Recipe: White Alubia Blanca beans with chicken and vegetables

I came up with this recipe late last week, made a large batch (it’s a big recipe) and it was all gone by Monday. And this is in a house that doesn’t typically eat a lot of beans.

So I thought I’d write it down. There’s a little bit of prep work with the chicken and beans, but once that’s done the rest of dish comes together and can sit on the stove by itself until the vegetable are cooked through. It reheats very well.

A new idea I tried with this recipe was adding mustard seeds. Often I’ll use a bit of lemon juice to add a bit of brightness to a chicken dish (or a little bit of Worceistershire sauce and Tobasco sauce for a pork or beef dish), but this is the first time I skipped the lemon juice and used mustard seeds. They were invisible once added, but added a little indefinable something that made the dish brighter. Continue reading

Pork roast spice rub recipe

I looked through some online recipes and a cookbook to find a dry rub recipe for country style ribs.

I wound up not using much rub, and I didn’t really like how much fat there is on country style pork ribs so I probably won’t get them again.

BUT I was told by a couple people that the pork turned out very well and one of the pickiest eaters I feed said it was some of the best pork I’d ever cooked. Continue reading

Chocolate drink and some notes about food podcasts

Bittersweet Chocolate Drink:

This is a drink I came up with recently for times when I am craving chocolate but trying to stay away from candy. Add 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 packed Tablespoon dark brown sugar to a large coffee mug. Add 10-12 ounces boiling water. Stir thoroughly. Add in 2 Tablespoons dairy with some fat (milk, table cream, whipping cream, whatever). Stir, let cool.

So far, it’s been very filling and has helped keep me away from my dad’s stash of candy bars when I get chocolate cravings.

Food podcasts:

I’m still listening to podcasts. Here are a couple about food that I really enjoy. Continue reading

Some tea links, July 6 2014

Some interesting links about tea from the past week:

From The Daily Tea:

From Tea For Me Please:

Recipe: Butterscotch Buns

This is a slightly adapted version of Butterscotch Breakfast Buns on The Daily Tea.

I . . . am not really good with yeast breads. That said, the bread in this recipe turned out pretty good.

I wish there was more instructions on how to do the butterscotch sauce — I like to use Demerara sugar instead of just white sugar, so the original recipe’s instructions to use white sugar and cook the sugar in a pan with water until it was golden brown did not work well. Also, if I wanted to get really wild and crazy I might actually add some scotch to the butterscotch sauce too.

If I make it again, I’ll probably add in a ton of nuts, and maybe some cheese in the batter too. That sounds crazy, but the original recipe called for 2 teaspoons of salt and I cut that down to 1 teaspoon, I wouldn’t mind adding in some more protein and substance to the recipe instead of just adding more salt.

Also, using pu-erh tea in the dough is an interesting twist. I think I could taste it a little bit in the raw dough, but I couldn’t pick it out in the finished product, even knowing it was there. I think next time I’ll try a pretty strong and somewhat astringent black tea in the dough instead.

Butterscotch Buns

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of Pu Erh tea, lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 oz of honey, about two tablespoons
  • 1 oz of olive oil, about two tablespoons
  • 1 oz of dried milk powder, about 1/3 cup
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup of demerara/turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick of butter, in chunks

Mix flour, oats, salt and milk powder.

Mix the lukewarm tea and yeast, let sit for 10 minutes.

Mix the tea/yeast mixture, olive oil, honey and lemon zest into the flour mixture. Knead until it is fairly smooth (this will be a somewhat sticky dough).

Set aside, covered, let rise for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 F.

Put the sugar and water in an ovenproof skillet. Heat without stirring for 10-15 minutes until it has reduced in volume a little bit and has darkened from the original color. How much you reduce it is up to you — a lot of it will be absorbed by the bread. But whatever isn’t absorbed could boil over, depending on how big your skillet is. So it’s your choice as to how big of a mess you want to clean out of your oven afterward.

Roll the dough out into a log, cut into 12 pieces.

Once the sugar and water is cooked down a little bit, whisk in the butter until melted and mixture is smooth. Take off of heat, place the cut pieces of dough into the pan.

Bake in the oven at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Take out and enjoy!

