I always thought cranberries must be terrible …. that was until I had something other that the gelatinous stuff that comes in a can. You know, the stuff that gets sliced on the lines left by the can indentations and served with a fork. Now I love cranberries. Homemade cranberries are so easy to do. It takes about 10 minutes of cooking time and can be made with any of your favorite fruits to compliment its flavor.
1 bag fresh cranberries
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 – 2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
zest of one lemon and one orange
1/2 cup diced apple
1/2 cup pomegranate
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Cranberries will pop and everything will begin to meld together. Chill until ready to serve.
Just a quick post today for some wonderful shrimp and grits I made for dinner. A lady I used to work with showed me how to make some tasty shrimp and grits so I thought I would give it a try on my own. I really enjoyed my version and I think Charles did too ~ will definately be making this again soon.
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup quick cooking grits
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
3 strips bacon
2 diced jalapeno
1/4 cup diced onion
12 o.z. shrimp
2 cloves garlic ~ minced
1/2 cup crushed tomato
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Bring chicken stock to a boil in small sauce pan. Stir in grits and reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until mostly thickened. Stir in cheddar cheese and salt.
Meanwhile cook bacon until desired crispness. Set bacon aside to drain on paper towels and reserve bacon grease in skillet returning to heat; add jalapeno and onion to hot bacon grease and sauté for about 2 minutes .
Add shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked though. Stir in garlic; remove from heat and stir in crushed tomato. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
I’d picked up a little steak on sale the other day and needed to use it up. I decided to make some burritos with the leftover corn and black beans from a few days earlier and I had some extra cooked rice too. I like my beef medium to medium rare so adjust accordingly for the cut of meat used.
I haven’t mentioned them yet on this blog but we have chickens. They’ve recently begun laying eggs! We also have some ducks one of which has just started laying too. We’ve gotten several eggs; enough to keep Charles in breakfast on work days and a few to pass along to mom and dad.
The duck eggs so far are about the size of a large chicken egg; most of the chicken eggs are small or medium. They seem to vary from egg to egg a bit. You may notice in the picture below the 3 eggs; The duck egg is the larger yolk with the clear white. The chicken eggs have a light yellow tint to the white which you wouldn’t normally notice but with the duck egg in the bowl you can see the contrast. The darker yolk came from a lighter shelled dark egg.
Spinach Goat Cheese and Tomato Scrambled Eggs
3 Eggs scrambled
2 o.z. spinach
1 small tomato diced
2 o.z. goat cheese crumbled
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
In skillet cook spinach till wilted; set aside. Add a bit of oil or butter to empty skillet. Pour eggs into skillet and season; flip eggs over and break apart once eggs have begun to set up.
Once eggs are cooked return spinach to skillet with eggs and stir in diced tomato; sprinkle with goat cheese just before serving.
Just a quick post for the delicious cheesy shrimp and tortilla pie I made for dinner. I almost made enchiladas but I saw my pie pan and thought it would be a nice way to build dinner. I used 3 tortilla shells and made a homemade cheese sauce and salsa. I am sure if you have a favorite salsa or cheese sauce you can use those instead. I am also sure chicken or beef would be delicious but I wanted seafood tonight!
Cheesy Shrimp and Tortilla Pie
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
3 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 1/3 cups milk
4 o.z. sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
12 o.z. small shrimp peeled
1 Tbs crushed cumin seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup liquid from salsa
1 large tomato
1 finely diced jalapeno
1/2 small onion diced
1 Tbs cilantro
1/2 lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
For salsa mix together all ingredients and set aside.
To make cheese sauce melt butter in sauce pan. Add flour and stir cooking for one minute.
Add diced jalapeno
Cook over medium low for about 5 minutes stirring often.
Add milk and increase heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes or until beginning to heat through stirring occasionally. Increase heat stirring constantly until bubbly. Once thickened reduce heat begin stirring in cheese a little at a time until melted. Stir in about 1/2 cup of homemade fresh salsa.
For shrimp ~ Cook shrimp and all seasonings until shrimp is no longer pink; drain if needed.
To build pie place about 1/2 cup cheese sauce in bottom of oiled pie pan. Top with burrito size tortilla shell.
