Friday, October 26, 2012

Pickles

Summer was the season of making pickles refrigerator style. Now that fall is here, we are going to try the cucumbers that are in the store and compare in the taste. I have a feeling, I know who will win but it is always fun to see.

In the past we have made pickles the old fashion way. So it was a good change and a way to try another "style" of pickles. The refrigerator style pickles take about a week to rest. Once in the refrigerator they can stay for up to one month, but I guarantee you will have them eaten before then.
The first step you will want to do is to sterilize your jars that you will be using. If you have not done this in the past there are one of two ways that it can be done. First, by washing with hot water in the dishwasher, or second by boiling on the stove top for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to have the jars dry.

Ingredients

2 lbs cucumbers (sliced)
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1 T. coarse sea salt
5 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
Roughly 5T fresh dill spears

Wash the cucumbers and peel the skin (if you do not like the skin). Slice the cucumbers in the "thickness" desired. Crush the garlic cloves and set aside.

Bring the white vinegar, water and salt to a boil on the stove top. Add the crushed garlic and mustard seed to the vinegar/water/salt mixture and boil for five minutes. Then turn the heat off and set aside.

At the bottom of the sterilized jars, place sprigs of fresh dill inside and begin arranging the cucumbers on top of the dill. It is important to add layers of cucumbers and dill, then pour in some of the vinegar mixture as you go. Once you have filled the jars be sure to let the cucumbers/dill/vinegar mixture cool down to room temperature.

* The photograph above is refrigerator pickles minus the dill. My husband is not a dill fan, so we made a batch of pickles with dill and without the dill. Both were good but I tend to lean toward adding the additional flavor of the herb.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sautéed Collard Greens & Tomatoes

Eight years ago while we were visiting Charleston, South Carolina we fell in love with one particular culinary specialty of the south...collard greens. Yes, it was the first time that I had eaten them and they just melted in my mouth. Today we serve them with our favorite southern vegetarian burgers. The collard green recipes that we use below is very easy to cook and can be done in 20 minutes tops!


Sautéed Collard Greens & Tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced onions (slice them very thin)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced collard greens
1/2 cup vegetable broth (chicken broth will also work)
1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes (we have sliced larger tomatoes, basically we use what we have in the refrigerator in terms of tomatoes)
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

First saute the onions and red pepper flakes in oil over medium heat, until they are softened. Stir in the collared greens and allow them to cook in the skillet until they begin to wilt - it takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sliced tomatoes and cider vinegar. My husband and I tend to like a little more "bite" so we add a tad bit more cider vinegar to the collard greens at the kitchen table.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Indian Chapati Bread




We enjoy making this version of chapati. It is very simple and easy to make. 
Indian Chapati Bread
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup hot water or as needed
In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft dough that is elastic but not too sticky. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth. Divide the dough in smaller parts so that you can roll each piece into a ball. after you have divided the dough, let rest for a few minutes.
In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat until it is hot, and grease lightly. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough until they are very thin. Somewhat like the thickness of a tortilla. When you notice the pan starting to smoke, place a chapati on it.
Cook the underside of the chapati until it has brown spots, roughly 30 seconds, then flip and cook on the other side. Continue with remaining dough.
Thirteen years ago, my husband and I had our first date at an Indian restaurant. Not ever having an indian dish before he guided me on dishes that I might enjoy/like. That is where I fell in love with chicken korma, chapati and much more.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Infused Rosemary in Honey Pound Cake

For a second year in a row, we have been growing our herbs in containers on our deck and have left the garden for the tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini. The herbs have been growing in big wine barrels where we have parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, rosemary and thyme flourishing. The extreme weather conditions that we have been having here in Indiana have just reinforced how important it is to water every day, especially in the morning, for your garden to prosper.

One of our favorite herbs this summer has been rosemary, where the aroma is just so strong that it is amazing. One baked item that we have continued to enjoy has been honey “infused” rosemary pound cake. A secret that we have been doing with our rosemary having it infuse in honey for at least a week. The flavor has been enhanced tremendously and therefore has accentuated our pound cake.

It was really simple to infuse the rosemary into the honey, we used a glass container with a lid, filled it with honey and stalks of rosemary. We gently rubbed the rosemary to allow the oils to come out and into the honey. The closed container stayed in our pantry for roughly a week as we waited in anticipation to make a favorite dessert of the summer.

Infused Rosemary in Honey Pound Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (this is actually for placing within the batter)
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup rosemary honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter your bundt pan. Mix together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. In your mixer add butter, sugar, rosemary (that you have finely chopped), and vanilla. Slowly add in the eggs and then the flour mixture with rotating in the milk. Place the batter in the greased bundt pan. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Then lightly brush cakes some of the rosemary honey on the outside of the cake. Allow it to cook for 10 -15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes more. Slice, and serve warm with more honey.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Banana Muffins at their Best

We have been on the search for a muffin that is good to serve at brunches, have at for breakfast during the week, or possibly as a snack (though I must say we really do not snack in our home).

