January Deep Fry Fridays! January 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd!

It is the dead of winter in Michigan, even though it seems it just started.  Time for a little fun.  Time for Deep Fry Fridays!  Of course you can choose any day of the week you would like, as long as you try to deep fry.  I have wanted a commerical french fry cutter for 11 years and finally I got one for my birthday!  Added to that, we received a deep fryer for Christmas, so expect some crispy morsels from our neck of the cold woods.

So, who is in?  This will be a hosted, posted event, so if you are deep frying, send me a link to your fry post and I will gather them here to make everyone drool.  I think we should try this for one month – January – to beat the post holiday duldrums.

Many of you out there reading this blog also have Celiac and know that we can never plan to eat anything deep fried in a restaurant unless they have a dedicated fryer, which is rare except at fast food joints.  This January feature is, in part, to help us get over the lack of crispy deep fried goodies that others can indulge in.  So, get creative and swap your ideas right here!

I think we will be starting out with perfecting the fresh cut fry and a few batters.  I feel a blooming onion in the future as well as mozzarella balls with marinara sauce.  Fish and chips?  Tempura?  Stay tuned to see what we all come up with!

i’m out

Menu of the Week Dec 28th Leftovers

M-elle of Cooking and Uncooking is the host for this week’s menu swap and the theme is leftovers.  While I am not a big fan of leftovers (I usually eat them for lunch if we have some) I do have some plans for leftovers this week.  Swing on over to her site to see what everyone else is cooking this week.

Sunday:  Back from the great white North and we needed something spicy: Thai green curry with pork, bamboo shoots and fresh Thai basil from the indoor garden pot.

Monday: Italian wedding soup – using leftover meatballs that I made and froze last week and kale since my store doesn’t carry curly endive.  Cold and windy and the snow melted – time for soup!

Tuesday: Grilled Greek kabobs (using our pork) with a feta, olive and cucumber salad  with fresh herbs from the basement greenhouse.

Wednesday New Year’s eve  Shrimp scampi or Asian style hot pot/fondue. Undecided.  Just like our NYE plans.

Thursday: New Year’s day: Brunch: Mexican breakfast enchiladas with pinto beans, eggs and bacon from out pig, or maybe chorizo. Avocado slices on the side.

Dinner: bringing a dish to pass at a Hogmanny party (not sure what that is yet, but it happens on NYD) – Maybe mac and cheese jazzed up – comfort food for hangovers.

Friday: Deep Fry Friday debuts this week.  We will be testing fresh cut french fries and perhaps some gf breaded mini mozzarella balls and maybe chicken fingers – not sure, but I have all week to come up with ideas.  If you want to post your Deep Fry Friday menu, email me or leave a comment.  We will deep fry once a week for a month.

Saturday: Mexican Carne en su jugo with our freshly made bacon and using pork instead of beef – pork is good luck for the new year!

i’m out

Solstice! and Menu of the week Dec 21: Cranberries!

Happy Solstice!  Solstice occurred around 7 am this morning.  The days will be longer soon!  This week’s ingredient is cranberries.  I guarantee you I will consume at least one cranberry vodka cocktail this week, plus we will use cranberry sauce on Friday with a turkey dinner.  Angela’s Kitchen  is this week’s gluten free menu swap host, so click on over there and check out all the great menus floating around.

This weekend I made three different batches of brittle:  pine nut, pumpkin seed, almond brittle with red chile and fleur de Sel; coconut cardamom brittle  and macadamia nut, almond, coconut brittle, both of the last two also had cayenne and fleur de Sel.  That heat combined with crunch and salty sweet  is so delicious!  It is the best brittle I have ever eaten and the first time I have made it.  I made the coconut brittle for a friend who has a peanut allergy and she loved it.

Sunday: Snowpeas with pork stirfry – a hold over from last week’s menu 
Monday: Latkes/potato pancakes with Weiss wurst
Tuesday: Vietnamese Chicken Pho – I still have fresh Thai basil growing in the basement greenhouse/room.  Organic free range chicken raised by my brother for this pot of soup.
Heading North for the holidays at the farm:
Christmas eve – shrimp cocktails and roast beef
Christmas day tradition: cheese fondue with veggies and beef fondue with many dipping sauces with baked potatoes, cheesy parm bread and salad
Christmas day after Roasted Turkey (extended family gathering) with hot spiced wine
Saturday night:  Hanging and likely eating too, at the Bluebird in Leland – traditional reunion weekend gathering spot for all those who no longer live in Leland, but are home for the holidays.

