Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Month of pie

I have decided that June will be the month of pie recipes. I'm not quite sure where I am going to go with that plan but it should be fun. Pie is one of those dishes that can be sweet or savory and fits in any time of the year.
My son is starting a new therapy diet this summer and I thought it would be a good time to revamp some of my pie recipes to meet his diet. If you are interested in information go to my other blog.
Even if one is not on a particular diet, I think my recipes could use some updating. I would like to move away from some of the "instant" ingredients like cool whip and replace it with more natural ingredients like whipped cream. Not only are these ingredients better for us, there is more control over fat and sugar.
I look forward to experimenting with pie and sharing the recipes with you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garlic Soup

The weather here has been rainy all week and I thought it's a good day for soup. This Garlic Soup recipe came out of the WSU Alumni magazine. Cougar Gold cheese is made here at Washington State University and is rather famous in a smallish circle. Our family loves the cheese and many restaurants feature a mac and cheese made with Cougar Gold. It's an unusual sharp cheddar, it's made in tin cans. Maybe next week I will give you a brief history of the cheese. It's a fascinating story. Here you can buy a tin for as little at $15 (for about 2 pounds). I hear there are places in Seattle that sell it for over $50. On special weekends the lines at Ferdinands (the local ice cream/cheese shop on campus) wrap around the block and the cheese actually sells out.
When making this soup, remember that hot soups have a tendency to explode in the blender so don't fill up the pitcher and give it a little air now and again to prevent pressure build up. Also, you can skip the blanching if you peel the garlic by hand (I use a cloth designed to help grip jars to peel when I want whole garlic and do the smash and peel when I want minced)

Garlic Soup
2 heads garlic, separated and unpeeled
5 tb olive oil
5 cups chicken stock
2 teas fresh thyme or 1 teas dry
white pepper
3 egg yolks
grated cougar gold cheese (or other sharp cheddar)
blanch garlic 1 minute, drain and peel. Cook but do not brown in half the oil for 10 minutes. Add stock and seasonings. Simmer 30 minutes. Blend the soup in a blender, carefully. Return to saucepan and heat. Beat egg yolks and gradually add remaining oil. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of soup into eggs . Remove soup from heat and add eggs in a thin stream. Stir well. Sprinkle on cheese and serve.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Salad

At this time of year, strawberries and cucumbers go on sale. It's a great time to make this simple salad. Quite often I use a pound of strawberries and 2 cucumbers but any amount will do.

Strawberry Salad
Peel a cucumber and slice very thinly. Sprinkle with a little salt and place between 2 plates with a weight on top for an hour or so, pouring off liquid at intervals. Cut an equal amount of strawberries into slices. Grind some black pepper over them and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Mix cucumbers and strawberries just before serving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fruit Pizza

I pulled this recipe out and am going to have it at my sister-in-law's baby shower this weekend. Normally we make this "pizza" in a large round cookie sheet so it resembles a pizza but we're going to make it into individual pizzas so that it's easier to handle. The pizza can get soggy if the assembled too far ahead of time but it still tastes good. I like to center a pineapple ring with a maraschino cherry in the center and then do rings of mandarin oranges, kiwi fruit and strawberries. You can add what ever fruit you like. I bet this would be fantastic with fresh cherries, blueberries and oranges. MMMM - makes me want some now.

Fruit Pizza
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tbs. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
2 packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Sliced fruit: strawberries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, pineapple rings
Cream 1st two sugars with butter and oil, add next 5 ingredients, mix well. Divide onto 2 greased pizza pans, bake at 350 until brown, cool. Cream remaining ingredients together - except the fruit. Spread on cooled crust. Top with fruit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kettle Corn

I apologize for not posting yesterday. My husband and I made a nearly fatal error (not exactly but it sure felt like it) by leaving a cake with cream cheese frosting out on the counter. It made us horribly ill. My poor digestive system is not really ready to forgive me yet but it's healing nicely. Food poisoning is never fun. It doesn't happen often for us even though we are not overly cautious when it comes to food sanitation. I believe in good healthy habits but I am not over the top. The cake we had did not say it had cream cheese frosting and since we purchased it we thought nothing of leaving it on the counter over night. Anyway, this leaves me terribly behind with recipes. I am really having to think this through. I have decided, however, that June will be the month of pies. My husband and I have set aside a few days to experiment with pie crusts and will need a fair amount of fillings to try them with. I figure it's a good time to share pie recipes - sweet and savory.
For today, I thought I'd share a simple recipe. Kettle corn is a fair favorite - who can resist those large metal bowls swirling with sweet popping corn. It's an easy thing to make at home and so simple you'll wonder why you ever bought it in the first place. Using a popcorn oil will give you a buttery flavor but a plain cooking oil will let the sweetness take center stage.