Layer 1/2 of the shrimp, 1/2 cup cheese sauce, and 1/2 of the salsa. Top with another shell.
Repeat layer leaving a little cheese sauce for top layer. Add one more shell and remaining cheese sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow to rest about 5 minutes before cutting into.
I see recipes all of the time for exotic grilled cheese sandwiches and they always sound and look so good but when it comes down to it I can’t resist the comfort of a Kraft singles on toasted white bread. It’s nothing fancy; but it brings out those warm and fuzzy feelings.
It can be made in a skillet or on a griddle. I have one of those awesome griddle / waffle / pancake makers from the 70’s …. it’s yellow and all mine! Mom always had a silver metal one but I found this on a yard sale a few years ago and I couldn’t resist. Once I opened it I was even more thrilled; I don’t know that it had ever been actually used!
I use it often for pancakes and I love it for grilled cheese. I’ve tried waffles once, but I usually go with pancakes ~ guess I need to work on a waffle recipe.
Anyway, back to the grilled cheese. I always lightly butter my bread. I don’t like to make it greasy on the outside with too much butter so I just use a little. I remember mom telling us as kids to use the tub of margarine because butter would burn; I know now that this is not true unless you overheat the surface to begin with so butter for me; always butter.
Two slices of Kraft singles every time.
Of course the bread will go on the griddle butter side down with cheese between the slices and butter on top of the top piece.
Time will vary. I use my griddle on a relatively hot setting; I try to not turn the dial so it’s the same temperature for pancakes too…. if using a skillet I would go for medium – medium high heat. 2 minutes usually does the first side then about 3 minutes for the other side. Just keep an eye on it. You can cook faster but the cheese won’t melt so a total of 5 – 6 minutes seems to get everything hot throughout.
Once both sides are toasted I like to flip back over to the first side for about 30 seconds. This makes sure the top is warm too and allows a few seconds for the bottom to cool and release any steam and stay crunchy.
I made some sweet potato chowder to take to my mother-in-law’s house today. She’s been under the weather and I thought soup might hit the spot. I debated between chicken noodle and sweet potato chowder but the chowder won out. I love this soup. A lady I used to work with made this quite a bit; it’s always a favorite at the restaurant. Our ham at work is baked in a sugary glaze so that makes it sweeter but any ham works great whether sweet or salty. Just go with flavors you love and it will turn out perfectly. If you like it spicy it is wonderful with a diced jalapeno added at the beginning to but I thought I’d go milder for today’s lunch.
Sweet Potato Chowder
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups diced sweet potato
1 cup diced potato
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste ~ I used about 1/2 tsp each but I also had homemade chicken stock so adjust accordingly
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs cool water
8 o.z. diced ham
1 cup heavy cream
Bring chicken stock to a boil and add potatoes, onion, and seasonings.
Simmer for about 15 minutes or until veggies are just tender; stir in ham.
Combine cornstarch and cool water and add to soup; over medium heat stir until thickened about 1 minute. Add cream and heat through.
I love vanilla beans. Probably one of my favorite discoveries. I remember trying straight vanilla extract as a kid and how wonderful it smelled yet tasted terrible.
A couple of years ago I got my first vanilla beans. They aren’t cheap, but neither is good vanilla.
There are a few things to know and to do with vanilla beans. For starters there is no waste. If using in a recipe you will procure the seeds but the remaining pod is full of flavor and likely still brimming with seeds so there is plenty to do with it.
As a general rule an inch of vanilla bean is equal to a teaspoon of vanilla. Of course as with any spice it will vary by quality. In bean form though you get a very good product to work with so use accordingly.
The easiest way to harvest the seeds is to cut to desired length and make a slit down the middle. Using a dull knife or spoon scrape the seeds from the bean and add to recipe.
Now what to do with the rest of the bean. I personally keep a jar of vodka with all of the bean remnants; I use that anytime I just need some simple vanilla extract for a recipe. You can though add the bean to some sugar for some vanilla infused sugar or simply toss into a potpourri mix. What ever you do; don’t thow it out! There is so much good flavor and smell left that you really should enjoy every last bit.