

4. Warm 3 tablespoons oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the lamb and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes for each batch. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

5. Return the onion mixture and the lamb along with any accumulated juices to the Dutch oven. Add the garlic, cumin, saffron and ginger and stir to coat the meat and vegetables. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes, dates, and orange zest and juice, dried hot pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.

6. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

7. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve atop couscous, quinoa, brown rice, barley, or egg noodles.

*Chopping carrots can be annoying—bits skeedadle everywhere—if your knife skills, like mine, are below par. I slice them into coins a bit less than ¼-inch thick on a mandoline, then chop the coins. Easy, even dice results. 

**Use fresh plum (about six) tomatoes in summer. Boil tomatoes in water for a few minutes until skins loosen. Place skinned tomatoes in a bowl and smoosh with a whisk.


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Save the Yolks! A Two Course Breakfast

2014-07-24 20:53:19 herondale

photo 1 (9) I don’t mean two course in a fussy kind of way. In fact this is a simple breakfast, despite it’s appearance, and requires minimal prep work. It may not be feasible if you’re rushed, but if you have ten minutes, this recipe is for you. On the plate is a tasty, healthy swiss chard and swiss cheese omelette, cooked in butter, using just the egg whites. But that does not mean those  yolks get tossed away. Oh no. You separate the yolks, keeping them in a bowl all safe and sound while you prepare  your 2 (9)

Now, there are three reasons why I make egg white-only omelets. 1. I hate the taste of cooked yolk. 2. Cooking the yolk all the way through, like scrambling or in an omelet, denatures the protein, and kills many of the nutrients and antioxidants found in the yolk. 3. Egg yolks make my berry smoothies creamy without needing yogurt. So there you have it. If you disagree, feel free to keep the yolks in yours. Here’s the rest of the recipe:

Chop  4-6 leaves of swiss chard and steam until wilted. Squeeze out all the excess water. (I just squeeze it with my hands)

Add the cooked chard to a mixing bowl with four egg whites, and stir. Add salt and pepper, and about 1/4 cup of grated swiss cheese.

In a pan, melt 2 T of butter over medium heat. Pour in the omelet mixture, and cover. Cook until it looks done! You’ll know. Don’t burn the bottom! Serve with a side of salsa, and fresh parsley if you have it. Now it’s time for your berry-licious smoothie! You can make it while your omelet cooks, but if you do, you’ll probably burn the bottom. I warned you.

Berry smoothie (dairy free!)

Blend 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or any berry you like with two egg yolks, 1/4 cup of water, and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Drink. Have an amazingly productive day.

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Herondale Chicken Livers by Melissa Davis

2014-07-14 20:05:27 herondale

unnamedThis recipe was just submitted from local customer Melissa Davis of Millerton, NY. she writes:

If previously you’ve turned up your nose at chicken livers, it is probably because you were served a wretched battery hen’s sad innards poured out of a plastic tub. Herondale’s girls are allowed to follow their agrarian bliss and that happiness travels deep, deep, deep into their insides. Also, our pastured ladies don’t drink. Battery chickens are known alcoholics.

Herondale Chicken Livers and Onions
(Serves 4)

1 package frozen Herondale chicken livers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds sweet onions (Texas Sweet or Vidalia)
4 tablespoons olive oil, butter or a combination of both
2 tablespoons Maderia, Port, or Balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Thaw chicken livers, if frozen, rinse, and drain.
2. Place livers on paper towel and pat dry. Make sure that livers are VERY dry.
3. Season livers with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Using a mandolin, slice onions on a medium setting (about 3 millimeters thickness).
5. In a large iron skillet under medium flame, heat two tablespoons oil/butter, reduce flame to low and add onions.
6. Season onions with salt and pepper and cook the onions on the lowest flame possible, stirring occasionally until caramelized. This could take 45 to 60 minutes.
7. When the onions are about 15 minutes away from being caramelized, heat another iron skillet large enough to fit all the livers without crowding. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil/butter to skillet under medium heat. When oil/butter is hot, but NOT smoking, add chicken livers.
8. Cook livers about 8 minutes on each side, or until medium pink.
9. Two minutes before desired doneness, add the wine or balsamic vinegar and saute the livers to coat. Correct seasonings.
10. Serve the caramelized onions and livers topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

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A Good Egg

2014-07-07 17:28:47 herondale

IMG_2158One of the eggs  in this photo is our own farm egg, and the other is an “organic, cage-free” supermarket egg. Can you guess which one is ours? Our dark orange yolks are not just prettier and brighter, but they are firmer, holding their shape when you crack the shells. The egg on the right (not ours) was watery and sickly by comparison. And sickly is the operative word, because eggs that come from hens that are not raised outdoors (with plenty of opportunity to  peck the ground for bugs and move around in fresh air )are going to give you the egg on the right. And there is really no way of knowing the true conditions the chickens were living in unless you know the farm, and see for yourself. That’s because the labeling laws for meat and eggs allows the terms “cage-free” and “free-range” to be used very loosely. In many cases, the hens are crammed indoors and confined, and even if there are no cages, it doesn’t matter. They live poor quality lives and the resulting egg is, well, poor quality. Real quality eggs come from farms where hens are free-roaming, and that means they are outside under the sun, so they can lay eggs that are as bright as the sun itself. Our eggs, and eggs from farms like us, are higher in omega-3’s and other vital nutrients like vitamins A, D, K, and B12. And let’s not forget the high level of antioxidants, which factory eggs just don’t have. That’s quite impressive for a simple egg, isn’t it? If you live nearby, come visit our laying hens sometime. We have nothing to hide.

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