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Friday, December 31, 2010

Karin's Week Fifty-Two Recipe: Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy

Wow, I can't believe that I made it through the entire year with a new recipe a week! I've definitely broadened my cooking abilities and use more of my cookbooks more often. I've found that I am actually making more than one new recipe a week in some weeks, and even those weeks I only got in my required one, I was still looking for others to try. Thanks to Tricia, Chris and Jenni for letting me be the "foreign" correspondent - it was alot of fun to see what everyone else was cooking up, and how it turned out.

For my last weekly recipe for 2010, I ended up making a recipe out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I was asked to bring a potato/starch dish to a holiday dinner at the in-laws house. In looking at what I had on hand, I knew I could definitely do potatoes (we have a 10 lb bag as a result of lefse baking), and thought it would be nice to also put a veg in. As always, Julia to the rescue with Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy, or Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots with Cream.

Gratin de Pommes de Terre Crecy

2 c carrots, sliced 1/8" thick
1/2 T butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 T finely minced shallots or green onions (I used Penzey's Freeze-Dried Shallots, and put them straight into the pot)
3/4 C water

Boil the carrots slowly with the butter, salt, shallots or onions, and water in the covered saucepan for 20-30 min or until liquid has evaporated and the carrots are tender.

4 T butter
2 lb potatoes, sliced 1/8" thick (6-7 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c grated Swiss cheese
1 1/4c whipping cream.

Preheat oven to 300deg. Smear 1T of the butter in a 10" fireproof baking dish, 2" deep. Arrange layers of potatoes in it, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, cheese, and dots of butter. Alternate potato layer with a layer of carrots. End with a sprinkling of cheese and butter dots. Pour on the cream and bring slowly almost to the simmer on top of the stove. Then place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, regulating oven heat throughout baking so that cream never quite bubbles. The gratin is done when the potatoes are tender and have absorbed the cream, and the top is lightly browned.

This was very tasty, and an easy dish to make ahead. I was a bit worried that the carrots would be overdone, but they were still slightly crunchy even at the end of the entire cooking time. It also reheated well for leftovers. Having the carrots in made me feel a bit better about all of the butter and cream in the recipe. It was a big hit at the family dinner, and I think I would make it again.

Happy New Year, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we cook up in 2011!!

Karin's Week Fifty-One Recipe: Mom's Carmel Corn

For this week's recipe, I decided to attempt making my mother's carmel corn recipe. It is the week of Christmas, and she always makes carmel corn for our Christmas gatherings. I will confess, I have participated in making this recipe before, but never have I done it completely on my own. Both Nate and I love carmel corn, so we decided to see if we could manage to make it taste just like mom's.

Mom's Carmel Corn

20 cups (5qt) popped corn, put in roaster pan*

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white syrup (Karo)
1 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda

*I did have to consult on the amount of unpopped corn to equal popped, and was told that this is how much fits in her roaster, about 2-3 poppers full. Also, an air popper for the corn is essential, as the microwave variety just doesn't turn out right.

  1. Combine sugar, butter, syrup, salt in a large saucepan. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in soda. (This will foam up and is very hot.)
  2. Pour over popped corn.
  3. Bake in 250deg oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  4. Spread on foil to cool. Store in airtight container.
It worked! My carmel corn tasted just like Mom's! Even without supervision, I managed to make this recipe. It was much easier than I had thought. And it was rather like high school science class with the baking soda foaming up. An additional tip is to use a heat resistant silicone spatula for stirring, as the carmel doesn't stick to the blade.

Karin's Week Fifty Recipe: Orecchiette al Pomodoro Fresco e Carne Magro

I needed something hot, filling, and relatively fast. I also had a 1lb hunk of ground beef that had been defrosted with the intent of making stroganoff. However, I did not have all of the ingredients, and thus needed something else to do with this defrosted meat. After looking through a variety of cookbooks, I settled on this recipe from Cucina Italia:

Little Ears with Fresh Tomato and Lean Beef Sauce

3/4 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2.5 lb ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
1 lb orecchiette pasta (little shells)
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped**
Grated Romano cheese

*I used home canned tomatoes in juice
**I used Penzey's dried basil as I didn't have fresh on hand

Place 2T of the EVOO in a large saute pan. Add the ground beef and cook over low heat until the meat loses its raw color. Drain off excess fat and season with salt to taste. Put the remaining 4T of EVOO in the saute pan. Ad the garlic and cook over low heat for a few minutes until garlic turns opaque. Add the tomatoes, season with salt to taste, raise heat to medium high, and cook until the tomatoes lose their excess juice and break down into a sauce, about 15min. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente and drain well. Place the pasta in a serving bowl, toss with the sauce, chopped basils, and about 1/4 cup of cheese. Serve immediately.

I really liked this sauce. It was very simple and tasty and went together very quickly. Nate also agreed that this can go into the quick meal list. Even with the modifications, it had a lot of flavor, and I'm sure it would be even better with fresh ingredients.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chris's Week Fifty-Two Recipe: Amish Breakfast Casserole

Can you believe it's been a whole year since we started this blog? Thanks to Tricia for coming up with the idea; to Jenni for convincing me to play along; to Karin, our foreign blog correspondent; and to Linda, Judy, and all our other guest contributors!

I hosted the annual Jacobs/Brown and now Sala holiday gathering this year and decided to serve something new for brunch. I found this recipe and decided to use Italian sausage instead of bacon.

Amish Breakfast Casserole

Brown together

1 to 1-1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the sausage and onion with

6 eggs, slightly beaten
4 c frozen hash brown potatoes
2 c shredded Cheddar
1-1/2 c small curd cottage cheese
1-1/4 c shredded Swiss

Pour ingredients into a greased 9x13" pan and cook for 50-60 min at 350F or until set and bubbly. (Note, if you actually thaw the hash browns, which the original recipes calls for you to do, it should take 35-40 minutes. But I forgot to thaw the hash browns!) Let stand about 10 min to 'set' properly.

Would I make this recipe again? An emphatic yes! It got the thumbs up from all the assembled diners. Linda said it could be a little more moist, but honestly I thought it was good because it was not runny. I served this with sauteed mushrooms on the side and I have never seen a dish of mushrooms vanish so fast in my life!

Jennifer's Week Fifty Recipe - Cranberry Macadamia Bark

So, it's the holidays. Well, at least, it was. I had been hoping to use up my last recipes of the year making new and (maybe) exciting things for holiday gatherings. Due to a blizzard, one of my four Christmases was pushed back to January, so those new and exciting recipes have to wait. However, one I happened across could not wait. It sounded just too delicious and was incredibly easy to put together.

Cranberry Macadamia Bark

1 pound white confectioner's candy coating (or white "chocolate")
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, divided (one whole package of Craisins)
1 cup macadamia nuts

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 70% power in 30 second increments, stirring after each time, until smooth. Mix in one cup of the Craisins and the nuts. Spread the mixture evenly on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining Craisins on top. Cool in the fridge until set. Break into bite-sized pieces.

