Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eggnog Poundcake

This a nice fine grained pound cake that isn't too sweet and goes nicely with coffee or tea. It's also a nice way to use up any eggnog leftover from the holiday season. The only caution is, follow the directions carefully. If you under-mix when creaming the butter, sugar and eggs, or over-mix the flour, the result will be coarse textured and heavy or tough.
  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick) softened
  • 1 c. sugar
Start by beating the butter, adding the sugar in small amounts until thoroughly creamed together. Keep beating until smooth and looking like frosting.
3 large eggs
Beat each egg in separately, beating until the mixture again resembles smooth frosting, with enough body to hold little ridges. When all 3 eggs have been incorporated add the remaining ingredients.

Distribute over the butter mixture:
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
Then, mixing by hand or on the slow speed of the mixer, alternate flour and eggnog. Do not over-mix or the cake will be tough.
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. eggnog (may need to add another 2 T. depending on how dry the mixture is in the final stage)
Pour batter into one large or two small loaf pans (spray bottoms with no-stick spray)
If desired, decorate top with sliced almonds. Place them near the center line, as the loaf will split on top as it bakes and they will move toward the sides of the pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F about 1 hour (for small loaves) or 1:15 min - 1:30 for a large loaf.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is an English dish, traditionally made with finely chopped lamb or mutton. Americans typically make Shepherd's Pie with ground beef. The English (and Australians and New Zealanders) call the beef dish a "cottage pie".
This recipe serves four.
  • 2 pounds potatoes (3 large ones) peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute broth 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas, carrots (diced) and corn

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk, cheddar cheese and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt, pepper and garlic. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In another skillet cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer gravy about 1 minute, add gravy meat and vegetables. Stir in peas and corn.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned.

This recipe is easily adapted for use with the Dutch oven process. Cook the meat, veggies and gravy in the Dutch oven over coals, and cook the potatoes in another pan. When the mashed potatoes are prepared, spoon them over the hot meat mixture, put about a dozen coals on the oven lid and cook until the potatoes are browned.

Serve with a salad, hot rolls and butter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Uncle Leonard Kelly's Smoked Salmon Brine & Turkey Brine

Ok friends and neighbors - here you go - two great brine recipes from our buddy John A., in his own words.

Uncle Leonard Kelly's Smoked Salmon Brine

2 QT Water
3/4 Cup Un-Iodized Salt
1 C. White Sugar
2 C. Brown Sugar
1 TBLS (tablespoon) - Cyan or Chili Pepper
3/4 TBLS Garlic Powder
1/2 TBLS Onion Powder

Soak fish in brine overnight - place fish on racks, skin down, let dry 2 - 3 hrs. then sprinkle a layer of brown sugar on top of fish fillets, and fresh ground black pepper. (Sugar s about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)

Smoke 10-12 hours - Maple or Alder wood are preferred.


Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey Brine: 12-15 pound Turkey
2 C. un-iodized salt
4 C. brown sugar
3 TBLS onion powder
3 TBLS celery salt
1 TBLS garlic powder
1 crushed bay leaf
1 TBLS cinnamon
1 gallon cranberry or cranberry/raspberry juice

Place turnkey in plastic garbage bag in a large bucket, cover the turkey with brine and squeeze all of the air out of the bag before closing it up. Soak in brine overnight. Smoke turkey 5-6 hrs (maple or alder wood). Finish off turkey on the BBQ - 1.5 to 2 hrs.

Good stuff - both of these! Not sure how the fish brine would work on cat fish or your Gulf fish, but may be worth a try. I have used it on Sturgeon with good result. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

John's Chili

You can't beat this on a cold day. Top with all your favorite chili toppings. Choose from Fritos, chopped onions, peppers, grated cheese, sour cream, or get creative!
2 pounds Beef - buffalo - elk - roadkill etc. burger
1 pound sausage
3 envelopes Chili spices & seasonings (I use Shillings)
2 TSP Chili Powder
1 TSP Paprika
Dash of Cumin
Course ground pepper
4 large cans diced tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce
3 large onions - diced
Fresh garlic
3-4 stalks celery
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
JalapeƱo peppers - to taste, diced small (for Oregon 3-5 for Texas 5-8 peppers)
2 cans each of the following beans - white, black, pinto, red and kidney (drain and rinse beans)
Brown meat with one onion and the garlic in 12 QT pot.
Add all other ingredients - cook on low - stir frequently - 3 - 4 hours.


