Here you will find recipes past down from generations before me and quite a few new ones I have found along the way. When possible I will add a story that goes along with them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

If I can make something from scratch I make it! This is just the way I am, it saves money and I get some satisfaction from figuring out how to make for myself something that the manufacturers think only they can make and charge us too much for.

Sooo now I have to ask myself ..."Self, why didn't you think of doing this before if you are so darn smart?"
Answer self now..."Good Grief, I don't know!"
Here it is...

You will need;
  Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) found it at Walmart, did not find it elsewhere
Borax (sodium tetraborate)
Sugar free lemon aid packets or Fruit Fresh or citric acid (in the canning supplies)

The washing soda cost just over $3 for a 3 lb. 7 oz. box and the Borax was just under $3 for a 4 lb. 12 oz. box and the lemon aid packets cost about .12 cents each for the store brand and .25 cents for the Kool Aid brand. Fruit Fresh is a bit more expensive, but works very well. With this amount you can make a lot of dishwasher detergent for pennies per load.
Now here is the hard work...
Into a clean plastic container measure 1 cup of  washing soda to 1 cup of Borax and 2 packets of lemon mix or 2 teaspoon of Fruit Fresh or citric acid.
Mix well and it is ready!
Use 1 tablespoon per load of dishes.
 This recipe works really well and the lemon gives it a fresh sent. With in 2-3 times of using this detergent the stubborn hard water stains on the dish washer door were gone.

In addition to this I added white vinegar into the rinse agent reservoir 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homemade Cooked Mayonnaise

This is a very handy recipe to have for those times when you find you are completely out of mayonnaise and have a sandwich half built or a summer salad needing a bit more mayonnaise then you can scrape from a sad empty jar. Once you have found how easy it is to make and tasted how good your homemade mayo is you will not ever again want to buy the pale bland grocery store version. Not to mention you will save money with making your own.
And by the way read the title on this, I said "cooked"
I raise chickens so my eggs are very fresh, but I don't do raw eggs!
Cook the darn things and save you and your fellow picnickers from an unwanted visit from 
Sam n" Ella
Nobody likes for those two to crash a party!
Make this in a blender and it is so easy!
I have made this recipe with lemon juice and it is very good, but for this one I use rice wine vinegar which gives it a very nice flavor that stands out well with most foods.

You will need:

4 Egg yolks 
                               4 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
              4 Tablespoons water
                  1 teaspoon dry mustard
     3/4 teaspoon salt
                                              1 1/2 cup oil, canola, olive or vegetable oil

Put the egg yolks, vinegar & water into a small sauce pan and whisk well.
Place pan over medium heat and stir with a rubber spatula till the mixture starts to thicken well.
Once hot remove the pan from heat and set into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool to just warm..
Scrape contents into the blender and mix a few seconds then check to see that it is only slightly warm, not hot.
Now with the blender on high remove just the center part of lid and slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mix. This will take a few minutes and watch the texture to see that it is emulsifying well. 
When I have added about 1 1/4 cups oil I stop the blender and check the thickness and flavor. If the flavor is good I may stop adding oil and call it mayo or decide to add slightly more then the 1 1/2 cups called for. This is personal choice.
Scrape contents into an air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For an extra flavorful mayo add a clove of garlic or dill weed, fresh or dried
Roasted red peppers are very good and gives the mayo a beautiful sunset color!.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blueberry Pie for the 4th

June is blueberry season. That means blueberry pie season as well!
I think all year is blueberry pie season, but making fresh is always wonderful. The one catch with a fresh berry pie is that it will bubble like crazy and will most likely leak out onto your top crust. That is something I can live with but if you don't care for leaking filling,  then cook your filling ahead of time and cool before filling the crust.This one I make with stars every year for the fourth of July because it looks so cool with golden sugar coated stars and blue cut outs..

