Sunday, October 31, 2010

Old South Pulled Pork with a side of Oven Roasted Vegetables

Cooler weather has finally moved into Wisconsin and while I am not complaining about the beautiful October we had, I am looking forward to our first batch of this great pulled pork recipe. I found this recipe in a newspaper, but as many of you know, I have moved around a lot! This could have been from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinal, but it also could have been from Boston, Cincinnati or Minneapolis! Wherever it originated, it is REALLY good.  I usually buy my pork shoulder from the warehouse club and since they sell the shoulders in 7 lb or 15 lb packages, I usually double this recipe and freeze the pork in meal-sized portions.

1 T vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T chili powder
1 t cracked black pepper
1 c chili sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1 T worchestershire sauce
1 t liquid smoke
3 lb pork shoulder

Saute onions, add garlic, chili powder and pepper. Cook, stirring 1 minute. Add chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, worchestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil. Place pork in Crock Pot, pour sauce over the pork. Cover, cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 6 hours. Shred meat, removing large chunks of fat and serve on rolls.

I served this meal with a side of Oven Roasted Vegetables. I don't really think this deserves it's own post, so I will include it here...

3-4 potatoes, peeled or unpeeled and cut into 4-6 chunks per potato
4-6 large carrots, cut into sticks
2 sweet potatoes
1 fennel bulb, diced

Basically I melted equal parts of butter and olive oil in a roasting pan and tossed in all of the vegetables except the fennel.  I seasoned the vegetables with salt and pepper and roasted for 30-40 minutes at 400°F. Then I added the fennel and cooked about 20 minutes longer until all the vegetables were tender. This made a lot of vegetables, but I am sure they won't last long around here.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Elizabeth gets the credit for thinking of using the artisan bread dough and making it into cinnamon rolls!

I used some of the dough, rolled it into a rectangle, brushed it with 1 T. of melted butter and sprinkled it with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cut into rolls and let rise 45 minutes or so..then bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or so.

Good idea, Bup!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Apples and Wilting Peppers

I am a fanatic about not wasting food...if I bought it, I better find a way to use it, so as I foraged in the refrigerator the other night, I found two old apples(still ok, but not something you would want to bite into) and at least 6 sweet peppers that were either starting to show their age or they were ok.

The nice thing about apples, add a little sugar and heat and you get pie filling! I had two apples, a yellow delicious and a fuji, so I melted about  a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and added the peeled, diced apples. After a few minutes I sprinkled a Tablespoon of brown sugar and some cinnamon over the top and continued to cook the apples until they were just tender...the product was a dish of scrumptious apples for each of my kids for Sunday supper dessert!
As for the peppers, I cleaned and sliced these and blanched them in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Once they were blanched, I quickly cooled them in an ice water bath so they would stop cooking. After draining them, I packaged them in ziplock bags and froze them.  They will be great for a quick batch of fajitas this winter!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lentil Rice Casserole

This one is from my sister-in-law in Fargo, so it really should be titled Lentil Rice Hotdish. Or...does hotdish need to have cream of mushroom soup? She's one of the few official blog followers, so the credit really must go to her for this one. I have this on a recipe card that is yellowed, so that means it has been around a long time and is good enough to survive a few recipe card purges. It's not a regular on our dinner rotation, but we do have it once or twice a year. The tricky part is that it takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to bake...we're just not usually home 2 hours before dinner right now except some Fridays. So, I put it in the oven before a violin lesson and let it bake while we were gone. By the time we returned it just needed to be finished and we were ready for dinner. I haven't ever tried it in the crockpot, but I may need to be adventurous and do that sometime.

2 2/3 c chicken broth
3/4 c dried lentils
3/4 c chopped onions
1/2 c brown rice
1/4 wine (red or white)
1/2 t each dried basil, oregano, and thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t pepper
4 oz swiss cheese, grated.
Combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2 quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2-2 hours. Stir a couple times during baking.
May want to reserve some of the cheese and place it on top near the end of the baking time. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and serve with a salad.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goat Cheese Spread

