Sunday, October 31, 2010
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
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
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
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
Monday, October 18, 2010
Shepherd's Pie in a Bundt Pan
3 c prepared mashed potatoes
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
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Penzey's Skillet Cake
1.5 c flour
3 T cocoa powder
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 T vegetable oil
1 T vinegar*
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 c cold water
*I discovered that I currently have 6! kinds of vinegar for some reason, and chose the cider variety based on a recommendation of my grandma.
Preheat oven to 350. Sift (or stir) the dry ingredients together into a 10" cast iron skillet. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into the 1st well, the vinegar into the 2nd, and the vanilla into the 3rd well. Pour the cold water over the top. Stir with a fork until well blended. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Don't forget that the handle of the pan will be hot upon removal. Let cool, then frost.
1.5 c powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder
3 T butter, softened
2 T brewed coffee, room temp (I used instant espresso, as we had drank up all of the coffee)
Cream everything but the coffee together until well blended. Add the coffee and mix well. Spread over cooled cake. Serve in wedges.
Other than cleaning the skillet, this recipe was extremely easy to make and very tasty. It will be made again, probably not only by me, seeing as it was requested. Beware that the coffee does add a mocha flavor. You could maybe substitute milk for the coffee and do a regular fudge frosting instead.
I decided I would make a casserole of the Manwich, but when I looked at various cooking websites, the predominant recipe involved beef, manwich, cheese, and crescent rolls (which would please the meat and cheese and bread crowd), but I wanted vegetables! So, I based it roughly on what one might do for a tater tot casserole:
1 lb ground pork
Pizza Seasoning (from Penzey's)
1 can Manwich
1 cup green beans
1 cup whole kernal corn
some extra veg of whatever you have lying around
Brown pork until no longer pink, sprinkling w/ Pizza Seasoning to taste. Add Manwich and simmer 5 minutes. Thaw veg (or drain if using canned) and add to pan and stir all together. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish and pour in the mix, placing tater tots on top. Bake at 400 for 30ish minutes, or until bubbling and tots are done.
I will make this again, but with a few changes. It was delicious, but my main complaint from Chief Taster was that 'it looks spicy but it isn't'. So next time I make it I'll likely jazz it up a bit w/ some chili seasonings or a jalapeno or two. Also, it would be delicious with mashed potatoes on it, or even as a stew next to a baked potato.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I have a new recipe for the blog. It is loosely based on the “Joy of Cooking” Roquefort Cole Slaw recipe.
1.5 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup apple – peeled, cored and sliced into small cabbage-y pieces
1 Tbsp lemon – to keep the apple from turning brown
Blue cheese dressing to coat (about ½ cup)
Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
Would I make this again? Yes, I would. In fact, I already did. The first batch was made Saturday evening. It was okay, but you couldn’t really taste the apples. So, since I had the other half of the small head of cabbage sitting in the fridge, I made a second batch for dinner Sunday. This time I used two apples instead of one, and I didn’t chop the apple up as small, I cut the apple in eights, then sliced it shortways (as opposed to lengthwise). Both diners agreed that the second batch was better.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Take out small pyrex bowl.
Fill bottom with about 1/2 inch level of dark corn syrup (maybe 4 Tbs)
Shake in some dark cocoa powder (maybe 1 - 2 Tbs)
Add 1/3 ish stick butter (likely 1/3 ish, cut into small pieces)
Melt the above in microwave for a minute or two.
Add 1/2 bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and whisk til completely melted and smooth. Pour ontop of whatever you are frosting.
I think I should have measured, if only so I could repeat - this is a very dark, but very delicious frosting. Not only that, but I felt a bit better after proving I could still handle a whisk. AND, though VERY chewy, the treats were inedible. So, lesson learned, call MOM before making treats, and start simple. And always eat chocolate to feel better.