What you will need

4 cups fresh berries
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons minute tapioca 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
double pie crust
2 Tablespoons half & half or cream
extra sugar 

Preheat oven to 400 f
Place washed berries in a large bowl
Combine the sugar and tapioca and mix well
Pour the sugar 7 tapioca over the berries and let stand while preparing the crust
Roll the crust till about 2 inches bigger around then the pie plate

Fold in half

Fold in quarters

Transfer to plate

Unfold and fill with berry sugar mix

Dot with butter

Roll out second crust and cut with cookie cutter in center

Carefully peel up crust and place over pie, save the cut out stars

Roll the edge over while pinching till a thick edge is formed

With the back edge of a knife press in rope lines at an angle

Brush with cream or half & half adding the cut out stars as you go

After brushing with cream sprinkle sugar over top and bake

Bake for about an hour or until the center looks bubbly.
Let cool before cutting.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Aid cooling bands from diapers

I hear your question..."What the heck does this have to do with cooking?" 
The answer...wait for it...wait for it....Nuffin'!
That's right Nuffin', but I had to put the instructions up quickly for a fire fighter and this was the quickest way.
Oh well, maybe while trying to run back n forth to read the recipes on my sight and cooking you will get over heated and need one!
Cut the blue center out of the diapers. See the photo, just trim the center out.
I was a welder and used the company issued ones, but they were so small they dried out very quickly. This one will last much longer as it is thicker!

Center is all that is needed as that is where the crystal/gel is 
Roll up the core and put into the sock right in the middle

Rubber band both ends or secure with a shoe string leaving both ends long for tying to secure around neck

Soak in cold water. It is ready in minutes rather then the longer time needed for the cool bandannas that take much longer.
I made this one in about 3 minutes and soaked it for about 3.

This could be done with the diaper core rolled into a bandanna just as easy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

German Pancakes

This the kids love and it uses so many eggs!

Ingredients & Preparation
You will need
·         6 large Eggs
·         1 cup Milk
·         1 cup Flour
·         2tsp Vanilla
·         1/4tsp Salt
·         3tbsp Butter
Preparation Time:
15 minutes
Cooking Time:
20-25 minutes
Oven Temperature:
If you are lucky enough to have laying hens that lay well, then you may also have a problem. That would be the problem of way to many eggs for one family to use. Perhaps you have fried, scrambled, poached and boiled till your family has threatened to eat the dogs’ food if you serve them one more egg. Maybe you have even chucked a few eggs at the tree in the yard just to get rid of some. Don't worry we have a recipe that will help.

 Tell everyone that you are skipping the eggs this time and having a wonderful, tasty, golden puff of custard textured bread, that will please everyone.  German Pancakes, whip it up quickly in the blender, throw it in the oven and then take a break, because this one is easy and only looks like you know some culinary secret that others will wish they knew. And the great news is that one recipe can use half dozen eggs. If the kids look extremely hungry, make a double recipe and use a whole dozen eggs.
Just make sure when you are about to pull the huge, puffy, golden twisted cake from the oven, that you call everyone to the kitchen to see it at its full height. Some deflating will occur but the magic will still be there.
Step 1:
Preheat oven and in a large iron skillet or oven proof deep sided dish add shorting, allowing to melt in the pan or skillet. Be careful not to burn butter, but you want the pan to be very hot.

Step 2:
Add eggs, milk and vanilla to a blender and mix well, or using a large bowl, whip with whisk till well blended.
To milk mixture, add flour and salt.
Blend or whisk just till smooth.
Step 3:
Now carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the pan with the hot melted butter.
Put the pan back into the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until very puffed and golden brown.

Cut into pie shaped wedges and serve with syrup or powdered sugar sprinkled over the top and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cowboy Coffee, Morning Fires

Last week I posted Sour Dough Flapjacks Cowboy Style and this cowboy coffee just has to go with that recipe. The old speckled pot went everywhere we went if cooking was to take place! From the kitchen to the fire pit and out on camp outs.We burned through at least 4 pots before I was a teenager.

This is not the original pot, but a scaled down version. The original could have eaten this little one for a snack!  
Cowboy Coffee, Morning Fires as I remember it!

   Whether summer or winter the morning would start the same everyday on the mountain. First the thumping of an axe as my father chopped kindling and the bang of the cook stove lids as he fired up the old Martha Washington cook stove. Soon the smell of wood smoke and warm currents of air drifted up the stairs to awaken everyone in the house.

