Red Beans and Pork in Peanut Sauce

Fresh crisp cucumber and sliced spring onion are a delicious garnish and flavor addition.
This is day 2 of the big diet.  I am fixing this dish to try because I can eat everything in it and it looks like it might taste like something we would both like. I am using this as a side dish for Brian and as my main course. 

This diet makes a case for what is called "slow carbs" and that is what beans and peas and lentils are categorised as. I do not like lentils and won't be making them but I can do beans all day long!!

I have adapted this dish from "The Instant Bean" by Sally and Martin Stone. Here are the ingredients I am using:

1 T. Macadamia nut oil or vegetable oil
1 pound of ground pork
2 t. sugar
3 lg. cloves of garlic
1 T. fresh minced ginger
1/4 C. soy sauce
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. Asian sesame oil
2/3 C. smooth peanut butter
1/2 C. hot water
2 15 oz. cans of red beans, drained and rinsed
1 C. sliced green onions with tops
1/2 small English cucumber diced

Using a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven heat the pan over medium heat adding the oil. Add the pork and stir as you brown it. Pour off any surplus fat (over 2 T.) and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, garlic, ginger, 1 T. soy sauce, and the red pepper sauce to the pork. Continue browning about 4 minutes more.

Meanwhile in a blender or processor, blend together the remaining soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, peanut butter, and hot water to make the sauce the consistency of heavy cream.

Add the beans to the pork then stir in the sauce just heating through and combining well. Remove from the heat and spoon onto a serving platter garnishing generously with green onions and diced cucumber.

The bean dish made a great side with ham steak and fresh spinach.
Actually we did like it and feel it turned out quite good.  The spicy peanut sauce paired with the creamy beans really contrasts beautifully with the sweet and crisp cucumber and green onion.  I will make it again,  especially if I stay on this diet.


Fresh Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes

Meatless meal or add protein.
Today I visited Wright's Berry Farm hoping to find concord grapes to make grape jelly. There were none but I did find my first really good looking fresh local green beans and didn't pass them up!! Here it is a couple of days before the start of September and our weather has been so strange as to not have found great green beans until today. Unheard of in my memory.

It looks like I will not be making grape jelly either as I telephoned Joe Engelbrecht's Orchard today as he thought last year his vines would produce this year but it has not worked out either. We have not had a really good gardening summer here in the tri-state area.

Green beans are a major yes on the diet I have begun today so I am cooking them in chicken stock with onions, carrots, and a few fingerling potatoes for Brian, my husband who loves them!! I will abstain from the potatoes.

Basically I have washed and broken the beans and added them along with the other vegetables to a kettle with chicken stock made last week. They will simmer the rest of this afternoon and be just right along side a slice of ham steak and sliced tomatoes and cottage cheese for dinner or I will have as is. 

Brian calls this a down home supper and will be really happy when I set a plate before him!!

Here are my ingredients:

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and broken
1 onion diced
6 fingerling potatoes washed
4 carrots peeled and cut into short sticks
1 ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer all of these ingredients together in a large covered kettle for 1 1/2 to 2 hours over low heat serve as a one pot meatless meal or add whatever else you would like to serve.

I made up a large dish of diced melon and that will serve as desert should anyone care for some and there are homemade cookies in the cookie jar.

I am calling this meal done.

Books I am Perusing or The Intentions I Have....

Relaxing with three good books.
This is a GIANT leap for me. I have labored about sharing this information with you. As my tale unfolds you will understand.

I am not a huge fan of agendas period. I don't care for ex-anybody preaching about anything, be it smokers, dieters, drinkers, or sinners. We all are struggling to get through our set of challenges the best way we can find. While I don't mind caring concern or casual conversation and sharing of experiences let the preaching begin and I glaze over.

Needless to say that I am not a huge Dr. Oz fan as he is way past agenda and so overstates his positions. But, he does have new and interesting information and is quite daring by going places in discussion outside of the normal "published in the latest journal of" conversations.

Recently my interest peeked when he introduced Tim Ferriss and a book he has written called, The 4- Hour BODY. Among the subjects he addresses are, Reversing "Permanent" Injuries, Injury-Proofing the Body, and The Slow-Carb Diet I, How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise.

Dr. Oz said he had his crack medical team try to disprove the information in Tim's book and was shocked to have been unable to do so. In fact on the contrary he was having him on the show because of the credibility they found.