To set the scene. I had a miserable day at work. Looking back, I can't even remember all the details of its miserableness. I do remember being miserable, and telling Trevor so on the phone on the way home, and arriving home much earlier than he did. I arrived home to a messy kitchen. This is happening WAY more than it should these days...I should fix that this weekend! (Me, the queen of procrastination.) So, I cleaned up the kitchen and in doing so put up a box of Rice Krispies. I stopped, looked at it, and set it back on the counter. I finished the dishes, still looking at my newly aquired box of cereal, pondering the possibilities of a new recipe. I love rice Krispie treats. LOVE them. (Do you see where this is going yet?) I love peanut butter rice Krispy treats even more, especially if there is a lovely layer of fudgy frosting on top.
I searched the internet, and came upon this recipe from the Rice Krispies website for peanut butter treats. I saw others (like this one) but ignored them for the ingredients I had on hand. The recipe online didn't have a lovely fudge topping, but that was OK, I could add it later. So I made the treats:
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 package (10oz) big marshmallows, or 4 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 cups Krispies
The directions say melt butter and marshmallows together in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after 2. Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and stir til melted, then add to Krispies and magic will happen. (Ok, that is not verbatim, but this is how I'm beginning to feel.)
I started by melting things in the microwave. I could only heat for 1.5 minutes, not 2, because the marshmallows were growing exponentially and threatening a gooey mess that would really have had me cleaning my kitchen for a while. I stirred. I cooked another almost 1.5 minutes. I added the peanut butter. My guess is this recipe calls for fake, creamy peanut butter, not the 'real' peanuts and salt kind. I also think it doesn't call for the under-oiled, leftover peanut butter my fridge had to offer. It likely really doesn't call for a bit extra of it to 'just use it up' I add. I stir. Magic is not happening!! I am starting to make paste! AH! Maybe it cooled to much, maybe! Back in the microwave it goes. Back out it comes, I stir, it's now warmed paste. I don't give up though, I add Krispies. I stir, but the now hardening paste won't accept the multitude of Krispies I've offered it. I try using hands, rather than stirring implement, to kneed in the Krispies. This helps, but doesn't solve the problem. More goo! I think desperately. I quickly heat the rest of my bag of mini marshmallows, wondering the whole time why I didn't just cook them all to begin with. I add that to my bowl of cooling paste and cereal. I burn my hand. I look forlornly at the mess in the pan. I sigh, stir some more, and give up. I take the cake that is the stuck-together Krispies and place it in my cakepan. I pour the non-stuck Krispies on top, determine to stick them with frosting. I consider how I will make my frosting (see bonus recipe).
The door opens, Trevor walks in. He asks, rather tentatively having talked to me earlier and heard the mixing and puttering and plopping and sighing from the kitchen, how I am doing. I walk to the top of the stairs and look down at him and declare, "I am a failure of a 1950's housewife!" in a rather desperate tone. He laughs (I will admit it was funny, but at the time nothing was going right and I was rather serious), and says "what happened?". I related the above.
I will make treats again! I will succeed where I have failed! Mothers, makers of this tasty treat, what have I done wrong? Was it not enough mallow? Too many krispies? Too old of peanut butter (mallows were a bit old, but not bad)? Bad Karma? HELP me, please!!
3/4 cup Miracle Whip Light Dressing (I used Light Mayo, because I had that)
1 Tbs honey
1 pkg (16 oz) Coleslaw Blend
2 Apples (I used one Honeycrisp and one Granny Smith)
Find big bowl with lid. Pour Blend into bowl. Mix in small bowl mayo and honey til well blended, and pour over Blend and stir well. Wash apples, use apple corer to make slices. Cut into bite sized pieces, leaving skins on. Add apples to mix and stir as you cut them so they don't turn colors. Let sit one hour. Devour.
I would definitely make this again. I might even do 1 apple, a few extra carrots and celery, and some cranberries, just for fun. It was a good salad, the sweet apple + tart apple really did make it taste good. It would be more 'authentic' if I shredded the cabbage...but we all know I don't have time for that.