I brought this to MHS Press shortly before the holidays to rave reviews. I brought in a batch on a Monday and they were gone by Wednesday morning. Comments along the lines of "I forgot to eat breakfast yesterday, so I had that! It has fruit in it, so it's healthy, right?"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Nine Recipe - Zucchini Bread with Pineapple

When I was little, we had a babysitter who used to make the most fabulous zucchini bread. I happened to have some zucchini leftover from a recipe and decided that zucchini bread was the answer. I do have the recipe for my babysitter's zucchini bread... somewhere. I remembered that it had raisins and pineapple in it and I found the following recipe.

Zucchini Bread with Pineapple

3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixer, beat eggs. Add oil, sugar, and vanilla; continue beating mixture until thick and foamy. With a spoon, stir in the zucchini and pineapple.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A third at a time, add dry ingredients into wet and gently stir (by hand) after each addition. Add the walnuts and raisins, blend gently.

3. Divide the batter equally between 2 greased and flour-dusted 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

While this recipe was pretty good, it was not the same. Next time I may skip the nuts and add more raisins. This was also another battle in the War Against the Oven. I took the bread out 10 minutes early and it could have come out even earlier than that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tricia's Week 50 recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

This week was Trev's b-day, so I wanted to make him a cake that I'd not made before.  The following was found when searching the internets for a suitable recipe:


  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour (even nonstick pans) and set aside.Or, if you do not have such a wonderful invention as baking spray (which I wish I did), laboriously spray and flour your pan.  
In large bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and 1/3 cup peanut butter and beat on low speed until combined; then beat three minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon batter into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes until set, brown, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (except some chocolate might stick to the toothpick). Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then loosen edges and turn pan onto serving plate. Cool completely, then frost.
In small saucepan, melt 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/3 cup peanut butter. You can also melt these two ingredients in a small bowl in the microwave oven for 2 minutes at 50% power, stirring until smooth. Spoon over cake.

This cake really is like a giant peanut butter cup as a cake.  It's very rich, and I think I cooked it about 4 min too long, b/c it seemed a bit dry to me.  I'm still learning the intricacies of my bundt pan.  Still, it's very nummy with vanilla iced cream, and I think my coworkers will thank me for sharing some with them.  Or maybe Trev's coworkers, as it was for his birthday.  Also, I made fudge this weekend that I haven't even tried!  

Chris's Week Fifty-One Recipe: Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

You were expecting something other than cookies at this time of year?

This recipe is from my trusty 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook. The only changes I've made are lowering the amount of salt and using cocoa powder instead of 2 melted squares of unsweetened chocolate.

Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

Cream together:

1 c shortening (I used butter)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs

Sift together (I always whisk together!) and stir in:

2-3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
scant teaspoon salt
3 T Dutch-processed cocoa

Mix thoroughly. Shape into a 2 to 2-1/2" diameter log and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate several hours (or overnight). Cut into 1/4" slices and bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes. (I used parchment paper on the cookie sheets. The cookies come right off!) When thoroughly cool, dust with a little powdered sugar.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Would I make this recipe again? Yep! The cookies have a definite, but not overpowering chocolate flavor. I know... some of you think this is bad, but most of my family are milk chocolate, not dark chocolate fans.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chris's BONUS Week Fifty Recipe: Spicy Kalamata Sauce

I had leftover kalamata olives from our department potluck this week, and I decided I wanted to use them in a pasta sauce. This sauce is really a modified puttanesca sauce without anchovies or capers. The amounts on the spices are approximate.

Spicy Kalamata Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1-28 oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t crushed red pepper
3/4 c chopped kalamata olives

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients. The longer you let this simmer, the better it's going to taste.

Would I make this recipe again? I certainly would, but I wouldn't serve it to my mother, not with all that garlic!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tricia's Week 49 Recipe: Leftover BBQ soup

What do you do when you have a few cups (maybe a lb) of leftover raspberry something pork loin, some celery that is threatening to wilt, and more snow in your driveway than you can shake your shovel at?  You make up a soup recipe with what you have in the house, and hope it works!  I  had an idea of making a navy bean type soup with the pork instead of ham, but couldn't find a recipe I liked.  So, I made up a soup recipe - 'How hard can it be?', I thought to myself.  You need a broth, some veg, some meat, and then a noodle or bean or rice.  So, this is what I came up with:

Leftover pork BBQ soup.
6 stalks celery
8-10 baby carrots (b/c that is what was in the house)
1 can kernal corn
1 can great northern beans
leftover pork loin (about 1 lb)
5 cups chicken broth (made with chicken stock from Penzey's)
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (sweet baby rays)
10-12 shakes BBQ 3000 (from Penzey's)
5-6 shakes Italian Seasoning (from Penzey's)
1 garlic clove

Start with your celery.  Take all stalks left that can be used (in this case, perhaps 6), and cut up. Mince your garlic clove.  Saute with olive oil and granulated onion (since we don't use a lot of real onion in my house, you'd use a small white if you used real onion), and BBQ 3000 seasoning from Penzey's.  I didn't measure, but I'd say I used 6 shakes BBQ 3000.

While this is thinking about itself, cut up carrots and put them in crock pot. (I used my middle sized crock pot.  Not the dip one, and not the giant one.)  Also cut up the pork into bite sized chunks, add to pot.  When celery is nicely sauted, add to crock pot.  Open, drain, and rinse both the corn and beans, and add those.

Add the chicken stock (if Penzey's it's about 1/2 to 3/4 tsp to each cup hot water )to the gravy-shaker thing (Tupperware brand, as a top and a little plastic ring/cross thing inside).  Add hot water.  My gravy-shaker thing does two cups at once.  I did two cups and added it, then I did one cup and added 1/4 cup BBQ sauce to the shaker and shook that, and added it, and then I made the final two cups.  This was all my crock pot would hold with all the veg and meat in the soup already.

Stir up and add a few more shakes of BBQ 3000 and 5-6 shakes Italian Seasoning.  Turn crock pot to high for about 1 hour and then to low. 

Taste as it goes along to see what you might need to add for the broth. I added a bit of crushed red pepper about an hour in to give it a bit of kick.  Serve when hungry.

Yay! This soup was a winner.  It has a nice broth with a bit of a kick to it, and plenty of veg.  The meat wasn't too tough (was a bit worried about that leftover pork loin, but simmering the soup for 3 hrs did the trick).  I will definitely be exploring in the world of soup more this winter!

Chris's Week 50 Recipe: Cardamom Cookies

Last Thursday's edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had a recipe for cardamom cookies on the front page of the food section that just begged to be this week's recipe. I can't ever remember making sliced refrigerator cookies and now I'm sorry that I waited so long. These were really easy!

Cardamom Cookies

1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t ground cardamom
3/8 t salt
1-1/4 c flour

Cream together butter, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in the egg yolk. Stir in the cardamom, salt and flour. Divide the dough into halves and roll into 1 inch diameter logs. Wrap the logs in wax paper and refrigerate until firm. (Editors note: I refrigerated mine overnight. The recipe says you can also freeze the logs until you want to use them.) Cut into 1/4 inch slices and place cookies on parchment paper-lined sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 min at 375F. If desired, cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Would I make this recipe again? Heck yah! They're delicious, especially with a nice cup of tea!

