Archive for ‘recipes’

December 13, 2013

Eat your heart out Santa Clause

Peppermint chocolate chip cookies

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I needed a snack to take to Tuesday night’s 4-H meeting. I had just finished cracking my eggs into my Kitchenaid and went looking for the vanilla. Crud! All out! Subbing peppermint extract for the vanilla gave these cookies a special little seasonal twist. I used mini-chocolate chips too!

If you don’t have a chocolate chip recipe you like, borrow mine! It’s easy to remember with all the “2’s”

2 sticks of softened butter, 2 cups of sugar (1 white, 1 brown)- cream together well.

add in 2 eggs, mix.

Add 2 tsp. peppermint extract (or vanilla), mix.

Add 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1 baking soda and 2 pinches salt, mix.

1 package chocolate chips, mix. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a Silpat or lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for as long as it takes for them to be slightly browned on top (10-12 min. or so). I pull mine out slightly under baked, I think it gives me a better cookie.

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December 11, 2013

Chicken noodle soup!

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Cold weather means it time to build fires in the wood stove and have soup!

Serves: an army with left overs =)

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (I prefer to use a whole skinless chicken). You could substitute chicken “parts” for this (bone in, that’s where you get your good broth!) but I do not recommend just breast meat, you need a little fat.

1.5-2 gallons of water

3 ribs celery (sliced)

3-4 carrots (peeled and sliced)

1/2 large onion (diced)

1/2 head green cabbage (optional) (roughly cut in half and then sliced 1/2″  strips)

1/2-1 package egg noodles or  homemade egg noodles. (I was short on time and bought a bag of frozen egg noodles from the grocer)

olive oil

Kosher or sea salt (to taste)

1 Tbs (or to taste) poultry seasoning or bouquet of fresh favorite herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)

There are several different ways of going about making the broth. My favorite is to bring the chicken and water up to pressure in my pressure cooker and cook for approximately 35-45 minutes and give it a quick cool down. You could use your crock pot and put the whole chicken and water in it and let it stew all day and when I have time I put the chicken in a large soup pot with water and let it simmer on the wood stove for 1.5-2.5 hours. Sometime there is brown “scum” that floats to the top while simmering. If you’re doing this in a stock pot or crock pot, you can skim it off while it cooks.

Once you have your broth, reserve 1.5 gallons for soup and place back in pressure cooker or soup pot. Remove chicken carcass to a large bowl and let cool. If you’d like to filter your broth, do so after removing the chicken. Sautee onion, carrots and celery in olive oil in a saute pan until onions are limp then add to chicken stock (your carrots and celery will not be cooked through).

*If you are using a pressure cooker, de-bone and shred chicken and add to stock, add egg noodles, cabbage & poultry seasoning and salt to taste, place lid on pressure cooker and bring to pressure, let cook 5 minutes and quickly cool down under cold running water. Serve.

*If simmering on the stove, bring broth and veggies (not cabbage unless you prefer your cabbage very limp, we do not) and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes, add egg noodles (and cabbage if you have not done so), cook for about 20 minutes. During last 5 minutes, add shredded chicken.

 

Enjoy on a cold day, and the day after =).

 

 

October 24, 2013

A Plethora of Apples

It’s apple processing time!

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Oh, what’s that? You’d like the recipe? This may be the recipe for you if you don’t follow recipes =).

First get your minions…I mean, children all washed up and ready to peel peel peel!

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Next, we took a lot apples and used our handy dandy corer/peeler/slicer to get them ready for the pot. I put many many pounds into my biiiiiig soup pot with a little citric acid (how much I am not sure of). Added some spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger. You could use cardamom (YUM!) or nutmeg (NOT A FAN!). And some water & sugar (you could use honey). I used a combination of Cortlands, Johnathan’s, and McIntosh apples -3 of my favs! They can be tart but they are EXCELLENT apples for everything! I let all that simmer for a while until I got the consistency I wanted. Some of it I didn’t simmer too too long and I got apple pie filling. I let some more go and got chunky apple sauce and the rest is smooth apple sauce. I put it all into clean canning jars and processed it all in my pressure canner! Didn’t have to dirty the food mill!

I would imagine you could do this in a crock pot too! Oh the smell coming off that all day, if that doesn’t remind you of fall and the holidays, I don’t know what will!

You could add butter to the mix while it simmers, I’ve seen recipes use it. You could also use apple juice as your thinning agent. I just used water. These apples are super aromatic and apple-y.

