Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Italian Wedding Soup

None of the recipes I found called for the normal soup starters: onions, garlic, celery. I figured I'd at least want those flavors, even if I didn't have them floating around in the soup, so I made my own stock.
Italian Wedding Soup
Makes 4 servings
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 head garlic
- 4 stocks celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease (or oil)
- chicken bones/scraps
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 slice bread (or 1/8 cup breadcrumbs)
- 1 egg
- dash garlic powder
- dash onion powder
- dash Italian seasonings
- dash ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 2 carrots
- chicken bouillon
- beef bouillon
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Israeli couscous, depending on how thick you want your soup
- 1 bag fresh spinach
- Heat the grease in a large pot
- Cut off the roots of the onion but do not peel. Quarter the onion, skin and all. Sear in the grease while you chop the garlic. Chop garlic head in half, separate cloves, throw into pot, skin and all. Coarsly chop celery and carrot, throw into pot.
- Add chicken bones, bay leaf, and 2 quarts of water. Simmer for 6-8 hours. Drain, reserving liquid and discarding solids.
- Bring stock to a boil. Meanwhile, make meatballs: tear bread up into little pieces and put into mini food processor. Add egg. Blend a bit. Let sit for 5 min. Blend until smooth. Remove blade and mix in turkey, spices, and cheese. Spoon 3/4 inch lumps of meatball mixture into boiling stock.
- Add carrots and couscous. Boil for 12 minutes or as directed by couscous package.
- Add 1 cube beef bouillon, 2-4 cubes chicken bouillon, and salt to taste.
- Add dash of Italian seasonings and bag of spinach, stirring until spinach is cooked, about 1 min. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nageotte Beans

This is recipe that my extended family has been making for generations, often without the benefit of measurements and written instructions. My cousin Casey shared this version of the recipe.

Nageotte Beans

- 1 lb dry navy (or pea) beans
- 7 -- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion, chopped and lightly sauteed
- 1/2 lb uncured bacon cut into 1 -- 1 1/2" chunks
- salt & pepper to taste -- easy on the salt you can always add more as it cooks
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of summer savory (you may have to look for this herb; it's not commonly found in grocery-store spice racks)
- 1/3 stick of butter
- Briefly boil the beans, then drain, then soak overnight.
- Drain again.
- Put all ingredients into a baking dish which could be a bean pot or a casserole, mix lightly
- Add enough water to top of ingredients is moist
- Bake at 300 -- 325 for 4 to 4 1/2 hours
- Check periodically to keep moist on top. You can use water or you can use beer. A little beer in the cook also helps.
- After 4 -- 4 1/2 hours the beans should be almost creamy. Bake a little longer (keeping moist on top) if not yet done.
Great for picnics and pot-lucks!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Easy Sriracha Wings

This is a fairly easy wing preparation that showcases the complex flavor of cooked Sriracha.

Easy Sriracha Wings

- 12 full wings
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon blackening seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Sriracha

- Put spices and flour in large, sealable bag. Seal and mix well.
- Add wings to mixture. Shake to coat evenly.
- Let sit in refridgerator for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Arrange wings on ungreased pan.
- Bake wings for 20 minutes, flipping half way through.
- Cover each wing with Sriracha to taste, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Enjoy with celery and carrot sticks and your favorite creamy dressing.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jac's Gumbo Stew

I'm using qualifiers like "Jac's" and "Stew" because I'm not trying to pass this off as a traditional gumbo. I've never been to New Orleans. Not a lot of Creole where I grew up in rural PA. I've taken significant departures from the base recipe to come up with this.

Jac's Gumbo Stew

Time ~2hrs, Servings: ~6

- 1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced
- vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 small onion
- 1 stock celery
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper (seeds optional)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 lb chicken, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups water
- 2 cubes beef bullion (or 2 teaspoons Better Than Bullion)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon blackening seasoning (or Creole or Cajun)
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups frozen chopped okra
- rice
- 1/2 lb catfish fillets
- 1/2 lb shrimp

- Cook sausage over medium low heat in large soup pot to melt out the fat. This may take about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dice vegetables.
- Set sausage aside, but reserve grease. Stir flour into grease and add oil until mixture is the consistency of a thin gravy. Stir constantly over low heat for 20-30 minutes until roux deepens in color.
- Stir onions and celery into roux. Cook over medium heat until onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and peppers, and stir a few minutes more. Add chicken and cook a few minutes more until it starts to brown.
- Return sausage to pot. Add tomatoes, water, bullion, salt, hot sauces, spices and okra. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
- Start rice
- Add fish and shrimp to gumbo, simmer over low heat. Taste for saltiness and hotness. You want it a little extra salty and spicy because the rice will cut both significantly.
- The gumbo is finished when the rice is done. Serve over rice with hot sauce(s) of your choice. Enjoy!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

This is based off of this recipe from Allrecipes.com. It is not vegan, low cal or gluten free. It is delicious. I used 1.5 x this recipe for the crust - no rolling.

- 2 8 inch pie shells
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 63% cacao chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Heat sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a small sauce pan until sugar is dissolved, stirring to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- Beat eggs, add bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Distribute pecans evenly between the two shells.
- Stir chocolate chips into warm corn syrup mixture until they melt. Whisk in egg mixture. Pour half of mixture into each shell.
- Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until filling has set. Cool on rack. Serve warm or chilled.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Soup (Vegan, Low Carb)

Threw this together from a couple different recipes. It's creamy but not thick. You can reduce the liquids and add a thickener if you wand something closer to gravy consistency. This happens to be vegan and low carb. It's also delicious.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Time: 40 min
Servings: 4 side dish
About 8 grams carbs per serving
About 4 grams protein per serving

- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 cups dice mushrooms - I used portobello and crimini mushrooms
- generous shake of Italian seasonings or thyme
- generous black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 3 vegan bouillon cubes - I used Better Than Bouillon "No Chicken Base"
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry

- Heat oil in wide pot or pan. Add onions and sautee until translucent. Add garlic, mushrooms and seasonings. Cook stirring frequently until mushrooms are cooked down, about 10 min. If needed, transfer to soup pot for next step:
- Optional: use immersion blender to reduce mushrooms pieces to desired size.
- Add water and bouillon, and simmer until onions are very soft, about 20 min.
- Add soy milk and sherry. Heat the soup back to serving temperature but do not boil. Enjoy!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie

I've made this pie several times over the past year. I usually use firm silken tofu. Soft would probably work, you'd just have a softer pie. Silken tofu usually comes in two sizes: 12 oz and 16 oz. If you use a 12 oz block, just use a 8 inch pie pan. I tend toward darker chocolate and desserts that aren't overly sweet. My favorite chips are Ghirardelli Chocolate 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips.

Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie
- 1 9 inch graham cracker crust
- 1 lb silken tofu
- 1 10 oz bag dark chocolate chips
- 6 oz coconut milk (light is fine)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Melt chips with coconut milk. If doing this in the microwave, stir several times to keep chocolate from burning.
- Pour off excess liquid from tofu, put in blender. Add melted chocolate coconut mix, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping sides with spatula to get everything mixed in.
- Pour mixture into crust. Refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours). Serve with whipped (coconut) cream.

Whipped Coconut Cream
Note: Use a high fat coconut milk or coconut cream. 17g fat per 100mL is sufficient. 6g per 100mL wouldn't work. You want a milk that solidifies when refrigerated.
- Pour one 13.5 oz can coconut milk into a small mixing bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Whip chilled coconut milk on high speed several minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and powdered sugar to taste. Serve on your favorite desserts, especially Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie.

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