Monday, November 28, 2011

Freezing Pumpkin

I had a pumpkin left over from Halloween that I hadn't cut into, so thought I'd bake it. I cut it in half, scooped the seeds and stringy stuff out. Lightly salted, turned upside down on cookie sheet and baked until tender.
When cooked, I put it in a strainer and weighted it with a can of beans on a plate. When drained, I pureed it and put it in a bag to store in the freezer.
It made about 2 cups.

Spanish Rice

Diced onion, Anaheim chili, seeded jalapeno, can of fire-roasted tomatoes, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, tumeric, water added to appropriate level in rice cooker.
Brown rice.
I sauteed the vegetables, then added the seasonings, then added that to the rice along with the tomatoes in the slow cooker. Took about 45 minutes.

Anasazi Beans

I had about half a package of Anasazi beans, I picked through them, washed them, put them in a saucepan, covered with water and brought to a boil. I turned off the burner and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Then I drained them, covered with fresh water and simmered until partway done.
Then, I put them into a slow cooker.
In a saute pan, I browned some onion, carrots, and celery, using grease leftover from browning salt pork (which I diced and set aside). After vegetables were browned, I added them to the slow cooker, along with half a can of roasted green chilies and the cooked side pork that was set aside. I seasoned it with cumin, chili powder.
After a couple hours, I used my immersion blender and pureed the beans. I cooked it further and added small diced onion, Anaheim chili, and seeded jalapeno.
Right before serving, I added some pats of butter, stirred to melt.

Easy Scones

Just using up some Bisquick and Greek yogurt. Added some sugar as well as some Meyer lemon olive oil. Patted into shape, brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar, cut and baked in a hot oven, about 15 - 18 minutes.

One could add citrus zest, dried fruit.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Berry Amaretto Shortcake

Using some muffins that need to be eaten (ricotta/sour cream muffins), I made a simple berry "shortcake." Just put sugar over some frozen, unsweetened berries. Let it sit. When ready to serve, split muffins, put some of the berry juice in the bottom of the bowl. Lay the bottom half of the muffin on the dish. Brush with amaretto, top with berries, whipped cream.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey and Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

We went to the Christmas Parade downtown and came home to a warm bowl of soup. Earlier in the day, I sauteed onions, carrots, and celery, put it in the slow-cooker with turkey stock. I par-cooked the wild rice, then added that along with some leftover turkey, mostly dark meat, but some white meat as well. It was seasoned with salt, pepper, marjoram and thyme.
We went to the parade.
When we got home, I poured in some half-n-half.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pictures from Class

These were taken at class last night. I do a series of classes for the local community college's adult education program. The classes revolve around different musical themes that I relate to food. Classes in the past have included "Beethoven Soup" which featured the music of Beethoven and different Austrian soups (October, 2009). The next was in October of 2010 "Aaron Copland: American Cuisine," November 2010 "Tchaicovsky's Nutcracker Sweets," October 2011 "World Music: World Cuisine," and finally this month's focus on music history Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras.
You can go back to those months on this blog and find some of the dishes, starting in October of 2010.

Thanks for taking the pictures, Elaine!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rosa Alfredo Mac-n-Cheese

Cook some macaroni (I used a combination of macaroni and penne, started the penne first. It's what I had). After it's cooked, drain, and mix with a jar of Rosa Alfredo sauce (from a jar, yes). I also added some grated Parmesan, and Italian blend cheese. Top with butter bread crumbs, bake.

I served it with chicken tenders, baked with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and dried red pepper flakes.

Hungarian Goulash

Saute onions, add beef, paprika (lots), s&p, and a bay leaf. I also put in some concentrated beef stock. Cook for about 2 hours, until beef is tender.
Yep, that simple.

Sour Cream & Ricotta Muffins

O.K., for those of you that need exact measurements, well, you won't get them here. I had some ricotta and sour cream, going out of town so wanted to use it up. I dumped some Bisquick in a bowl (yes, Bisquick), added the ricotta, sour cream (about 2 cups total), some sugar (maybe 1/2 cup), some milk, a bit of oil and vanilla. Stirred it slightly, put it into muffin tins. Baked at 425F for about 17 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fruitcake 2011

Fruitcake is something I've been making for years. I grew up hating the stuff, but since making my own, have grown to love it. I use a poundcake base, based loosely on James Beard's recipe in the American Cooking book. Very loosely based.
Here's what I did:
3 sticks butter, softened (yes, I used salted, it's what I had)
almost 2 cups sugar (part white, mostly brown, it's all I had)
Cream together, add 10 egg yolks. The package said "large," but they looked puny. Should mix together like a whipped cream. Add vanilla (I used the rest of what I had, maybe 1 tsp), and some almond extract (used a healthy dose of that).

