Saturday, March 21, 2009

Colcannon, lets eat more kale

Right now on the stove is a pan with diced kale, sliced potatoes and some water; the kale is simmering and the potatoes steaming. I am making colcannon. Our local paper ran an article with a hearty dish that could be eaten by vegetarians on St Patrick's day, and still be festive. I thought the article missed the boat, because festive starts from within; for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. However the recipe for the potato and kale dish looked good, and I wanted to try it.

I am a bit lazier than the cook that wrote the article, so I am not using 2 seperate pans to cook the vegetables, I put the kale in the bottom and the potatoes on top to steam. Oh and St Patrick's day is long gone, so we are having a roasted chicken to go with.


1 bunch of kale, diced small
4 - 6 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 c water

2 T butter
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg
1 t leaf thyme, crushed
2 green onions sliced thin
2/3-3/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Place kale in bottom of the pan, add sliced potatoes and water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes. Remove pan lid and boil away any excess water (may not be necessary). Add butter and seasonings, start with the smaller amount of milk and mash the mixture. Add more milk if needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Beef Stew a discovery.....

I had thought about this stew throughout the evening, I decided the following about stews in general and my preference in particular. First I love vegetables, but not cooked in stew and for that long. Next time I make this (and I will, the meat was very tasty) I will make braised beef, not a beef stew. Separately I will cook vegetables and make mashed potatoes.

I had originally purchased the stewing beef for soup. But upon inspection, the freezer had no additional space to store another batch of soup. That only means one thing, stew for dinner. I have never been a huge fan of stew, maybe the flavor was not rich enough; but stew growing up - was not looked forward to.

I prefer a rich mingled flavor, it does not matter what I am eating.

I have come to enjoy my Saturdays in the kitchen, some weekends I don't want to leave the house. I just want to play in the kitchen. This is how I played.

My camera died in the middle of it all, so I had no choice but to go to Costco and get batteries, the BIG pack this time.

Saturday Stew
1 slice bacon, diced
1 lb stew beef, cut in bite sized pieces
1 small onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1 T French thyme, crumbled
2 ribs celery diced large
6 carrots, sliced 1 inch*
3 potatoes, cut into up
4 dried tomatoes diced small
1/2 c red wine
2 c beef broth/stock
2 t grainy mustard

Fry the bacon until golden brown, remove and set aside. Reserve the drippings.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper and the thyme. Add the stew beef, diced onions and garlic, coat well. Add to skillet with the drippings and brown well.

Prepare the vegetables and place in the bottom of a 4 qt crockpot, add browned beef, sprinkle with the reserved bacon and dried tomatoes. . Deglaze the pan with the beef stock, stir in the wine and mustard. Pour over the beef in the crockpot, cook on high 4 hours, or until done.

Serve with biscuits and a tossed salad.

Serves 4-6

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

* carrots can be omitted, double the potatoes. The carrots were not as compatible with the seasonings as I prefer a finished dish to be. The stew would be great with buttered carrots or green beans on the side.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Layered Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup, tonight it's whats for supper

Remember those beef commercials from years back, "Beef, it's whats for supper". I am kind of like that about soup. This happens to be beef vegetable barley soup, but any soup will do. The thing about soup is, there are a lot of vegetables in there, and no one seems to mind.

I like the vegetables cut uniform, that way you get a little of everything on your spoon. This beautiful quartet is added to the bottom of the 6 qt. crockpot.

Looks good already, but there is more.

I bunch of kale, also cut in an easy to manage size.

Here is a guideline of what I did for this soup, however soup is very easy to personalize. You can have meat, lots of meat or no meat. You can use different vegetables, or (gasp) no vegetables! You will notice that I do not put potatoes in soup, because I do not like the texture of them when the soup is thawed. But I do have a potato idea that I will share.

Layered beef vegetable barley soup

2 pounds lean ground beef, made into a large patty and browned well, set aside to cool.
1 red onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 carrots, diced
1 bunch kale, diced
1/3 - 1/2 c barley
1 T homemade bay leaf seasoning
2 cloves garlic minced
2 t salt
1 16 oz can ready cut tomatoes, do not drain
beef stock base for approximately 2 quarts of stock

Place diced vegetables in bottom of crockpot, sprinkle with the barley and seasonings. Dice up your meat, add to crockpot. Add tomatoes and their liquid. Add stock to come within 1 inch of the top, cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

Yum, makes 6 qts of meaty dinner soup. This freezes well, and will be enjoyed again when time is tight.

