Thursday, December 23, 2010

Potato and Parsnip Scalloped Casserole

I really love Sunset Magazine but this recipe needed to be stepped up a bit and the addition of pancetta and black pepper really enhances the flavors of the root veggies.  Who can eat potatoes without pepper?  The original recipe can be found in the December, 2010 Sunset Magazine on page 59.

2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 TBSP ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (for best flavor, grind you own)
3 large white potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 celery root, peeled, halved and sliced and diced
1 package pancetta, diced
2 cups fontina cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 325.  In a saucepan bring cream, salt, and nutmeg to simmer.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Lay 1/2 of the potatoes in a greased or oiled baking dish, top with parsnips, onion, 1/2 of the diced pancetta, and celery root.  Top with 1/2 of the cheese.  Add the rest of the parsnips, potatoes, pancetta and celery root.  Pour warm cream over entire casserole.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake until bubbly and golden brown about 1 1/4 hours at 325.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Judy's 3 - 2 1 - 1/2 Banana Bread

I've been waiting for a special time to make my beautiful cousin's banana bread and this is it!  We are off to Hawaii over Christmas to get warm and soak up some rays.  In thinking of "plane food" I thought of Judy's Banana Bread---can't get into trouble for having liquids (was harassed last time for my packet of soy sauce to go with my sushi!)  This is a straight-up recipe and easy to make in a matter of minutes.  Because we are en route to Hawaii, I used macadamia nuts instead of pecans or walnuts.  Judy says that you can add virtually anything you like in the way of cranberries, blueberries, nuts and etc.  Please note that the ingredients given are NOT the order they are added.


Judy and I, Durango Colorado

Judy Simmons' 3-2-1-1/2 Banana Bread

Preheat the oven to 400.  Grease or spray one large loaf pan, 2 smaller or 4 really small loaf pans.

Ingredients:
3 bananas, smashed
2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup buttery Crisco

1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
*Optional:  Nuts, cranberries---anything goes

Combine the bananas, egg, sugar, Crisco, baking soda and cinnamon until moist.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Batter will be thick.

Add any other ingredients you want, i.e., nuts, berries, etc.

Spoon the batter into loaf pan(s).  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, do not open the door but turn down the heat to 350 and bake an additional 40-45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place pans on their sides.  Slide a sharp knife along all sides and turn over.  Wrap in foil and do not slice or freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Goodnight Waffles

NOPE!  again not my recipe.  This blue ribbon recipe came with my Waring Pro Waffle Maker.  This recipe takes quite a bit of prep time--maybe 45 minutes up front, another 15 in the morning and then your baking time.  But, oh is it ever worth it!  |Without fail, this recipe elicits rave reviews.  "The best waffle I have ever eaten!",  "It's so light!  I don't get it", "OMG, this is heaven."
  All comments are correct, but the final product does not come without effort.  Be patient.  This recipe is for people you really love. I usually double the recipe but am giving you the original here....it makes 6 good sized waffles.

1/2 cup lukewarm (105 F water)
1 TBSP sugar
2 1/4 tsps. active dry yeast (or 1 yeast packet)
2 cups whole milk, warmed to 105
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. salt (I like kosher and it will break down over night)
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda

The night before, or at LEAST 8 hours before--combine the water, sugar and yeast.  Let this sit and marry for 10 minutes until frothy and happy.  Stir in the warm milk, butter and salt.  Beat in the flour until smooth on low (I use my old fashioned hand-mixer instead of my kitchen aide)  Cover the bowl or wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Let it sit overnight at least 8 hours.  DO NOT REFRIGERATE!

In the morning you may have an alien on your counter top!  All the better!  Preheat the waffle iron.  To your batter you will now want to:

Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.  Pour by scant (about 1/4 cup fulls into waffle iron maybe a bit more).  I typically provide the following options prior to baking:  Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, or Plain?  Add these to the iron as requested.

Yum!  Serve with any or all of the following:

Apples, Bananas, Cherry Pie Filling, Whipped Cream, Blueberry Sauce, Etc......

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beer Can Chicken and Spicy Peppercorn Rub

Spicy Peppercorn Rub Ingredients
Rub Ingredients:
1 1/2 TBSP Paprika
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1 TBSP Voodoo Seasoning (or Cajun Seasoning)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 TBSP. pepper

You will also need:
1 chicken
1 12 oz. can of beer (regular lager or stout)
Olive oil

Mix your rub ingredients together.  Wash and dry chicken with paper towels.  Massage olive oil over chicken, dust outside and inside of chicken generously with rub.  Pour out about 1/4 cup of beer and poke several holes around the top of the can to allow for even distribution of vapor/steam.

Place bottom of chicken over the can and set in a deep dish container if you want to catch the juices.

Two ways to cook your bird:

1) In the oven at 350 for 1 1/2 hours
2) On the preheated grill for 1 1/2 hours

Serve with a side salad and couscous.

Please leave feedback and/or any suggestions, tips or ideas you have about this recipe.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Carne Adovada

I am sure there are many people out there that make this fabulous dish much better than I do, but this recipe has never failed to please our own palates.  However, with that said, be forewarned that this dish requires an enormous amount of preparation time and patience.  First, you must make your red chile sauce.  You can follow a typical red chile enchilada sauce but add chile pequin (crushed chile) to the final stage.  Let the sauce cool. Then it is just wait, wait, and wait some more until you can cook.

Ingredients
Red Chile Sauce
1-2 lbs boneless pork, cubed about 1"

When sauce is cool, mix the cubed pork with the sauce and marinate for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.  I use my vacuum sealer to remove all air and get a really good marinade going on.  When ready to bake, add about 3/4 cup water to the meat/chile and place in a baking dish.  (I like to use my stoneware, and you CANNOT add cold ingredients to the pan once you start the baking process--so make sure you have enough wet ingredients to begin with) 

Preheat the oven to 250 and bake for 2 1/2 hours.  Increase heat to 300 and bake for another 2 hours (or until the meat begins to fall apart).

To Serve:
12 Corn Tortillas, softened in oil
Cheddar cheese
1/2 cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup diced white onions
1 large tomato, diced

Serve with warm corn tortillas, cheese, cilantro, onions and tomatoes.  It doesn't hurt to add a Dos Equis or a Pacifico to go with.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Salmon Chili

I really didn't expect so many people to ask me for this recipe.  I mean really!  Salmon and chili, in the same sentence?.   I expected to be met with more opposition.  Jayne Naze was the first person to suggest serving salmon in chili.  I tried it, liked it, tried it again and again and it was good.  She was right.  There is No reason salmon cannot be a great substitute for meat in chili.  Change it up as you like...but here is my recipe:

1 lb. Salmon (skinned, deboned, cut into cubes)
3 TBSP oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
14 oz. Green Chile (I use frozen, but in AK...you will need to buy canned and chop it)
2 TBSP Cumin
2 TBSP Mexican Oregano

2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of chicken stock
1 can each of:
 white beans
white kidney beans
black beans
red kidney beans
soy beans
pinto beans

Additional can of white beans should be pureed in a food processor and added to thicken.

Boil 4 cups of water.  Add cubed salmon (yes, I try and take out all bones) and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from water to drain.  In a stockpot with oil, cook onion, garlic, jalapeno and green chile until soft (about 4 minutes)  Add seasonings, tomatoes, stock, beans and let cook for about 40 minutes.  Add pureed white beans to thicken soup.  The only thing better than this is to marry this soup with my own Aunt Marcia's Cornbread.