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October 11, 2013

Zoodles

We tried “zoodles” for our first time last week and I must say, it’s something we’ll probably do again! Some things -like tortilla chips- are just “carriers” for really good dips. They really are SO simple!

I took the julienne blade and put it into my OXO brand mandoline and went to town slicing 2 unskinned  medium (9′) green zucchini into long spaghetti like noodles and viola, ZOODLES! There are other contraptions that will make similar noodles in pretty spirals, but my mandoline made quick and easy work of it.

I rarely use the microwave but I did nuke these zoodles in a ceramic bowl with a lid on top for about 3 minutes and they are ready to serve! Pair with your favorite marinara sauce…seriously quick, seriously healthy and seriously good!

September 11, 2013

Chile Verde

Our pepper plants have been great producers this year. I completely forgot to start tomatillo seeds and for that I kick myself because I wanted them for verde sauce but this sauce, oh my goodness!!! It’s delicious!

chile verde1

6-8 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup white flour

1 large white onion

3 cloves garlic

kosher salt to taste

4 jalapenos (or other small hot pepper, optional)

2 lbs. Anaheim chiles

Olive oil

Roast peppers over open flame or in an iron skillet until well blistered, their color will lighten some, they’ll become charred. Put into paper bag and seal or into a stainless steel bowl that you have a lid or cover for. Allow to steam until cool enough to handle. Once cool, they’ll slough their skin fairly easily, remove seeds and as much skin as you choose (some do this under water, some do not, the choice is yours).

Dice one medium white or yellow onion and skin 3-4 cloves or garlic and smash, put into large pot with some olive oil (1/8 cup), over low/medium heat saute until tender, add roughly chopped peppers & flour. Stir to coat. Add chicken stock and let it all come to a slow simmer, the stock should thicken some due to the flour. – you could omit the flour completely and allow the blended peppers to be your only thickener-.

Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so and place in a blender or use a stick blender to blend it into an oblivion. Funnel into canning jars and preserve or freeze. Should keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

This can be used for pork verde, for enchiladas or as a salsa! It’s delicious with chips and I am not a bit sad at all that there wasn’t any room left for this small pint jar in my pressure canner! Enjoy!

chile verde

August 20, 2013

Cilantro lime chicken tostadas

cilantro lime poached chicken (home raised & pastured)

I used a pressure cooker to “poach” my chicken but you could simmer it on the stove or bake it as well but poaching it gives me such a rich broth. I’ve also talked about using a pressure cooker before to make broth (http://wp.me/pN3hE-HN). I have a gallon and a half of cilantro and lime infused broth to make chicken tortilla soup with =).

I place a whole skinned chicken in my pressure cooker with enough water to cover or reach the fill line (whichever is first), a good bunch of washed cilantro and a whole washed lime sliced thinly. A small handful of sea salt and cook for 45 minutes once it comes up to pressure or simmer for at least a few hours.

When ready to assemble:
Fry a tortilla in a little oil (I like sunflower oil) until lightly crisp (or oven bake brushed with a little oil bake at 375 for approx. 12 minutes). Shred cooled chicken and assemble on top of the tortilla.

Additions: black olives, cheese (jack, cheddar, pepper jack, queso blanco, etc.), sour cream or Greek yogurt, lettuce, green onions, red onions, tomatoes, salsa, refried beans, bean and corn salsa (black beans, red onions and corn marinated in a little cilantro and lime), avocado, green salsa or even a nice cheesy vinaigrette if you need it.

A healthy & light, yet filling, summer meal!

August 10, 2013

Hummus

Hummus…Mmmmmmmmmmm…hummus! Oh deary me how I love me some hummus!! What’s better? It’s good for you! Now, what you eat it WITH may not be great but hummus in and of itself is quite good for you!

We had a “whatever dinner” with friends the other night. Neither of us could think of exactly what would be on the menu so I just told her to bring whatever, I’d make whatever too and we’d eat…well, whatever!  I suppose it could be potential for a dinner disaster but when you plan several easy dishes that would meld well with another, there’s great potential! More on that another time.

