Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ganache Series: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart

Fair Warning* This is probably the best, richest piece of chocolate heaven you will ever eat! You will dive into a small to medium size piece, but rarely be able to tackle a large piece. It will amaze your friends, impress your enemies. Don't say I didn't warn you. And it's EASY!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart
(Adapted from Bake it to the Limit, Dede Wilson)
25 minutes, aside from chill time. 5 ingredients.

Forming crust with a flat bottom glass
1- 9 oz box Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers roughly crumbled by hand or in
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted- 1 stick

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11-inch loose bottomed tart pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Hand crush or process the cookies in a food processor, until finely crushed. Add melted butter and pulse in processor or mix until combined.
Pat the crust into prepared tart pan using a flat bottomed glass to build up the sides to 1/4 inch high.  Bake for 12-15 minutes and let cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
Arrange raspberries in the crust

15 oz semisweet chocolate, finally chopped
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pint Fresh, LOCAL fall or summer raspberries (I especially love local fruit because it has the best flavor! You will be sorely disappointed by other berries) (reserve at least half  for latter in recipe)

Once cooled arrange berries on the cooled crust with small amounts of space around each berry around the entire crust. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and bring cream to boil over medium heat. Pour over chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes then whisk together until smooth. Cool the ganache about a half hour at room temperature. Then, pour the chocolate over the berries using a spatula if needed.

Let cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours then refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours, or overnight.  Let rest on counter for around 30 minutes before serving thin slices, plated with drizzle of raspberry sauce.

Raspberry sauce
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
Lemon zest
2 squeezes half a lemon

Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes,  I usually force through a wire mesh strainer with a spatula to remove most of the seeds.

Put back on stove over medium low heat.  Add 1 tsp corn starch and bring to low boil for 2-3 minutes.

Excellent variations: No raspberries? Consider a caramel layer below the chocolate, Caramel and Pecans, Hazelnuts and Caramel, Peanut Butter... the possibilities are endless!
Also individual tarts for friends, gifts, ladies tea, holidays and special occasions are darling and very indulgent!

Izzy thieves raspberries during the process!
Local Fall or Everbearing Raspberry Varieties
  • Heritage - 1969, developed in New York. Very winterhardy but ripens after September first.
  • Summmit - 1976, productive, small fruit, good flavor, some root rot tolerance.
  • Fallred - 1964, New Hampshire. Earlier than Heritage, better size,flavor and firmness.
  • Amity - Recent Oregon release similar to Fallred.
  • Autumn Bliss
  • Summit
  • Fall Gold (yellow fruit)
There are also several varieties of gold, purple, and black raspberries. Many are less productive and less flavorful. Some varieties of black raspberries are severely affected by diseases to which red raspberries are tolerant.

Summer bearing varieties:
  • Willamette - Earliest fruiting with large, dark berries. Industry standard from 1942 to 1970.
  • Meeker - 1967. Popular, late, large, firm berries suitable for mechanical harvesting.
  • Nootka - 1978. Short dark conical fruit, superior flavor to most varieties. Hard to find.
  • Tulameen - 1990. Very large, firm fruit with very good flavor.

Derived from Nootka:

  • Qualicum - 1996. Large fruit, good flavor, long shelf life reduces rots, fresh or processing.
  • Malahat - 1996. Earliest variety, large fruit, good firmness,flavor good, for fresh market.
Where to buy them! 
Pike Place Market
Farmers Markets
Whole Foods Market

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chipotle Turkey, Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Panini

Spicy, Smokey, Cheesy, Crispy, Melty, Warm... 