Aunt Marcia's Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
1/4 C oil

Mix all of this together and bake at 425 in an oiled cast iron skillet for about 24 minutes.  OH MY!  This is not only the one and only best cornbread recipes you will ever make....but also the best comfort food crumbled up with milk before bedtime.  Thanks Aunt Marcia and Mom!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

This recipe came by way of a recommendation from a Facebook friend.  The original recipe is from none other than Ina Garten a.k.a., The Barefoot Contessa of the Food Network.   Very yummy, quick and easy to make.  The rum-soaked raisins really make this cupcake!  Click on the link below to get the recipe.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing (-1 that Jim ate)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breakfast Enchiladas with Tomatillo Lime Sauce

Making these takes a bit of preparation but is well worth it for a Thanksgiving or Christmas morning.  I was pleasantly surprised, but those of you who do not really care for cilantro may not enjoy this dish as the herb is ever present in every bite.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Tomatillo Lime Sauce

Breakfast meat (choose): sausage, chorizo, or ham, I used bacon
6 eggs
2 cups green chile sauce (in AK try and find canned Herdez)
1 jalapeno, diced
12 corn tortillas, softened in oil
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese grated
1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled on top of final bake


Tomatillo Lime Sauce (Can make ahead to save time):
1 lb. tomatillos
Lime juice (1 lime)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock

Peel and 1/2 the tomatillos.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and broil in the oven until the skins begin to brown/blacken.  Allow to cool.  Place in a food processor and process all sauce ingredients until blended.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Soften the corn tortillas in oil and drain on paper towels.  Cook breakfast meat and drain.  Whip eggs, jalapeno and green chile sauce together, cook in non-stick skillet until scrambled and add meat.


Place egg mixture on corn tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese and roll up enchilada style.  Place in the bottom of an oiled casserole dish and layer as you would regular enchiladas.  Top with the tomatillo lime sauce and more Monterey Jack cheese.  Place in oven for about 10-15 minutes (just until cheese is melted).  


Crumble cojita cheese and serve with refried beans, hashbrowns or both.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bird Bread (Oatmeal Sunflower Millet Bread)

I am calling this "Bird Bread" because the seeds are all seeds found in bird seed.  I love the millet.  It provides a really unique, nutty flavor and a little crunch.  I changed the original recipe up slightly from the original because I thought the heavy whole wheat flour would be too dense..  It came out light, yummy and just like I had hoped.  It not like Carol's bread that is still more spectacular than this, but is worth making again and again and was simple!  This recipe is a keeper and I can see switching out the seeds if you want.

Step 1











2 1/4 c. warm water
vegetable oil (little more than 3/4 c.
1/2 c. honey
2 1/2 TBSP yeast
Step 2
3 1/4 c. whole wheat flour


1 c. spelt flour
2 c. whole wheat bread flour
1 TBSP salt
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. millet
1/4 c. sunflower seds

Combine water, oil, honey.  Stir in yeast and let rise to surface.  Add 3 1/4 c. whole wheat flour and mix.  Let this rest for 20 minutes (1st picture).  Mix together salt, oats, millet and seeds.  Stir this into the batter.  Add remaining flour and knead for 10 minutes.  Dough will be slightly sticky but not sticking on your fingers.  (Step 2) Return dough to an oiled bowl, turn dough over to coat all sides with oil.  Cover and let rise until double.  Cut dough in 1/2 and shape into 2 loaves.  Placed in greased pans and allow to rise to double again.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.  Allow to sit in pans for about 5 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Steak with Nopalitos

I want to give credit to the source that created this great recipe, but it is no longer available.  MnJs Blogspot........
My friends who like it a little hot....you will love this and it is also moose-friendly.

2 lbs. steak cut into 2" cubes
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and diced.
1 15 oz can nopalitos (cactus pieces), rinsed and drained)
1 small can of green salsa
1/2 cup cilantro
1 C beeef stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and saute beef until brown, remove to a dish.  Saute onion, garlic and jalapeno for 5-10 minutes.  Add cactus, salsa, beef stock and cilantro.  Add enough broth to cover beef.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is very tender.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

You NEED this recipe after consuming your Thanksgiving turkey. I have used it for over 15 years and never fail to appreciate it and neither will you.....It only asks for 2 cups of your left over chopped turkey..that is NOTHING compared to the big bird you decided to cook.

This recipe is soooooooo old I don 't remember where I got it. You will never cook a bird again without reserving turkey for this soup......GUARANTEED!

1 tsp. Olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 package taco seasoning
6 cups of chicken broth or bouillon
2 cups of diced cooked turkey

1 tub of frozen green chili....for my Alaska friends....4 cans, diced
1 can (16 oz) tomatoes
1 10 oz. pkg.frozen corn
1/3 cup cilantro
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, grated

Tortilla chips (like Tostitos) to top

In a 5 qt. saucepan, over medium heat, saute onion in oil 3-4 min. or until soft. Stir in chile, cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stir in turkey and broth. Add corn and reduce heat to simmer about 5 minutes. Add cilantro. To serve, spoon 1 1/3 cups soup to a bowl, top with tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Turkey Enchiladas

Hate to get on the soap box....but I am going to now. Would real Alaskans be satisfied with eating pinks? I think not!!! Do you know that many in the lower 48 don't know the difference? The same is true for chile (red or green, hot or mild it makes no difference). This is a plug for you to advocate for real chile be sent to Fairbanks. If we can acquire Thai ingredients, we should be able to get great Southwestern ingredients as well.

Turkey Enchiladas

As with any great recipe, start with the best ingredients you can get. Unfortunately in Alaska we are limited. I bring home the frozen Bueno and keep it like gold. Next best substitute is to make your own red chile sauce from dried powdered. Your last, and most undesirable option is buying the canned. Please do email Bueno Foods and request REAL chile products be sent to Safeway and Fred Meyer!

Make Red Chile Enchilada sauce:
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP flour
1 3/4 cup water
14 oz. red chile puree
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. salt

Brown garlic and flour in oil under medium heat.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Let this come to a boil, cover and simmer on low 30 minutes.

Enchiladas:
24 corn tortillas
5 cups Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup finely diced onions
3 cups finely diced cooked turkey

Place a layer of red chile sauce in bottom of deep dish baking pan. Dip corn tortillas in hot oil until soft and drain on paper towels. Place scant amount of turkey, cheese and onion on tortilla and roll up. Place on top of chile sauce continue this process forming a casserole type dish. Top with red chile sauce and cheese. Bake at 370 for 40 minutes. Uncover for the last 10 minutes of baking time. Serve with Spanish rice and/or sour cream. A good Mexican beer like Dos Equis or Pacifico doesn't hurt!

Cajun Style Pork n Beans and Cajun Spice Mix


Cajun Style Pork n Beans and Cajun Spice Mix

5 med. cans Van Camps Pork and Beans
2 - 8oz cans tomato sauce
2 onions, diced
1 package hot link sausage, diced
1/4 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce (or use your own favorite)

Add remaining seasonings to taste:
Worcestershire sauce
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Cajun seasoning (I make my own, see below)
Liquid smoke
Mustard (I use Moosetard if you can get it, if not try a spicy brown or Dijon)
Brown sugar

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and allow to simmer all day.

*HINT: I buy crock pot liners. It makes clean up so easy! Just throw away the bag, no more soaking and scrubbing.

Cajun Style Spice Mix
from Cooking Light Magazine

This rub is Excellent on any type of fish (especially catfish and Ahi tuna steaks) squirted with a bit of lime juice and grilled.

