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Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Harvest Meal

August 24, 2012 56 comments

Harvest Basket + 5 Ingredients

We often have pantry meals – we make something for dinner out of just what we have in the pantry (and maybe add a few things from the refrigerator and/or freezer). These meals can be creative. Sometimes we just don’t want to go to the grocery store or farmers market, this is a good alternative. Well this week, I went outside and harvested a basket of veggies from the garden: tomatoes, spaghetti squash, green beans, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, and herbs. I decided to make a “harvest meal,” using the ingredients in the basket plus 5 kitchen staples: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

I made a quick marinara sauce to top the spaghetti squash and served it with sautéed green beans, and a chopped salad. It was a tasty meal, made even better because we grew the veggies! We’ve only been gardening for two years, so it’s still a treat when we harvest. I don’t really have recipes and exact measurements, just guidelines. Hope you are enjoying the summer bounty! It’s time to think about a fall garden.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Olive oil

Onions, chopped

Celery leaves and stems, chopped

Bell peppers, chopped

Tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Balsamic vinegar

Spaghetti squash pasta (see the next recipe)

Parmesan cheese

Heat some olive oil in a pan; add the onions, celery, and bell peppers. Sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are tender. You can mash some of the tomatoes with a fork or potato masher or even use an immersion blender. Depends on the texture you prefer. Stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar and the fresh herbs. Serve over the spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

1 medium spaghetti squash

You can bake spaghetti squash in the oven at 350º F for 45 minute to an hour, until tender. However, it is August and I prefer not to heat up the house by using the oven for this. The microwave does a fine job.

You can cook spaghetti squash whole, but I prefer to cut them. Wash the outside of the squash. Dry it thoroughly. The rind is tough so it can be a little tricky to cut, so use care when cutting it. Wrap it in a towel, place it on a cutting board and use a large knife to slice it lengthwise from stem to end. Then use a spoon or a sturdy ice cream scoop to scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. This is similar to how you clean a butternut squash or a pumpkin.

Place the two halves cut side up in a microwave safe container (I use a Pyrex pie plate). Fill the cavities with water. Pour a little extra water in the bottom of the container. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Rotate the squash halves and pour a little more water over the cut edges – this keeps them from drying out. Microwave another 5 minutes. Let them rest for about 5 more minutes. Then, use a fork to shred the squash so that it looks like strands of spaghetti.

Finished Meal

Green Beans

Green beans, washed and snapped (if needed)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or wok. Stir in the green beans. Sauté until slightly tender (I like them with a little bite). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.

Chopped Salad

Tomatoes, chopped

Cucumbers, chopped

Onions, chopped

Celery leaves, chopped

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese

Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)

Toss the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs. Toss well. Serve.

 

Spicy Gold Smoothie

August 17, 2012 4 comments

Spicy Gold Smoothie

My last post featured a way to preserve fresh peaches – in frozen peach cubes. This post includes a fruit smoothie recipe that uses the peach cubes. The name, Spicy Gold Smoothie, is a little silly but it is descriptive. This smoothie has plenty of golden fruits (peaches, Rainier cherries, and pineapple) and a nice spicy kick thanks to generous pinches of cayenne pepper and ginger. Use as much or as little as you like. I like icy heat, so I add plenty of spice. This smoothie is a great way to kickstart your morning!  It also makes a nice afternoon snack.

Special thanks to my mother-in-law and father-in-law for the beautiful birthday table linens from Sur La Table. I love this store! We visited one when we were in Seattle. It is probably a good thing we do not have one near us. Thanks to my in-laws, we now have placemats, napkins, and beautiful dish towels! They are almost too pretty to use. But we will :-). I will also use them as photo props and decorative accents in the kitchen. Yes, I just wrote decorative accents. For those who know me, you know how strange that sounds! I am no Martha Stewart. But with these kitchen and table linens, I can pretend!!

Peach Cubes, Etc.