Big John's Burritos & Supermo Tostada

Our good buddy John frequently makes these burritos for our tailgate parties and if you don't grab one quick you won't get one! Roll them up ahead of time and heat on a griddle if you have one available, or heat in a microwave, or on a skillet.
2 pounds stew meat
Cook meat with onions and garlic to taste for about 5 hrs or until you can shred the meat.
Add (2) envelopes of Burrito spices & seasonings
Mix well.
Fold meat & cheese in small flower burrito shells (soft flour tortillas)
Should make 30 burritos. Can fry or microwave as desired.
Top with any favored sauces and enjoy!

If you're really hungry, try this variation......

Supermo Tostada
Make the burritos above.
Place 2 burritos on plate
Paint on refried beans, then top with favorite goodies'
Guac - sour cream - olives - hot sauce
Onion - lettuce - tomatoes & ranch dressing on top

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grayce's Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Grayce, a good friend of ours, made this recently for a tailgate party. Everyone loves it, and it's a great make-ahead dish.
5 or 6 chicken breasts (split & cooked)
12 corn tortillas, quartered
1 4 oz.can Ortega green chilis, diced and seeded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
3/4# to 1 # grated sharp cheese
Grease 13 x9 baking dish; mix soup,onion,milk and green chili's. Layer tortillas, chicken, sauce and cheese in casserole. Leave some cheese for the top. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. Cover with foil. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer.
Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Does not freeze well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pete's Pot roast (A.K.A. Never-sweat stew)

We worked up this dutch oven recipe while camping at Eagle Lake, in Lassen County, CA. (Named for pioneer Pete Lassen) Once known as Nataqua Territory, there's a lot of rich pioneer history here, centered around both Honey Lake and Susanville. Living off the soil was so easy here that the townsfolk soon acquired an undeserved reputation of indolence. The name "Never-Sweats" was applied to the settlers and the name stuck into well into the 1860's and beyond.... hence the name of the stew.

It is easy, and a great recipe to use when you want to just relax in camp, but know you'll have a satisfying dinner when the coals die down. If you're feeling ambitious sourdough biscuits are a great accompaniment. See the slide show at the bottom of this recipe for all the steps.

This recipe serves four:
Using a charcoal starter or pile in a heap in a fire ring – start off about 4 lb. Charcoal. (amount will vary depending on outdoor temperature, wind, etc.) Coals need to burn about 10-15 minutes for all to become fully lit. OR Rev up a nice hot campfire using hard wood and wait for coals to develop.

Put your Dutch oven on the coals and add about 4 T. vegetable oil. Allow to heat until it starts to pop.
Prep while the coals and oil are heating: 1½ pound round steak or London broil, about 1½” thick, sliced in pieces approximately 4x5. Sprinkle both sides liberally with Rudy’s Rub (or similar spicy BBQ rub). Pound with meat tenderizer or edge of saucer until meat is about ¾ “ thick and the spices have been worked in. Mix a little salt and pepper with about ½ c. flour, coat both sides of each slice of meat, working the flower into the meat. Lay on a plate and cover, let rest for about 30 minutes.

Vegetables: quarter and slice a couple of large potatoes and an onion, slice up a couple of carrots into 1" pieces. Dice ¼ bell pepper and a clove of garlic. Place all the vegetables and an individual size can of whole kernel corn (or substitute abut ½ c. frozen, or fresh cut from two ears) in a bowl with a bottle of beer. Allow the vegetables to marinate at room temperature while you prep and brown the meat.

Coat the meat again with flour and work it in to any areas where the previous flour looks moist from the meat juices. Brown the meat on both sides in the hot oil.