Sunday, June 22 2014: some interesting tea recipes and links

All posted this last week from The Daily Tea:

  • Recipe for Butterscotch Breakfast Buns, made with pu-erh tea (!!), looks very interesting. I don’t have any milk powder here, I’ll have to look up what that does in a recipe and see if I can make it without the milk powder.
  • Recipe for Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie, I was originally going to skip this one as I’ve seen zillions of smoothie recipes — but this one is the first I’ve seen to use ground almonds and flax seed.
  • Five tips for differentiating between good and poor matcha — don’t drink matcha myself, but always good to know what the signs are of good quality vs. poorer quality. Most interesting thing in this article was finding out that good matcha is grown in the shade which forces the plant to produce more chlorophyll.
  • A very moving tribute to John Harney, who founded Harney and Sons Master Tea Blenders.
  • The story of how Zhena Muzyka founded Zhena’s, a line of teas. She’s also recently written a book on tea, there are more details in the article.

    “There’s nothing new under the sun with tea, it’s thousands of years old. For any tea connoisseur or tea purveyor it’s really the magic of blending something in a unique way and having it satisfy the palates of certain audiences. That’s what I always focused on, what would I love to drink, what would be inspiring, what would be different. I thought about what would make someone inhale a favorite scent, and feel like life was getting a mite easier. Whatever I did, I always focused on making sure it was uplifting.”

 

 

Tea Magazine has now changed to website The Daily Tea

The Daily Tea

I’m a bit sad about the change, I liked Tea Magazine. And I like print better than staring at a computer monitor.

But it was their choice, not mine, and I’m very glad they’ve just moved venues and not closed up shop completely.

You can browse for free, there’s also a paid subscription digital newsletter you can sign up for. Depending on the subscription option you choose, you can also get a book edition from them once a year.

Recipe: Puffed egg chocolate cake (with glaze)

This recipe is from the “Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze” recipe on page 98 of the February 2014 issue of Bon Appetit (article: “The Dark Side”, recipes by Mast Brothers Chocolate, excellent article to read, also a recipe in there for chocolate waffles I still need to try).

I changed the name to puffed egg chocolate cake because that’s sort of what it is, and because I’ve never encountered a cake recipe like this before. Melted chocolate with eggs beaten in until it’s thick and fluffy, then throw in some flour.

It made a really delicious cake. But still a very different recipe. (And with different flour, possibly a gluten-free chocolate cake?? Hmmmm . . . . )

Puffed egg chocolate cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for pan
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • bit of salt

Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour 9″ pan (preferably springform).

Heat chocolate, sugar and butter in a double-boiler or similar setup. Stir, until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool.

Using electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low, add in flour and bit of salt.

Scrape batter into baking pan, smooth top, bake until top is firm and edges slightly darkened, 55-65 minutes. Don’t rely on a tester, as it will come out clean before cake is completely done; use visual cues instead.

Transfer pan to a wire rack, let cake cool completely before turning out.

Glaze

I didn’t actually try this part of the recipe

Heat 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (min 70% cocoa), 1/4 cup unsalted butter, and dash of salt in double boiler or similar pan. Stir until chocolate is melted. Whisk in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Bring 1/2 red wine (such as Pinot Noir) just to a boil in a saucepan. Whisk into chocolate mixture.

Let chocolate mixture cool until slightly thickened and rubber spatula leaves trail in mixture, 8-10 minutes.

Set cake on wire rack over rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across top and over edge. Let cake stand undisturbed until glaze is set, 2-3 hours.

Comment: If I ever go so far as trying the glaze, I may try a liqueur or whiskey instead of wine. Red wine and chocolate just doesn’t seem like the greatest mixture to me.

Recipe: Chocolate Tart on Chocolate Crust

Based on the “Chocolate-on-Chocolate Tart with Maple Almonds” recipe from the February 2014 edition of Bon Appetit.

This recipe is extremely rich when it’s a tart. However, it’s quite good and mild if you take some of the dough, roll it out flat with just a little bit of a free-form hand rolled edge, and after baking that you top it with a thin layer of chocolate filling.