Spicy Gold Smoothie

4 peach cubes

½ cup frozen Rainier cherries (fresh would also work if you have them)

½ cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks or cubes

¼-½ cup water or juice (tangerine, apple, orange, white cranberry, carrot, pineapple etc.)

6 ounces yogurt or kefir (~½ cup, any kind works – soy, coconut, regular)

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of powdered ginger

pinch of turmeric

Optional add-ins: protein powder, fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, ice cubes if you use fresh fruit (I like cold smoothies)

Pour contents into blender container. Cover with the lid. Blend until smooth and golden. Sprinkle with more spices if you want. Enjoy!

Servings: 2 snack-sized servings or 1 meal-sized serving.

Blogiversary!

July 30, 2012 14 comments

Bread and Butter Pickles

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of  The Flaming Pot Holder (and it is my 46th birthday)! Thank you all for reading my posts, trying the recipes, commenting on the recipes, sampling my food/drinks, offering excellent feedback, sharing my blog with friends, etc. I truly appreciate it! I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year. I am looking forward to the upcoming year and some changes to the blog – weekly postings, categorizing the recipes, revamping the look of the blog, improving my photographs, and creating a Facebook page for the blog. All in due time :)

This blog started with a tribute to my mom – recreating her cornbread recipe. Today’s post is also about my mom, this time her incredible Bread and Butter Pickles. The pickles in the photo were actually made by my mom. Mom made me a batch for my birthday in 2009. She shared a few jars with friends, but the rest of the batch was mine. Best. Gift. Ever! Mom’s friend Ursula had an extra jar from my mom and she gave it to me. We are down to the last jar and a half and we are savoring every bite.

I have never made these pickles by myself. Over the years, I helped my mom countless times. When our second set of cucumber plants start producing, I’ll make my very own batch. Hope you enjoy mom’s recipe for bread and butter pickles. They are a wonderful accompaniment to a garden-fresh veggie dinner with cornbread!

Bread and Butter Pickles (Print recipe)

Vegetables:

9 cucumbers, washed, NOT peeled

6 medium white onions

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

6 garlic cloves

⅓ cup salt

Ice

Wash the cucumbers, do not peel them. Peel the onions. Wash and core the bell peppers. Peel the garlic. Slice the vegetables thin (either a mandolin or a food processor would work well and save some time). Layer the vegetables with ice and salt. End with a layer of salt on top. Cover with a lid or a clean towel. Let everything sit for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Drain thoroughly. Make the pickling mixture:

Pickling Mixture:

3 cups distilled white vinegar

5 cups sugar

1½ teaspoons turmeric

1½ teaspoons celery seed

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

Combine the ingredients and pour the mixture over the drained vegetables. Heat to boiling only (stirring every now and then). Ladle into 8 sterile pint jars. Process according to your canner’s instructions. Wait one month after canning before serving. Makes: 8 pints.

Three Handwritings – Grandmom, Dad, and Mom?

 

Sausage Cheese Balls

July 29, 2012 7 comments

Sausage Cheese Balls

In a previous post, I mentioned a variation of cheese straws – sausage cheese balls. Well, here is a quick recipe with only three main ingredients (optional seasonings can be added). It’s a fairly versatile recipe; you can use pork, chicken, or turkey sausage. If you want a vegetarian version, you can use soy or TVP (textured vegetable protein) sausage. You can make a gluten-free version using a gluten-free biscuit mix. I even prefer this to the traditional biscuit mix. I have not tried a vegan version with soy cheese and veggie sausage because I have not found a biscuit mix that it is vegan. This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze. Just thaw, heat (optional), and serve.

Sausage and Cheese Balls (Print recipe)

1 pound sausage (pork, turkey, chicken, soy, or TVP)

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

3 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick or a gluten-free variety)

¼ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, or Aleppo pepper, optional

¼ teaspoon garlic powder, optional

Cook and drain the sausage (this makes the final cheese ball less greasy). While sausage is cooking, let the cheese come to room temperature. Combine the sausage, cheese, biscuit mix, and optional seasonings. I use my hands to mix it well. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack. Serve immediately or you can freeze them. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes: about 4 dozen sausage cheese balls.

