Monday, September 24, 2007

Hiatus For A Couple Weeks

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am going on a hiatus for a couple weeks because my sister is very ill and I am helping her with that. I will be posting recipes again in a couple weeks. I hope everyone is well.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Homemade Ginger Ale

I made this recipe up one night because I had a ton of ginger that I didn't know what to do with... So, this is my version of ginger ale, I hope you can all enjoy it as much as my parents and I have.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of syrup

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sliced ginger
1 2-liter bottle club soda

In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the sugar and water and bring to a soft boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sliced ginger and lemon juice and simmer covered for 30 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced down in half.

Allow syrup to cool and add 1 - 2 tablespoons of syrup, depending on how flavourful you like it, to a tall glass with ice and add club soda. Enjoy!

*NOTE: I have boughten some squeeze bottles from a local kitchen store for $0.95 that work great for storing and squirting the syrup out whenever you want a drink. In case you're not sure what I mean, here is a link for you so you know what kind of bottle to get.

Link for Squeeze Bottle

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Sourdough English Muffins

I made these sourdough english muffins this morning and they turned out really good... The original recipe doesn't call for a sourdough starter, it calls for yeast, in which case I will post both recipes in case there are some people out there who don't have a sourdough starter.

Sourdough English Muffins:

2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray

Special equipment: electric griddle, 3-inch metal rings, see Cook's Note*

In a saucepan over low heat combine milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and butter, and stir until the butter is melted and the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool to 95 - 100 degrees. Once the milk mixture is cooled add it to the sourdough starter, mixing well. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 60 minutes.

Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F, or a cast iron pan over medium-low heat.

Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Pour 1/2 batter into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and take out the rings with tongs, they should remove easily from the steam created from the lid, using a spatula, turn over each english muffin. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, and cool. Split with knife and serve.

*Cook's Note: Small waterchest nut cans with tops and bottoms removed, and washed thoroughly work well for metal rings.

Active Yeast English Muffins:

1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray

Special equipment: electric griddle, 3-inch metal rings, see Cook's Note*

In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, butter, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool to 95 - 100 degrees. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F, or a cast iron pan over medium-low heat.

Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Pour 1/2 batter into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and take out the rings with tongs, they should remove easily from the steam created from the lid, using a spatula, turn over each english muffin. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, and cool. Split with knife and serve.

*Cook's Note: Small waterchest nut cans with tops and bottoms removed, and washed thoroughly work well for metal rings.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Biff Pajs (Swedish Meat Pies)

These are a popular food item at the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City, Oregon. I love those meat pies, they are traditionally called Biff Paj's... They taste great and I honestly like this recipe better than the Biff Paj's at the Scandinavian Festival. I found this recipe on the net, but I've made my own changes to it and I like it the way I've changed it.

Yield: 6 meat pies
Prep Time: 40 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min


* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 pound ground beef (I use ground chuck roast)
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!!!)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
* 2 large red potatoes, grated
* 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cup butter
* 1 cup sour cream


1. Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in the ground beef and add parsley, allspice, dill, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and grated potatoes. Cook and stir until the meat is browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream until melted. Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix in the 1 1/4 cup butter with a fork or pastry cutter until only pea sized lumps remain. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Divide into six equal portions, and pat into balls.

4. Roll out each ball of dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Place a heaping 1/2 cup of filling onto each one. Fold over into half circles, and seal by moistening the edges with warm water and pressing together. Place on a baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pad Thai

Okay. Here it is. Hands-down the MOST popular Thai dish known to mankind. It is served in almost EVERY Thai restaurant.


1 pack dried rice stick noodles or "sen lek"
1/2 cup dried shrimp
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup chives cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound chicken meat cut into small bite-sized pieces
6 eggs
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons smashed garlic
2 tablespoons smashed onion
1/2 cup of water


1. Soak the rice stick noodles in tepid water for roughly 15 minutes. Then cut the noodles into 4-inch pieces. Strain the noodles, then set them aside.

2. Using a large skillet (preferably a wok) heat the vegetable oil and add in the garlic, and onion.

3. After stirring for 2 minutes, add in the dry shrimp, and stir. Then, one at a time add in the peanuts, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, pepper and chicken, stirring the mixture the entire time.

4. Add the eggs and continue to stir the mixture. Then add in 1/2 cup of water.

5. Add the noodles, and be sure to stir! The noodles tend to burn if not continuously stirred.

6. Check to see if the taste of the dish is suitable to you, if not, then add in either fish sauce (salty), sugar (sweet), vinegar (sour), or soy sauce (salty). Here is where a matter of preference comes into play.