Since I maneuver with old injuries to both knees and one wrist and am a former walker who has sat on my butt and gained weight he got my attention.

My excuse, and it may be valid, for not walking is fear of further injury and making matters worse. As you may recall I have no insurance since having been laid off work 3 years ago and am too young to be eligible for Medicare, too poor for private insurance, and too affluent for any type of aid or program.

So today I am starting the diet program. Ouch, I have revealed it and am therefore committed!!! If I falter I embarrasses myself. See paragraph one.

I am in the process of reading the other two sections with the other two subjects of interest as well as, Soups, from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, and The Instant Bean, by Sally and Martin Stone.

Details will follow.

Please think good thoughts and wish me luck.


Fresh Herbed Chicken Stock, Asian Style Stock

Assembly of stock ingredients.
My larder of stock has dwindled to nothing and I am thinking with the lovely selection of fresh herbs at hand it is a good day to make chicken stock. A double batch should yield 10 quarts and that is enough to make it worth the trouble. 

My replenished freezer holds prepared stock.
The freezer has enough room to store in plastic containers and I will plan to keep maybe 3 quarts at hand in the refrigerator for the coming weeks meal preparations. 


2, 5 pound roasting or stewing chickens
10 Qt. fresh water
15 sprigs of parsley *fresh
4-5 sprigs of thyme *fresh
2 stalks of lemon grass, ends and stem crushed *fresh
2 bay leaves *fresh
1 t. black peppercorns
2 t. salt
2 large onions with skins
4 large carrots
4 large stalks of celery

You will need a very large stock pot or two regular stock pots, putting half in each.

Rinse the chickens well and remove the liver and gizzard from the body cavity. Do not use them for the stock. Place the chickens in the stock pot and add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

*NOTE: The common rule of thumb is to use half of the amount specified if using dried herbs.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: For an Asian style stock add a large piece of fresh ginger, 2"' or so, and 1/4-1/3 C. soy sauce, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the above at the start of the recipe.

Cool and strain into clean containers, label and freeze. 

Bone the chickens for use in other recipes, you may also package and freeze in desirable quantities.

Black Elderberry Syrup & Jasmine Tea plus Random Thoughts.

Jasmine Tea and Black Elderberry Syrup
Some days are a surprise to me. Yesterday was one of those days. Full of the unexpected. Phone calls that were out of the blue and random thoughts. I need to water the plants.

My first surprise of the day was a call from a friend who encouraged me to check out a part time position she had heard was available. So into the shower I hopped.  Next where's that pair of shoes to go with these pants?  Then downstairs to the office to find a resume and out the door to town. 

What was that recipe I was thinking of? Did it take leeks or was it a cucumber? I'll go with the cucumber as I run into the grocery on the way home.

I need to pick the tomatoes but it is so hot!!

Phone ringing, how did you get my resume??? No, I don't think I want to sell insurance for your company??? What in the world was that??? 

After being laid off from my job for three years and a month now, and actively having looking for something I really would have liked to have done for over two years, I have all but resigned myself to an early retirement. So two out of the blue calls about employment before noon is a shocker!!

I am thinking I need a cup of tea, green tea. Jasmine tea is my favorite green variety. 

Black Elderberry is a lovely flavorful addition to tea and the fact it has anti-viral properties is a great thing to take advantage of. ( It interferes with it's, the virus', ability to reproduce.) Rather than brewing entire pots or gallons of tea I made up a batch of elderberry syrup to use to sweeten and flavor a glass or cup of tea. It is quite good. 

Here is how I make the syrup:

1/3 C. dried black elderberries
1 C. filtered water.
1/2 C. honey, locally harvested ideally

Combine the berries and water in a small lidded pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a very slow simmer and for 20 minutes. Strain and add the honey stirring to combine. Place in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Use by the teaspoonful to flavor and sweeten hot or cold beverages.

To brew the Jasmine tea bring a kettle of fresh water to boil.  Meanwhile rinse your favorite teapot with hot water from the tap to warm it.  When the kettle boils dump the hot water from the teapot and add a teaspoonful of tea for each cut of tea you plan to brew to the empty pot. Add boiling water and replace the teapots lid.  Leave it to steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Pour the tea and stir in a teaspoonful or two of the elderberry syrup to taste.  Enjoy!!


