Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reindeer chili

Reindeer, caribou...pretty much the same thing.  Reindeer, in Alaskan terminology, is the semi-domesticated version of caribou.  They actually look a bit different, but according to most science sites I've checked, they're the same species.  Anyway, I don't really care...they are delicious.  Forgive me please, Santa!

As a lover of venison, I'm not surprised I liked this.  The Reindeer Chili is served over rice, along with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream.  Of course!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Filipino vegetable carving

When Mike and I went on a cruise through Alaska's inner passage, one of the shipboard events I enjoyed seeing the most was a demonstration by some young Filipino men who had mastered the fine art of vegetable and fruit carving.  There are a few more pictures on my Mixed Media Artist blog if you'd like to see and read a bit more about it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rainier cherries

While in Anchorage Alaska, we were able to buy Rainier cherries at a local market.  They are available for a very short season, shipped in, in Massachusetts, but are never so big and sweet as when you buy them closer to the source!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chopped Salad

This Chopped Salad is similar to a Cobb Salad, other than the substitution of green beans instead of avocado.  Still, there are so many variations on Cobb Salads recently, that's probably what I'll end up calling it in my own recipe notebook!

I made it almost the same as the Hannaford recipe, except that I used regular sour cream, more hot sauce, added an extra egg, and cooked the bacon on the stove top instead of in the oven.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sonic screwdriver

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Millet bread

Using my basic recipe for Traditional Whole Wheat Bread, I doctored it up to include millet.  We love this...the millet gives the bread yellow dots, and if you don't cook it to mush, it makes the bread crunchy.

Millet Yeast Bread
Makes 2 standard sized loaves


3 c whole millet, soaked in 1 1/2 c hot water 

1 1/2 c lukewarm water (85 - 105 degrees)
1 1/2 T dry yeast (2 packages)
2 - 4 T honey
1 c dry milk powder
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c white bread flour

Part two:
4 t salt
1/4 c oil
3 c whole wheat flour
Up to 1 c flour for kneading

Place the millet and hot water in a bowl to soak.  Proceed with the instructions for Whole Wheat Bread (link above), adding the millet along with the salt and oil in Part two.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wild rice and mushroom soup

This is hands-down the very best Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup I've ever had.  Period.  The recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated, and you know how they won't let you see their recipes unless you pay, but I found someone else who didn't mind putting it up online.  So click away and then make sure you make it!

I made just a few modifications for the future.  Instead of heavy cream, I switched us to half and half, and instead of dried shitake mushrooms, I opted for fresh ones.  And instead of cooking the rice in the oven, I used my steamer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cuban picadillo

I've never made Cuban Picadillo before, so I wasn't sure what the "right" way to do it was, but after looking at a lot of recipes, I discovered that they are all basically variations on a theme: ground beef, bell peppers and onions, tomatoes, raisins, and wonderful briney green olives.  Of course, there's a lot more to it than just throwing those things together!

Here's a nice basic recipe for Cuban Picadillo for your first time out.  I made some modifications that I learned from Cook's Illustrated, including using dry white wine to deglaze the pot, adding ground pork to the ground beef, and tossing in some capers and red wine vinegar for extra zip.  Serve it with black beans and rice.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Quick pan-fried boneless pork chops

Thick chops are great because they take a bit of time to cook through, thus allowing you to get a great brown outside.  But it helps a lot if you boost the browning with something sweet!

Pan-Fried Boneless Pork Chops

1 1/2 T salt to 1 quart water for brining
Boneless pork chops, 1" thick

2 parts vegetable oil
2 parts honey
1 part anchovy paste
Black pepper

Brine the pork chops for 30 minutes at room temperature.  Slit the fat around the outside in several places to prevent the chops from curling.

Mix the oil through the black pepper together in a small bowl, enough for both sides of whatever number of chops you have.  Heat a skillet with a bit of oil over medium heat and add the chops.  Using a spoon, cover the exposed side of the chops with half of the honey mixture.  After a few minutes, flip the chops and cover the other side with the rest of the mixture.  Cook about 4 to 6 minutes and flip the chops again.  Cook on the other side until the chops reach about 140 degrees.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

True fans

Who says we don't?  This is exactly the way I watch cooking shows...right down to knocking over my glass of wine in exasperation.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cranberry granola

This is just an easy variation on my Basic Chunky Granola.  I made these easy substitutions:
Agave nectar for maple syrup
Raw sugar for brown sugar
Raw peanuts for almonds
Cranberries for raisins

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Steak Tips au Poivre

Don't get excited: "poivre" simply means "pepper", as in cracked black freshly ground pepper.  Yum.

Steak Tips au Poivre

1 1/2 lbs sirloin tip steaks, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c red wine (Cabernet or Merlot)
1/2 cbeef broth
1/2 t minced fresh thyme

Rub the steak tips thoroughly with pepper and salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook to desired doneness, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to platter and tent with foil.

Quickly add 1 T butter and shallots to the skillet and cook until softened. Add wine, broth, and thyme; simmer, scraping up browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and whisk in the rest of the butter plus any accumulated steak juices. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve immediately. Delicious with roasted vegetables and slice-baked potatoes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Italian chicken soup with Parmesan dumplings

Ok, who knew that the Italians had a version of chicken soup that is ALMOST as good as traditional Jewish chicken soup with matzo balls?  I sure didn't, but then, I'm not Italian so hopefully I can be forgiven.

You're going to want to make this Italian Chicken Soup with Parmesan Dumplings.  The little dumplings are delicious, and they are much more like matzo balls than they are like big gross soaky dumplings.  Yay for Italian matzo balls!