Potato idea: I like baked potatoes. When we have baked potatoes, I always bake up more than we need for the meal. I like them pan fried the next day. This is great for soup night. Plan ahead and when you are having soup for dinner have a baked potato ready to pan fry, add that brown and tasty potato to the bottom of the soup bowl, ladle on your soup. Delicious.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chewy Noodles for Chicken and Noodles

I have wanted to make Chicken and noodles for some time now. These noodles are known by many different names, fat noodles, tough noodles, home style noodles. But I shall call them workout noodles, why you ask?

Because that lump of noodle dough it strong, it actually has a rubbery quality to it. It will resist your rolling pin.

This is after 10 minutes of rolling. The dough simply does not want to flatten. What I finally learned is to roll from the inside out. That seemed to be a better use of my strength to defy the properties of the dough.

Here is the final product, rolled, cut and left to dry. These will be used for the chicken and noodles.

Workout noodles

2 1/2 c flour (you can use part whole wheat flour if desired, but remember they will be very chewy!)
1 1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 c milk, and possibly a bit more

Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the eggs and about 1/2 c milk. Beat the liquid ingredients together, then mix it all together. The dough will have wet pockets and dry pockets, when mixing with a fork becomes difficult; start kneading the mixture in the bowl with your hands.

At this point the dough will be mostly together. Dump it out onto a floured surface, scrape the bowl with a spatula to get all of the noodle dough. Now simply start kneading, about 10 to 12 times.

Add a bit of flour and begin rolling. From the inside out seems more productive. When the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, cut it into narrow rectangles (using a pizza cutter works well for this) and let it dry until dinner time.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Note: I have seen recipes for this type of noodle where the dough is grated. This would require a grater that has a grate pattern large enough to make french fries. It would be easier than rolling, but it would also produce a different cooked texture. If you want to grate, keep dough in refrigerator until ready to grate and add to the hot liquid for cooking.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Homemdade (best guess) Bay Leaf Seasoning

I went to my spice drawer this morning and pulled out the empty Bay Leaf Seasoning jar. I was glad I kept it after my adventure to Penzy's brought me back home void of a new jar of the beloved seasoning blend, because the empty jar held the secret list of ingredients.

I had picked up bay leaves, hoping I could re-create the blend. Using the ingredients list I set about putting together my best guess of what should be in this herb blend. When finished I decided to take the full jar as an omen that the homemade mix will be good.

Come on now, how many times have you made something at home and it was a perfectly fit? The label lists the ingredients in order of weight, and I calculated them to be as follows (and a little help from my friend and helper Anonymous, thanks by the way!):

1/2 oz bag of fresh bay leaves
2 T thyme leaves
2 T rosemary leaves
1 T basil leaves
1 T dried onion
1 T oregano
1/2 t ground pepper
2 T garlic salt
1 T plain salt

Place the bay leaves in the grinder and process until ground. Add remaining and process until powdery. It looks like the real thing, smells like the real thing, so I am hoping it will taste like the real thing. I guess it is now time to cook something with it...............................

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for stopping by,
I appreciate your visits and your comments.

This post is being shared on One Food Club @ Cocina Diary.
Fresh Clean and Pure @ la bella vita

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pesto, the basic process

Here are the basics, fresh basil, pan toasted pine nuts, and first pressing olive oil. Vibrant colors and vibrant flavors, things do not get better.

Fill your processor bowl loosely with fresh basil leaves, this is a 4oz package.

Add 1 1/2 t salt, 2 large garlic cloves, pine nuts and some oil. Begin 30 seconds or so, stop.

Scrape down sides of the bowl, add more oil and cheese. Begin processing again, again about 30 seconds, stop.

This is what you will see in the bottom of the processor bowl, a thick billowy sea of green. See how the pesto does not fall into a puddle against the blade.

Spoon into small freezer jars. Freeze. When needed, shave off slivers and return the jar to the freezer.


PS tomorrow is b'day #54