Archive for misc

Pate de Fruit

This recipe isn’t perfected, and I can’t find anybody who seems to have perfected it. I’m still working on it, but since the issue is one of consistency and not taste (oh, definitely not taste), I wanted to go ahead and share it with you. If you’re feeling up to a challenge, maybe you can work on this one.

Apple Pate de Fruit

She had an issue with it never really congealing properly, and I had the same issue. I decided to make mine into more of a fruit leather or fruit roll up than a chunky candy, hoping that the thinner layer of fruit would dry out better.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I did cook it on the stove for longer than the hour, determined to make it “mound,” and I eventually got close.

Then I spread it out on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment and cooked it on “warm” for an hour and a half. My oven doesn’t go to 150, so I figured “warm” was close enough.

It was still pretty mushy on bottom, so I actually turned the oven off and left it in there over night.

This morning the top is perfect, but the bottom is still a bit mushy. But it tastes SO good. Really like the best fruit roll up ever.

I think that if I’d had more time last night that I could’ve made it better by just letting it cook longer, thus letting it dry out more. Or maybe even flipping it over once the top got nice and dry.

I cut some extra sharp aged cheddar into chunks and cut out equal-sized pieces of the pate de fruit (if it can even be called that any more). Cheddar and apple? Always a winning combination.

I’m going to attempt this again soon, and will update you if I manage to get it to actually be the right consistency.

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Chicken broth

I came to the conclusion recently that I wanted to make homemade chicken broth. It seemed daunting. A lot of food blogs have tackled this and they all have some “secret” that makes it the best broth on earth, and to try to cook broth any other way is going to taste terrible.

My only secret is that the crock pot is your friend.

This is definitely not an exact recipe sort of thing. You need chicken, veggies, spices/herbs, and water. That’s all.

Start with a whole roasted chicken. You can roast one yourself, but I cheated and used one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store.

Pull all the usable meat off the bones. I’m not a big dark meat fan, so I left some of that on the bone.

Put the chicken meat in a container and refrigerate for some other purpose (such as chicken soup!)

Place the chicken bones in the crock pot. Make sure to include the fat and skin and whatnot. You want it all.

Cut up a half bunch of celery (I discarded the leaves), a few carrots, an onion, and any other random veggies you want. I used a bell pepper, too. Throw them in crock pot.

Since it’s the end of the growing season for herbs, I went out and picked what was left of my various herbs. I think I had a few kinds of basil and some pineapple sage. I took them in and washed them thoroughly, and tossed them in the crock pot, too.

Then fill the crock pot to about 1/2 inch from the top with water (I used filtered water).

Turn the crock pot on low (if your chicken was cold, you might want to turn the crock pot on high for a few hours, if you can, just to get it up to safe meat temperature quickly).

I let the broth cook for at least 18 hours.

When I felt like it was done, I turned off the crock pot and let the broth sit for a while so it wasn’t too hot to handle. Then I used a big slotted spoon and took out the largest pieces of chicken/veggies. You’ll want to throw this stuff out, because it’s not going to be good for anything else. Then I strained it all through my big colander, and finally through my mesh sieve.

Then I put it back in the rinsed out crock pot and put the insert in the fridge until the next day (or just a few hours, is probably fine).

After it was completely chilled I just used my mesh sieve to skim off the fat from the top (or use a ladle and ladle the broth through the sieve).

And there I had it. Broth! You can add spices and salt/pepper now, or you can wait and add it depending on what recipe you’re using your broth for.

Separate the broth into freezer bags and freeze them flat.

Mmmmmmm.

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Welsh Rarebit

Growing up we used to buy Welsh Rarebit frequently. We bought the kind from the freezer section, and it was really good. But when I saw Pioneer Woman post a recipe for it the other day, I knew I had to try it. The freezer stuff is bound to be full of all sorts of gross stuff, and probably loaded with sodium. This was so easy to make, and probably cost about the same as the freezer stuff.

