Category: Cooking

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Mmmmm – I made an avocado chocolate mousse that a friend of a friend sent out. I modified the original recipe significantly: used a lot of carob in place of the cocoa, used maple syrup in place of honey, and used coconut milk in place of almond milk.聽

Ingredients:

2 avocados (room temperature)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
5 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used KAF’s triple cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Dice up the avocado into large chunks. Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Eat 馃檪

Fish And Chips

We had watched one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking challenge shows where contestants made fish and chips using his technique/recipe. Aside: If you grow fresh English peas, you don’t need to add butter to your mushy peas. If you are adding butter, get a new variety of peas!

When we made the grocery list yesterday, Anya volunteered us to make fish and chips too. Interesting idea, it didn’t seem too difficult watching him do it 馃檪 So we picked up some cod, potatoes, and yams (I聽love yam chips, especially dusted with a little cinnamon … doesn’t go well with fish, but if I’m boiling a big pot of oil, figured I’d make some of these too).

Ingredients, per Ramsey’s web site:

  • 4 175g thick cod fillets
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130ml soda water
  • 170ml lager
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil for deep fryer

Dredge the fish in flour, then coat in the batter and fry at about 350 degrees F. I was worried that they wouldn’t be crispy and puffy like they are meant to be, but WOW. The batter was super puffy. Spewed oil all over the place too.

We made the fries using a method from Cooks Illustrated that starts with cold oil. I used carola potatoes. Wash potatoes, dry them, and cut them into batons (nice if they are close to the same size. I got some smaller super crunchy ones, medium sized ones cooked perfectly, and larger ones that didn’t crisp as much). Place in a dutch oven & fill with oil to just cover. Turn burner on high and bring to a boil (~5 mins) and then leave ’em alone for fifteen or twenty minutes to cook. When they start to get browned, scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. When they reach the desired color, net them out with a slotted spoon or scoop. Salt immediately and eat.

fish and chips

Cannoli Recipe

We watched people making cannoli on MasterChef tonight, and Anya wants to make some now. I am trying to sort a good recipe.

Shells:

  • 7ozall-purpose flour
  • 1ozcocoa powder
  • 1ozsugar
  • 2eggs
  • ozbutter
  • saltto taste
  • 1tablespoon聽Marsala wine

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Then add the Marsala. The dough will start out quite sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, about 15 minutes. Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. 聽and let it rest for half an hour.

Roll out the cannoli dough to about the thickness of a penny. Cut it into circles with diameter of about 2.5″ for smaller ~1/2″ diameter forms, 3.5″ diameter circles for larger ~7/8″ diameter forms. Wrap the circles around the metal tubes to shape the cannoli and seal with a little dab of egg white. Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the dough, still wrapped around the tubes, for about one minute. Use a skewer to remove the form from the hot oil. Let the cannoli cool on paper towels. Once cool, slide out the metal tubes. Fill shells immediately before serving – pipe filling into center and top with chopped pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate.

Honey Ricotta Filling:

  • 15 ounce whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 录 cup honey
  • 录 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 陆 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks and then set aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the ricotta cheese, honey, powdered sugar, and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean.聽 Fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chocolate Mascarpone Filling:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration

Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Corn Bread

Finally stashing my cornbread recipe somewhere because I can never find it. Scott wanted to make corn dogs this week – which is essentially coating sausage / veggie sausage and then dropping it in hot oil.

Ingredients:

路 1 cup all-purpose flour
路 1 cup cornmeal
路 2-3 tablespoons honey
路 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
路 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
路 1/2 teaspoon salt
路 1 egg, lightly beaten
路 1 cup sour cream
路 1/3 cup milk
路 1/4 cup butter, melted

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Stromboli Recipe

I made, well not聽quite a stromboli (as I understand it, stromboli have tomato sauce inside, and this was completely without tomato sauce). The bread part is easy enough — you can use whatever pizza dough recipe you fancy. I had purchased KAF’s Artisan Bread Flour when it was on sale a few months ago. Or their French style flour and used a traditional baguette recipe (3c flour, 1t salt, 1c or so water, and 2 1/4t yeast kneaded for a long time to make a chewy bread. Normal bread process – mix/knead, sit until doubled in bulk). For additional flavour, I added 1T of Italian spices to the flour. Once the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 550 F.