Chipotle Turkey, Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Panini
8 slices ciabatta bread (or Italian)

Chipotle Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 -2 Chipotle Chilies
1/2 tsp honey

8 oz. sliced turkey, white meat
8 (1 oz.) slices Smoked Cheddar or Pepperjack cheese
8 slices pre-cooked bacon (See Perfect Oven Bacon)
8 slices tomato or Avocado
4 tablespoon olive oil

Combine mayonnaise, Chilies and honey in blender or food processor. Heat up panini grill, George Foreman grill, or skillet over medium heat.  Oil one side of bread. Slice Cheese, and tomato or avocado if you prefer. Place bread oil side down on griddle, smear bread with chipotle mayonnaise,  cheese, turkey, bacon, and add schmear other piece of bread with chipotle mayonnaise.  Placing on sandwich with oil side out.  Close grill.  If not a panini grill, add weight like a kettle or another pan. Cook until golden and melted. About 4-6 minutes. Enjoy!

Optional: Opt for thinly sliced red onions if you like them! Yum!

Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Noodle Soup is very traditional in many homes after Thanksgiving.  After the Turkey Broth slowly simmers for hours, the making of a delicious soup loaded with tender pieces of turkey, egg noodles, fresh carrots and celery is a wonderful, quick fix meal.

Turkey Noodle Soup
15 minutes or less

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, whole peeled
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 tsp dried
1 bay leaf
2 quarts turkey stock
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, cubed or shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat add olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf in last minute Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Add chicken, and simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Leftovers Step 1- Homemade Turkey Broth

Waste Not, Want Not- Ok, conservatively I'm pretty frugal.  In actuality the reason I spent the time to make a broth, and pick the turkey clean of every bit of flavor; is because the delicious dishes created out of it are more than worth it in richeness and flavor with little effort. I admit being arm deep in a bird, post feast is not my favorite pastime. But the rich, enticing broth, the plates full of amazing sauces, sandwiches and soups is well worth the 30 minutes it takes me to glean every last morsel, and through the clean bird in a pot to simmer overnight.

Homemade Turkey Broth

1 turkey- most of the meat to removed from the bone to the best of your ability.  Turkey meat stored in containers for use in leftovers and later meals. (I usually separate the white and dark meat.)
2 stalks celery, sliced into 4 pieces each
2 carrots, sliced into 4 pieces each
1 Bay leaf
salt, about 1 tsp each
Whole Peppercorns, or
Onion from pan and that roasted in the turkey.
1 Large Pot

Optional Flavor additions:
Whole Cloves of Garlic
Fresh Parsley
Celery seed
1/4 tsp thyme

This is a very simple process.  A bit messy up front getting all the meat from the bird, but after that is done the process becomes effortless. Once the turkey has been cleaned of all its meat, put entire turkey, you may have to break it into smaller parts to fit, carrots, onions and celery into pot. Cover completely with water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to Low and simmer for at least 4 hours. If doing overnight place in crock pot on the low setting for at least 10 hours. Feel free to remove any foam that appears on the top so broth remains clear. Once done using a strainer pour out broth catching vegetables, bones and tender meat from the bones in a colander. Putting broth either in storage containers for freezing or another pan to make turkey noodle soup!

Before freezing allow broth to cool on counter and/or refrigerate overnight.

Soup Bases and Turkey Noodle Soup
Turkey Enchiladas
Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Mushroom Risotto
Turkey Chili

Turkey Leftovers are Better than the Turkey Itself!

Thanksgiving leftovers are great! In fact its really the only time of the year that I can handle devouring a meal a second time around.  I know what more than a few plates of the original feast are consumed as the long weekend progresses, but what do you do when want to find new creations, new ways of seeing your turkey and sides, new ways to taste the perfection?

I have a few favorites:

Turkey, Cranberry Relish, Stuffing and Havarti Panini- A great way to eat all the flavors you love packing a warm, crispy sandwich. The Italian's version of a grilled cheese, but with a whole lot more! The options are endless here... some want stuffing, some smoked gouda, or even gravy!

Chipotle Turkey, Bacon and Cheddar Panini- Bacon, melted cheese, Crisp chewy bread, turkey... need I say more?

Turkey Noodle Soup- Nothing going to waste I boil the leftover turkey after I've stolen all the meat and make a wonderful broth. I freeze some in quart containers, and even in 8 oz. containers to use later. I always have enough left to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup to warm everyone up as the temperature drops!

