Saturday, November 27, 2010

Queso Blanco with Hatch Green Chile's and Cilantro


This was my fist attempt at making cheese and I think I am hooked!  It was so easy, fun, and out of this world delicious!  The actually work was so minimal, easier than cooking lunch or dinner is.  So, if you are willing, you will get great results from this.  I am a lover of Mexican food so this is what I wanted to start with.  I flavored it with Green Hatch Chile's from New Mexico, and some dried cilantro, and some salt.  Had it on some nachos for lunch and just got a lot of pleased comments from it.  I think I will try this maybe with an Italian twist as well soon.

1 gallon of whole milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Start with 1 Gallon of Milk heated slowly to 185F with occasional stirring.  Once the temp is reached add 1/4 cup of White Vinegar while stirring. Add this in 3 equal additions.  You should notice the curds beginning to form and the whey separating as a greenish yellow liquid. Let rest for 5 minutes.  Once the curds begin to form well, stir to keep from matting for another 5 minutes.

2. Spread a sanitized piece of cheesecloth over a colander which is placed over a pan to collect the whey.  Pour the curds and whey into this cloth. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt. (You can use the whey to make other cheese such as ricotta cheese.)  Chopped Chile's, spices or herbs can be mixed in also at this point.  Stir the curds gently to increase whey drainage and mix the salt.

3. Tie the four ends of the cheese cloth together and hang for a 5 to 6 hours.  If you have a cheese press hang the cheese for 20-30 minutes and then press with 10 pound for 20 minutes and then press with 25 pounds for 2 to 5 hours depending on how dry you want your cheese.  Your cheese can now be wrapped in waxed paper and refrigerated.  It is now ready to eat!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rosemary Cashew Biscotti


If you can fall in love with bread...that is what I have done!  My mother-in-law made this biscotti and I can't get enough of it!  I have had rosemary in herbed breads, but never something semi sweet.  Wow is the best word I can say, at least the best I can think of at this second.  I am sure there are many more wonderful words I can use that would describe this delectable treat!  I am not a coffee person so I have been eating these by themselves, but bought some hot chocolate today to try them with.  It has been getting colder here in Santa Fe, so I need something to warm me up.  I think a cup of hot chocolate, biscotti, a blazing fire, and a good book sound like a wonderful idea very soon! 

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole cashew nuts (or almonds)

1. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder,dried rosemary and cracked black pepper; process briefly.  With processor running add eggs and vanilla extract; process until dough forms a ball.  Transfer to a large bowl and add cashew nuts blending well.

2. Shape dough into two flat 3 inch wide logs on a large greased cookie sheet or baking pan.  Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.  Remove the rosemary cashew biscotti from the oven.  When cool enough to handle slice logs into 1/2 inch diagonal pieces; place cut side down on cookie sheet.  Bake an additional 15 minutes  or until golden brown.  Cool on racks and store in tins up to 1 month or more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Spinach Dip


For the love of something creamy!  If it is full of cream cheese and Parmesan cheese you can never go wrong!  I was asked to make this a month ago, but alas, I forgot.  Now I am going to my ladies bible study at the church and I am bringing the goods!   This is a stove top version of this wonderful recipe.  I wanted something quick and easy to make but that did not lack in flavor, this is definitely it. 

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry of excess water

1 8 0z can water chestnuts
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
splash of olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 large cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup milk
1/4 mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
lots of fresh cracked black pepper to taste
crusty bread or crackers

1. Over medium heat, heat up large saucepan, then add oil, onions and garlic. Saute until fragrant and light golden brown.

2. Add spinach and water chestnuts and continue to saute till spinach cook together with onions and garlic. Add salt and pepper

3. Add cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, mayo and milk. When cheese melts, turn down heat to low.

4. Continue stirring and allow dip to simmer until cheese and rest of ingredients are blended well together.

5. Add additional salt/pepper to personal taste.  Serve warm with bread and/or crackers.

Recipe adapted from WORC

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


So, being close to Thanksgiving I wanted to make some holiday goodies.  Actually I put my daughter Skye to work in the kitchen to make the first batch of these delightful cookies!  I first came across these when my cousin cooked them and gave me some.  I was in heaven!  They are so fluffy and delicious. I love the texture and above all the taste.  Since my kids love chocolate I decided to add some chocolate chips to the batter.  The kids loved them and so do I, that could be dangerous!  I hope you will try these soon.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
(Possible additional 1/3 cup flour depending on thickness)
1. Preheat oven to 365°F.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl then mix in the wet ingredients. Add additional flour (up to 1/3 cup) as needed for thickness. *
3.Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
*You may add chocolate chips or nuts if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Heather McCorkle

