Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bean enchiladas

Do you have an enchilada recipe you love? We are so simple with ours, it is a bit embarrassing. First, we go get some fresh corn tortillas from a local tortillaria, make some guacamole, make pico or salsa, shred some cheese, and get the beans.

12 corn tortillas
Refried beans or 1 can
2 C shredded cheese
Salsa or Green chile sauce
Chopped onion

Spread beans on the tortillas, top with cheese and roll. Put into baking dish, cover with green chile sauce, cheese, and chopped onions. Bake on 375 till bubbly.
Serve with salad, salsa, and guacamole.
**We say yum. I canned the salsa in the late summer this year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Smoked Gouda Chipotle Grits

Finally- after looking at this recipe for months tacked to the fridge door (I cut it out from Bon Appetite)- it is time to try it. I couldn't get smoked gouda from Whole Foods, but they suggested a smoked fontina which I used. My youngest made this meal. I should have noticed how many servings it made before it got made! Yikes.

Makes 10 servings
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cups quick-cooking white hominy grits
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely grated rindless smoked Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (or jalapenos)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add corn and onion. Saute until onion is golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add water, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  3. Gradually add grits, whisking until mixture is smooth and returns to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until grits are thick and tender, whisking often, about 15 minutes.
  5. Mix in cheese and chipotle chile. Stir until cheese melts. Transfer grits to a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
 **Nice and easy. You have to like smoked cheese to really like this dish. It would be really nice served with a pork loin, I think.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beijing Hot Noodles

I saw this recipe while looking through a cookbook on Food Trucks. It is a new e-cookbook offered through epicurious. I found it online at serious eats.

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 green onions, minced (more if they are small)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup ground bean sauce (you can find this at Talin Market)
  • 1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chile oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
  • 1/2 pound or less rice vermicelli noodles, soaked
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

 Heat the oil in a wok or heavy, deep sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the green onions and ground pork and cook until the pork is browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground bean sauce, tofu, chile oil, salt, and sugar and toss to coat, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the sesame oil and pepper, stir, and turn off the heat.
Divide the lo mein noodles among individual plates, place the cucumber alongside, and top the noodles with the pork and tofu mixture. Serve immediately.
** We all thought this needed to be much spicier. It was nice. I look forward to making Vietnamese rolls with the leftovers. It was a super quick dish to make. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Daube Provencal

I got this recipe many years ago from who knows where. I tried to find in on the internet and came up with something close on a French site. You'll need to translate the page, unless you speak French! Below is the recipe that I used. We will serve this with mashed potatoes, although I made a note that it might be good with baked polenta, as well.

3 lbs chuck roast, cut into cubes
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (unless small)
3 onions sliced
1 small onion, studded with 5 cloves
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced on bias
4-5 shallots, sliced
2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 t)
1 bottle dry red wine
1 T tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 T red wine vinegar

In dutch oven, saute meat in very hot oil, so it browns quickly without rendering juices. Set aside.
Saute mushrooms quickly (no juices). Set aside.
Saute onions, garlic, carrots, and shallots till onion is slightly caramelized.
Add the meat and mushrooms back into the pot.
Drop in bouillon and pour in the bottle of wine.
Add the tomato paste, bay leaf, studded onion, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer on low for at least one hour- the longer the better for the meat to get really tender.


Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

We often have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. So this year, I went on the hunt for a gluten free cinnamon roll. I took a bit of a chance, not having tried it earlier. I found this recipe on The Baking Beauties site. You should have a look! This recipe goes on for miles, but if you get a helper you can finish them in a snap. There are 3 distinct sections- the dough, the filling, and the topping. I would recommend you start with the filling, then the dough, then roll it, then chill the roll. While the roll is chilling, make the topping. 

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, very soft
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cinnamon
NOTE: Once thoroughly blended, you may add 1/2 cup re-hydrated raisins or pecans or walnuts.(optional)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (see note)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar (I used organic raw sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp guar gum (I used 1 t vegetarian gelatin)
  • 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  4 Tbsp margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (oops- I forgot this!)
NOTE: 4 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cups potato starch (not flour), 2/3 cup tapioca starch. Combine all ingredients in a large zipper-top bag. Shake until well blended.

