Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for... ZZZZZZZZZZZ (Moroccan Preserved Lemon on Snooze)

  It worked out perfect for VanillaBean to come north this weekend, so we got to celebrate our final post all together.  If you were around here for M is for.... Moroccan Preserved Lemons, you're probably anxiously awaiting our taste test. Well, wait no longer. Two weeks, and the first batch are done snoozing. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.  Now it's Lemon Time!

Tired and facing down midnight, beds awaiting, and no recipe yet chosen for this first tasting of the preserved lemons... Let's see. Look at all these options.  Quinoa and Shaved Brussel Sprouts? Chicken Tangine? Grilled Bread with Pesto and Lemon Cream?  Nope.

VanillaBean says "What about potatoes?"  So, into Google Search went Potatoes and Preserved Lemons and.... VOILA!

Roasted Potatoes with Preserved Lemon

Okay, so it wasn't quite that quick...

First there was the slicing of the potatoes

And then the mixing with some olive oil, salt, and rosemary.

Spreading them out in a thin layer to roast on parchment paper. (400 degrees until.... uh they were done. Sorry we were tired.  It was only hungry stomachs that even reminded us they were in the oven.)

Mix in the thinly sliced preserved lemon. Toss together.  And then the feasting!

So what did we think? YUM.  The lemon adds a nice elegant, bright flavor to the roast potatoes.  Here's the recipe we used.

A few last notes that this AZ challenge produced this week:

Tinbugs feasted with her friends on more X-Tudo Burgers

And the rest of the clan got to enjoy some of the Rowies provided by VanillaBean.

~ Tinbugs, the Colonel, and VanillaBean signing off from the AZ Challenge. Thanks for joining us!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for.... Yang Chun Noodles

I came across this recipe for Yang Chun Noodles- Easy Soy Sauce Noodles when I was looking for Y foods and had it in the back of my mind for a nice simple meal to try sometime.  Saturday evening after spending several hours down at the garden, getting the soil loosened and a few seeds in the ground, this sounded like just the thing.  It turned out to be fast and the ultimate in comfort food. (Right up there with chicken noodle soup, except faster! Seriously, I had my bowl of hot soup from start to eating in under 10 minutes.)

I used spelt noodles and threw in a dash of dried chives instead of the green onion.  For greens I used a few leaves of kale. The lard I had on hand from trying to get more Vitamin D. (In case there is anyone else with a low vitamin d level who cannot take supplements - Vitamin D in Pastured Pork Lard) The soy sauce I replaced with my "speedy not-soy sauce" soy sauce replacement,  which basically involves stirring in a bit of blackstrap molasses, salt, and a dash of vinegar. There are better, closer to the real thing faux soy sauce recipes out there, of course, but I am lazy and this works well enough for me.  Of course, I haven't had the real thing in more than 10 years now, so.... take that with a grain of salt!

This is definitely going on my "to make often" list.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for... X-Tudo (Or the UltimateBrazilian Burger)

I suppose any food that starts with an X has to be extraordinary, well this X tudo burger definitely is one of a kind.  I never imagined I would have a sandwich to rival Dagwood, but this one just might do it.  In case you are wondering, I only managed about half of it and then had to save the rest for breakfast.

First of all, I set about to collect all the needed items.

First I peeled, grated, and rinsed a potato for shoestring potatoes.
Then fry until they are golden brown.
This pan came in handy, fried up some Canadian bacon and then an egg.
After that came the burger.
It asked for steamed corn, but I just threw it in my pot of potato leek soup,
talk about some tasty corn about some tasty corn.
Put all the fixings on a plate, cheese, lettuce, tomato, deli ham, fried egg,
shoestring potatoes, and corn kernals...
Condiments gathered, waiting for the burger.
Burger has arrived....
All assembled.

Now that is a sandwich.
Truth be told, there is a bit much on this sandwich, split it in half and enjoy it as two sandwiches.  There is just so much going on, you can't hardly enjoy the flavors.

Another take on the X tudo...Vanilla Bean Safe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for...Welsh Rarebit

If you don't know what Welsh Rarebit is....well the Colonel pities you.  It holds a very high elevation at his table and he needs little encouragement to make the dish.  If you want him to join you at your table, just drop those few words - Welsh Rarebit to be served, and you will most likely hear very little argument from him.  