Kettle Corn
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
3 TBS white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Place the popcorn and sugar in a large pot with vegetable oil. Over a medium heat, begin to pop the popcorn. Constantly shake the pot to ensure that the popcorn kernels and oil do not burn. Once the popping has slowed, remove the pot from heat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bug Juice

I realized that I haven't really shared beverage recipes. This is my go to party drink. I change it as theme dictates. It's a Halloween drink but would be great for a summer cooler (just omit the gummy worms). I originally got it from Family Fun (I think) but with everything I have changed a few things. Feel free to try different fruit and juices. The original recipe had you thaw all the ingredients, personally I am a little lazy and often throw everything together at the last minute. Using the fruit and juice frozen makes the drink nice and cool (and a little thick). I often use a 2 litter bottle of ginger ale and add it to taste.

Bug Juice
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen strawberries
1 6-oz. can lemonade concentrate
1 quart ginger ale
6 gummy worms
Mix the strawberries and lemonade concentrate in a blender until smooth and thick. Transfer to a punch bowl. Gradually add ginger ale. Place the gummy worms on the rim of the bowl for a swampy effect. Makes 10 servings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coconut Pancakes

I was looking over the blog and couldn't believe how much I have missed this month. My husband has started a new cooking endevour and has taken over my kitchen (he's currently working on a cookbook/website idea). It's been great but I can't really share his recipes since he's doing them for more professional reasons. It's nice not to cook but I am running out of ideas to share. I thought I'd go through some of my recipes to see what I haven't shared (I prefer to actually make the recipe within the week before posting just so I don't overlook anything).
This pancake recipe is gluten free. I found it on Swanson's Vitamins website. I have made it for years so I can't say if this is the actual recipe on their website or if I've altered it. The batter is thinner than normal pancake batter and makes thinner pancakes. It's really tasty with that hint of coconut. It's not overly sweet. I often dig out the solid lump in the canned coconut milk and use that as the coconut oil. It's really a combination of coconut oil and milk but easier to work with and doesn't need to be melted since it's already very soft.

Coconut Pancakes
3 eggs, medium sized
3 tablespoons Coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk, honey and salt. In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and thoroughly mix into batter. Coat frying pan with non-stick spray and heat on medium-high. Spoon batter (approximately 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons) onto hot pan making pancakes about 3 inches in diameter. Flip when batter begins to bubble. Makes approx 8 pancakes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick and Easy Facial Scrub

I'm starting work on a Home Spa Party book that I will be selling as an e-book. It's an opportunity to share some of the party ideas that I have used in the past when I hosted home spa parties for profit. All items in the book will be homemade, easy and as inexpensive as possible.
I like this facial scrub and will be giving up my store bought scrub for just this recipe. We are hoping to go chemical free as much as possible and this will be one quick and easy step.

Facial Scrub
Almonds, raw
powdered milk

Add all the ingredients in equal parts in a blender and puree into a powder. Add water to about 1 tablespoon and use to wash face.

Sometimes I substitute other raw nuts in place of almonds and sometimes I skip them all together. The almond oil adds another nice level of care to the scrub but is not necessary.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ham in Not Coke

In March, I shared my Ham in Coke recipe. This was how I have been making ham for most of the time I have been married. It's a great recipe except my family and I have been trying to give up soda and look at giving up all artificial stuff in our food. That created a slight dilemma when it came to cooking the ham I had set aside for a Sunday family dinner. Not one to really faulter in the face of a challenge, I figured it can't be too hard to replicate a soda-like beverage for boiling my ham. What we ended up with was the best ham I have ever made. My husband, who always says he doesn't like ham, said if I made it that way every time he'd be a fan. It was a really recipe and open to a lot of interpretation.