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix all dry ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  2. Put water and margarine in a glass measuring cup and microwave just until the margarine has melted. Remove from microwave and stir. Add milk, stir. Add other wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. With the stand mixer running (using the paddle attachment), pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrap down the bowl if you have to.
  4. Allow to mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
  5. Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it out on a slightly damp counter top, so it covers an area bigger than 8″ x 16″. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of sugar on the wrap. Lay ball of dough on top of that. Gently lay another piece of plastic wrap over the top of the dough. Pat the dough down into a roughly squarish shape. Lift and reposition the top plastic wrap whenever you need to. Roll the dough out (with the plastic wrap on top) to a square approximately 8″ x 16″.
  6. Remove plastic wrap. Spread filling mixture evenly across dough’s surface. Leave 1 1/2″ along one long end without any filling, this is where your cinnamon rolls will be sealed.
  7. Starting along the long end, use the bottom sheet of plastic wrap to lift the edge of the dough and roll it up, forming a long cylinder. Start with the edge that has filling on it, that will be the center of your finished rolls.
At this point, you may need to chill your dough. I certainly needed to- because I used butter, the dough was super sticky and I couldn't lift the cut pieces into the pan without a minor disaster.

Over low heat, in a small saucepan, heat 4 Tbsp. butter (or margarine), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. corn syrup, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. whipping cream and a pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan.

Pull your chilled cylinder out of the fridge/freezer.
  1. Using a long piece of dark thread or dental floss, cut the long “cinnamon bun log” into 8 pieces, about 1 1/2″ wide.  This way, you won’t be squishing your dough down by cutting with a knife. Place rolls in prepared pan, with cut side up.
  2. Allow the cinnamon rolls/buns to rise in a warm, draft free place for about 30 minutes, or until nearly double in size.
  3. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden brown.
  4. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before inverting on a serving tray, and let the syrup run down over the rolls.

**This is how they looked when I inverted them.
waiting on the photo to upload...
**This is how they looked on the plate. They were oh so yummy!

Chicken Pot Pie-2

Recipe number two for chicken pot pie. I liked it better than the first recipe. I roasted the chicken with the Roast Chicken with Herbs recipe and saved the drippings. The topping for the pie was gluten-free. I got that recipe from Silvanas Kitchen. Here is my best guess as to how I made the filling.

1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 C frozen peas
Other veggies
2 C cooked chicken, cut into small cubes

Saute onions, celery, and carrots till the onion is slightly transparent. Add chopped mushrooms and saute just a bit. Then add frozen peas and any other vegies you want. I added some left over roasted potatoes cut into cubes. Then add your cooked chicken. Pour this into a baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

1/4 C chicken drippings (from your roasted chicken) or butter or oil
1/4 C GF flour mix
3 T corn starch
3 C vegetable stock

Mix the flours and fat together over medium heat till smooth. Then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer till thickened. Add to the vege mixture.

GF Crust for topping

1¾ cups (245g) Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (117g) butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg (58g), lightly beaten, plus 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

In a food processor, combine the flour blend, salt and butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the beaten egg; pulse until the dough almost forms a ball. Remove the dough and gather it into a ball.

Place a piece of plastic wrap on a clean surface. Lightly dust with flour blend and place the dough on top, sprinkle with more flour and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a shape that will cover your baking dish. Remove the plastic wrap on top of the dough. Flip the dough on top of the pie filling and remove the plastic wrap. Trim any excess dough, crimp crust edges together. Brush the dough with the egg wash and make 3 slits on top. Place on a baking sheet (to catch any drips); bake until golden, about 1 hour.

**I forgot to take a photo before we dove in. This is my favorite chicken pot pie so far.

Gluten Free Pizza

Still on the look out for a great gluten-free pizza crust. I ran across one on this site, glutenfree goddess. If you are looking for gluten-free recipes, Karina's is a site to explore.

Karina's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

Grease two 12-inch pizza pans and dust lightly with gluten-free flour. Set aside. (I sprayed one large jelly roll pan with baking spray)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

2 cups tapioca flour/starch
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons organic light brown sugar

Set aside.

Proof the yeast:

1 1/4 cup warm water (between 110 - 115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon organic light brown sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

Dissolve the light brown sugar in the warm water and add the active dry yeast. Stir and let the yeast get happy and puffy.

Add the proofed yeast and water to the dry ingredients.

