Thursday, January 29, 2015

Honey Roasted Peanuts

My husband loves honey roasted peanuts, so I set out to make this one for him. Store-bought honey roasted peanuts are not cheap, and full of so many other additives, I just knew I could probably make them at home better and less expensively. Additionally I control what's in them and there are no other ingredients except peanuts, honey, sugar and salt.

That's not to say this was not without challenges wouldn't be true, however once it all comes together, you just really need to work quickly to insure you don't have one, big, stuck together blob of peanuts. Once that's mastered, these are easy and delicious.

1 lb. organic peanuts
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 300. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sugar and the salt in a large metal bowl.

Heat honey in a large skillet over high heat until boiling. Continue cooking for two minutes. Remove from heat and add the peanuts to the saucepan, stirring quickly to ensure that all of the peanuts get coated with honey.

Quickly transfer the honey coated peanuts to the bowl containing the sugar and salt and using a strong spoon, quickly mix until the peanuts are well coated and practically all of the sugar and salt is on the peanuts.

Place the peanuts on the two baking sheets. Break apart as much as possible with a wooden spoon. It is alright if some clusters remain, but try to separate them as much as possible.

Place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring every five to ten minutes. Each time you stir, try to redistribute the peanuts to a single layer. Remove from the oven and stir again. These will cool down very quickly, so here's where you need to work quickly.

Transfer peanuts to parchment paper laid out on your kitchen counter top. Let cool some and break apart into individual pieces.

Store in an airtight container (I used a quart mason jar) at room temperature for up to two weeks.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Loose Meat Sandwiches on Sourdough Onion Bread Mini's

I saw this recipe a short time ago from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate for loose meat sandwiches, and I knew right then and there I was going to try it. She serves hers on soft Hawaiian sweet rolls, but I chose to serve mine on Sourdough Onion Bread Mini-Loaves I'd made, and it totally worked. You could also use the Sourdough Onion Rolls if preferred.

Sourdough Onion Bread Mini-Loaf

Sourdough Onion Rolls

The onion bread totally complimented the loose meat mixture and it was the perfect size for lunch. This is one of those recipes you'll make over and over again ... it's tasty, easy, serves a lot, is budget-friendly and absolutely delicious!

1 lb. ground beef (I used grass-fed beef)
1 tbls. cider vinegar
1 tbls. brown sugar
1 tbls. Worcestershire
1 tbls. soy sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp.garlic powder
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube (or granules)
1 chicken bouillon cube (or granules)

Put beef and onion in large skillet along with water. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, break up beef well while bringing it to a low boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until no longer pink.

Add all other ingredients and continue lightly boiling, stirring often, until water is cooked down and mixture gets thick (I let it cook until the water was almost gone).

Strain beef out and place small mounds of beef onto slices of the sourdough onion bread mini-loaves.

Top with your choice of condiments (I added sliced cheese to mine).


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Monday, January 26, 2015

Easy Fried Rice

Possibly the easiest Fried Rice you'll ever make, only uses a few ingredients, and comes together quickly. Even better the next day.

2 cups cooked rice
2 tbls. butter
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 small onion, diced small
2 eggs, whisked
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 tbls. soy sauce (or to taste)

In a large fry pan, melt butter and saute' celery and onion until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Stir in eggs and cook until eggs are set.

Stir in cooked rice and soy sauce, stirring until blended.

Mix in cooked and crumbled bacon and serve.

Serve with Asian Sticky Wings for an easy dinner.


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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Boston Brown Bread

Did you know?

“Brown bread is as old as our country,” James Beard wrote in “American Cookery” (1972). “Everyone seems to treasure an ‘original’ recipe, handed down from the founding families.”

At the time of the American Revolution, wheat flour was a luxury. Cornmeal and rye flour were more common. So the three grains were combined in what were called “thirded” breads. A bread born of necessity 300 years ago easily could have been invented this morning by a nutritionist. It’s high in fiber and low in calories — like a giant bran muffin without all the sugar. Some recipes use brown sugar, but the more traditional ones rely on molasses for sweetening.

Boston brown bread ingredients include whole wheat flour, cornmeal, rye flour, buttermilk and molasses. Since few early American homes had ovens, bakers poured the bread dough — leavened with baking soda – into a cylindrical fireproof container and steamed it over an open fire. They’d been taught by Native Americans, who also showed them how to use corn as a grain for bread. Cornmeal often was called “indian.”