My husband gets together with friends every month for a Herf. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here is the actual definition for this strange word: A lively gathering of cigar-smoking comrades who meet in a restaurant, club, cigar store or home to share their appreciation of fine cigars. While I am NOT an advocate of cigar smoking and I find it unbelievable that there is actually a word for such a gathering, it was our turn to host this event. Sometimes wives accompany the cigar smokers, sometimes there are women cigar smokers in the all depends on the month.  Think of it as a book club for men? Anyway, I usually put out a spread of heavy hors d'ouvres and this month, this was the hit of the party. When you read through the recipe, you will think it is way too time consuming, but really it isn't. If you used prepared pesto, all you have to do is mix the cream cheese blend and chop the sun dried tomatoes before you start layering. I made it the day before and it worked out great. Note that if your pesto has a lot of garlic in it, you should put less garlic in the cream cheese blend! Here is the link, Goat Cheese Spread. Please take a look at the professional picture on the pictures aren't the greatest!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hearty Burritos

If you have been following the blog, you will know that I made these the same day I made the Salisbury Steak recipe and I forgot to take pictures...sorry! Hopefully everyone knows what a burrito looks like.

This recipe has been around since 1996, the year we moved back to the US from Europe. I was back in the states and was thrilled to have refrigerator and freezer space available to cook and freeze meals. While living in France, my refrigerator was the size of an old-fashioned apartment sized refrigerator and the freezer was proportionally small! Not a lot of cooking and freezing happened!

These are budget pound of ground beef makes a minimum of 16 burritos! The original recipe claimed to make 8 burritos, but I have never made less than 16 and this time I had filling left over so I made 3 more burritos using smaller tortillas I had in the refrigerator.


1 lb ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz package frozen, cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed*
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c frozen corn, thawed
1/2 c salsa
1/2 c cooked rice
2 t chili powder
2 c shredded cheddar cheese (need more if you make more burritos)
8 10-inch tortillas(I usually use 16 or more)

*I have used shredded hash browns as well as freshly shredded potatoes.

Sour cream, Chopped tomatoes, guacamole, additional cheddar cheese, salsa

Brown ground beef with the onion and green pepper, drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheddar cheese on each tortilla, top with about 1 cup of the beef mixture. Fold sides and ends over the filling.

Wrap burritos individually in foil and freeze for up to 3 months or place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Serve with condiments.

To use frozen burritos, thaw overnight and continue as directed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken Tacos

This recipe is a two step process; however, it isn't very difficult. Elizabeth talked about the Sendik's meat sale...that lead me to this dinner idea. We have eaten it for years since it's quick, hot, and delicious. When Eleanor was 7 years old she commented that I should make this after every swim practice! It's that good.

I bought the package of chicken pieces and felt that I should cook this down and freeze the meat, so I threw the chicken parts in the crockpot with a few inches of water and bay leaves and let if cook all day on low. I let the pieces cool and took the meat off the bones and discarded the skin and bones the night before garbage day (Yay...they went out the next morning!!!). I threw the shredded meat into a freezer bag and left it for another couple weeks...then I had the main ingredient for a quick meal.

In a slow cooker combine:
1 can refried beans
1-2 sliced jalapeno pepper (I used green pepper this time since I had some from a friend's garden. I have left this out and it was fine too)
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
shredded chicken (see above)

Sometimes I combine everything in the slow cooker crock the night before so I just have to plug it in and turn it on the next day.

Cook on low for 6 hours or will be hot and bubbly. Serve on tortillas (we use the cheap ones from the warehouse club)with salsa and sour cream or whatever taco toppings you like!

Everyone was happy when they saw what was cooking for dinner. And, there were leftovers for wrap filling the next day.

I got a picture of the combined ingredients in the crockpot before the battery on my camera died. You'll just have to imagine how it looks wrapped in a tortilla.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pad Thai

Yum! This recipe did require a trip to the Asian grocery store for some of the ingredients, but it was well worth it. I do have supplies to make a few more batches of this. I got the noodles, fish sauce and tamarind paste at the Asian grocery store. Since I was there for those ingredients I bought the cilantro there as well.

I had a recipe for Pad Thai that I had received years ago; we liked making it but it was quite a process. In talking to my Thai friend, she explained a quicker way to make this so it could be a weeknight dinner. After taking the trip to the store and buying a few ingredients...and a few minutes of work on a weekend, I had a dinner that came together in under 10 minutes. Paul is traveling for work, so Eleanor and I had it for dinner and we both liked it. There is enough left over for lunch for both of us tomorrow, so I would say that the portions I am mentioning would probably work for 4 servings.

This recipe isn't so much about using what you have to make dinner...since (for most) it probably involves a bit of adventure to get some of the ingredients. BUT....dinner does come together quickly after that.