NB: the recipe says this makes 3 dozen cookies. I wound up with over 6 dozen! Either that was a misprint or I was cutting my cookies extra-small. In any event, they baked up great!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Karin's Week Forty-Nine Recipe: Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I had a craving for something sweet, but when I investigated my sweet-making ingredients, I found that I only had 1 egg. This drastically cuts down on the sweet-making options. Off I went on a quest for a recipe that was sweet and only used 1 egg. I looked through my cookbooks and found a cupcake recipe in my 2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes. I got this cookbook as a bridal shower gift the year I got married, and had yet to try anything out of it. As a bonus, I had a lot of cream cheese in the refrigerator due to a special at the grocery store, and Chocolate Cream Cheese cupcakes sounded right up my alley.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

1-8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1.5 c sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp salt, divided
1 c (6oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1.5 c flour
1/4 c baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 T white vinegar

3.75 c powdered sugar
3 T baking cocoa
0.5 c butter, melted
6 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey's Double Strength, full amount)

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 c sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and 1/2 tsp salt until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and remaining sugar and salt. In yet another bowl, whisk water, oil and vinegar; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Drop filling by heaping tablespoonfuls into the center of each. Bake at 350deg for 24-26min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10min before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, combine frosting ingredients in large bowl and beat until well-blended. Frost cupcakes.

These cupcakes were VERY well-received by Nate's work mates. He even got messages on the portable computer saying how good they were. He's been told that he can bring these in anytime he wants to, and already has requests. I thought they were pretty tasty, even the next day, although the frosting is unbelievably sweet. And, the recipe said it made 20 cupcakes. I got 18 cupcakes plus 1 "filling" cake, with quite a bit of frosting leftover (enough to frost an 8x8 cake). I think I will be trying out more recipes from this cookbook based on the response I got from this one.

Karin's Week Forty-Eight Recipe: Duck Noodle Soup

As a result of the leftover duck from last week, I've been looking for something to use up the last of the duck meat. As the temperature here finally dropped down into wintry weather, I had been thinking about making some soup, when the title of the children's book popped into my head, Duck Soup. I remember reading this picture book to several wee ones when it came out.

Duck Soup

1-2lb cooked duck meat, or remains of 1-6lb roasted duck
1 carton chicken broth
4 medium carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 small onion, chopped
4 sprigs sage, leaves only
1 T minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 bag egg noodles

Place everything except noodles into large stockpot. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until vegetables start to get soft. Add noodles and boil for another 5-8 minutes until noodles are cooked through. Serve hot.

This was a great way to use up the leftover duck meat. And, both Nate and I agreed that we actually liked the duck better in soup, than we did just after roasting. If I happen to have leftover duck meat again, I will probably be making this soup or a version of it.

Karin's Week Forty-Seven Recipe: Caneton Poele aux Navets

As both Nate and I had to work all of Thanksgiving weekend, we were not going to go anywhere for the Thanksgiving celebration. Knowing this, I decided to be adventurous and try and roast a duck for dinner. I figured that as a duck is smaller than a turkey, it would be just enough for the two of us. And, as I'd never cooked duck before, I decided to go to the authority on such things, Julia Child. This recipe is from Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and in English means, Casserole-roasted Duck with Turnips.

Caneton Poele aux Navets

1-5.5lb duckling, ready to cook
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 T rendered fresh pork fat or cooking oil (I went with the oil)
1 very large casserole, ovenproof and stoveproof

Preheat oven to 350deg. Season the inside of the duck with salt and pepper, truss it, and preick th eskin around the thighs, back and lower part of the breast. Dry thoroughly. Brown slowly on all sides in hot fat in the casserole. Pour out the browning fat.

1/2 tsp salt
1 medium herb bouquet - 4 springs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheesecloth.

Salt the duck and place breast side up in the casserole. Add the herb bouquet, cover the hot casserole and place it in the middle level of the oven. Roast for 50-60min regulating heat so the duck is always baking quiet cooking noises.

2lb turnips
medium pot

While duck is cooking, prepare the turnips; peel and cut into 3/4inch dice. Drop into boiling, salted water and boil slowly for 5min. Drain.

After duck has roasted for 50-60min, degrease the casserole with a bulb baster. Arrange the turnips around the duck, cover the casserole and return it to the oven. Baste turnips occasionally with juice in the casserole. Cook duck for another 30-40min.

2-3T minced parsley

Drain duck, and place on hot platter. Remove turnips with a slotted spoon and arrange around duck. Sprinkle with parsley. Degrease cooking juices and serve as gravy.

The amount of prep time took about the same amount as cooking a turkey, but resulted in a smaller scale dinner. The duck had good flavor, but we both agreed that the turnips could've had additional seasoning. There was definitely enough for leftovers. I think if I did this again, I'd try out some different seasonings.

Karin's Week Forty-Six Recipe: Squash Soup

In my house, squash is only enjoyed by one member of the household, so I don't get to cook it very often. At a dinner outing in the past, the other member of the household was served squash soup, and he liked it, as it didn't have the texture of cooked squash. I had two squash to cook, one a butternut, and the other a random white squash from someone at work's garden (free for the taking from the break room).  The recipe came from The Occasional Vegetarian cookbook.

Roasted Winter Squash Soup
1 large acorn squash (about 2lb), or other winter squash
1 medium leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh sage, or 1 tsp dried
1/8 tsp five spice powder
4 cups vegetable stock, or stock of your choice (I used chicken)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 small to medium apple

Preheat oven to 375deg. Halve and seed squash. Place cut side down on cookie sheet and bake until tender, 45-60min. Meanwhile, in heavy-bottom pot, saute the leek in the olive oil 1-2min. Add the sage and five spice powder. Cover and cook until leek is soft, about 10min. (Note: this will make the leek stick to the bottom of your pan. I recommend stirring occasionally, or adding more oil) Add the stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer, then uncover.

Peel, core, and dice the apple. Add it to the simmering stock and cook until soft, about 15min. Remove squash from shell and dice. Add to pot and simmer for a few minutes. Puree soup using food mill, blender, food processor, or stick blender.

This recipe was very tasty, even reheated the next day. And, Nate will eat it! Finally a way to make squash palatable to the entire household. If I have extra squash in the future I will be trying to make this again.

Karin's Week Forty-Five Recipe: Stovetop Fish Boil

This week I was trying to make something tasty and quick without going to the store for new ingredients. I had some frozen haddock that I could use, and Nate said, hmmm what about a fish boil? Now, I have had fish boil up in Door County, WI and it involves a great fire about 6 feet across and giant flames shooting 8-10 feet in the air and a humongous pot. None of these are feasible in my village backyard without involving all sorts of permits. So, what to do? We adapted a few different fish boil recipes to fit into our pot on the stovetop. Here is what we came up with:

Stovetop Fish Boil

1-2lb white fish of your choice (we used haddock), cut into bite-sized chunks
4 large potatoes, with skins on, cut to approx same size as fish pieces
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1/4c salt
1/4c Old Bay Seasoning (we did not have this, so see below for homemade version)
2-3T lemon juice
1/4c melted butter

Old Bay Seasoning (homemade) adapted from here
1T celery salt
1tsp paprika
1/4tsp black pepper
1/8tsp cayenne pepper
1/2tsp ground mustard
1/2tsp garlic powder
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
pinch ground cardamom
pinch ground clove
pinch ground ginger
2 bay leaves

In large kettle (preferably one with strainer insert) bring 2 gallons water to a boil. Add in salt and wait until it dissolves. Add in potatoes and boil for 8-10min. Add in onion and boil a few minutes longer. Add fish and spices. Stir to mix thoroughly. Boil for approx 10min more. Using strainer, remove fish, potatoes, and onions from water. Place into serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with melted butter to taste.

