October 28th, 2007
I’ve been reading a cookbook: Nightly Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home. I love how they combine simple recipes and ingredients to make delicious foods! I’ve already made a few things out of it including “Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash” and “Coffee Barbecue Sauce” with chicken. There are plenty more delicious-looking recipes in this book (like the Chicken Pot Pie), and since it’s only a loaner from the Library I think I’m going to have to buy it:
Well anyway, I promised you a recipe with my homemade chicken broth and I keep my promises. The Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash looked really good in the book’s picture and it was good! It uses homemade chicken stock and maple syrup, but my wife said to use less maple syrup next time — it was a little sweet for dinner.
I didn’t actually use butternut squash, since I didn’t have any. I grew a small garden outside my duplex this year and had an acorn squash plant. From that ONE plant I must have harvested over 25 acorn squash and so I had plenty to spare!
One last note, this dinner goes GREAT with the pumpkin dinner rolls! Try it tonight!
Here’s what I did:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup barley
- 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
- 1 large Acorn Squash (the recipe actually calls for butternut squash, so use that if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tsp total of Kosher salt and whole pepper kernels ground
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (the recipe calls for 3, I’d reduce it to 1 tablespoon next time)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown
- Add the raw barley and cook it for about 3 minutes
- Pour in the hot broth, stir and simmer uncovered until the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender (about 40 minutes)
- Take your squash (chopped into cubes) and oil and toss in a bowl. Season it with the salt and pepper, toss again.
- Turn it out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast it in the oven until tender (about 15 minutes).
- Add the syrup and other spices and stir.
- Roast for another 10 minute
- Now, stir the squash into the barley, serve and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy it!
October 23rd, 2007
I guess there is a lot of pumpkin to go around this time of year. This is my third pumpkin recipe in the last few weeks. Even after this recipe, I still have fresh pumpkin left. My wife works for Stahlbush Island Farms and has brought home a lot of organic pumpkin (it’s one of their bigger products) for us to enjoy.
She tried the pumpkin rolls and thought that they were really good. I especially like them hot out of the oven (even if I have to reheat them there). Here’s what I did to make them (based off of “Mom’s Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Recipe“).
Ingredients (for 12 rolls):
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of good Active Dry Yeast.
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup of 110 degree (Fahrenheit) milk
- About 4 cups of flour (add more as you need when kneading)
- 1 cup Organic Canned Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3/4 stick of butter (< 1/2 cup)
- 1 egg, beaten a bit
- Mix yeast and sugar into the milk and let the yeast grow for about 10 to 15 minutes. If it doesn’t grow (bubble and foam) then neither will your rolls so go get some new yeast! I get mine from our local co-op (First Alternative Co-Op) in bulk and it hasn’t failed me yet!
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl
- Chop the butter into bits and mix it into the dry ingredients
- Add the egg, pumpkin and foamy yeast mixture
- Mix everything together until its all combined
- Next, take the dough and knead it on a floured surface (and keep it floured on top and bottom to keep from sticking on you and the surface) for about 10 minutes.
- If you are in a hurry you can skip this step but your rolls might not be as good. Set the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel for about 1 hour (or until it doubles in size). Indeed, I was in a hurry and skipped this step so please comment if you include it and let me know how it turns out.
- Punch the dough down and separate into 12 balls.
- Place the balls on an oiled baking tray (or use a springform pan or glass baking dish) and let them rise for another 45 minutes.
- Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes or until they just turn golden at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
I think the two keys to baking bread, rolls, and similar recipes are:
- Let the yeast active for about 10-15 minutes with a little sugar or honey using 110 to 120 degree water (or milk in this case). I have been baking bread for some time now and ever since I started doing this my dough has turned out wonderfully.
- Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. I used to be afraid of kneading because I thought it would make the bread tough, but I think the exact opposite is true. This allows the yeast to work through the flour and helps it to rise. Now my only problem with baking bread is that it rises TOO MUCH, but that’s a story for another day of blogging.
I hope you enjoy them!
October 20th, 2007
As you may have noticed I don’t use salt that much. I like to use unsalted butter, and I rarely put salt in anything I bake. I found that it is not necessary to add salt in order to have a delicious flavor. When I went on a salt-free kick way back when, I realized that chicken bouillon and store-bought chicken broths have a LOT of sodium (along with pretty much every thing else you buy at the grocery store). So I decided (…read more and get the recipe)
October 17th, 2007
I love applesauce. I can only remember my Mom making it once, but my Grandma’s applesauce was the MOST delicious applesauce you have ever had! I loved the sweet and juicy apple chunks that she had, it didn’t remind me of the store bought kind — and that was a great thing! A year ago, during apple season, I decided I was going to try my own. I could not believe how simple it was to make, not to mention how delicious it was. My mother-in-law let me borrow an apple/potato peeler (a handy little machine) and I was off to work. It turned out great and I made quite a few batches over the months.