3 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP ground red pepper
2 TBSP dried thyme
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP sugar

Combine all ingredients and store in a dry container. I use a mason jar.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rice Bread - Stepped up with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzerella




What to do with the left over rice? I love rice and remembered a fabulous bread I made with left over rice in the bread machine years ago. At the same time, I reminisced about the sun-dried tomato-mozzarella bread I used to buy at the General Store in Cloudcroft, NM. Why not marry the two?

This bread has a crunchy outer crust and a yummy gooey inside.

I do this in my bread machine on the manual cycle...you can do the same by hand.'

2 1/2 tsp yeast
3 Cups Bread Flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 TBSP butter or margarine
1 cup warm water
1 cup cooked rice

Mix well and knead. Let sit until double in size. While bread is rising, soak sun-dried tomatoes in warm water, drain and chop fine. Roll out half the bread crust on a floured board. Top with sun-dried tomatoes and grated mozzarella chees and a dash of oregano or basil. Roll up in JellyRoll fashion, let it sit and be happy for 30 minutes, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes....take out and gorge yourself....great with a marinara dipping sauce...or alone!

Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden broun.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Strata at it's BEST!!!

So even though I have had this recipe since 1979, and do not make it very often. Why you ask I post this on my forum? Simply put, it is a sin to eat this. I acquired the original recipe from my friend Linda Garlington eons ago but have modified it to meet my own tastes and it no longer resembles the original recipe. There is too much butter, bread and cheese to be healthy. So, I classify it under the category of comfort food and only make it when I feel the need to be comforted. If you love mushrooms, cheese, casseroles and simple hot, mostly vegetarian dishes...this is for you.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter lightly melted on the stove
1 lb. of a mix of 3 types of mushrooms (this time I used Portabello, Crimini and White) but feel free to use any mixture, oyster works well too.
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup of tri-colored bell peppers (I like the sweet pepper mix sold at Sams), diced
1 loaf of French bread
dash of ground pepper (I love pepper so I use a little more)
salt to taste
1 lb. cubed Swiss cheese (Dice into small cubes)
1 1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1 large can Cream of Mushroom Soup

Mix and warm the chopped mushrooms (3 varieties of your choice) in melted butter. Add onions, peppers, salt and pepper. Heat to warm and bubbly.

Butter both sides of of bread, dice and toss into sprayed or oiled casserole dish. Top with mushroom mixture. Add 3 more slices of buttered and diced bread to the top of the mushrooms.

Add cubed Swiss cheese to the top of the bread. Mix eggs and milk and pour over the casserole dish. Add a dash of thyme over the dish. Butter and cube three more bread slices to the top of the cheese. Wrap the dish in plastic wrap and let sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

After 24 hours, Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and then add 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup and bake for 30 more minutes.

Enjoy this....and even better...bring me a taste.

Love,

Sherry

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roasted Vegetables


Thanks to my beautiful sister-in-law Linda....This recipe is fabulous and I have made it too many times to count. It is always a hit at potlucks and makes great left-over veggie fajitas. She gave this to me from the Sugar Less for Life Cookbook, ISBN: 0-9663519-1-6 and page 269. Tonight I am making it with a Apple Stuffing Cornish Game Hen.

1 lb. small button mushrooms (I combined white and crimini)
1 pint pearl onions
1 yellow, red and orange bell pepper cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large eggplant cut into 1 1/2" size cubes
1 bunch asparagus, 1 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil
2 TBSP minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss veggies in butter/oil/garlic mix. Roast in oven tossing every 20 minutes. Use the leftovers in veggie fajitas.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Culture Day-Week at Midnight Sun Mama's Place


We are eclectic people! I love and celebrate diversity at every opportunity. Today I am making Pico de Gallo, a Four-Cheese Moose Baked Penne, and Guay Teaw Kag. No....they will not be consumed at the same time! :)

Lets talk about Pico de Gallo first. In color coordinating with countries we think about everything but I feel that Mexico sometimes gets the shaft? Yes, it is a poor country, but how rich it is in history and culture. Red/White and Green.....Pico de Gallo is a perfect representation of this fabulous and interesting part of the world that we do not explore as we should. Get to know it! I used to use The House of the Scorpion to teach this but was informed that this is a 9th grade reading book....sorry kiddos.

Pico de Gallo
1 small white onion
3 jalapenos (seeded and chopped very fine)
3 Roma tomatoes...(take out the pulp
1 TBSP lime juice
salt, pepper and cilantro to taste

I won't take credit for this recipe. The recipe comes from my mom....Billie Blair. All the colors in the flag of Mexico are represented here and hopefully with every bite one will realize that there are others out there who are different-yet the same. We are all male/female, mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, Uncles and Aunties, cousins and beyond....we ARE connected and we love our family.

We have learned to love Thai food. Maybe our Southwestern roots and the love of "heat" in our food allows us to appreciate curry. I think I've said it before, but if you like Thai get this book, Thai Cuisine: Lemon Grass Cookbook ISBN-13: 978-4-88996-094-5

I changed this recipe up in that I used chicken breasts instead of beef and I added beet greens instead of spinach (I just couldn't trash my beet greens!) and broccoli from my garden because I needed to use it.

Guay Teaw Kag (Curry Noodle)

1 lb. rice or wheat noodles (I used Japanese wheat noodles)
1 lb chicken cut into cubes (recipe calls for beef)
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup fish sauce (get the good stuff from the Asian Market)
3 T sugar
1 c water
2 TBSP curry powder (I made my own, but you can use store-bought)
1/2 cup bean sprouts, blanched
1/2 cup greens (I used beet greens, the recipe calls for spinach or cabbage)
1/2 cup Chinese broccoli (what is that? I used my own broccoli instead)
1/4 cup ground peanuts (I ran them through the bullet)
3 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 c oil
1/4 cup minced onions
2 TBSP minced garlic

Garnish: Cilantro (fresh from my garden), green onions, and red bell peppers diced

Cut chicken into 1" cubes. Simmer in 1 can of coconut milk about 40 minutes. Add second can of coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, water, and curry. Cook 5 minutes. Bring a pot of water to boil and add noodles and all other ingredients. Remove to a serving dish and top with your chicken/coconut milk mixture. Garnish and serve. This is a pretty dish and presents itself well to your guests..the peanuts are a little overpowering so if you are not a big fan of peanuts, cut the amount down. I recommend serving this with a chilled Pinot grigio and nothing else.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sherry's Sinful Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and Throwing Out the Old



So in my quest to rid the freezer of old foods and cleanse the fridge of unnecessary items, I am throwing out almost everything. I come across the sourdough starter which has been sitting, patiently waiting for someone to pay attention and something to happen for 3 months (maybe 2...I did make sourdough waffles in May for the teachers at school). I speak of my starter as a living thing---AND IT IS! Sourdough starter is a living organism. It needs tending like all living things do. All it does is give off gas (in the form of alcohol) and wants to be fed and reproduce! Ha! Not unlike humans at all. I had full intentions of flushing it down the drain, but before doing so, I put out an all-call to my friends and hubby's workplace buds to "Save the Starter". No takers. My starter sat on the counter for two days before I decided to pitch it. When I opened the lid, it begged to be stirred and I saw the life still left in it. Over four years of taking care of this silly thing! Dad gum it! I took out an old cookbook and looked for something I could use with one last dance. Going on a trip....fishing....something new...different than the typical breakfast burritos...how about Cinnamon Rolls?

To make a long story short which I have already made long....the dough was wonderful. The starter was so eager to be fed that I had to keep adding flour until I got the right consistency and "it" was happy. The smell was to die for...this is going to be Heaven at 6:00 a.m. with a cup of North Pole coffee. Conclusion: I simply can't throw out the baby I have nourished for over 4 years. I'll share with people who ask for it, and there are a few, my fridge will just have to again make room. Anyone want some starter? It's old but it's tried and true and good.

