Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Egg Fu Yung - It's what's for dinner

Tonight I had to come up with another creative dinner to use up pork roast.  I was leaning towards Chinese, since we went Mexican last night.  It popped into my head that I remembered seeing an Egg Fu Yung recipe in my Mom's recipe box, and I remember her making this on occassion and really enjoying it as a kid.  So I went about searching for her recipe, and somehow, somewhere I have lost it.  I really hope it shows up, because I'd like to try her version.  Instead I proceeded to search the internet for inspriation.  I discovered that this is a great recipe to use up leftovers, and there's a great sauce to disguiese all those leftover flavors you're tired of eating. 

Egg Fu Yung (there are many different spellings) is pretty much an American food created by American Chinese chefs.  I've read that it's based on an authentic Chinese dish, one of which is called Fu Yung Egg Slices which is from Shanghai.  The name itself is Cantanese.  (I just love the Chinese, their food has so much history - I think they should start teaching food history like they teach art history).  My personal history with the dish, is it was something my Mom would make when I was a kid, and I remember loving it.  When I think back, I think it was one of those easy fast food dishes she made when she didn't feel like cooking, and it was a great way to use up the leftovers from the Chinese take home food we occassionaly had.  A great way to use up her leftovers, and a kid friendly dish, and dad would eat it too. 

Since I couldn't find her recipe, I did some research and came up with my own Egg Fu Yung.  I scrambled together 8 eggs (for 4 people, intending to have leftovers for lunch).  Then I cut up about 1/2 cup of leftover pork roast (you could use shrimp, chicken, ham, steak, etc) 1/2 cup of bean sprouts, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/2 cup onions, 3 scallions, and one garlic clove.  I sauteed all the vegetables except the garlic for just under a minute, then added the garlic.  Then I added a mixture of 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of corn starch, and the meat,then sprinkled it all with 1 tsp white pepper and 1 tsp salt. 

Then I made the sauce.  4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp saki, 2 tsp corn starch and I cooked until thickened.  Then I stirred in a couple tsp of oyster sauce. 

I put about 1/2 cup of the scrambled egg in a small pan and added about a 1/4 of the vegetable/ meat mixture.  I cooked until it was pretty much cooked through and browned on one side, then flipped it and cooked it long enough to brown on the other side.  I served it with a small smear of the sauce (it's pretty strong - it's good, but a little goes a long way). 

A little side of raw sugar snap peas, and we had a quick, easy and healthy dinner for the night. 

Yoga Journal - Yoga Food - All You Can Eat

Yoga Journal - Yoga Food - All You Can Eat

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Pork Tacos

Well, I still haven't posted my Thanksgiving leftover recipes.  I hope to soon, since they could be useful for Christmas leftovers as well.  Speaking of leftovers, I was lucky enough to come home with some leftover pork roast from my in-laws.  I didn't have to cook Christmas dinner this year.  My sister's in law had that honor and did a fantastic job.  They did give me the honor of allowing me in their mom's kitchen long enough to bake an apple pie, which my father in law said was one of the best he's ever had.  That was my best Christmas present ever.  (Especially since it was my mom's recipe - I send a thanks to my mom in heaven.)

The huge meal the SIL's put together left far too many leftover's for my father in law and mother in law to deal with, so they were kind enough to send us home with a few things, including the rest of the pork roast.  The first thing I thought of was TACO's.  I found this great recipe at For the love of cooking: Pork Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo and Gaucamole and modified it to my needs.  I sliced up 4 of the chops off of the rib roast into bite size pieces.  I sliced up a quarter of a large red onion and sauteed it until it was soft.  I added the pork and about a half teaspoon each of cumin, smokey paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder and some salt and fresh ground pepper.  I added a half can of black beans and let it simmer while I made a pico de gallo consisting of 2 large tomatoes, a little over half a large red onion, a chopped garlic clove, a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro, one chopped fresh jalapeno, 4 finely chopped radishes, some salt, the juice of half a lime, a sprinkle of chili powder and a sprinkle of smokey paprika.  I then made a sweet salsa for my kids consisting of one mango, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, 2 tsp on chopped onion, 1/4 cup of chopped bell pepper, a tsp of sugar ( the mango was quite tart), a pinch of salt, a pinch of chili powder and smokey paprika, and a squeeze of lime juice.

I then attempted to make my first homemade corn tortillas.  They were not a success, but not a complete failure either.  I used 1 cup of masa flour combined with 1/2 tsp salt.  I combined that with 1/2 plus 1/8 of boiling water that had 1/2 tsp of lard melted in it.  I had to add about 3 more tablespoons of hot water to get it to what felt like the right texture.  I formed it into 6 golf ball size balls and covered it with seran wrap.  Here is where I went wrong.  I let it sit a little too long and it got dry, so when I fried them, they were a little too dry, and not useable for tacos, but still tasted quite good.  I don't have a tortilla press, so I put the balls between two pieces of plastic ( cut from a gallon size freezer bag) and I rolled them out with a roller.  I also needed to roll them a bit thinner to get a manageable tortilla.  One thing I did realize. This is doable.  This could be a short learning curve and it won't be long before I have good homemade tortillas.  I will be practicing this process again soon.