Here's how I made it:
Simmer together for the sauce:
1/2 c tamarind1/2 c fish sauce

1/4 c brown sugar
until the sugar dissolves. This can be made ahead and kept for weeks in the refrigerator. I think I'll make a double batch next time so I will be ready for two dinners.

On the evening of Pad Thai:
Soak rice noodles in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Drain. I used about 1/2 that would be about 7 oz of noodles. It's difficult to break the noodles in exactly half, so it's approximate.

In a wok (or other large pan) heat a generous tablespoon of oil and add:
garlic, about 3 cloves minced
2 eggs..break them into the hot pan and stir them to scramble. When they are almost done push them up the side of the pan and add
about 8 oz tofu cut into matchstick size pieces
Add sauce.
Add noodles and stir to coat with sauce.
I squeezed juice from half a lime and stirred that in. Just because I have the cool lime squeezer.

Top with
crushed red peppers
peanuts, crushed
lime wedges

Paul brings pickled radish home form Asia, so I'll add that next time. I guess he doesn't like to eat it as an airline snack when it is served...and since it can be used in Pad Thai...we'll use it next time. Obviously, that's an optional ingredient:)

It's kind of like making a regular stir fry in how quickly it comes together and what can be substituted/added...things like chicken, pork, or shrimp, and bean sprouts. Definitely worth the trip for the ingredients since it is so good. Mine was much lighter tasting than what I have had in restaurants...probably because I controlled the amount of oil added.

So...go ahead...have an adventurous Saturday at the Asian grocery'll be glad that you did!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Salsbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

When I mentioned that I was going to make Salisbury Steak for dinner a coworker called me June Cleaver! My husband assumed I was serving him a Hungry Man Meal! Yes, it is a throwback to the 50s, but I have been operating without an oven for two weeks and grilling is getting old.  I figured I could make the recipe on the stovetop, and my family loves comfort food, so I forged onward, despite the comments.

I had a 3 lb. package of ground beef in the freezer, so I made this recipe and the recipe for Hearty Burritos(see post for 10/26, something to look forward to) on the same day. I forgot to take pictures, so you will just have to remember your childhood or google images for salisbury steak.

I used the Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy recipe from The only change I made to the recipe was I used vegetable broth instead of beef broth.Once the gravy was made, I put the salisbury steaks into the gravy and simmered them on low until they were cooked through. I served the steaks with mashed potatoes and a vegetable, a clear meat and potatoes kind of dinner. The recipe says that you will get 6 patties out of the ground beef mixture, I got 8 so this made two full dinners, one went into the freezer. Next time I would make more gravy, probably doubling the ingredients.  When I do serve the 2nd meal, I will need to make gravy since we ate it all.

My kids declared it very "meatloaf like" but they liked the twist with the gravy. I found the gravy awesome, the addition of red wine made it rich and flavorful and, let's be honest, I think I dumped more than a 1/2 cup in the pan!
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

This recipe is a winter staple in our pan makes enough for two full meals plus left overs so I usually freeze half for a meal in a week or two. The full recipe is on, Mexican Lasagna. We were excited to be having it for the first time this year and forgot to take the picture before digging in!

A few changes that I make that we enjoy....I add a can of drained and rinsed black beans and I use a mexican blend cheese instead of cheddar for the top.  I also just add the cheese before baking, it turns out fine. This meal is one that I will make using the time/bake function on my oven on evenings that I am not's great to walk in the door and be able to serve a nice, hot dinner! I usually serve this with a salad.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pear Crisp

I know. I know. We're working on dinner for the family, but I just couldn't resist throwing in a link to this recipe and my adaptations. I think it can work for the blog because I got the fruit in the CSA box. Just think of it as an "extra" recipe that was posted.

Generally I cut way way back on the sugar by using 1/2 c brown sugar for the topping and 1/4 c sugar for the filling. Also in the topping, I "cut" the butter to one stick (1/2 cup). Hey, any cut in the fat is good! I don't put the almonds in it due to a food allergy at our house. And I use chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate..just because that's what I have. I used craisins for the dried tart cherries, because that's what I have in my larder. I threw in 2 sliced apples as well, just to use what was in the refrigerator.

Today I used oat bran in a 1:1 substitution for the flour, so we'll see how that tastes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Honey Pie Cafe Potato Cheddar Soup

Fall...time for soup. Elizabeth has it figured out with her Tuesday night designated as soup night. I'm flying by the seat of my pants a bit more as far as when to have soup!