Take a chunk (I used about a quarter of the dough) and roll it out onto a silicone baking mat. The dough shouldn’t be too thick – somewhere around an eighth of an inch. I made very large stromboli to be cut when served, so the rectangle of dough was about 12″ x 9″. Brush the dough with roasted garlic butter (1T melted salted butter, 1-2 cloves roasted garlic)

Spread filling in the rectangle – leaving some dough on either side to fold in, some dough on the bottom to seal the thing, and a lot of dough on the top to fold over.

Fold the sides along the line shown below — this will seal the ends.

Fold the large piece of dough down to cover the filling. Then stretch the small piece of dough up over stromboli and seal it to the other piece of dough.

Place on a half sheet pan seam side down. If a glossy, crunchy crust is desired, brush with egg wash (mix an egg with a splash of water), let sit for a minute, and then brush again with egg wash. For a softer crust, brush with roasted garlic butter or butter.

Using a sharp knife or bread lame, slice five diagonal lines along the stromboli. I sliced almost completely through the dough and allowed it to split open as it baked.聽Bake for 10-15 minutes.

What can you put in a stromboli? Traditionally, you cover the dough with tomato sauce, sprinkle on cheese, add Italian meats, then sprinkle more cheese. I wasn’t in the mood for tomato sauce. I made two fillings – 1c ricotta cheese, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, and 1c shredded broccoli (this is a great way to use up broccoli stems if you have some left over from another recipe). The other filling was 1c ricotta, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, 1c shredded chicken, and 2 diced peaches.

Homemade Chicken Food

For when we get chickens — I want to be able to feed them something other than commercial feed. I’ve found a few good ideas for things chickens will feed themselves — include the compost area in the chicken pen, the chickens will turn the compost for you, eat fresh veggie scraps, and eat bugs they find.

Put a board or rubber mat down on the ground – let it sit there for a day or two, and a bunch of bugs will move in under it. Flip the board/mat into a new location & the chickens will go after the bugs that have been uncovered.

I also plan to grow a “chicken garden” in their coop — buckwheat, millet, flax, red clover, and forage peas. Hopefully they won’t confuse聽their garden with聽our garden.聽I want to try allowing them to roam in our raised bed garden to eat bugs … but I may end up fencing that off so they don’t eat our veggies!

Simple Feed:

  • 30% Corn
  • 30% Wheat
  • 20% Peas
  • 10% Oats
  • 10% Fish Meal
  • 2% Poultry Nutri鈥揃alancer
  • Free Choice Kelp
  • Free Choice Aragonite

Lentil Grain Feed:

鈥 12 cups organic, feeder oats (.34 cents/lb)
鈥 8 cups organic,聽soft white wheat聽(.38 cents/lb)
鈥 8 cups organic,聽hard red wheat聽(.26 cents/lb)
鈥 6 cups organic corn (.42 cents/lb)
鈥 4 cups organic lentils (.54 cents/lb)
鈥 4 cups organic聽split peas聽(.47 cents/lb)
鈥 2 cups organic聽flax seed聽(1.68/lb)
鈥 1 cup聽sesame seeds聽(2.27/lb)
鈥 3/4 cup聽kelp granules聽(3.25/lb)
鈥 2 tablespoons聽molasses

Lots Of Grains Chicken Feed:

– 2 parts whole corn
– 3 parts soft white wheat
– 3 parts hard red winter wheat
– 陆 part Diatomaceous Earth (not the kind you put in your pool)
– 1 part hulled barley
– 1 part oat groats
– 2 part sunflower seeds
– 陆 part peanuts
– 1 part wheat bran
– 1 part split peas
– 1 part lentils
– 1 part quinoa
– 1 part sesame seeds
– 1/2 part kelp

Homemade Dog Food

In case we聽do get a dog, I wanted to have a few recipes for homemade dog food because I聽really don’t want to feed a dog fat coated grain nuggets.

Liver Brown Rice

  • 2 lbs raw chicken livers (3 containers) 鈥 remember, you can also use beef liver
  • 2 cup of cooked brown rice, set aside
  • 1 cup of聽chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped broccoli,
  • 2 cup of聽water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil for pan

Chop veggies and liver into bite sized pieces. Saute liver. Add water and simmer until liver is cooked. Add veggies and cook for a few more minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.

Beef Sweet Potato

  • 1 pound of beef
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup of carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup of green beans, diced
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying

Microwave the sweet potato until mostly cooked and chop into bite sized pieces. Dice beef and saute in olive. Remove meat from pan. Add flour and water to make a gravy. Add in veggies, sweet potato, and meat. Cook over medium-low heat until carrots are cooked (5-10 minutes). Cool and refrigerate/freeze.