Creamy Turkey Enchiladas
 My families favorite! Packs a flavor punch using the broth to make a creamy chicken Enchilada with a red sauce outside its the best of both worlds! And when they wary of the same flavors this Latin American dish really changes the pallet. Turkey Enchiladas

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Steelhead Diner- Theo's Chocolate Pecan Pie

I happen to be a VERY lucky girl, I am sure of it! I was invited to join other urbanites in the Dine Around Seattle annual event, featuring restaurants of noted reputations offering three course meals for $30. I carefully detailed the restaurants and menus determining which would not only be satisfying, but food that was unique or a treat that I have never prepared for my family. I concluded that Steelhead Diner, located right in the Pike Place Market, was definitely the one!
Best dining choice I have made so far! The restaurant itself is high end, gourmet food, but the atmosphere is lively, welcoming and casual! If you have followed me long enough you know I believe strongly in seasonal, local foods and sustainable eating. Imagine my absolute joy as I read the menu and boldy printed was "nothing south of oregon - nothing east of idaho". Did I chose right or what?!
But the food, what was the food like?  It ALL was amazing. I will be back, there was nothing that wasn't prepared perfectly. As for my plate of Olson Farms Yukon Gold Potato and Goat Cheese Gnocchi...The Herbed cream sauce was plate licking worthy, the gorgeous cubes of seasonal squash were a sublime addition and the gnocchi, well.. I've had gnocchi before. I wasn't impressed. These were the most delicate clouds, perfected and wrought by angels. I'm not kidding.  I couldn't even bring myself to share with my date.

#1 Delectable Dessert - THEO CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE with Cocoa Nibs & Bourbon Chantilly Crème
Sincerely the most incredible pie I have ever had.  I chose it because I have honestly never liked the idea of pecan pie, I've never made it, tasted it or ever wanted to. Tonight was my time to try new flavors, flavors that the masters of  the culinary world have perfected; this is one perfect recipe. Chewy, Caramelly, a crust that is like a shortbread, Crunchy bits of Dark Chocolate, Gooey, humbling perfection on a plate!
Nothing could have topped my evening off better than the Seattle P.I. posting the recipe two days later, a Thanksgiving article featuring the RECIPE for Theo Chocolate Pecan Pie! I'm giddy! Sooooo... go taste it. Go sit down for their perfect pie and a cup of joe with a friend, you wont regret it.  Once you can't seem to let it go, you want more, here is the recipe! But by all means, return to Steelhead to try something new! They do not disappoint!


1 ½ pounds all-purpose flour
1 pound chilled unsalted butter
8 ounces ice cold water
½ teaspoon white vinegar
Place flour into bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment.
Cut butter into ¼-inch cubes, add to flour and begin mixing at low speed. When butter and flour are incorporated and begin to resemble pea-size balls, add the ice-cold water and vinegar and mix until it is just barely held together.
Spread onto chilled baking pan and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour the inside of a steep-sided 9-inch cake pan. Roll out pie crust to roughly ¼-inch thickness and place in pan, making sure that there are no air pockets. (Allow for a generous overhang; our crust retracted considerably in the oven.)
Line inside of pie crust using heavy-duty tinfoil or parchment paper and fill with dried beans (or other pie weights) to make sure the crust does not bubble.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Notes: It sounds like too much flour, but the amount is correct. This pie has an unusual crust, and it's important to use a cake pan rather than a pie pan. And as in all pie dough recipes, it is essential that the water and butter be very cold when added to the flour and that you are very careful not to overmix.

7 eggs
2 ¼ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup Theo Ghana Dark Chocolate Bar 84%, cut into chip-size pieces
1 ½ cups whole pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla extract and mix well until consistency is smooth and even.
Sprinkle chocolate pieces along the bottom of the pie crust followed by whole pecans. Gently pour in the custard mix.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then place a lid over the pie (a cookie sheet will work) and bake for 30 minutes, covered. Remove lid from pie and bake for another 30 minutes if using a convection oven, or another 70 minutes if using a standard oven, until the pie has set and does not wiggle. Shield crust with foil if needed.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving

Garnish with Theo Chocolate Cocoa Nibs and bourbon chantilly creme (whipped heavy cream with bourbon and sugar)

Note: Theo Chocolate, made in Seattle, is available at many markets, including Metropolitan Markets, Town & Country Markets, PCC, Madison Market and Whole Foods.