Chocolate Tart on Chocolate Crust

Crust (enough to make two tarts, with extra left over)

  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • little bit of salt
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp ice water

Mix cocoa powder, flour, and salt in food processor. Add in butter, pulse until resembles coarse meal. Mix egg yolks and water, pour on top of flour mixture, pulse until dough comes together.

Form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for minimum two hours.

After chilling, unwrap, roll out on floured counter into desired size (may have some left over). Put into pan, prick with fork, weigh down with parchment paper and pie weights (if using), freeze for 15 minutes (if desired: I skipped this step and it still came out okay) and bake at 350 until dry around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Filling

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, min 70% cacao, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • little bit of salt

Put chocolate and butter into heatproof bowl. Heat cream, honey and salt until just boiling, pour over chocolate and butter. Let stand a few minutes, mix until smooth.

Pour into cooked tart crust. Put tart in the refrigerator, chill at least 4 hours. May be served cold, or may be allowed to warm up to room temperature.

 

Recipe: Spicy peanut butter blondies

Based off the “Salted Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies” in the February 2014 edition of Bon Appetit.

Spicy Peanut Butter Blondies

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup 1-minute oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup jelly or jam

Mix the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, allspice and ground cardamom in one bowl. Mix the eggs, peanut butter, melted butter, and vanilla extract in another bowl. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, mix in the pecans.

Pour into a greased or buttered 9″ x 13″ dish. Dollop jelly or jam on top. Bake 350 until a tester comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

Recipe: Pork Anaheim chile chili

This is a modified version of the Colorado Green Chili recipe that appeared in the October/November 2013 issue of Cook’s Country. As always, please check out the site as they have a lot of great information about how they developed the recipe, different cuts of pork, different types of chiles, etc. The version I came up with is less spicy than theirs.

Pork Anaheim chile chili

  • 3 lbs raw pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 2 lbs Anaheim chiles
  • 3 Pasilla peppers (not 3 pounds, just 3 peppers)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounces
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 package frozen diced onions, or 1-2 cups fresh diced onions.
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1/4 cup ground corn or masa harina
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups broth (preferably chicken)

As a note, the initial steps of this recipe involve a fair amount of waiting.

Cut the Anaheim chiles in half, remove seeds & ribs, and roast in a single layer with curved side up under broiler, 15-20 minutes (may take multiple batches). As chiles finish roasting, place in a bowl and cover top with plastic wrap.

Put oil, water, pork, and salt in Dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, remove cover and let cook until all the water has evaporated and pork is starting to brown. Transfer to a bowl.

Put oil in pot, heat until shimmering, add onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Add granulated garlic, dried parsley, cumin, and paprika.

Run diced tomatoes through food processor for a few pulses until coarsely chopped. Add to pot with pork, stir.

Remove seeds and ribs from Pasilla peppers, chop very finely. Add to soup pot.

Once Anaheim chiles have cooled, remove skins. Chop 1/2 of chiles into 1/2 inch dice. Process other 1/2 of chiles in food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 seconds. Add both to soup pot.

Add chicken broth and corn flour / masa harina.

Recipe: A try at breakfast sausage

This was a try at breakfast sausage. I need to find a fattier type of ground pork. And since I still try to keep the salt content in food low, this won’t be as salty as a lot of sausage is. But overall, it turned out well and both Mom and Dad liked it too.

This is a modified version of a recipe from The Great American Beer Cookbook by Candy Schermerhorn.

Breakfast sausage

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Shape into patties, fry in a pan. Depending on how lean the ground pork is, you may have to add oil to your frying pan.

Recipe: Light and refreshing cherry chipotle salad

I like tart cherries in cherry pie and cherry cobbler, but wanted to see if I could find any uses for them that are not a sweet dessert. So when I stumbled across a recipe for a salad made with tart canned cherries, I decided to try it (with some variations).

This recipe is mostly based on the “Chipotle Cherry and Black Bean Slaw” recipe which is at the recipes section for Oregon Fruit.  (Or perhaps that should be OregoN Fruit?)

This recipe turned out really good. Continue reading

Unusual Chili Recipe

Last month one of my relatives wanted to have a chili cookoff for their birthday. This is the recipe I came up with. Although rather odd, it actually turned out quite well. I liked it and a lot of other people liked it too. It’s thick, a little bit smoky, and a little bit hot.