Candy Apple Cookies (WOW, ARE THESE GOOD!!)

Candy Apple Cookie Recipe
Last week when I traveled to Joe Englebrecht's Orchard I was reminded that the new seasons apples are here and fall is upon us. Last year I tried a new variety of apple called an Arkansas Black and dehydrated some of them for winter use. I have just enough of them left to make the 1 cup needed for this batch of cookies.

I have no clue where the recipe came from, who gave it too me??? But, I have had it for a lot of years and it is a really great cookie. I rank it in my top 5 favorites. I would be surprised if you didn't agree!!

Here is the recipe:

1/2 C. soft butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 C. flour
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. cream of tarter
1 t. soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 C. old fashioned oats
1 pkg. Heath bar chips or Almond Brickle ( or crush 12 double Heath candy bars)
1 C. snipped dried apples

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. 

Beat butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs until they are mixed well. Stir together the dry ingredients and then mix them into the butter mixture until it is well combined. Add the candy chips and apple incorporating everything. 

Spoon by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 8-10 minutes. They will be light in color and NOT set in the middle when you remove them from the oven. Do Not over bake. Let them set on the baking tray for a few minutes before removing them to cool.

Ooooppps!! You caught me......


Katie's 12th Birthday Cake

Kate's Official "pre-teen" Birthday Cake.
Kate had her 12th birthday this week and today is her family birthday dinner.  For her dinner menu she picked all "do agains" as one of my daughters-in-law calls them!!

Her dinner menu calls for Grandpa to grill hot dogs (her favorite) and brats,  twice baked potatoes, corn on the cob, carrot sticks, strawberries and Red Devils food Cake.

The cake is a repeat of Brian's Red Devils food Birthday Cake posted on 8/11/10.

All of these are standby popular let's have 'em again recipes we all enjoy and invite you to make them your families favorites too.

The twice baked potatoes are also a repeat of a recipe given as a side to Roast Beef Au Jus Dinner on 5/31/10.


Mother's Beef Minestrone Soup

Mother's Beef Minestrone Soup
Mother has made this soup for years and it has evolved from whatever it's origins were!!  One of our sons had dinner with her last week and she had made it and he shouted rave reviews which made me think of making it this weekend.

Here is how it goes:

1 lb. ground round
1 C. diced onion
6 C. water
1 C. cubed potatoes
1 can diced tomatoes or 4 c. chopped tomato
2 C. chopped cabbage
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. diced celery
1/4 C. uncooked rice
1/2 t. dry or 2 t. shredded fresh basil
1/2 t. dry or 2 t, torn fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 C. diced bell pepper
1 can corn or 2 C. fresh corn cut from the cob
2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T. garlic powder or 5-6 crushed fresh garlic cloves
7-8 chicken bouillon cubes
2 T. sugar
1 C. ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef and onions in the bottom of a heavy bottomed soup kettle and add salt and pepper.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 2-3 hours until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded.  Serve topped with shredded cheese and saltine crackers.

Please feel free to substitute vegetables and beans you have on hand for the ones that are given.  This recipe is better when you make to your own using you favorites to make up the soup.


Cabbage Rolls to Make Ahead For The Freezer.

This is an old German dish or at least Germany had their take on it, as my Godmother, Elnora Breidenbaugh first made them when we visited them when I was a very little girl. I fell in love with them. I had already been crazy about her. She was not only my Godmother but also my Mother's Godmother as well as my Grandmother, Elsie Neukam's sister. 

I found the idea for this recipe in an old cookbook * Grandma Neukam gave me and love the fact you make it ahead to freeze for another day. A really good idea now when the gardens are full and folks are looking for ways to use their abundance. It is also a penny wise dish as it made 12 rolls. Probably 2 or perhaps 3 for a really big adult appetite. I would expect the recipe could be frozen in 2 dishes and make 2 main dishes serving a family of 4.

Ingredients for rolls:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 egg
1 onion chopped fine
2 C. cooked brown rice
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper

12 large cabbage leaves from the outer portion of the head


8 Oz. spicy V8 vegetable juice or your own blend made with juicer
8 Oz. tomato sauce
6 Roma tomatoes diced
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. vinegar

Start by selecting a large head of cabbage with large intact loose leaves. Wash and remove a dozen leaves. If you have difficulty core the cabbage with a long slender knife. If you start at the outside and loosen then loosen at the core you can work from both sides to detach. Do not be alarmed at tearing but keep as together as you can.