-- Courtesy of Kevin Davis, chef-owner of Steelhead Diner

 Read more: Seattle PI

95 pine street
pike place market
seattle, wa 98101

Monday, November 21, 2011

Orange Yams with Pralined Pecans

These are the BEST yams you will ever eat! The orange makes all of the difference in amazing joyful flavor!

Seriously.. mom. This is still one of my favorite dishes you have ever made.  And honestly, aside from butter none of the components are my favorite at all.  But you did it.  You made one the all time favorite, holiday, side-dishes ever.

Candied Orange Yams with Praline Pecans

4 pounds yams; 4-6 yams depending on size baked, pulp scooped out; easy instructions below
1/4 cup fresh squeezed (juice of 1/2 orange) (use from concentrate if you needed) add more if dry
2 tsp-1 tbs Orange zest
5 tablespoons Grand Marnier liquor (optional)
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
2 tablespoons Butter

Easy Baked Peeled Yams
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place  unpeeled yams or sweet potato on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut each in half place. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork. Let cool enough to handle and scoop out pulp. This recipe can be the final product left in the skins and enjoyed similar to a baked potato with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, maybe some chili powder.... But for the holidays we really like to go big!

Pralined Yams Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend yams well with 2 tbs butter, orange juice, zest, salt, pepper and Grand Marnier(optional) smash with fork or pastry blender till mashed. Spoon into baking dish. 
Praline Topping
1 cup Brown sugar
4 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Pecans

Prepare pralined pecans by brown sugar and butter a small saute pan, and stir till melted over medium to medium low heat. Use care not to burn sugar, usually only 1-2 minutes. Pour praline over yams slightly pushing into brown sugar and arrange pecans over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, till bubbly and slightly brown. 

Preparing ahead- Assemble all components, beside praline topping 24 hours in advance and store in refrigerator. Add pralines when ready and bake the same.

P.S. If you do not like Pecans just omit the pecans and do a candied topping! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Perfect Thanks and Giving

Perfecting Thanks and Giving! 

There are a million articles, shows and recipes about Thanksgiving this time of the year...Of course all the pro's come out to show you how it is done. There are a few that I have found to to be tried and true turkey wise; plus, a few additions to the table that are unique to us,  but loved by all who try them! So I'll share the turkey methods I prefer, and bring some new additions to the Table as well as a new Thanksgiving table setting! 

Menu- Let's Create a Plan

Perfect Two Hour Turkey
Prepare by defrosting your turkey, if not a fresh turkey. About 24 hrs per 5-6 lbs. So a 22lb turkey can take 4 days in the fridge! I buy at least 18-24 lbs. I find anything smaller is buying a lot of bone weight.

Make Ahead Sides With EasePrepare these sides 1-2 days ahead of time. Remove from refrigerator around 1 hour prior to completion of turkey. As the turkey rests for twenty minutes bake them at 350 degrees. Everything will arrive at the table at the same time, hot and ready! 
  • Cranberry, Sausage and Brown Bread Stuffing 
Make a day ahead and stuff this one in the neck cavity, not the body.  
  • Perfect Rustic Corn Bread Stuffing 
Make a day ahead and bake in a dish. 
Make at least 24 hours ahead of time for optimum flavor. 
Make a day ahead and bake
  • Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
The Sour Cream makes them smooth and creamy! Make ahead by roasting potatoes with skins on, in oven, or boiling and letting rest in fresh water earlier in the day. Roasted anything tastes so much better, and the nutrients stay intact as apposed to boiling.
    • Buttery Green Beans Almondine with Crispy Leeks
    Leeks may sound unusual but the flavors are a mild combo of garlic and onion. So a wonderful, very easy component to Green Beans and almonds!
      Make a LOT! I'm telling you I have the perfect foods for the leftovers, which is sincerely my favorite part! 

