Archive for August, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Thai Veggie and Oats Patties

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The girls had oats for breakfast this morning and when I  make oats I always end up with more than I need.  I was looking for a recipe to use the extra oats in and I came across a suggestion to add it to veggie burgers.  Most veggie burgers have mushrooms or beans in them, but since I had neither in the house, I had to come up with my own veggies to put in it. I pulled out the broccoli and figured that was a good start. I also had loads of peppers in the fridge, cilantro, lime and fresh tomatoes from the garden. It seemed like an unlikely veggie burger, but more like a Thai curry so that was my inspiration.  I have been craving a good Thai curry for months now and have not gotten around to making one so this was a good solution. Here is what I did.
veging

Ingredients:
2/3 cup leftover cooked oats
1/2 cup broccoli cut into tiny pieces
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow pepper
bread crumbs (enough to firm up your mixture)
1 egg
1 tablespoon cilantro or taste
1-2 teaspoons red curry paste
lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper
vegpattie

Directions:
Mix together oats, broccoli, tomatoes, onion, peppers, salt, pepper, cilantro, egg, curry paste and a squeeze of lime juice.  The mixture will be very wet, add enough bread crumbs just so that the mixture is firm enough to form patties.  They will still be sticky patties.  Pan fry the patties in a small amount of olive oil or non stick spray if you prefer until they are browned on both sides.  Serve with extra fresh cilantro and lime slices.
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I ate mine on a slice of firm tomato with the cilantro, lime juice and crushed black pepper.  The flavors were great, I really got my Thai fix with this one.  Tonight I made brown rice as a side to our dinner (this was lunch), so I may try to make these with the left over brown rice as well.

PostHeaderIcon Taco Seasoning

I have a ridiculous amount of dried herbs and spices and when I was looking at a recipe that called for Taco seasoning, there was no way I would run out and buy any.  Instead I looked online for ideas to make my own.  I found many recipes that were similar in ingredients, but with different amounts.  I ended up blending my own amounts to come up with one that works for us.  I had to tone the heat down a little since I am catering for little ones tastes as well as adults.

Here is my recipe for Taco seasoning and the recipe that I used it in tonight.
tacoing

Taco seasoning

Ingredients
4 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons paprika (increase to 2 tablespoons for adults)
6 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper (use up to 4 teaspoons if you are making this for adults)

Directions:
Mix all of the ingredients together until combined.  Store it in an airtight container.  The recipe makes 4 servings.
tacojar

Salsa Chicken
There is no real recipe to this one.  I took 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Sprinkled them generously with the Taco seasoning on both sides.  Place the chicken in a oven proof dish and cover with salsa.  Bake in a 350′F oven for 25 minutes covered with foil.  Remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese (I used a cheddar and mozzarella blend).  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve on rice along with sour cream and tortilla chips.
tacomeal

This is my new “need to make dinner fast” meal.  Our grocery stores have regular specials on salsa and I am all stocked up.  It would cost me twice as much to make the salsa myself and since it is an all natural product I don’t feel too bad that it is a convenience food.


PostHeaderIcon Flavored Kombucha

I have made Kombucha every 7-10 days now and I LOVE it.  It is not only very good for me, but I like the taste of it.  The last two batches I experimented with flavors.  After about 7 days of fermenting I strain and bottle it and then add flavor to the bottled tea.  I have tried adding ginger root and it was very nice, but this week I added fresh strawberries and it is awesome!  It mellows the flavor a little and makes it sweeter and gives it a great pink color that my girls love to look at, but neither of them will drink it.  They have running jokes about the Scobies that are going to come alive and eat the dog or run off with the girl’s favorite toys.  I like my Scoby juice as it is known in my house and the Strawberry flavor is great.

strawkom1

I added two fresh strawberries to each bottle and after 2 days here is what it looked like.

strawkom

PostHeaderIcon Hard cheese

I have been staring at the cheese in the fridge for such a long time!  Today I decided that it was time to see what was happening inside it.  It was very dry and hard on the outside, but when I pushed the top of it, it still had a lot of movement.  I know from reading that the cheese needs to stand for months to get really hard and I just do not have the patience for that this time around.  So I opened it and here is what I found.

hardcheese

The outside was very hard, then there is a layer of cheese that is almost the texture of Gouda or a soft Cheddar and the middle is not as soft as a Brie or Camembert, but not as hard as a Gouda.  If I had a layer of wax on the outside, the hard crust would not have formed and I would be able to leave the cheese longer to become harder in the middle, but I liked the way it turned out. I liked the softness of the middle and I would make this again especially for that softness. This is a keeper!  James and the girls both liked the cheese as well.  I slice it thin to eat on my salads, the girls like it on crackers with oysters or salsa and James eats it straight up!  It looks like it is time to make some more cheese.

