Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cherry Bounce

It's Door County Cherry Time!  The sweet cherries are done and the tarts have begun.  Last week I picked up a quart and made cherry bounce.  This week it will be cherry pie filling for holiday gifts. 
Here's a quick and easy recipe for Cherry Bounce:
1.75 liter bottle or jar
1 quart tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1 liter vodka, bourbon or brandy (I used potato vodka so it's gluten free)

Stem and pit the cherries (or don't pit as you prefer)
Pour 1 cup sugar over cherries
Cover with liquor of choice
Wait until December to enjoy!
Watch out if you eat the cherries-they'll be intoxicating :)

Dill Pickles

It's pickling time again!  I have a love-hate relationship with canning since we don't have air conditioning and somehow it is always time to can on the hottest possible day of the year.  That said, I love it all winter when we can eat the local produce I canned during the summer for just pennies of the cost of store bought.  And I know there aren't any rat whiskers, mouse droppings or other disgusting things in my canned goods.

Last year my pickles were so spicy that hardly anyone could eat them...a few too many hot peppers in the mix, so this year I just made basic garlic dills.  I learned a new trick this year and can't wait to see if it really works.  Supposedly if you add grape leaves to the jar it keeps the pickles crunchy.  I had good success last year by soaking the pickles in cold saltwater for a day before canning them. 

I had 9 pounds of pickling cucumbers and this recipe made 10 quarts.  Use the wide mouth works best for fitting the most pickles in a jar.  You'll be surprised how few fit in a jar.  These have only 5 per jar.
I adapted this recipe I found through a google search and adjusted the amounts because I had nine pounds of pickles rather than seven.

9 pounds pickling cucumbers
10 grape leaves
50 peppercorns
30 cloves garlic
1 large bunch dill heads split equally between jars
1.1 oz pickling salt
10 cups distilled water
9 1/3 cups white vinegar

Next up....pickled watermelon!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kitty Jigsaw Puzzle

Recently we've been doing jigsaw puzzles on the computer.  They can be quite challenging!
Try this kitty one that Beast picked out...
Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pizza on the Grill for Memorial Day

Beast says, Forget the Brats, let's have Pizza on the Grill for Memorial Day!
The weather is supposed to warm up and the whole town should be firing up their grills.  It's time for some pizza on the grill in the Big Green Egg!
It's great fun with the neighbors and everybody likes making their own unique combination.  Take all the bits and pieces of things out of the fridge, top the dough and they cook up in just a couple minutes. 
Throw in some friends and neighbors and you've got a super party.
Our favorites:
Basic pepperoni or anchovy for Tim
Carmelized onion, bleu cheese and walnut for Lisa OR Pesto, feta and spinach with artichoke hearts and kalamata olives
Abbey and Sawyer like olives, more olives pepperoni, sausage, chicken, spinach, alfredo sauce, bbq sauce, not all at once, but a combination of these on a couple mini pizzas
For a quick sauce, get a can of diced tomatoes and peppers (the kind you use for queso) and mix it with a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a little pizza seasoning-tasty and quick-no pre-cooking required.
What's your favorite combination?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tequila Lime Marinated Salmon with Mango Chili Salsa

It must be getting close to Cinqo de Mayo because I've been thinking about margaritas recently.  On Wednesday I put together a dinner with Tequila Lime Marinated Salmon, Mango Chili Salsa, Sauteed Napa Cabbage with Serrano chili and garlic, and wild rice.  Paired with a fresh margarita it was scrumptious!
I used some left over wild rice from a couple nights prior.  Whenever I make wild rice I always make extra to use in salads, soups or as a side with another meal. 
Mango Chili Salsa

1 Mango
1/2 Serrano Pepper, minced
1 Shallot, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
mix together and chill

Tequila Lime Marinated Salmon
1/2 lb salmon fillet or steak
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Serrano Pepper, minced
Marinate salmon in remaining ingredients until ready to cook
Cook skin side down under broiler for 4-6 minutes, turn and broil 2-3 addl minutes
While salmon is cooking reduce remaining marinade over medium high heat. Drizzle reduced marinade over salmon when serving.

1/2 cup Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano Pepper, minced
1-2 anchovies
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Heat olive oil in pan, add garlic and pepper, cook for one minute before adding anchovies. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, then add cabbage. Saute 3-4 minutes, add wine, reduce briefly then season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheese Box Crafts

Ever wonder what to do with those cute little cheese boxes that brie and camembert come in?  Well, obviously we must eat a fair amount of these types of cheese, because I came up with an idea to keep the boxes out of the landfill, for a while at least.  For a birthday gift for the little girl next door, who loves to collect "stuff", I decided to decorate some of these cheese boxes.  I went to the craft store and picked out some decorative papers in her favorite colors, namely pink and purple, but with some others mixed in.  I also purchased some Mod Podge-something I haven't used since grade school.  Then I set about measuring the boxes and cutting out the paper to cover the boxes.  That's the longest part of the project, cutting and measuring.  Next I coated the box with Mod Podge and pasted the paper onto the box, smoothing it as I went.  After allowing the paper to dry I then applied several coats of Mod Podge to the outside of the boxes allowing about 30 minutes drying time between each.  The end result I have to admit is pretty fun.  This is a good project to try with kids.  If their patience runs thin, have them help pick out the papers then cut them when the kids are doing something else and then later have them help cover the boxes.  If you find some of the boxes are real tight fitting, they'll be even more so after adding a layer of paper and several more of glue.  Mine all worked, but if necessary you can sand down any tight spots with extra fine sandpaper to make them easier to open and close.  So, next time you are going to throw out that cheese box...think about repurposing them and giving them away as gifts, or selling them at the school or church craft fair, or if you're not interested in any of that, give them to me...I'll make something of them!  In any case, enjoy the cheese, especially the Crave Brothers Petit Frere...mmmmm...delicious!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rumtopf Bread Pudding