Please know that I found it necessary to adapt the recipe for Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls from the original version of Alaskan Sourdough Cooking: Recipes From The Last Frontier ISBN 1-56944-201-0

Sherry's Sinful Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls:

1 TBSP dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. sugar
1 TBSP. butter
3 1/2 cups + flour
1 TBSP. cinnamon
1 C. sugar
1/2 lb. butter- softened
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. walnuts
1/2 C. raisins

Topping:
1 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 TBSP. milk
3 drops vanilla extract

Combine yeast and warm water and allow to sit together for 5 minutes. Combine yeast, starter, milk, vanilla, 2 TBSP. sugar, salt and 1 TBSP. butter. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. *My starter was so starved for attention it took the whole 10 minutes and a lot more flour than recommended Place in a greased bowl, coating all sides, cover and allow to sit for 2 hours or doubled.

Combine cinnamon, 1 C. sugar and 1 1/2 C. brown sugar. Next, grease two 8" baking pans.

After 2 hours of rise, punch down dough. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out dough to a 24x10" rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough, leaving 1" strip along the long sides. Sprinkle the buttered dough with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and raisins. Beginning with the length side, roll up in jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the edges to seal. Cut roll into 24 slices. Place slices in a buttered baking pan with the sides touching. Cover the pan and allow to rise again for 1 1/2 hours or until double. Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 20 minutes or until brown. Cool for 5 minutes and then top with topping:

Combine ingredients for topping and whisk until smooth. Turn rolls out onto serving plate and drizzle with topping while warm. Serve with love and a hot cup of coffee.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trick on the Traditional Pot Pie - It's all about MOOSE!


Some of my favorite childhood memories are about silly chicken or turkey pot pies mom let us have when we would have a babysitter come watch us. We thought tv dinners were takeout and a special opportunity to pick whatever we wanted and enjoy it as if we were ordering off a menu. I think the Banquet pot pies were about .25 cents in the late 60's or early 70's...But we thought it was a treat! No microwaves then folks...you had to put them in the oven and WAIT...20 minutes or so later...there was nothing better than hearing that crunch as your spoon plunged into that crispy crust. Maybe everyone has their special way of eating things, like Oreos, my personal favorite way to eat this pot pie was to eat the inside and save the crust for desert. 40 years later, it still is. :)

Many years later I learned that the special taste to those pot pies was in the celery flavor crust. Anyone can turn a leftover soup or stew into a wonderful pot pie with ready-made pie crust dough (no.....I cannot make a pie crust to save my soul so don't ask me for a recipe). The results are the same....a delicious, crispy crunchy crust full of flavor you want to save for the end.

Steps are simple:

1) Thaw out your dough and have a cutting board dusted with flour ready to roll out the crinkles.
2) Sprinkle a dash of celery seed onto your crust and gently roll the crust just a smidge bigger (maybe 1/4").
3) Spray your dish with a little non-stick seasoning, it will make your life easier in the end.
4) Place the crust on the bottom of the dish as evenly as possible and remember to leave about 1/2" overhang to nip-n-tuck....dang sounds like plastic surgery eh?
5) Assuming the soup/stew has already been heated, gravied with cornstarch and Kitchen Bouquet or a gravy mix to make it slightly thicker than soup or stew, only put on your bottom crust about 1/2" up the way of your dough so you have room to seal top and bottom crusts.
6) Shake some of the celery seed onto your crust and gently roll in. Place this top crust on top of your mixture.
7) Slide the edge of the top crust under the bottom crust and pinch just a little to seal.
8) Cut slits in the top crust to vent steam.
9) Bake at 400 for 50 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

* If you want to freeze to save for later....Bake completely and reheat in a 350 oven for 35 minutes (thawed). Do not store pastry crust that has been thawed and re-frozen again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Canning and Leftovers


It's relatively easy to can your leftover soups and stews, even cabbage rolls and other yummies can be preserved as long as they don't contain pasta. Potatoes will sometimes go to mush, but carrots and celery usually hold up very well. I have a problem with zip sealing everything and throwing leftovers in the freezer. Then a year or so later I find all this food and need room to put in more fish or moose. The solution: Home canning. You must have a pressure cooker with a gauge. Get this at a hardware store or other department store. You will need canning jars (appropriate sizes, lids and bands), a metal jar lifter and bubble remover and a magnetic lid thingamabop (these items can usually be found in a canning kit). The county Extension Office is a huge help and will even check your seals every year and provide tips, tricks and recipes. I can everything from vegetables from our garden, blueberry and raspberry syrups and jellies to dog food made of salmon scraps for our four-legged beauties in the winter when they need more protein in their diet. First and foremost it is imperative that all equipment be sanitized with boiling water.

1. First bring your pressure cooker filled 3/4 full of water up to a boil or just under a boil.
2. Bring your leftover soup up to a boil on the stove then turn down to simmer.
3. In a separate pot, bring more water to boil (this will be a hot bath for your lids and rings.
4. Fill hot sterilized jars with hot soup.
5. Make sure the rim of the jar is wiped clean and is free of food or debris.
6. Place a sanitized lid on top and screw down the ring (not overly tight).
7. Carefully place jars one at a time in the pressure canner and secure the lid.
8. Wait for the pressure relief valve to pop up and allow steam to escape for 5 minutes.
9. Put on the pepcock and immediately turn the heat down to about 2 or 3 (low).
10. When the gauge reads 11 psi set the timer for the following:
Pints = 1 hr. and 15 minutes Quarts = 1 hr. and 30 minutes.

Keep practicing and soon you will have leftovers that can be taken off the shelf, reheated and enjoyed without taking up valuable freezer space.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Green Curry Fish with Roasted Peppers

Jim and I have learned to love curry. Since we can't get real chile in Alaska, we have learned to make due with curry. I was not sure about straining out the garlic and onions in this recipe....but it totally made sense in the end. I guess you just have to trust. Here we go with a list of what you need to complete this dish.

Your curry sauce:
1 can of coconut milk
1 TBSP of fish sauce
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 cup Vermouth or white wine
1 TBSP chopped garlic
2 shallots diced fine
1 TBSP ginger paste or freshly grated
2 TBSP green curry paste

later on you will add
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lime juice

Cook this down about 1/3 and set aside.

Your rice is this (taken directly from the link)...I had leftover rice and adjusted the recipe for my own needs.
* 1/4 cup carrot, small dice
* 1/4 cup celery, small dice
* 1/4 cup yellow onion, small dice
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 3 cups water
* 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
Sweat the carrots, celery, yellow onion and fresh ginger in a medium sauce pot. Add Basmati rice and toast. Add water and turmeric, and bring to a boil then cover. Finish in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.


Veggies!
Saute your peppers and zuchinni and whatever else you truly love in a saucepan until crisp-tender.