We will definitely make this again! It was very yummy and easy to make when you need a dose of Door County. It was very flavorful and is a one-pot meal. The only downside is that it takes quite a bit of scrubbing to clean out the pot and strainer insert. Well worth it though!

Karin's Week Forty-Four Recipe: Sunchoke Mushroom Saute

This week one of my neighbors came over to see if I wanted any sunchokes from his garden, as he had too many. I said yes, even though I wasn't really sure what exactly they were. I figured here's an idea for my recipe this week. After looking around online, I read a bit about what a Sunchoke is, and found that it seems rather like a potato in its cooking. It did take a bit to figure out what to do with it, as there are not that many recipes out there for them. This one had ingredients that were easily available and wasn't too fancy in preparation. The recipe came from My

Sunchoke Mushroom Saute

2 lb assorted mushrooms
0.5 lb sunchokes
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 c thinly sliced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 T chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c dry sherry
salt and pepper

Clean mushrooms and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and coarsely chop the sunchokes. In a large pan over high heat, combine mushrooms, sunchokes, olive oil, butter, shallots and garlic.Stir often until mushroom juices evaporate and veggies are brown, about 15 min. Add herbs and sherry; stir until sherry evaporates, about 2 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Interesting, but most of the flavor comes from the mushrooms and shallots. I didn't think the sunchokes added much flavor, and they are a pain in the you-know-what to peel. Unless I come across some sunchokes again, I don't think I'd go out of my way to make this again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tricia's Week 48 Recipe: Irish Stew

Starting very soon at work, a group of us will be doing "soups and stews" Mondays for lunch.  The idea is that each week someone will bring a soup or stew, and the fixins, and everyone else will bring a bowl and spoon, and we will share a nice warm lunch together.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to bring for "my" stew.  I finally decided that Irish Stew was the way to go, but I needed a test run.  I scoured the internets, and found this recipe and also this one.  Mainly sticking with the former, but adding some bits from the latter, I produced my first Irish Stew.

Irish Stew
1ish lbs lamb* cut into 1-1/5 in pieces
4 large carrots
1.25-1.5 lbs baby red potatoes
1 small white onion (or in my case, enough granulated onion to be the equivalent)
2 cloves garlic (spanish) minced
1 can beef broth (about 16 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 bottle Guiness (12 oz)
Olive Oil
Water (cold)
Worsestershire Sauce
Italian seasoning mix
Fresh Parsley

Find stew pot big enough to hold the above.  Peel and cut carrots into one inch chunks, and place in stew pot.  Cut potatoes into one inch (ish) cubes and place on top of carrots.  (I left skin on after washing b/c I like the skin, you may choose to peel).  Chop onion or add onion granules.  Mince garlic and add to pot.  In a seperate bowl combine broth and paste and mix until smooth.  Add this and beer to stew pot.  Begin heating.  While that is heating up, take cubed lamb and lightly flour.  I did this by adding flour to a zippy bag and shaking a bunch.  Brown in skillet w/ olive oil.  Brown on all sides.  Add to stew pot. Bring to light boil, then turn to 3ish on your oven so a nice heavy simmer is occuring.  Simmer for 40 min-1 hour.  Add water to sauce if becoming too thick (or more broth if you still have some).
-- The sauce wasn't quite right, so I added, and again, Tricia's patented not remembering to measure the spices occured, so I will estimate:  3-4 shakes worsestershire, 3-4 light shakes thyme, 6-7 generous shakes italian seasoning (until there was some over every sq inch of the top of the pot, but not TOO much), and 3 sprigs parsley from my parsley plant..equivalent to about 1 handful fresh chopped parsley.
--Right before serving, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water until smooth, and add this to the pot to thicken (adjust depending on how thick you like your stews)

This is a work in progress.  It tastes good and I'll definately make it again, but it is not AS good as some I've had. This bothers me - I'm Irish.  I now have a quest to create a very delicious irish stew.  I think I needed a bay leaf.  Also the original recipe called for a crock pot.  Also the second recipe above calls for Guiness AND wine.  I think that must be what I was missing :)  I shall continue at my quest - and I think I need some field research.  Anyone up for The Liffey or Kierens sometime very soon???

*A note on the lamb.  I used it because I like lamb, but in going to the store I realized how expensive it is.  I also realize not everyone likes lamb.  Beef could be substituted, but I recommend finding a good marbled small roast or steak or something, vs just stew meat, to try to keep it tender.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Nine Recipe: Chick Pea & Tomato Curry Bites

This recipe is Tricia's fault.

Really it is! She's the one who introduced me to Tasty Bite Indian entrees. Why, I thought, couldn't I make some quick-serve meals of my own?

Chick Pea & Tomato Curry Bites

In a large saucepan, saute:

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped fine


28 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
25 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 t ground cumin
3/4 t ground turmeric
6 shakes Penzey's Black & Red (or more if you want spicy!)

Simmer for at least 1/2 an hour to let the flavors marry. Cool and scoop into freezer bags. At about 1-1/2 c per bag, this makes three quick meal pouches. Freeze and pull out when you need something tasty and nutritious to eat!

Would I make this recipe again? The formulation needs work, but I think I will.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tricia's Week 43 recipe: Bat's Brew

Why not craft something delicious and themed!  Trev and I went to a mixed drink tasting and thought this beverage would be perfect for our halloween party.

Bat's Brew:
750ml Bottle BACARDIÒ Gold Rum (or superior rum)
1 L Cranberry Juice
2 L Ginger Ale, Chilled
8 ounce Orange Juice
1 ounce Lime Juice
1-1/2 ounce Lemon Juice

It was quite delicious and I intend to make it again next time I have a gathering. We halved the recipe based on the size of the party.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tricia's Week 47 Recipes: Thanksgiving Cooking with Rachel

Last week I went to visit Rachel in Washington.  I brought MN with me, so on the foul weather days we baked and cooked.  Here are two recipes from our delicious feast.  The Parsnip Spice Cake is a new recipe.  The Chutney I've made before (a slightly different version), but it's worth sharing.  Both were delicious, and Rachel just informed me today that the cake is gone...time to make another!

Parsnip Spice Cake (adapted from Eggs on Sunday): The original recipe called for cupcakes, but we used a 9 inch round cake pan and it worked just fine.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour [or, you can do as I did and substitute half whole wheat pastry flour]1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
Mix all ingredients and fold in parsnips and pecans at the end.  Bake at 350 until done.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, also from Eggs on Sunday:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used 8)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I like to use Dark Amber/Grade B)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Mix together cream cheese and butter, add other ingredients, finally add sugar.  Frost cake.