      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Homemade, Meaty, Cheesy, Melty Lasagna

      I used my left over True Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs sauce, mushrooms and burger to produce a second delicious Italian dish.  Homemade Meaty Lasagna, was actually solving the leftovers problem. I was on my way out to go hunting with my daughter(See Hunting Women), and last years bounty was using up valuable space in my freezer so I browned up the rest of the Elk, Venison and Moose burger that I had left and added it to the amazing sauce. I knew when I got back from 4 days in the cold and elements this would be a welcome premade, yet homemade, meal the whole family would love! Below is a the basic recipe I use not only if you do not have the premade sauce,  but also using ground beef. 

      Meaty, Cheesy, Melty Lasagna

      1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or Venison or another game ground)
      1 pound ground Italian sausage
      1 onion
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      2 teaspoons dried oregano
      1 teaspoon dried basil
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes (hand crush as pour in)
      2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
      1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

      Cheese Layer:

      1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese or ricotta 
      1 (5-ounce) package grated Parmesan
      2 tbsp freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley or 1 tbsp dried
      2 large eggs, lightly beaten

      9 uncooked lasagna noodles if cooking immediately, or boiled for half package directions if freezing
      2 (8-ounce) packages shredded mozzarella.

      Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
      In a large saucepan, combine ground hamburger, sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbled; drain.
      Return meat to pan and add oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.
      In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, and eggs.
      Spoon 1/4 of sauce into bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Place 3 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Do not overlap noodles. Spread 1/3 of cottage cheese mixture over noodles, top with 1/4 of sauce and 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with sauce, reserving 1/3 of mozzarella cheese.
      Bake 45 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

      Freeze- seal tightly with Tin Foil.  I use the disposable Tin Pans over and over.  If frozen bake at 375 for  2 hours. 1 if thawed.
      Ready for the Freezer in a Flash! 

      Taking From the Source- Taking Only What We Need-Hunting Women

      A Word on Hunting- I know it is fairly unusual, or at least unexpected in many parts to hunt, or see women and girls hunting. In my house I am proud to say that almost all of our seafood and meat is hunted or fished by us. It is sustainable, Organic, I know it's source. We process all of it ourselves, I know what goes into it, I know how it is made. I do not expect this is something most readers would be interested in, but if by chance you are, drop us a comment or a note! We love to hear about diverse, successful, women doing extraordinary things! And if you are a hunting man we celebrate you too, without you I would know nothing! "Thank You" most of all to Poppsy for taking the time to teach us everything you know about canning, preserving, smoking meats and seafood, hunting, fishing, exceptional cooking and generally enjoying life~

      This weekend we made hundreds of pounds of burger, roasts and tenderloin from the deer that myself and brought in during late buck.  Because venison is such a lean meat I suggest adding beef fat, to ground burger, from your local organic butcher.  They usually love a source to give it away to!

      Our burger processed into 1 lb portions for freezing

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      Pumpkin Spice Buckwheat Pancakes

      Contrary to its name Buckwheat is not wheat, and not related to the wheat family. Actually, it is a fruit and full of protein and all eight amino acids, vitamin B, High in Fiber, and according to the USDA keeps glucose levels in check better than any other carbohydrate! The caution if you are Celiac or Gluten intolerant is to watch out for buckwheat flours mixed with wheat flour.

      Pumpkin Spice Buckwheat Pancakes
      These Pancakes will blow you away! They are SOOOOOOO light, like pumpkin clouds, even though the buckwheat makes them a darker color. 

