Saturday, March 31, 2012

Red Pepper Flakes


Red Pepper Flakes
Making your own....taste so much better....









Growing these in the garden is fun, they are colorful....I am looking forward to doing another batch or two this garden season....

Ingredients:
1 pound cayenne peppers

Yields:
1/2 cups red pepper flakes

Prep Time:
20 minutes

Cook or Drying Time:
6-8 hours

Directions:
Wash the peppers and pat them dry. Cut the peppers length-wise and take out the pith and seeds. Set oven at 200 degrees and place peppers skin side up, and let roast for about 6-8 hours until roasted, dark and dry. You’ll know the peppers are ready to be grinded when they become brittle.

Next, let the peppers cool a bit and put them in a grinder. You can use a coffee grinder, a food processor—whatever you have in your kitchen. Start by grinding just a little to see the size of flakes you get. The less grinding—the more flakey the result. The more you grind—the closer it’ll look to the powdered pepper you buy in a store.

Let the peppers sit for about 15 minutes before you open the grinder or the food processer. You’ll end up sneezing from the peppers.

You can substitute cayenne peppers for other peppers as well.

Also you can use a food dehryderator for drying peppers if you have one....
These cayenne pepper flakes are better than the ones you fine in the store...the color is rich, the flakes smell fresh and the taste is worth the time it takes to do your own.
How to use:
My first experiences with red pepper flakes were at pizza restaurants, with those glass shakers full of seeds and flakes. I also love going to a favortive deli store and I ordered red pepper flakes on my sandwich....

As I learned to cook, I threw them in only when a recipe called for them, and always in very small amounts. Now, I use them on pasta, vegetables, in sauces...
We love red pepper flakes with Asian ingredients and add them to sauces like the spicy peanut sauce that goes with our any vegaetable and summer rolls and for some reason they are just perfect on broccoli.

Look what's growing.....

Our 2012 Garden is Springing Up...

My Gardener Guy has planted peas, potatoes, garlic, onions, lettuce and we have a few tomato and peppers started....

Today he planted spinach and carrots!!!


Looking good....


My Gardener Guy doing his thing!!!

Rasberry Pears


Years ago I attended an invite to a friends home, I can't even remember now what the occasion was. However I remember a dessert that I loved. It became a famous dish in my own family. I serve it often at big events, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have been making this dessert for the past 28 years now...it's that good!!! Now we can enjoy it more often, My Gardner Guy, has fresh raspberries growing each year in the garden. Raspberries, black berries and strawberries...yummy.

(all berries can be used as a topping on this dessert, I like the rasberries the best)

2 large cans of whole pear halves
2 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup or more of powered sugar (to your liking of taste)
1 bag of frozen rasberries
1/8 cup of corn starch
1/4 to 1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of finely chopped nuts (optional)
1/8 cups of finely finely grated white chocolate (optional)

First take your frozen rasberries and on a medium heat cook until it is thicken, adding corn starch and white sugar. Let it then cool, I often place in freezer while preparing the rest of the dish.
Now for looks a head of pretty leaf lettuce, to serve as a bed for the pears to lay on.
Open your cans of pears, drain and lay on lettuce bed.
Mix powered sugar and cream cheese together, use has a filling in the holes of the pears halves.
Now take you cooled rasberry topping and put a littl over the top of the pear and cream cheese.
Sprinkle the tops with a few nuts and white chocolate......

Enjoy,

Georgie




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Biscuits, Cheddar Cheese Biscuits, and making your own Biscuit Mix...

My Grandmother made the best bisquick biscuits, over the years I have enjoy these small treats with many dinners. When your in a hurry they are perfect to add to a dinner. They are perfect to add to a light meal, or those cold nights with a stew or hot bowl of soup.


Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Biscuits



Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups of Bisquick Mix
  • 3 oz shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk
Directions:



Preheat oven to 400°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.