In her directions for making brown bread in “American Frugal Housewife” (1828), Lydia Maria Child wrote: “Put the Indian in your bread pan, sprinkle a little salt among it, and wet it thoroughly with scalding water. … Be sure and have hot water enough; for Indian absorbs a great deal of water.”

Brown bread, known outside New England as Boston brown bread, was traditionally served with Boston baked beans. It’s also pretty good with cream cheese and jam for breakfast or afternoon tea. (source: American Food Roots)

I grew up having Boston Brown Bread with Boston Baked Beans and hot dogs on Saturday nights. Oh yes, that was living! It was always so good, and so simple. Sometimes simple foods are the best.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Cornmeal
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup dark molasses
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup dark seedless raisins (optional)
Option -  substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup rye flour in place of the 2 cups whole wheat flour

This recipe has not changed much from the days of the Pilgrims.  Once you prepare this dish you will never again buy brown bread in a can at the grocery store.

Place all the dry ingredients in your electric mixing bowl and mix well with your machine. Add the liquid ingredients and blend well.

Grease three 16-ounce wide-mouth canning jars and place ⅓ of the batter in each. Cover each with wax paper and then aluminum foil. Tie each with a bit of string so that the foil is sealed.

Place a cake rack in the bottom of a large stock pot and place the cans on the rack. Add enough boiling water to come ⅓ up the side of the cans.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the cans for about 2-½ hours. Check the water level now and then as you may need to add more water.

Remove the jars from the stock pot and allow to cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove the aluminum foil cover, run a butter knife all around the inside of the jars, invert and shake out gently onto the cooling rack.

Slice with a knife and serve hot topped with butter. Add a side of Boston Baked Beans and Hot Dogs for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American

Cook's note - the wide-mouth canning jars are simply used to bake the bread in. They can't be used to store the bread in, and are not to be considered shelf-stable; the bread must be removed from the jars and  stored in your refrigerator, or wrapped and frozen.


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Turkey Noodle Soup

Taking the time to make your own turkey bone broth or stock is well worth it, and I really like the convenience of having some on my pantry shelves. And just think, when you want to make soup, it's just a matter of minutes to put it all together. Even better? You know what's in it!

What are the benefits of Turkey Bone Broth? Bone broths are extraordinarily rich in nutrients – particularly minerals and amino acids. Bone broths are a good source of amino acids – particularly arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the bodies detoxification process and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally-occurring chemicals within the body. Glycine also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. Proline, especially when paired with vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status, thus supporting skin health. (source: Nourished Kitchen)

See here to make Turkey Bone Broth 

So now to make Turkey Noodle Soup

4 cups (1 quart) Turkey Bone Broth
1 cup cooked turkey meat, cut into pieces
1 small onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
1/2 cup cut carrots
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup green peas or corn
(or you can use any of your favorite vegetables)
1 - 1 1/2 cups small egg noodles, uncooked
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large pot on your stove top; cover and bring to a boil.

Uncover, turn heat down to medium, and continue cooking until the noodles are tender.

Serve hot with dinner rolls, biscuits, or bread.

Yield:  4 servings


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Friday, January 23, 2015

Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread ... this has very New England roots and how it got it's name is very interesting! I grew up having this bread from time to time when my dad would make it. It brings back lots of memories for me and this is exactly the story my dad told me all those years ago ...

 "This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread.  

It is not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except it existed before 1850 in Rockport, Massachusetts. It is thought to have come from the local fishing community,but it may have come through the Finnish community of local stone cutters.

Near the turn of the 20th century, it was baked by a man named Baker Knowlton on King Street in Rockport, Massachusetts and delivered in a horse-drawn cart to households by men in blue smocks.

Talking to my adult daughter tonight, she was like what? Oh yes, I remember Granddad making this bread. 

It's very much corn meal mush and molasses meets yeast and flour, which in turn makes this amazing bread.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbls. butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt

Place 1/2 cup water and cornmeal in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook and let it do most of the work).

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (can take up to 2 hours).

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.


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Potato Egg and Cheese Waffle

I love playing around with different waffle ideas. The good old waffle iron is such a versatile tool and it takes "every day" ingredients and makes it something new and fun.

1/2 cup frozen cubed potatoes
2 farm fresh eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes around the bottom of a well greased waffle iron. Close lid and cook several minutes, or until potatoes are almost cooked through.

Pour beaten eggs with salt and pepper over top of potatoes. Sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese, close lid and continue cooking until eggs are set.

Serve immediately with a side of fresh salsa if desired.

Yield:  1 large waffle


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