Let me first apologize...I forgot to take a picture of the bread pudding...we were too busy eating!
We took it for a gathering with friends Sunday night.It turned out pretty darned great and was made even better by the addition of some Yahara Bay Cocoa Liqueur with Ice Cream whipped up by our host Kris.  Here's the recipe...if you don't have rumtopf, you can add any drunken fruit you have on hand, or just fruit in syrup if you don't want the alcohol.  The rumtopf was an experiment I tried last year after hearing about it on a food podcast.  What you do is get a large crock, some good rum, sugar and then all season long as different fruits come into season you add 1 lb of fresh fruit with 1 cup sugar and rum to cover.  You stop adding fruit in the fall and allow it to mellow until the holidays, when you serve it on top of ice cream or make it into other desserts like this one.  I got carried away and still have a large crock of rumtopf on hand.  It won't go bad's well pickled with the rum.  The traditional way to make it as they do in Germany is with only red fruits.  I like all fruit, so I used other colors too.
1 loaf day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups rumtopf with liquid
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cinnamon
pinch salt
Bake covered with foil in a 350°  oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or cook in a pressure cooker on steam for 15 minutes, according the the directions on the pressure cooker, or do like I did, steam on the stovetop in a steamer for 2-3 hours or until a knife inserted in the pudding comes out clean.  Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or additional rumtopf or fruit on top. Dericious!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Victorian Milk Bread

I needed some bread for a bread pudding I'm making this weekend, so today I made a couple of loaves of Victorian Milk Bread.  They turned out beautiful and we can't wait to try them.  The recipe I used is from my favorite bread cookbook, Bread, by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. 
I found a link to the recipe online on another blog and have linked it to this post. 
The description of the texture and crumb of this bread sounds like it will make great toast and should work well for bread pudding also.  I'll be sure to post some pics and the recipe for the bread pudding once that's done.  Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Curried Lentils with Shrimp

The cold weather this week has me craving comfort foods and spicy foods.  Last night I put together a lentil curry with shrimp that was easy and very satisfying.  Unfortunately we didn't take any pics...too busy eating.  Here's the recipe:
8 oz red lentils, rinsed
2 cups chicken broth, heated through
2-3 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2-3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2-3 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
12 oz peeled, deveined shrimp-tail off
3 oz chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large saucepan melt butter or heat olive oil over medium heat, then add onion and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more before adding broth and lentils.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Add curry paste, pepper flakes, ginger, coconut milk and fish sauce.  Cook about 10 minutes more or until heated through before adding wine, shrimp and cilantro.  Cook about 10-12 minutes or until shrimp are pink, but not tough. 
Serve with garlic french bread to sop up the broth. 
And it's healthy too!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

This recipe uses both ground lamb and ground beef, however you could use just one or the other.  It's a great thing to make with left over mashed potatoes.  This recipe makes a large pan.  If you want a smaller amount, cut ingredients in half and it should be about right for a deep dish pie plate or an 8x8 baking dish.
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground chuck or ground beef
1 package frozen peas
1 package frozen carrots
1 package frozen pearl onions
3 cups lamb or beef gravy
6 cups mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°
Brown meat in a little oil in a skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper while browning.  While meat is cooking, heat the onions in the microwave for about 5 minutes.  Mix together all the ingredients except potatoes.  Place mixture into greased pan and top with mashed potatoes, spreading the potatoes all over the top until smooth.  Place pan onto sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve with baguette bread for sopping up the extra juice.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lamb Time

It's Time for Lamb! 
This week I'll be picking up our lamb from Jordandal Farms.  Each year we order a full lamb and it never lasts as long as you think it would.  It's fantastic, local, pasture raised, antibiotic free Icelandic lamb.   We've tried lamb from all the local producers and believe the lamb raised at Jordandal is the best available locally.
Beast and I will start posting lamb recipes as we cook.  If you've never had lamb, you really ought to try it.  We got hooked when in Australia and learned some basic ways to prepare lamb as they do in Oz.
I always ask for all the bones so I can make stock.  It's super easy and very healthy.
Lamb Stock:
Roast 3-5 lbs lamb bones in the oven at 325° for about 3 hours.  Allow bones to cool and discard any excess fat.  Place roasted bones in a stock pot with cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once the water boils, strain off the water to remove excess grease, then cover with cold water once again, add approximately 3 Tbsp Kosher salt and bring to a boil once again over medium heat.  Simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 hours, or until bones are clean.  Strain broth 3 times to remove any excess sediment, then add 1 large onion, chopped, 2 carrots, chopped and 2-3 stalks celerey chopped, season with salt and pepper, add 1-2 bay leaves and then bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes.  Strain broth and cool.  Broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 6 months...if you can resist it that long!  Use the lamb broth as you would beef broth in recipes, or use it as a base for scrumptious soups, like Vegetable Barley Soup.