I clipped this recipe from the local on the link above to see the original. Although I haven't been to Honeypie Cafe yet it is on my short list of places to go but looking at the menu I may have some tough decisions on what to order. I took this recipe and adapted it to make it a bit quicker and decrease some of the fat. Having never had the original at the restaurant, I really don't know how mine compares. Anyway, the version I made was good and satisfying for us, so I'll let you decide!

My version of this soup:
2 T. butter
1 c white wine (Trader Joe's two buck Chuck)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 c skim milk
almost 1 lb white cheddar, grated
1/4 c chives
box chicken stock

Melt the butter in a stockpot and add carrots, celery, and potatoes until starting to soften. Add wine and stock and simmer for an hour or so. Let cool and mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to smooth the soup.

I went this far and put it in the refrigerator until after swim practice. When we got home I heated the soup and added the milk and let it heat for 15 minutes or so. Then I whisked in the cheddar cheese and added the chives and cooked another couple minutes.

Fortunately, I have some chives in the yard, so I clipped those and used them. Also, I have that bottomless bag of par-boiled turnips in my freezer, so I threw in some of those also.

I served this with artisan bread (see the link)...a warming dinner on a cool fall night!
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by realizing I had two full bottles of Hershey's chocolate syrup in my cupboard! My son had needed chocolate syrup to make fake blood for a costume and I told him to go ahead and buy it because I was sure we didn't have any, only to find a full bottle in the cupboard AFTER he opened the new one!  It was an interesting couple of days because the next day I had Barefoot Contessa on the TV and she was making these cupcakes which call for chocolate syrup! I decided it was fate and made the cupcakes immediately (Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes).

These are the easiest dessert to make and they are decadent! The ganache actually makes enough for close to two batches of cupcakes, and at the rate these were eaten, I might make a double batch next time!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

photo from
I have recently really enjoyed cooking chicken thighs. They can't be beat in terms of cost and if you cook them properly, they are full of flavor and very moist. The recipe above does call for bonless, skinless chicken thighs, I used bone-in and the results were fantastic. The sweet and spicyness of the recipe was a hit as well. I didn't get a picture of the actual chicken I cooked, but mine did resemble the professional photo on! Here is the link...Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I love the flavors of chicken wings but don't like the whole messy wing eating process. So, I thought of putting the flavors together without the mess. I thought I was being really original; however, I did see this on a menu at Buffalo Wild Wings. Anyway, here's my version:

The night I made this version I used the pizza dough recipe from arugula pizza post(9/23 post). I did make two of these since one pizza with thin crust isn't usually enough for the three of us (we are all big eaters...guess that's why we work out).

I baked the crusts after brushing with olive oil for a few minutes and then sprinkled them with the bleu cheese and chicken. The chicken breast was in the freezer from a warehouse club rotisserie chicken, so I just pulled it out to thaw in the morning. I drizzled wing sauce on it and baked until just warm. Then, I put some diced celery on it and served.

Yum...the taste of wings without the mess!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Asian Noodles

OK, I've already been scolded by one coworker about my absence from the blog...well, I'm back...sometimes life just gets in the way.

Since finding this recipe, I have made it twice, slightly different each time and my family loved it. My daughter took it to school for lunch and her friends kept stealing noodles! She had a friend over to work on a school project and the friend was thrilled there were noodles in the refrigerator! I guess what I am saying is, they are a hit! The basic recipe is, once again, from The recipe is for Saucy Chicken Lo Mein, but in the two versions I made, I never added any chicken.

The first time I made the recipe, I followed it exactly except I omitted the chicken. The ginger lovers, namely my husband and son, couldn't get enough. My daughter and I really liked it, but felt it was a bit heavy on the ginger. I did buy Sake so that  I could follow the recipe exactly, only to be informed by my foodie son that we had Mirin in the house.  I wasn't aware that Mirin is effectively sweetened Sake.

The second time I made these noodles, I replaced the Sake and Sugar with Mirin and I didn't add any ginger. Can you guess the results? Yes, my daughter and I prefer this version and my husband and son prefer the original.

I love this recipe! It makes a ton, it is a GREAT lunch option, it is fast and everyone likes it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black Bean Salad

I can't tell you how I got this's a secret I have to keep. It was sold at a deli and I would crave it after traveling through the land of cream of mushroom soup (aka Minnesota). The recipe has been adapted a bit, so I feel like I can share my version of it. It can be eaten as a salad or as a dip for chips.

