Saturday, December 28, 2013 0 comments

No Knead Bread

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon  yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Parchment paper (not to eat, hopefully)

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. 
  2. Let sit out for 12-24 hours. Dough will be very level and bubbly when ready.
  3. Preheat oven to 450˚ with enameled cast iron pot inside oven (or other pot you can cover that can handle the heat).
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. The dough will be very sticky. With well floured hand, fold the dough a few times over onto itself, and then shape it into a ball. Preferably have the seam side of the dough facing down.
  5. Dust the parchment paper and lay the dough on top. Let the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. About 20 minutes after you have shaped the dough, using a sharp knife, make cuts about 3/4″ deep into the top of the bread. Then let rest the final 10 minutes. Because the dough is so sticky it won't cut 'pretty' don't worry about it.
  7. Lift the parchment paper with the dough on it and carefully lay it into the preheated pot. There is no need to grease the pan. It will not stick.
  8. Cover pot and bake for 30 minutes. 
  9. Remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes until crust is golden brown. 
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.  
Sunday, December 8, 2013 0 comments

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening (or unsalted butter, which I prefer)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • granulated sugar for rolling cookies
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and molassus until well blended.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Stir into the creamed mixture until blended. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm.
  3. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  4. Shape the dough into small balls about 3/4 inch in diameter; roll in the granulated sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 to 2 inches between cookies. 
  5. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until set. Cool in pan on a rack for 2 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely.
    Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Saturday, December 7, 2013 0 comments

Dumpling Noodles

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup flour, approximate
  • 1/2 egg shell of milk

  1. Beat eggs until very frothy
  2. Add salt, milk and work in flour, knead well
  3. Roll out thin on lightly floured board. 
  4. Dust with flour. 
  5. Cut into strips about 1/4 inch wide. 
  6. Scatter noodles on board for drying (or skip drying for more dumpling like noodles)
  7. Cook in water, broth or soup for about 12 minutes. 



Zwieback or 'Double Buns' are a great favorite among the 'Russian' Mennonites, as well as any visiting friend. These buns are usually baked on Saturday to be served for Vaspa or lunch on Sunday. The dough for Zwieback must be kneaded well to give a good texture to the buns.

Years ago Zwieback were always served for weddings and for the fellowship hour following funerals. To some extent, this custom is still kept up in some Mennonite communities, and Zwieback are making a 'come back' in other circles of Mennonite ethnic groups. Zwieback are usually served with cheese, lump sugar, and coffee. Dunking them is also a special treat! (excerpt from The Melting Pot of Mennonite Cookery, 1974, Mennonite Press, North Newton Kansas)

  • 2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 packages yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ~6 cups flour

  1. Scald the milk and add butter, oil, salt and 2 Tbl. sugar. Let cool.
  2. Dissolve yeast in the warm water, then add 1 tsp. sugar. Let sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and 4 cups flour to the milk mixture. Mix well. 
  4. Add additional flour until dough is smooth. 
  5. Let rise until double, about an hour. 
  6. Pinch off small portions of dough and form into balls the size of a small egg. 
  7. Place on greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled. 
  8. Place a smaller ball on top of a larger ball.
  9. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. 
  10. Eat hot with apricot preserves!


Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk (cream tastes MUCH better)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 16 oz carton of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.
  3. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.
  5. Put 16 oz heavy whipping cream into a bowl or stand mixer. 
  6. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup.
  7. Beat on high for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. 
  8. Serve pie with whipped cream!

Green Bean Casserole

Crispy Onions
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons panko or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola, safflower, peanut or other high-heat oil, for deep-frying
Mushroom Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 12 oz baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
  • Few gratings fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lbs fresh green beans trimmed

  1. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
  2. Toss onion with flour, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. 
  3. Heat a 1/2-inch or so of oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. 
  4. Fry until a light golden brown. Remove and place on plate with paper towel. Set aside.
  5. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and boil greens for 5 minutes.
  7. Drain beans, then plunge them into ice water to full stop them from cooking. Drain again, and set aside
  8. Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. 
  9. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute them until they start releasing their liquid, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. 
  10. Add the garlic and saute one minute more. Add the flour and stir it until it fully coats the mushrooms. Add the broth, stirring the whole time. 
  11. Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens. Stir frequently.
  12. Add cooked greens beans to sauce and stir until they are coated. Sprinkle crispy onions over the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and onions are a shade darker 

Friday, November 29, 2013 0 comments

Smoked Salmon Dip

The key to this dip is quality salmon. The fresher it is the better this will be. Before you smoke the salmon you need to cure it. The cure really adds to the dish. You can simply substitute smoked salmon from the grocery store, but it won't be cured the same and will taste a bit different.

  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1lbs fresh salmon
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, cut up
  • 1-2 tablespoons capers, cut up
  • 1-2 tsp Adobe seasonings
  • Flat-bread or crackers
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)

  1. Mix salt, sugar and water together. Put mixture in a big zip-lock bag of pan you can cover.
  2. Put salmon flesh side down into pan and let sit overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  3. Smoke the salmon for about 1 1/2 hours or until it reaches 145°
  4. Set out cream cheese to soften
  5. When salmon is done cooking mix salmon, cream cheese, chipotle pepper, capers, and adobe seasoning together
  6. Eat with flat-bread or crackers
  7. You can also let this set-up in the fridge and it will be great several hours later. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013 0 comments

White Chicken Chili

This chili is the best of both words. It's kinda of like a mix between chili and chicken noodle soup (except with no noodles). This is the Mexican flavored comfort food you want to be eating on a cold snowy night.  There are a few basic things that take this simple chili from 'ok' to 'wow!' First, use homemade chicken broth, and second, use dry beans instead of canned beans. Dry beans are cheaper, healthier, and canned beans can’t even begin to compare with the flavor and texture you get from cooking them from scratch.