I was very fond of this cake.  It was most delicious and I wished I could have stayed to eat more.  Perhaps I'll have to make it again, here in MN.

Cranberry Apricot Chutney (recipe from All Recipes).


  • 1/4 cup diced dried apricots
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

Cut up apricots, and in a largish bowl put all fruit and spices.  Mix.  In a saucepan big enough to hold it all, add water, sugar and vinegar and stir til sugar is dissolved.  Add fruit, bring to a boil, and then simmer until thickened.  (10-20 minutes depending on your pan and stove)
I do like this chutney.  I am going to make some for on toast.  I think it would be excellent on the french bread with some brie, too! 

Tricia's Week 46 recipe: Mediterranean Pepper Pot

This recipe was supposed to be a recipe made in the crock pot.  I found it in my crock pot cookbook.  But then, I ran out of time to put it in the crock pot in the morning, so made it in a skillet instead.  Served over rice.

Mediterranean Pepper Pot
1 lb hot italian sausage
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 medium green bell pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
enough water to keep it moist while it simmers and thinks about itself (if crock pot 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup to 1 cup marinara sauce (I used this instead of the ketchup called for in the recipe)

Brown sausage.  Add all other ingredients, and simmer 30 minutes.  Simmer water down until it's almost gone.  Add marinara at the end and serve over rice

I would love to try this in the crock pot, I bet it turns into an almost stew.  I will definitely make this again.

Tricia's Week 45 recipe: French Bread

I love to make homemade bread, but had never tried one of the 'artisan breads'...not that French bread is, but it's not in a loaf pan!  So I pulled up a recipe in my book, and got to work.

French Bread
2 packets yeast
2.5 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp butter, melted
7 cups flour

Heat water to 105-110 degrees F.  Disolve yeast in water.  Add water, salt, and melted butter to the mixing bowl.  Add flour.  Put on kitchen-aid mixer.  Mix on speed two until fully mixed, and then knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes.  Rise 1 hour.  Split in half and roll into two loaves about 15" long.  Place these on cookie sheet and rise one more hour.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes at 450.  Take out of oven.  glaze with mixture of 1 egg white and 1 tbsp cold water.  Bake 5 more minutes.  Cool

I will definitely make this again, and I have since I made it in week 45. My change included making three loaves instead of 2, because with only two they are huge!  Yum!

Tricia's Week 44 Recipe: Hot Italian Skillet Hotdish

I wanted to make a hot dish and bake it, but then I became too hungry to wait for the oven, so I made a skillet dinner instead.  It helped that like many casseroles or hot dishes, many of the ingredients were left overs

Hot Italian Skillet Hot Dish
1 lb hot italian sausage
2 cups veggies (corn, green beans and some leftover veggie mix)
1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chilis (hot)
1 can diced tomatoes w/ garlic and onion
rest of leftover pizza sauce.
leftover noodles
mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage in a large skillet.  Add diced tomatoes, juice in, and veggies.  Add any spices you want (I used pasta spice and more garlic - because you can never have too much garlic). Simmer until most of the juices are gone, and add pizza sauce.

Heat noodles, place in bowl.  Add hot dish, and top with cheese.  Enjoy!

I will definately make something like this again, it's a good way to use up one's veggies.

Tricia's Week 42 Recipe: clover leaf rolls

I have made bread, but never rolls, so I decided to make rolls.  I found this recipe, but didn't want 24 rolls, so I made 12 rolls and did the rest as a loaf of bread.  That worked well, actually, though the bread was a bit heavier than normal:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
3 packages yeast
1.5 cups warm water (105-115)
5-6 cups flour

Heat milk, sugar, salt and butter in small sauce pan until salt and sugar are dissolved, remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.  Add yeast to water and dissolve.  Mix these two liquid mixtures with flour in mixer on speed 2 w/ dough hook until mixed, then kneed for at least 2 minutes more.   Cover, rise for 15 minutes.  Break into 24 pieces (or 12 and roll the rest like a loaf of bread).  place in greased muffin pan the pieces, and greased loaf pan the loaf.  With scissors cut each ball in half then quarters.  Let rise again about 15 minutes.  Bake at 425 for 12 minutes.  Remove and cool on racks

I need more skill at cutting my cloverleafs.  Mine turned out like upside down tables, but they were sure tasty!

Jennifer's Week Forty-Eight Recipe: Quick Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Monday evening, Tricia and I ventured to Chris's house for a lesson in felting (and to wind yarn, as it turned out). We decided to have a dinner of snacks as Chris dispensed sage advice and I volunteered to bring dessert. I said "Oh, I'll bring dessert!" with my usual gusto. Then added, "I could make a Bundt cake!" After all, I have an entire book dedicated to them. I got myself all excited to make the Cranberry Orange Bundt that I have been eying up since I purchased the book over two years ago. I was going to do it!

Then I made an entire Thanksgiving meal on Thursday followed working the Day After Thanksgiving (I work retail) and that was followed by hosting another meal for the in-laws on Saturday to meet my brother-in-law's girlfriend (turned out that I was the only one who had not met her yet). Sunday evening arrived and the cake had not been made. I looked over the ingredients and the directions and whined a little to Chad. I didn't want to spend that much time in the kitchen! I didn't want to run to the grocery store and buy a cart full of ingredients! (That may be a slight exaggeration.) And Chad, in all his wisdom, said "Make something else."

"But I promised cake!"

"Make it from a box."

"A box cake would not count has my recipe for the week."

"Aren't there recipes in that book that use box mixes and then you add a few things to them?"

"Yeah." Then Chad just looked at me until the lightbulb went on and I dashed to the store for the few things I needed for the following recipe.

Quick Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup milk
1 box (18oz) lemon cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker's Joy and set aside.

Soak poppy seeds in milk and set aside. Stir together cake mix and pudding mix in a large bowl, making sure to break up any clumps. Make a well in the center of the floury mixture and pour in water, oil, and eggs. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Blend in the poppy seed mixture and sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 60 minutes (or 50 in my stupid oven), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack or plate to cool completely.

Would I make it again? Yep! Easy to do and it was delicious. Chris and Tricia approved!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Eight Recipe: Spicy Baked Chickpeas

My dear sister-in-law served these as part of the Thanksgiving appetizers and I knew I had to try them myself. The original recipe calls for Spanish smoked paprika, which was delicious, but having none... and having the madcap pair of Tricia and Jenni over for snacks and felting... I went for something with a little more zip!

Spicy Baked Chickpeas

1-15 oz can chickpeas
1 T olive oil
1/2 t ground cumin
2 pinches kosher salt

Rinse & drain the chickpeas and dry them by rolling them around in a kitchen towel. Combine the other ingredients, then add the chickpeas and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the chickpeas to a lined baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake at 400F for 25-35 min or until golden and crispy. Shake the tray at about 15 min into the baking process.