Fortunately I bought corn tortillas as a backup (they worked better, but didn't taste quite as flavorful as the homemade ones).  I heated them, topped them  with the meat and bean mixture and the salsa of each person's choice.  I also put some fresh avocado on each, some cojito cheese, some pickled jalapeno on mine, and some sour cream on the kids.

This turned out to be a flavorful way to use up leftovers, as well as a nice change from what we'd already enjoyed on Christmas.  You just can't go wrong with pork tacos!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great Christmas gift idea for the foodies in your lives

Friday night I rented the movie Julie and Julia.  I LOVED it!  This would be a great Christmas gift for any foodie in your life.  Meryl Streep does an amazing job as Julia Childs!  I found myself relating very much to Julie's character, as did my husband to Julie's husband.  Just a fun movie all around.
You still have time to order this movie from Amazon and receive it by Christmas.  But you better get on it today!
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukka, and Happy New Year to everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oswald Thanksgiving 2009
Brined and Smoked Turkey
Fennel , Prosciutto and Pine Nut Stuffing
Yams Braised with Cream, Rosemary and Nutmeg
Mashed Potatoes and Celery root
Giblit Gravy Supreme
Green Bean and Lemon Casserole
Cranberry Sauce With Port and Dried Figs
Store bought dinner rolls
Pumpkin Pie Cake with Whipped Cream

The recipe for the Turkey I found last year on About.com.  This is our adaption of the recipe:

1 11 lb turkey
2 quarts apple juice
1 lb brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
3 oranges, quartered
approximately 4 oz ginger sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic crushed
hickory chips

Combine apple juice, brown sugar and salt in a large saucepan.  Bring to boil and continue heating until sugar and salt dissolve.  Skim off any foam that forms and let cool.  In a large stock pot or similar container combine apple juice mixture, 3 quarts water, oranges, ginger, cloves, bay leaves and garlic.  Wash turkey, be sure to remove the giblit bag, and place in the brine mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Make sure the turkey is completely submerged. Place hickory chips in water and prepare grill for indirect grilling on a medium heat.  Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry.  Brush turkey with vegetable oil.  Place on grill away from direct heat with a heavy guage foil pan underneath to capture the juices of the turkey (hickory chips will go on the coals).  After 30 or so minutes you may want to wrap the wings in foil to prevent them from burning.  Brush with vegetable oil occassionally.  If the breast gets too brown cover with foil.  The turkey will be done when the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F.  in the thigh or 165 in the breast.  12 to 14 minutes per pound.  When done, remove from the grill and rest for about 15 minutes before carving. 

Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root

 This is a recipe I discovered in Martha Stewarts Living Magazine back in November of 2001.  Celery root is a delicious addition to mashed potatoes. 
For 6 people
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 lb celery root
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp unslated butter
 1/2 tbsp coarse salt 1/8 tsp pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into 1" pieces.  Peel celery root using a paring knife.  Cut into 1/2 " pieces.  Place potatoes and celery root in a small stockpot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook unti tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, return to pot; place over low heat to dry out.
Combine cream, butter, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture comes to a simmer.  Pour over potato mixture, and combine, using a potato masher, until fluffy and smooth.

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pine Nut Stuffing

I found this recipe in a 1998 Bon Appetite Magazine and have adopted it to feed a family of four.
1/2 to 3/4 lb round sourdough bread, crust trimmed, cut into 3/4 " cubes (about 5 or 6 cups)
3 to 4 tbsp butter
3 cups thinly sliced green onions
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds, coarsley ground
4 oz prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped marjoram
3/4 tsp grated lemon peel
3 large eggs beaten to blend

Canned checken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place bread on a large baking sheet and bake until slightly dry, about 10 minutes. Cool and transfer to a large bowl.
Melt butter in large skillet over high heat.  Add onions and fennel bulbs and seeds; saute' until onions soften but fennel bulbs are still crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove from eat.  Mix in prosciutto, pine nuts, parsely, marjoram and lemon peel.  (Bread and fennel mixture can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover separately.  Store bread at room temperature; refrigerate fennel.) Add fennel mixture to bread.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in eggs. 
To bake in the turkey (which I did not do)
Loosely fill main turkey cavity with stuffing.  Add enough broth to remaining stuffing to moisten lightly (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on amount of remaining stuffing).  Generously butter glass baking dish.  Spoon remaining suffing into prepared dish.  Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down.  Bake stuffing in dish alongside turkey until heated through about 25 to 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden about 15 to 20 minutes.
To Bake in baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.  Add enough broth to stuffing to moisten (about 3/4 cup).  Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.  Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down; bake until heated through, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden about 20 to 25 minutes longer.