We found this recipe and have been adding to it to perfect it to our tasting, though I must say our next tweeking of the recipe is to tone down on the sugar aspect of it. But in the meantime, we feel this is a killer banana muffin recipe, an all time favorite in our home.

Banana Muffin
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar + 1 cup sucant
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound butter, melted
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas
1 diced bananas
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar(s), baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your mixer. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Afterwards add the flour-and-butter mixture. Blend well.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts and coconut into the batter. Place the batter into your muffin tin, but do not fill it up to the top in that the batter in that it might run over to the sides of pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the muffin cups onto your cooling rack.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

We seem to go back and forth in terms of eating meat and then no meat. We have two family members (one adult and one child) whom a good part of the time just are not interested in meat of any sort, so we have been creating altering menu items that are high in protein. Beans seem to keep coming back into the menu. Last night we made this killer recipe, Black Beans and Rice (I would actually use brown rice rather than white rice, but I ran out...still good though).

Black Beans and Rice
2 green peppers (you can also use red/orange/yellow peppers)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 T. olive oil
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked rice (the black bean mixture is served over the rice. So if you want to cook more, please do so).

In a large saucepan, saute the fresh peppers and onion in olive oil until your desired tenderness. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Serve over rice.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Apple Cake

We recently had a weekend dinner party with some family friends of ours that we had not seen in a while. We decided it was much too long and we needed to get together more often. We were talking about one of our favorite topics….food! My daughters had mentioned that one of their favorite desserts was Apple Cake. We all chuckled because they had mentioned that they had not had an apple cake before, apple pie of course, and have had applesauce in different cakes to help add moisture and create a little bit more healthiness to the dessert, but not a true apple cake.

Now after talking about, the next day I thought to myself…ahh….I think we will make an apple cake for dessert (and I must say it is also good breakfast as a coffee cake)!


Apple Cake
¾ cup chopped walnuts (other nuts that are also good are sliced almonds and pecans)
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with oil to help the cake in not sticking to the sides. Sprinkle walnuts at the bottom of the pan evenly. In a large bowl, mix 2 T. of the flour, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon together. Add apples to the bowl and toss.

In another bowl, mix the remaining of the flour and the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla. Mix together until the batter is well combined.

Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan (roughly 2 cups). Then place the apple mixture on top of the batter and spread evenly. Add the remainder of the batter, on top of the apples.

Bake for 1 ¼ hours. Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. Take a knife and run around the sides of the pan, turn over, cool a little more and remove the cake from the pan.






Friday, January 21, 2011

Onion Soup at its Best

We are a family that loves our soup....so you may find may find many recipes pertaining to this complimentary dish to a half-sandwich, a salad or as a meal. This past week, I made one of our all time favorites....onion soup.

You will not twist anyones arm when it comes to this recipe. It has been tweeked to fit our tastes, but there is one ingredient that you will typically not find in onion soup and that is chicken broth. We tend to like soups that are chicken broth based rather than beef based. I am not for sure why. One ingredient that my husband enjoys adding to give it more of a zing is a bit of sherry or red wine to the broth. It is good too!

Onion Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced finely
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken broth
4 slices french bread (that you lay on the top of the soup
Sliced/shredded mozzerella cheese that is sprinkled on top of the bread before placing in the broiler
Ovenproof ramekins

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook these four ingredients until the onions are tender (almost sauted). Add the thyme and broth to the onion mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Divide the onion soup between the four ovenproof ramekins. Place the bread among the ramekins. Top each slice of bread with cheese). witPlace under the broiler, until the cheese is golden and bubbly and serve.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grandma Jean's Oatmeal Rocks!

My Grandma Jean would have turned 96 years old today if she was still with us cooking in the kitchen, working on her crewel stitching, talking with fellow friends, reading her favorite mystery novels, and just being a grandma to us.

In honor of her, my daughters and I decided to bake one of her favorite cookie recipes...Oatmeal Rocks! (no they are not really rock hard, it is just what her family called them). I remember cooking in her kitchen, baking this special family recipe that her great-great grandma would make for her and her 11 brothers and sisters. We use to bake these cookies together and then create a special care package for my uncle who was in the military.

As the years have gone by, we still bake these oatmeal goodies. Today my daughters learned the family recipe. It was such a fun day and we wanted to share it with you.

Happy Birthday Grandma Jean! We love you!

Oatmeal Rocks!
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup lard or butter
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 Tablespoons sweet milk
1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolve in milk)
pinch of salt
Dates, raisins and nuts - as many as you like

Mix all together and drop on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

The girls also enjoyed dunking them in milk..ohlalala yummy!