I am bringing apps for both Christmas eve and Day:  mini meatballs with porcini mushroom, parm and thyme, spinach veggie dip with tortillas, shrimp, hopefully some blue cheese gougeres, and a cheese and salami platter with lots of GF crackers.  Oh and pate, if it works.  I have a liverfree pate in the oven right now.  I used chestnut puree instead of liver hoping it will give a similar spreadable texture.  Country pate with homemade fermented dill pickles and dijon.  I have the whole week off to play and cook until we head North.

Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!

i’m out

Menu Swap Monday Dec 15th: Nuts and seeds!

Nuts and seeds, I really like both of them.  The majority of seeds that I use are typically spices, but I do like to use my share of sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I mostly snack on nuts or use them in Indian cooking but this week, since it is the festive holiday season, I am going to make a brittle with pumpkin, almonds and red chile.  I was going to use pine nuts, but they are outrageously priced at my local store right now, almonds it is. I have a giant bowlful of walnuts that I need to crack that Eby’s dad gave us from his English walnut tree – those might find there way in the brittle too. At least they are local, even if they are still in their hard shells.

This week’s menu swap host is In My Box and she blogs about what arrives in her CSA box every week. Swing on over there and check out all the menus posted – lots of cheese sauces created from nuts this week. I have yet to try doing that as I have no problem with dairy, but I am curious as to how they taste and someday will break down and try making some.

I experimented with making some liver free pate just using pork, and it failed miserably. I chalk it up to over seasoning (never thought I would say that) and using chickpea flour instead of some other flour. You know the golden rule is to never taste your batter or dough before baking if the chickpea flour is in it as it is bitter. Well, the slow cooking, low cooking nature of the pate meant that the chick pea flour still tasted raw – very bitter in a bad way. It was a big disappointment after all that work. But now I know. Next time I won’t try to add a nuttiness to my pate.

On to the menu:
Sunday: Ma Po Tofu, with stir fried broccoli and rice
Monday: Shepard’s Pie – after posting the recipe yesterday, I couldn’t resist.
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore with tomatoes, red peppers and baby bella mushrooms
Wednesday: Hot Tamale Soup – with homemade tamales from the freezer stock and grass fed beef and home canned tomatoes (I am in a tomato mood this week)
Thursday: Indian something with eggplant and pork (I know they don’t eat a lot of pork, but I have a lot of pork) or a fish curry, depends on mood.
Friday: Paella with chicken and chorizo – making use of the peppers I bought for Tuesday too.
Saturday: Shrimp with snow peas (shrimp for me, chicken for Eby, who won’t eat shrimp, but more for me.)

Happy Solstice to you this weekend – light a candle and appreciate the dark days, sunnier ones are on the way, after Saturday.

i’m out

Shepard’s Pie

It’s wintery outside and very, very cold.  Why not embrace the cold with some quick, warm Shepard’s Pie?

shepards pie

Shepard’s Pie

For the filling
1 lb Ground beef ( I used grass fed beef) cooked and drained of excess fat
1 med/large onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 jar diced tomatoes (14-16 oz) I used home made canned. Drain and set tomato juice aside.
Green ends of a leek or a couple of green onions (was cleaning out the fridge)
potato starch
2 tsp beef broth concentrate (or cook beef broth down to concentrate) Trader Joe broth packets work great
2 bay leaves or ground bay
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
garlic – as much as you like, at least 2 cloves
salt and fresh cracked pepper

For the topping
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream or milk as needed
chives or finely chopped leek tips – add enough to give both color and flavor
1/4 or more parmesan
s and fresh cracked p

Boil potatoes until cooked, drain and save the potato starch water. Set water aside. Make mashed potatoes with the topping ingredients.
Brown beef, onion and carrot together in an oven proof 2 quart pan.  If you don’t have one, use any frying pan and later pour the filling into an 2 quart oven proof dish or a large pie plate. Drain off any excess fat. Make a slurry with the drained tomato juice and potato starch. Add herbs, garlic and beef concentrate to slurry. Add slurry to the beef mixture and bring to a boil. Add potato water as needed to thicken and make a thick sauce. Top with mashed potatoes. Broil the potatoes until golden brown. Enjoy.

 

shepards pie meat mix with tomatoes

mashed potatoes for shepards pie

 

shepards pie

We used local beef, tomatoes from the garden, potatoes from the farm and local leeks for this dish.
i’m out