      1 cup buckwheat flour
      2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
      1 1/2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      Pinch of salt
      1 1/3 cup buttermilk* (don’t have, see recipe below for making buttermilk using milk and vinegar)
      2 large eggs
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      3/4 cup fresh cooked or canned pumpkin (I used PCC's Organic Spiced Pumpkin)

      If not spiced add: 
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1 tsp ground ginger
      1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
      Pinch of cloves

      In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, (spices, needed), and salt. 
      In another bowl(or in same measuring container I already made the buttermilk in), whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, then blend thoroughly.
      Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix, stopping when everything is just combined.
      Fold in pumpkin.
      Spoon 1/4 batter onto buttered or coconut oiled skillet for each pancake. Pancakes are to be flipped when the undersides of the pancakes are golden and the tops are lightly speckled with bubbles that pop and stay open. 

      Serve with butter and real maple syrup, plain yogurt and raspberry jam, or apple butter.  

      Homemade Buttermilk
      1 1/3 Cups Milk  
      1 Tablespoon + 1 Tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
      Place the white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the 1 1/3 cup line.Let stand for five minute.

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      Italian Grandmother's Amazing Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce

      To be honest you will rarely find a recipe so long from me. So time consuming... but when you do as the Italian's do... you do as the Italian grandmother does.  Purrrrrfection, simmering sauces. Dishes that take hours, but are worth every bite.

      True Spaghetti with Amazing Meatballs
      3 Hours

      The Workings
      Mild Italian Sausages (optional)
      Brown in Pan, set aside.

      These meatballs are extremely UNIQUE to what we usually expect, with the golden raisins, but they are so good! So prep your palette to try something new! And the milk bread is a must to those is the "meatball know".

      1 1/2 lbs of ground meat ( I used 3 lbs. and doubled the other ingredients. 1 lb. veal, 1 lb. hamburger, 1 lb. pork)
      2 pieces white Bread ( I used sprouted wheat bread because it is all I eat) torn, soaked in milk, and gently squeezed
      1 Tbs. Soy sauce
      1 cup golden raisins
      1 Egg
      salt and pepper to taste

      Combine ingredients well and roll in bread crumbs. Brown in pan that sausage was browned in, or olive oil.

      3-28 oz cans Whole Stewed Tomatoes, hand crush as you pour in.
      2-16 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
      1-6 oz can tomato paste
      Seasonally- As all of your tomatoes ripen August, September, October use them instead! 
      1 whole clove garlic, crushed
      1 WHOLE onion, peel removed (The Italian way is to cook it whole, and remove upon completion, Grandma says an onion becomes bitter if left in a sauce.)
      1 1/2 cup Parmesan (put right into sauce)
      1/4 bottle Italian seasoning

      Cook sauce-2-3 hours.  Add meatballs and sausage back into sauce an hour before done.

      True Italian meatballs are actually very small.  American meatballs are the giant ones I created.

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Food Still As Life

      Homemade Coffee Creamer


       I especially love Peppermint Mocha in the cold months and never seem to grow weary of it! Finally I decided to take the leap, and create a few forms of creamer starting with my favorite Peppermint Mocha.  

      The Basic Set Up

      2 cups Organic Half-n-Half
      1 cup  Organic Heavy Cream
      1 Cup Organic Whole Milk
                 or just Heavy Cream

      Add flavors you prefer and warm milk on medium low until begins to steam.  With Vanilla creamers run mixture through mesh sieve and store in original Half and Half Container or Labeled Ball jar in refrigerator.

      Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer
      1/3 cup Sugar (More/less to taste. Keep in mind this will seem very sweet but will be diluted again in your coffee)
      1 tsp peppermint extract
      1 1/2 tbs unsweetened cocoa

      I have enjoyed this recipe but feel like I am missing the consistent smoothness. I find with the chocolate flavors etc there is quite a settling,  I do shake it previous to adding to my coffee, but still am not completely satisfied with the composition.  ANSWER* Oganic flavored syrup, like ones used in coffee shops to flavor espresso. Its right. Mix right in with Half and Half or cream. 