As a couple of notes: I used some homemade sausage in this recipe.

  • The polish deer sausage is very strongly spiced, very smoky, and has a bit of a hot spice (as in black pepper or cayenne pepper) taste to it too. A very smoky & spicy polish sausage, preferably one with some beef too, should be a good substitute.
  • The unsmoked polish pork sausage is a fairly mild, unsmoked sausage. Probably any mild pork sausage should be a good substitute.

And a further couple of notes:

If you use precooked chicken breasts and chop them up, then over the course of simmering the chicken will shred itself and make the chili very hearty and thick.

The Pig’s Ass Porter I used is a local microbrew from Harvest Moon Brewing in Belt, Montana. It is labeled as a London-style porter. Truthfully, almost any porter or stout should be a good substitute.

I used Parsley Patch Mexican Blend, if you don’t have that then chili powder would probably be an acceptable substitute, with some dried oregano and ground cumin added.

Yes, there really is rooibos tea in this. It turned out really well, acting as more of a flavor enhancer than a flavor of its own. I will have to try that with other recipes in the future.

Chili

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sized red onions, chopped
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seed
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 6-oz cans of tomato paste (12 oz total)
  • 2 14.5-oz cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes (29 oz total)
  • 2 14.5-oz cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano (29 oz total, and YES, this is in addition to the previous two cans of unseasoned diced tomatoes)
  • 4 6″ links of strongly spiced and smoked polish deer sausage, casing removed, sausage broken up into small chunks, approximately 1-1/2 to 2 pounds
  • 2 15-oz cans low-sodium pinto beans, drained
  • 4 Tbsp Parsley Patch Mexican Blend
  • 2 Tbsp plain rooibos brewed 10 minutes in 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 12-oz bottle Pig’s Ass Porter or other London-style porter
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (or uncooked corn grits or uncooked polenta)
  • 2 mild unsmoked pork sausages, Polish or similar, briefly cooked and sliced, so the sausage pieces stay whole, approx 1 lb.

Place all ingredients except for last one in large pot. Simmer for at least an hour, possibly more, until thick, cornmeal is cooked and incorporated into chili, and preferably until chicken is completely shredded. Add cooked mild pork sausage at the last, simmer another 10 minutes or so to let flavors meld, then serve.

Enjoy!!!

Some random thoughts on today, the third Friday of March 2013

Some random thoughts . . . .

***

Why is it that when men get together and drink alcohol, they tell funny stories and brag about the things they’ve done; but when women get together and drink alcohol, they gripe about people who aren’t there to defend themselves?

***

On some of the reservations in Montana, an invitation to a drinking contest is actually an invitation to a fight. As in “I’m mad at you and want to pick a fight, and ‘how about you and I try to match each other shot-for-shot’ is how I’m letting you know I’m mad and want to get in a fight with you.”

I would never in a million years would have interpreted “let’s match each other shot-for-shot and see who lasts the longest” as the newer version of a thrown gauntlet.

***

Geek stuff [SKIP TO NEXT ITEM IF YOU’RE NOT REALLY INTO WEB BROWSERS].

I’ve been hopping back and forth between Opera & Firefox as my main browser for a while. Looks like I’ll be settling on Firefox, as Opera is going to replace its own internal engine with the same engine that runs Chrome and Safari.

And while I was looking up the link to that story, I also found out that Chrome, Opera & Internet Explorer all have a potentially unpleasant bug in how they interpret HTML5. And here’s a couple of articles from last year about how important Firefox really is. Firefox is trying to come up with ways to let content follow the user, not the platform, which I think is a good thing in that it works against what Bruce Schneier describes as a digital world becoming a feudal world.

[OKAY, GEEK STUFF DONE NOW]

***

Tea made from a blend of nettle leaf, roasted dandelion root, and green yerba mate makes a very mild and mellow evening tonic.

***

And if you have a soda pop habit, look into other beverages like tea or coffee. For your own health, please.

Recipe: Salmon chowder

First off, I’m not completely sure I can call this a “chowder”, since it’s not a cream soup and it seems like most of the clam chowders I’ve eaten had some milk or cream in them.

I looked at salmon chowder recipes in a few cookbooks and then made up this recipe on my own.