 Green Bean And Lemon Casserole

This is a great Nigella Lawson Recipe.  Simple and British.  You really need to pull up her recipe and read it.  It cracks me up, she says things like this: "Strictly speaking, I don't think of this as a casserole, but I know that this is the traditional nomencalutre; and, besides, I do sometimes serve the beans in one so it seems silly to quibble." (I like to read that outloud in a British accent - it cracks me up)
Ingredients for 4 to 5:
1 lb green beans
6 tbsp unsalted butter
few drops of olive oil
1/2 lemon
sea salt and fresh pepper
Bring a bit pot of water to boil, trim the beans.  Once the water is boiling, salt it and cook the beans about 6 minutes.  Strain the beans and put the pot back on the stove over low heat with the butter and olive oil.  Chop up the lemon.  Slice off each end and just enough to remove skin and pith, then cut downwards turning the lemon to peel the fruit.  Squeeze the fruity peel over the pan.  Cut half the lemon up on the board.  Add the pieces and all the juice that collects to the melted butter and stir well with a wooden spoon, add the drained beans. 
Stir the beans and the lemony butter, add salt and pepper, remove to a warmed casserole.

I, unfortuantely, did not get pictures of my yam's or my cranberries.  They were very good though. The Yam recipe is from my November 1998 Bon Appetite and the Cranberry recipe I found on Epicurious.  It is from the 2003 Conde'Net magazine. 

4 servings:
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 lbs yams (red skinned sweet potatoes) peeled cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1/2 cups +2 tbs canned chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
fresh ground nutmeg
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots an minced rosemary and saute' until tender, about 3 minuets.  Add yams and broth to skillet and bring to boil.  Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until yams are almost tender, about 10 minutes.  Add cream and sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.  Simmer uncovered until yams are very tender and liquid thickens and coats yams, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  This can be mad a day ahead, which I did and it came out great.  Chill in a microwave safe container until it's time to rewarm in the microwave.

Yields 1 3/4 cups:

1/2 +1/3 cup ruby port (I can't always find that here and have found Tawney Port works fine)
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup (packed) goden brown sugar
4 dried black Mission figs, stemmed, chopped
1 3" spring fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 12 oz bag fresh cranberries ( cranberries freeze very well - seal the rest up and throw int he freezer)
3/8 cup sugar
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan.  Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.  discard rosemary.  Mix in cranberries and 3/8 cup sugar.  Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.  Cool. Transfer sauce to a bowl and chill until cold.  This can be prepared up to a week ahead. 

Giblet Gracy Supreme
I'd post a link, but can't find it.  This is from my November 2008 Sunset Magazine (a recipe originally published in Sunset back in 1968).
Serves 12 (4 cups)
Giblets and nect from 10 to 24 lb turkey, rinsed
About 5 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups dry white wine or chicken broth
1 onion quartered
2 carrots (1/2 lb) sliced
3/4 cup sliced celery
4 parsley springs
1/2 tsp fresh marjoram leaes or 1/4 tsp dried
About 1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Fat skimmed from turkey
In a 5 qt pan over high heat, combine giblets, neck, 5 cups broth, wine, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, marjoram, and 1/2 tsp each salt and peper.  cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until all giblets are very tender when pierced, about 1 hour.
Toast flour in a large frying pan over med.high heat,stirring, until deep golden brown and smells richly toasted, but not scorched.  12 to 15 minutes.  Pour into a bowl
Pour broth through a fine strainer into a bowl, reserving pan.  Discard vegetables (sae giblets and neck if you like).  Measure broth. If you have more than 4 cups, boil to reduce; if you haveless, add more chicken broth.
If using giblets and neck, pull meat off neck; discar bones.  Finely chop meat and giblets. 
Whisk about 1 1/2 cups simmered broth into flour.  Pour into the 5 qt pan and add remaining broth.
Add drippings from turkey.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring; lower heat and simmer, sitrring often, about 5 minutes.  Add giblets; ifyou like (and I do like!), and stir 1 to 2 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make ahead tip:  Up to one day ahead, make through step 5, cover and chill.  To reheat, add turkey drippings and warm over low heat, stirring often. 

Pumpkin Pie Cake
This is a recipe my Mom gave me and I believe she got from my Uncle Paul (my dad's brother).
1 lg. can Libbey Pumpkin Pie Mix (I used 4 cups of fresh pumpkin I had harvested and frozen last year).
1 cup light brown sugar.
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice ( used a combination of dried ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)
1 large can of evaporated milk
3 eggs slightly beaten
Mix all ingredients toghether.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle one box of yellow cake mix over the top.  Melt 2 cubes of butter (mom's calles for margerine, but I can't bring myself to recommend synthethetic food - that's your choice) Pour over the cake mix, top with chopped walnuts. Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve with whipped cream. 

Last note of the evening.  Be careful suiting up your kids with fancy aprons and handing over the whipping cream and a stand mixer to them.  That whipped cream you're looking forward to going on top of that pumpkin pie cake?  Well, it's going to be a nice sweet butter when they get done. 