      8 tbs or more taste flavor
      1 quart organic half and half 

      Here are some organic flavored syrups! 
      Liquid Planet http://www.liquidplanet.com/estore/home.php?cat=79
      Monin           http://www.moninstore.com/prod_Detail.html?prodID=118&flavor=Monin-Vanilla-Organic-Syrup

      Sugar Free Vanilla
      (I always prefer to use Fructose(Fruit Sugar) over Sugar to not raise my blood sugar, and its not the terrible Fake Sweetener)
      4-8 Packets Truvia (depending of taste)
      1/2 Vanilla Bean scraped and brought to heat pan with cream(or 1 tbs real vanilla extract)

      Vanilla Bean
      The Vanilla Bean is so delicious it always inspires me to add real vanilla bean to other things.  I could seriously drink it straight, forget the coffee. 
      1/2 Vanilla Bean scraped and boiled in milk(or 1 tbs real Vanilla Extract)
      1/3 cup Sugar(More/less to taste. Keep in mind this will seem very sweet but will be diluted again in your coffee)

      NOTE: Add all your scraped vanilla beans to one container of sugar. Makes wonderful fragrant vanilla sugar you can use for baking.

      1 tbs Hazelnut Extract
      1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
      1/3 cup Sugar (More/less to taste. Keep in mind this will seem very sweet but will be diluted again in your coffee)

      Dairy Free
      Substitute Almond Milk or Coconut Milk

      Glory Beams Shine on Homemade Creamer! 

      Saturday, November 5, 2011


      Wine, Prosciutto, Cayenne Maple Pecans, Fresh Figs, Brie and Tablewater Crackers. That is all.  That is enough. 

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      Fish Tacos in Warm Corn Tortillas

      If you have never had a fish taco, I guessing your nose is curling, wondering WHY someone would eat fish in a taco.  Believe me I reacted the same way at one point, and now it's a staple around here! The kids, the family,  the friends keep begging for it!
      If you have I'll bet you will jump for joy at the idea of making these fresh off your grill or kitchen year round! Seriously, outstanding and easy!

      Fish Tacos with Warm Corn Tortillas
      10 minutes

      4-5 Sea Bass fillets (Halibut or Cod will do nicely)
      Cajun seasoning  (my favorite is Broussard's
      Lime (squeeze over the fish after done cooking)

      In olive oil and butter cook 4 minutes each side

      Components of Taco Togetherness
      Napa Cabbage sliced in long thin strips (any cabbage will work but I like how delicate cabbage is)
      Red onion very thin strips.

      Fish Taco Sauce
      1/4 cup mayo (Best Foods)
      1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
      1/2 tbs. Garlic powder or fresh garlic (in this sauce I actually prefer the powder)
      1/4 cup lime juice or more to taste (whole squeezed lime)
      1/4 tsp. Salt

      Prepare Sauce by combining and whisking or stirring till smooth, and slice veggies while fish cooks, or if possible prepare them previous to cooking. If fish and/or tortillas are warm and done before the final products is ready to serve keep warm in a 200 degree oven.  This is such a fast meal it is ready sometimes faster than I can prep!  

      Warm Corn Tortillas
      Peanut oil has the best smoke point (i.e. it wont burn as easily, but vegetable is fine as well)
      Here is a low oil way to cook tortillas I learned from Gastronomy Girl.
      Add THREE DROPS of oil when pan is heated but not before! Just three...  Spin tortilla in bottom of pan with fingertips to distribute on tortilla.  Fry tortillas at medium high heat for about 10 seconds or less each side so browned but not hard. Place on paper towels. Cover stack of warm tortillas with foil or keep in warmed oven. Add three new drops about every 4 tacos.  

      Prepare tacos, tortilla, fish, Citrus-garlic sauce, dash onion, cabbage, squeeze of lime and/or dash of hot sauce if preferred. Super delicious! They are really fresh, light and surprisingly filling meal!

      Additional components: Mango Salsa, Nectarine Salsa, Tomatoes, Cilantro, 

      How to Know if Your Food is Genetically Modified

      Great tips to know if your food has been Genetically Modified, Organic, or Conventional.