Friday, February 28, 2014

Another Witch Purchase

 After having recently said that I rarely buy witch items anymore, I've bought another.  In 30 years of collecting vintage witch pieces, I have only seen maybe 3 of these, two of which I now own.  This is a chestnut roaster.

Click for a closer look at a witch flying through the air on her broom.

A floral punch pattern on the back. You place this over hot coals to roast the chestnuts.

The inside.  These pieces are always made of brass.  You can see the mess left from someone polishing it.
I made this cowboy caviar this morning for a party my daughter is going to.  If you haven't tried this recipe yet, give it a shot. It is scrumptious.  You can find the recipe here: http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/2013/07/bean-and-corn-salsa.html

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Finally Cooked My Ovens To Death

Well, I finally did it.  I cooked my ovens to death.  It happened last week.  The repairman showed up yesterday and told me it was time to put them out of their misery.  I jumped in the car and ran to the appliance store to buy new ones. 
 They will be installed on Monday and hopefully I will be back up and running.  I am in bread making withdrawal. I've promised myself to read the entire instructions manual and to keep it as clean as possible this time.  I am bad about reading manuals. I chose to buy another Thermador as the old one worked really well until this last year.  I got 12 years out of it. This one has a real clock and knobs and no touch pad which is what did the old ones in.  Out with the old, in with the new. The shelter might be happier than I am about the new ovens!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I live in a city of soup.  We even have soup contests here.  Each restaurant tries to outdo the others by making the best soup.  It's a fun predicament to be caught up in.  I always order soup, even if it's something I'm not sure I will like because more often than not, it is wonderful.  Recently I asked a server what their soup of the day was.  She told me....chicken noodle.  I almost never order chicken noodle soup because I make it at home often and it is just not one of my favorite restaurant soups. This was a new restaurant I was trying and I went for it and ordered the soup.  I was not disappointed.  It was creamy chicken noodle soup and the noodles were elbow macaroni.  What a pleasant surprise.  And man, it was good.  So, I came home and made it for my family.
 I made a big pot so you might want to cut this in half.  Melt a stick of butter with 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pot.

 Add 1 cup of flour.

 Whisk this together with some cracked black pepper.

 Let it cook over medium heat whisking occasionally until you have a golden roux.

 Add a diced onion, 4 diced carrots, 3 diced garlic cloves and several diced stalks of celery.  Stir this into the roux.

 Add 4 quarts of chicken stock.  I used homemade which is much more flavorful than store bought.  Add some diced chicken, 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme, a bay leaf and 1/2 tsp. of celery seed.  Taste and add some salt if needed.

 Add a bit of bouillon for added flavor.

 Let this cook at a simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables soften.

 Add 3 cups of milk or half and half.

Add 1 box of uncooked elbow macaroni.

Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta softens.  If it gets too thick, add more milk.

Serve it sprinkled with fresh dill.  A bowl of comfort. I think this could be another kid friendly meal.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snow

It started to snow just as the sun came up this morning. 
 Teddy got snowed on.

 She seemed bewildered.

 She kept looking around as if trying to figure out where it was coming from.

Finally, she decided she had enough of it.
 She left.

She decided it was much more comfortable inside.  Smart pup!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Patequetas for Falles

March is the month that the festival, Falles, is held in Valencia, Spain to celebrate St. Joseph.  Isn't it funny that they hold Falles in the Spring? Paella is traditionally served at this celebration.  Patequetas are the rolls which are made to be eaten with it. This is the recipe: 
Ingredients for 5 large rolls
For the sponge:
  • 1/3 C. water
  • 1/3 cup  flour
  •  2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • For the dough:
3 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
Instructions
First make the sponge:
  • In the bowl of your mixer, stir the yeast into the water. Add the flour and sugar and mix. Cover with plastic wrap.Place in the fridge for several days.
To make the dough for the rolls:
  • Remove the sponge for the rolls from the fridge a couple hours before making the rolls.
  • Mix the flour and the salt into the sponge and knead until you have a smooth ball.
  • Divide the dough into 5 pieces and shape them into balls.  Let them rest covered with a towel for 30 minutes.
  • Flatten each ball with your hand and cut one side halfway through with scissors. Separate the two sides slightly.
  • Cover them again and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the rolls on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Place a 9X11 pan on the bottom of your oven and fill it will boiling water.  Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until they start to turn golden.  Cool them on a rack.  These will be crisp on the outside and dense and chewy on the inside. 


I was in a hurry when I formed these so mine are not very pretty.

Mine looked much more rustic than they usually do.

This is the perfect roll to serve with a good bowl of soup.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bruschetta

With another Polar Vortex about to settle in for a week, I thought I would make something very typical of summer.  If you like bruschetta, bookmark this and make it in 4 months.
In a bowl, measure out several tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons of diced fresh basil. I had no fresh basil so I used 1 tablespoon of pesto. Add 1-1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1 tsp. seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3/4 tsp. dried thyme and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Whisk in 1/2 cup of red wine.

Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup of olive oil.

Add 6 chopped tomatoes.

And several sliced green onions.  Mix this together and let it sit at room temp for about 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Serve it on toasted garlic bread.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Witch Hats and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 I am off on a road trip this morning so just a short post.  I rarely buy witch items anymore unless I find something special.  I just purchased these vintage silver witch hat salt and pepper shakers.  I've never seen these anywhere before.

 They are very heavy and have liners in them.  They only cost me 20.00.

I made these for my guys.  If you want the recipe, you can find it here:

http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-best-old-fashioned-oatmeal-raisin.html

Back tomorrow!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, melted (1½ sticks)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 heaping cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Your cookies turn out so much better with parchment paper. Believe me! Buy some!
  2. Melt butter and let cool slightly.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. (See Note on the proper way to measure flour)
  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the cinnamon, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Add the oats, nuts, and raisins. Mix until just blended.
  5. Place 1/4 cup balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Do not overbake. Remember I'm at sea level so if you aren't you may need longer. The edges should look brown and the centers still slightly soft. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies.html#XvAJ2GHQSeblo7BA.99
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, melted (1½ sticks)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 heaping cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Your cookies turn out so much better with parchment paper. Believe me! Buy some!
  2. Melt butter and let cool slightly.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. (See Note on the proper way to measure flour)
  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the cinnamon, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Add the oats, nuts, and raisins. Mix until just blended.
  5. Place 1/4 cup balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Do not overbake. Remember I'm at sea level so if you aren't you may need longer. The edges should look brown and the centers still slightly soft. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies.html#XvAJ2GHQSeblo7BA.99

Friday, February 21, 2014

Banana Coconut Orange Berry Surprise Muffins

My family enjoyed the muffins which I made the other day so much that I made them another muffin recipe.
 You can whip these up in no time at all.  Mix 1-1/2 C. of flour in a bowl with 1 tsp. of baking powder and 1/4 tsp. of salt.

 Mash 2 ripe bananas with a potato masher.

 In another bowl, add the mashed bananas, 6 T. melted butter, 1/2 C. sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, the zest of 1 orange, 2 T. of fresh squeezed orange juice and 1/2 C. of coconut.  Mix this together until well blended.

Pour this wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
Line muffin tins with liners and divide the dough into each cup, leaving a bit in the bowl.  Press a berry into the middle of each muffin.  I used blackberries but any berry will work.

Place a spoonful of dough over each berry to cover and then sprinkle with a bit more coconut.
 Bake them at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until done in the center. Remove them from the tins and let them cool on a rack.

Surprise!