Oh well!  It's still pretty damn delicious!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and will find something useful here for next year.  I hope to be back posting a lot of leftover recipes soon.  I had some good ones this year and managed to use everything up without anything going to waste.  And I can't wait to see what kind of tasteys Christmas brings!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Hectic Fall

I haven't posted in ages but I have lots to post.  It's just been a crazy couple of months, and not a fun kind of crazy.  I have some great pictures of my daughter's Twilight party and some super yummy recipes from Thanksgiving and a couple of pictures.  I was too busy enjoying my food to remember to take a lot of pictures.  I promise I'll be back to share all of this as soon as possible! I hope!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My daughters Twilight Cake

I've spent the last day and a half on this cake.  By no means is it perfect, but I'm proud of how it came out.  I know the next time I try this it will be even better.  I focused on a good cake, knowing my decor would be questionable when I got done. So if it isn't pretty, it will be yummy.  I used a recipe from an old cake shop that use to be in Arcata California called Chocoholics.  It's a tripple layer (3 different kinds of chocolate) cake with buttercream frosting, blueberry/strawberry jam and chocolate granache in between the layers.  It's covered in a butter cream frosting, then the fondant decorations.  I'll post the recipe another day when I'm not so tired.  In the mean time here are the pictures of what I made: (PS.  The cake plate was a nice gift from a friend at work.  A very nice piece that I appreciate very much.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Roasted Veggies, Homemade Marshmallows, & Apple Pie Experiments

Yesterday I went on a bit of a cooking frenzy.  I was inspired by my kids to batch up some breakfast items.  Every morning I get "what is there to eat?" thing and there is never anything they want.  So I decided to solve that problem for the next couple of weeks.  So I batched up (with their help) a bunch of breakfast burritos and pancakes.  That got me rolling.  I had read something about "breakfast pies".  I asked the girls if they'd eat such a thing.  Both said no resoundingly!  But then the last box of apples from our tree sitting in our garage popped in my mind.  So I let my imagination chew on that and "breakfast pies" for a bit and proceeded to make a shopping list. 

I couldn't decide what to make.  I had several ideas in my head, so I decided to buy refrigerator crescent rolls, but then I found something better.  Crescent Recipe Creations.  I took this stuff home and placed 6 pieces of dough in 6 muffin tins.  I proceeded to make various mini apple pies involving fresh apples, cooked apples in a pie mixture, 3 kinds of cheese, and bacon.  Yes bacon.  All turned out good, but there will be further experimentation to perfect the faves (based on my families' so sophisticated taste buds - and I'm not joking here).  I'll post my final recipe when done.  Here are a few pictures of what I did:

Just FYI.  The pies involving bacon were a hit!
Then I went on to make dinner.  I've been craving roasted root veggies lately, so I made up a pasta dish involving roasted carrots, parsnips, turnips, onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms.

I peeled and chopped up a turnip, two parsnips, and 3 carrots.  I then peeled and quartered an onion, chopped the ends off of about 10 cloves of garlic (so you can easily squeeze out the roasted garlic), chopped up 2 ribs of celery, and cleaned about 10 button mushrooms.  I tossed them with about 1/8 cup of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  I roasted all of that in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  I then cooked up a little over a half lb of campenelle pasta.  I tossed the veggies and pasta with my butter sage sauce, which was about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (from the pie project) 3 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.  I threw in 1/4 cup of sage leaves and fried them in the butter mixture until they were nice an deliciously crisp.
It was a fall comfort delight!

Then, for the  Pièce de résistance!
Homemade Marshmallows!  These were so easy and fun.  I'm not a huge fan of marshmallows, so I wondered if homemade would be better.  I figured if they weren't, my kids love marshmallows, so nothing would go to waste.
Were they good?
Hell yeah!
Then I found out this is similar to the recipe Thomas Keller uses along with homemade graham crackers (this recipe isn't his).  Guess what I'm thinking of making next......LOL!
If you want to try making your own (a fun way to impress people at a potluck and it's simple) you can find the recipe at Epicurious.com or where I originally saw it at Bon Appetit Magazine.
So now I'm dragging my behind off the computer and heading out to my garden to produce another round of food to cook and write about.
Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Your MFK Fisher Quote For The Day

From the compilation of her works The Art Of Eating, Her first book Serve It Forth, written in 1937, chapter, "Sing of Dinner in a Dish":

" 'Always have a Chinese cook,' said the woman who had followed her sailor seven times round the globe, and settled at last inside the golden Gate. 'Yes, always have a Chinese cook-and never go into the kitchen!'

Is this foul slander, or the cool tongue of wisdom? When on the bottom of a casserole doth grimed grease hiss, is ignorance bliss? Probably.