3 c dry black beans, cooked
1/2 red onion
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 bunch of celery, diced

Mix together for dressing:1 1/2 T. lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar works too, if that's what you have)
1 T. cumin
1 T. coriander
1 1/2 T. paprika
1/2 c oil
1 T. crushed garlic
1 T. Spike
1 t cayenne
2-4 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. chili powder
dash of salt, if needed
OK...I know that the ingredient list is huge, so I break this down a bit. Throw together all the dry spices when you have a few minutes. Then, add the rest of the dressing ingredients and store the dressing in the fridge another time when you have a couple minutes. Dice the vegetables when you can and throw them in with the black beans. This gets even better if it sits for a couple days.

I have to plug the Spike...a Milwaukee product made at the facility where a mutual friend works. I have tried this recipe without Spike and found that it isn't as have to use it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Corn Chipotle Soup

This recipe is from the Flying Star restaurants in Albuquerque. I think that this recipe was in Bon Appetit years ago...maybe even when the restaurants were called the Double Rainbow (I think that was the name). Anyway, Flying Star restaurants are just one more reason it would be the best to live in Albuquerque (OK, so my list of reasons to live there is so long I don't think I need to to even add anymore).

I have to admit, I have never had this particular soup at the restaurant, but I have never had anything less than an excellent meal there. Whenever we visit New Mexico, we need to go to Flying Star multiple times to get our fix to last us until the next visit. Good thing our friend Carol, an Albuquerque resident likes it too!

OK...back to the soup.
2 T. butter
Melt that in the pan and add:
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced

When these ingredients start to soften add:
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 c. water
2 T. chipotles in adobo
2-14 3/4 oz cans creamed corn
16 oz. package of frozen corn
1 c. skim milk I guess that the original recipe had cream)
1 t. oregano

The spiciness of the soup can be varied on the amount of chipotles put in it and somewhat on the spiciness of each can. You may want to go light on the chipotles and let each person add their own amount. I buy the cans of chiles when I am at the Mexican grocery store in town, El Rey. Even the small can is a lot, so I will whir the contents of the can in the blender and freeze that in small amounts (like Elizabeth's pesto). Then, I can use small bits to flavor enchilada, chili, or burritos.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Puff Pancake

This really is a different version of the post on 9/26. I'm not posting the same thing twice! This is the recipe I usually make on a weekday since it is a bit faster. We are huge fans of hot breakfast at our house and I really do make a hot breakfast every day. I think that it started when Eleanor was little and I had all day to cook and clean up. Anyway, it is a nice way for us to start our day since we're running around in the evening.

It's really good with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a drizzle of maple syrup and some strawberries. It's a recipe that I have adapted over the years.

3 eggs
3/4 c flour
3/4 c milk
2 T butter
1 T sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease ovenproof skillet (about 12 inch diameter).
Beat all ingredients together until almost smooth. Pour into skillet and bake 15 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 10-15 more minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Serve with berries or other chopped fruit.

And...if you eat this and do Suzuki listening at the same's going to be a good day! Some nice violin music and a good breakfast with the family!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lentils with Garlic and Onion

One of my favorite things about my recipe collection is that I can look through the recipes and think about the person who gave it to me. This one is from a co-worker in a past life of mine and I think of her every time I make it. She would often eat this for lunch where I would covet it. Guess that meant it was time to get the recipe and make it myself.

My daughter has loved this dinner for her whole life. I always thought it was an odd flavor combination for a little American with blue eyes to like...but I'm glad that she enjoys it.

I am going to warn you...don't cut down on the oil or the salt in this recipe. It really needs to have both in full quantities to taste good. I did omit the salt when I used leftover chicken broth one time..but otherwise use a scant teaspoon..any less and it really loses flavor.

4T oil
3/4 t whole cumin seeds (I didn't have seeds this time so I used ground and it was fine)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 med onion, chopped
1 c washed lentils
3 c water
1 t. salt
1/4 t cayenne
1/2 t turmeric
1" cube peeled fresh ginger

Heat oil and add onion and stir until starting to get soft. Add garlic and cumin and stir until just starting to brown. When just starting to brown add turmeric, cayenne, and salt. Add lentil, ginger and water and simmer for about an hour.