Heat a kettle of water (about 4"-5" deep) to boiling and drop the cabbage leaves in to wilt them until they are pliable. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and pie on a plate to cool.

Meanwhile mix all of the ingredients for the meat filling together in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Take a large spoonful and work with you hands to make a egg shaped portion.

Position the first cabbage leaf with the stem side towards you curling or facing up. Position the meat across the end of the stem and fold the loose left and right edges inward and roll the portion to the opposite end forming a cabbage roll. Repeat the process until the filling is used positioning the rolls into buttered baking dishes you plan to freeze them in for keeping.

Cover with a double layer of plastic wrap, label, and freeze.

The sauce is made just before you plan to bake and serve.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the sauce ingredients stirring well to combine. Cover the frozen cabbage rolls and bake for 1 1/4 hour until bubbling hot and cooked through out. Serve as the main course topped with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

*This recipe was adapted from, "Here's what's Cookin'", Dubois County Extension Homemakers Clubs 1975.

Ham and Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomato and Black Olives

Ham and Pasta Salad
This is such a refreshing summer salad and great to have on hand. Our son Joel and his wife Julie love pasta salad and are always happy if it is on the menu. I am making it ahead for Sunday dinner.


2 C, cubed cooked ham
1 can drained black olives
1 bunch sliced green onions
2 pts. cherry tomatoes
2 C. Italian dressing of your choice
2 T. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
8 Oz. tri color pasta spirals cooked al dente, drained. and chilled

Mix all ingredients well and chill well. If it becomes dry add additional Italian dressing and correct the seasonings.


Kidney Bean Salad, an old time standby!!

My Mother made Kidney Bean Salad and served it up on a hot summer day ice cold. Boy was it good. So, today when Brian called to say he was bringing home fried chicken for supper I knew it would be the perfect side to make for our diner tonight.

He loves Kidney Bean Salad too and he really likes those "Fridge Pickles" I have been making so I think I will use them and the onions along with them in this salad. 


2 cans dark red kidney beans drained
4 hard cooked eggs quartered and sliced
3 ribs celery diced
1/3 c. chopped pickle
2 T. finely diced sweet onion
3/4 -1 C. miracle whip salad dressing
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Stir everything together in a medium sized bowl until well blended. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Chill well and serve ice cold on a chilled lettuce leaf.

Froggie went a court'en he did sing UMM UMM.

Freddie the Frog 8/18/11 @11:00 AM.
Yes, and I found froggie!! He has been sitting out back by our fish pond and I have been skulking around trying to take a picture of him for months!! Finally today I got him. Yeah!!

Previously I either did not have my camera handy, or, he was too fast and dove into the pond with a loud ker plunk!!

He sits a good 5" or so and stretches out to about 7-8" He is a cutie!! I hope he is feasting on MOSQUITOES!!!


On a personal note this is probably the last pink rose of summer from this lovely rose bush. I hate to think of the winter coming upon us. It is scary with so many people out of work and the hard times so many are having to endure right now.
Last rose of summer.
I thought I would share too the sign I keep hanging above my desk. I call upon these wise words quite regularly.



Fresh Tomatoes and Basil make a Quick Pasta Dish

Simple and delicious meatless meal.
This time of the year you can find ruby red tomatoes lining my kitchen window sill and sometimes the dining room sills too. It means I need to use them or loose them!!

Tomatoes on the kitchen sill.
Today there are no leftovers for lunch, nothing except peanut butter for a sandwich, and that was lunch yesterday. So, I got busy and boiled a handful of bow tie pasta left in the bottom of a box and cored and seeded a couple of tomatoes and had vegan a lunch fit for a queen.

Here is what I did used:

3 large tomatoes cored and seeded
3 cloves garlic minced
5 green onions slices thin
2 T. olive oil
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. sugar
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 leaves fresh basil chopped
1 - 1 1/2 C. dry pasta
Parmesan cheese optional

Set a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile wash, core, and seed the tomatoes. Set them aside.

Fresh basil leaves perfume the kitchen.
Pour the oil into a medium skillet over medium high heat and stir in the onions, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Add the basil and stir well. Add the drained pasta and toss with the grated cheese if desired. What a great meal.


Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing, Tarragon, and Chives

Assorted tomatoes splayed across a plate of snipped chives and topped with tarragon and blue cheese dressing.
After weeding the last flower bed this morning my glance caught bright red tomatoes hanging up high in the garden. I got my little basket and picked them quick as I could in the hopes of beating out the bugs who compete with me!! Bugs had been snacking on my left foot and right fore arm so I knew they were up and at it!!

Happily I got the most I have ever picked this morning. Probably a full 5 pounds. About half were blemished but I can cut blemishes away, no problem. 

Brian had mentioned bringing home pizza tonight, as he often does on Tuesday nights and I thought an icy cold well seasoned tomato salad might go very nicely with pizza. I had one heirloom tomato left and I have saved the seeds from some of the others so this would be a pretty way to use it too.
Lucky for me I have some Maytag Blue Cheese left in the refrigerator and everything else I need to make up some fresh blue cheese dressing. Fresh herbs from the patio will add a bit of extra flavor. Sounds good to me....

Blue Cheese Dressing

6-8 Oz. blue cheese crumbled (If you can get you hands on Maytag Blue it is well worth the trouble.)
1 C. Hellman's or other good mayonnaise
1/2 C. buttermilk
1/2 C. heavy cream
2 t. tarragon vinegar (made earlier in the summer with fresh herb)
coarse kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all of these ingredients together with a wire whip until smooth with medium lumps of cheese and chill in an air tight container.

Tomato Salad

Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and torn tarragon leaves top thickly sliced tomatoes.
Pick an attractive or contrasting color for the platter and line it with finely sliced fresh herbs of your liking. I had fresh chives growing so I choose them. Wash and thickly slice your tomatoes across the top of the herbs. Using a coarse salt and freshly ground pepper season the tops of the tomato slices
Sprinkle the tops of the tomato with additional fresh herbs, I choose tarragon because that was the vinegar flavoring in the dressing. Drizzle the salad with the Blue Cheese Dressing and refrigerate until serving time.

This salad would be great any number of ways depending on what you have on hand.  Combined with fresh basil, parsley, and an oil and vinegar dressing and a bit of cheese would be totally great too.


Refrigerator Yeast Rolls
Light and airy diner rolls.
Foster's Market has a terrific blog I love to read and there is also a market and a restaurant. All of the things I have tried have been a "do again" so I would encourage you to check them out if you are interested. The reason I bring them up is that I have adapted her recipe, titled "Granny Foster's Refrigerator Rolls" and love the results I have gotten. The rolls are light and airy with a good soft texture, not doughy or heavy and the recipe makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen rolls. You can make the dough ahead and bake off whatever portion you need and store the balance of the dough for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. So... I view it as a lot of bang for my buck in that I can have lovely diner rolls 2 or 3 times and do the work only once. 

Here is how my version goes:

1/2 C. warm water 105-115 degrees F.
2 1/2 t. instant yeast
1/2 C. sugar
8 T. butter
2 C. milk
1 t. salt
6 1/2 C. all purpose flour (King Arthur)
4 T. melted butter

Place water, yeast, and 1 t. sugar in a small bowl and stir once or twice, just to mix. Set aside to proof in a warm place for 5-7 minutes. Small bubbles should form across the top.

Combine the butter, milk, salt, and remaining sugar in a saucepan and heat over a low flame stirring constantly just until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melts. Use a thermometer and be sure you do NOT let the mixture heat over 115 degrees or you will have to cool it back down because it will kill the yeast if it becomes too hot. Remove from the heat just as soon as the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted and pour it into the large bowl of your stand mixer.

Add 1 cup of the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture and stir until well combined. Scrape the spoon off and insert the dough hooks. Add all but about 1/2 C. of the remaining flour and mix until the dough is formed and it gathers up around the dough hook. 

The dough should not be sticky and it should be clinging to the hooks. Not laying on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Here is where judgement is required because the humidity and the dryness of the flour have a bearing on how the dough works. You want to make the proper adjustments at this time. If the dough is too dry and crumbly sprinkle a few droplets of water across the dough and continue to knead. If the dough is sticky and not totally gathering up into a ball sprinkle additional flour down the edges of the bowl as it is kneading until you achieve the desired result. This dough is correct when it has gathered into a ball and is only slightly sticky.

