Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Bacon and Hatch Chile’s, Enough Said!

Friday, October 17th, 2014

You know what I love about Bountiful Baskets? What I REALLY love? Beyond the healthy food on my dinner plate; beyond the rewards I get when I volunteer and do my part to ensure the success of our co-op, which is helping countless people; even beyond money I am saving by participating in Bountiful Baskets….

What I REALLY love about Bountiful Baskets is that because of Baskets, I have found joy in food! Clean, healthy, amazing food that I had walked past in grocery aisles for years. Not noticing them, not knowing how to use them and especially not knowing how much I loved them! (more…)

Squeezing the most out of your lemons and limes

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

One of my favorite sayings is “Waste not, Want not”. Getting the most bang for the buck out of my basket is one way I do that. I also find it kind of fun to find new ways to use every part of my basket.

Step 1: I always give them the good old vinegar and water bath for 1 hour. This cleans the skins so I can safely use them later on. I use 1 cup vinegar to 8-9 cups of water and soak my produce. I then rinse and dry them.

 

Step 2: Get the microplane out and get as much rind off them as humanly possible. . Be sure to only get the rind as the white part is bitter.

Step 3: Microwave the lemons and limes for 1 minute. This helps to get the juices flowing. I then let them cool down a bit before rolling them with the palm of my hand. Apply slight pressure to help get even more juice.

Step 4: Cut in half and squeeze the juice out of them. I like to do this in a bowl or measuring cup so that I can get the seeds out if any fall into it.

Step 5: Measure 2 tablespoons into each ice cube tray and freeze. When they are frozen remove and put into a freezer bag. Label the bag with the date, type of juice and amount of juice per cube.

The zest goes into the dehydrator for 3 hours or until completely dry.

 

  • 1 lemon or lime has about 2 tablespoons of juice in it

Use up some of that wonderful juice in this recipe.

Best ever lemon bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl blend together butter, 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9X13 pan.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over baked crust.
  4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. The bars will firm up as they cool.
  5. Hint: Use lime juice and a few drops of green food coloring for lime bars.

 

Cindy

Adventure into making raisins

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The making of raisins is a wonderful journey. For me there is no better way to show my love for family and friends then by cooking for them.  These raisins are just another way for me to do that. I first started by doing a vinegar water wash of the grapes with a good rinse and dry. Then let the grapes sit on the trays for a hour so they don’t add moisture to the dehydrator. The hardest part was making sure the little stems were removed on all of the grapes. What I did find is that after drying if you missed any they stood out and you could remove them at that time. Each dehydrator is different so times will be to. Mine took 48 hours on at 145 degrees and 14 hours at 125 degrees. Every few hours I rotated the trays and stirred around the grapes on each tray.

 

 

The finished product was amazing!I decided to put 1 cup in snack bags and freeze the end product for making Christmas goodies. With this size packs I can take one or 2 out depending on what my recipe calls for. Out of my 1 case of BB grapes I ended up with 22 cups of raisins after some were eaten for taste control. LOL My only advice is that it is much better to over dry than to under dry as they will mold fast if they have any moisture left in them.  Next time I might try canning some to see how they hold up. When I use raisins I like to pre-soak in a warm liquid to soften the raisins up. Sometimes I use hot coffee for a added punch to the recipe. Enjoy

 

Cindy

 

Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Thursday, October 16th, 2014


This soup has been haunting me for just over 25 years. I first had it when I was working night shifts at a large hospital in the Midwest. How often can you say you look forward to hospital food? It has taken me a few years but I have finally duplicated it! Its nutty, sweet, tangy and just a bit of heat at the finish. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

This soup starts like a French onion soup, lots of onions. Cut the onion in half for root end to top. Cut off the top and peel. Now cut it in half again and thinly slice. Repeat with the other half. (save those onion skins for stock!)

In a Dutch oven add olive oil and butter. When it’s melted turn down heat to low and add the onions. Stir to coat them all with oil and butter. They need to cook and start to caramelize, this is a slow process. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Gather your ingredients as the next part moves pretty fast.