Melt butter in a small pan, add oil and half the garlic; sauté on low heat about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chopped rosemary.




In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix, parmesan cheese, and remaining garlic. Stir in milk and mix (do not over mix). Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls (about 1.5 oz each) onto prepared cookie sheet.






Bake for 10 minutes. Brush or drizzle biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.


Ready for somemore.....Cheddar Cheese  garlic Biscuits!!!
Order an entrée from America's largest seafood restaurant chain and you get a basket of some of the planet's tastiest garlic cheese biscuits served up on the side. For many years this recipe has been the most-searched-for clone recipe on the Internet, according to Red Lobster. As a result, several versions are floating around, including one that was at one time printed right in the box of a baking mix.
The problem with making biscuits using a baking mix is that if you follow the directions from the box you don't end up with a very fluffy or flakey finished product, since most of the fat in the recipe comes from the shortening that's included in the mix.
On its own, room temperature shortening does a poor job creating the light, airy texture you want from good biscuits, and it contributes little in the way of flavor. So, add some cold butter along on the trip-with grated cheddar cheese and a little garlic powder.  This makes an awesome biscuit!!!


Ingredients:
2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
¾ cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese


Brush on top:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch salt

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and ¼ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.

3. Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

5. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Recipe courtesy of Todd Wilbur, "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2," Plume Books.

I like buying Bisquick but I also like making my own at times....so for the do it your self cook try making your own bisquick mix.....

Original Bisquick Baking Mix

6 cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon canola oil
Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix well.
Using an electric mixer, slowly stir in
canola oil. Mix until all lumps are gone
and mixture is a uniform texture - about
1 minute.

Store in an airtight container.

Use as an exact substitute for Bisquick
in recipes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Butternut Squash Bisque (Soup)....hummmm good!!!

I really love this cute shapely squash...it stores well, as I still have some from my 2011 garden that I am using for these two recipes. Yes, two different soups, I like them both. The first recipe I got from my daughter a few years ago. When she and her husband were in South Africa they had this soup and fell in love with it. So, they brought the recipe home with them and it was what Shelley requested that I cook for her after delivering Ella. I liked it and soon My Gardener Guy was growing butternut squash in the garden. The second recipe is milk free using apple juice...I had them both tonight and My Gardner Guy and I could not decide which one we liked best...

Butternut Squash Soup 1 (from Africa)

3 TBSP butter
2 onions
2-3 cups Butternut squash cleaned, diced into cube like pieces (I use 3 cups)
1 apple peeled and chopped
1-2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups of chicken stock 
1 1/2 cups of milk
grated rind of one orange
juice of one orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, croutons, crumble bacon for garnish all optional....


Directions
Cut your butternut squash in half, clean out the seeds, peel, then diced it up in cubes. Place on oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until  tender.
Saute your onions and apples in butter.
In large cooking pot or stock pot add chicken stock, nutmeg, curry powder, grated rind and juice, sauteed apples and onions, butternut squash, cook on medium heat for 10- 15 minutes then add milk. Use a immersion blender to mix together. Salt and pepper to taste.....Serve warm.... garnish it with chopped parsley, croutons, or crumble bacon.... 

Butternut Squash Soup 2

4 TBSP butter
2 onions (medium)
3-4 cups Butternut squash cleaned, diced into cube like pieces (2 medium size)
2 apples peeled and chopped
3-4 tsp curry powder
4 cups of chicken stock 
1/2 - 1 cup of apple juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, croutons, crumble bacon for garnish all optional....

Directions

Cut your butternut squash in half, clean out the seeds, peel, then diced it up in cubes. Place on oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until  tender.
Saute your onions and apples in butter.
In large cooking pot or stock pot add chicken stock, curry powder, juice, sauteed apples and onions, butternut squash, cook on medium heat for 10- 15 minutes. Use a immersion blender to mix together. Salt and pepper to taste.....Serve warm.... garnish it with chopped parsley, croutons, or crumble bacon.... 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Drying Orange and Lemon peels......