Would I make this recipe again? Probably. Tricia, Jenni & I agreed that the taste was great, but they weren't as crunchy as they could have been. We thought they'd be great on salad, though!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Seven Recipe - Turkey Chili

I tripled the following recipe and used left over turkey from Thanksgiving (we made a 22 pound bird). This chili was a huge hit with the in-laws and I've had to share the recipe with several people already. I based my version on a recipe from and customized it to make it my own.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (or hamburger)
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (7 ounce) can salsa (I used a medium salsa)
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or coarsely chopped tomatoes packed in puree
1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 can black beans. rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas

For on the side:
1 bunch green onions, chopped
sour cream
shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble turkey/hamburger into the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to break apart as much as possible. Season with taco seasoning mix, coriander, oregano, chili flakes, and tomato paste, and mix until meat is evenly coated with seasonings. Continue cooking, reducing heat if necessary, until turkey is well browned.

Pour in beef broth, and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes. Add salsa, tomatoes, and green chilies, and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for ten minutes. Adjust the thickness at any time you feel necessary by adding water.

While chili is still cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and green bell pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and bell pepper is lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper to the chili, and continue cooking at a very low simmer.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and cook stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the zucchini and the 3 types of beans to the chili, reduce heat, and continue cooking for 1 hour. Again, adjust the consistency with water as needed.

Ladle chili into serving bowls. Top with sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese, and serve.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Seven Recipe: Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix

Ol' Man Winter is back... and he's not in a good mood. Weather like this requires hot chocolate, and since I had some powdered goat's milk leftover from making bath soak (recipe on request!) I decided to make hot chocolate mix. Alton Brown was able to get me started; here's my version:

Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix

1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c Dutch processed cocoa
1-1/4 c powdered milk
1/2 t salt
1 t cornstarch
1-1/2 t cinnamon (I used Penzey's Ceylon cinnamon)
1/2 t nutmeg

Put all the ingredients into a 2 quart canning jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake. (This is good exercise!)

To make a mug of cocoa, fill the mug 1/3 of the way full. Pour boiling water over just to cover and mix thoroughly. When you've got a good slurry, add the rest of the water and mix some more!

Would I make this recipe again? Take that Ol' Man Winter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Six Recipe - Black and White Pound Cake

As the year winds down, I'm trying to go back to my original goal with this blog and try recipes I have marked in my cookbooks. This week's recipe comes from Bundt Cake Bliss. (An MHS Press book!) This recipe is not starred since I plan to make every recipe in this book at some point! As of tonight, I have 4 completed. This book has been well used: Erik spilled water on it shortly after I bought it two years ago and I can also feel flour and other things on the pages of the chocolate section. I have not made anything from the other sections... yet.

Black and White Pound Cake

2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa, sifted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker's Joy and set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Cream butter for a few seconds and gradually add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, creaming well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Remove 2 cups of the cake batter and blend the cocoa into it. Alternate spooning the light and chocolate batters into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Invert the cake on wire rack to cool thoroughly.

Serve with high-quality chocolate or French vanilla ice cream.

Would I make this again? Yep! I love this book. This cake does need something else with it (like the ice cream) since it is a bit on the dry side.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Six Recipe: New England Squash Pie

As told in my post Of Squash and Jalapeños, a previous experiment ended up in a lot of leftover roasted butternut squash. I decided to turn that squash into a pie and today, after our first big snowstorm of the season, seemed like a good day to make it. Pulling down my trusty 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook, I found the following recipe which is verbatim except for halving the salt.

Anybody have any idea why there's a tablespoon of melted butter in the recipe?

New England Squash Pie

Beat together:

1-3/4 c mashed squash (strain if necessary)
1/2 t salt
1-1/2 c milk
2 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1 T melted butter

Pour into a 9 inch pie shell and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes! The custard's not as flavorful as pumpkin pie, but has a nice, bright taste.

Addendum: I served this pie to Mom & Dad tonight with mixed results. Dad kept a piece for himself while Mom declined, saying it was ok, but not as good as pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Five Recipe: Egg Salad

Yes, Chris and I conspired to make the same thing for our recipes this week. Neither of us had ever made egg salad before so we both decided to do it, knowing we would come up with different versions. So here's mine! I didn't really measure ingredients so I'm kind of ball-parking it. When I make recipes, I tend to just add things until I like the taste.

Egg Salad

8 eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 baby kosher dill pickles, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Place eggs in a saucepan/pot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash the eggs until the egg salad is at the preferred consistency. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Serve on toasted bread.

Will I make this again? Yes, I think so. I either over did it with the onion and/or the onion was strong. I may omit it on the next go around since it kind of overwhelms the egg flavor in Egg Salad. Overall, a good first attempt!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Five Recipe: Egg Salad

Honestly, I cannot ever remember making egg salad. Mostly, it's because I'm not a fan of mayonnaise, but laziness plays a part, too. It's pretty easy to slice up a couple hard-boiled eggs, slather some mustard on bread, and have a good sandwich.

But a new container of Greek Yogurt inspired me to make egg salad. They even had a recipe on their website! (Go to this link and look for the egg salad recipe under entrees.) Needless to say, I tweaked the recipe a little by adding some seasoning and substituting raw onion for olives.

Egg Salad

Whisk together:

1/4 c Greek yogurt
2 t Dijon mustard

Mix in:

3 T chopped onion
4 chopped hardboiled eggs

Would I make this recipe again? I'll probably mostly stick to hardboiled egg sandwiches, but if I ever get the urge for egg salad, I'll know where to go!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Four Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Erik had some pumpkin carving to do on Sunday and I love to eat pumpkin seeds. Seriously, it's almost a vice. I figured that I would try to roast the seeds from his pumpkins. I tried that once before, about 4 years ago and ended up burning them. So, I figured I would try again. I looked at several recipes and mixed and matched to come up with the following.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour, stirring the seeds occasionally.

Ok, either the recipe I got the baking time and length from was wrong (it was a 2 cup recipe like mine) or my oven isn't playing around anymore and is letting me know that our relationship has gone from love/hate to just pure hate. Seriously, I'm thinking about taking all birthday and Christmas money and throwing it at a new range. Hey, Oven, you and I are done professionally!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Four Recipe: No-bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The conversation inside my head went something like this:

How about making cookies this week?

You don't need cookies! You've been eating Halloween candy for the last three days!

I haven't had any today.

You had cookies for lunch, for pity's sake!

They weren't homemade cookies. They were food service cookies. Besides, you could do a lot better. Think of it - fresh, homemade cookies....

Hmmmm.... Cookies does sound good. But I don't need a whole batch of cookies lurking around the house.

So make a small batch.

There is no such thing as a 'small batch' of cookies

There is if you make no-bake cookies. You know how good those buckeyes are.

I am too tired to dip cookies in molten chocolate.

So put the chocolate inside the cookies....

Thus was born:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix together:

1/4 c chunky peanut butter
1-2 T olive oil (add this slowly - the dough should be 'dry')
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a flat container or a tray with wax paper. Using a small (size 60) scoop or teaspoons, scoop onto the wax paper and refrigerate. Makes 12 very small cookies.