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks. Set aside until ready for them.

Add 3 1/2 cups sifted flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and seasonings to the yolk/butter/sugar mixture.
Seasonings: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cardamom, 1/2 tsp. allspice

Then, without fear, fold in the beaten egg whites.
I stirred some of the egg whites into the batter to lightened it, then dumped in the rest, and using a big spoon, a really big serving style spoon, I just stirred/folded in the whites until it just had a few streaks of white in it.
In the meantime, a really big bowl of fruit has been diced (actually, processed in the machine) has been soaking in brandy. about 8 cups of it.
Add about 3 cups of chopped nuts, I used a bag of chopped walnuts, and some leftover hazelnuts.

oh yeah, the fruit.
Here's what I used this year. Yes, it varies from year to year.
All measurements are loosely packed, but after processing into a small/fine dice.
3 cups dried apricots
2 1/2 cups mixture of dried cranberries and cherries
2 cups diced dates
1/2 cup dried blueberries (had a package opened in the fridge and thought I'd toss it in, too)
I made 48 mini-cakes in mini-muffin tins, no papers (they came out great)
8 mini-loaves
a bit bigger loaf
and some in a small (2 egg) cast iron frying pan.
Bake at a low-ish temp 325F until done.

Next, the syrup:
I used what was left in the fridge, an apple jelly with vanilla (leftover from the Mozart cakes), seedless strawberry jam, and seedless raspberry jam (leftover rom M. cakes, with some corn syrup melted into it). I added a bit of water, and simmered it together. As it cools, add brandy.
Each cake will be drenched with it, dunked. Then will go into plastic storage bags in the back of the fridge. They will undergo more dunks throughout the season.
After several weeks, the cake is soaked through, should hold together, and slice nicely.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kielbasa Biscuit and Gravy

What to make for breakfast.... I had a kielbasa, so made a biscuit dough using some boxed baking mix (gasp), cream, and milk. I rolled it out on a board with lots of white whole wheat flour. I cut the sausage into thirds, and precooked it in a pan on the stove while making the dough. When done, I let them cool. Then wrapped each section in dough, cut each piece again into thirds. Then brushed cream on them. Baked in a hot oven, 385F convection, for about 15 minutes? (Until done, I forgot to look at the clock).
For the gravy, just a bechamel made with butter and bacon grease (had that on hand in the fridge), added Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour to make a roux, cooked it a bit, then added milk and cream. Seasoned it with pepper, ancho chili powder, thyme, sage, a bay leaf, black pepper, and salt. Cooked it until it loses the flour taste.


Should have gotten OJ when we were out and about yesterday, would be great with this right now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mozart Cake

Make three cakes:
Yellow cake w/ground almonds, almond extract, additional flour.
White cake made with pistachio pudding added (lots of recipes on the internet, calls for 7-Up as it's liquid)
Chocolate cake with ground hazelnuts, vanilla extract, extra flour.

To the almond and chocolate cakes, I added 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour and 1/2 - 1 cup ground nuts.

(There really isn't enough batter for two 9-inch layers, so I poured about 2/3 of batter into one pan, 1/3 into the other. I split the taller layer. So.... this made 3 finished cakes, 2 using cut layers, and one taller cake using the shorter layers that I didn't split.)

Bake cakes, cool completely. May be done the day before.

Split cakes, drizzle with a glaze made from apricot jam (or apple) for the pistachio and almond layers, raspberry for the chocolate. Add some corn syrup to the jam, a bit of water (not much), liquify. I put it on warm so it soaks a bit into the cake.

When the jam has toatlly cooled and set on the cakes (refrigerate), layer, with chocolate buttercream between the layers. Yes, I used canned "creamy chocolate" frosting.

I spread more jam on the sides of the cake. Then refrigerate.

Cover with ganache: 2 cups hot cream poured over a bag of dark chocolate chips, and a bag of milk chocolate. Let it sit, then stir. Pour over the cake, using a spatula on the sides as needed.


Post Script:
I made the original cake as a trial run, made them again yesterday. Changes included less flour added to each mix, and I used most of each cake's batter in one 9-inch cake pan. It made a nice layer that split well. I used an apple jelly, added vanilla, so ended up with a smooth glaze over each split layer. Then, instead of a jam glaze all over (I did put a thin layer on top of each cake), I used a thin, crumb coat of frosting. The cakes were chilled well before pouring the ganache.
I also used more nuts, and processed them in my regular processor which did a better job. For the original cake, I used a small processor which really didn't get the nuts as fine as I wanted.