Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is a pretty good use of cabbage

And good for you. Not only healthy, it is a great way to stretch a dollar. I am on a soup kick, can you tell? I changed the recipe by using ground hamburger instead of the smoked sausage the original recipe called for. It is a quick meal and smells so good while simmering away. Read more!

His name is Puzzle

He was born on our farm and named Puzzle because he was born RED, to our surprise. You see, we had purchased 10 black angus cows and one black angus bull. All of the cows had been bred and were in their last trimester when they were delivered to the farm. His dam, #440, delivered a healthy, sturdy RED boy. For some reason, another puzzle, he was not receiving the necessary milk for survival and he wandered up to the barn alone and plopped down, curled up, not quite ready to give up. I think he came to ask for help. Now, I am a softy, as most who know me will tell you. We loaded that baby into the back seat of the pick-up truck and took him to the Vet. We were taught how to drench feed him with an esophageal tube feeder. Tears flowed. I was so relieved that he was going to survive. I faithfully bottle fed Puzzle twice a day for months. He was such a good, sweet boy. Before daylight every morning he would run to meet me and down one, then two bottles, in record time. After the second bottle, he would get a puzzled look, as if to say "is that all there is?" He was a smart one. He always wanted his bottles first, but cleverly would race to another nursing cow, hide behind her own nursing calf, to top off and fill his belly. He grew and grew. The next puzzle in the Puzzle saga is how he could jump fences in a single bound, like Superman. Where he loved to to go visiting was our friend Cleo's farm, Mossy Oaks. You see, she has some beautiful RED cows. Cleo had decided she was going to skip a breeding season and Puzzle decided that was not such a good idea. In May, after Gene made three trips to Mossy Oaks to bring our wayward Puzzle home, we sadly decided that we could no longer keep him. He has been sold and hopefully he is romancing some RED cows somewhere, in his own pasture.

As you can see in the photos, Puzzle's powers over-ruled Cleo's and ours. There are three, very adorable little Puzzles at Mossy Oaks. Read more!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Something to make for dinner that is easy--

and even easier if you have some of that grocery store rotisserie chicken (Costco is the best) in the fridge. I made this again last night and do not have a photo to post. This time I had left over chicken from making Chicken and Yellow Rice, so I used it, rice and all. It was very good, so feel free to experiment with the recipe. This is also a great recipe to "hide" squash in for children or non squash lovers. They probably won't know, unless they are the sous chef!

Chicken Corn Chowder
 Adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2003 and Whippedtheblog

5 bacon slices, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped red or orange bell peppers (about 1 large)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
1 extra large or 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 16-ounce bag frozen corn kernels
1 cup whole milk
1 cup diced skinned roast chicken (1/2 the rotisserie chicken)
1/2 plus 1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper
Cook bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from pot. Add butter to pot; melt over medium-high heat.
Add onions and 1/2 cup of bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth, then squash, potatoes, and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add corn, milk, and 1/2 cup bell peppers.
Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Add chicken, 1/2 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle with remaining green onions and cilantro.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Greens and Beans Soup with Skillet Cornbread

Cold weather, no problem.  Drag out your soup pot and get the good stuff simmering.  You could add or subtract ingredients and personalize this recipe to make it your own.  A wedge of cornbread goes great with this soup, but a crusty baguette would work too.  Winter comfort in a bowl.
                                                  Greens and Beans Soup
2  slices bacon
2  pounds smoked ham hocks
10  cups water
2  large russet potatoes, cubed
1  large yellow onion, diced
1  pound collard greens (or Kale, or turnip greens)  washed, stems removed, coarsely chopped
3  15 oz cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
3  small turnips diced (optional)

Place your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Cook the bacon, add the ham hocks and cover with water, about 10 cups.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove ham hocks from broth and discard bones and fat and skin.  Cut the ham into small pieces and return to the pot.
Raise heat to medium-high.  Add potatoes, onions, and turnips if using.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the greens and beans to the pot and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Serves 8
Freezes well
Leftovers are great
We like cornbread with this soup

Read more!

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Is So Unfair And Wrong---French Pork Stew

Unfair to have to wait for this to finish cooking and wrong for anything to taste this good! Just thinking about it this morning and picking out the photos to share made me hungry all over again. Another unfairness is that I haven't finished going through last year's Cooks' Illustrated Soups and Stews edition and now I have this year's to explore! How cruel.  As you can see by the last photo, Gene proclaimed it was worth the wait.