Mix in:

1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup beaten organic free-range egg whites (or egg replacer for two eggs)
1/4 teaspoon light tasting rice vinegar

Beat the dough until smooth and sticky. The pizza dough should be creamy smooth and not too thick- it's not sturdy like typical bread dough. It almost borders on batter. (I added another 1/8 C water, but mine still didn't look like batter- more like bread dough)

Using a silicone spatula divide the dough in half. Scoop each half onto the center of a prepared pizza pan. Using clean, wet hands press down lightly and flatten the dough to create a thin, even pizza shell, with slightly raised edges. You'll have to rinse your hands more than once to do this. Take your time to smooth out the dough with wet palms.
Set the pizza shells in a warm cozy spot to rest and rise a bit- about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When the oven is hot, place the two pizza pans side by side on the center rack (if your oven is too small to accommodate both pans on one rack, you'll need to use two racks; rotate the pans half way through baking time to avoid overcooking on the lower rack).

Bake for ten minutes till golden. (This took me longer- about 3-4 minutes more)

Remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler. I didn't do this step. I left the oven on at 400.

Brush the pizza shell with extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and fresh garlic. Sprinkle with Italian herbs. (I brushed mine with a mixture of olive and garlic oil, and then started adding my veggies). 
I used:

Fresh baby spinach leaves and basil
Roasted beetroot
Roasted winter squash
Feta cheese
Country olives
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil all over the top

Karina says to broil briefly to melt the cheese, 4-5 minutes. I put mine back in the oven, instead at 400.  Either way- Don't over cook.
Cook time:20 min

Yield: Makes two 12-inch pizzas

**Pretty easy crust to make. You could hold it without it breaking. It was pretty good. I will be using this crust recipe again. I'd like to try it next with a tomato paste base.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red curry salmon chowder

I picked up this month's Living Naturally at Vitamin Cottage and saw this recipe. Sounded great although I had to go to Talin to pick up my red curry paste! I have already amended the recipe to how I will make it next time- more veggies and less fish.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small red onion (thinly sliced) 
3 cups mushrooms (sliced)
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
14 ounces (1 can) light coconut milk
1 cups low-sodium vegetable
2 teaspoons low-sodium fish sauce
2 teaspoons honey
3/4 pound skinless salmon fillet (cut into large chunks)
3-4 small heads bok choy (thinly sliced crosswise)
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves (thinly sliced crosswise)- Served with this
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and thin, tender stems- Served with this
2 large limes (cut into wedges)
 Heat coconut oil in a medium-large saucepan; cook onion and mushrooms for 3–5 minutes, until just softened. Stir in curry paste, ginger, garlic, and Fresno pepper(if using); cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and honey; bring to a boil and add salmon and bok choy. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 3–6 minutes (depending on salmon thickness), until bok choy is tender. Divide among four bowls, sprinkle with basil and cilantro, and serve with lime wedges on the side. 
 **Delicious and pretty fast to make. Next time, I will add more mushrooms and bok choy and less salmon. (I've already amended the recipe above- so I won't forget!) This is best way I've ever made bok choy! We all laughed when we ate it- because none of us could remember having salmon in soup!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rosemary Chicken Comfort Food

This recipe comes from the cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals. It is a great cookbook for busy folks- essentially you pile the food (in order) in a dutch oven, stick it in the oven and you're finished. This recipe is a favorite of my youngest. I have amended the recipe a bit, but not significantly.

1/4 onion, cut into 1 inch slices
2 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
6 - 8 small potatoes, new or boilers- I used Russets, cut into smaller chunks
1/2 small acorn squash, cut into 1 inch cubes - I used a winter squash- not acorn
5 - 10 mushrooms, thickly sliced
15 - 20 green beans, trimmed, cut into thirds - I left out this step with the intention of steaming them
4 - 6 sprigs rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried - do NOT use dried- use fresh!

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray inside of 2-quart Dutch oven and lid with a high heat oil.
Separate onion slices and place in a layer on bottom of pot. Rinse chicken pieces and place over the onions. Lightly salt and pepper. Stab each potato multiple times with a fork and drop into pot above the chicken. Arrange cubes of squash in gently. Add mushrooms and cover with final layer of green beans. Lightly salt and pepper. Tuck sprigs of rosemary into crevices. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma wafts from the oven.

 Here it is going into the oven- you can see I used dried rosemary. Not a good idea- they end up like little toothpicks in your meal. I salted and peppered it after the photo was taken.
 **Delicious- the chicken was tender and moist. The winter squash was a bit mushy, but acceptable. I have a dollop of my cheeky plum sauce that I canned earlier this summer with it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spiced poached pears

We made this in my last canning class of 2011. It is a mixture of several recipes. This will make enough for 7 pints.