Fill a large bowl with hot water, dump the water and dry the bowl. Grease the bowl with soft butter or olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turn it once to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 45-50 minutes until doubled in bulk.

Punch the dough down and divide it into two pieces. Place the two pieces on the work surface and cover loosely with a towel. Let it rest for 10 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use at this point. Remove from the refrigerator and let rest 20 minutes then proceed as the recipe directs.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you are using a baking stone you need to get it out. If not you need to butter a baking sheet or use silpat mats or parchment paper. 

Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface until 3/4 " to 1" thick.
Cut with a 2 1/2" round cutter. Place on prepared sheet and let rise covered 25-30 minutes more.
If the dough has been in the refrigerator it may need an additional 15 minutes more. Brush the tops with melted butter and bake 25 minutes. Serve immediately


White Peach Pie

Fresh Peach Pie right out of my oven.
The white peaches are so very sweet and tender although you can't go wrong with a peach any way you look at it. So today I am making a fresh pie.


4 C. all purpose flour, King Arthur is my preference
1 C. butter flavor Crisco
1/2 C. cold butter
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 C. ice water
1 egg
1 T. vinegar
1 T. sour cream

Combine the flour, diced butter, and diced Crisco in a large bowl and add the sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut the ingredients altogether with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with lumps the size of small peas.

Make a well in the flour and set aside briefly while you combine and beat with a fork the water, egg, vinegar, and sour cream. Stir the wet ingredients into the well and mix until everything draws together in a ball. Knead a couple of turns until you achieve a smooth ball. Divide into quarters and form each piece into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate the pastry for about an hour before rolling out. Keep refrigerated 2-3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Peach filling:

Drop the peaches into a large kettle of boiling water and leave for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon into a large bowl you have filled half full of ice and additional cold water. After a couple of minutes you should be able to loosen the skins and slip them right off. If not put back in the boiling water for another minute or two. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and set aside.

Squeeze a whole lemon into a large clean bowl. Slice the peaches into the lemon juice turning them to coat. You need about 6 cups of fruit for a large pie, 9" deep dish.

Add to the sliced peaches 1/4 C. instant tapioca, 1/4 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. vanilla, pinch of salt, 3/4 C. sugar and stir altogether. Set aside for about 10 minutes while you roll the pastry. I roll the bottom crust and fit it into the dish then set it aside while I roll the top crust.
When the pastry has been rolled out I fill the lower crust and dot the fruit with about 2 T. butter. Immediately fit the top crust atop sprinkling it well with sugar and pinching the crust edges. Place the finished pie on the foil lined tray and place in the center of the oven. Bake 50-60 minutes until bubbling and brown. Cool and slice, yields 6-8 portions.


Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil.......Yummmm

Fresh and Homemade Tomato with Fresh Basil Soup.
As I was filling out papers and doing long neglected filing in the early afternoon hours, I heard the unmistakable low groan of the electric garage door opener. Brian, my sweetie (husband) surprised me by dropping in with two bags of fresh tomatoes from one of his loyal customers. It has been quite a generous week for some of his loyal and long time clients. This is the second time he came home with tomatoes and one fellow smoked a pork butt and sent it along with 2 different kinds of relish. I am touched by their generosity and thoughtfulness.

At any rate thank you one and all if you happen to read this.

Brian loves homemade tomato soup made with fresh tomatoes and basil so I got a kettle going this afternoon. Here is what I use:

3 T. olive oil
1 lg. red onion and 1 lg. sweet white onion peeled and halved
2 lg. carrots peeled
4 cloves fresh garlic chopped fine
6-7 large red ripe tomatoes with the skins slipped and cored
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 -2 T. tomato paste
1/4 C. fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish, washed
4 C. homemade chicken stock ( you can use canned or reconstituted)
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 T. black pepper
1 C. heavy cream
3 T. soft butter
1/4 C. flour

Using the shredding blade of the food processor run the carrots and onions through until all are shredded.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed soup kettle and add the shredded vegetables. Saute them for 10-12 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally while you chop the garlic. Using my hands I mash the tomatoes. When the carrots and onions are tender add the garlic and cook another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, chopped basil, chicken broth, salt, and pepper stirring until well combined. Bring the pot to a full boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook with the lid off for about 50 minutes. The tomatoes should be very tender.

