Monday, October 24, 2016

Oven Cheese Fondue, an Old Recipe From Montreal

 A friend from Montreal gave me this recipe in 1981 and I've been making it ever since.  This is easy to throw together in the evening and then throw it in the oven the next morning.  It's great to make around the holidays when you have company and need something to feed everyone for breakfast. It's a wonderful smell to wake up to too.

The recipe:

10 slices white bread
6 large eggs
3 cups milk
2 T. snipped parsley
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded American cheese  ( I use cheddar)
3 T. finely chopped onions (I use one medium onion)

 Set your oven to 325 degrees. Cut bread into cubes. Beat eggs, milk and seasoning.  Stir in bread cubes, cheese and onion.  Pour it into your pan and bake it for 1 hour until the center is set.  Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight.

 I alter the recipe each time I make it according to what I have on hand.  You can use all kinds of cheese and add green onions or kale or spinach as I have above.

You can also add cooked bacon or sausage too.  It's just an easy, delicious, full proof breakfast.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Perfect Autumn Day

 We took off to go to another festival yesterday on a perfect Autumn day.

 I wish Fall would last all year long.

 We went to an apple butter festival.

 It was cool and favorite weather.

 This guy sells jailhouse art.  He makes luminaries out of tin cans.

 It was held in a quaint Victorian village.

 We see all sorts of things on these trips.

 The hay had just been harvested.

 Rural America speaks.

 Republican cows.

What can I say?  We were in the part of our country that pronounces fire wood this way.  These trips are never boring.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Garbure (French Cabbage and Bean Soup)

Recently, one of my followers mentioned making garbure.  I had not heard of it so I immediately looked it up and knew I had to make it.  YUM!
First I fried some lardons of bacon.

And I reheated some duck confit so I could easily remove the skin and shred the meat.

Drain the lardons on paper towels.


 2 legs duck confit
6 oz. slab bacon, sliced into 14" matchsticks
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small leek, trimmed and sliced crosswise 12″ thick
34 cup dry white wine
10 cups chicken stock
1 12 cups dried white beans,  soaked overnight and drained
2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3 cloves
1 tsp. dried juniper berries
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
Cheesecloth, for herbs
1 small head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
8 fingerling potatoes sliced into coins
1 parsnip, sliced into coins
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 12" pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Country bread, for serving (optional)


Heat duck legs in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, flipping once, until fat is rendered and meat is tender, 10–12 minutes. Transfer legs to a cutting board; let cool, then shred meat, discarding skin and bones. Add bacon to pan; cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl. Add garlic, carrots, onion, and leek; cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Add wine; boil. Cook until reduced by half, 2–3 minutes. Add stock and beans; return to a boil. Place peppercorns, juniper, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves on a piece of cheesecloth; tie into a tight package and add to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, slightly covered, until beans are very tender, 1–1 12 hours. Uncover and stir in cabbage, potato, turnip, salt, and pepper; cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved duck and bacon; cook 5 minutes more. Discard herbs, and ladle soup into bowls; serve with bread, if you like.
It takes a good 2 hours for the beans to cook after soaking them overnight.

Some garbure recipes call for ham so I added ham too.

Add the lardons back to the soup.

I served this with my rosemary bread and it was perfect for a rainy, cold day.  This is going to be a regular around here this winter.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hot Sauce and Chicken Chili

I harvested some of the last of my peppers and made some hot sauce to go with the chicken chili I made for the kids yesterday.  It's simple to make.  Cut the stems off the peppers and slice about 20 of them up. Saute them in a couple tablespoons of oil until they begin to soften.  Add 2 cups of water and simmer them for about 20 minutes. I added some diced garlic and 1 tsp. of honey.  I also added 2 tablespoons of my homemade vegetable bouillon for added flavor.  You can use store bought. Let the mixture sit for a while to cool.

Dump it into a food processor and puree it. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar as it swirls.  This was so good that the kids ate it in bowls, dipping chips into it.

Here is the recipe for the chicken chili: 

I made 20 quarts and they ate every bit of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I made 20 quarts of this yesterday for the kids and not a drop was left.  This year I am cooking for 25 kids each day.  That's almost a quart per kid!  They sure can eat.  And what kid doesn't like this stuff? 
 I dice lots of vegetables really small so it's a very healthy version of the store bought kind and the kids really don't notice how many veggies they are eating.

 I used my tomato sauce that I made from my garden.

 And my homemade chicken stock.

 There was 5 pounds of pasta in it too.

I also added lots of fresh parsley too.  25 full bellies!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cranberry Sauce and Emergency Food for the Kids

 I'm making Thanksgiving dinner again this year.  I like to do as much prep ahead of time as I can because I'll be hosting about 15 people.  Cranberry sauce is an easy menu item to prepare in advance.  This is the best cranberry sauce I've ever had and I make the same recipe each year.  I can it so I can give everyone some to take home so they can have it with their leftovers.

Put 2 cups of sugar in a heavy pot.  Add 1 cup of water, 1 cup port, 4 star anise and 2 cinnamon sticks.  Bring this to a boil and whisk until the sugar dissolves.

Add 6 cups of fresh cranberries.

Add the zest of 1 orange.

Add the juice from that orange.  Cook it until you hear the cranberries popping.  turn the heat off and stir.  You want some of the cranberries to remain whole.  Fill jars to 1/2 inch below the rim, add the lids and place them in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.One Thanksgiving menu item down....about 50 more to go!

On occasional Tuesdays, a cook goes to the after school program to teach the kids how to cook something.  He was supposed to be there yesterday so I had not prepared food.  I got a call an hour before the kids arrived and was told that the cook canceled.  There was no food for the kids.  I quickly went through my food stash and put together a meat and cheese platter.  I found a loaf of frozen pumpkin bread, some frozen French bread, nuts, apricots and crackers.

I had jars of homemade pickles, homemade mustard and some sweet chili sauce I made recently.  My sausage hording finally paid off.  The kids loved it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Honey Buttermilk Bread

Yesterday I made the after school kids one of their favorite treats;  homemade bread with apple butter.  None of these kids had ever had apple butter until last year and it was an instant hit.  I make sure to only buy the good stuff which is made at festivals with no added sugar.
I tried a new bread recipe that went with it perfectly.  You can use any kind of honey you have but the darker the honey, the richer the flavor.  I used the healthiest honey of all, buckwheat honey.  Here are the ingredients:

  • 1T. rapid rise yeast
  • pinch of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups  buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 T. softened butter
  • 6 cups white bread flour, 
  • Mix all of the ingredients together except the flour and then add the flour 2 cups at a time.  Mix until you have a smooth elastic slightly sticky dough.  Place it in a buttered bowl, cover it and let it rise until doubled.  It will take about 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the dough from the bowl after it has risen.

Split the dough in half.
Press each half down into a rectangle.

Roll it tightly into a loaf shape.
Place the loaves into buttered pans.  This recipe will make 2 loaves.

Cover the loaves and let them rise for about 30 minutes until they crest the top of the pans.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes or until they have an internal temperature of 190 degrees.  I always check the internal temperature...why not?

Cool the loaves on a rack.

I sent them some caramel apple lollipops too which they really liked and gallons of good local apple cider.