Serve like this...rice, veggies and curry sauce. Happy eating!\

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmon Burgers

This was truly GROSS! what other vivid adjective can I use to describe this absolutely terrible recipe? I wouldn't feed this to my cat! (If I had one--and they probably wouldn't eat it either!). I generally love tarragon, but it does NOT mix well with salmon. In my opinion. A salmon burger is probably better spent by grilling in it's true form with a lemon and basil butter and served plain and simple on a bun. This was a pretentious recipe and came through with the first bite. Shame on you Cooking Light for offering it up in your magazine.
Salmon! It's so good for you! Full of Omega 3's you can't get enough. I read recently that people should eat meats high in Omega 3 two times a week to be heart-healthy. In Alaska, we do not have a shortage of this wonderful resource. Who knew salmon could be turned into ground meat? How silly am I? After 7 years of living in AK, one would have thought that I would have figured out how to do this....NOPE! Not until today. Now salmon puts a whole new dimension on my way of thinking about ground meat and what to do with it. The idea of salmon burgers is not mine. I got the recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2010 and I tweaked it for myself. I didn't pay attention to the "don't do the tail section" part because the tail is my favorite piece. Freddies didn't have arugula so I will use my own homegrown lettuce instead. It will be better anyway. BTW....I divided the recipe in 1/2....it's just Jim and I and I only wanted 2 burgers! So, if you need more than 2 burgers you should double the recipe.

1 lb. skinless, boneless salmon (yep our Copper River Red) cut into 1" pieces
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Pike Place Fish Northwest Seafood Seasoning (use 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1 tsp. dill weed, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and black pepper if you can't get this)
1/2 TBSP honey
1 tsp. chopped fresh Tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp. chopped shallots
1 cup arugula leaves (I used Romaine)
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 hamburger buns (I like the black poppy seed ones Cooking Light recommended)

Put half the salmon in a food processor with the mustard and Pikes seasoning (or your combination). Puree until it is a mushy/paste (this is the "binder" for your burger). Next, add the rest of the 1" cubed salmon and pulse for about 6 pulses....you don't want the whole mix mushed to a pulp!

Transfer to a bowl and mix in chopped Tarragon and shallot.

Shape into patties and refrigerate for a bit. Spray each side of your patties with oil and grill on medium heat carefully turning until they are done. Top each patty with honey-mustard and arugula. Serve on warmed hamburger buns with thin slices of red onion. Nothing else needed except for maybe a cold beer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spicy Basil Moose


I LOVE basil...if told I could only have one herb, this would be the one. Simple ingredients and BIG flavor!
2 TBSP oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp of chili (Thai if you can find it), chopped

1/2 lb. moose (beef or venison in the lower 48)

1/4 C sliced onions
1 C. basil leaves

1 TBSP. Oyster sauce (no it's really not made of oysters so don't freak out!)
2 TBSP. Fish sauce
1 TBSP. sugar
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground chili flakes

1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Saute the garlic and chile in oil. Add moose and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add onions and basil. Cook for 1/2 minute. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce sugar, white pepper and chili flakes. Top with green onions and cilantro and serve over rice.

Midnight Sun Mama: New Blog

Midnight Sun Mama: New Blog: "Because my email address was changed by the school district I can no longer get into the old Midnight Sun Mamma (notice the change in spell..."

New Blog

Because my email address was changed by the school district I can no longer get into the old Midnight Sun Mamma (notice the change in spelling of "Mamma" in the old blog and the new) blog to add more recipes and share with friends and family. So now I am creating a new and improved blog.

Today I am smoking the Garlic and Peppercorn Moose Meat Sticks (like SlimJims) that I made yesterday. They will be delish I am sure.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gullivers' Gone Wild! and Thai Cuisine Steamed Red Curry Fish

I must stop these visits to Gulliver's Books located on College Blvd. every Saturday http://www.gullivers-books.com/. I drop $50 every Saturday morning and prance away with books for my classroom as well as feed my own literary appetite. Today I purchased two cookbooks that have been screaming from the shelves for the past month. As an early birthday present to myself I purchased Thai Cuisine ISBN: 97804-88996-094-5 $11.95. I love this book because each recipe has pictures of step by step instructions and a picture of the ingredients needed. I also purchased Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day ISBN: 978-0-312-54552-9 $27.99. I believe if I practice enough, I may eventually learn how to make bread as good as Carol Scott!

Never fear about finding those ingredients you need to complete the meal. If you live in Fairbanks, go to the Asian Market located on Aurora Blvd. behind Randy Smith Middle School. They are very helpful and will have everything you need including frog legs, brown sticky rice, kaffir, seaweed, banana leaves for poaching salmon, Thai style curry, dried mushrooms, exotic veggies and everything else under the sun.

The halibut is thawed and ready to skin. Here is the recipe from the Thai Cuisine for Steamed Curry Fish.

Steamed Curry Fish

1 lb. fish
1/2 lb. medium shrimp
1 TBSP oil
2 TBSP red curry

Sauce:
14 oz. coconut milk
3 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves

Green and red bell pepper slices and kaffir (lime leaves) for garnish.

Clean fish and cut into pieces. Heat frying pan with oil and fry curry 1/2 minute on medium heat. Combine remaining sauce ingredients. Place fish in sauce and heat to slow boil. Cover and bring sauce to a slow boil again. Ladle the sauce over the fish during cooking. Simmer about 20 minutes and serve over jasmine rice. OMG....my mouth is burning right now and I LOVE it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brocolli Lasagne and Tiramisu

Each month the FEA Board meets on a Tuesday evening and shares a meal before and during the meeting because they generally run long. Last month I was feeling terribly guilty about not offering to provide the evening meal and have only been on the Board a few months. Generally speaking, people usually bring chili, sandwiches, salads and yummy things. I was at a loss as to what to bring and suggested to the other member who I am coordinating with "Lasagna". I mean it's a relatively easy dish to make and everyone loves pasta. Then I thought of the Broccoli Lasagna recipe that I have been using for over 20 years. Broccoli, carrots and mushrooms! What a wonderful blend. I got this recipe from my good friend Sandy Ball when we worked together at Los Alamos National Laboratory way back in 1990. Her husband was allergic to tomatoes, didn't like garlic, and couldn't have the traditional dish. It's a truly good recipe but requires quite a bit of prep-work. You will make this one again and again. I promise! Even the most discriminating "Meat-Eater" will enjoy this dish. But just in case, I've also made the traditional meat one for those who must have their meat-fix.

Broccoli Lasagna
2 10 oz. cans condensed Cream of Broccoli soup
1 10 oz. package frozen, chopped broccoli
olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 lb. sliced mushrooms
12 lasagna noodles
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 large eggs

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine cream of broccoli soup and frozen broccoli. Heat until broccoli is thawed. In a 10" skillet over medium heat cook carrots and onion in 1 TBSP. olive oil until lightly browned. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until very tender. Remove contents to a bowl.

Using the same skillet over high heat cook mushrooms in 3 TBSP olive oil. Cook until lightly browned and liquid has evaporated. Stir in the carrot/onion mixture.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare noodles as directed (do nothing if you are using the no-boil noodles and move onto the next step).

In a bowl, mix the mozzarella, ricotta and eggs.

Preheat the oven to 375. In a 9 x 13 dish, spread 1 cup broccoli sauce, arrange 1/2 of the noodles over the sauce, top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture; then all the carrot mixture and 1/2 of the remaining sauce. Top with remaining noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce. Bake lasagna 45 minutes or until hot. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 10 servings. (No Kidding!)

Next up.....Tiramisu! I ask myself, "What the devil did you get yourself into?" So, I'm shopping for ingredients for the Broccoli Lasagna and think, "You can't have lasagna without garlic bread", so I stroll through the bakery and find but what.....LADYFINGERS! I must have been out of my mind when I instantly thought "Tiramisu for dessert!!! This will be perfect after lasagna!" I've only made it once before and do not know how it came out because it was gone before I could sample it. Who better to get the recipe from than Giada De Laurentiis? C'mon, she's beautiful, a chef and ITALIAN!