3 quarts water
6 C turbinado sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 sticks cinnamon
2 oranges, 7 slices of peeling set aside, the rest zested
11 pears, not soft ones

In a large pot, mix the water and sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pot and then add the pod. Add the cinnamon and orange zest. You can add the juice of the orange, too, if you'd like.

Peel, core, and slice the pears into 1/4" thickness. Add them to the pot. Simmer for around 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are tender.

Spoon the pears into pint jars, add enough of the cooking liquid to leave a 1/2" head space. Process for 25 minutes.

**We opened these last night, warmed them up a bit, and served them with vanilla ice cream. Heaven in your mouth.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Halibut and Sweet Potato Chowder

I saw this recipe on one of my notebooks as I was perusing fish recipes. It sounded like a nice one to try. You can find the exact recipe on my
I have amended the one below to how I made it.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chicken andouille sausages, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 1/2 onion, chopped 
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 cup milk (I didn't do this, but next time I will)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pounds halibut or cod, boned and skinned, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 green onion (OPT)


1. Pour olive oil into a 4- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat; add andouille sausages and stir often until beginning to brown. Add onion and stir often until limp. Add saffron threads, chicken broth, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potato is barely tender when pierced, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Lay fish chunks on top of soup, cover, and cook until it is opaque but still moist-looking in the center (cut a piece to check), about 10 minutes. Gently stir soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with thinly sliced green onion.
 **Very nice! Easy to make.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes and Chard

I switched up this recipe a bit- it originally called the polenta to be cooked on the stove. I think baking it in the oven is so much simpler- especially with a recipe like this that calls for a softer polenta. You can find the original recipe here on food network. The baked polenta recipe I got from Martha Stewart. 
You can do them both at the same time in the oven. I have amended the recipes below to how I made them.

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 T butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan with a lid, whisk together 3 cups water, cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Cover, and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Whisk in the butter when you pull it out of the oven.
Roasted Tomato and Chard 
  • 28-ounces plum tomatoes, cut in half (you could also used canned)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 7.5-ounce package farmer cheese, crumbled

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425. Toss the tomatoes, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large ovenproof skillet. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes are charred around the edges, about 25 minutes.

Chop the chard and add to a skillet with the tomatoes. Saute until the chard is tender. If your tomato skins are a bit tough, you could chop them up a bit with an immersion blender.

 Divide the polenta among 4 bowls. Top with the tomatoes and chard. Season the cheese with salt and sprinkle over the top.
**Absolutely delicious! It just about used up all my romas! A definite keeper! I will be curious how it tastes with tinned tomatoes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chana Saag- Chickpea spinach curry

I got this recipe from one of the magazines you pick up at Vitamin Cottage. I couldn't find the exact recipe on the web (there are many to choose from). Here is one that is close from Group Recipes. I have amended the recipe below to how I made it.
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas
  • 2 T fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T ghee
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 5-6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup onions finely chopped
  • 1 can tomatoes chopped (I used fresh)
  • 1 T curry
  • .5 tsp cumin
  • .5 C coconut milk
  • 1-2 green chiles, chopped (oops- I forgot)
Rinse chickpeas and roughly chop baby spinach.
Heat oil and ghee over medium-high heat. Add cardamom, cinnamon, curry and cumin. Stir for a minute.
Then add onions and sauté until golden. Add garlic, green chiles, ginger, salt and pepper, cook for one minute.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook covered for 10 minutes until chickpeas are soft.
Add spinach, stir, cook for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
 **Very nice. Good flavors. Easy to make.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spicy Turmeric Chicken

I've been reading about the healing properties of turmeric- so I thought I'd give this a try. I found this recipe in the Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining and here on line. It has been suggested that you wear rubber/plastic gloves. However, you can always use a brush to brush the marinade on.

Turmeric Marinade:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons red chile powder
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chili pepper
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ½ teaspoons of salt
2-3 cloves of garlic, mashed
6 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice  

One 4 to 4 ½ pound chicken 
Coat the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
Making the marinade is easy in a glass or stainless steel bowl that will not stain. Turmeric will stain everything, so use caution. Simply combine all of the spices along with garlic and lemon juice. Stir.
Coat the chicken with the marinade mixture covering the entire surface of the chicken. Place in the crock pot (it will also stain a lightly colored crock). Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or cook on LOW for 7-9 hours. Chicken is done when the meat falls easily away from the bones.