Once apple season ended (no more cheap apples) I sort of forgot about it, UNTIL NOW! Cheap apples are back. I got some fresh apples for 65 cents a pound at a fruit stand nearby this weekend so I could make applesauce. Sometimes I find “baking apples” (the bruised and beaten ones) over at Hazelnut Hill for 25 cents a pound during the season (I also can’t resist their chocolate covered hazelnuts!). For my next batch I hope to get over there and buy some cheaper apples.
Now, I don’t remember exactly what kind of apples I bought (shame on me) but you can just ask the clerk which apples might be best for applesauce (gala, granny smith all work though) . Here’s my recipe:
- 6-8 apples
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (more or less to your taste)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- You can do one of two things to get started: Peel the apples, or leave the peels on. (If you leave the peals on, later you will HAVE to put them through a food processor. I don’t recommend it, unless you like the peels and don’t want larger apple chunks. I forgot that detail today and left the peels on for fun.)
- Next, cut the apples into quarters, then trim out the core and seeds.
- Then place the apples in a pot and turn the stove on to medium-low.
- Place the lemon zest and juice in the pot and mix it in.
- Cover the pot and let it sit, come back and stir every 10 minutes or so. You’ll start to notice it turning more and more into applesauce after 20-30 minutes. You can be the judge based on thickness and number of apple-pieces to tell when its done.
- Now, add the cinnamon or, if you’re not a fan, leave it out or use less.
- If you don’t like my sugar free version, feel free to add sugar here too. I don’t think I need it after all the pumpkin cupcakes!
- This step is optional, but if you want to (or if you left the skins on) here you can process the pan. Since I left the skins on mine this time I pulsed mine a few times just to get the skins to bite-sized pieces.
That’s it! I just finished eating (and loving) a warm bowl of applesauce and am looking forward to my next batch already!
In the mean time, I have a lot of books to read. I went to the library today and checked out a bunch of books on food and cooking.
* These probably have a ton of natural sugar from the apples.
October 14th, 2007
Have I got your attention now? My mouth has FULL attention on these cupcakes! These cupcakes are so moist and melt-in-your-mouth! And the frosting, it’s the best frosting I’ve ever made (which I guess isn’t saying that much) but it’s up there on the best I’ve tasted list.
The pumpkin and spices in the cupcake blend so well with the ginger-infused whipped cream. You probably wouldn’t believe that this whipped cream frosting is good, and to be honest, by itself it’s pretty bad. My wife’s face did a 360 when she licked the spoon. I told her, “You have to try it WITH the cupcakes!” Here’s how it should be done:
A year ago I read an article in the Oregonian about flavor-infused whipped cream. I just tucked it away in my memory banks for a rainy day. Today was that day. I whipped out the recipe and got to work. The article/recipe lists a bunch of different flavors you can use, which makes this fun! I decided that the ginger would go really well with the pumpkin and other spices.
I boiled the cream and added the flavorings. I cut up a few thin slices of ginger and also threw in two cinnamon sticks for good measure. Next I let it steep for 45 minutes. Then, because I didn’t have enough time, I put the cream on an ice bath and put it in the refrigerator while I worked on the cupcakes. This REALLY cut down the cooling time called for in the recipe so if you’re in a hurry, it’ll do!
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk (I used whipping cream + skim to make whole)
- 1 – 15 oz can pumpkin (I used Stahlbush Island Farm “Farmer’s Market” brand Organic Pumpkin)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together and mix in a bowl
- Beat the butter until “fluffy”
- Add the sugar and mix
- Add half of the dry mixture, then half the milk, repeat while mixing
- Mix in the pumpkin, stirring the sides with a spatula (if you are using an electric mixer).
Now fill about 24 cupcake tins (lined — and I did 12 at a time twice) half-way and bake for about 15 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Back to the frosting…
Now take the completely cooled flavor-infused whipping cream out of the fridge and place it in a clean mixer. Add about 4 oz of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar per cup of whipping cream. Whip the cream until it is fairly thick, so that you can ice the cupcakes with it. Now you’re ready to put it all together.
I had a lot of fun with this part. I handed my wife the camera and got to icing. I had to hand-make a piping/icing bag, for the first time ever. I made it way too short and got icing all over my hands, it was really fun though!
Take a cupcake, fill an icing bag and have fun. That’s my advice. I even made a little R + K in the cupcakes for my wife (I gotta keep her happy)!
I hope you enjoy it!
October 13th, 2007
Since I started thinking about writing my blog I have been reading more and more food blogs. I noticed a strange trend, cupcakes are everywhere! These aren’t your regular supermarket dry, sugar-high cupcakes either. Okay, so maybe I’m a little behind on the times. Cupcake blogs are everywhere: here, here and here. I visited a friend in San Francisco last spring and she mentioned a bakery around the corner from her that sold nothing but cupcakes. I had never heard of such a thing. “How cool!” I thought.
