Cowboy beans

1 pound ground beef
1 c chopped onion
1 c chopped green pepper
3/4 c ketchup
3/4 c barbecue sauce
6 T packed brown sugar
3 T molasses
3 T prepared mustard
1.5 t salt
1.5 t pepper
2 (16 oz) cans pork and beans
2 (16 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can butter beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans

Brown the ground beef. Add onions and green pepper and cook until tender. Place in slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce to low and cook 2-4 hours.

I could add 30 oz of more beans and still have a favorable meat-to-bean ratio, however my slow cooker does not hold that much.

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Rhubarb sauce

My friend BFW inspired me to make and can rhubarb sauce for the first time. Here are some quick notes:

I used a recipe from the University of Minnesota Extension found here https://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/fruits/canning-rhubarb/

The only ingredients are rhubarb and sugar!

We combined 14 quarts of chopped rhubarb with 7 cups of sugar to make 15 canned pints and one scant quart of sauce for immediate use.

Both Mom and George lead me in the canning process. Mom helped out with the harvesting and washing. I’m pretty good at chopping, provided I have a good knife.

I haven’t opened any of the canned sauce, but it appears to be a success thus far.

Orange spice cake

Sunflower in ice 20 Feb 2018

Sunflower in ice 20 Feb 2018

I made a cake! Mostly. Until just now I didn’t realized that I made the cake twice without the “soak.” That indicates that I should try again!

Cake

3 c cake flour
0.5 c almond flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
0.5 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
0.5 t cardamom
0.5 t allspice
0.25 t ground cloves
0.125 t ground nutmeg
1.5 c sugar
1 stick softened unsalted butter
0.5 c applesauce
3 large eggs
1 c milk
1 T vinegar or lemon juice
2 t vanilla
1 t orange extract

Preheat over to 325 F. Combine flour, almond flour, and all dry ingredients except the sugar in a bowl. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine sugar and butter until smooth-ish. Add remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet, without over mixing. Pour in three greased 8-inch round pans.  Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Soak

1/2 c orange marmalade
4 T rum or orange juice

Warm the marmalade enough to melt. Add rum. Brush the soak on the cake.

Frosting

12 oz skyr (Icelandic cultured dairy product)
1 c powdered sugar
1 pt whipping cream

Whip the skyr and powdered sugar until well mixed. Add the whipping cream and beat to soft peaks. Frost the cake.

In all honesty, I didn’t make the frosting either. However, that was a choice rather than an outright omission. This recipe was adapted from The Sons of Norway Viking December 2017 issue. They called it Festive Orange Spice Cake. I’m guessing that the soak and frosting make it festive!

Mushroom soup

1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 to 2 bay leaves
2/3 c finely chopped celery
1/4 c finely chopped onion
3 T cooking oil
4 to 5 c sliced fresh mushrooms (about 1 pound)
2/3 half-and-half or milk

Melt butter in a 2 qt saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in broth. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. In another saucepan, saute the celery and onion in oil until tender. Add mushrooms, cook until tender. Add this to broth mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes, siring occasionally. Add cream and heat through. Discard bay leaves. Serves 4.

February is a great time for mushroom soup! I clipped this recipe from a magazine in the 1990’s. Attributed to Elsie Cathrea of Elmira, Ontario.

Oatmeal spice cake

Roll the presses! I made food! This recipe is made from a combination of two different cakes recipes.

1 c rolled oats
1.25 c boiling water
0.25 c butter
0.5 c white sugar*
0.5 c packed brown sugar*
2 eggs
3 T plain or vanilla yogurt
1.5 c flour
0.5 t nutmeg
0.5 t cinnamon
0.5 t allspice
0.25 t ground cloves
1 t baking soda
0.5 t salt

In a small bowl, stir oats into boiling water. Set aside to soak.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray oil on the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, cream together the white sugar, brown sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs and yogurt. Combine flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and, salt. Add these dry ingredients to the egg mixture stir just until moistened. Mix in the soaked oats. Pour into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

* The recipe that I began with called for 1 cup of each type of sugar. This was too sweet. One-half cup of each produces a good cake. Adding three-quarters white sugar will make the cake sweeter and may improve the cake structure (it is a little dense).