How to Dry Orange or Lemon Peel at Home: It's quite easy.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • Orange peels or lemon peels

Preparation:

 Take a number of organically grown oranges or lemons (which should have untreated, pesticide-free skins), and use a fine-bladed paring knife to trim away just the colored part of the skin, leaving the bitter white part behind. Lay the strips skin-side down on a plate and let them dry at room temperature for 3-4 days, until they have shriveled and are no longer moist. Store the dried peel in a dark place, in a clean jar. To use, either crumble it or whirl it in a blender. You can use the powdered peel in place of extract in baking; in toppings, to flavor sugar-bowl sugar, in spice mixes (e.g. lemon, pepper, rosemary and sage as a barbecue rub), and to flavor sauces of one kind and another.

Lemon Zest and Drying grated lemon or orange peel

Lemon Zest -



The rich outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, or other citrus fruit, which can be used as flavoring.

On a lemon, it is the yellow part of the peel (skin) on the outside of a lemon. The zest is shiny, brightly colored, and textured; it is the outer surface of the fruit which consumers can directly see.

The peel of a citrus fruit contains two (2) top layers; the zest (the outermost part of the rind), and the pith (a white, fibrous membrane directly below the zest which helps to protect the fruit inside).

Lemon zest has an intense lemon/citrus flavor with very little bitterness. The bitterness is primarily found in the white part of the lemon (the white pith). The white pith will give your dish a bitter undertaste. Carefully zest your citrus fruits leaving the pith on the fruit.

Before zesting, scrub the fruit with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Rinse it well and dry it with a paper towel.

Zesting a lemon

Lemon Zest


Drying your own.....


Grated lemon or orange peel is often called for in fruit bread and quick bread recipes. The peel, or rind, gives the bread an incredible citrus flavor that can't be found in artificial flavorings. While you'll want to use freshly grated rind as decoration on iced breads,cakes, and cupcakes, the dried rind is just as delicious as fresh rind when added as an ingredient to baked goods.

To make your own dried citrus rind:

  1. If possible, choose organic oranges or lemons, and thoroughly wash and dry the fruit.
  2. Carefully use a citrus grater to lightly grate off only the top layer of the skin. You want only the flavorful orange or yellow part of the peel. Avoid the white pith because it makes baked goods bitter.
  3. Transfer the grated peel to a flat dish or onto a piece of wax paper. Let the grated peel dry overnight, or longer if needed.
  4. The grated oranges and lemons can be juiced for baking or drinking, or you can store the fruits in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated until you are ready to use them.
  5. When the grated peel is completely dry and coarse, store it in a clean, glass jar. Keep out of sunlight to prevent fading.
  6. Crush the peel between your fingers before adding it to other ingredients so as to release the orange or lemon flavor. Use in the amounts called for in the recipe.
Putting the new
GE Immersion Blender to work today!!!!!
The reviews online do not have much to say about this product....I fine that if you use it on the low speed it works perfect for soups and shakes....all and all for the price I think this product works pretty well for light duty things. Walmart sells them for under $30.00....

Specs:

  • 250 watts Motor
  • Dual Hi/Low Speed Control
  • Stainless Steel Immersion Shaft
  • Whisk, Measuring Cup and Chopper Bowl Attachments
  • Storage Bag
  • Simplify food processing with the GE Immersion Blender. You can avoid the hassle of chopping, cutting, and whisking with this 2-speed hand blender that is a perfect addition to your other kitchen tools. In addition, the sleek design and finish are sure to complement your contemporary kitchen decor. This stainless steel immersion blender comes with a whisk, storage bag, measuring cup, and chopper board attachments for ease of use. It consumes very less space than a food processor or traditional blender. This stick immersion blender also has dual hi/low speed control that allows manual adjustments.

    How to peel and cut a butternut squash....

