Monday, October 28, 2013

Cooking on the Farm

Now Available!
Cooking on the Farm is a cookbook/memoir that contains over 80 family recipes and nearly a dozen stories from my childhood at The Rooster Ranch Hunt Club in the Thumb of Michigan.  It contains over 50 color and 60 black and white photographs.  It is a book for home cooks as well as hunting enthusiasts.  Many of the recipes are geared towards wild game, such as pheasant and venison, but easily adapted to more conventional proteins.
Signed copies are available now.  Use the paypal button on the sidebar or buy through amazon here.
If you have questions, contact me here: 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad

Last week my husband was in charge of dinner.  He made a menu for the week, grocery shopped, and made dinner and lunches for 6 straight days.  This is something that has never happened in our 11+ years of marriage.  Like most men, he is in charge of the grill and clueless about pretty much everything else that happens in our kitchen.  He doesn't mind slapping some steaks on the grill when I have the meat prepped and ready to go.  Heck, I normally even have the tongs and a clean plate for the finished product, so he really doesn't have to do much of anything.  So, I will admit, it was fun to watch him squirm throughout the week.

The final meal of the week on his schedule was chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies.  I was happy with that plan since our prior meals consisted of the saddest looking nachos anyone has ever seen, burgers, scrambled eggs and carrots?, chicken fingers, and spaghetti.  It was a sad food week, and we quickly learned that my husband has a hard time judging how much food to make (way too little) and he almost always forgets to season, so I was hopeful that he had improved throughout the week and I was looking forward to the grilled chicken that night.

Well, sadly, the chicken was so overcooked that it felt a bit leathery and the mashed potatoes were dry and lumpy.  However, the steamed broccoli and cauliflower saved the meal since they were spot on.  We had a good laugh through dinner as we choked everything down and talked about the meals he had made throughout the week.  It was a good learning experience and it gave us plenty to talk about each night, which is not always the case.  Looking back, I would have to say that we both had a fun week and I am tempted to suggest we make this a reoccurring event.  I'll let you know how that goes over!

I used the leftover grilled chicken to make this curried chicken salad and you would never know it, the chicken salad turned out moist, flavorful, and made a really good sandwich.  Feel free to use leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken if you have it.

Curried Chicken Salad

4 cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine or plum wine
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
a pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, preserves, and wine.  Add all remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.  Serve in a toasted pita with lettuce.

*I garnished mine with dried cranberries and that made it even tastier.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cooking on the Farm - The Book

I did it...I wrote a cookbook.  I spent a good bit of last spring and much of my summer creating an outline filled with lists of recipes and family stories that I hoped would turn into a real book, a printed collection of recipes.  I can say it is a real book!  I received the unbound proof this week and I was finally able to hold it in my hands!  
Most of the recipes within are unique to this book and not found on my website because I wanted to focus on childhood favorites and family recipes for this, my first book.  Yes, there will be more to come, but first things first.   The title of my book is Cooking on the Farm.  It is filled with over 80 recipes and well over 100 photographs.  I included a photograph with every single recipe and over 50 of them are full color.  

I have included 8 chapters filled with everything from breakfast to soups, stews, and nearly a dozen dessert recipes.  The majority of the poultry recipes in the book are designed around pheasant as the main protein and the meat chapter calls for venison since the majority of the book shipment will be delivered to my parents' hunting preserve.  However, every recipe easily adapts to more conventional proteins like chicken, beef, and pork.  So don't dismiss it if you are not a hunter, every recipe is approachable and delicious whether or not you have access to wild game. 
I've also included over 10 stories from my childhood.  Many of them are hunting or fishing related since that has always been an integral part of my life.  (I grew up on a hunting preserve so I learned to embrace it as much as I could.)  I've also written about the wonderful people in my life and some of the most memorable moments I experienced growing up.  
The cookbook is now available for preorder and will be released for shipment on November 1st.   Signed copies will be available for a short time.  I've added a paypal account on the sidebar so you can order one at your own convenience.  I would be completely thrilled and probably speechless if you ordered one.  
The last thing I wanted to say was thank you.  Thank you for visiting my humble little blog and coming back time and again to check out my recipes.  I have enjoyed sharing every single recipe with you for the past 7 (nearly 8!) years and I look forward to bringing you even more tasty recipes in the coming years.  I have the comments off for the time being, but please send me an e-mail anytime.  I would love to hear from you.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Bread, three ways

This pumpkin bread is nice, light, and just barely pumpkin-y.  The pumpkin lends a bit of suppleness and moisture to the dough that helps it remain fresh for days.  The plain loaf is perfect for slicing and eating.  But if you want to take it even further, you should toast it and add a healthy shmear of a peanut butter and jelly.  Yum!

My son loves a good cinnamon swirl bread and was quite excited when I sliced into the second loaf for breakfast.  He thought it was terrific, and he enjoyed it toasted with a generous amount of butter on top.  

The third loaf I transformed into cinnamon rolls and they were quite good fresh out of the oven, still slightly warm.  I nibbled away at mine with a cool glass of iced coffee.  It was good, although I wouldn't mind a little more pumpkin flavor in the cinnamon rolls.  I'll be experimenting with that recipe a bit more, but I explained what I did if you want to give them a try.

This recipe makes a lot - 3 medium loaves of bread.  I opted to make one plain loaf, one cinnamon swirl loaf, and one batch of cinnamon rolls which gave us enough variety that we didn't tire of any one bread before it was gone.  