Friday, November 12, 2010

Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

A new little bundle of joy joined my sister/brother-in-laws family about three weeks ago.  My sister and brother-in-law had a little girl. We have been calling her “Sweet Pea” for many months. Her three big brothers are already protective of her, can you believe it? And my "little mamas" wanted to hold her and never let her go, they just love babies and of course, now they have a little baby girl in the family!


A group of ladies and I each selected a day to bring a meal over to my sister, brother-in-law and nephews, so that they did not have to cook. It was just one less thing that they did not have to do and be pampered for a little while longer! My family and I brought one of our favorite recipes, Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup. I made this recipe for my parents one night and the loved it too!



Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

1 large onion, diced
3 T. olive oil
1 pound of smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces (we also have substituted turkey sausage)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
4 carrots cut into small cubes
3 cups of white beans
5 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of chopped kale (our family uses roughly about 1 ½ cups)
Salt and pepper

Chop and sauté your onions and garlic (until they are golden brown) in olive oil in a large stock pot. Add your sausage and cook until it is the desired tenderness that you like. Add carrots and sauté so that they are incorporated into the onion and garlic mixture.

Add the chicken stock, white beans and kale. Simmer for roughly for one-hour. It goes great with hearty bread.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Steak Goulash Stew

Stews are one of our favorite things to make during the fall season, it is actually a staple food in our family and requires very little time to make. I am a huge fan of goulash, this recipe is not a typical goulash that you would make based off of the Eastern European recipes (just as a heads up when reading the recipe).

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lb. sirloin steam, trimmed, sliced into to 2-inch strips (we cut our meat smaller in that our daughters can eat it more easily since they are younger).
2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 T minced garlic
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional if you are not a lover of caraway seeds)
2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. sliced roasted red pepper
1-2 T red wine vinegar
Sour cream

Combine the flour, 1 T paprika, salt and pepper and toss the steak so that it is covered with the flour mixture; set a side.

Add oil to your pan and sear your steak for roughly 1 minute per side. Remove steak and set aside.

Saute your onions, garlic in the same pan. Stir in tomato paste, 1 T paprika, caraway seeds, and remaining flour mixture.

Add your beef broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer stew until thickened, roughly 5 minutes. Add steak, peppers and vinegar; simmer. Add salt and pepper.

Serve stew onto of noodles, rice, etc. Can top with sour cream.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

We love just about anything pumpkin in our home, it seems like the only time that we eat pumpkin is in the fall. I guess it makes sense considering if you planted pumpkin in your garden, it ripens for the fall season. But to be honest, I can not complain, because we just love it. My mouth is just watering for some pumpkin pie right now, my oldest daughter even requested that we make a pumpkin pie this week...that will not be twisting my arm.

I came across this pumpkin pie spice that was all natural and "perfected" it a little to fit our tastes.


4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala



One of my favorite indian dishes is chicken tikka masala. We have a favorite indian restaurant not too far from our home that we have enjoyed dining at for many years.

One night while we were having dinner, my husband says to me, "You know what? I think you could make this." To be honest, indian was not one cuisine that I thought I could make just that wherever you go, each dish tastes different. But I accepted his challenge of thinking that I could make CTM. Six years later, I am still making our CTM for our family. It is one of our favorites. This dish is very easy to make and that is what I just love about it.

The Marinade
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl or even in a Ziploc bag, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and ginger. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for up to one hours. If you are marinading the chicken for a shorter period of time, you might want to cut the chicken in smaller pieces so that the marinade can soak into the meat.

The marinade also is wonderful if you are wanting to grill out in your backyard. We have had several small get togethers with family and friends where we had the chicken marinade for a couple of days, later grilled out and the chicken was moist and just full of flavor.

The Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
4 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
3 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream (1 pint)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

When cooking your chicken there are a couple of different ways. One way is to use the grill which makes it very tender but another route is, if you have a George Forman grill it works just as well, and can be done inside of your home. We have discovered that grilling just makes this dish have the right amount of flavor.

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens (about 20 minutes). Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

We serve our CTM over rice.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing like Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

I love macaroni and cheese. I must admit once again, that I have not purchased a box of macaroni and cheese for many years. If I am going to have it, I want the real thing. My daughters ask for this recipe each time I mention..."would you like for me to make some mac and cheese tonight for dinner?" I know the answer will always be yes and they will not turn it down.

I remember when growing up. Each time that we got together with my family, my Aunt Bobbe always made the best macaroni and cheese for our family lunch/dinner (depending on which day you came over to their home).

We wanted to share with you our family favorite!

1 package (7oz) elbow macaroni
4 T butter
3T flour
2 c. milk
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 tsp. mustard
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Parsley if you would like to sprinkle a little on top of the dish.


Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth, this is forming your rue. Gradually add milk. Bring it to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; and add cheese and cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. Constantly stir the cheeses until they are melted and the sauce is smooth. Next drain the macaroni and then pour it into your baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (we typically do it around 20 minutes).