  • 1 1/2 dry Great Northern beans (before cooking) or about 4 1/2 cups after cooking (or 3 15.5 oz cans)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red, green, or yellow bell better (any combination of colors is fine)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped (use less or none depending on your desired spice)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth

  1. Dump all ingredients in a stockpot or crock-pot*
  2. Bring to a low boil
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about an hour

*You can put this on in the morning and just eat it when you come home.


Dry Beans

Here are two methods for preparing dry beans. This works for any type of bean.

The slow method:
  1. Put beans in a large pot
  2. Fill with water about 3 inches over beans
  3. Add a dash of salt
  4. Let sit overnight or about 8 hours
  5. Rinse and use beans in your recipe

The fast method (fast is relative):
  1. Put beans in a stock pot
  2. Fill with water about 3 inches over beans
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Boil for 2 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and cover pot
  6. Let sit for one hour
  7. Rinse and use beans in your recipe

How to make chicken broth at home

This is about the simplest way you can do this. If you want you can add vegetables or other ingredients like herbs. That's really the only difference between chicken stock and chicken broth. Broth normally has added salt, herbs, and other flavors. Stock is a simple base that you build on in soups in other dishes. I've also heard that stock is made mostly from bones while broth is made mostly from meat.  The advantage of making a stock, which this recipe really is, is that you control the amount of salt and other ingredients. That let's you have a very simple ingredient that you can build on in a lot of different recipes.

  • 1 Leftover cooked chicken
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)
  • Carrots and other vegetables (optional)
  • Herbs like sage, bay leaf, ect. (optional)

  1. Put leftover chicken parts in a crock-pot or large pot
  2. Fill up with water
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 4 hours
  5. Remove large pieces with a slotted spoon
  6. Strain stock through a sieve
  7. Freeze in ice-cube trays for easy 2 oz portions or even freeze in a large muffin tin for cup size portions, then store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. This will last for several months in the freezer.
Saturday, November 16, 2013 0 comments

Cinnamon Rolls

These are gooey and sweet and perfect on a cold Saturday morning. These are not healthy, but you gotta live sometimes. Also, instead of the last rise, you can cover these and put them in the fridge to bake the next morning. Simply pull them out of the fridge and let come to room temperature, then bake as directed.

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut up
  • 4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed. (this will be very sweet, you can easily cut this in half and it will still be great).
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • one 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups glazing or confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring till the mixture becomes cohesive. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, till it’s smooth. Or knead it in an electric mixer, using the dough hook, for 4 to 7 minutes at medium speed. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 minutes, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16 x 21-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough.
  3. Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 12 slices. Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover the pan with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise until they’re nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  4. Bake the buns in a preheated 400°F oven until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes (if you put this in the fridge overnight, baking time will be closer to 20-25 minutes). While the buns are baking, make the icing. 
  5. Icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Spread the icing on the buns while they’re warm.  

Chana Masala (Indian Chickpeas)

(the chana masala is on the right)

This is another very flavorful and healthy meal. I suppose you could add lamb to this like I did with my lentils if you wanted some meat, but it's pretty darn good on it's on.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (adjust for how much spice you want)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 lbs chick peas, soaked, drained, rinsed, and cooked. Cook this by covering in water and bring to a low simmer for about an hour. 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon (if you have it, substitute 1 tbs amchoor power for the lemon juice)
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala. 
  3. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. 
  4. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.
  5. Cook until tender and the water has reduced.
  6. Eat with basmati rice or with naan

Naan (Indian Flatbread)

If you've ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you know how essential naan is to the meal. Naan is basically Indian flatbread. Traditionally it's made in a tandoor oven, but I find the cast-iron skillet works just as well.

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter melted (or ghee if your feeling ambitious)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (it's important to use higher gluten flour to get the authentic taste)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. Put minced garlic into a bowl with the melted butter. 
  4. During the second rising, preheat cast-iron pan to medium heat.
  5. Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle with your hands (it's much easier than using a roller). Lightly oil grill with some of the garlic butter. Place dough on grill, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes


Indian Lentil Daal

Lowly lentils never tasted so good. These are super flavorful,  healthy, and make excellent left-overs.
  • 1 pound dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • Lamb chops, about a 1/2 lbs
  • 1 pound fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup grapeseed or peanut oil (or substitute olive oil)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, thick stems discarded
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
  1. Soak the lentils overnight
  2. Put the lentils, half the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander, and turmeric in a large pot; add enough water to cover by 1½  inches. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lentils are almost tender.
  3. Heat cast-iron skillet to medium high. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear lamb chops for 2 minutes per side, remove from heat and let rest.
  5. Cube lamb, removing any gristle or inedible parts and add to lentil pot. 
  6. Continue cooking the lentils while you put the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cayenne and 1 cup water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
  7. Stir the onion mixture into the lentils along with the remaining tomatoes and the cilantro. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or warm over basmati rice, if desired. 
  8. Eat over basmati rice or naan
Saturday, February 9, 2013 0 comments

Crock Pot Pork

This recipe is loosely based on a couple of recipes I found online. I'd gotten a boneless pork loin but wasn't feeling the love for my normal recipe so I looked around and cobbled something together. I served it with plain, shredded cabbage and it was amazing.

  • 2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin
  • 4 to 5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 t sage leaves
  • 1 t rosemary leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup beer 
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, not including the cranberries or garlic
  2. Add the brown sugar, mustard and honey to the bowl and mix well
  3. Pour some of this mixture into your slow cooker and put the pork on top
  4. Top the pork with the remaining mixture
  5. Sprinkle the cranberries and garlic around the pork
  6. Add the beer
  7. Cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours or until you can shred the meat easily with two forks
  8. Shred the meat and enjoy!