Now add the flour and stir, allow this to cook on low for a couple minutes.

Once the flour has cooked we will begin whisking in the 4 Tbsp. Sherry, (this is optional) now whisk in the chicken stock (vegetable stock can be substituted). The mixture will be thick, just keep whisking in the stock.

Now whisk in the milk or cream and season with salt and pepper.

Add the shredded Swiss cheese and stir until melted.

Stir in the Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper (optional)
Allow to simmer a few minutes, taste and re season as need.

 

Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 Tbsp. sherry
  • 3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock can be substituted)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • Salt and white pepper (black pepper is fine)
  • 2 ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice onions
  2. In a Dutch oven or soup pot melt butter and oil together.
  3. Add onions and allow onions to sweat and caramelize on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over onions and stir, allow it to cook 2-3 minutes to cook flour.
  5. Whisk in sherry.
  6. Whisk in chicken stock and milk.
  7. Stir in mustard and seasonings.
  8. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  9. Allow to simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve.

 

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

When I saw the California blend of veggies (carrots, cauliflower and broccoli) sitting In the refrigerator, I knew it had to become a beautiful soup. I kept remembering a soup from my childhood called Normandy blend soup. I remember it having big chunks of the California blend of veggies, and a velvety cheesy base. I searched for a recipe but never found one, so I decided to give it a try without one.

I chopped up the veggies in nice bite size pieces, and finely chopped an onion and celery, they are necessary for flavor but not the stars of the show.

I decided to blanch the California blend prior to putting it in the soup. I wanted the veggies to still have some texture but not crunch and to keep them vibrant. To blanch them bring a pot of salted water (it should taste like ocean water, this is your chance to bring out the flavor of the veggies) to a boil. Start with the carrots, let them simmer for 6-8 minutes. Using a strainer place the carrots into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Remove the carrots from water and place back in their bowl. Repeat with cauliflower blanch 4-5 minutes and the broccoli only 3-5 minutes.

Sauté onions and celery in the butter and oil til translucent 4-5 minutes.
Add about 1/4 cup of flour and stir, making sure all the oil has been absorbed, now allow this to cook a couple minutes. If you don’t the soup will taste of raw flour.

Now use a wire whisk and whisk the soup base while slowly adding the chicken stock. It will be very nice and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Whisk in a cup of milk or half and half.

Allow this to come to a simmer. Stir in the shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Now carefully add the California blend of veggies. Allow to simmer 8-10 minutes, making sure the veggies are still al dente. At this point I also added 2 TBSP Dijon mustard to really finish the flavor and texture, as well as a Tbsp. Of Emerils essence seasoning to kick it up! (I use the salt free.) season with salt and pepper to taste.

Served with a couple warmed pretzel slider buns. Delicious.

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 pound of carrots scrubbed and cit into bite size coins
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk or half and half
  • 2 1/2 cups medium cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Emerils essence (salt free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prep veggies
  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Water should be salty like the ocean. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  3. Add carrots to boiling water, let simmer 8-10 minutes. Remove to ice bath with a spider or strainer. Allow to cool, using spider it strainer remove to bowl. Repeat with cauliflower, blanch 5-6 minutes followed by broccoli, blanch 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a soup pot or Dutch oven melt oil and butter. Add celery and onion and cook until translucent 4-5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle flour over celery and onion and stir making sure all oil is absorbed. Allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Now whisk in chicken stock followed by milk.
  7. Add the cheese and stir while it melts. Carefully add in the California blend and stir. Add in mustard and Emerils essence.
  8. Bring to a simmer, allow to simmer 8-10 minutes.
  9. Season to taste, serve.

 

Dehydrated Onion and Herb Powder

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Look at all those herbs in your Italian pack and Stew Pack!  Do you find that you use a bit of each and then run out of ideas?  Never again my friend!

Beef prices are on the rise and roasts being the most affordable option you can combine that with your left over Italian pack herbs or Stew Pack Herbs and your Onion Pack and amazingly delicious things will result!  Use whatever herbs you can fresh, and then dehydrate the rest (either in a dehydrator or in your oven or hanging in a dark closet) and mix with dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, salt, and blend into powder and voila!  You have a delicious meat rub.