**OK- the top photo doesn't look that great, especially since both legs had already been taken off. (ha ha). And there is one of the legs on the picture below with the roasted vegetables! Very easy dish, very tender chicken.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kielbasa simmered in beer with onions and cabbage

I used to make this dish without the cabbage when I first got a Martha Stewart cookbook. I couldn't find her recipe online attributed to her, but I found this one from that is identical. I have amended the recipe below to how I cooked it.

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cabbage, sliced
2 Kielbasas
2 (12 oz.) bottles beer (I used Rio Grande with green chile)

1. In a large heavy skillet melt the butter and saute the onion over medium heat until translucent.
2. Add the Kielbasa to the pan and brown it 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
3. Add the cabbage on top. 
4. Pour the beer over the top. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the cabbage is how you like it.
**Cooking it this way in beer makes the dish a bit sweet. Nice for a change although my daughter said the dish tasted 'beer-y'. hmm.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cranberry Nut Bread

I was able to save the cranberries we received for our Thanksgiving box until now! I love cranberry nut bread and made some this morning. I juiced 2 oranges to make the 3/4 C of juice.
Recipes abound on the internet for this. I used a recipe I found on allrecipes as my base. Below is the recipe amended a bit.

2 cups spelt flour (half wholemeal, half white)
1 cup sugar (organic)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 T butter
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1 t grated orange peel
2  cups fresh cranberries- coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Pulse in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put into another bowl. Beat egg, orange juice and peel; stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Pulse the cranberries ever so slightly. Add them and the chopped walnuts to the bowl and mix gently.
Spoon batter into a greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
 **Delicious! Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside. Great balance between the tartness of the cranberries, the crunch of the walnuts, and the orange juice and zest.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roast Chicken with Herbs

This recipe comes from a cook book I received as a wedding gift, many moons ago. It is published by Sunset, called Easy Basics for Good Cooking. I used to make the roast chicken as a meal for new mothers. I'll try it again and see if the reality of today matches my memory of it. My intention is to put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and fill the pan with vegetables for roasting. If you don't want to do that, then save the drippings and use them as a base for your roux for chicken pot pie.

1 frying chicken (3-4 lbs)
3 cloves garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
3 T butter, melted
1/4 t each salt and pepper
1/4 t each ground sage, dry basil, thyme, oregano, and marjoram leaves
2 bay leaves

Remove giblets, etc.

Rub skin of chicken with 1 clove garlic; then put all garlic and bay leaves into the body cavity. In a small bowl, stir together all other spices with the butter. Spoon 1 T of this mixture into the cavity. Truss now (if you want to.)

Brush skin generously with the rest of the butter mixture. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake uncovered, in a 375 oven for 1 to 1/1/2 hours or deep thigh reaches 185.

Baste occasionally with any remaining butter mixture or pan drippings during last half-hour of roasting. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 **Delicious and so easy! You can see I added potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots to the roasting pan  as well.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Swiss chard and potato soup

This looked like an easy recipe- one I have been carrying with me for several years, but have never tried it. Tonight is the night! I have amended the recipe below as I made it. The original recipe is on the NY Times site.


  • 1/4 pound slab bacon, diced (I used country ham, but next time I'd use bacon)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick 
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • Salt
  • 6 eggs, optional
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can, drained
  • 5 cups, packed, very finely shredded Swiss chard leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Start chickpeas in the pressure cooker. Presoak for one minute. Change water, then cook for 21 minutes. Quick release using cold water on the lid. Drain and set aside.
2. Place bacon in a heavy 4-quart saucepan. Sauté until lightly browned. Drain, leaving 2 tablespoons fat in pan.
3.Add onion and garlic to oil in pan and sauté over low heat until soft and barely golden. Add potatoes and 3 cups water and 3 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt, and cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
4.Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl, and roughly mash them with a fork or a potato masher. Return potatoes to liquid in pot, and stir to dissolve them.
5.Add chickpeas, and chard leaves. Bring to a simmer, and cook about 2-5 minutes, until leaves wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to warm soup plates. If using the eggs, fry or poach them and add one to each bowl. 
 ** I liked the soup more than my family did. You can see my broth is a bit red due to the type of chard I used.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

I remember eating a buttermilk pecan pie and loving it. I found this recipe before Thanksgiving and thought we'd give it a try. Next time, I'll use a mixture with brown sugar. I baked it on top of a gluten free pie crust. I have amended the recipe below as I made it (more pecans and tapioca for flour)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 9" unbaked pie  shell 


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, adding 1/2 cup sugar at a time.
  3. Blend in vanilla. Stir in eggs one at a time. Combine flour and salt; add a small amount at a time.
  4. Stir in buttermilk.
  5. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of pie crust, pour custard over the pecans, and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  6. Best served at room temperature.
**Careful not to overbake this pie- it will get too dry. Yummy!