I will usually make this a bit ahead and then put rice in the rice cooker before swim practice. We come home, and I heat the lentils and serve them over rice with mango chutney.

This recipe adapts well to additional vegetables or more water (or broth) to be served as a soup. It doubles well but I usually just make one recipe at a time so we don't get tired of it!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

This week's soup comes from had a lot of potatoes from the CSA box, so potato soup sounded good. We are back to our full fall schedule and Tuesday night is definitely soup night. I followed the recipe exactly, but I have to say, 5 garlic heads produced more like a half cup of roasted garlic pulp, not a quarter cup.  I chose to use just 1/4 cup and I froze the rest. I have never frozen roasted garlic before, so that might end up being a mistake, if anyone knows if this will work, please send a comment! I also roasted the garlic in the morning and put the soup together in the afternoon...having worked with roasted garlic before, I know it is HOT, so I decided to let it cool before I had to handle it. I also used a variety of potatoes, I had purple potatoes, red potatoes and baking potatoes.

My family loved the soup, it was chowder-like and full of flavor. My son felt it needed more bacon, but then what couldn't use a little more bacon? The recipe fits Karen's family philosophy that a little bacon can't be that bad...two strips, what's the big deal! Here is the link, enjoy!

Roasted Garlic-Potato Soup

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thai Noodles

The other day I got to spend some time with a friend from Thailand and cook! We went to the Asian grocery store together to select some of the ingredients and then went to her house to assemble these great ingredients into dinner. I have to tell you that she (and her husband) are the most awesome cooks. When we were all at violin camp in August their smell of their food got us all drooling; fortunately they are good at sharing their food and recipes! I think that their serving dish at potlucks is wiped clean. I asked for their noodle recipe and she explained that it is probably easier to cook together. She is a great cook which means her recipe is a bit of a guide rather than an exact procedure, so it was good to see her in action.

This recipe does have one ingredient I had never used before....coriander root. She had this in her freezer since she gets it at farmers markets when she sees it. It wasn't for sale at the store we visited today. I guess if the choice is to make this dish without it or not make the dish I would try it without; although see the link for a substitution idea. I'll have to update you on that later when I try this recipe again after the markets are done for the winter.

For a pound or so of pork (thick cut pork chop):
Put it in a bowl and toss with 1T. brown sugar and 2 t. soy sauce

In a mortar and pestle mash:garlic and coriander root and a pinch of coriander seeds. Maybe two pieces of 1" root with 4 cloves garlic. After it's mashed and smells good add it to the meat. Add a couple grinds of pepper.

Steam veggies:
Zucchini, sliced thin
pea pods
bean sprouts
Dump the veggies in a bowl.

Make garlic oil by warming oil and sauteing garlic until light brown and save it in a bowl.

Use small amount of garlic oil and cook pork. When done slice into pieces and put into bowl with veggies.
Note that the meat in the picture is for a double batch...we were cooking for two hungry families!
Cook boiling pot of water and cook fresh rice noodles and drain. In pan where meat was cooked heat the rest of the marinade until it boils. turn off the heat and add noodles and stir until noodles are coated. Put noodles in bowl with vegetables and pork.

Top with cilantro, lime juice, chiles, and peanuts, if desired. Although it's good just like this too!

The most difficult part of this meal is bringing home that large serving dish and saving it until dinner. I had just a small taste of it for lunch...then a little more....I had better leave the house so I don't eat most of it this afternoon!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


There are many nights when getting a healthy meal on the table can be a time-challenge.Here is a great, easy weeknight meal using chicken or beef! Variations are endless and you can use either fresh or frozen vegetables.

This week has been a challenge because three of the four "week" nights I have had meetings relating to the start of school or a swim meet. Tonight is the 3rd such evening, so fajitas it is! Last week I had an over abundance of sweet peppers which I blanched and froze intending to use them for fajitas. Tonight's fajitas will be chicken with fresh onions and frozen peppers!

4-6 chicken breasts, sliced thinly into strips
1 onion, sliced
1-2 sweet peppers, any variety, mine are green, orange and yellow
2 T Penzey's Fajita Seasoning
2 T water
1/4 c oil
1-2 T lime juice

I follow the Penzeys Fajita Seasoning recipe on the back of the jar which suggests mixing the seasoning with the water, allowing it to hydrate and then adding the lime juice and oil.  This is the marinade. Tonight I marinated the fresh chicken and onion for several hours...because the peppers were frozen, I waited to add those until the cooking process.