PostHeaderIcon Sourdough Bread Round 2

I have had my sourdough break and am ready to jump back in with both feet.  The last week I spent getting my starter pet back to health again and within 3 days it was looking healthy and frothy after a feeding.  I actually managed to make a half decent loaf of bread, it was not very risen, but it gave me hope that a successful sourdough bread may still be in my future.  Here is a picture of the first bread I made yesterday.  James and I ate most of it as soon as it came out of the oven at about 9:30 pm.  The rest he had for lunch at work.
SDBread1

Today I made another loaf , but it was very flat.  I think my problem is not the rise of the sourdough since you can see from the second picture below, the sourdough gets a good rise.  I think it is that I am making the dough too soft, not adding enough flour to give it substance to rise.  I have another starter proofing right now and hope to have better success tomorrow.

I used this recipe to make the bread and will continue to try it a few more times before I give up on it.

sourD

This was after the first kneading.

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After 3 hours this is what it looked like.

flatbread

My poor little disk of a bread.  It was very tasty and the girls and I each had a slice to eat.  However I could not get over the fact that it was very flat so I turned it into….

croutons

…croutons.  I cut the bread up into blocks and tossed them into herbed olive oil.  They are now in the dehydrator and will stay in there until the morning.  The girls and I love salads with croutons we also add them to our soups and Emily has already asked me to make vegetable soup tomorrow (yes in this heat).

Tomorrow I continue my quest for the perfect (or at least more than 2″ high) sourdough bread!

PostHeaderIcon Scone recipe

I used to think that I was scone challenged, which by association made me biscuit challenged as well.  I have never been able to make those high-rise scones and biscuits that you see in the recipe pictures.

Today I set out to try again and the scones that I made today came out tasty and somewhat risen, but no high-rise!  So, I have concluded that they do not exist….They are all photoshop creations.  Ok, I know this is not true, the reason that I know that is that I have eaten them before.  I cannot remember where or when, but I am sure that somewhere in my past I have had one or more (likely four) of these.

I think the problem is that I seek out the recipes with the least ingredients and expect the best results.  Something wrong with that isn’t there?

So for now, I am content to make the somewhat risen scones and even enjoy eating them without dreaming of their elusive high-rise cousin.  Anyone out there have a recipe that I can try……………..So much for being content.

This was our breakfast this morning and contrary to my ramblings these were very good and can be served at any tea party without shame.  Enjoy!
scones2

Basic Scone Recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk (approx.)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in the egg.

Gradually add the milk until a thick dough is formed. (1/2 cup worked for me today)
scones 1

Turn out the mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to 3/4″ thickness and cut into rounds with a 2″ cookie cutter. Gather the trimmings and lightly knead, roll, and cut them as well.

Place the rounds about 1″ apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg or milk. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
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Makes about 16-20 small scones.  The picture only shows the first batch that I made (the curse of small cookie sheets).
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http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/sconerecipes.html
Here is where I found the original recipe.

I served them with strawberry jam, whipped cream and a sliver of fresh strawberry.  I like mine with cheese so I also made a few with shredded cheese on them.

PostHeaderIcon Ihop Style Pancake Recipe

Firstly a disclaimer:
I do not know American pancakes very well.  My best experience of pancakes here in the US are Ihop pancakes.  There may be better pancakes out there, but I have not yet tasted them.  The pancakes that we make in South Africa are more like French Crepes.  We eat them with cinnamon and sugar or lemon juice and sugar so the thicker American style pancakes served with syrup and fruit are fairly new to me.