Hummus

  • 1  (15-16 ounce) can of cooked chick peas (A.K.A. garbanzo beans),  drained and rinsed in a colander (you could certainly cook your own too from scratch)
  • approx. 1/4 cup good olive oil, more or less (if you’re doing this in a blender and not with an emulsion blender (A.K.A. stick blender) you may want to save 1/4 cup of the liquid the chick peas came in and cut the oil amount in half. Some blenders are better at getting a good emulsion between the peas and oil, others are not and do a better job with more liquid and less oil.)
  • kosher or sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It has a bit of a peanut butter-y taste and if you cannot find this, I substitute sesame oil (which can sometimes be found near the Asian food in your super market). It’s not exactly the same, but there are lots of different kinds of hummus! This can be omitted if you do not like the taste or less can be added.)
  • peeled garlic (LOTS! 3-5 cloves), optional
  • Juice of one lemon

In a blender or deep wide mouthed jar (I use an emulsion blender), blend up your chick peas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. While blending, add your olive oil in a constant stream. You may prefer more or less olive oil than what I’ve noted.  Once the chick pea/oil mixture is well blended and the mixture is flowing through the blade well, taste and add salt to your liking. I find beans usually always need a generous helping of salt. I usually can’t get it as smooth as what comes pre-made from the store but I also don’t have an extrusion blender machine either. The emulsion blender does a fine job though.

You may find it’s not enough stuff for your blender to get a good emulsion, in that case, you may have to make a double batch. I’ve tried making it in a blender before and I just couldn’t get the oil to emulsify well enough, I just really prefer the emulsion blender for the task.

That’s it! You can eat it room temp. or cold. It will solidify some in the fridge. What do you eat it on? Weeeeeell, I made homemade wheat flat bread but the possibilities are practically endless: pita chips, tortilla chips, tortillas, spread on bread instead of mayo or in addition to (I’m thinkin’ Reuben sandwich!), crackers, a dip for veggies or, if you’re like me, sometimes I eat it off a spoon like peanut butter!

There are so many additions too! You could leave out the garlic if you’re not a garlic fan, you could add roasted peppers, spinach, cheese, Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, avocado, spice it up with roasted chilies! Heck, you could even omit the chick peas and make it with black beans and add cilantro…it wouldn’t be traditional hummus but I won’t tell! Wouldn’t that make a tasty wrap? It’s a recipe that’s open to a lot of interpretation and a great way to get your protein, fiber, vitamin B-6, iron, etc. It’s low in fat and high in taste!

Happy hummus-ing =)!

August 8, 2013

Lemon Coconut Muffins

tea party muffins

3/4 cup sugar or equivalent (honey, sugar substitute. etc)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

2 eggs

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt (I like sea or kosher salt)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

zest from 1 lemon, grated finely

1/4-1/2 cup whole milk (addition of milk will depend on how wet your batter turns out to be. I do not add this until the end once all my other ingredients are blended if it looks like my batter will be too dry. It should be like a stiff cake batter)

2-4 drops of yellow food coloring (completely optional. I used our farm fresh eggs which turned these muffins a beautiful shade of yellow but certainly you could add the food coloring to boost your color if desired.)

Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

OR

1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting

(will make about 36 mini muffins or 12 medium muffins or 6 large muffins)

Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease  muffin tins.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix lemon juice and extracts.

In a medium size bowl cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer.  Add eggs one at a time until fully blended, add yogurt/sour cream,  blend .  Add lemon juice/extracts, blend. Add lemon zest and food coloring (optional), blend.

FOLD dry ingredients in to wet ingredients in 1/3’s blending only until incorporated. Do not over-mix or your muffins will become tough. If it looks like your batter is too dry, add milk a little at a time until desired consistency. Batter should be thick, but not dry.  If you’re using a sweetener like honey, you may not need milk at all.

Spoon muffins in to muffins tins, about 3/4 full. Bake at 375 for-

15-18 minutes (mini muffins)

18-20 minutes (medium muffins)

20-25 minutes (large muffins)

until lightly browned or when gently pressed on top, muffin gently springs back.

Allow to cool about 5 minutes in tins.  Pop them out of the tins and allow to cool on wire wrack or cutting board until warm.

Measure remaining sugar in to small bowl. Melt butter and brush muffins. Gently roll muffins in sugar. Alternately you could dust with powdered sugar omitting butter and granulated sugar.

Enjoy =)

lemon coconut muffin

July 5, 2013

Chicken Stock

We love soup, even in the summer, but especially in the fall and winter! A good soup with crusty home made wheat bread, YUM!

chicken broth

It’s amazing how many meals you can get off of a single chicken if you plan it right. Granted, it all depends on how big your family is and how big your boys kids are.  With our family of 4, I can generally get 3-4 meals off of a single chicken. Even when you’re baking a chicken you can take the bones and make stock from them after it’s been cooked and the meat removed!  I’ve tried this with turkey carcasses numerous times but I’m not a big fan of turkey stock.