6 egg yolks
3 TBSP sugar
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 tsp. dark rum (I don't drink rum, but the girl in the liquor dept. directed me to Myer's Dark Jamaican )
24 ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings for garnish (I got nothing less than the best Ghiradelli)

In your KitchenAide large bowl or electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale--about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 TBSP of espresso, mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip 12 ladyfingers into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Break them in 1/2 if you have to in order to make them fit.

Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mix over the ladyfingers. Arrange the remaining 12 soaked ladyfingers on top and top that with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Top with bittersweet chocolate shavings before serving.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alaskaladas revisited

The original recipe comes from the "Best of the Best from ALASKA cookbook"
I hate to override a recipe, but being from New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment...I don't mind when it concerns my green chile or any ingredient that I feel I personally own. This dish is formally titled, "Alaskaladas"....it's a retake on a quick and easy enchilada casserole using moose (which I love). Bake at 350 for 1 hour....let it st for 10 minutes before cutting.

1-2 lbs ground moose
1/2 onion chopped (I like yellow)
1 TBSP garlic minced
2 small cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can stewed diced tomatoes ( I used RoTel)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 8 oz. can diced green chili.( I confess...I used this and another 3 TBSP of the sacred Gallup Green Chile that I hoard)
1 cup cubed Mexican Velveeta (don't bother looking for it....Fairbanks doesn't carry it...just add 2 TBSP of good chile flakes or southwest seasoning if you carry that)
1 tsp. garlic salt....I LIKE garlic and make it a good rounded amount
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
12 corn tortillas, softened in oil

The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese to top and put in between layers.....No DECENT native of the southwest would approve of this combination. Although I live in Alaska and respect this state and Grannie Annie's Cookin ' at the Homestead (where this recipe comes to you from)...I cannot allow this combination of flavors----YUK! Get some Mexican cheese to repace this, or Montery Jack. Mozzarella and green and red chile should only be combined with pizza, crepes or quiche.....NEVER an enchilada-style dish! And, I have NEVER used Velveeta in a dish....will have to report the success or failure thereof. It is in the oven as we speak.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spruce Grouse McNuggets and High Bush Cranberry Ketchup

My good friend and colleague Chris Pastro gave this wonderful recipe to me several years ago. During Spring Break, I cleaned out the freezer and found 3 lovely spruce grouse just begging to be cooked and consumed. After a frantic search for this quick and easy recipe I am on my way to making a great appetizer. I serve this wonderful delicacy with my own High Bush Cranberry Ketchup. In the fall I collect these stinky-feet smell berries from my own backyard and literally jar and can dozens of pints and half-pints of homemade ketchup to be given to friends and used throughout the year. This is a extraordinary dipping sauce for anything you would use ketchup. The recipe for this comes from the cookbook "Cooking Alaskan by Alaskans" ISBN:978-0-88240-237-6. The recipe can also be found in the cookbook, "Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook" ISBN: 978-0-88240-229-1. Ha ha, I just noticed I have both these books! The only change I made to the ketchup recipe was to add 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.

Spruce Grouse McNuggets

Cut grouse into chicken tender sized pieces
Soak for at least 2 hours in milk in the refrigerator.
Drain milk, but don't rinse the meat.
Sprinkle pieces heavily with coarse-ground pepper
Roll in a mixture of equal amounts flour and Parmesan cheese
Bake in a 350 oven until brown and crispy

Highbush Cranberry Ketchup

6 lbs. highbush cranberries
1 1/4 pounds sweet white onions (2 large)
3 cups water
3 cups mild vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 TBSP cloves
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP allspice
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP celery salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cook berries and onions in the water until soft. Put through a sieve and return the pulp to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until thick and ketchup-like in consistency. Stir frequently to keep from sticking. Pour into sterilized canning jars and seal immediately. Process for 5 to 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

***Note: Do not crush the cranberry seeds. They are toxic.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Skinny Oven Fries

Growing up with potatoes at almost every meal was normal. Heck...Sunday breakfast was fried potatoes, eggs, sausage and biscuits and gravy. This is a great recipe that I don't actually feel like I'm CHEATING with additions of grease, cheese, butter, sour cream, and all of the other nasties we associate with taters. Not to mention that the hunky hubby and I grow at least a 100 lbs a year.

When I open the cookbook for this recipe it automatically jumps to this page. This is because I have made it so many times that the book and I are in sync. I don't remember when I purchased it...probably when I lived in Los Alamos and worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory. I know it was in the 80's when I was completely into the fat-free-all-oil-and-grease-are-bad-for-you phase. This recipe has endured the test of time and there are just those recipes you love and come back to time and again, not necessarily because they are healthy, but because they actually taste good are and you love them. This is the BEST french fry (without the fry) recipe you will try. I swear you will love this one. Please try it only once and it will become your new favorite too.

2 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
4 large potatoes (I prefer skin on but it's your choice)
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix seasonings. Cut potatoes into 8 wedges; toss with oil. Sprinkle potatoes with seasonings. Bake until soft when pricked with a fork, about 45 minutes. For crispy fries, bake an hour.

Oh yes....and the Cranberry Cottage Cake with Lemon Sauce in this book is also a MUST have! I make this recipe 2x a year. Get this cookbook!!!! Simply Colorado: Nutritious Recipes for Busy People-Colorado Dietetic Association. Mail order to Colorado Dietetic Association, 6930 So. Bemis Street, Littleton, CO 80120.

Dove Creek Colorado-The Pinto Bean Capital of the World

It's true! No where should you get your pintos but here! My family has been farming pintos from here since the late 1800's when my Great-Grandfather, Jim Peel came with his family. Thank you Mom for sending me my annual dose of 20+ lbs of beautiful, fabulous, nutritious beans. The family farm is "Sombrero" try and google it.

I am still sick at home and am in need of serious comfort food right now. Nothing speaks to me more than my favorite last meal of a bowl of beans, fried potatoes and Aunt Marcia's cornbread. Because I feel icky, this equates to a ridiculous amount of slow-simmered-over-the-stove pot of pinto beans, which of course, cannot be completed without a smoked ham hock or salt pork. No decent Coloradoan would eat this without! I'm having mooseburgers and skinny fries tonight but thought I would add some baked beans to this fare. I was lucky enough to inherit Grandma Sadie's, "from the Queen's Kitchen: A Collection of Pinto Bean Recipes, from Cortez, Colorado." Copyright 1967. I chose this recipe for baked beans but kind of kicked it up a bit adding grease and a few other things Jim wouldn't approve of. Please know this recipe won the Blue Ribbon in 1961 and was originally created by Mrs. C.C. McAFee from Lewis, Colorado.

3 cups cooked pintos, including about 1/2 cup or more of extra juice (I simmer mine with smoked ham hocks or salt pork---Just like Mama taught me)
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
2 tsp. salt (use your own taster to test that)
1 heaping teaspoon prepared mustard
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup molasses (I LOVE this stuff and use the black strap raw)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 slices of good bacon (I cook it first then chop)
2 TBSP. bacon grease (Please don't tell Jim this is in there! He'd die of a heart attack)

Combine all ingredients into a stoneware pan (if you have one) or a beanpot. Cover with foil or a lid. Bake at 300 for 3 hours. Do NOT add anything after cooking if you're using stoneware...you will break you container!