Gluten Free Pie Crust

I scoured the web and finally decided on trying this recipe. Unfortunately, I could not find sweet rice flour so for the two crusts I made- one I added more sorghum flour and the other I added more white rice flour. I found this recipe via the blog called glutenfree goddess. However, you find the actual recipe on Epicurious.

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon strong cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon from World Spice Merchants)
8 tablespooons (or, one stick) cold butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 ice-cold water, or enough to make the dough stick together

Mix together all the dry ingredients, including the sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter into little pieces, about 1/2-inch thick and drop the pieces into the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or fork, meld the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter has crumbled into pea-sized pieces.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Drop the egg and apple cider vinegar in, then stir them in, gently, with a fork, stirring from the center out. Once they are incorporated into the dry ingredients, slowly drizzle the ice-cold water into the mixture, a little at a time, then stirring to see if it has become dough yet. You do not want this dough to be too wet. Add water only it all coheres together.

At this point, drop the ball of dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. (Prepare this ahead, unless you want to wipe dough off the box of parchment paper later!) Place another piece of parchment paper, the same size, on top of the dough. Gently, smoosh the dough outward, equally in all directions, until it is a thick, round cake of dough, about the size of a pie plate.


Refrigerate the ball of dough, for as long as you can stand. Ideally, you would prepare the dough in the evening and refrigerate overnight. Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least twenty minutes before you want to work with it.

Leave the dough in the parchment-paper sandwich and roll it out. By rolling it, gently, between the pieces of parchment paper, you will not need to add more flour to the mix. Roll it out as thin as you can, then strip the top piece of parchment paper off the dough. Gently, lay your favorite pie plate on top of the dough, then flip the whole thing over. The dough should sag into the pie plate. You can crimp the edges at this point. If some of the dough falls off the sides, don't worry. Simply re-attach the pieces to the crust-to-be by pressing in with your fingers.

You can pre-bake the pie crust, if you like.

For both my pies, I simply added the ingredients into the raw crust and baked it.

**Easy to make the whole thing in a food processor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old English Fish Pie

My daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving and she loves this dish! I highly recommend the cookbook this recipe comes from, 50 Ways with Fish, by Katherine Blakemore.

1 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled
1 oz butter
1 1/2 C milk
12 oz smoked fish
8 oz fresh fish (haddock, cod, or ling)
1 bay leaf
1 blade mince (I use a pinch of ground mace)
6 black peppercorns
1 T cornstarch
3 T chopped parsley
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 C sharp cheese

Cook the potatoes in lightly-salted water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well, then mash with the butter and 3 T milk.

Put fish into a pan with the remaining milk, bay leaf, mace and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover pan and let stand until fish is cool enough to handle.

Strain the milk into another pan, discarding the bay leaf, mace blade, and peppercorns. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water, add to the milk, bring to a boil stirring continuously. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Flake the fish, removing any skin and bones, add to the sauce with the parsley and eggs Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a deep ovenproof dish, top with the mashed potatoes, running the prongs of a fork down the length of the potatoes. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cook in a preheated oven (400F) for about 25 minutes until topping is browned.

Buttermilk Brined Turkey

I'm posting this recipe early due to several requests and the fact that you must start this a day or two before Thanksgiving. I made this last year and my husband still talks about it! Granted- the turkey was very moist! It is a mixture of two recipes. The first is the spices for the brine found on Martha Stewart. The second is the buttermilk brine recipe found on William Sonoma. Enjoy!

This recipe is for an 18-20 pound turkey. Adjust as required.

Turkey Brine:

  • 1 1/2 cups coarse salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds

For the turkey: 
  •  Brine seasonings above
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 quarts buttermilk
  • 1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved,
      if desired)
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the turkey brine and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the brine mixture cool to room temperature. In a large pot, stir together the brine mixture and buttermilk.

Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and place in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the buttermilk brine mixture into the bag. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and place in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, turning occasionally. (mine was so large last year that I had to use an igloo cooler)

Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the skin evenly with the butter. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. After about 2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 14.
 **Too bad I didn't get a picture of the turkey out of the oven. It was beautifully browned. The turkey is so moist when cooked with this method. Delicious for the second year in a row.