7. The final step is to add in the bean sprouts and chives, just before turning off the burner.

Pad Thai is normally garnished with a heaping portion of uncooked bean sprouts on the side as well as a sprig of cilantro on top and wedges of lime to squeeze on top of the final dish.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

I made up this recipe one night about a month ago when I was in the mood for some tortellini soup, but I had never made it before, so I decided I'd make it the way I thought it would be made from past experiences in eating it at restaurants... I'm not sure if this is authentic or not, but it turned out very good and I was surprised at how well all the flavours melded together. I used fresh herbs out of my garden and tortellini I had made the previous day, although you could use frozen or fresh tortellini from the supermarket.

1 lbs. Italian sausage, or mild turkey Italian sausage (I used the turkey sausage)
3 tbsp. Olive oil
1 carrot, diced
6 basil leaves, chopped
3 sage leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 onion, pureed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, half the can pureed with onions
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 14 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup red wine
7 cups beef broth
4 cups fresh cheese tortellini
Fresh Romano cheese for garnish

In a large saucepan, coat the bottom with the olive oil over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped basil, sage, and Italian seasoning and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the Italian sausage and garlic, and cook until sausage is browned.

Add the pureed tomato and onion mixture along with the other half can of diced tomatoes and the can of tomato paste. Stir; add the red wine, beef broth, salt, and garbanzo beans.

Simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Bring soup to medium heat and when a soft boil emerges, add the tortellini and cook according to the packaged directions.

When the tortellini is cooked, dish and sprinkle with Romano cheese and serve.

Serves 8

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Potato-Broth Bread

I love this bread, by far it's the best basic yeast bread I've ever made... It's great for sandwiches and wonderful toasted. The crumb is so soft and moist. Although, I wouldn't recommend baking this bread to a darker colour, I know a lot of people like their bread dark, but if you over bake this bread it will dry out. This recipe is from 'The Fannie Farmer Baking Book' and the original recipe says it makes two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaves, but I was able to make 3 loaves easily and I shaped and froze the other two loaves unbaked...

3 cups warm potato water
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup mashed potatoes, room temperature
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, softened
7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups bread flour

Stir the potato warm water (100 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit) and yeast together in a large bowl; let stand for a minute or so. Add the mashed potato, salt, sugar, and butter, and beat to blend well. Add 6 cups of the flour and beat vigorously. Add enough additional flour to make a manageable dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so. Let rest 10 minutes. Resume kneading, adding just enough additional flour to keep the dough from being too sticky to handle, until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour. Punch the dough down, divide in thirds, and shape into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, cover loosely, and let rise to the tops of the pans, about forty-five minutes. Bake in a preheated 350-degree Farenheit oven for 40-45 minutes. During first 10 minutes of baking, place a hot water bath in oven with bread loaf(s). Remove from pans and cool on racks.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sesame Szechuan Chicken Noodles

I just made this for dinner tonight for the first time, and it was amazing, it only took me about 20 - 25 minutes to make and it was so delicious! I got the recipe off the net, but made a lot of changes to the recipe. If you were to make this for a group of 4 people, you could be expected to pay no more than $8.00 for the amount of ingredients for the entire meal. Where I live, I was able to make the entire thing for $4.00! What a cheap and extremely tasty meal! No more than $2.00 a person! You can't go wrong with a cheap meal like that and it was very good. I hope you all enjoy it! :)

Makes 4 servings.


1 lbs. diced chicken breast
8 ounces thin dried rice noodles
4 1/2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
6 tablespoons bottled teriyaki sauce, Yoshiba's is a great brand
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 cup thick sliced green onions
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced and cut in half
1 8 oz. can sliced waterchest nuts
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste


Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes. Drain; return noodles to same pot. Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil and peanuts.

Heat 3 tablespoons sesame oil in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir 10 seconds. Add teriyaki sauce, lime juice, chili sauce, salt, and pepper; simmer 30 seconds. Add chicken, red bell peppers, and onions; simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add waterchest nuts, stir; Mix cornstarch and water until you get a thin liquid the colour of watered down milk, and mix into the sauce, bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Mix sauce into noodles. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato

I love this recipe, it's so smooth and creamy and almost better than American ice cream! You can use the base of this recipe without the Nutella to make any flavour of gelato you like. I've made rose gelato by just adding 2 tbsp. rose water to the base and a few drops of red food colouring to make a pink colour. So, play around with it, but at least try the Nutella before you make other flavours.

2 cups half & half
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish, optional

In a saucepan combine the milk, half & half, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir.

Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves.

Chill mixture for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze.

To serve, scoop gelato in waffle cones, or waffle bowls and top with hazelnuts.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Gebrannte Mandeln (Sugared Almonds)

I love Traditional Gebrannte Mandeln. They are a German roasted and sugared almonds. I go to a local Scandinavian festival here in Oregon in Junction City and there is a woman who sells these Gebrannte Mandeln and they are incredible, I love them so much that I decided to make them myself and they turned out great.