All the varieties, decorations, and flavors are enough to make a food-loving, sugar-craving guy like me go crazy! Well, I am not here to start another cupcake blog, but boy have they made me hungry for cupcakes. I’ve been doing my research over the past few days (hence no recent blog entries) but I wanted to write today to ask for more ideas and to let you know I’m going to try a pumpkin cupcake recipe soon (with a secret and special topping)! I hope it turns out good and that you’ll enjoy reading about it.
October 11th, 2007
I’d like to welcome my wife, Rachel Prickett, as a guest today. Hopefully she’ll blog once in a while on here because she can cook with the best of ’em. I have to say dinner tonight was absolutely delicious. I’ll let her tell you about it.
- 4 American lamb rib chops
- 1 T oil
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chateau Benoit 2006 vintage Muller Thurgau)
- 1T. minced shallots
- 4 1/2 oz. Brie (cut off the rind to make it melt more smoothly.)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 T. butter
Sear lamb chops in oil until well brown on all sides. Reduce heat and continue cooking until medium rare, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chops from pan and keep warm. (really warm…you want to serve lamb hot and the wine takes a little while to reduce.)
In the same pan, add wine and shallots; simmer until reduced to 1/8 cup. Cut Brie into cubes, add wine and shallots mixture. Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. Season spinach with butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
To serve, place on bed of spinach in center of plate. Place lamb chops on top. Spoon Brie sauce over top. Serves 2.
This didn’t make as much as Keith and I would have liked, but as I said, it was DELICIOUS! I didn’t keep the lamb hot enough, so when you prepare this you might put the lamb back on the pan right before serving to heat it up again, or put it in a pre-heated oven to keep hot.
I hope you enjoy it!
October 10th, 2007
It’s another 350 degree day here in the Prickett house. I’m talking about the oven of course. I found a pumpkin biscotti recipe a while ago on another food blog and thought it sounded DELICIOUS. My wife works at a local farm that produces a lot of produce, including organic pumpkin puree (the kind I needed for this recipe!). It just so happens that she brought home some sample cans a week ago that I have been itching to use.
So today we both got the craving for the biscotti. I’d like to follow Garret’s advice of getting some chai, but it was really too late for us to go out tonight so maybe tomorrow we’ll have to make some!
They are just finishing up in the oven now, but I have all the photos I’m going to get for this one, so I’ll post them below. I pretty much followed the recipe verbatim except, as usual, I didn’t put the salt in. I’m on a use-less-salt kick and don’t put it in my baking much. These things smell SOOO good and I can’t wait to get them in my belly!!
October 10th, 2007
My wife was gone today, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to share this with her. Though, not all is disappointing, due to her absence I was able to get this blog rolling and concentrate on the nerdy part of it. Now, I am done with that and can actually post the recipe and photos. I hope you enjoy this!
What you’ll need [basic version]:
- “Your size” portion of mahi mahi fish fillet
I want to keep things simple, because sometimes long lists of ingredients intimidates people. I’ll list the spices below, but I’ll try to keep my recipes as simple as possible.
Here’s how I prepared the fish:
- Cut my large fillet into 4 pieces (you may have more or fewer pieces)
- Rinse the fillet with cold water
- Rub the fillet with canola or olive oil (today I used canola).
- Place in small glass baking dish
- Oh, don’t forget to preheat the oven to about 350 degrees (f)
- Now the fun part, sprinkle about 2 tsp (more or less to your taste) of the following seasonings over the fish:
- Ground Pepper
- Chili Powder (like McCormick)
- Onion Powder (or fresh and finely chopped)
- Garlic Powder (or fresh and pressed)
- Next, squeeze 1/2 of a medium lemon over the piece(s)
- and finally, throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes. It’s really easy to overcook this, so be careful to watch it. I definitely overcooked mine (about 30 minutes) and it was just slightly dry.
The key to my flavor today was the chili powder and ginger, but you can use any combination of the seasonings you have available from my list and it will still taste good!
While this was in the oven, I started 1 cup of rice with 2 1/2 cups of water in my rice cooker. Then, when the fish was looking ready I steamed some broccoli pieces to go with it.
There you have it, Spicy Mahi Mahi with steamed rice and steamed vegetables. An easy 1/2 hour dinner for four — or, as in my case, one. Don’t forget the lemon wedges and for a little garnish, try cilantro leaves in the rice and a pinch of chili powder sprinkled around the side of the plate (see below).
October 10th, 2007
My [beautiful, loving, faithful] wife and I have been talking for a while about all the yummy things I love to cook. One conversation led to another and we decided I should create one of those food blogs we always enjoy reading. So here I am, typing into this little blog window. I hope that I can share a little bit of my love for food and cooking with you.
You might be wondering: “Why did he choose ‘making banana pancakes’ as a title?” Well, let me share! A few weekends ago we purchased the album “In Between Dreams” by “Jack Johnson.”
Track #3 is a wonderful song called “Banana Pancakes,” and one of the lines contains the phrase “making banana pancakes.” That weekend I decided to make my beautiful wife Banana Pancakes for breakfast. This was around the time we decided I should create my blog. Here I go. My next post will be my first recipe, from a little earlier today.
Thanks for reading!