Would I make this recipe again? Well, I might, but they are REALLY sweet. I wound up eating one and tossing the rest away. Maybe my taste buds were just worn out by all that Halloween candy....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Karin's Week Forty-Three Recipe: Carbonnade a la Flamande

This week's recipe came as a result of thawing out what turned out to be a huge chunk of chuck roast, and needing an easy recipe. This recipe came from the 2007 America's Test Kitchen Favorites cookbook. It is very reminiscent of a recipe that I tried earlier in the year out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking - back in Week Five, Carbonnades a la Flamande. That time I did it with venison and followed Julia's instructions. Here's the "tested" version:

Carbonnade a la Flamande
3.5 lb chuck roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 T vegetable oil
2 lb yellow onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tsp salt
1 T tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T flour
3/4 c chicken broth
3/4 c beef broth
1 - bottle beer
4 sprigs thyme, or 1T dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 T cider vinegar

Heat oven to 300 deg. Dry beef and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of oil in dutch oven over med-high heat until beginning to smoke; add 1/3 beef to pot. Let cook without moving about 2 min, then turn using tongs and brown other side. Transfer browned beef to bowl. Repeat with remaining beef in 1/3 increments.

Add remaining 1 T oil to empty dutch oven; reduce heat to med-low. Add onions, salt and tomato paste; cook, scraping bottom of pot for about 5 min. Increase heat to med and continue to cook until onions are lightly browned. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and stir til all is coated and flour is browned. Stir in broths, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits; add beer, spices, and vinegar. Add beef with any accumulated juices. increase heat to med-high and bring to full simmer.

Cover partially, then place in oven and cook for about 2 hours until beef is fork-tender. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

We ate it over noodles, as I somehow had no potatoes in the house to mash. It tasted very good, although I think I liked Julia's version a bit better. It makes quite a bit, and also reheats nicely with no loss of flavor. I might not use quite as much oil next time; I don't think I needed it. Overall, good, but not as good as Julia's!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Three Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup

Last year for my birthday, Chad and Erik gave me an immersion blender as my gift. It was what I wanted! The poor thing spent 11 months in the box waiting to be used. I could never decide on a recipe! I wanted it to be something my guys would eat. This week, I was determined to put my newest kitchen device to use!

Potato and Leek Soup

1 large or 2 small leeks (about 1 pound)
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt (I omitted this. With the stock and the bacon, I felt it was salty enough)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Will I make this again? I actually doubled the recipe, so we have more for another meal in the future. Chad and I loved it and Erik liked it at first but then changed his mind. I think the boy will grow to like it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Three Recipe: Leftover Pork Loin Chili

My dad grilled up a couple pork loins before he tucked away the grill for the winter, and Mom gave me a small hunk 'for hash or something'. Sounded like an opportunity for a new recipe to me! And since I had these three roasted jalapeños, I created the following recipe:

Leftover Pork Loin Chili


1/3 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced


3 roasted jalapeños, chopped
26 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
25 oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 oz (or as much as you want!) pulled or chopped leftover pork loin.

NB: use crushed tomatoes if you want a thicker chili, or perhaps add a can of tomato paste. Despite the roasted jalapeños this is not a spicy chili, so add chili powder if you want to kick it up a notch!

Would I make this recipe again? I would! It's a good use for leftover pork loin or any other leftover meat for that matter. And maybe some nice tempeh would be good, too....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of Squash and Jalapeños

My week 41 recipe was going to be curried squash soup but when I attempted it, everything seemed to go wrong. The orange kabocha squash I got was partly green inside and didn't roast up well. Bacon from the local farmer's market was so tasteless and uninspired, I threw it away. (Yes, threw bacon away!) I even managed to scorch the onions.

This week, I thought, was going to be different! Conceiving of an idea for vegetable chili, I cut up a butternut squash and roasted it with carrots and parsnips. Bad move. Chunks of butternut squash do NOT roast at the same rate as equal-sized chunks of carrots and parsnips. Sigh.... I put the butternut squash in the freezer for a future pie and I set aside the carrots and parsnips for soup.

Determined, though, to get some kind of chili made this weekend, I contemplated three jalapeños that had made their way over from Tricia's house. Could I actually roast them?

"Pshaw!" exclaimed the jalapeños, or something equally pithy. "Of course you can! We'll show you how...." So this is what I did:

Wash the jalapeños and place them under the broiler , turning occasionally, until the skin is thoroughly blackened. Pop the jalapeños in a paper bag and let them cool. (The steam produced will make it much easier to peel off the blackened skins.) PUT ON A PAIR OF DISPOSABLE GLOVES and peel the jalapeños. Remove the seeds (and some of the inside 'rib' if you want less zippy peppers) and slice. Wash your knife and cutting board well with hot water & soap.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Karin's Week Forty-Two Recipe: Oktoberfest Beer Mustard

While reading through my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, I started marking recipes for things that sounded interesting to can. I generally tend to stick to commonly canned things like pasta sauce, salsa, juice, and jelly. Last fall I tried canning chili, which tasted great. This year I found these cute little half-pint jars that looked perfect for putting mustard in. And, in the Ball Home Preserving book, I found multiple recipes for mustard, including one entitled Oktoberfest Beer Mustard. How could I not try that one?

Oktoberfest Beer Mustard

1 - 12oz bottle beer, darker = more flavor*
1 c brown mustard seeds (available at Penzey's, where else?)
1 c water
1/2 c malt vinegar
1/2 c lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c dry mustard
1 T onion powder

*I used Capitol Brewing Company's Oktoberfest beer, as both Nate and I like its flavor

In medium stainless steel pan, combine beer and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 2 hrs until seeds have absorbed most of the moisture. In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree marinated seeds and any remaining liquid until blended and most seeds are well chopped - i.e. slightly grainy looking. (Note: I thought I would be clever and use my stick blender to just blend in the pan. Mustard seeds - 1, Karin - 0. Seeds went everywhere. Follow directions and put into blender. I also had to add a bit of the water to thin it out a bit to get it fully blended.)

Transfer mixture to a stainless steel pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by about 1/3, or 15 minutes. (Note: Must have a splatter screen at the ready! This stuff can spit at least 6 feet! Even with the splatter screen, my stove, counter and floor all had to be cleaned.)

Have jars, etc. ready for canning. Put hot mustard into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place lid and screwband on, then tighten. Place in boiling water canner, with water covering tops of jars. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Let cool and store.

Verdict is that this stuff will clean out your sinuses. It smelled great. We tried it on sandwiches, and decided that this is the type of mustard that one has with pretzels and possibly beer or cider. It overpowered the entire rest of the sandwich. Tasty though. Also, the recipe said it was supposed to make 5 jars of mustard. I got only 3. Maybe I'll try this again with a different beer to see if the flavor changes at all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jennifer's Week Forty-Two Recipe - Hungarian Pork Chops

Pork chops are a pretty popular meat choice in our house (at least as far as Chad and I are concerned, Erik is still learning to like them), However, I was sick of preparing them more usual way, so I searched for a new recipe to maybe add to my repertoire (kind of the point of this blog, right?)

