Leftover Ham and Turkey, Grape Dressing witha Cajun Twist

     Isn't it always the case that there are leftovers after any family gathering? At least, my family just can't seem to get the quantity right. Only so many kids or siblings will take food home with them. Then we must become creative with leftovers.
     The turkey we had yesterday was seasoned with a Cajun spiced butter mixture that was placed under the skin. I really got lazy and cooked it in the crock pot. I did baste it periodically. When it was done, I removed meat from bone, made a gravy of the drippings and put meat in the gravy to keep warm. Drippings had a bit of red wine added, and was thickened with cornstarch. I think I overcooked the turkey a bit, it seemed drier than I would have thought from a crock pot.
     We also had a ham - just a plain old grocery store ha seasoned with brown sugar and pineapple and warmed in a "turkey bag". A gravy was also made from these drippings. If you have never had ham gravy, it is a bit salty - too much so for my taste. Otherwise it would be great with ham flavor.
     Third star of the meal was a sweet potato casserole. Before you say "aghhhhh!", please read the following recipe. This casserole DOES NOT contain marshmallows. It actually tastes like pecan pie. While we use it as a vegetable, it would make a good desert because it tastes so much like pecan pie. Do try it!
                                                Mama's Sweet Potato Bake
3c cold mashed sweet potatoes (prepared without milk or butter - just the potatoes)
1c sugar
1/2c milk
1/4c butter or margerine, softened
3 eggs
1tsp salt
1tsp vanilla

1/2c packed brown sugar
1/2c chopped pecans
1/4c flour
2Tbsp cold butter or margerine

In mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a 2qt
greased baking dish. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Knife inserted will come out clean.
Serves 8-10.           Recipe can be doubled and put in a 9x13 pan.    Reheats well in a microwave.
Sorry I have no photos of preparation.

     Following is the dressing recipe I use. It is not for everyone, as it is a bit of a sweet/savory taste not to everyone's liking.
                                               Annie's Dressing

12 slices stale bread - I use plain old white bread, though a good bread like Pepperridge Farms would work.
torn in small pieces

1c celery, chopped fine
2 onions, chopped fine
1/3c butter or margarine, melted and celery and onions sauteed in it. Stir in the following spice mixture:
3/8tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp pepper
1/4tsp basil
1/4tsp thyme
1/4tsp sage
1/2tsp Cajun spice mix
1/4-1/2 tsp salt.
Add to bread pieces and stir well..

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4c red wine
1/2c chopped and toasted walnuts. Add to above and mix well.

Soak 1/4c raisins in 1/4c warmed red wine. Add to mixture.

Add 1/2c grapes cut into pieces.
Stir everything well. Put in 2qt greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

To reheat for leftovers, a bit of water or stock may be added.

     Tonight we added a BBQ sauce to some leftover turkey and had sandwiches and chips.
Tomorrow, the leftover corn, peas, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes will go into a Shephard's Pie.
( couldn't be simpler to throw together: Brown as much hamburger as you like, add whatever leftover vegetables there are - without sauces, season liberally with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, add 1 can cream of mushroom soup (thus the green bean casserole) and top with leftover mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes.
     The extra ham will go to sandwiches and a Ham and Noodle Casserole:
                       Cook 8oz wide egg noodles and drain.
                       Stir in: 1 medium sauteed onion, 1/2c sour cream, 2c cooked ham (warmed if leftovers), 1/2tsp caraway seeds, pepper and paprika to taste.   The original recipe called for 2eggs to be stirred in and then baked. I like it the way I mentioned, and it is way quicker to prepare.