Call for venison recipies


Since I now have a freezer full of deer meat I need some recipes!  Of course I know you can always substitute venison for beef, but I am curious if any of you have any yummy recipes that you make with venison only.  So far I have made meatballs, taco's, backstrap steaks (yumm!) and spaghetti.  Please let me know what you would make with it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Venison Meatballs


My husband got a 4 point deer the other day so now my freezer is stocked with venison!  Yeah!  Now to figure out what to cook with it!  I made these delicious meatballs for a potluck tonight.  made about 50 and came home with 5, the only reason they weren't gone was the last person to take some couldn't fit the rest into his container!  So needless to say, they were good.  I was a little concerned when I was cooking them because they didn't smell too wonderful, but after they had been cooking in the slow cooker for a couple hours the aroma was very tantalizing!   So if your caveman has come home with some wild game, don't hesitate to try these.

Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs ground venison
1/2 c cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Sauce:
1 (18 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz) jar chili sauce
1 (12 oz) jar cranberry sauce

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the meat, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and bread crumbs till thoroughly mixed and shape into balls.

3. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes.  While baking combine jelly, chili sauce, and cranberry sauce with a whisk.  Pour sauce into a slow cooker and turn heat to low.  When meatballs are done cooking in the oven transfer them to the slow cooker and let cook for 4-5 hours on low heat.  Serve warm and enjoy! 



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Herb Encrusted Braided Bread


Saw this recipe on foodgawker and had to try it out.  I am such a lover of bread...sigh...the recipe I came across did not top it with herbs, but since I am also a spice lover, I topped it with a bunch, oh and some garlic.  All of that is optional, but boy did it make the house smell wonderful!  I would make it again just for that lovely aroma.

Apparently everyone else liked it as well cause it is early the next morning and sadly to say...it is all gone!  Guess I will just have to make some more!  This is excellent as sandwich bread, which I made some yummy cranberry chicken spread to go with it.  My daughter hates cranberries so I was surprised that she loved that!  Even wanted more!  It is also great as toast.  I had some this morning with jalapeno jelly, would have been wonderful with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly, but alas, I have none.  But maybe that is a good thing cause I am trying to lose weight!

This bread is a two day process, but well worth the weight I mean wait...

Sponge:

1 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:

1/2 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1. The Sponge: Combine all of the sponge ingredients, mixing just till a cohesive dough forms. Allow it to rest, covered, for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature. (I put it in my oven with the light on.)  When the sponge is ready, it will be filled with large holes and bubbles.

2.  The Dough: Add the water to the sponge, and mix till smooth. Add the flour, yeast and salt, and knead the dough till it’s fairly smooth but not necessarily elastic, about 3 minutes by machine, or 5 minutes by hand. (The gluten will continue to develop as the dough rises, so you don’t want to develop it fully during the kneading process.)

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. To help develop the gluten and distribute the yeast’s food, turn the dough twice during the rising time: gently fold all four sides into the middle, and turn the dough over.

4. Divide dough in thirds, and roll each third into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid ropes. Set the braid on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until just puffy.

5. Preheat oven to 345°F. Gently brush the braid with the beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle generously with your choice of herbs. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven and bake bread for 25 to 35 minutes. If you want a crispy crust spray your loaf with water 2 to 3 times while it cooks.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Fake Ginger

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Lemon Drops


We were out of sweets and the girls were craving something so I made them some myself.  I would have preferred "sour" but I didn't have any citric acid on hand but will get some for next time!  Had to try two times because the first time I didn't use my candy thermometer...those turned out to be crystallized sugar.  Second time worked like a charm.

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or citric acid if you want sour drops)

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Combine the water, sugar, corn syrup and cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water if sugar crystals have formed on the sides. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 300°F.


2. Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the lemon juice into the sugar syrup and stir to combine. When the bubbling has subsided, use an oiled teaspoon to drop teaspoonfuls of the sugar syrup onto the prepared sheets 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading.