I used to add my whole chicken to a pot and simmer it for a long time. When we run our wood stove in the winter I still do this in a great big stock pot with some onions, celery, carrots and herbs and the house smells simply divine. But in the summer, running the kitchen stove any longer than necessary isn’t exactly my idea of a cool time, and you can forget about the wood stove =)!

Many years ago I bought a huge pressure cooker specifically for canning. My Grandma had a smaller pressure cooker she rarely used and so I decided to give it a try for meals. It was love! I immediately went out and bought myself an 8 quart (2 gallon) size for regular means and we never looked back. Making super tender roasts in a hurry, pulled pork, soups, beans, the list is endless as to its uses!

Using the pressure cooker is my absolute favorite way to make chicken stock! At 15 lbs. of pressure it takes about 45 minutes to make gorgeous stock with every ounce of goodness from the bones removed and I have meat that falls right off the bone! For chicken pot pie, I simmer my gravy and ingredients, add my cooked shredded chicken at the end and it tastes as if it had simmered for hours to develop deep complex flavors! Truth is, I use the chicken broth to make my gravy, it’s like a 30 minute meal!  I wish the photo above captured the pure beauty and true yellow color of the stock in real life but I honestly don’t think it comes close.

I have made stock in a crock pot and electric dutch oven and it does an OK job but for speed, outstanding chicken flavor and ultimate tenderness and quantity, I really feel the pressure cooker gives me the absolute best stock!

Generally my meal uses the chicken meat in the first meal then I will put strain the  broth through a new milk filter (I have tried coffee filters, it’s an absolute mess waiting to happen)  into 1/2 gallon canning jars (I usually get 1+ gallons from the size of my pressure cooker) and put it in the fridge for use in a day or two. The fat floats to the top, I skim it off and I have virtually fat free broth to use to make outstanding soups!

If you have not tried a pressure cooker to make broth, you might like to try.  For that matter, if you haven’t tried a pressure cooker, it’s a kitchen tool I couldn’t be without!

Happy stocking! =)

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April 12, 2013

Homemade yogurt the easy way!

I make about a half a gallon at a time, quart and half gallon masons work very well as containers.  First I heat my raw milk to 180. Yes, this does pasteurize it. No, I don’t like killing the good qualities about my raw milk but in the end, it gives me a firmer yogurt. Heating it denatures the proteins so even if you are using store bought pasteurized milk, heat it to 180 degrees. You can make totally raw yogurt without heating it, it will give you a bit runnier yogurt, which I also make often as well. I like both for smoothies, I prefer the firmer Greek style for eating and the runnier to put into pancake batter, muffin mixes, etc.

After my milk comes up to temp. (being very careful not to let it get too hot as burnt milk will be ruined and take a good brillo pad to clean your pan, besides.), I let it cool to 95-110 degrees (either on the counter or in a bath of cool water) and I put a good size scoop (soup spoon size) or two of yogurt from another batch and stir to melt once it cools to 10, not before, you may kill the cultures. If you’re starting your yogurt from scratch, use a store bought yogurt (preferably plain unless you want residual flavors) with LIVE cultures (VERY important) or a powdered yogurt culture. Powdered cultures can be found from any online cheese making source, Hoegger Supply, etc.

While the milk is heating, I heat up a pot of water to about 115-120 degrees (On occasion I leave it go to boiling, I haven’t had any problems using boiling water). When the water is at temp., I pour it into a mason jar and stick it in my “cooler” to warm it up. Once the milk/yogurt culture mixture is ready, I put that into a half gallon mason or 2 quarts and stick it all into the cooler. I leave the jug of water in, close the lid and let ‘er rip. I’ll check it after a couple of hours to be sure it’s still at the right temp. (112-114) and just let it sit until it becomes the consistency I like (6-24 hours). If the temp. drops below 110, I add a new jug of warm/hot water in place of the other.

Once your yogurt is at the consistency you want, add ins like strawberries, peaches, etc. can be mixed in. Add honey to sweeten if you like!

Yogurt makes the BEST pancake mix! The possibilities are endless!

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Yogurt Smoothie! Ingredients: raw goat’s milk thanks to my dairy girls, raw goat’s milk yogurt (made by yours truly =), honey, flax seeds, frozen blueberries, and frozen strawberries!

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