    How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash


    Keep squash pieces as stable as possible while cutting. A rubber mallet can help, if you have one, to gently push the knife through difficult thick spots. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, one with a carbon steel blade, will help with the peeling.

    Ingredients

    • One butternut squash, 1 1/2 to 3 pounds
    • A sharp, heavy, chef's knife
    Method
    1 Using a heavy, sharpened chef's knife, cut off about 1/4-inch from the bottom of the squash in an even slice. Then cut off 1/4-inch from the stem end.


    2 Holding the squash in one hand, use a sharp vegetable peeler in the other hand to peel off the outer layer of the squash. You can also secure the squash standing upright and peel it in downward strokes with the peeler. Stand the peeled squash upright on a cutting board. It shouldn't wobble, you want the squash to be stable. (If it is wobbly, make another cut at the bottom to even it out.) Make one long cut, down the middle from the top to bottom, with a heavy chef's knife. Some squashes can be pretty hard; to help with the cutting you can use a rubber mallet to gently tap on the ends of the knife to help push the knife down through the squash.

    cut-butternut-7.jpg
    3 Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringy pulp from the squash cavity. (If you want, you can prepare the seeds like toasted pumpkin seeds.)
    cut-butternut-8.jpg
    4 Lay the squash halves, cut side down on the cutting board for stability. Working section at a time, cut the squash into slices, lengthwise, the desired width of your squash pieces. Some recipes call for 1/2-inch slices or cubes, some for 1-inch or greater.
     5 If you are cubing the squash, lay the slices down (you can stack a few at a time) and make another set of lengthwise cuts. Then make crosswise cuts to make cubes.
    One 1 1/2 pound butternut squash will yield approximately 4 cups of 1/2-inch cubed squash.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Homemade Croutons....garnish dishes for My Gardner Guy!!!

    Make Your Own Croutons

    Once you make your own you will see how much better tasting they are and how easy. I save left over buns, ends of breads, day old french bread, etc. and put them in the freezer. When I have collected enough I make a big batch...
    1. Cut some day-old or stale  bread into cubes.
    2. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil. Toss in a pan.
    3. Spice them up with a few shakes of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, or whatever spices sound good. Toss again. I have been enjoying using the spice salad supreme, and grounded up sun dried tomato's...
    4. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes. Shake and toss. Bake until toasted. ***Pay attention so you don’t burn them!
    That’s it!  Enjoy...............

    Georgie

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Meatloaf for my Gardner Guy

    I like making this meatloaf, but the seceret is having a nice meat loaf pan that allows the extra grease and juices to drain to the bottom of the pan, great tasting meatloaf....
    This one is made by kitchen aid...there is a lot of different brands on the market and they are not expensive, so try one it makes a big difference....


    My Gardner Guy's Meatloaf...

    2 teaspoons cooking oil
    1 green onion, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 TBSP minced green bell pepper
    2 TBSP grated carrot
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 cup of milk
    2 teaspoons of salt
    1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon of garlic power
    1/2 teaspoon of onion power
    1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (ground chuck)
    3/4 pounds of ground pork or ground turkey
    1 cup bread crumbs (such as Progresso)
    1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 cup ketchup plus an additional 1/4 cup for the top

    Heat oven to 350 degrees

    Saute green onion, garlic, green pepper, and carrot in cooking oil on a medium heat until slighty tender.
    Combine beaten eggs with milk, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion power in a medium bowl.
    Mix bread crumbs and flour into your meat. Add eggs, milk, sauted vegetables, 1/4 cup of ketchup.
    Press the mixture into a meatloaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then spread remaining 1/4 cup of ketchup over the top of the meat loaf and bake for another 45 -60 minutes.

    Georgie





    Those new potatoes will pair up nice with the garden peas!!!

    Creamed Garden Potatoes and Peas Recipe We all have comfort foods...this one is mine, My Gardner Guy approves!!! Ingredients 2...