Surely I have eaten many a tart that felt the floor before it felt my plate, and more than a hundred bowls of soup whose temperature was tested, consciously or not, by a fat thumb. I have even pushed dead flies to one side of an omelette or ragout, and eaten to the last bite undaunted. I have not really minded, inside of me, because what I ate was good, and I do not thing that good food can come from a bad kitchen."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just Ducky

A nice article in the North Coast Journal about raising ducks. I particularly like his comment on foie gras.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kimberly's Syrah 2006

This is the wine we had with dinner last night for our anniversary. I decided if its got the name Kimberly, it must be good, and I was right. It was delicious wine. I found it strong and complex and it went well with everything we had served at Folie Douce in Arcata (http://www.holyfolie.com/ ), so it was a pleasant surprise to read in our local paper today that the great Robert Parker has given this local wine of ours, grown in Orleans down highway 96 on the Klamath River in Humboldt County California a rating of 90, designating it an outsanding wine. I must agree!
Here's the article:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Manic Batching Sunday

I don't know if you can see just how much rain is coming down in this picture, but it's our first good rain in months. It's unusual to go so long without here behind the Redwood Curtain. It's been so long that I'm actually very happy to see it, as is my well, my garden, and my youngest, who is currently out frolicking in the rain getting soaked to the bone. I think I'll be making a fire tonight.

My main point in this picture is, that it turns out to be a perfect day to stay inside and do some batch cooking and canning. Yesterday was nice and sunny, and I'm happy I took the opportunity to spend some time collecting seeds and working on my garden. Today, is an inside kind of day.

So...... I made some banana muffins (needed to use up those super ripe banana's) to have as an option for breakfast on those busy weekday mornings.

Then I got a batch of bread dough going so I can attempt to make some pecan sticky rolls tomorrow as another breakfast option, and so I can have some nice warm fresh baked bread for dinner one night in the next week. (I could just eat the bread for dinner and skip everything else!)
Then I started in on batching up some breakfast burritos as just one more option for breakfast. I should be covered for the next 3 weeks with all this. I thought about pancakes and waffles too, but we've been eating off my last two batches for the last month or two and everyone is sick of them, so on to something new and fresh. I was inspired by the Homesteading Housewife to do the burritos. You can find her post on this here:

I don't have near as big a family as her so I don't need to make 84 burrito's, so my recipe is about 1/3 of hers. I technically should have used 2 dozen eggs, but didn't have enough to spare and used 1 dozen otherwise my recipe was about a third of hers. I ended up with 18 burrito's (probably would've been about 10 more if I'd used 2 dozen eggs), which is plenty.

I started with 1 lb of bulk breakfast sausage ( I highly recommend Loleta Meat Market for this) 1/2 chopped bell pepper and one small chopped white onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Cook until sausage is brown.
I added the beaten eggs and cooked. I then shredded the cheddar cheese. I set up my assembly line for putting the burritos together.
I recommend you warm the tortillas before folding into a burrito, they're more pliable that way and less likely to tear.

Once you've placed a spoonful of the sausage/egg mixture and a glob of cheese, fold into a burrito, then wrap in foil. (As much as I love to cook and eat Mexican food, I'm completely inept when it comes to folding a burrito. I can make Mole' sauce, but can't wrap a burrito! Go Figure!)
Once they're all wrapped, place them in Ziplock freezer bags and label. You're good to go!
Happy harvest!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Loleta Bakery

I woke up this morning to my husband "gone fishin' " and not a single drop or speck of coffee in the house. Ugh! I was mortified! But then! My foggy mind woke up just enough to remember we have a new bakery in town and they serve good strong fresh hot coffee starting at 7 am every morning (except Monday and Tuesday). Today is Saturday and I looked at the clock. 7:36 am. Yeah! I was stoked! Coffee! My oldest woke up right about that time and I told her, "I think I'm going to run to the bakery and get some coffee."

Her response, "Awesome! Get me one of those chocolate filled croissants please."

Well, you can't just buy a $2.00 cup of coffee on a debit card and feel okay about that can you? So down I went. I got my large cup of coffee, a ham and cheese muffin for me (OMG was it good!) and two chocolate filled croissants for the girls.

Here's the front window of our new little bakery. The sign was just painted on yesterday:
Here's the bakery right next door to the Loleta Meat Market. (The Butcher, the Baker, where's our Candlestick Maker? - apparently we have one, but he sells his wares in Ferndale - I'll settle for our cheese maker instead - Loleta Cheese Factory, just up a block from the Butcher and Baker)

Here is what I came home with, minus the croissant my oldest snapped up before I could get a picture. (And yeah, I took a bite out of the muffin on the way home.) As my daughter sat savoring every last bite of her pastry, she commented, "I wish this croissant was an everlasting croissant so I could keep coming back and eating another bite, all day long, and it would still be warm." They had just come out of the oven when I got there. They were so nice and warm, I thought she was going to cuddle with it rather than eat it. If you live in Humboldt come try out our new bakery in Loleta, or if you're traveling through Humboldt on highway 101, stop by for a cup of coffee and some sweets. They also make panini sandwiches, and I've been told they plan to make soups from local ingredients for lunches. You can find them by taking the Loleta exit and heading west. You can't miss them in the little downtown area in the gold building at 348 Main St. 707-733-1789


Monday, August 24, 2009

I haven't posted in a while, and here's why. I've been searching for full time work, then the fair hit. Normally that wouldn't affect my time so much except that this year my daughter was in 4-H and had a lamb entered. I had no idea how much of my life this project would take up! And I have to say I enjoyed nearly every second of it and I'm so proud of the effort she put in and the job she did so well. I'm looking forward to next year.