P.S. Mom....how many pots of beans did I burn before I learned to do it right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Home

When I feel ill I always think of my mom and the love and care she gave me when I didn't feel good, and comfort items like a good book, a soft blanket, and hot chicken noodle soup. I am now thinking about HOME--the four corners in the outside. Because I am not feeling well, I made a ridiculous amount of moose and veggie soup and am making a lovely Whole Wheat Chile Bread (the feature of this post). This is on the heels of a wonderful whole-grain whole wheat Boule I made a few days ago. Got to do something with that whole wheat sourdough starter (Jim gets pancakes in the morning topped with blueberry syrup). Also trying out a new recipe for Jalapeno poppers made with chorizo and cream cheese...Funny....I can't and won't eat, I am not feeling well, yet I love to cook. If it is good I will post it.

For my Alaskan RSMS Family----Green chile does not come in a can! It is grown in the ground under the southern hot New Mexico sun. My home state is called "The Land of Enchantment" for a good reason.....CHILE The next best thing to getting it hot off the vine is at the supermarket in the produce section. Select firm, meaty ones, if they have a reddish or orangish color, all the better and consider it your lucky day. Wash and roast them on your grill until the skin is toasted. Remove to cool. Then peel the skin off and slice, dice, or leave whole for rellenos. If I were having them roasted in NM in the parking lot, I would slap one of these happy puppies into IGA's Mashed Potato Sausage and Cheese Burrito made with fresh flour tortillas right from the factory! HA! those tortillas were "snacks" when I taught Kinder at Father James B. Hay Catholic School! On to the recipe.

Whole Wheat Chile Bread from Mark Miller's Coyote Cafe

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 TBSP. Olive Oil
2 tsp. honey
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 Cup stone ground whole-wheat flour (I use spelt)
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. chile powder (Bueno is best)
4 tsp. chile caribe (chile flakes--like what you can get for pizza)
1/2 cup roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced New Mexico chile---HATCH is the best btw

Combine the water, oil and honey in a bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer (GOD I love my KitchenAide!) or in a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, stir in, and let sit 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients. Mix with the dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes, or until dough appears silky and resilient (springs back when poked). Mix or knead the green chile into the dough until thoroughly blended. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

When baking bread I like to encase the dough in two layers. Outer layer is an electric heating pad, the next layer is a large bath towel. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours or doubled. Punch down dough. recover with wraps and let rise another 30 minutes.

Baking stones ROCK! you MUST have one for your pizzas and etc. Heat your stone to 400 degrees.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into two equal segments. Generously grease 2 loaf pans (again I prefer stoneware) or dust baking sheet with whole-wheat flour. Shape the dough into loaves. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again for another 30 minutes.

Uncover, spray with a light mist of water, lightly dust with whole wheat flour and cut 2-3 slashes in the tops. Use that spray bottle to mist the oven walls with water. Bake 35-40 minutes. Bread is done when the crust is dark and firm and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Let bread cool in the pan or baking sheet for 10 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Consider serving this with either a cilantro or cumin butter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

S..I..C..K..

Woke up this morning with a sore throat, drippy nose and full of head congestion. Glad it is Spring Break and I don't have to get a sub! Still, I am making the most of it. Cleaned the closets...go to the teacher's lounge-first come first serve get my clothes if you want them. More to come....cleaning the shirts and pants closet tomorrow.

Presently I do not have an appetite and have not eaten all day....but tonight I am making an all time favorite of Veggie Quiche. The first time I had quiche was at my beautiful cousin Judy's baby shower with her first sweet baby Brady! The menu is hand-written in my cookbook (1979-80)...I was all of 19 years old but knew this recipe was important and I needed it. I have used it for for over 30 years but feel I have gone beyond that original creation...spinach quiche and ham and cheese crepes. I have gone way beyond the original spinach quiche recipe....but I always like to reflect back to where I started and appreciate how far I have come.
..
Tonights Quiche:

1 leek, split and sliced thin
1 shallot diced
3 small zuchinni, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 pkg. sun-dried tomatoes, reconstitued (leave out the water)'
5 Artichoke hearts, diced
2 TBSP dried thyme (I used my own home-grown lemon thyme)
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like to use Sea Salt)

1/2 cup crisp fried bacon....OR use the precooked stuff
2 pie shells
4 eggs (I use more)
2 cups half and half (I use more)

Layering ingredients in quiche is important.....start with pre-cooking your crust....not long, but enough to hold your wet stuff. Next, put in the bacon...that' s important!.....then put in your content.....is it veggies, ham, spinach, crab. chicken....etc..... after that you must put on the cheese. Top all of this with the egg/half and half and bake.

Some of our favorites are:
Chicken and Green Chile
Spinach and Mushroom
Crab and Artichoke

Serve this with some Whole Wheat Multigrain Sourdough Bread and a light herb salad and you are the Goddess of the night!

Don't be afraid of using different cheeses, veggies and meats. I love Goat Cheese, I am also a favorite of the Krab.....use whatever you have on hand.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blackened Ahi Tuna Steak and Orange Curry Couscous

Today I really looked at my pantry and realized how RICH we really are. So many weird and yet normal goods are in there. I think we could live for a year on just the fru-fru that that is in there. Spring Break is upon us and I went to town this morning with a specific agenda.....I must be crazy! I have a months worth of meals prepared that that I plan to do in a week....Which brings me to this point....How many of us cook by smell? Really....the Sicillian Spaghetti I make is judged and monitored by SMELL alone. The NOSE determines when the right amount of spice is added. The dish I am profiling here is kind of the same in that when preparing it, you must SMELL the almonds as they toast. Is there a better scent than toasting almonds and curry? The secret to toasting nuts is this: Microwave for one minute....stir-let sit for another minute- microwave another minute. I used to to the whole non-stick pan on the stove and toss frequently, but the microwave method is just as good.

Sensory overload on this dish! Orange zest, cinnamon, curry, toasted almonds...how much better does it get? A LOT!!!! If you are a fan of Thai or curry or couscous or warm salads...this is the dish for you. I got this recipe from one of our parents who served this last year during Teacher Appreciation Week. I won't post her name, because I did not get permission to give it.

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful and truly aromatic this dish is. Lovers of Thai will make it often. Easily serves 8 to 10 people.

Orange Curry Couscous

Orange Curry Dressing:
1 cup lite seasoned rice vinegar (you will find this in the Asian Section of the store)
2 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP grated orange peel or zest (in the spices dept.)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I ALWAYS use sea salt)
add gradually 1/4 cup canola oil

Combine the above ingredients with a wisk or blender adding oil slowly. This recipe will make more than you need.

Couscous:
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups couscous (uncooked)
1 C fresh parsley, minced
1 C chopped green onions
1 C almonds, toasted and chopped (to toast: microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave another minute, stir..the smell of this will drive you insane)
1 C currants
1/2 C. garbanzo beans

Bring the water to boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool. Add 1/2 the dressing, add the remaining ingredients, stir to coat. Add more dressing if dry.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spicy Moroccan Stewed Halibut and Shrimp with Couscous

OMG!!! you MUST add this recipe to your "Best Served" list! This IS on my top ten list of last meals.

The recipe comes to you from my own favorite chef, Jamie Oliver of the The Naked Chef, Jamie at Home, and soon to be released Jamie's Food Revolution coming out in March on the FoodNetwork.

1 cup uncooked couscous
3 TBSP olive oil (divided)
3 TBSP lemon juice (divided)
3/4 tsp. sea salt (divided)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper (divided)
1 Cup boiling water
2 (6 oz.) skinless, boneless halibut fillets cut in half (can use any firm white fish)
3/4 lb. large, peeled, and deveined raw shrimp
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 small red chile, chopped very fine
1/2 cup clam juice
1 (14.5 oz.) can tomatoes drained and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup of fresh green beans

Place couscous in a bowl. Add 1 TBSP oil, 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Pour over 1 cup boiling water and cover with a lid or foil for 10 min. then fluff with a fork.

Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper over fish. Toss shrimp with remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Heat a large non-sticking skillet over medium-high heat with 2 TBSP oil, cumin seeds, cinnamon, garlic and chile. Top with fish; scatter shrimp over the fish, add clam juice, tomatoes, green beans and 1 TBSP lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 2 minutes or until fish and shrimp are done. Add thawed green peas and heat through. Serve with couscous; garnish with basil if desired.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Overnight French Toast


Meals that require time, patience and following a sequence of steps are in some way more decadent and relished than the quick-fix 30 minute dish. Folks automatically know that time, thought and love went into preparing it. Think about it; homemade ice cream, prime rib or marinated steaks, good wine, and fresh baked bread. The same is true for this wonderful Overnight Baked French Toast. Please note that you can alter this recipe in many ways. I like to crisp fry 6 slices of bacon and crumble into the cream mix. You may also add sliced apples, other fruit or pecans.

You will need the following ingredients:

1 lb. loaf of Texas Toast (or thick sliced bread) cut into large sized cubes
8 eggs
3 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

for the syrup (to be poured over the next morning before baking):
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP. light corn syrup
*(Optional: can add chopped pecans over the syrup if you like)

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange bread slices in the bottom. In a bowl beat the eggs, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices making sure all slices are saturated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, heat the oven to 350. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour this over the egg/bread dish.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar for the "pretty" effect.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Salmon Pastries with Dill Pesto


This was a 2008 General Mills Contest Bake-Off winner. The contestant's name is Edgar Rudberg from Saint Paul, MN. Jim and I enjoyed making these together. They are simple yet elegant.

1/2 cup dill weed (fresh if you have it)
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts (can use pine or diced macadamia also) 1/4 cup lime juice
1 clove garlic

1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oven to 400.
2. In a food processor with a metal blade process the above ingredients to a smooth pesto consistency.

3/4 lb. salmon (skinned, boned and cut into 1# cubes--about 24 cubes)
1 box refrigerated pie crust, softened

3. Lightly roll out crust to 12" circle. Cut 4 rows by 3 rows to make 12 rectangles. Repeat with the other crust (24 squares).
4. Spoon 1 tsp. dill pesto onto center, top with a cube of salmon. Bring 4 corners of each rectangle over filling to center and pinch at top; pinch corners, leaving small opening on side to vent steam. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1" apart.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Place remaining dill pesto in a plastic bag, snip the tip of one end of the bag. Decorate serving plates with a drizzle of the pesto, serve warm pastries on top of pesto.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

PDQ Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

I LOVE cheese. I really do. I could live without sweets, bread, potatoes, even chile, but NOT cheese. I just learned to make mozzarella cheese and am making a lovely Zambini Pizza for SuperBowl Sunday. The Zambini is a fabulous pizza recipe I stole from the Flying Pie Pizzaria in Boise, ID in 1993. It is made traditionally from a sourdough crust (I am using Jamie's Crust .... see an older post for this fabulous crust recipe and the sauce (also from Flying Pie and can't be beat, except for my Putanesca Sauce found in Pizza Pizzazz )...both freeze EXTREMELY well, so no worries on the crust or sauce) topped with Italian sausage ( I am using moose Italian sausage), jalapenos, purple onion, sun dried tomatoes and I add a mix on Fontina and my own new homemade mozzarella cheese. Please do look back at the older post for that wonderful pizza sauce...I've never found anything to replace this recipe.

How to make Mozzerella....(recipe from About.com) Type in 30 minute fresh mozzarella cheese recipe. Also look at the YouTube 30 minute Mozarella....it will help.

Go Saints!!!!

1/2 rennet tablet (find this in the baking section of the grocery store....near the canning stuff)
1/4 cup cool cholrine-free water
1 gallon milk (use 2%)
2 tsp. citric acid (find this in the health food section, bulk dept.....like the seasonings stuff)
salt, optional...(but I like salt)

Crush the rennet and add to the water. Pour milk into a non-reactive pan (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat. Sprinkle citric acid over milk and stir a couple of times. Heat the milk to 88 degrees. It will begin to curdle.

At 88 degrees add the crushed rennet tablet and stir every few minutes until mix reaches 105 degrees. Large curds should appear. Either strain through a mesh strainer or scoop out with a slotted spoon into a glass bowl. Press curds into a ball and drain off the whey (liquid). Cool.
Microwave 1 minute and drain off whey. Make into a ball again with a spoon. Microwave again for 30 seconds, drain. Do this one more time.

In the meantime. Heat the whey (that nasty looking greenish fluid) to 175 degrees. Massage/knead the cheese until smooth. If needed, (crumbly and not pliable) dip in the heated whey for a few seconds and knead. Store in a solution of 2 tsp salt to 1 cup water (I used a quart jar).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mediterranean Artichoke Dip

Who doesn't love Mediterranean food? And, especially artichokes? Some people love them with mayo, some swear by lemon, others with insist on dipping in spiced butter. This recipe is a combination of ALL that everyone is sure to enjoy. What an elegant, yet easy dish this is to prepare! I promise you will love it, but DO NOT give into the temptation to add salt. The natural ingredients from the Parmesan cheese, the mayo and the cream cheese is good enough to season this appetizer! NICE served with a chilled bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.

The recipe comes to you from my Ruralite Magazine (January, 2010 issue).

1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
8 oz. artichoke hearts (frozen or canned/drained)
3 oz. cream cheese (soft)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Optional: 2 TBSP chopped green onions and 2 TBSP chopped tomato (looks very pretty)


First, mix the spices in a small bowl like this.



Next, measure 8 oz. artichoke hearts. Process in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the cream cheese, mayo, Parmesan cheese, and the small bowl of herbs. Process all of this until it is creamy.



Lastly, spread into a 9" pie plate and bake in preheated 350 F oven for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Garnish with chopped green onions and tomatoes if desired and serve with pita chips or crackers.



Saturday, January 16, 2010

3-4 Whole Grain Casserole

Yes, it has been a while since the last post...between vacation and trying new things,,no good excuses.

I do have a lovely side dish or salad to share with totallly hopes to expand upon and make it your own

The original recipe comes to me from my friend Jessica Westfall who got it from a friend. I only modified it a bit BC i live in a place where I cannot get what I nws.

½ cup whole-wheat berries, rinsed
2/3 cup long grain wild rice, rinsed
¼ cup basmati or long grain rice rinced
¼ cup oat groats, rinsed
3 small bay leaves

5 Cups boiling water

1 bulb fennel (anise) cut 1/4 “ dice
¾ cup diced carrots ¼” dice
2 small zucchini ¼” dice
2 small yellow squash ¼” dice
2 cups dried cranberries
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 tsp salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/8 tsp. dried

Preheat oven to 350. Combine wheat berries, bay leaf and 1-½ cups of boiling water. Cover and bake 1 hour. Combine wild rice, bay leaf and 2 cups of boiling water in a 1 qt. casserole dish and bake 45 minutes. In another casserole, combine basmati with 1 ½ cup water and bay leaf and bake for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves in all dishes. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Heat large pot of water and 1 tsp. salt to boiling. Add diced fennel and carrots. Cook 3 minutes and add diced zucchini and yellow squash. Cook 2 minutes and drain.

Add to cooked grains in bowl with cranberries, sliced green onions and chopped parsley, oil/butter, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper and thyme. Toss well, serve hot or at room temp. Makes 10 ½ cups.