The first order of business, after the fire was lit, was the making of his cowboy coffee. A large speckle ware coffee pot that held at least a gallon, was set over an open burner. Orange flames jumping against its blackened bottom and my father would add more dry oak wood. The water need to "roll with boil", as he said. Soon as the water was rolling up and small droplets jumped and spattered like tiny crystal marbles across the now hot iron of the stove top, my father would flip back the pots round lid.

“One, two, three, four, five, six,” he would count, adding heaping scoops of ground coffee to the bubbling water. I think he counted for the benefit of his young daughter who watched closely, trying to learn the exact science of this wonderful morning brew that everyone in the house drank, even ones perhaps too little. To know how to brew the coffee meant you had status among the sleepy family.

“Now” he would nod to me and I knew it was my turn.
“One thousand one, one thousand two…” and I would count for exactly 15 seconds. On 15 he pulled the coffee quickly off the hot burner and back to the cooler back of the stove.

“Now get the egg shells”, he ordered. Yes, eggs shells to trap the grounds at the bottom of the pot and I would hand him shells saved from yesterday’s breakfast. Into the pot they went and he would smile.
“Won’t be long now,” he would say. I would fetch the mugs and wait with him as we watched the time tick slowly out another five minutes on the old Seth Thomas clock above the stove. This was a precise art that could not be hurried.  Sweet smells teased our noses and made our mouths water. The second hand swept past 12.

Finally it was time; he would pour the black, strong liquid into the mugs. Only two thirds full, then the milk, swirling like the currents of the early spring floods, brown and dangerous.
Heaping spoons of sugar, a quick stir and a cup so full it always spilled on the way to our lips.

For  just a moment hesitation was best, just as the mug reached your waiting tongue and warm, sweet , coffee flavored steam condensed on your lip and nose and stirred your mind to awaken fully.

He would raise his eye brows and then wink.
“Good stuff,” he would tell me.
“Good stuff,” I would agree.
"Now lets feed them horses," he would say as he headed for the door.
"Yep, horses," I would run after him. After all I now had lots of energy.

At least three more times, the old speckled pot would be filled before the day burned out.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sourdough Flapjacks, Cowboy Style

In our back yard we have a great fire pit for cooking or just to build a fire in on cool nights and sit around till the stars make us dreamy. 
Oh yeah, and the smores that have been made around this fire...

...with sticky, ooy- gooy gobs of half burnt sugar and chocolate, the night is gar-on-teeed to be happy, laughing memory making into the wee star filled hours.

When the nights are so happy around the camp fire, why not start the day there also.
How 'bout a cowboy breakfast with
 Sourdough Flapjacks

How to Make Sourdough Flapjacks
Ingredients & Preparation
You will need
  • 1 cup Sourdough Starter
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 21/2 cup Flour
  • 2 large Eggs, well beaten
  • 2tbsp Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Milk or Cream
  • 3tbsp Butter
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
20-24, 5 inch cakes
Preparation Time:
Cooking Time:
25-30 min.
These are great cakes with a tangy, wonderful flavor that you can only get from sourdough. If you have sourdough starter then you are set to make them, if not start some "starter" and in just a few days you will be ready to cook. ( recipe below) I like to make some batter up and then camp out in the yard with the kids. The next morning we have sourdough flapjacks for our “camp out at home’ breakfast.

Step 1:
 In a large bowl mix the sourdough starter, flour and water together. Set this in a warm place and let rest until morning. This allows the “sponge” to develop.

The next morning mix in the rest of the ingredients. Now allow this to rest for about 10 to 12 minutes. The mix should become very bubbly.

Step 3:
Time to cook!
Grease an iron skillet. Pour or dip out small amounts onto the skillet and cook, undisturbed till the bubbles that form in the cake are just starting to hold their shape as they pop.
Flip and cook until golden.
Serve with butter and syrup or with gravy.

Basic Sourdough Starter
Ingredients & Preparation
You will need
·         4 cups Warm Water
·         4 cups All Purpose Four                                                                                  .
·         2tbsp Sugar
·         2 1/4tsp Yeast

Step 1:
 Make sure your water is warm, between 110 to 115 degrees. This can be checked with an instant read thermometer or try the old fashion way, (after all we are going old school here), and sprinkle a bit on your wrist. If it is hot wait a few minutes, then check again. The water should feel nice and warm but not uncomfortable.