Add the cream and either process with a stick blender, run through a food mill, or run in batches through a blender. Return the soup to the kettle and mix together in a coffee cup 3 T. soft butter and 1/4 C. flour until a paste forms. Whisk the flour and butter mixture into the now lukewarm soup. Continue whisking and return to a medium high flame and heat just to the boiling point. The soup will thicken slightly and is then ready to be ladled into bowls for serving.

Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves along side saltine crackers and grilled cheese sandwiches. YUMMMMM.......


Freezer Slaw

Freshly cut cabbages from our garden makes for delicious slaw this winter.
I am going to have to get busy and cook something I haven't already posted for you!! But right now I am cleaning up the garden and making freezer slaw for this winter.

My recipe for freezing slaw was originally posted 6/26/10. You can pull it up by title, Freezer Slaw, in the finder box or click on preserving and scroll down until you come to it.

These are new enhancements I am thrilled to have had installed thanks to my son Joel and Google.

This recipe uses 25% less sugar than some I have seen currently posted and I use a bit of red and green bell pepper also, but that is optional. Remember to leave about a half inch or so head space when freezing to allow for expansion.

Black Raspberry Pie for Brian's Second Birthday Celebration!!

Black Raspberry Pie
We were blessed with more company this weekend to celebrate Brian's birthday still again so this time I went with a birthday black raspberry pie. We grilled again too but this time we went with burgers, brats, and dogs.

( Note: I want to tell you all how lovely it is to be able to call the meat market on the phone and ask the order to be ready at 9:30 Saturday morning and walk in and get it. That is the way it works here at the Rivertown Butcher Shop. PLUS the ground chuck was freshly ground Saturday morning!!!)

Well anyway, our menu was that of things I have already shared with you but I will mention them and give the date because they are favorites of the season and well worth revisiting.

Grilled Dinner
Besides the burgers, brats, and dogs our menu consisted of:

NOTE: New feature on this blog allows you to type search name into the finder box on the right side of the screen under the topics list then click, or you may click on to any topic and scroll down.

Thank you especially to my son Joel for his help with this!!

Creamy Cole Slaw, posted 2/24/11.
Creamy Potato Salad, posted 2/24/11.
Fruit Platter and Dips, posted 5/19/10.
Sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, lettuce, and pickles.
Assorted buns and condiments.
Black Raspberry Pie, posted 6/14/10

We were so proud to hear the grandchildren all say Grace before our meal, even the littlest ones said every word and sat ever so quietly in their chairs.

We sang Happy Birthday again and a good time was had by all!! Especially by Grandma and Grandpa who feel so very Blessed to have such a wonderful family.


Chocolate Chip Crisps

I love thin, buttery, crispie chocolate chip cookies and so I modify the recipe by adding additional brown sugar and using extra large eggs instead of large eggs. This along with pure butter and Tahitian vanilla make for my favorite cookie.
4 1/2 C. King Arthur all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Sift the above dry ingredients all together in a large bowl and set aside for now.

1 pound of soft butter (4 sticks)
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 3/4 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 T. plus 1 t. Tahitian vanilla
4 extra large eggs
4 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Ghirardelli)
2 C. chopped walnuts optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and like baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time. Mix at low speed until well combined.
Add half of the dry ingredients and mix at low speed. Add the second half again beating at low speed until well combined. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts and stir well.
Drop by teaspoonfulls onto prepared pans and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let stand 2-3 minutes before removing to racks to cool fully. Yields approx. 8 dozen cookies.

* Note I have listed and used the brands I prefer. You will have success with you favorite brands I am sure, these are just what I prefer and use.

**Note, I order the Tahitian Vanilla from the King Arthur catalog or on line at their website. My local grocery carries the flour and chocolate.


Spicy Chicken Wonton Soup with Shrimp

Chicken filled Wontons and shrimp flavor this dish.
My husband, loves this chocked full of flavor soup and after devouring two large bowl fulls proclaimed it a "do again" (term our second daughter-in-law coined for make it again regularly please).
My adaptation is from a recipe given on for Chicken Wonton soup but it is jazzed up a bit for our tastes!!

Yields 6 servings.

