Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hot and Sour Soup

 I thought that the after school kids might like some hot and sour soup so I made it for them yesterday.  I don't know where I got this idea but they usually like anything Asian that I make them and I assumed they would like this too.  Well, they sort of liked it.  Some liked it a lot and some picked out the tofu.

 I was shocked to find out that none of them had ever eaten tofu before.  But now that I think about it, if you don't have much money and you rarely get homemade food, why would you ever try tofu?

 I made rice on the side and I guess some of them ate the rice with broth from the soup ladled over it.

 Amazingly, every kid ate some.  I have to hand it to them, they try everything all the time.

 Though this might not have been their favorite meal, they now know what tofu is.

 Here is the recipe for a batch that serves about 4 people.  I made 20 quarts of this.  A lot of the kids took containers home with them.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (sambal olek) 
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed into 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
directions
  1. Bring the broth, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, garlic, ginger, vinegars, chili sauce, soy sauce and sugar to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the cornstarch and water mixture and simmer until the soup thickens a bit, about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour in the eggs in a thin stream while stirring the soup.
  4. Mix in the sesame oil, white pepper and green onions, remove from heat and enjoy!
 As with any agra dolce recipe, you need to keep tasting until you get the right balance of sugar and vinegar.
 I finished off a bag of light brown sugar but ended up using mostly dark brown.  I think it works best for this dish.


 I also added grated carrots and sliced napa cabbage because I always sneak extra veggies into their food.

Though this dish might have been pushing the food envelope when it comes to the kids, this soup is very good.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Eggs Benedict Quiche with Hollandaise

I made this quiche for The Blog Tech and his wife this weekend.
They loved it! It's just like eggs Benedict in a quiche form.

 Though the recipe didn't call for cheese, I added some gouda to it.



Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Add unbaked pie crust to a deep dish pie pan.
  2. Finely chop green onion and cut Canadian bacon or ham into small squares. Spread onions and Canadian bacon pieces evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard powder. Pour over the onions and Canadian bacon in the pie dish.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until the eggs are completely set. They should not jiggle in the middle. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 8 slices.
    To prepare the hollandaise sauce:
  1. Add egg yolks, lemon juice, dijon, and cayenne to a blender. Close lid and blend until smooth.
  2. Heat butter in a microwave-safe dish until melted, about 1 minute.
  3. While butter is hot, pour into egg yolk mixture in a thin stream while blending. Sauce should thicken quickly.
  4. Serve over warm quiche. Top with finely chopped parsley.
 This is a very easy hollandaise to make.  If you need to reheat it, place it in hot water in a jar.  Don't reheat it in a microwave or it will turn into scrambled eggs.

 Apparently this was so good that the next day when they had to go to a potluck brunch, they asked for another one.

 I wouldn't know, I didn't get any.  But I made them another.

It smelled very good though.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blueberry Goat Cheese and Basil Pie

 Doesn't this just sound awful?  I certainly thought it did.  I saw this pie on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  The people eating it raved about it and I just couldn't imagine how this could be good so I had to make it and see for myself.  My family has now declared it to be the best blueberry pie they've ever had. It's so strange but somehow the tanginess of the goat cheese brings out the flavor of the blueberries so it has a heightened blueberry flavor.  And the basil?  It just works!

 Make your favorite pie crust.  I made a pate' sucre.

 Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 5 cups fresh blueberries
Topping:
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
Instructions
  • Prepare your crust.
  • On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a flat circle shape with a floured rolling pin. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer the dough to a 10-inch pie plate. Unfold to cover the plate. Trim the dough to the shape of the plate, leaving a bit of overhang and fold to make the crust edge. Crimp the edges.
  • Prepare the topping by mixing together the almonds, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.
  • Transfer the filling to the rolled out pastry dough and sprinkle evenly with the almond topping. Bake in a preheated 375° oven on the middle rack, rotating part way through the baking time, for 35 to 45 minutes or until the filling has set and the pastry and almonds are nicely browned.
  • Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes and then cover and chill for a few hours before serving.



 Bake it on a cookie sheet to catch spills.