Tomorrow we are off to visit family. First my husband's, to help out a bit while suffering from illness, then to Medicine Lake to visit my side of the family. Then it's back home and back into the school routine. I hope to have some good 4-H pictures to share when we get back.

Enjoy the last bits of summer everyone!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Love Your Farmers Market

I just voted in the "Love Your Farmers Market" contest sponsored by Care2.com and LocalHarvest.org to help my favorite market, Ferndale Farmers' Market, win a grand prize of $5,000. I care about promoting fresh, local and healthy foods, and I need your help to get enough votes to help Ferndale Farmers' Market win. Please vote here: http://www.care2.com/farmersmarket/17312?refer=21496.01.1249686504.164956.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Humboldt County Fair Livestock Auction

Cordelia is showing her first sheep at the fair. Be there at 1 pm for the auction to cheer her on or put in your bid.

Cordelia is showing her first sheep at the fair. Be there at 1 pm for the auction to cheer her on or put in your bid.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Peasant Soup

Minestrone soup was sounding good to me the other day. I started to explore the many different versions of this soup there are out there and also ran onto some Portuguese soups that were similar, but all involved sausage of some kind. Well, I had a fridge full of various things, including sausage, that needed to be used up, so I came up with this recipe.

6 cups of water ( I added about a tbsp of Superior Touch Better than Bouillon Chicken Base - but I think the soup would have been just as good with plain water.)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 sweet potato peeled and cubed

1 yellow potato cubed

1 chopped carrot

1 chopped red onion

3 cloves of chopped garlic

3 cups of chopped curly kale

1 15 oz can cannellini beans

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used one flavored with roasted garlic and onions)

1 cup cooked and chopped smoked sausage

2 ribs of chopped celery

2 sliced zucchini

1/2 cup dried orzo pasta

1 tsp salt

1tsp fresh oregano

2 tbsp fresh basil

1 tsp fresh thyme

parmesan cheese for topping.

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, sweet potato, potato, and garlic and saute for until lightly browned. Add water (or broth), canned tomatoes, kale and seasonings. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add beans, sausage, zucchini and pasta and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gourmet cooking in camp

Last weekend we took a break from the world and had a little camp trip on the South Fork of the Trinity River. There's nothing better then a meal cooked and eaten outside, and we went gourmet most of the way.

The first night we had one of our camping standards. Spaghetti with veggies, kielbasa, herbs and parmesan cheese. Always a winner, and the girls loved it!

The curly kale came from our garden.
The second night we went Vietnamese. We had dried oysters, shitakes, cloud ears, rice noodles, beef broth, veggies, special Asian tea bags with a combination of pho' spices, and more kielbasa.

All cooked on our 20 year old handy dandy Coleman cook stove.

The last night we took it easy after a hike and swimming in the river and had hotdogs. Being the condiment queen, I was sure to have mustard, relish, saurkraut, and even ketchup to top those doggies. We did have one evening with smores, which mostly involved flaming marshmallows and lots of giggles. And one morning we went fancy for breakfast and had chorizo and eggs. Obviously I didn't lose any weight on this mini vacation, but I definitely enjoyed my meals!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Texas Chili Cook Off

This internet joke always seems to float around right about the time Fortuna has their chili cook off. It's absolutely hilarious. I see it every year, but I still laugh until I'm crying every time I read it. I decided I'd post it for everyone's entertainment. If you need a good laugh, read on....

Texas Chili Cook-Off

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there's no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas .. Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas , you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park ...

Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield , IL ... Frank: 'Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.'

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:


Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the heck is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.

Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.

Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I think I'm getting drunk from all the beer.


Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, is standing behind me with fresh refills.


Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.


Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.

Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.


Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment.
**I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence..

Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

Judge # 3 - No Report

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fortuna Rodeo Chili Cookoff

Yesterday was the kick off of Fortuna's Rodeo Week, starting with the Chili Cook Off. This is a fun event that's growing in popularity. I sampled some excellent chili, and have to say, "where did they get the judges from?" Because they obviously didn't know good chili. That aside, it's a free event, and there's lots of good chili, fun times, and the band (Boomsauii) was awesome!. I've cooked in this event in the past with my best friend sponsored by the radio station she works for. (Bicoastal Media's country western station Big Red). We won hottest chili two years in a row, and lost the 3rd year to a group serving up something tasting similar to battery acid. There were a lot of complaints that year, so now everyone has toned the heat way down out of fear of the angry capiscum fearing mobs. I have to say that's a sad thing. To me, part of the joy of eating a good chili is the endorphin buzz you get from just the right amount of heat. For me that requires a bit of hurt. So, I'm hoping to try this event out again next year. That gives me a whole year to perfect my recipe, and work on my best friend to get us in the event again. They had some pretty good chili at the 100.3 The Point radio station booth, and they won hottest (I'm not sure why, my 10 year old could eat their chili, it was no where near as hot as Dirty Dan's chili) they're the ones I hope to beat next year. A friendly competition, and I will be bringing on the capiscum, so bring on your pitchforks angry mob.