Step 2:
 Add sugar into water and stir.
Sprinkle yeast over water then allow to activate. When yeast begins to bubble and grow the yeast is proofed.

Step 3:
 In a large bowel add yeast mixture into flour and stir till combined. Do not worry if it is lumpy, the hungry yeast will take care of that as it grows.

Step 4:
 Now pour into a clean crock or large jar and cover with a cloth.
Set in a warm place for 3-4 days. Mixture will begin to bubble and grow and the traditional sourdough smell and flavor will begin to develop. At this point the starter is ready to use, but the longer you let it set and feed it on a schedule, the stronger that good flavor will be.

Using and Feeding:

Before using stir well then pour off the desired amount.
For every cup of starter used add back ½ cup flour to ½ cup warm water. This will feed and keep your starter growing and healthy.

When not using the starter for a few weeks feed starter and then cover and store in the refrigerator.
Feed every other week then return to the refrigerator. When ready to use again then bring back to room temperature and feed on a regular schedule for a few days. Often the starter will develop a blackish liquid after sitting for many days unused. This is normal. Pour off and then feed with fresh warm water and flour. Watch closely for bubbling. If starter bubbles after feeding then it is still alive and ready for the next use.

 If the starter should ever turn a strange color, orange, red and smell very badly then just throw it out and start more.

Use a very clean canning jar with the ring but no lid. Cut a small piece of thin cloth to fit beneath the ring and then screw ring into place. This allows the started to breath.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Garden Fresh Nori Rolls

With the days getting hotter and the garden starting to grow, it seems a perfect time for a cool break from the hot stove. Sushi, as my Japanese Aunt would make, is a wonderful, but maybe too daring culinary adventure for some. If the idea of raw seafood or caviar is more then you can handle, then try the American version of sorts- "Nori Rolls" 
'Nuffin' raw, only good and good for you.
You can buy them in certain grocery store and I have, but honestly I worry a bit about the freshness of sealed -tight trays that do contain seafood. Alright the other issue is I am cheap! I do not want to pay that much for what can be made quickly at home.

For the rolls you will need and this is general, with the exception of a few ingredients I don't measure because the amount added is up to you.
Nori paper, found in oriental markets
Sushi rice
Mayonnaise (optional)
Sesame oil
Lemon juice
Thin sliced vegetables, like fresh tender lettuce, carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, avocados, cilantro, really anything you might like.
Shrimp or imitation crap legs work great, even thin sliced, cooked chicken tenders 
A dish towel or bamboo mat made for rolling sushi

First thing;
Start with a cup of sushi rice, I like Kokuho Rose. Sushi rice is a short grained sticky rice.
Put the rice into a sauce pan or as I do a stainless steal frying pan and add 2 to 2 1/4 cup water and put onto simmer over low heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
Just as I start to hear the sizzle of the pan beginning to dry out, I uncover and turn off the heat.

As you can see, the rice is not soggy but still sticky. 
Now I pour a couple of tablespoons of seasoned rice wine vinegar into the pan, this works similar to de-glazing a pan and loosens the stuck on rice.
While hot, scrape into a bowl and add about 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (total) and let cool. Now my Aunt would put a fan next to the bowl at this time to make the rice shiny.  My fan is broken, so no fan. The truly authentic way of doing this is to use a hand fan.  Really, that is not conducive to cooling the cook. Plus, once in the roll, how shiny does it have to be?

While this cools I get the other ingredients ready.
I like to lay a dish towel out with a bamboo sushi mat, but just the towel works fine.