Pumpkin Bread - plain
Makes about 3 medium loaves

5-7 cups all purpose flour (a mix of whole white wheat and all purpose would also work well)
2 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, sugar, and yeast.  Let sit 3-4 minutes.  Whisk in the oil, salt, and pumpkin puree.  Using the dough hook attachment, mix in 3 cups flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.  Gradually add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  Mix with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes on low speed.  If the dough starts to stick to the sides add a touch more flour.  The dough should be quite soft but not sticky to the touch.  If it sticks to the very bottom of the mixing bowl a little, that is fine. 
Transfer dough to a large, oiled bowl.  (I like to spray the bowl with oil, transfer the dough, flip it over so the top gets oiled too, and then lay plastic wrap directly on top of the dough.)  Cover with a towel, and place in a warm spot for 30-60 minutes.  Transfer dough to a floured counter.  Cut the dough into thirds.  Use a rolling pin to roll one portion into a large rectangle roughly 12x30 inches.  From the 12 inch side, roll the dough into a log.  Tuck the ends under and place in an oiled loaf pan.  Repeat with remaining loaves.  Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake loaves for 30 minutes or until browned on top.  A good rule of thumb is that a loaf of bread should sound hollow when it is tapped.
Pumpkin Swirl Bread-make 3 loaves
To make pumpkin swirl bread, you simply sprinkle 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon over the bread before rolling it into a log.  Bake time remains the same.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Sugar Glaze-makes 4-5 pans of cinnamon rolls
To make these cinnamon rolls, you should cream 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Spread this mixture into the dough once it has been rolled out.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans.  Roll dough into a long, thin log from the 30 inch side.  Using a bit of string, slide the string under the loaf and then pull the ends up and across the dough pulling tight to cut the loaf into 1 inch rolls.  Place rolls in an oiled cake pan, leaving a bit of space between each roll.  Bake time will be about 25 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes before glazing.
The glaze is 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar mixed with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.  Spread onto the slightly warm rolls.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Beef and Pork "Sausages"

The other day I made a new variation of a Middle Eastern dish we have from time to time.  The taste is  somewhere between a meatloaf and a sausage.  I mixed a pound of beef and a pound of pork to create a very moist flavorful meat.  I added crushed garlic, parsley, onion, and hot paprika to give it plenty of flavor.  I served it with rice and a crisp, refreshing cucumber yogurt salad.  We loved this version and the kids requested them the following night, so I know they are a keeper.

Beef and Pork "Sausages"

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 cup parsley
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place the ground beef and pork in a large bowl.  In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until they are finely minced.  Add the parsley and pulse until minced.  Add mixture to meat.  Season with paprika, a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Mix together with a fork or your hands.  Shape meat into 2 inch long football-shaped spheres.  Grill over high heat.  Serve with rice and cucumber yogurt sauce, if desired.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Pretzel-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

A few weeks ago I went out to dinner at a local restaurant/winery, and I ordered a pretzel-crusted pork medallion.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the entree, and whenever that happens it almost always translates into an attempt at recreating the entree in my own kitchen.  Earlier this week my kids helped me in the kitchen, and we decided to give it a try.  I enjoyed creating this recipe because there were many opportunities for them to get involved.  Gabe was responsible for the crust and mashed potatoes while Grace was given the asparagus and honey-Dijon glaze.
The finished meal was a hit with everyone, and the kids had many things to discuss during dinner.  They critiqued the dish, and we talked about what we might change the next time we make this dinner.  We originally tied the medallions with kitchen twine, but we felt it was unnecessary.  So here is our edited recipe for Pretzel-Crusted Pork Medallions.

Pretzel-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

1 (1-2 pound) pork tenderloin, room temperature

1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk together in a small bowl.

1 large soft pretzel (we used a homemade version, recipe coming soon)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter

Place soft pretzel in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until pretzel resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Remove and place in a medium bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and then place a rack on top.  (A small cooling rack works well.  Spraying it with nonstick spray will help during cleanup.)  Slice the pork tenderloin into 3 ounce medallions.  Place on rack and brush all sides with prepared glaze.  Place in heated oven for 7 minutes.  Remove and add crust mixture to the top of each medallion.  Return to oven for 12-18 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 145°F.  I often give the medallions a squeeze, if they feel firm to the touch they are ready.  Remove and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Sugar-Crusted Molten Lava Cake

Earlier this summer I invited my children into the kitchen for a "cooking class." I set up a space at the kitchen island with two electric burners that were leftover from a kitchen remodel a couple years ago.  I also gave them each a cutting board and their own knife to practice with.  Together we brainstormed to come up with things that they would like to cook and that were practical for beginners.  We started with the most obvious choice, pancakes.  Then we moved up towards more complex dishes like stir fry, meatloaf, chicken fingers, and pie.  They enjoyed each session and asked for more.  They also showed quite a bit of interest in plating and photographing their creations, so I guided them through an entire blog post from start to finish.  Tonight they made Pretzel-Crusted Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Roast Asparagus, and Sugar-Crusted Molten Lava Cake.  
The kids were engaged throughout the entire process and enjoyed getting a chance to photograph their creations.  My seven year old son really got into setting up the shot and loved taking photos of his creations.  He got pretty crafty and picked out napkins, silverware, and even adjusted the camera angle to get the shot he wanted.  Tonight we are sharing the lava cake recipe and later this week we will be sharing the pork loin recipe.   
Sugar-Crusted Molten Lava Cake

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for dusting custard cups

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Spray 6-6 ounce custard cups with baking spray and then sprinkle in  2 teaspoons granulated sugar, rotate to coat and then tap the excess out.  Cut the butter into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Add both types of chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir.   Heat at 20-second intervals until butter and chocolate chips are melted, the mixture should look like a thick chocolate sauce.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk together until smooth.  Divide equally among custard cups and bake for 14 1/2 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges and invert onto small plates to serve.  Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Posts You Might Enjoy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...