Cake (courtesy of my mixer's cookbook)
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (read butter, cause that is what I used)
1 cup low fat milk
1 tsp vanilla
Cookbook directions for mixing: combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add shortening, mil, and vanilla. Attach bowl and flat beater and mix at speed 2 for 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl, add eggs. mix on speed 2 about 30 seconsds. Scrape bowl . Turn to speed 6 and beat 1 minute.
The way I did it: butter, softened, and sugar go in mixing bowl. Mix on speed 2 til well mixed. Go to speed 4. Add eggs one at a time until creamed in. Meanwhile mix all dry ingredients in another bowl. Have milk at the ready. Add 1/2 dry ingredients, mix on speed 2 til blended. Add 1/2 milk, speed 2 til blended. Repeat w/ rest of dry and rest of milk.
Then: Grease and flour two round cake pans. Pour 1/2 batter into each. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick in middle comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then on rack until completely cool.
Make Happy Day Cake: Place one round on plate or cake server. Add 1 mom's homemade strawberry jam (or small sized Smuckers jam of any variety that pleases you). Top with second round. Place on top icing..
Icing used: 1 cup (ish) powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp milk
I think I will tweak the cake a little, it was a bit dry, but otherwise - yum!
I love church cookbooks. You know the recipes in them are the tried-and-true favorites of the people who submitted them. The recipe that I found for Sunday lunch was intriguing because it used 1/2 c coffee in the batter. It was also intriguing in that it didn't list measurements for all the topping ingredients, nor baking temperature or time. I guessed on the measurements and employed the magic '350F for 25-30 minutes' and here is:
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
3-4c or 1lb potatoes, peeled and sliced or diced
3c or 1lb leeks, thinly sliced (or you can use yellow onions if you don't have leeks)
4-6T heavy cream or 2-3T softened butter
2-3 T minced parsley or chives
Place everything into a 3-4qt saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 40-50 minutes. Mash the veggies in the soup or put through a food mill - I used my stick blender. *You can make this ahead of time to this point and then just bring it back to a simmer before eating.* Just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Fold in parsley.
This was unbelievably easy to make. Put everything in a pot and forget it until the timer goes off. A great way to cook lunch. This was very tasty and filling. We had 3 pieces of leftover bacon (I know you are wondering how does one have leftover bacon? It's a bit of a story, but we did.) so Nate crumbled them up on top of our bowls of soup. I liked it just fine with out the bacon, but he thought it needed a bit more. Either way, simple and easy and very tasty.
1.5 c regular flour
0.5 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter
1 bottle room temperature beer (I used an Ale Asylum Porter)
1/2 c chopped walnuts or chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar together. Cut in dry ingredients and nuts or chips. Blend in beer slowly until dough is consistency of drop cookie dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 minute, then cool on rack.
Results: These cookies don't spread out at all! They make strangely puffy small cookies. We used both pecans and chocolate chips in the cookies. Nate liked them, as they weren't crumbly, and the guys I work with voted for them to come back to work again. The beer flavor definitely comes through. I don't think I'd make these again, as I have much tastier cookie recipes, but they were fun to try.
Pecan Cranberry Biscotti
1 1/2c toasted pecan halves (10min at 350 will toast them nicely)
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4c sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt ( I went with 2 turns of the salt grinder)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1c dried cranberries
zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350deg. Line a baking sheet with parchment for later. Chop 1/2 the pecans and leave the rest in halves; set aside.
In mixing bowl, combine baking powder, flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and the egg yolks with the vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients; mix on medium low until a sticky dough is formed. Stir in pecans, cranberries and zest.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and sprinkle with more flour; knead slightly. The dough will be VERY sticky at this point. Shape into 2 9x3.5in logs and place onto parchment covered pan. Bake for 30 min. Remove from oven and cool for 15 min. Reduce heat to 275deg. Slice logs of dough diagonally into 1/2 in pieces. Place cut-side down onto parchment. Return to oven and bake for 20min. Turn over pieces and bake for 20 min more. Remove biscotti to wire rack to cool.