Remove the Dutch oven from the coals. Remove meat, place cast iron trivet in the bottom of the Dutch oven (not essential but it helps prevent the meat from scorching) replace meat, pour in a bottle of your favorite cooking beer. Pull some of the coals to the side and lift a shovel-full (about 15 coals) for the lid. Put the kettle in the middle of the ring of coals, replace the lid and add the shovel-full of coals on the lid. Let the meat simmer for about 20 minutes, then check the liquid level. If it’s getting dry add a couple of cups of water.
Check as often as you think necessary. The outside temperature will have a lot of impact on how many coals you need. Simmer for about an hour. Then pour in the vegetables along with the beer they've been marinating in. Snuggle up the coals around the kettle, maybe put another coal or two on the lid, depending on how hot the contents were. Allow to simmer another hour, keeping an eye on the liquid. If it’s not quite time for supper you can just let it sit, as the heat from the coals will gradually taper off but the contents of the kettle will stay hot for quite awhile.
This recipe also works well in a crock pot.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Texas Jack Muffins

This recipe is an adaptation of the Sailor Jack muffins, which seem to be native to the Pacific Northwest. These moist, spicy muffins are turned upside down and then while still slight warm drizzled with a light glaze. I first encountered Sailor Jacks in the bakery inside Sherm's Thunderbird market in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I didn't see them again for years until I found them in a market bakery in Eugene, Oregon. I've never seen an "official" recipe, though many others have tried to recreate it just as I have. My version has a few ingredients I'm quite sure aren't in the original Sailor Jack recipe, so in recognition of the southern fondness for pecans and coconut, I've named these in honor of Texas Jack Omohundro - famous cowboy and western scout.

Preheat the oven to 375° F
Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Place in a blender:
1 c. uncooked oats
2 T. molasses
½ c. golden raisins
1¼ c. boiling coffee (or water if the chuck wagon’s out of coffee)
Allow mixture to stand 20 minutes, then process at a medium speed just until the oatmeal and raisins are chopped up. You don’t want to lose the texture totally.

With a mixer beat together:
½ c. softened Smart Balance
½ c. dark brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. aromatic bitters*
1 egg
Pour the oatmeal mixture into the bowl and stir gently.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the moist mixture and stir in – don’t beat or the muffins will become tough.
1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
¼ c. oat bran
1 t. soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
½ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground ginger

When the dry ingredients have been well blended fold in
½ c. chopped pecans
½ c. shredded coconut
Have an additional half cup of each available for garnishing the tops after glazing.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. This recipe makes 12 full muffin cups.
Bake the muffins until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 23 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack upside down to prepare for glazing. Glaze doesn’t soak in well on the top surface, but if you prefer your muffins “right side up” the glaze will still be decorative and add a little flavor. Sprinkle a little coconut and chopped pecans on each muffin while the glaze is still moist.

1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional - some have only a plain sugar glaze with no flavor)
1 teaspoon milk
Mix all the ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over the partially cooled muffins. The glaze should soak in about 50%, with some remaining on the surface.

The bitters is optional, but does add a special tang that no other spice can match! Increase the amount to suit your taste.

This recipe was updated 3/23/2012 to reduce the sugar.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fresh Broccoli Salad

This is one of our favorite ways to eat broccoli. The dried fruit adds a nice bit of color and flavor contrast.

In a medium size bowl mix the dressing:
2 T mayonnaise
2 t. rice vinegar
1 -1/2 t. sugar (or equivalent of other sweetener)
Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Adjust the sweet/sour balance to taste.

Toss in:
2 c. chopped fresh broccoli
4 sliced green onions
1/4 c. dry cherries or cranberries
Mix well. Top with sliced almonds just before serving.

Makes 3-4 servings. Keeps up to 2 days in the frig.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peanut Butter Snack Mix

This stuff is irresistible!

4 T honey
2 T Smart Balance
4 T peanut butter
Melt all together in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove

In a large bowl combine:
5 c. assorted Chex cereals
2 c. mini pretzels
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. honey-dry roasted peanuts
1 c. mixed toasted almonds & pecans

Pour the melted ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 1 1/2 hours at 175 degrees (or until crispy and not sticky) Makes 10 cups.

Approximately 270 calories per 3/4 cup serving as the recipe is given but you can cut out the Smart Balance, reducing the fat, and it seems to work just as well. I also include more toasted almonds and pecans than it calls for.