Pioneer Woman’s Welsh Rarebit

I used a pecan ale, and I don’t know if it was the type of beer or the amount, but I found it to be a little too beer-y. There was also a touch too much cayenne for me. Next time I’d cut back just slightly on those ingredients. But it was VERY yummy, either way.

Sorry about only posting links to other blogs, but hey, at least I’m doing the dirty work for you. I’m just glad I’m feeling up to cooking a bit.

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Biscuits

Yesterday morning I woke up and went to pop open the can of biscuits from the fridge. Only problem? There was no can of biscuits on the fridge. I swear I thought there was. So I googled and searched around for a quick one bowl biscuit recipe. These certainly aren’t the best biscuits ever, but they were definitely acceptable, and VERY easy.

Easy drop biscuits.

The only thing that I changed was that I incorporated half the butter into the dry ingredients while it was still cold, and worked it until I had pea size chunks. THEN I added the other half of the butter melted.

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Berry sauce

This is so easy. I’ve used it on a couple of recipes recently, so I thought I’d include a quick seperate recipe for it. Great on cupcakes and popovers so far. But I bet it would be good on ice cream and all sorts of other things.

I’ve tried blueberry and raspberry so far. Let me know if you try any others.

Berry Sauce

11 ounces berries, mashed up
1/2 cup sugar (a little more for really tart berries, a little less for really sweet berries)

Heat on low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until syrupy. Then strain through mesh strainer to catch skins and seeds. You may have to press it through some.

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Garlic Scapes

garlic scapes

This isn’t a recipe. This is me jumping on the garlic scape bandwagon. My guess would be that the current infatuation with them started with Dorie. Most infatuations in the food bloggersphere seem to start with Dorie. She posted a recipe for garlic scape pesto, and soon everyone was going to the farmer’s market in search of them.

I was no exception. Char and I went to the North Hills farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, and I had hopes of finding garlic scapes. But I didn’t really think I would. Their season at the market is so short, and since they were currently showing up in markets all around New England, I figured I was too late for them in North Carolina. But at the first booth we came to, I saw a woman holding a curious green onion looking thing, and I said, “What are those?” “Garlic scapes” she replied, looking like she was about to explain what in the heck they were. I stopped her, “that’s just what I came here for!!!” She said they were the last two bunches of the season, and that there would be no more until next year. They were also the only two bunches I saw at the whole market (to be fair, it’s a small market).

Anyhow, garlic scapes are just the stem of a certain type of garlic. They have a very concentrated garlic flavor, and raw they have quite a bit of a bite to them. Since the ones I got were so late in the season they were tough, and definitely needed to be cooked. From what I’ve heard, the earlier ones are more tender and are great raw.

Here are a few more garlic scape posts from the past few weeks.

Not Without Salt’s garlic scape post

Foodie Reflections did garlic scape pesto on gnocchi

Amateur Gourmet did a post about them

Since I could only come up with two bunches of garlic scapes, I didn’t really think I had enough for pesto. So I added one bunch to the regular basil pesto I was making, and another bunch I diced up and threw in a pot of boiling water with some green beans.

I know it’s a bit cruel to tell you about these now that I possibly got the last garlic scapes for the year in the whole wide world. But… next year, right?

garlic scapes

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Cranberry Chutney

I just realized that I have posted two recipes that call for homemade cranberry chutney, but that I hadn’t actually posted my cranberry chutney recipe (or, if I have, I can’t find it!)!

I thought I had a picture of it, but I can’t find one on my flickr. I’ll look at my computer when I get home and try to find one.

This stuff is amazing on turkey and cheese (especially Brie) sandwiches.

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tsp powdered ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 small orange, peeled,diced
1-2 inch orange rind, finely diced
1/2-1 lemons, juice only

Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a large pot.

Simmer for about 20 minutes or until there are only several tablespoons of liquid left (this doesn’t have to be exact).

Add cranberry sauce and salt and mix and bring to a simmer.

Add nuts, orange, peel and lemon juice. Simmer slowly for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until you get a nice spreadable jam-like consistancy.

If you aren’t going to eat it all in the next few days, store in an airtight container in the freezer. It won’t freeze solid, so you can just pull it out when you want it without having to thaw.

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