 

Butter Cookies

July 28, 2012 2 comments

Butter Cookies

Not sure why my thoughts have turned to Christmas cookies, but they have. The temperature is in the 90s, the humidity is horrific, and it feels like we are in the 100s. Maybe that is why I am thinking about Christmas cookies at the end of July! Not to wish my life away, but I am longing for cooler days and nights.

Sorry for another post so soon after Friday’s post, but at least these cookies go well with the iced coffee! When I started this blog, I wanted to post 50 recipes a year, but I am shy of my goal. If I post three recipes before the end of Monday, I’ll meet it. I hope you will please bear with me :).

Doesn’t matter if you call them Russian Tea Cakes, Butter Cookies, Nut Balls, or Mexican Wedding Cookies, they are good! Hope these cookies put you in a cooler frame of mind.

Butter Cookies (Print recipe)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

⅓ cup sugar

2 cups flour

½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

2 teaspoons half-and-half (or milk)

1½ teaspoons vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar, for rolling

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, nuts, half-and-half, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Chill dough in the refrigerator. Roll dough into small, quarter-sized balls. Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Place cookies on racks to cool for a few minutes. Roll in powdered sugar. Return to cooling racks and cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes: about 3 dozen cookies.

Coffee Concentrate

Coffee Concentrate

Iced coffee is great year round, but I especially like it in the summer. Matt, on the other hand, prefers traditional hot coffee. This coffee concentrate is perfect for both of us since it is versatile and makes a great iced coffee or hot coffee.

You can use a fancy cold brewing system or you can use this method. You mix the coffee and water, let it steep overnight, strain it, and store in the refrigerator. Then you add cold water, milk, half-and-half, etc. to make a refreshing glass of iced coffee. Or add hot milk or water to make a great cup of hot coffee.

You can use your favorite medium/coarse ground coffee in this recipe. I like the espresso roast that is roasted in downtown Huntsville at the Kaffeeklatsch. For those who aren’t local, you can mail order coffee and tea from them. Or if that isn’t practical, you can make a New Orleans-style iced coffee, with a can of chicory roast coffee available at many grocery stores. If you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can buy their house brand chicory blend, which is reasonably priced. I also like these brands: Cafe Du Monde, Community Coffee, and French Market.

Coffee Concentrate (Print recipe)

1 pound coffee, medium grind                         10 cups cold water

or*

12 oz can of ground chicory coffee                   7 cups cold water

Pour the coffee into a large container that will also hold the water.  I use my large stainless-steel mixing bowl that has a lid. Stir in a cup or two of water. Stir gently. Pour in the rest of the water. Cover. Let steep at room temperature for about 12 hours. I usually mix the coffee and water before I go to bed. Then, strain the mixture using a sieve (I use my large chinois covered with a layer of cheese cloth). I save the grounds – they are great in the garden and the compost. Pour the strained concentrate into a large Mason jar and store in the refrigerator. It keeps for about 3 weeks. Makes about 6-8 cups of coffee concentrate.

 

Iced Coffee

Ice (or coffee ice cubes**)

¼ cup coffee concentrate

¾ to 1 cup milk (soy milk, half-and-half, coconut milk, etc.)

Splash of cold water (I use milk and water, but use what you prefer)

Optional: sweetener, vanilla, chocolate syrup, peppermint, caramel

Fill a glass with ice. Add the coffee concentrate, milk, water, and optional flavorings. Stir and enjoy.

 

Hot Coffee

¼ cup coffee concentrate

¾ to 1 cup water

Optional: sweetener, milk, cream, etc.

Pour coffee concentrate into a mug. Heat water. Pour into mug. Stir and enjoy.

 

Café au Lait

¼ cup Coffee Concentrate

¾ to 1 cup milk (soy milk, half-and-half, coconut milk, etc.)

