Thursday, June 13, 2019

mock stuffing with hatch chilies

My darling husband has been known to wonder why Americans call it "stuffing" when it's not stuffed in anything. The statement that it's the recipe for what normally got stuffed inside the bird was dubiously accepted. The last time I made this, though, I was very glad it wasn't inside the bird, because the bird turned out to be still frozen even after 3 days in the fridge! No, I'm not sure how it managed that either.

Fortunately, this can be made ahead of time as a nice big casserole pan, and then just popped in the oven to warm up in that lst half hour after you pull the bird out to let it rest.

Mock Stuffing

Step 1: mock cornbread (make ahead of time)

6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup diced hatch chiles (flame roasted is even better)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease

Mix eggs, cream, and hatch chiles together, and add coconut flour and almond flour. Let sit for a few minutes to properly hydrate. Preheat the oven to 325F and stick a 10.5 to 12 in cast iron skillet in the oven with the bacon grease while it's preheating.

Melt the butter, add it, the baking soda, and salt to the mixing bowl. Stir well. Pull the hot pan out of the oven, pour in batter. Stick back in oven, cook for 25-30 minutes

Step 2: Toast the bread.

After cornbread has cooled (could be a few minutes, could be a couple days later), cut into rough chunks. Put on baking sheets, and toast for 30 minutes at 300F. They should turn dark brown but not burn. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: Make the Stuffing

1 batch toasted mock cornbread
1 large onion (or 2 small)
3 cups chopped celery (more or less)
1 large handful fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 cup, once diced)
1 bunch fresh rosemary (about 2 Tbsp, once leaves were stripped off the stems and diced)
1 large handful fresh thyme leaves (about 1 Tbsp once stripped off stems)
1 large bunch fresh parsley, chopped. (I used dried, about 1/4 cup, because my parsley has bolted)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper (I used bourbon smoked cracked black pepper.)
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease
3 cups chickenstock
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F

In a skillet (could be same cast iron skillet used for cornbread. Yay for fewer dirty dishes!), heat bacon grease. Toss in black pepper, so it gets all the flavour bloomed and into everything you saute. Once hot, add onion, celery, & salt. Stir until starting to get translucent, then add herbs and garlic. When herbs are wilted and garlic starts to brown, take off heat.

Dump toasted mock cornbread in large casserole dish. Pour the sauteed mix on top, then mix with spatula until roughly evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, mix 3 cups chicken stock with two eggs. Pour over the stuffing mixture. Cover dish with foil, bake for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

White mulberry pie

I have a white mulberry tree, and its fruit has presented some conundrum. They're not actually white, more a pastel purple - though that mean they don't exactly look like a normal rich blueberry or mulberry pie when baked. Still, I picked a bunch and stuck them in the freezer to try a pie later, and people liked it. Note: don't worry about the little stems, they bake soft. The pie turns out rather like fig newton filling, though, very crunchy with all the little seeds.

White Mulberry pie

1 Premade crust
4 cups mulberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
dash cloves
(Spices equal maybe 1/2-3/4 tsp added together)

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix everything but the crust - that goes in the pie tin. Once everything is a goopy thick mixture, use a spatula to get it scraped and splatted into the pie crust, and smoothed to pretty flat and level. Do whatever you like to the edges of your pie crust - some folks like to put a second crust on top and crimp, or lattices, or what have you. I just fold it over to create a rim, because it amuses me.

Bake for 45 minutes, let cool at least 10 minutes. Goes great with bluebell ice cream.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Pour some powdered sugar on me

Because my brain is as fried as a funnel cake.

I'm studying for the AGI - Advanced Ground Instructor - certificate, which qualifies me to teach flying on the ground. (Generally referred to by it's TLA (Three Letter Acronym), because the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, though it used to be the Federal Aviation Agency, and prior to that, the CAB (the Civil Aeronautics Board)  sure loves its TLA's.)

I may have gotten into this on a dare. Not confirming or denying, just mentioning it's a possibility, and wasn't exactly a long-range plan slowly coming to fruition or anything. The first few sections of the study suckered me in. Okay, Aerodynamics & Aircraft rattled my brain cage and shook a lot of dust off some schooling I haven't touched in a long time, and force me to hit the books and start studying up on the actual principles that had become rule-of-thumb or "Ah, I don't fly that, so I don't care."(Look: I know a lot about flying off gravel and sandbars, and very little about turboprops. What we don't use, we forget, and it's a very big aviation world out there, with lots of specialties, too. Aerobatics? Those are things I don't want my airplane to do, not things I am comfortable or familiar with.)

But that was cool; it was a heck of a challenge, but actually pretty interesting to relearn, and learn ways the field has changed since I started flying.

...and today I hit Weight & Balance & Aircraft Performance, and it hit back. Nobody warned me there'd be calculus! Or spaghetti charts! ...maybe it was because I failed to ask. *facepalm*

I'm almost to the end of the first round of question study and review. I can do this. I really can...