Result: Yum! I may need to make another batch before my mom and grandma visit . The recipe says they will last in an air-tight container for several weeks. I will be lucky to get an entire week out of them. Meaning they will all be eaten of course. Maybe biscotti aren't as hard as I thought...
Slow Cooked Pork Roast
1 3-5lb pork roast
3 bay leaves
ground black pepper
This recipe can be made with either a frozen piece of pork, or a thawed. If you have a thawed piece, reduce all cooking times in half and cook on High.
Place pork roast into crockpot. Add cranberry juice until juice is approximately halfway up the side of the roast. Place top on crockpot and cook on Low for about 5 hrs. Remove pork and shred using meat forks. Place meat back into crockpot, adding bay leaves, cardamom, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Cook for another 4hrs on Low. Serve with bbq sauce of your choice.
The original recipe calls for mixing in applesauce at the halfway point as well, but sweet and meat are not allowed in my household.
I would make this again as it's very easy to do. You just set it up and then forget about it. I had enough to have leftovers for the next few days, as well as some to freeze for later. The juice kept the meat moist and juicy and also gave it a nice flavor. I didn't use any bbq sauce with mine as I didn't think it was too sweet.
In an effort to try and actually cook something rather substantial and easy I decided to cook Sausage & Herb Risotto and what I called a Strawberry Trifle. This is mostly because during my practice run I couldn't get a Strawberry Tart made.
Sausage & Herb Risotto
1 1/3c arborio rice
1 carton Swanson's Chicken Broth
3 precooked Italian sausages (bratwurst-sized)
1 cardboard container white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
Penzey's Tuscan Sunset seasoning
4T fresh parsley, chopped
Start both burners on stove to flaming hot. Pour 1/3 of chicken stock into saucepan and start to bring to simmer. Heat butter and oil in large frying pan until butter is melted. Saute onion and garlic in oils. Add 1/3 more chicken stock to saucepan. Stir rice into oils until rice becomes slightly translucent. Add 1 ladleful of stock to rice and stir thoroughly. Add remaining stock to saucepan. Pour approximately 1/2c of wine into frying pan with rice and stir. By now stock should be boiling. Continue to stir rice. As liquid is absorbed and 1-2 ladlefuls of stock to rice. About 1/2 through cooking time, add another 1/2 c of wine into rice. When the last ladleful of stock is added to rice, slice sausages into bite-sized chunks and add to pan. Add in approximately 1/4c of Tuscan Sunset - or to taste. I put in ALOT and it smelled great. Heat through. Remove pan from heat and add parsley. Stir to combine and serve with parsley for garnish.
1 - 16oz container fresh strawberries
1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar, divided
40 Nilla wafers
Slice strawberries and place into ziploc baggie with 1/2c of sugar. Zip closed. Smash strawberries between fingers to mix with sugar. Set aside. Meanwhile, crush Nilla wafers into small pieces and crumbs in separate baggie. Set aside. Mix cream cheese and remaining 1/2 c sugar in small bowl.
To assemble: Place a small handful of crushed Nilla wafers in bowl. Add a large dollop of cream cheese mixture. Top with strawberry mixture and juice.
The outcome? I came in 2nd by 0.5pts. Final score was 119.5, 119, and 105. However, during the taste-testing, both of my dishes were eaten up rapidly. And I did get the 'easy to replicate on your own' award. Several people in the audience said they hadn't thought of ever trying to make a risotto while camping, but as it was so filling, they're going to try now. On a side note, the trifle was originally supposed to be a tart with a cookie crust, but I couldn't get the crust to hold together during my test run - hence the trifle. I would definitely make this again, and if you come camping with me you might get to taste it too!