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Category Archives: The Kitchen

Things that you will need to gather the ingredients in order to cook as they don’t come out of a box.

Home Made Tortilla

So there was a great sale on lean hamburger at the market, of course I had to purchase some.  Had great plans on cooking up a big match or marinara and meatballs tonight for dinner only I forgot to purchase the pasta.  And no, I was ill in the mood to make the noodles by hand as that would take hours.

After digging around in the larder, discovered I had all the makings for tacos, except of course the tortillas.  Hmm, didn’t have enough corn meal to make corn so I busted out the Harina mix.  They are super simple, super quick and were enjoyed so much, the dishes were washed for me (maybe I should make them more often).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Harina flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix till it forms a nice dough ball, cover and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes.

This recipe is for 12 6″ tortillas

Once the dough has rested, roll into a long rope of 12 inches in length, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Take each 1 inch piece and roll into a ball, place on a plate under a damp cloth.  Roll them one at a time either in a tortilla press or with a rolling-pin.  I couldn’t find my press, so I smashed them in my hands to make them flat, then rolled a few times under a rolling-pin.

In a heavy skillet, turn the burner onto high or two notches below high, depends on how quick you are about rolling them out.  Place your first tortilla and cook about 30 seconds each side or until toasted, place on a plate and keep going till they are all done.

Thats it, super simple, super easy and SUPER good.

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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Vegetable Soup

I like to add a soup bone, either ham bone or beef shank bone and cook it up at a simmer for several hours.  It adds a nice extra flavor that I think makes it more hearty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pint lima or butter beans
  • 1 pint corn kernels
  • 1 pint chopped cabbage
  • 1 pint sliced potatoes
  • 1 sliced turnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • several sprigs of parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Add everything to your simmered meat bone water, normally I use a large stock pot, adjust your ingredients accordingly, this recipe should make up at least a gallon.  Bing the mixture to a full boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer until all vegetables are tender.

If you prefer a thicker soup (which the men in our house can’t stand a ladies soup (a thin soup), they prefer soup thick enough to stand up a fork in–which is more like a stew–but that is how it goes.  Mix 1+ tablespoons of flour into a cup of milk, bring mixture back up to boiling, slowly add the flour and milk mixture and stir until it thickens.

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Soup, The Kitchen

 

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Seasonal Salt Recipe

Seasonal Salt is another one of those easy things to make, we call it brown salt in our house.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon ground marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon ground savory
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace

Directions:

Mix thoroughly, it is easily accomplished with a flour sifter and place into a container that is both easily opened to take measurements from or to shake directly onto foods.

 

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Flavoring for gravy, soups, stews and a browning agent

While available on your local grocers shelf, a browning agent is rather easy to make.  This recipe will not only save you a little money, but is quite simply made.  It will brown pale skins, is wonderful in stews and generally an all around liquid meat seasoning.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 pods of red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (may omit and replaced with an artificial sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a quart bottle and fill up with cider vinegar.  A tablespoonful of this mixed in a stew, on a steak or gravy will not only give you an added flavor but also a rich color.  I find the older this mixture gets, the finer the flavor.

 

 
 

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Soup Stock Recipe

Today we are going to talk about an absolute necessity for every pantry or larder.  This is the base for gravy and dishes galore and so much better for you than a bullion cube.  While it requires a little more effort, it is so well worth it.  To use this stock in place of a bullion cube, simply freeze into an ice tray, when they are thoroughly frozen, remove them from the ice-cube tray and place into a zip closure type bag.  Any recipe that calls for a bullion cube, simply use one stock cube in its place.

Soups made with stock include all varieties of beef, veal, mutton, poultry and any other animal you prepare for the family meal table.  Stock means material laid by, or stored as in “stocked”.  When it comes to stock, normally you use the cheaper cuts of meat or the odds and ends from cooked meat or other portions of the animal you may have butchered where those edible portions of the animal that are not welcomed on the meal table by your family.  In our house this is chicken feet, liver and brains, for some reason, even the best cooked brain is not liked, so I use these for the stock base.

When making stock you want to cut the meat into the smallest pieces you can and soak them in cold water.  This will harden the albumen on the meat to prevent the juices from escaping into the liquid.  Another key factor is to have a very tight-fitting lid, you don’t want the goodness of the meats and vegetables in the stock escaping or being wasted by the process of evaporation.

It is best to make the stock at least one day ahead of time.  This will allow you to fully cool the stock so that the fat will raise to the top and become a solid mass which is easy to remove.  You do not have to make it a day ahead if you don’t have the time, but removing the fat makes it more nutritious.

Ingredients: (for each quart of water used)

  • Handful or two of meat or other animal parts, toss in bones as they contain nutrients as well.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 allspice berries or 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed or celery root
  • sprig or two of parsley or cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs (oregano, marjoram, basil, what every you like)  If using fresh herbs, a tablespoon of fresh minced herbs, any combination.
  • 1 tablespoon of several vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery, squash, turnip

Directions:

When the stock has simmered until the meat is easily shredded and the bones are clean, strain the liquid, do not let it stand or cool.  Place it into a jar if not using the next day.  Make sure you have boiled the jars very well so that they are clean and sterile.  If you are placing into a jar for storage at a later date, set the jar in a cool place, uncovered but do not refrigerate.  The stock will harden up like a jelly and the solid fats will rise to the top.  This fat layer will kep keep air from the stock and should not be removed until the stock is used.

If you would like to preserve stock you can do so by following the directions in your pressure canner book for meats and stock.

 
 

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Scotch Scones

I’m hungry just at the thought of sharing this recipe, not only is it a great scone topped with fresh preserves or honey, but it also is an excellent choice to go with country gravy and sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of flour (sifted)
  • 2 cups thick buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Mix flour and baking soda thoroughly.  Make a hollow well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk and rapidly mix the flour into the buttermilk.  The consistency should be that of a soft bread dough.

On a floured surface, knead lightly and quickly, you don’t want to overwork this dough or it will make it less fluffy and tends to taste “heavy and dry”.  Roll out to your desired thickness, I prefer about 1 inch thick and cut into desired shape.

Heat up a heavy fry pan on medium heat and place cornmeal on the bottom of the pan, you want the scones to rest on top of the cornmeal to cook.  It will take about five minutes per side to cook them, you might like to turn them several times in the cooking process, but try to keep it to about a total of five minutes per side.  They are done when browned on both sides.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Navajo Fry Bread

I learned of this recipe when a small girl.  Mom would cook up a pot of chili and beans and would cover it with lettuce, cheese and salsa.  We knew it growing up as Indian Tacos, what ever you call it, it tastes great!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour (sift, important to sift flour being used for bread always, even though it might be “fluffy”, sift it)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions:

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and powdered milk thoroughly.  Pour warm water into flour mixture and mix it with your hands until soft.

Make a ball of dough and knead it until it is flat and round.  If you want to shorten the time, use a rolling-pin if you must, but if you practice doing it just with your hands, you will soon enough become very proficient and fast with this process.

Melt 1/2 cup of oil in a heavy frying pan, fry the do in the oil until brown on both sides.

Top as you like, it tastes great under chili and beans, as a taco or even with a drizzle of honey!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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