Ham in Not Coke:
1 family sized ham, bone-in
Water to cover ham
1 large onion or two small onions, sliced (I quartered the small onions)
1 cup sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, or combination of
1 TB vanilla
Place ham in large pot and cover with water. If ham is pre-cooked then mix "soda" to taste, if not place ham in water after seasoned. Add sugar and vanilla to water until it tastes similar to soda. Add onions. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for a few hours (this really depends on how much time you have and what your plans our). I let mine simmer for nearly 4 hours.
Remove ham from stock and place on baking sheet. My ham had cooked so long that the fat was seperating from the meat. I scraped the fat off and returned it to the stock water. If your fat is not removed, score it to allow the glaze to penetrate.
Make glaze - 1/2 cup honey, 1 TB ground mustard, 1 teas Chinese Five Spice (or a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, anise and allspice). Spoon glaze on ham. Set under preheated broiler until the glaze has carmelized (about 5 minutes or so).
Slice up and serve. Reserve the stock for beans (currently my husband has black beans boiling in the stock and keeps telling me they taste really good but I am at work while he's making the beans).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Breve Creme

Breve Creme is a new line of coffee creamers from International Delight. I discovered Breve Creme through Vocalpoint and was given a coupon to try the product for free. We picked out the Vanilla Caramel Cream since my husband loves caramel in his coffee.
After Sunday dinner, I brewed a pot of coffee and offered up the cream. We drank the entire pot (strange for a family that doesn't drink coffee on a normal basis). I added enough cream to make the coffee a dark beige (I wanted to start with a small amount and work my way up to my usual creamy white). It was wonderful. I didn't need to add anymore than that. There was a perfect amount of sweetness and flavor. I felt spoiled. I don't often buy coffee creamer because they all taste artificial but not this one. It was smooth. I added a review of the coffee creamer to Vocalpoint's website and many of the reviews remarked that there was no artificial aftertaste (I hadn't noticed any aftertaste, and therefore didn't mention it, which was a really good aspect of the creamer). It's not any more expensive than the other International Delight creamers. Right now there is a 55 cent coupon on their website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

German Pizza

Due to illness last week, I don't have really good plans for this week's posts. I promise to get back into the swing of things next week with the product/information tuesdays and new food thursday (I may actually come up with something fun by Thursday).
This recipe is one I found on Kraft's website last fall. It's a rather fun and interesting recipe. I grew up in a german area so there was always sausages and sauerkraut. For this recipe, make sure everything is fairly dry or you will end up with a soggy crust. We buy handmade german sausages which are fairly smoky in flavor. If you buy raw sausages, add water to the pan you are frying them in - just up to 1/2 the sausage side so they will cook evenly. You can use any pizza crust recipe in place of the tubed crust.

German Oktoberfest Pizza
1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-in. slices
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups leftover or refrigerated mashed potatoes
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Unroll dough into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; flatten dough and build up edges slightly. Bake at 425° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute kielbasa in butter until browned. Spread mashed potatoes over crust. Layer with sauerkraut, kielbasa and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Breakfast Bake

This recipe is one my husband came up with after getting a brief description from someone else. He made it at Christmas time and then again last Friday (for dinner this time). It's an easy dish to make but does take time in the oven. He's still tinkering with the time and temperature so you may need to adjust a little.

Breakfast Bake
1 bag frozen hash brown (1 pound or so)
8 eggs
1/2 pound sausage (could substitute bacon)
pancake mix and ingredients to make pancakes
Pancake syrup

Fry sausage in skillet, breaking into bite sized pieces. Layer hash browns in an oiled 9x13 baking dish. Pour over eggs. Crumble over sausage after draining off fat. Mix one batch of pancake mix per instructions on box. Pour over hashbrowns. Smooth even. Pour over a generous amount of pancake syrup. Bake in oven at 450 for 45 minutes.

At 450 for 45 minutes we did end up with a few doughy spots but not overly so and the outside was browned nicely. May want to reduce heat to 425 and bake for 1 hour or until completely cooked through. My husband loves this with a little extra syrup. I am contemplating the best condiment for this - I like ketchup on my hashbrowns but not so much on the pancakes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I believe this is a Kraft recipe that I found years ago. It's such a quick and easy meal that it's like a treat. I don't care for the vegetables in this dish so I leave them out and serve some sort of vegetable side dish (stir fry is a great side dish - mixed veggies fried in a little oil seasoned with soy sauce).

Lemon Chicken
1 tb oil
1 pd chicken
2 cups trimmed snow peas
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
1 4 serv pkg of lemon jello
1 tb cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tb italian dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
heat oil in skillet on med-high heat. add chicken and cook thoroughly. add snow peas and peppers and cook 2 minutes. mix jello with cornstarch in small bowl. add broth, dressing and garlic, stir until gelatin is dissolved. add to skillet. reduce heat to med. cook 3 minutes or until thick. serve over rice.