I first heard of Welsh Rarebit at an old haunt of mine, which sadly is no longer in existence, the Bliss Cafe.  It was a small town coffee shop that had a few sandwiches on the menu, as well as various coffee and tea speciality drinks.  I would frequent there often to meat up with friends or work on the latest puzzle they had set up and in their busy days they would have various music groups in to play some weekends and my friends and I could frequently be found in the audiences.  At some point, I am not sure why, but they stopped having regular hours and you never knew when they would be open, and eventually they closed.  I miss that little coffee shop, but my guess is the owner just moved on to other things.  But back to Welsh Rarebit, it was on one of those weekend evenings when they had an entertainment group in and the place was packed.  However it wasn't a music group this time, it was a reader's theater.  Truthfully, I don't even remember what story they were telling, but in congruence with whatever story it was, they had a special on the menu -- Welsh Rarebit.  It was referenced in the reader's theater and they decided to serve it, with toast cut on points.

So what is Welsh Rarebit you ask, well simply put it is melted cheese on toast.  Almost like a cheese fondue, but you add cayenne, mustard, Worcestershire sauce to it.  We came across the recipe in a mustard cookbook I gave to the Colonel for his birthday one year and the gift soon became contingent on the fact that he make us this dish or at least let us have the recipe.  And that was the end of that, soon the Colonel was hooked.

Grating the cheddar.

Preparing the seasonings.
Adding the cheese to the pan.

Stirring it to melt.
Enjoying our treat.
mmm...good old Welsh Rarebit.
Next time you need a simple meal, try it out.

Tinbugs for the Coronel, who must have gone to bed early.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for...Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise it seems is a rather common french soup, but I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago and since then have decided it would fit well for "v".  Vichyssoise is basically put - a chilled potato and leek soup.  It reminds me of gazpacho in the way is eaten cold, but this particular recipe I used is a rather versatile soup and can be eaten hot, cold, pureed, chunky, etc.  I am not sure if you can call it a vichyssoise if it is not chilled and/or pureed, but as I am not French and have never had it before it is the best I can do.  My pot of soup turned out very tasty and was rather simply put together, as I just sauted some onion and garlic together and then add my leek confit, a peeled and cubed potato, chicken broth, and milk and let simmer for an hour.  Tasty supper for me....however despite the ease, I had been snacking all the while it simmered and was only up for a small bowl.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for... Upside Down Buckwheat Cupcakes

Inspired by this absolutely gorgeous looking upside down rhubarb cake over at Real Simple that is definitely going on my list of things to make once I get my hands on some rhubarb, and Tinbugs brownie for one recipe the other day, I set out this afternoon to see if I could make an upside down cupcake for one with buckwheat flour.

Hurdle #1:
All the buckwheat cake and cupcake recipes I could find called for ingredients I couldn't use- eggs, almonds, gluten free rice/garbanzo bean flours, bananas or that I just couldn't use today- milk, yogurt, wheat flour.

After awhile, I gave up and just used a partial pancake recipe with extra sugar, cocoa powder, and less water.  (This is the "it works!" version only for someone on a very limited diet. Otherwise, this is the "meh" kind of take it or leave it cake option.  Try a different version if you have any alternative!!)

Hurdle #2:
How long to bake it for?  All the recipes I looked at said 350 for 15 minutes.  Yeah.... Not so much for these.  Unfortunately for me, I forgot that only half the cupcakes had the upside down jelly/butter topping. Turns out, only the ones with no topping were done. The ones with the topping were only baked  on the outside. I stuck my knife into one of the no topping ones, but I wanted to eat one of the topping ones.  I let them cool. I flipped them upside down.  I thought they looked awesome.  Then I cut into one. (I should have noticed the slowly forming sinkholes in the tops and been more wary.)

Instead, I took a few photos while I munched on pieces of one of the plain mini-cakes and tried to pretend it didn't taste like a green tea flavored, too dry muffin.

Once I cut into one, it flowed like a lava cake. This is a great thing in a molten chocolate lava cake made from wheat and butter and eggs and so on that turns into an awesome gooey, decadent pudding. This is terrible thing in a buckwheat flour mini cupcake. Like disgusting and inedible kind of terrible. Sigh.

Hurdle #3:
Salvaging the disaster into my dessert for dinner.  Like I mentioned before, I had made a couple upside down cupcakes and a couple just cupcakes. There was still a plain cupcake left.  Perfect for making a jam layer cake cupcake!

Not as pretty, but way tastier! Not a complete fail. Maybe.  Now, if only I could fluff this up with some whip cream....