I sautéed the chicken and onions and when they were about 1/2 way done, I added the peppers.  I served the fajitas on soft tortillas from the warehouse club with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and  sour cream. Last week we received a yellow-fleshed watermelon(a first for me!) in my CSA box which was part of dinner as well.

I usually keep a bag of frozen peppers and onions mix in my freezer so this recipe can be thrown together quickly.  My store brand is Roundy's and they have this combination all the time. Check your local store!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Smoked Beef Brisket

My husband wanted to go camping over Labor Day weekend, but I wanted to stay home after the crazy month of August at our house. I thought about how I could get him to buy into the at home weekend....and meat smoking was my idea! We're not huge red meat eaters at our house, so the opportunity for him to smoke a large hunk of beef was appealing to him and made him "forget" about the camping expedition.

Now there are packages of smoked brisket in the freezer for us to last awhile. I do have to admit that I like this too; although I don't think I'll need to eat red meat for quite awhile after a couple of these sandwiches. After smelling smoking meat for a number of hours I do like a sandwich with the freshly smoked meat and barbeque sauce. He did a great job...every time he does this (usually Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends) he gets better at it.

I asked him to type out how he did this since I wasn't involved at all......and our first guest blogger!

Smoked Beef Brisket

The Meat:
Fresh 8 to 12 pound beef brisket. Look for a good amount of marbling in the meat as well as a fat cap at least 1/4” thick covering one side. A good amount of marbling in the meat will keep if tender when finished.

The Rub:
Garlic Powder
Shore Lunch: Garlic & Pepper Grilling Rub (ours must be old because I can't find this online link at all..salt, pepper, garlic and dextrose).
Penzeys Spices: BBQ3000
Penzeys Spices: Bangkok Blend
Pepper grinder: Tellicherry Black Pepper
Salt grinder: Mediterranean Sea Salt

The Hardware:
Ice Pack
Plastic Wrap
Aluminum Foil
Smoker - Charcoal fired vertical water smoker
Mesquite Wood Chunks
Hickory Wood Chunks
Bucket – 2 gallon
Royal Oak Charcoal
Roasting Pan w/ Grate
Meat Thermometer
Electric Carving Knife

The Time Line:
T=0 hours - Organize the following: Meat, Rub Spices, Cooler, Frozen Ice Pack. Place the meat in the cooler, liberally sprinkle the meat with each rub spice on all sides. Rub these well into the meat evenly. Toss in the ice pack and close cooler. Let rest for 12 hours.

T = 8 hours – place equal parts of the wood chunks in the bucket and cover with water. Let soak.

T = 11 hours – Clean & Prep the smoker. I use a charcoal fired water smoker. Get a chimney full of charcoal lit and burned to fully gray. Make sure to use a hard charcoal like Royal Oak because the briquettes burn longer and hotter. Toss into the fire pan in the smoker. Fill the smoker water pan with boiling water (Tea kettle). Add several damp chunks of wood to the fire pan.

T = 12 hours – Remove the meat from the cooler and place on the top rack of the smoker - fat cap up. Close the smoker lid. Periodically watch the amount of smoke billowing out and as it dwindles add more damp wood chunks. About every hour. If needed add additional charcoal briquettes and possibly water. The water pan should not become dry.

T = 18 hours – After 6 hours in the smoker there probably will not be further flavor penetration so we finish the meat in the oven. Remove from the smoker and place in the roasting pan on grate. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil – tightly sealing the foil to the pan. Place in oven middle rack with temperature set to 200 F.

T = 24 to 26 hours – Open oven and check meat temperature. Stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket. Target is 180 F. Keep periodic watch (hourly) until internal temperature reaches 180 F to 185 F. For an 8 lb brisket plan on 6 hours in the oven before bothering to check the temperature. It usually takes 6 to 8 hours to reach target. Larger briskets can take 11 to 12 hours in the oven. Once the meat is to the desired temperature, remove from the oven, fully wrap in plastic wrap (not Saran wrap – it leaves a funny taste – get the commercial stuff!) then fully wrap in aluminum foil. Place back into the cooler and allow to rest for several hours.

T = 30 hours – Remove the brisket from the cooler, unwrap and slice perpendicular to the meat grain. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce, buns, pickles etc...

Now that you have read his process would you like to guess his job? The choices are engineer or engineer.