                                       FRENCH PORK STEW (Cook's Illustrated Winter 2009 Soups and Stews)

      1   (3 1/2-4-pound) boneless pork butt roast, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
          Salt and ground black pepper
      1/4   cup Vegetable Oil
       1   large leek, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and cleaned, sliced 1/4 inch                    thick, about 1 cup
        1  Tablespoon minced garlic cloves
        3  Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
        1  Cup brandy (don't skimp on quantity)
        3  cups low sodium chicken broth
        2  bay leaves
        1  large fennel bulb, about 1 lb., trimmed of stalks,fronds, cored and cut into 1/2 inch strips
        1  pound carrots,(6 medium), peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
        1  cup heavy cream (I omitted and we did not miss)
        1  cup pitted prunes. halved
        2  tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
        2  tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)
        1  tablespoon juice from one lemon  

Preheat oven 325, pat pork dry with paper towels.  Salt and pepper the cubes.  Heat 2 tblsp. oil in Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking.  Add half the pork, cook until well browned, 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove browned pork to a bowl and add another tblsp.oil if needed (I didn't need to, since the pork rendered additional fat),  brown the second batch of cubes.  Remove second batch cubes to bowl.  Add remaining tblsp. oil to pan and return to medium heat until shimmering.  Add leek and 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring often, until wilted and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in garlic, cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Stir in flour, cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in brandy, scraping up any browned bits.  Gradually whisk in broth until smooth and bring to simmer.
Stir in browned pork and bay leaves and bring back to simmer.  Cover, place pot into oven and cook for 1 hour.
Remove from oven, stir in fennel and carrots, cover and return to oven, finish cooking, about 1 hour, or until the pork is tender.
Remove bay leaves, adjust seasonings, add cream and prunes, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir in tarragon, parsley, and lemon juice just before serving.  Serves 6-8. Serve with wide egg noodles 
Read more!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yes, we have old bananas

Some of the time I miss my mark on just how many bananas two people can eat before they get beyond that "just right" ripeness for eating out of hand.  You know, when the fruit flies arrive.  I have a good banana bread recipe for those times, but how many banana breads can you freeze, eat, or give away?  Yikes!  I guess you could say I have become bored with making banana bread.  I have made a Banana Upside Down Cake, a Banana's Foster Cake, and a few other banana thingies, like cupcakes, muffins.  My freezer is even complaining of too many frozen bananas lurking about. I have been blog searching for different recipes and this is the one I made today.  I took the lazy way out and used canned Chocolate frosting, toasted some sliced almonds and scattered them over the top.  The cake was warm when I frosted it, making a glaze and I liked it.
Banana Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1-1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Chopped walnuts (optional)
Chocolate Chips (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, about three
minutes. Add eggs, beat another minute. Mix in sour cream, bananas and lemon juice until
Stir in dry ingredients to wet ingredients until combined. Do not over stir.
Add the batter to a 9 x 13 x 2 pan that has been lightly buttered and floured. Smooth the top with
the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Read more!

Red Rooster

This Rooster is not Red, but then again, neither is the drink. I don't know how Emeril got his so red. When I added the orange juice concentrate, it really washed out the color. The drink is very tasty and nice to have in the freezer for when cumpny comes a callin'.

Red Rooster (adapted from Emeril Lagasse and Food Network)

1 1/2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
1 (6oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate,defrosted
2 cups vodka

Combine all of the ingredients in a large plastic container and freeze for several hours. It will not freeze solid and ends up like a slushy. Sometimes I use a combination of cranberry and pomegranate---does that make it more healthy? I wonder.... Sidenote: Kelly and David like a good vodka called Svedka, but love Monopolowa even more. Snuffy the donkey is pondering if the glass is half empty or half full! Guess it really doesn't matter if you have two quarts.

Read more!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Quick Fix for Sweet Teeth

Let's say you are in a hurry and let's say you have to go to work and let's say you wanted to make a co-worker a cake for his birthday, this Dump Cake will meet all of the requirements, even if you forgot that you needed to make it, like----RIGHT NOW! Not intended for calorie counters. Serve warm, cool, cold and if you need more calories, serve with ice cream or cool whip. Now if you want something sweet without all of the calories, look at these adorable baby raccoons, who somehow got separated from their Mama.  We ended up letting our dear friend and neighbor, Cleo, take them to an animal rescue.  The one on the right has a little dribble of formula on his nose.