Optional: sweetener

Pour coffee concentrate into a mug. Heat milk. Pour into mug. Stir and enjoy.

Vietnamese-Style Iced Coffee

Ice (or coffee ice cubes**)

¼ cup coffee concentrate

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

Splash of cold water

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the coffee concentrate, sweetened condensed milk, and water. Shake vigorously and enjoy. If you don’t have a shaker, just use a glass and stir it well.

Notes:

*Included quantities for either a pound of coffee or a 12-ounce can of coffee. Either quantity works fine, just adjust the water.

**Coffee Ice Cubes: When you have leftover coffee, pour into an ice cube tray. Freeze. Store in resealable plastic bags in the freezer. Make sure the bag is sealed. Otherwise, if the power goes out and the cubes melt, you might end up with coffee all over your freezer. Not that this happened to us or anything :).

Shortcut Dobosh Torte

Today’s post is in honor of my dad, Grady. Today would have been his 78th birthday. My mom’s writing encouraged me to start this blog. But it was my dad’s love of food and cooking that inspired me to cook. 

Dad (aka Poops) was not a fan of desserts but he loved this Shortcut Dobosh (Dobos?) Torte. Growing up, I made it for Father’s Day and his birthday almost every year. After reading the Wikipedia link for Dobos Torte, I am not convinced this is a true Dobosh Torte, but it certainly is a fast version. The secret to this quick torte/cake is pancake mix! I know it sounds odd, but it makes a nice torte. The cake layers are dense and spongy, yet light and airy at the same time. I have no idea where we acquired the recipe – it’s another faded clipping in my mom’s old photo album cookbook. It’s been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. I’ve made a few changes over the years, but it’s roughly the same recipe.

Back in 2006, Penzeys Spices, published a cooking magazine, Penzeys One. Each issue had a theme and they asked readers and catalogue subscribers to submit recipes matching the theme. For this particular issue (Volume 1, Issue 4), Penzeys issued a call for recipes from folks named Smith. Well, I’m a Smith so I submitted a few recipes. This torte recipe was selected (along with my Roasted Rosemary Walnuts recipe). They wrote a nice article and included a few photos. If you click on the photos, at the end of this post, you might be able to read the article if you are inclined. Or, if you want, you can even order back issues of the magazine. They are $6 plus $2 shipping. You can usually get back issues at Penzeys retail shops, too.

Hope you will give this recipe a try, even though it sounds odd since it’s made with pancake mix! Enjoy…

Shortcut Dobosh Torte (Print recipe)

Cake:

5 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla (Penzeys of course!)

1 cup sugar

1½ cups pancake mix (We use Bisquick. I wonder if the gluten-free mix would work?!?)

 

Filling:

2 cups whipping cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup cocoa powder (Penzeys :)

pinch of espresso powder (or instant coffee), optional 

 

Garnish:

2 squares (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate, shaved or grated

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Fold in the pancake mix. Pour into two* greased and wax paper (or parchment) lined 9×1½ inch round cake pans.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Then, remove the cakes from the pans. Peel off the waxed paper or parchment paper. Let the layers cool completely on a cookie rack.

Now the tricky part…using wooden toothpicks as guides, split each cake into two layers (so you end up with four even layers). My layers were usually lopsided. So I came up with a different method…

*I pour the batter evenly into three round cake pans. So no slicing of the layers is needed. It doesn’t matter if the cake is three layers or four layers. You could even use two pans and keep them whole. You would have extra frosting that could be used to frost the sides. So it would be a 2-layered cake instead of torte. It would still taste good!

Please use the method you prefer (which might be limited by the number of round cake pans you have!).

Make filling by combining whipping cream, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Whip until creamy and thick.

To assemble torte, place cake layer on serving plate cut side down (if you sliced your layers). Spread with 1 cup of filling; sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of  the shaved chocolate. Repeat for the remaining layers.

Garnish: Sprinkle toasted almonds and grated chocolate on the top layer. Serves: 10-12.