3. To store candies, wrap them in sheets of parchment paper, making sure the candies don’t touch, as they will stick together.

Recipe adapted from The Family Kitchen

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smokin Deviled Eggs


I love eggs, but oh how I love deviled eggs!  All that mayo may not be the best for you calorie wise, but there is just something about that creamy filling that makes me want more and more!  The holidays are coming up and this is definitely going to make the rounds at our table.  This is a very simple and easy recipe for a very simple and easy side dish.

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half, yolks removed
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
dash liquid smoke
Smoked Paprika to garnish
Sliced scallions to garnish

1. Mix together egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke till smooth.

2. Place mixture in a zip lock sandwich bag, cutting the tip off of one bottom corner.  Squeeze filling into empty egg shells evenly.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, if you haven't yet tried smoked paprika I highly recommend you go out and get some, if has such a wonderful taste to it.  Top with scallions, or green onions and chill to time to serve.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blissfull Oatmeal Cookies


Ok so these were so yummy I had to make these twice!  Well...I did tell someone I would bring them some and we ate all of our first batch so I kinda had to make another.  These are very simple and your taste buds will thank you for their wonderful sweetness.  Have alone or with a tall glass of cold milk. 

2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 375° F. 

2. Beat all ingredients except oats and flour in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Stir in oats and flour.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.  Pour a nice tall glass of cold milk and enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Truffled Potato Gratin


Now if you are a lover of mushrooms...you will highly enjoy this dish!  I couldn't stop eating it!!!  The combination of potatoes, cream and mushrooms...is out of this world!  OK enough with the exclamation marks, just goes to show you how much I love this side dish!!!!!!  Ok really, I am done with them...I must say that when I say truffles, I don't mean the chocolate things you can never put down after just one, I mean those delectable fungi called truffles. You don't need a lot of them to make it thanks to another wonderful cheese called sottocenere.  If you can't find it at your local store in the specialty cheese section go to a cheese shop and if they don't have it, I am sure they can get some for you. Sottocenere cheese is a semi-soft cheese that is studded with the goodness of truffles.  Now if you want to use truffle mushrooms you can or any wild mushrooms like morel, porcini, chanterelle,  or lobster.  If you can't use those it will still be good with a regular supermarket mushroom.

2 tbsp butter, divided

1 tbsp olive oil
5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 oz sottocenere cheese, grated
2 cups cream
1 cup chicken broth

1. Slice up your mushrooms.  Heat 1 tablespoon butter and your olive oil a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Saute mushrooms for 15-20 minutes until they are all nicely browned.

2. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Slice your potatoes very thin, using a vegetable slicer if you have one, so they are of the same thickness.

3. In the bottom of your casserole dish spread with 1 tablespoon of butter and your clove of minced garlic.  Layer with 1/3 of the potatoes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, half your mushrooms, just about half of your cheese, save a little for the top, repeat with another layer, then top with potatoes.

4.  Poor in a cup of chicken stock and 2 cups of heavy cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and a bit more thyme.  Top with the remaining cheese.

5. Cover very loosely with foil making sure it is not touching the potatoes.  Bake for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue baking another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!

Please let me know what you thought of it! A few more exclamations are needed!!!!!

Recipe courtesy of Chef John from Food Wishes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Asian BBQ Chicken


This is a delicious and totally unique dish. Think of it as Chicken Teriyaki with a South Asian flair...or India meets the other flavors of Asia. Tempted?

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (you'll need 2-3 limes)
11/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon Garam Masala
3 cloves garlic, minced
11/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated*
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how much heat you like)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 scallions (light and dark green parts only), thinly sliced

1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for chicken and scallions. Set 1/4 cup of the marinade aside and cover (you'll use this later for the sauce), then place the rest in a zip-lock freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Be sure chicken is evenly coated, then place bag in refrigerator (in a bowl in case of leakage); let marinate for 3-4 hours.

2. Preheat grill to high heat.

3. Grease grill. (Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; then, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated - repeat as necessary.) Place chicken on the grill; cover and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and done. Place chicken on serving platter, then top with reserved marinade and sliced scallions. Serve hot.

Recipe and photo credits to Once Upon A Chef.

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