Dump Cake
1 (20 ounces) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (21 ounces) can prepared cherry pie filling
1 (18.25 ounces) box yellow cake mix
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for glass baking dish).
Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
Dump undrained pineapple into baking dish, spread evenly.
Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evenly on top of the pineapple.
Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the cherry and pineapple layers.
Pour butter evenly over cake mix.
Sprinkle nuts and coconut, if using them.
Bake for one hour. Read more!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lemon Chicken---A Flash In The Pan

This one is so delicious, it is hard to believe how quickly it comes together. What you need is a little planning,so you have the necessary creme fraiche on hand. You can make your own by mixing 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons buttermilk, putting the mix in a clean jar, closing the lid and letting the concoction hang out on your countertop for 24 to 48 hours. The rest is simple to assemble and your family will proclaim you a culinary genius.

Lemon Chicken
Serves 4
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole chicken legs (thighs attached) I have also used chicken breasts, both bone in and boneless successfully
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. After 3 minutes, add the butter
and oil. Season the chicken generously with salt and very generously with pepper. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the
skillet and brown well on both sides, turning once.
2. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.
3. Return the skillet to the stovetop. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat
from the skillet. Place over medium heat, add the lemon juice, and stir to scrape up any pan drippings. Simmer for 1 minute,
then add the creme fraiche and stir until melted and bubbling. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Pour
the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with lemon zest and additional pepper. Serve hot. Read more!

Bite Me

So, you think you have an attitude. Zeke (donkey) and Sugar (Pony) take attitude to the next level, as you can see in this photo that Gene took. Usually Zeke provokes Sugar into taking action and adds a literal meaning to bite my a**! Read more!

Hard to tell what he was thinking

If you look closely, there is a hawk perched on the post that has a few nesting boxes on it. Is the hawk hoping a bird will return and make an easy lunch for him, or is he sizing up the nesting boxes and working out a discrimination law suit? There is no Hawk box here, only blue bird and owl boxes. The hawk has been observed selecting one Purple Martin from a nearby Martin House. I know killing and eating go on, I just wish he would do that somewhere else! Read more!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Low and Slow is the way to go with Braised Short Ribs

While reading the recipe, I really liked the notion that Cook's Illustrated said there is no need to brown the short ribs on a stove top---now that statement really got me interested.  The easy way out is for me.  Yee Hah!  45 minutes on a roasting pan, or sheet pan with sides, at 450 degrees, those ribs were smelling good and they were nicely browned.  They leaked out a lot of grease and a fair amount of delicious brown bits to add back to the braising liquid.  While the ribs are roasting away, you can prep all of the veggies, raid your husband's wine stash (shhhh), take your snips out to the garden for the herbs and gather and assemble all of the other ingredients.  The recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.  Mine differs in that I believe in using and eating the braising vegetables in the finished dish.  CI suggested you make and garnish the finished dish with parsnips, pearl onions and bacon. This is not a hurry up dish, so allow at least three and a half hours.  You won't be sorry!  Side- note:  Daughter Kelly and S-I-L, David like to add black lentils to the braising liquid.  It would healthier than mashed potatoes or noodles to be sure!  Maybe Kelly will post comments on how she alters the recipe.

Braised Short Ribs

3  pounds bone-in short ribs
Table Salt and ground black pepper
3  cups dry, full bodied red wine
3  large onions, medium chop
2  medium carrots, peeled, medium chop
1  large celery rib, medium chop
9  garlic cloves chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4  cup all-purpose unbleached flour
4  cups low-sodium chicken broth 
1  (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
3 medium bay leaves
1  teaspoon tomato paste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, arrange the short ribs, bone side down,in roasting pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast the ribs until nicely browned, about 45 minutes.  Transfer ribs to a plate.  Drain the fat into a small bowl, leaving the remaining browned bits in the pan .  Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees.  Place the roasting pan on two stove top burners set at medium heat, add wine and bring to simmer, scraping up all of the browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Set aside.  Heat two tablespoons reserved fat in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 12 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour until combined, about 45 seconds.  Stir in the wine, broth, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and add short ribs, submerging them in the cooking liquid.  Return to a boil. cover, place in the oven and simmer for 2-2 & 1/2 hours.  Remove any accumulation of fat.  Serve with mashed potatoes, couscous, noodles, or rice since you will want to sop up all of the braising liquid and vegetables. 