After I go rotate the cat, mow the lawn, do some laundry, and whatever else it takes to get the brain to stop making crackling and spluttering noises.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

No-rice stuffed peppers

This recipe kind of grew and grew, because I started intending to use up 6 peppers...then realized I had 5, and so bought another 6-pack to make sure there were enough for seconds, too. On the one hand, I think I should have had a side dish, because the guests devoured the lot... on the other, they didn't appear terribly hungry after a small appetizer of devilled eggs and dessert of pie, so maybe it was fine.
 
And no, no rice. Not even cauliflower rice, because I wanted meat & veg peppers.

No-rice stuffed peppers

11 bell peppers - I used 5 green and 6 red/yellow/orange (Some folks don't like the taste of green)
3 Tbsp Olive oil or other fat, divided in 3 parts

1 handful sage leaves, diced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 to 2 tsp mesquite-smoked salt
1 to 2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste)

2 pounds hamburger
1 pound hot pork country sausage

2 cans tomato sauce (24 oz cans)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf

1 cup parmesan, grated or green can

This is a time-intensive recipe. If you choose to make it with lots of pots, it can take less time, but I didn't want to leave a complete mess in the kitchen - so I had to batch things.

First, cut off the tops of the bell peppers, and take out the pith on the ribs. Chop the pepper parts off the tops before tossing the seeds & pith. Dice the saved pepper tops, and put in a pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil to saute until soft. (I actually used bacon grease, because I have it on hand.)

Rub the outside of the pepper bottoms with olive oil, and place upside down on a tray. Put in the oven and broil on low 5 minutes or until the tops are starting to blacken. (This way you don't have to blanch the peppers, and you can smush the pointier bottoms down to be stable when filling with meat. Also, nice flavour.) Be careful when pulling the tray out, because there may be juice now sloshing in the tray. Don't get burned! If you're filling right after, helps to take tongs and turn the peppers on their side or flip them over so the steam can escape and they cool off.

Preheat your oven to 375 F

Back to the chopping board - chop up the herbs (or remove from their stems, then chop up), and the onions. Dump the peppers into a mixing bowl, add more oil to the pan, and add the spices first so they can bloom. Then add the herbs, and the onions. Saute until soft.

Dump about 3/4 of the mixture into the mixing bowl, reserving a quarter of the onion mix in the pan. Add in the cayenne and bay leaf, then the tomato sauce & balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine, reduce heat to simmer. Keep an ear on the sauce - when it starts to bubble, make sure to stir it so it doesn't splatter. We're not trying to reduce it, just mingle the flavour.

Add meat to mixing bowl. If your onion mixture is still quite hot, you may want to put on a pair of food safe latex gloves or similar, so you don't get any burns when mixing everything together by hand. Or, you could own a kitchenaid with that nice fancy paddle... or just use a spatula and a whole lot more arm muscle. Whatever makes you happy!

Arrange your now-cooled peppers in a casserole dish or two. Probably two; 11 is a lot of peppers. Fill with meat mixture. Turn off your sauce, and ladle over the top of each pepper. If any extra, just pour it over so it runs down into the base of the casserole dish / roasting pan / whatever you pressed into service. Sprinkle cheese over tops of peppers.

Cover with aluminium foil, bake covered for 45 minutes. Then uncover, and bake for another 20. The first traps all the juices to create a water bath and prevent the peppers from burning while cooking the dish, and the second reduces the juices in pan to sauce, as well as browning the tops and the cheese for tastiness.

Let cool 5 minutes, and serve with sauce... Or let your guests at them straight away, with the warning that it will be quite hot.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The pet-erpillars.

Diane said: "pics or it didn't happen." So, here's a pic of 'em, inside and safe from a nasty squall line.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

When do they become pets?

Last year, I got a dill plant - and fairly well lost it to swallowtail caterpillars. Apparently, they like fennel and dill. So this year, I was going to get bronze fennel and dill, and transplant caterpillars from one to the other.

Then life intervened, and by the time I got to the greenhouse, all the fennel was long gone. So I got dill... and a packet of bronze fennel seeds were ordered.

It wasn't fast enough; the fennel is just putting out its first pair of true leaves, and the dill plant already has three caterpillars, hatched and hiding from the birds while munching down the herb. On the other hand, I'm not using a lot of dill, so I shrugged and ignored their existence.

Yesterday, there were only two left (probably bird), and I looked at the truly nasty weather incoming, thought for a minute, and then brought the pot inside, so they'd be safe. And then took pictures and showed them off to a friend. ((They're getting big. And are pretty!)

...at what point are the darned things pets?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Learned Responses

I'm going to take a test tomorrow. It's not going to affect my job, or my life; it's something I'm doing for additional learning and just because I want to. (A bet with myself may have been involved.) I know the material. I'm not worried about that at all.

So why, when I called the testing center, scheduled and paid for it, did my heart start racing, my lungs get all tight, my hands get clammy, and my adrenaline spike?

...Darn it, body, it's been over fifteen years since tests controlled your grades, and those controlled your student loans! Besides, the degree? It turned out to be less useful in getting half the jobs you've held than your pilot's license! You can stop going "Aaaaaaaaaaauuuuugh! TEST! Auuugh!" any minute now.

...aaaannnny minute....

*sigh*