Hungarian Pork Chops

4 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sour cream used a light sour cream)
1/4 cup dry sherry (mine was not dry)
1/4 ketchup (I used less than this based on reviews)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika (fairly certain I used more than this)
1 bay leaf

Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge seasoned chops in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown seasoned chops in oil (covering skillet with lid if desired). Pour off fat.

In a medium bowl combine the sour cream, sherry, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and bay leaf. Mix together and pour mixture over chops in skillet. Cover and let simmer gently over low heat for about 1 hour, or until chops are tender and cooked through.

Would I make this again? Yep! The chops were very tender, didn't really need a knife to cut them. They probably also simmered for closer to and hour and a half since Chad was late getting home. Not Erik approved, however. He'll just have to learn to like them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chris's Week Forty-Two Recipe: Mahnomin Porridge

Judy... yes, the same Judy who has graced us with so many wonderful guest recipes... gave me a copy of this recipe from the Minnesota Historical Society Press blog and said she was going to try it herself last weekend. She reported back that she and her husband loved it, but their children didn't care for it. I definitely wanted to try it myself, so made a half batch tonight:

Mahnomin Porridge

2 c cooked wild rice*
1/4 c roasted hazelnuts**
1/4 c dried blueberries
1/8 c dried cranberries
2 T maple syrup
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

Combine the rice, hazelnuts, blueberries, cranberries, and maple syrup in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the cream and heat through, stirring constantly about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

* Bring 1 c dried wild rice to a boil in 3 c water and simmer for about 45 min or until tender.

** Roast in a 275F oven for 15-25 min or until the skin cracks.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, it's quite good! You could make this out of all local ingredients, if you wanted.

I've also put the MHS Press blog on my RSS feed and will be scanning for more yummy recipes!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Update: Beer Cookies

I finally found the actual recipe for these cookies. For full recipe and review, see here: Karin's Week Thirty-five Recipe

Karin's Week Forty-One Recipe: Sheperd's Pie in a Bundt Pan

Recently I've had a hankering to bake something in my Bundt pan. It hasn't been used in a while, as I've been doing my baking either in cookie format, or in the more standard 8x8 or 9x13 format. While looking through my Bundt Classics cookbook, I found a section on savory recipes, including one for Shepherd's Pie. After mentioning this to Nate, he liked the idea so much that he made real mashed potatoes for it while I was at the store. I will warn you that this project is not for the faint of heart - it makes a LOT of shepherd's pie.

Shepherd's Pie in a Bundt Pan

3 c prepared mashed potatoes
1 egg

2lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion (or so)
1 (8oz) pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 c sour cream
1/2 c catsup (or tomato sauce with Worcestshire if you do not like catsup)
2 T prepared mustard (we used brown horseradish as that is what we had)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400deg. In large bowl, stir together mashed potatoes and egg; mix well. Using back of spoon, press 2.5c of potatoes in bottom and 3/4 way up sides of 10 or 12c Bundt pan; reserve remaining potatoes. In large skillet, over med high heat, cook ground beef, onion and mushrooms, just until meat is no longer pink; drain well. In same skillet, stir in reserved 1/2 c of potatoes and all other filling ingredients. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake at 400deg for 35-40min, or until hot in center. Cool upright in pan 10min. Invert onto serving plate. 10-12 servings.

Taste-wise this version of shepherd's pie tasted great. Very much like my stroganoff recipe in fact; although the serving size is a bit off as we ate about 40% of it between the two of us. The challenging part is getting the pan inverted onto the serving plate. I needed Nate to do this as my hands weren't big enough to handle 2+ lbs of meat and potatoes. Impressively, the potatoes really did make a crust, and I took a picture to prove it. Next time, however, I think we'll make more potatoes - 3c was really not enough to make a good crust all the way around the pan. I'll also grease the middle spindle, as the pie did not want to release from the middle. This could be an impressive dish for a family get-together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update #4: Olive Oil Cake

The success of my New Applesauce Cake this week got me wondering how the Olive Oil Cake recipe from Good from the Grain would taste as a spice cake. Unrelenting in my pursuit of culinary enlightenment, I made one tonight. I stuck to the recipe in the book, but instead of the chopped rosemary and bittersweet chocolate added:

1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg (Hi, Linda!)

Oddly enough, the cake doesn't taste 'spicy' enough to me. Any suggestions, gentle readers?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tricia's Week 41 Recipe: Hot Italian Sausage Sanwiches

Maybe these are called dago sandwiches elsewhere?  I don't know. I might be cheating a bit with this recipe, but I do know I had about a 1/2 pound of leftover spicy Italian sausage from making pizza that had to be used, 1/2 a homemade loaf of bread threatening to go stale, and some leftover pizza sauce.  Based on this, and my love of spicy food,  I made last night's dinner, and week 41's recipe:

spicy Italian sausage (about 1/4 lb per patty)
Penzey's Pizza Seasoning
Penzey's Garlic Salt
pepper jack cheese, cut into slices (enough to cover each patty)
Homemade bread (made from the leftover cloverleaf roll dough I had because I didn't want 24 rolls, so made 12 and 1 loaf bread - worked really well, actually!)

Make patties and season w/ pizza seasoning and garlic salt.  Place in greased skillet or pan on medium heat and cover.  Cook approximately 10 minutes on one side and 8 on the other (or however long it takes to make them completely cooked through).  Meanwhile, take bread and make toast. Coat each side of toast with leftover pizza sauce from Week 3's Recipe.  Place pepperjack cheese over sausage patties and melt.  Put patty on bread, cut in half (because it's a big sandwich) and enjoy.

I will definitely make this again., delicious, and easy at the end of a hard day!  We often have leftover pizza making ingredients, and I've been making a lot of fresh bread lately.  One could sub mild sausage and mozzarella cheese if one wanted a milder flavor, the pizza seasoning isn't spicy - it's more fennel/oregano-y.  If you didn't have fresh bread, you could use toasted bagels or hamburger buns too, I suppose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jennifer's Bonus Week Forty-One Recipe: Next Day Mac and Cheese Toast AKA Fried Mac and Cheese

So I did end up having quite a bit left over Baked Mac and Cheese after Erik turning his nose up at it last night. Having actually seen the episode of "Good Eats" where Alton Brown makes his Baked Mac and Cheese, I remembered that he did something with the leftovers: he fried them. I figured I would give it a try for lunch today.

Next Day Mac and Cheese "Toast"

Leftover baked mac and cheese, refrigerated at least overnight
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used less than this since I was just making it for myself)
1 teaspoon salt (used less)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (did not use less, wanted some bite!)
fresh ground black pepper
1 egg beaten with 2 ounces water
1 cup panko bread crumbs (used normal bread crumbs since I had those on hand)
Oil for frying, preheated to 375 degrees

Cut refrigerated mac and cheese into slices or bite sized pieces.

Season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Dredge each piece through the flour and gently tap off the excess. Dip in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumbs. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes so the crust can set. Very carefully drop into the oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a baking sheet fitted with a rack (or a plate with paper towel, which is what I did) and rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Would I make this again? Yep! I liked this even better than the straight up mac and cheese from last night. Of course, the frying would make it something that I don't do too often. Perhaps I could bake these bites as well for a healthier option?