Frittata with swiss chard, onions, and mushrooms

Frittatas are pretty simple and easy to make on a busy week night. You  just need some eggs and fillings.
Last night I made one with

5 eggs, beat lightly
1/4 small onion, diced
4 mushrooms, chopped
4 leaves chard, chopped

Saute the onion a bit, then add the mushrooms and the chard. Pour the eggs on top and let them sit and cook over medium heat for a bit. Then put the skillet into the oven on broil. Broil till the top gets puffy and the frittata is cooked through. Keep your eye on it- it doesn't take too long.
**Not much to look at, but delicious!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chicken pot pie-1

I ended up bagging the stock from the chicken soup earlier this week and freezing it for later. I cut the chicken up into bits for this dish. I found this recipe on I have amended the recipe below.

  • 1 package pie crust, thawed and rolled for top
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spelt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 3/4 cups cooked chicken (cut up)
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables-I used cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, and frozen peas.


  1. Thaw crust according to package directions-or make your own.
  2. Heat butter in large saucepan. Cook onion in butter until tender-crisp.
  3. Add flour and seasonings, mixing until smooth.
  4. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and is smoothly thickened.
  5. Stir in chicken and vegetables.
  6. Cool slightly. Spoon into baking dish.
  7. Place rolled out puff pastry on top and make slits for steam to escape.
  8. Bake on lower rack in oven @ 375*F. until filling is bubbling and crust is puffed and golden brown. 30-35 minutes.

**this is a super easy dish to make. However, I didn't think it was flavorful enough. Next time, I'll up the spices and make sure to include a bit of sage and rosemary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick chicken strips

This is the easiest thing to make when you get home late. My daughter loves them. My sister taught a "Kids in the Kitchen" cooking class and used this recipe. If the chicken breasts are somewhat frozen when you start, it will be easier to cut them into strips. By the time you have finished cutting them, they will be thawed enough to handle the 'breading'.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2 (or more) semi-frozen chicken breasts, cut into strips.
A good 4 or 5 handfuls of corn tortilla chips crushed. You can do this in the food processor or get your kids to help you smash them inside a ziplock with a rolling pin.
Add a tablespoon or so of taco seasoning to the corn chips.

Roll the chicken strips in the seasoned tortilla mixture and put on a cookie sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until done.

**Tasty and super easy!

Pressure cooker chicken soup

Last week I happened to catch a part of Dr Oz. He was exploring health myths. One of them had to do with the efficacy of using chicken soup during a cold. His conclusion? Not a myth- chicken soup really does help. Last week, I caught a cold from my daughter. Ugh. So out came the chicken from the freezer (they were on sale at Whole Foods the week prior- so I bought two) and down came the pressure cooker... I pulled this recipe from the internet- the site. I have adapted it below.

Pressure-cooker chicken soup
Serves 6
6 carrots (leave whole)
2 medium onions, chopped
6 stalks fresh parsley 

3 celery stalks- top with the greens
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
1 chicken (3 1/2 pounds), cut in half (you could do quarters if it fits better in your pressure cooker)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 cups water (or as much as you can safely put into your pressure cooker)

1. In a pressure cooker, lay the carrots, onions, parsnip, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns in the bottom. Add the chicken pieces with the neck and gizzard, extra breasts, and salt. Pour in the water.
2. Lock the lid and set over high heat to bring the pressure up. Adjust the heat to maintain medium pressure and cook for 15 minutes exactly. (Important: do not leave the kitchen while the pressure cooker is on; modern cookers are perfectly safe, but you still need to babysit.)
3. Let the pressure cooker sit for 5 minutes. Carefully carry the cooker to the sink and run very cold water onto the top to bring the pressure down. You'll hear the valve make a big sigh. When it's safe to remove the lid, lift it off.
4. Let the soup cool for 20 minutes. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Put the vegetables into one container, tip the broth into another. Discard the parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Let everything cool.
5. Refrigerate the broth. Remove the meat from the chicken bones and transfer the meat to the vegetables. Refrigerate.
6. Remove the fat from the broth. Tip the broth into a soup pot. Add the vegetables and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Adapted from "The Way We Cook"

**Oops. Forgot to take a photo. Tasted good. I still have the cold. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grilled Millet and Butternut Squash Cakes

I figured my family would throw me out if I only planned soup this week. This recipe looked interesting to me- I'm always looking for a good way to use millet. Plus I still have 2 butternut squash sitting on my counter from this summer. I got this recipe from Gluten Free Girl who in turn got it from The Splendid Grain cookbook.