The great thing about a meat rub is it is largely flexible in composition so whatever you don’t use fresh will work swimmingly.  I used Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, and Parsley in mine and it worked out great on a crock potted chuck roast turned pot roast with celery, that fennel that needed to be used, carrots, and potatoes.   If you had a lot of basil in yours you could do the same but perhaps use zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and serve over pasta!

 

 

 

Meat Rubs from your Herbs

Ingredients

  • Your choice of fresh
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Dehydrate left over fresh herbs, onion and garlic (make sure they are super dry!)
  2. Put in blender
  3. Combine with salt
  4. Blend until a fine powder
  5. Store in a jar/ziplock
  6. Roll meat in it prior to cooking
  7. You may use this to season vegetables!

Killer Cauliflower Soup

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Yes, I did just describe this cauliflower soup as killer. That isn’t just a dramatic attempt to convince you to check out this blog post, this recipe turned out SO scrumptious.

Here in Texas it is Hatch Chile time. Don’t get me wrong, we love all of our chiles as much as we love to complain about summer weather but a magical chile event happens in August. Grocery stores start to roll out roasters and haul in tons of hatch chiles from our friends in New Mexico. While they are plentiful, I buy up as many cases as I can (read that as too many). As a result of my hatch chile gluttony, I preserve them and put them in everything that I can dream up. This “killer” cauliflower recipe is one such creation. (more…)

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A guest blog from a Site Coordinator in Montana,  Devannie.

I saw a post for homemade fig newtons on a Facebook page and once I got my basket I decided the recipe looked easy enough so I tried it and am very glad I did.  I had two clam shells of figs which was the perfect amount for making the recipe.  I boiled the figs per recipe and stored in fridge overnight as the temperature outside was warming up fast and didn’t want to use oven.  I made the dough the next morning and it was all so easy.  Had the cookies done by 8am (I’m an early riser) and house smelled wonderful after baking them.  I did see a post where someone cut the sugar in half and I think that would’ve been fine, you drain the figs once cooked anyway and I think the figs have enough sweetness that it would’ve been fine.  Will try that and make with wheat flour or 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white next time I make them.  The recipe is definitely a keeper!!    Devannie

 

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh or preserved figs or 12 ounces dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions

    If you are using:
    Fresh Figs:
  1. Remove stems and boil figs with a cinnamon stick and 2 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water for 45 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Dried Figs:
  3. In a bowl, pour boiling water over figs (stems removed) and let rest 10 minutes. Drain all but 2 tablespoons water and stir in 2 tablespoons corn syrup + ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  4. Preserved Figs:
  5. Drain syrup. (Find a recipe for preserved figs here.)
  6. Then:
  7. Puree figs in food processor until a thick paste forms (if too thick or thin to spread evenly, add a little water or flour until spreadable consistency is reached).
  8. Combine flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  9. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  10. Add egg, vanilla, orange juice and combined dry ingredients to bowl and mix until dough forms.
  11. Roll dough out on a floured surface into a 8”x14” rectangle about ¼” thick.
  12. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise.
  13. Spread fig paste onto half of each rectangle, lengthwise.
  14. Fold dough in half lengthwise to cover fig paste and pinch edges to seal.
  15. Cut each log in half and transfer onto a greased baking sheet.
  16. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees until crust begins to brown.
  17. Slice into cookie-sized segments and cool.

Pan-Roasted Broccoli with Romano

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

 

Roasting is typically my go-to way to cook up veggies.  It is such an easy, versatile cooking method that I will do it several times per week.  I just toss almost any chopped vegetables with olive oil and seasonings then stick it in the oven.  This is an absolute win in my world. (more…)

Vanilla Extract

Friday, August 8th, 2014

 

Homemade vanilla is almost effortless and only requires two ingredients – vanilla beans and alcohol.  It will require some patience to get the best flavor from the beans but the result is so much more flavorful than store bought. (more…)