If you want to know more about the chili cook off and the Fortuna Rodeo, check it out here:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Hundred and One Uses For Salt

A good friend of mine from work gave me this awesome little book. It was published in 1914 by the Diamond Crystal Salt Co. of St. Clair Michigan. It has a nice little forward by a woman named Martha Elizabeth Stuart on the essentials of salt. My favorite part is her quote from her "old Aunt Samanthy". "If you forgits that little pinch of salt afore you boils your 'taters they never do taste right - no matter how much you salts 'em arterwards."

I remember my mom saying something very similar when I was a child, only with less of a southern drawl.

This book has the same appeal to me as MFK Fisher's book How To Cook A Wolf in that it has money saving tips and strategies in tough times. There are things in this little booklet that we all take for granted today, things like refrigeration. ("use number 38. To Keep Butter Hard: Butter may be kept hard without ice by setting the dish in which it is contained in cold salt water. Do not allow the water to come above top of dish. Keep butter covered with cold damp cloth. " ) In this time of environmental concern, the numerous laundry uses of salt are spectacular. Did you know that you can remove insects from your garden vegetables with salt water? You can clean sinks and drains with salt, prevent moths, and put out a fire. You can remove tea stains, wine stains, and polish your copper. You can sooth soar throats and take soothing baths in the stuff. You can kill weeds and bugs in your garden and and relieve colic in horses of all things. Who knew sodium chloride was such and amazing element?

In spite of all the negative publicity salt gets, I LOVE the stuff, and this little booklet is a neat little treasure. I especially like the write up at the end of the the little book promoting "Shaker Table Salt - the Salt that flows"

"For your table, then, you want a salt that does not lump or 'stick' in the shakers when your family or guests want it to come out." They recommend first thah your grocer only sends you Shaker Table Salt made by Diamond Crystal Salt Company, and second, on very damp days, keep you salt shakers, between meals, in the warming oven (remember this is 1914, odds are the stove is wood fired) or under an upturned glass or tumbler.

The final paragraph:
"Truly Shaker Salt is the dainty salt for dainty folks, as well as the pleasant salt for pleasant folks. Your husband, or your guest, has no need to rap and pound for salt when Shaker Salt is Used.

Its price, except in the far West, is 10c a box. Good grocers everywhere sell it. Diamond Crystal Cooking Salt - brings out the flavor

Pass the salt please.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chinese Kale - Early havest meal

Back in August of 2008 I posted about our trip to Oakland's Chinatown. While we were there I picked up a few seed packets in one of the many awesome grocery stores there. One of those packets was Chinese Kale, also known as Chinese broccoli. The same kind of broccoli we were served at Restaurant Peony in Oakland along with our delicious chicken that still had the head attached. Later I posted about my Chinese Kale starts on my Ignorant Gardener Blog and how I was having great success starting them in my milk jug greenhouses. Again, just a little over a week ago I wrote on my Ignorant Gardener blog about how those starts have grown into a fantastic patch of vegetables to be eaten. Well, tonight we got that pleasure, thanks to my husband harvesting, washing, preparing, and cooking that beautiful kale. We rarely have such an abundant harvest of anything but radishes this time of year, so this is particularly exciting for us.

We focused our meal around the Chinese Kale/Broccoli. I found a recipe in my cook book The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young. (I'll post the recipe at the end with my husbands modifications) and threw together some Chinese fried rice. One of the best ways to use up leftovers and odds and ends from your fridge.

The fried rice consisted of 4 cups of cooked long grain rice, two scrambled eggs, cooked, sliced and set aside, a mixed frozen package of seafood, a tsp of fresh ginger, 1/3 cup onion, about a cup of mixed frozen "stir fry" veggies and two tbsp of soy sauce. First my husband fried the onion and ginger in about 3 tbsp of olive oil/sesame oil. He added the frozen mixed seafood and then the frozen stir fry veggies. Last he added the rice. Then he stirred in the cooked eggs and the soy sauce and mixed it all up. This ended up being some excellent comfort food.

Then he cleaned the kale, chopped the stems up and set the leaves aside, and he cooked it, for the most part according to this recipe:

Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli and Chinese Bacon (in our case, salt pork)

10 stalks Chinese broccoli/kale (gai lan) about 12 oz

3 oz Chinese Bacon (lop yak) - we used about a 1/4 of some salt pork that chopped up in bits.

1 (we used a bit more) tsp soy sauce

1 tsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine ( we used Mirin)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 garlic cloes, smashed and peeled

John washed the kale and trimmed it. The thicker stalks (more then 1/2 inch in diameter) he peeled with a veggie peeler and halved lengthwise. All (including leaves) were cut into 2 inch pieces and the stalks were kept separate from the leaves and buds.