Ingredients for the wontons:

1 pkg. wonton wrappers, prefer thin
2 C. chicken, uncooked and cut into 1/2 " cubes
1/2 pound cleaned and deveined shrimp
1 C. finely sliced green onions, include the green tops
3 cloves fresh garlic finely chopped
2 t. freshly grated ginger
1 egg, separate, add yolk for filling and save the white to seal the wontons
1 T. Sriracha Chili sauce
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 T. soy sauce

Place all of the ingredients except the wonton wrappers and the egg white into the bowl of the food processor and pulse just enough to combine well. Do not over process. You do not want to make a paste. More like a meat loaf consistency.

I usually fill 3 or 4 at a time by placing 3 or 4 wrappers on a large flat diner plate and placing a scant teaspoon full of the filling to the side of the center of each separated wonton. Using my finger I dampen the 4 edges of the wrapper with egg white. Fold to form a triangle, sealing the edges as you press any trapped air from the dumpling. It is important they seal well and that the filling does not leak. Set these aside a few minutes and prepare the broth. You should refrigerate them on a tray if you are not going to proceed and finish the soup at this time.

Ingredients for the soup:

1 onion chopped fine
3 carrots sliced thin
1 small bunch bok choy
2 stalks of lemon grass
6 C. chicken broth
1 T. Sriracha Chili Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a deep heavy bottomed pan and add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until translucent. Add the carrots and chili sauce to the pan, then stir in the broth and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer.

Pound the lemon grass to release its essence and split the stalks in half. Drop them into the broth and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the bok choy and wontons and cook 5 minutes, add the peeled and deveined shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Remove the lemon grass and discard.

Serve hot in large flat bowls to feast first on the aroma and sight of this dish.



Ginger Stores Beautifully in the Freezer.
I've just returned home from a short road trip to Henderson, Ky.  I visited my dear friend Mickey who is in my opinion an angel here on earth.  She just spreads goodness wherever she may be or in whatever direction she directs her energy.  She prepared for me a batch of ointment that relieves my knee pain and I am very grateful to her.

She also gave me some GALANGAL ROOT (Sometimes called  Galangal Ginger) which I am not familiar with but am keen to find out about!! 

Galangal Root
If anyone has used galangal and has recipes for it's use I would love to hear from you. 

In the course of the conversation we spoke of regular ginger and the storage of it. I told Mickey I have kept it stored in my freezer for years and it is just wonderful. You never loose it. It never spoils or shrivels or rots. You just pull it out as needed and peel it as much as needed and proceed to slice it off or better yet, it just grates off beautifully!! I keep it in a plastic bag tucked into the shelf where it stands ready at all times to add it's wonderful pungency as needed.

Micky was clear that I should share this storage hint on the blog so here it is and I hope you are as happy with the result as I have been.


Smoked BBQ Ribs and Rub for St. Louis Style Pork Ribs

Ready to eat ribs.
Brian's 67th birthday is Tuesday the 2nd of August and we celebrated his birthday by having him, at his request, smoke ribs for diner on Sunday. Our tradition is that you pick the diner menu or restaurant and we get on it and try to do what your heart desires for you!!

Brian wanted to smoke St. Louis style ribs. We have almost always made baby back ribs so this was a change. I spoke with our butcher Randy and he prepared them by cutting the rib tips off of three full slabs. I purchased them at the regular spare ribs price, had the tips removed and freezer wrapped for later use in two package portions. These will be great slow cooked in the crock pot or roasted over sauerkraut on a weeknight supper menu.
Seasoning for Ribs and Pork.
Next I prepared a rub or dry seasoning for the ribs:

1/2 C. coarse kosher salt
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 T. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. lemon pepper
1 T. ground black pepper
3 T. paprika
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper

Mix altogether and season meat generously about an hour before cooking. Store seasoning in an airtight container for use later.
Seasoned St. Louis Style Pork Ribs.
We cook our seasoned ribs over a pan of liquid and with wet wood chips in a smoker. The liquid can be water infused with any ripe fruit you have or beer or wine. The wood chips are also your choice. We have used numerous fruit woods as well as hickory chips. These were smoked for 8 hours over a low heat around 225-250 degrees. They were great!!

The birthday menu was BBQ ribs, Asian Slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, cubed watermelon, as well as a Devil's Food layer cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and vanilla ice cream. We sang "Happy Birthday" and a good time was had by all.