Lots of Veggies (my own)

  • 3 lbs beef offal
  • 1 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups spinach, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup meat stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground egg shells

Dice everything into bite sized pieces. Saute meat for a few minutes until mostly cooked. Add in flour, egg, and stock to make a gravy. Stir in veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.

Apples!

  • 3 lbs turkey/chicken
  • 1 cups brown rice
  • 2 apple
  • 2 cup carrots
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup meat stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground egg shells

Dice everything into bite sized pieces. Saute meat for a few minutes until mostly cooked. Add in flour, tapioca powder, and stock and heat make a gravy. Stir in fruit/veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.

 

Curried Egg Salad

I had planned to make a curried egg salad (shredded carrots, diced onions, diced hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and Penzey’s sweet curry powder) so we could use up the Easter eggs. Got the flatbread聽cooked.聽Everything was聽diced up & ready to go in a bowl. Got another bowl for the聽yogurt (when you use curry POWDER, mixing it into the yogurt first to make sure it’s all smooth & hydrated makes a really nice sauce. For some reason stirring in yogurt and then adding curry powder makes a mess. I think it’s because powder bits cling to the chunks of food & never get hydrated). Grabbed the yogurt container from the fridge … and it’s almost empty. Umm … hungry people, food ready for the curry sauce. So I decided to try making mayo again (that’s what the recipe calls for anyway). I’ve tried a few times, and never gotten anything vaguely useful.

So I searched for a never breaking mayo recipe and got something that actually worked for me:

http://www.inspiredtaste.net/25943/homemade-mayonnaise-recipe/

They add some Dijon mustard to the egg/vinegar mixture & uses the whole egg instead of just the yolk. Which means you don’t end up with spare egg whites that you’ve got to use somewhere (although they聽do freeze just fine). There’s聽certainly some flavour from the Dijon (and colour – it’s not a pure white cream), but it’s tasty.

Sauteed Hop Shoots

Our salad course for Easter was a sauteed hop salad.聽We have both cascade and centennial hops, and the ones that are in the ground have grown incredibly in the past week or so. Before the snow, we had little sprouts barely nudging through soil. Now some of our vines are two feet long!

So I missed the really tender early sprouts. I sauteed the thicker stems in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then garnished with fresh hop leaves. It was really good –聽and I only used about half of the trimmings.

Homemade Ice Cream Take 1

During the Christmas-time sales, I bought an ice cream attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer. The bowl has been stashed in the freezer portion of a refrigerator/freezer for several months. I decided to make a maple ice cream for our first batch. I combined the maple syrup, cream, and egg yolks in a large metal bowl. That bowl was used as the top of a double-boiler. Whisked it constantly over a medium low heat until it congealed into聽custard.聽Placed my custard in a glass container and stored it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I set up our ice cream attachment. Slowly poured the custard into the container … the instructions say ice cream should be formed in 10-15 minutes. It didn’t. Let it run a little over twenty minutes and … nothing even close to ice cream. I put my custard back into its container in the refrigerator, washed the bowl, and asked Google what I’ve done wrong. Turns out the ice cream bowl needs to be frozen absolutely solid –聽shake it as you remove it from the freezer, it shouldn’t be even a little bit sloshy. Oops. Mine was mostly聽frozen, but that’s not good enough. So I put the bowl into a dedicated freezer and left it there for 12 hours.聽Completely solid. I put the bowl back into the freezer and moved the custard into the freezer for an hour too – the colder the custard is, the less it will heat the bowl materials.

So, do this all over again. Get custard and bowl, set up mixer, mix … and it started to harden. I could see the liquid along the side of the bowl freeze and get scraped off. Twelve minutes later, we had a fairly thick frozen base. I transferred the proto-ice cream into a low pyrex bowl, closed it up, and put the bowl into our freezer. About eight hours later, it was Survivor premier / ice cream time. First bite and … what’s that strange grainy texture? Looked it up and everyone is talking about ice crystals. These aren’t ice crystals … it’s just an odd little hard lump.

We were about halfway through the bowl when Scott got a聽big odd hard lump. It was BUTTER. Frozen butter, but still butter.聽I’m guessing you cannot re-use custard. If your first attempt at making ice cream doesn’t work …聽maybe you could re-strain it to remove any little butter bits. Or if it isn’t starting to freeze after five minutes, you know something isn’t right and don’t let it mix long enough to turn into butter. But, this wasn’t the stunning success for which I was hoping.

Next up is a coconut milk / coconut cream / mango ice cream. Hopefully that will turn out better.