Put about 2 Tablespoons of mayo into a small bowl and to this add a squeeze of lemon juice and a few drops of sesame oil, careful with the oil as it can overwhelm quickly. Stir well

 I will usually hold my paper with tongs over a hot burner for just a few seconds. This will toast the paper and gives it a milder flavor.
Place the paper with the tiny lines on it running horizontally on to the mat or towel

Spread a thin coat of  the mayo mixture onto the paper, leaving about a 1/2 to 1 inch on the end

Yeah, I know! I did not quite leave a clean border edge on this one!
Now it is time to get your hands wet. I mean it, wetting your hands before handling the rice will make your life easier.
Spoon rice onto the paper and press down with damp hands till fairly smooth and even, again leave the one edge free of rice

When the rice is well covering the paper you can start adding your center fillings

In this one I used fresh, tender lettuce and asparagus and thin sliced chicken tenders
Place them towards the edge closest to you, that way when rolling away from you they will be in the center of your roll
Be some what careful not to over fill or you will have a roll too big to cover your rice

Time to roll!
Carefully lift the edge closest to you and begin to gently roll, while holding your fillings in with your finger tips 

Once the roll starts to cover the filling you will have more control and then you can start to squeeze gently as you roll, compressing the roll into a rounder shape

Keep the roll going, don't stop for photo ops if possible!

Nice hand modeling by my daughter!

Squeeze and roll as you go, this will be the time that you can get the roll into a good shape

When the roll feels firm and tight, unroll the mat or towel
If  loose you can still lay the mat back over and roll and squeeze again to firm it up

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 or more hours

Slicing time!
You will need a very sharp knife for this, thinner the blade the better! I have a fish boning knife that works great!
Cut gently so as not to 'smoosh the innerds out'
Keep the pieces thin, the suchi/nori etiquette is to fit the entire piece into your mouth in one bite.
Lay flat onto a plate or serving platter.

Eating time!
Serve cold and with dipping sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger

The sauce I make is,
 soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin wine ( sweetened sake ) 
a few drops of sesame oil and wasabi on the side
Again this is more of a mix it as you like it kind of sauce, I find that each person really has a different idea of what taste best for nori.
 Start with a few tablespoons of soy sauce and slightly less rice wine vinegar and mirin, add the sesame oil last and stir
Mix and try, adjust to your taste. While you try to fit the whole piece into your mouth, feel proud of your cultural crossing and dream up new fillings for your next roll!

Oh yeah, wasabi Japanese horseradish, comes in a pre made paste or a powder.
The powder keeps the longest if put into the freezer.
Mix a tiny amount with a little water to form a paste. Traditionally you will then turn the bowl upside down and let set for about 10 minutes, this is said to intensify the flavor. A small can like this will last a long time.
Use just a tiny amount, it is powerful!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Banana Maple Ice Cream !...No Dairy!

Wow! We know how  maple syrup is good for you and now add that to bananas and this is a good for you desert.
My diet restricted sister really liked it. I started with four bananas that I put in the freezer and......screeeeecch!....

...put on the brakes! 
See the problem up there in that picture of the lovely, frosted up bananas? 
Don't leave the peels on! I'll say it again, DON"T  LEAVE the peels on! I can't say in words strong enough for decent ears, so I will just wine pathetically.
 I am soooo sorry, so very sorry, I left the peels on! I had to carve the peels off like I was whittling a walking stick from a log. I wined and cussed a bit and whittled away and felt not so smart as family members walked by and said,
"I could have told you to peel  them first!"....
"Well then why didn't YOU?", I yelled and cast hateful looks as they walked away smirking, leaving me to pick teeny- tiny bits of slippery peel with my frost bit, numb fingers... but any hoo... "Sigh, sniffle!"... I eventually got the peels off. My fingers got back their feeling...Now back to the recipe.

You will need:
About 4 to 5 ripe bananas
2 Tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
3 Tablespoons of maple syrup

Step one
 Peel the bananas and chopped them into large pieces
Toss them with a little of the lemon or lime juice to keep their color and save the rest of the juice to add later.

Step two
Freeze the bananas. Freeze them hard!

Step Three
Put the bananas in to a food processor and blend ...

Looks a bit rough at first, just keep blending.
Now add the rest of the lemon juice and add in the maple syrup.
Blend some more, the texture will start to look very creamy and smooth and lighter.

When the mix is completely smooth and creamy, transfer into another container and put into the freezer till firm.
Scoop out with an ice cream scoop and serve. The texture is so much like real ice cream it is amazing! 
Next time I try this one it will be banana coconut.
Yeah Buddy!