John then combined the soy sauce, rice wine and sugar and set aside.

He heated the wok over high heat and added the oil and garlic and stir fried for about 15 seconds. He added the salt pork and cooked until done. Next he added the stalks and cooked for 3 or 4 minutes, and finally he added the leaves and cooked until limp. Then he added in the soy sauce mixture and cooked a couple more minutes. We served this up immediately with the fried rice. A quick and simple (simply delicious) dinner. Our kids happily devoured their meals.

Here's what it all looked like:
The Kale stems:
The fried rice:
John, adding in the Kale leaves:
My beautiful and delicious serving:
My youngest's serving (she wanted her dinner posted on Mom's blog - and she ate it all!)
I quick and economical meal. I love how the Chinese cook. Little to no waste, and I love being able to eat fresh Chinese veggies from my own garden. That trip to Oakland Chinatown keeps paying off.
Happy dining!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quick Beef Noodle Soup

My husband made this great soup last night. It cured my soar throat and was delicious!

Here's his recipe:

Quick Beef Noodle Soup

2 cans beef consomme
6 cans water
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
grated ginger
pepper corns

beef, thinly sliced

thinly sliced:
vegetables (onion, sweet pepper, carrot, cucumber...)
spring onions
fresh hot chile

bean sprouts
fresh basil and/or cilantro
lime wedges

banh pho (flat Vietnamese rice stick noodles, substitute rice noodles, rice vermicelli, fettuccine)

The key to get the texture of the dish right is the noodles of course and to slice the vegetables and meat paper thin. Bring consomme, water, star anise, cinnamon, grated ginger, and pepper corns to boil in large soup pot. Simmer 15/20 minutes until aromatic. Remove star anise, cinnamon stick and pepper corns with slotted spoon or strainer. Add beef simmer two minutes, add noodles and simmer 3-5 more minutes until noodles are done. While noodles boil add sliced vegetables and spring onions to bottom of serving bowls. Serve cooked noodles, meat, and broth onto vegetables in bowls. Top with fresh bean sprouts, sliced fresh chiles, fresh basil and squeezed lime.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Easy homemade mac and cheese

A few days ago my girls were begging for mac and cheese. Not the super rich yummy homemade kind, but that processed stuff in the blue box. Well, I didn't have any blue box mac and cheese. I was down sick with the flu and didn't have it in me to go get any and I wasn't up for making the super rich yummy special homemade stuff, so I whipped up what I could with what I had. This is what I came up with:

I cooked 8 oz of bow tie pasta. I didn't have macaroni, and bow ties are more fun anyway

In the mean time I cubed up about 1/2 cup of medium cheddar cheese and placed that in a small sauce pan.
I added 1/4 cup shredded pecarino romano.
Added 2 tblsp butter
Added 1/4 milk
a couple pinches of kosher salt and a couple turns on the pepper grinder.

I slowly melted this until it was all mixed and liquid then tossed it with the drained bow ties.

My girls loved it! They even said they'd rather have that over the stuff in the blue box! Now that's a compliment!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's up with those Burgerking commercials?

I don't usually have much control of the remote in our house, so I miss a lot of commercials. I do see enough to wonder "what the hey! what is up with the Viagra and Enzyte commercials right at prime time while my kids are watching tv?" Then I saw the Spongebob Squarebutt ad. I have to admit, I have a sick sense of humor, so I thought it was funny. I was surprised when I went to work and the talk around the water cooler was about how inapropriate this ad was. I couldn't fully disagree, but I couldn't see how it was any worse the the Viagra commercials, and I never heard anyone complain about them talking about 4 hour erections in front of our children, so what's so bad about squarebutts? I found the attitude a bit hyporcrytical. Then the Kingon ad with the nipple twister came on. Hmmmm, that one hit me a little bit more. Maybe it was the violence, the memory of the neighbor boys doing that to me as a child, I don't know, it didn't seem appropriate, but I still laughed my butt off. ( I can't always control my sick sense of humor). And I still couldn't see how it was any more inappropriate then the Happy Guy in the "male enhancement" commercials. Anyway, here's the Kingon ad below. Let me know what you think of these ads. I'm curious. Oh, and I guess I should put in a disclaimer here. I worked for Burgerking back in highschool, for less then a year. I have no partiallity towards them, other then they funded my last summer of fun in my hometown.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This was dinner last night. This is one of those meals that takes me back to my childhood. Steak and potatoes. I spent years rejecting this meal after leaving home. I'd eaten so much steak and so many potatoes as a kid, that I thought I'd never eat another bite of read meat or another potato ever again. Now that I'm in my 40's, I crave this. It was pure heaven for me last night to dive into a creamy baked potato slathered in sour cream and chives. The steak, it was divine! And as always, I have to have something green on my plate, and the asparagus, was unusually tender. Not a stringy piece in the bunch. Oh, man! now I'm hungry again. Off to eat some leftover steak. Excuse the drool.