I didn't cover it, I just sat it in the fridge for about 4 hours.

If you bake pies you really should try this.  This might be the only blueberry pie I will be makin in the future.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thanksgiving in a Cup

The Blog Tech, his wife and I went to a festival last Fall where they were serving this and I thought it would be a great meal for the after school kids.  I finally got around to making it for them yesterday. This would be a great way to use up your holiday leftovers too.

 I started by making stuffing.

 And put a layer of it in my slow cooker.

 I roasted a turkey breast and cut it into pieces and layered it over the stuffing.  I made turkey gravy, a lot of it, and drizzled some over the turkey.

Then I made mashed potatoes and put a thick layer of them over the top.  I topped them with butter and cracked black pepper
 The kids took big scoops from the bottom up and poured rich turkey gravy over the top.  At the festival, they served it in cups which was fun because you could walk around eating it with a spoon.

I also made this simple creamed corn recipe using frozen or canned corn.  You just put the corn in a slow cooker, add 1 cup of milk, 1 T. of sugar, 1 tsp. of salt, 1 stick of butter and 1 block of cream cheese. Let it cook for 3 hours and stir thoroughly.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chicken Taquitos

 This is what I made for the after school kids yesterday...chicken taquitos.  The kids eat everything that I send to them but certain things are their favorites and these are always popular.  I made 8 quarts of salsa to go with them.

 For the filling, dice cooked chicken (I used about 7 quarts but I made almost 100 of these), 3 blocks of cream cheese (8oz), 6 cups of grated cheddar cheese, granulated garlic and onion, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper or you can use packaged taco seasoning. Squeeze in the juice of 3 limes.

 Mix it thoroughly.  I also added corn.

 Roll some filling in flour tortillas.

 Place them seam side down and brush with oil.

Bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes until they begin to brown.   These can be served warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Moist Banana Bundt Cake

Yesterday I set aside some time to do some baking for the after school kids.  I'm so busy cooking for them that I haven't been doing much baking and they sure like it when I bake.  Having almost 15 more of them to cook for this year has cramped my style.

 First I made them a sheet pan of white and milk chocolate blondies.

 Then I made them these two banana bundt cakes with cream cheese frosting.

 Here's the recipe for the cake:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2⅛ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups smashed very ripe bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside
  3. Smash the bananas and mix in the 2 tsp of lemon juice and set aside
  4. Using a mixer combine, butter, oil and sugar and mix thoroughly
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix just until combined
  6. Add vanilla, salt, and butter milk. Mix well, scrape edges and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is well combined
  7. Add baking soda and flour mix gently and then add bananas and mix gently again.
  8. Pour the cake batter evenly into the greased and floured bundt pan (do not fill bundt pan more than ⅔ full) and bake in the 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Immediately after removing cake from oven. Put cake (still in the pan) into your freezer and freeze for 45-60 minutes.
  10. Remove and frost with Cream Cheese Icing. I use ½ cup softened butter, 1 (8 ounce) softened cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla and three cups of powdered sugar.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Best Sign From the Marches

 I saw this and thought it was the best sign from the marches.  Click to enlarge.

 This is my new project.  I am going to make a bunch of these flowers to decorate a wall.

They will be Easter decorations for the after school kids.  When Easter is over, they can take them home.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Beef Bourguignon

My daughter's boyfriend, who is a chef, had his birthday on Saturday.  He works until 1:00 am so they had a late birthday celebration.  I made him beef bourguignon for his birthday dinner.
 I use Julia's recipe and got up really early in the morning to start the prep work.

 This recipe is not difficult but it does take a long time to make it.

 The beef must be dry so that it will brown properly

 Lot's of chopping....

 and slicing goes into this dish.

 The browning takes a lot of time.  You have to brown each piece on all sides to give it a crust.

 But it sure pays off in the end. I gave some to my DIL and she said she thinks it might be the best thing she's ever eaten.

 It seriously is that good.  You can find the recipe here:  http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/search?q=beef+bourguignon 

Make sure to serve it with some good French bread.  I also served it over mashed cauliflower along with creamed spinach.