Everyone liked it, so yay for that. 🙂

Salmon chowder

  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 4 and 4
  • 2 12 oz packages of chopped frozen onions, 24 oz total
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, pureed with 1 cup water in a food processor until ground into a fine paste
  • 4 oz smoked salmon, chopped fine
  • 16 oz shredded red potatoes
  • 26 oz unsalted chicken broth (yes, that’s an odd amount, it’s how much was in one package of chicken broth)
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Wondra flour (or other finely ground flour)
  • 8 oz raw salmon, no skin, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

Take 4 Tbsp of the butter and melt in a large or medium large soup pot. Add in the onions and celery, saute for a few minutes until onions start to soften.

Add in ginger, chickpea paste, chopped smoked salmon, shredded potatoes, and chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are almost done.

Add dried dill, dried parsley, and Worcestershire to soup.

In separate small pan, heat remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted, add in 4 Tbsp Wondra Flour and stir until a light- or medium-colored roux forms.

Add roux to soup. Add chopped raw salmon to soup, bring back to a boil, boil for a few minutes then turn down to a simmer and serve.

Recipe: Ground turkey burgers

While visiting my friends Brian and Amy a few weeks ago, Brian made some really good turkey burgers.

This is my attempt to recreate (and slightly modify) that recipe.

Ground turkey burgers

  • 1-1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 cooking apple (Granny Smith or similar), cored & chopped fine
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground parsley or parsley-based seasoning mix

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl.

They can be either pan fried, or grilled, on medium heat.

They make very good sandwiches. They are also fantastic when diced up into small cubes and sprinkled onto a salad.

Updated recipe for Pimiento Cheese

I first tried this recipe almost three years ago. Since then I’ve modified it a little bit, found a lot of people who like it (and also realized that it’s pimiento, not “pimento”).

So here’s the updated recipe.

Pimiento Cheese

  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (approximately 2 cups, but it’s much better to measure this by weight; if you have the time, get solid cheddar and shred it yourself, pre-shredded won’t be as tasty in this recipe)
  • 2 cups finely sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 cup (or more) mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more depending on your taste
  • 1/8 tsp Tobasco sauce, or more depending on your taste
  • 1/2 cup or 8 oz canned sliced pimiento peppers

Put the pimiento peppers in a strainer to drain them.

Mix first five ingredients in order given.

Check to see if pimiento peppers are through draining. If so, add to mixture and thoroughly.

Add more mayonnaise if desired, add more cayenne pepper or Tobasco if desired.

Enjoy!!

 

This should be refrigerated after mixing. I have no idea how long it lasts in the refrigerator, the longest I’ve seen it last is about 4 days before it’s all eaten.

Updated recipe: Whiskey cookies (no actual whiskey)

Picture of whiskey cookies

Whiskey cookies

The original recipe of these were dubbed Whiskey Cookies by my brother. I can’t remember now if it was because he and his friends thought they tasted like whiskey, or because they went well with whiskey.

In any case, the name stuck.

The original recipe also used almond flour. I have a few friends who are allergic to nuts, so I wanted to fin an alternative. Also, over the past year I’ve grown to really like quinoa, quinoa flour, and chia seeds, and wanted to see if I could somehow use any of those in these cookies.

Finally, trying to find bittersweet chocolate in the 70%+ range can be a pain. I had some superdark bittersweet chocolate that was 88% chocolate, I decided to use that up. This recipe should be able to be modified to use baking chocolate fairly easily, just add more sugar.
Continue reading

Recipe for Creme Fraiche on America’s Test Kitchen

I’ll have to try this recipe in the next couple days. I keep reading about creme fraiche (or more properly créme fraîche) like it’s a wonderful thing, but I haven’t seen it in any stores here.

The recipe is at http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/do-it-yourself/2011/11/how-to-make-creme-fraiche/, basically it’s heavy cream allowed to ferment after some buttermilk is added to it.

I’ve seen various other make-your-own créme fraîche recipes in the last couple years, some use cream, some use yogurt, some use half-and-half, some use buttermilk. But I’ve had really good luck with recipes from America’s Test Kitchen and their sister site/magazine Cook’s Country, so I definitely want to try this one.