1 cup of millet
1 teaspoon of mustard seed
1 teaspoon of curry powder
2 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of peeled and diced butternut squash
1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

Put the millet in a saucepan or wok over high heat. Toast, stirring constantly, for about four minutes, or until the first seed pops. Wash, drain, and set aside. Toast the msutard seeds and curry powder for one minute, or until aromatic.
Put the millet and spices, water, squash, ginger, and sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, or until the millet has absorbed all the water. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Add the cilantro to the millet mixture. Wet your hands and blend the millet mixture to a fairly uniform consistency. Form into twelve cakes. Grill for about three minutes on each side, or until golden. Serve hot.
 **The recipe was very easy to make. As you can see, I didn't add the cilantro to the mixture. BIG mistake. The cakes just didn't have the depth of flavor that they needed. The kale, on the other hand, was delicious as ever.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hearty Vegetable Soup

I couldn't resist picking up some chorizo at World Market this weekend. What a perfect way to use it! This soup looked great online at bbcfood and it uses all the right vegetables for the Los Poblanos box this week. It calls for crusty bread- I almost made some GF rosemary bread sticks...
I used 4 small turnips for this dish and fresh tomatoes. The leeks came from my garden as did the thyme. If you don't have an herb garden at your house- I'd recommend you put some flat leaf parsley, thyme, and rosemary into the ground or a container. Staple herbs!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small chunks
  • ½ large turnip, cut into small chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into small chunks
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes (I used fresh romas)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • small bunch thyme, tied together with string (I tied mine with a leek stalk)
  • 570ml/1 pint vegetable stock
  • 150g/5oz green beans, trimmed (and cut into more bite manageable pieces)
  • 1 raw chorizo sausage (about 110g/4oz), cut into small chunks (Optional)
  • crusty bread to serve- Optional

Preparation method

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter together in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leek, carrot, turnip, sweet potato and celery and fry for 10-12 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften but don't colour.
  2. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the cumin, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, thyme, vegetable stock and green beans. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the chorizo for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown.
  4. Remove the thyme from the soup and stir in the chorizo. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls and serve with crusty bread on the side.

     Starting to simmer
     **The finished product. I'd say the chorizo is definitely optional with the richness of the broth-so I took it out of the title. Wow! This soup was fantastic.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Roast Chicken with root vegetables

What a perfect night to have this dish! Cold and dark, wind blowing, snow trying to form. I haven't made a roast chicken for a long time, so I thought I'd give it a go. I have a standby recipe I usually make, so I was pleased to try this one from Jamie Oliver. I like how nonchalant his recipes are and this one is just the same. I got the chicken from Whole Foods. I've amended the recipe below. If you want to know how to carve your chicken and make gravy, go to the link above.

• 1 x approximately 4 lb chicken, preferably free-range, organic or higher welfare
• 2 medium onions
• 2 carrots
• 4 potatoes
• turnips
• olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 lemon
a small bunch of fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture (I used thyme from my garden)

To prepare your chicken
• Take your chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven
• Preheat your oven to 475°F
• There’s no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them 

• Pile all the veg and garlic into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil
• Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the bird
• Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife (if you have a microwave, you could pop the lemon in these for 40 seconds at this point as this will really bring out the flavour)
• Put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs

To cook your chicken
• Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven
• Turn the heat down immediately to 400°F and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes
• Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning
• When cooked, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so

**The top photo is the chicken going into the oven. It turned out beautiful, juicy and tender.

Winter Squash or Pumpkin Soup

My intention was to try a new recipe that I saw on bbc. But my daughter walked in as I was cutting up the pumpkin we got last week (?) and asked if we could have the pumpkin soup we usually have. This is a recipe that is very forgiving and is very quick. It is originally from Alison Holst's Soup recipe booklet. She has several posted online, but not this one. I found it here on in their soup index on the top of the list. I have amended below.

1 small pumpkin  or winter squash
2 cups water (approximate)
2 tsp instant chicken stock
2 tsp instant green herbs stock
2 tsp sugar
1 medium or large onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
2-3 cups milk (optional)
1 tsp vegemite (optional if you don't have any)

Remove seeds (good time to roast them) and stringy parts from pumpkin. Remove skin. Cut into chunks.

Put pieces with all the ingredients in a large pot. Almost cover with water and cook on a nice boil until pumpkin is fork tender. Usually about 10 minutes.

Puree soup. If you are adding milk, do it now.

Serves 4-6.
**This is a family favorite. We actually ate it with roasted, salted pumpkin seeds on top.