Next time though, I'll leave all the extras aside and just stick to slathering jam on my pancakes.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for....Tabasco

I'm a tea person.  I don't drink coffee and my tea cupboard overflows.  I own a dozen teapots, I bought a hutch just to hold them.  Today's post was going to be tea.....but then, for some reason, yesterday, tabasco popped into my head and it settled in to stay.

I personally have never really been much of a tabasco person, but it was always a staple at our house growing up.  Last summer, when I was planning an epic road trip to the south, I realized that the Tabasco plant was in Louisiana and I made sure it was on our itinerary.  Now, after being to the plant and learning its history and how it is made, tabasco is one of those things I just really want to like, I have a bottle in my fridge and every once in a while pull out and use it.  It is still a staple at my parents home, both the original little red hot sauce bottle and now also a slightly larger bottle of the green sauce.

A tabasco pepper plant growing outside the factory.
What stuck in my head though, was tabasco ice cream.  You are probably now thinking, "WHAT?!? Who eats TABASCO ICE CREAM?!?  That doesn't even go together."  Well, you're wrong.  When we visited the country store on Avery Island (that is where the Tabasco plant is located), they gave out free samples of ice cream - a raspberry chipotle flavor and a sweet and spicy flavor.  I bought a bottle of the Sweet and Spicy Sauce to bring home for the Colonel Mustard to make ice cream, but he liked it so much it was gone before we ever tried making the ice cream.  I looked at the store for a bottle last evening but they didn't carry it, so I am going to have to look around a little to see if I can get my hand on a bottle, but lucky me the recipe I found asked for the original brand.

Fire and Ice Cream.  It was quite tasty. Initially dad said it needed the tabasco doubled, but that didn't stop him from eating a second bowl, basically licking it dry.  And to go with the ice cream, I made a large pot of jambalaya, which also had tabasco in the recipe.

Pork, sausage, celery, onions, green pepper, and garlic cooking up in the pot.
Add some tomatoes, tabasco, thyme, oregano, allspice, salt, chicken broth,
and browned chicken pieces.
Add some uncooked rice and simmer.  Now it is ready to eat.
Dad enjoying his Fire and Ice.
If you want to try out some tabasco in a recipe and Fire and Ice Cream and Jambalaya aren't to your interest, Tabasco's website has no shortage of recipe's to try.  And if you ever make it to southern Louisiana definitely take time to visit Avery Island, there is a bird sanctuary there also. We had a full itinerary and didn't take time, but I think it would be worth the stop if you take the time.

Relaxing on the porch of Tabasco's Country Store on Avery Island.

Friday, April 22, 2016

S is for...Sukiyaki

One Sunday after church, one of the youth asked me how to use chopsticks.  I showed him how and said the best way to learn is practice, and maybe I would have to have him over sometime and make something for lunch that he could practice on.  It wasn't long until I happened upon a recipe for sukiyaki that was in a cookbook a friend of mine had given to me.  This particular cookbook is a collection of her recipes that she had compiled over the years and was given to me as a gift after I had spent several summers working with her in the camp kitchen.  She was in charge of the kitchen during family camp and her job was to use up what was left in stock in the kitchen after several weeks of summer camp.  I learned a lot from her on looking what you have and incorporating it into something new to feed those that came to the kitchen to eat on those summer nights.  Several of the recipes we made in the camp kitchen are in that cookbook and she had it wrapped up in a tea towel that I use to cover bread dough while it is rising.  The main flour I use in all my cooking and baking is Thesco flour and that stems back to those days too, as she is the one that introduced me to it.

Well, now, back to Sukiyaki.  The recipe was one that came from her mother-in-law, Mary, who I also knew.  She was a dear lady who had spent time as a missionary in China, I have no idea if this was a recipe that she acquired while she was in Asia (it is Japanese not Chinese) or if she got it somewhere else, but it was neatly laid out in this recipe with everything you needed, right down to an extra fuse.  You prep all the veggies and meat ahead, arrange it on plates and your guests cook it right at the table.  I decided this would be an excellent meal to practice using chopsticks and set about planning to invite the youth over for lunch on a Sunday after church.  However, when my mother heard my plans - I had to borrow her electric skillet, she said I should feel free to practice on them since I hadn't made it before.  Needless to say, I ended up having two Sukiyaki dinners and both were great fun.  It is an excellent meal to get your guests interacting together, although it is best if they are not starved when they arrive, because it takes a little bit to get going.

The trial dinner with Mom, Dad, and the Colonel Mustard.
Take two - the youth from church.
Working those chopsticks. 
A tableful, requiring two electric skillets...glad we didn't need the extra fuse.