I have made pancakes in the past, they have been good, but never as good as this morning!  I went searching for an Ihop copy cat recipe and came across this one.  True to form I had to change it up a bit, here is what I did.
ihop

Ihop style pancakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used my homemade yogurt)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used confectioners sugar – Don’t ask why, I just did it)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cooking oil
pinch of salt

1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Use a pan with a nonstick
surface or apply a little nonstick spray.

2. In a blender or with a mixer, combine all of the remaining
ingredients until smooth.

3. Pour the batter by spoonfuls into the hot pan, forming 5-inch
circles.

5. Cook pancakes on the other side for same amount of time, until

golden brown.

I used frozen blue berries to add to the kids pancakes and made mine plain.  These were so good, it is afternoon now and I am still thinking about how good breakfast was.  Sorry that you were not home James.  I will have to remake these on the weekend!  The kids loved them as well, but then they will love anything smothered in maple syrup right?

We ate these so fast and I had no intention of putting this recipe up on the blog, so there are no pictures.  I will try to add one after the weekend.

PostHeaderIcon Banana (cheat) Rusks

This is such a cheat recipe, I cannot call this a real rusk, but it is close to the real thing and much easier to make.
TeaandBbread

For those who do not know what a rusk is, it is much like an Italian Biscotti, sweet, but not as sweet as a cookie and baked a second time to make it dry and crunchy.  Growing up we ate rusks either for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee or as an after dinner snack.

Making rusks take time and I do not have too much of that.  So by making this recipe I get two items in one go.  What I normally do is make the below banana bread recipe, but I double it (you can use any banana bread recipe that you prefer).  Then, one loaf gets eaten fresh and the second one is made into my cheat rusks.
BananaBIng

Banana Bread

Ingredients:
½ stick (4-5 TBSP) butter
2 eggs
2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
¾ TSP salt
½ TSP baking soda
¼ TSP baking powder
½ TSP cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine wet ingredients in a bowl, mix well.  Add the dry ingredients.  Pour the dough into greased loaf pan or muffin tins.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
BananBLoaf

The Rusks
Slice the banana bread into 1 inch thick slices and cut the slices in half.  Place them in the dehydrator over night and you have rusks!  Alternatively you can bake them at 200′F or as low as your oven will go and allow it to dry out for about 5-7 hours.
BananaBDH

There is no better way to eat rusks, but to dunk them.  You have to dunk rusks, I am sure there is a law somewhere about that!

I sometimes melt chocolate and dip half the rusk into the chocolate, then let it cool and set.  I love the flavor of banana and chocolate together.  Of course if you go this route it would be legal to eat the rusks without dunking them.

PostHeaderIcon The biltong is ready

BiltongReady

Here are two pictures of the finished biltong.  The kids devoured half of it while I was slicing it.  James has had his share and Gigi (the dog) has been begging all day long!

Here is the original entry of how I made the biltong.

Sliced

Excuse me while I sneak outside and eat another handful before someone else beats me to it.

PostHeaderIcon SpaghettiO’s

I made SpaghettiO’s by mistake last week and the kids loved it.  They have no idea what the real thing taste like so they cannot compare the taste, but it is a fun looking meal for kids in general and they “lapped it up”.

O's

Two weeks ago I made a large pot of pasta/pizza sauce and froze smaller portions in Tupperware containers.  On the same day I made 4 meals out of ground beef.  Two portions of hamburger patties, one portion of meatballs for dinner that night and a few smaller meatballs to freeze in the pasta sauce.  I planned to use these for small dinners when I don’t feel like cooking or large lunches for when the kids are super hungry.  I usually defrost the sauce and make a small side of pasta to go along with it.  I found Anelletti pasta at Trader Joe’s a few months ago and loved that it was so different.  I cooked it (took forever to cook!) added it to the meatballs and sauce and was surprised to see what the final result looks like.

Opasta

How cool is that!! The kids ate it with a few raw veggies and a fruit salad for dessert. OK, I had some as well, it was yummy! It is also healthy since the homemade sauce has all natural ingredients and you know exactly what goes into the meatballs when you make it yourself. I will post my meatball and sauce recipes when I get a little more time. For now I am concentrating on our first week doing homeschool lessons so everything else takes a back seat.

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