3/4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons water
3/4 cups whole almonds
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Simmer the sugar, water, and cinnamon until syrupy. Remove from the heat and add the almonds. Stir until the sugar crackles. Heat and repeat the melting and hardening process twice. Pour the mixture out an a greased baking sheet and separate with a fork.

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Homemade Soft Pretzels

I absolutely LOVE pretzels and I've always wanted some that tasted better than the kind you get in the mall or at Costco... Haha. Well, I found an amazing recipe by Alton Brown, and they turned out wonderfully. I like my pretzels with a little melted butter and cinnamon and sugar, so feel free to substitute anything or just eat them plain without anything on them!

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 pretzels
User Rating: 5 Stars

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt, optional

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 aluminum sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 18-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined aluminum sheet.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 15 seconds on each side. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the aluminum sheet without the parchment paper and lightly brush each pan with olive oil, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Eggs Benedict

I've had this recipe in my family for years and it's one of my absolute favourites! I hope you will all enjoy this as much as I do.

Makes 3 Servings

6 eggs
2 teaspoons vinegar (this will help keep the eggs from separating in the water)
3 english muffins
6 oz. canadian bacon, or fresh sliced ham

Hollandaise Sauce:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and hot
1 egg, or 3 egg yolks (strictly egg yolks produces a very thick sauce, I usually go for 1 egg)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring water with vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add eggs, poaching for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt your butter and in a blender whirl on high the egg, mustard, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stream the butter while the blender motor is running, slowly until all the butter has been used and turn off the blender.

Toast your english muffins and fry your canadian bacon or ham on medium-high for 1 - 2 minutes or until heated through.

On each plate, place two english muffin halves. On top of each english muffin half, place 1 oz. canadian bacon or ham. Place one poached egg on top of each and finish off with a drizzle of the hollandaise sauce over the eggs.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sourdough Starter

I am going to start a sourdough starter before Autumn sets in so I can bake some yummy bread during the colder months.... I will post a link to the recipe that I am using, but I would greatly appreciate it if anyone out there could give me pointers on this sort of thing. I know a true sourdough connoisseur would never use yeast to make their starter, but unfortunately I live in an area that even professional pastry chefs have to use a little yeast to kick start their sourdough starter because there isn't enough wild yeast in the air in Oregon.

Here is the link to the sourdough starter recipe that I will be using...

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Cherry Almond Tart

I am in the process of making up a recipe for a cherry almond frangipane tart... I went to a local bookstore around here where I live and it's one of the largest books stores in the country with new and used selections.

Well, when I went to this store there was an espresso stand that had pastries in addition to beverages. I ordered a cherry almond tart and it had an incredible texture and not to mention delicate, but intricate flavours. It was an odd thing for me because at this time I was in the middle of trying to make that exact kind of tart, but with raspberry instead of cherry.

Anyway, I went out to a grocery store and bought the ingredients to make an almond paste and pastry dough and fill a tart pan with the pastry dough and the paste and top it with sweetened crushed raspberries.

Well, in my efforts I have to say it wasn't what I was hoping for. The center texture was nothing compared to the tart I had at the bookstore and I mused over the cherry tart and couldn't get it out of my mind.

So, I plan to make a cherry version, but do some research on how to get a wet and almost paste like center to my tart.

Wish me luck!


P.S. When I have perfected my recipe, I will possibly post it.

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

This recipe has some wonderful flavours and is from a popular magazine in the Pacific NW called, "Sunset". I found that the recipe was a bit spicy, but if you like the spice, you can put as much cayenne as you would like, but I have reduced the amount of cayenne for my own personal taste. I have also made some other changes and I hope you will all enjoy this recipe.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 carrots (12 oz. total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 1/2 cups diced peeled eggplant
2 1/2 cups sliced (1/2 in. thick) zucchini
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup diced onion (about 5 oz.), pureed
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzos, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup dried currants, or raisins
1 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
Serve with Couscous

1. Pour olive oil into a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring often until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Scrape the mixture into a slow-cooker (at least 5 qt.).

2. Add broth, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, onion, stewed tomatoes (with juices), garbanzos, currants, almonds, and salt, and stir to combine.

3. Cover slow-cooker and cook on high until vegetables are tender to bite and flavors are blended, 8 to 9 hours.

4. Ladle about 3 cups of the vegetable mixture into a blender. Holding lid down with a towel and taking care to avoid steam, whirl until smooth. Return purée to slow-cooker and stir to blend. Ladle stew into a tureen or individual bowls.

Yield: Makes 12 cups; 6 to 8 servings

CALORIES 292 (43% from fat); FAT 14g (sat 1.4g); PROTEIN 10g; CHOLESTEROL 2.3mg; SODIUM 741mg; FIBER 8g; CARBOHYDRATE 36g

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