Read more!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Took a ride on the Marrakesh Express by way of our palates, not our Rug

Actually, the truth is, I was browsing my favorite blogs early one morning, and was reminded by Smitten Kitchen of how tasty Moroccan food is and then I shot Gene a quick link to the SK blog and the recipe.  Gene must have remembered how much he loves the spice combinations.  He took the bait like a hungry fish and had this stew simmering on the stove when I got home from work.  Served with Couscous and a little squirt of Harissa,  super!  We were  so ready to be transported that we even forgot to add the garnishes, cilantro, yoghurt, and almonds.  Those will be added to the next servings, leftovers are a good thing.   Read more!

Growing up and moooving away from home is hard to do

They have been best buddies since their first breaths in January 2008.  Now the one on the left will be leaving home and continuing on his path of growing into a big bull with his own harem of cows to blend his genes with.  He will be living in Plant City, Florida.  He will have a good life, saved from processing and packaging and becoming table food.  Melanie, Wayne and Marie will take good care of him.  He's a good boy, going to a good home---yes! Read more!

If chocolate could sing-Die Lorelei would be the songstress

This would be the recipe to drive a person crazy with desire and craving for chocolate.  The aroma gradually rises, floating through the air, alluring and distracting, making one think of the poor sailors who crashed into the rocks, insanely distracted by the singing of the beautiful, Die Lorelei.  The baking takes place in a crock-pot after throwing a few ingredients together with a cake mix.  It is a country cousin to the popular molten "lava" cakes and is so delicious with a scoop of ice cream.


1 package 18.25 oz. plain devil's food cake mix
1  package (3.9) ounces) instant pudding mix, milk chocolate or chocolate
2 cups sour cream
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Vegetable oil cooking spray (used to mist the slow cooker)
Ice cream for serving

Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup water.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended, 30 seconds.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat about two minutes longer.  Scrape down sides and fold in chocolate chips.
Mist the bottom and sides of 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker with vegetable oil spray.  Transfer batter to the cooker and cover.  Cooking time varies but the cake should looked puffed and pulled away from the sides of the crock, about 3-1/2 hours on high or 6-1/2 hours on low. This is a very dense cake and mine was ready in about 3 hours. Crock pots vary, so check during last stages. Once you turn off the heat the cake will fall.  Serve warm with your favorite ice cream.    serves 12

Read more!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Toscana Soup Borrowed and changed a bit

I made the soup from fortheloveofcooking, then changed it up a bit because I wanted to try gnocchi instead of the russet potatoes.  Olive Garden has a relatively new soup on their menu with gnocchi and chicken and feeling a little adventurous, I thought what the heck, go for it.   You will only need to simmer thirty minutes if using gnocchi, adding the gnocchi in the last three minutes. Let me know if you like it.  Gene said you could smell it all the way to the front pasture.  Hope the cows don't mind--it's not Chickn.

Read more!

Rosie's Idea Of A Good Cookbook and a Delicious Recipe

Meet Rose.  She actually is the business manager of the farm when she is not napping.  We have often thought about putting an apron on her and really putting her to work in the kitchen, but for now, she has picked out a delicious recipe for Chicken Marsala t0 dream of.  We talked her out of the more complex Cooks Illustrated recipe(shown in the photo) and into Smitten Kitchen's husband Alex's yummy easy one,linked here: smittenkitchen.  Rose shares the farm with her litter mate, Max and a black Lab named Buck. Read more!

A new year and a new beginning

From the sidelines, I have marveled at the creative successes of my favorite food bloggers for about two years.  They have lured and enticed me to try different recipes, rush out to the grocery stores, retail stores and book stores for all of the necessary items.  They have had a very powerful hold on me.  Never mind the fact of having a very small kitchen located in a barn, I now have more equipment, books, and paraphernalia than any one person should have.  My lists of recipes abound.  Too bad I have a daytime job, or is it too good?  I can't decide if it is a good or bad thing, since most of the time there are only two of us to eat all of this food!  Gene (husband) and I enjoy an assortment of foods from other regions and countries.  We transport ourselves happily and frequently to these places through their cuisines.  My son-in-law David even built an adobe oven under the shade of an ancient live oak, where we experimented with baking rustic loaves of bread and pizza.  Sadly, the oven has collapsed and needs David's help to restore and improve it.  My new year begins with this blog and an attempt to write about the things and foods that roll through my small barn kitchen.  Life is good.   Read more!