The spices are good in this cake. I may try it again with 50% more nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.

I recently tried this Cauliflower Rice Stuffing and found it to be good and not as different from other dressings as I would have guessed. The mushrooms tie everything together and I would likely skip this recipe if I didn’t like mushrooms. Two heads of cauliflower is a lot of cauliflower, but there were a reasonable amount of leftovers when I made it for just George and myself. I would make this recipe again, perhaps with the additions of grated carrot and dried cranberries.

Inspired Vegetarian Chili

Steamy Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 c sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 c finely chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped carrot
  • 3/4 c chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 c chopped celery
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 t medium hot chili powder (I used Penzeys Spices)
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 1/8 t salt
  • 3/4 t ground black pepper
  • 3/4 t dried basil
  • 3/4 t dried oregano
  • 2 quarts tomato juice, no seeds or skins
  • 3 c cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (about 26.5 oz canned)
  • hot pepper sauce to taste

Optional, advanced ingredients: Evenly diced sweet potato, parsnip, rutabaga, potato, and/or salsify.

  1. Heat olive oil in the large pot that that you’re going to add all the ingredients to. Add mushrooms, onion, carrot, green bell pepper, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, basil, and oregano. Stir and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmering boil until the carrots are the consistency you’d like.
  3. In a separate pot, steam the optional root vegetables to your desired consistency.
  4. Add the black beans and root vegetables to the chili. Re-heat to a boil and serve.

Some cooks get their inspiration from flavors, texture, color, or culture. My primary inspiration is ingredient volume. My vegetarian chili (and all other chili, for that matter) is extremely variable due to random harvesting, dumping, and jumbling of whatever is on hand. The first attempt at this vegetarian chili started with a recipe, highly rated from the reliable resource of the internet. Immediately and purposefully, I mangled the recipe to suit my tomato format, which is wonderfully canned in quart jars, without seeds or skins, by my dearly beloved George. Why add tomato paste and water, when you can just add tomatoes? I love fresh ingredients too. They never come in neat sizes. Perhaps the perfectly medium-sized bell pepper is 3/4 of a cup, but certainly not one from the store or my garden. The carrots came from the garden and were very fresh. In fact they needed to be dug, topped, scrubbed, diced, and then cut into tiny pieces by my favorite chopper. Yes, a real chef would never use one of these things. If you eat my food, you want me to use one. My hand chopping of hard vegetables flings them all over, mostly onto the floor. You don’t want to eat off my floor. Another thing about the carrots, they are wonderful and fresh, but by the time I’m done preparing them, I’m cranky. We did have some beautiful carrots out of the garden. But now we’re down to the ones that weren’t properly thinned and the carrots are pinky-sized, at best. Prepping homemade baby carrots isn’t my idea of fun. Following this stream of consciousness, this will be my second winter that I plan to glue carrot seeds onto a long strip of toilet paper, at the proper spacing. By time time glue and toilet paper season had rolled around last year it was long past the baby carrot harvest and gluing carrot seeds to toilet paper seemed ridiculous. May my current conviction lead to greater follow through this year! Jumping ahead to the conclusion of the first batch of chili: I followed my adaptation of the recipe and left lots of containers of leftovers in the refrigerator (3 T diced bell pepper, the extra carrots, etc.). No root vegetables were added. In the end I found the chili too spicy without enough depth of flavor (the internet recipe called for 1 T chili powder and 3/4 t hot pepper sauce).

The next three batches found me only measuring what was easy (quarts of tomatoes, spices) and just chopping and dumping the rest. I think the final batch was the best. Certainly not repeatable since I didn’t really measure, however I did use about two quarts of diced root vegetables in addition to the other ingredients. As far as spiciness, it isn’t too spicy, but I figure the eater can add that with hot pepper sauce.

Pretty kale that has nothing to do with chili October 16, 2014

Pretty kale that has nothing to do with chili
October 16, 2014