How do you deal with all the leftovers?


turkey seasonings

     Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have lots to do - cleaning and cooking and wash. The boys will all be here, and my oldest son is bringing a friend from Ivory Coast, Africa along. It will be an interesting day, I'm sure. Of course the young man will be peppered with questions about his homeland. And I will have to ask about the food! Such an opportunity is not to be missed. I do hope he isn't allergic to cats!!!
     We will be having turkey, of course, and I am thinking of trying a different way of preparing it. I will season it (a turkey breast only) under the skin, brown it well in a cast iron pan, then finish cooking in a large crock pot. I have heard this will work, so I'm hoping... Seasoning ideas I have gathered include )Cajun : onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, and red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste.  ) something a bit more Mediterranean in taste, I guess, as the recipe is similar to the Cajun but uses less garlic and has a bit of toremary added  )for a taste of the islands: a turkey brined with brown sugar, salt, rum, liquid smoke, onion, ginger, thyme, chiles, allspice berries, whole cloves, whole nutmeg, pepper and then roasted,  )a supposedly Cuban marinade of garlic cloves, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, butter, sour orange juice- substitute lime juice) placed under skin and marinated 24 hours and then grilled  ) a smoked turkey seasoned with garlic salt, paprika, pepper and for the liquid added to the drip pan: chicken stock, vermouth, soy sauce.
This liquid with the collected turkey drippings are then thickened with cornstarch and Madeira. ) a cider glazed turkey roasted with apples onions and herbs. Glaze is unfiltered cider, sugar and butter. There is a gravy made with drippings, butter and wine.
     I am inclined to try the smoked turkey, nut I don't think I'll have time to watch it. It supposedly can be smoked in the house (!) if you own a pan that can  be "tented". Since it is going to be quite cold tomorrow, I don't think I want to experiment with anything that may necessitate opening windows to let stray smoke escape. And, I don't have the alcohols needed.  I think, then, that I will season my turkey with garlic, onion powder, chiles, salt, and apples. I will bake the turkey in the oven in a "turkey bag", but glaze it with the cider glaze under a higher heat to brown and crisp the skin and make a grave with the drippings. I'll let you know how it works.
    I would enjoy hearing how others have prepared their meals.

    Hope everyone has a very enjoyable day. And even if you must work, that your time off will include great times and great food.


Mexican Eats and Old Memories

     What a beautiful fall day with warm temps and lots of sun. Many neighbors were finishing raking leaves and some also were burning them. My town offers city wide leaf vacuuming so residents do not need to burn.
     I would offer a better solution - shred and compost them!I am a huge proponent of growing your own food. And the first rule: take care of the soil. The best way is to compost all yard and food waste and grow green manure and cover crops.There is lots of info out there on gardening for those who are interested. And, over the winter, as I start planting my seeds, I will be adding posts on gardening. I hope to show how and where our supermarket food could come from, if raised locally - say in our backyard. A few days ago I started some micro greens and had hoped to have pics to post by now of sprouted seeds. Unfortunately, the gray cat of title fame had other ideas. He chose to dig in the pots. Soo, after Thanksgiving I will replant.

Toulouse, aka gray cat in the garden. He really does think he owns the entire house. But, once again, the 5#, 17 year old  cat had him on the run  today.         Actually,  she had him cornered and on his back as she terrorized him.                                                                                                                                            

    Today was not a day for cooking. Instead my youngest son and I had lunch at out local Mexican restaurant. I tried their drink "Horchata", which they describe as ice water with rice and sugar. It was very   sweet and had a very different flavor. It really was not bad, though for me a little would go a long way.         
I think there was a new cook on duty today. I got their dish Polla Sinoala, a dish of grilled chicken with         zucchini,  red and green peppers with rice, beans and tortillas. It is a dish I have enjoyed for the flavor of the  meat and the vegetables were always just a bit beyond crisp-tender. Unfortunately, today it seemed the         chicken was not grilled with the usual flavors. It was not the golden color it always had been. It was more the  color, texture and flavor of unseasoned microwaved chicken. Unappealing visually and in taste. The peppers   were OK, but the zucchini were mushy and not to my taste at all. I should have sent it back, but a table of 10 had given their orders as we were getting our food - and that was just in our back area of the dining room. I just   did not want the delay. The beans and rice and peppers did a pretty good job of disguising the chicken. I simply did not eat the zucchini. I think it will be awhile before going back. But, I guess I really did                 the  restaurant management no good service by not telling them of the below average quality of the meal. If      too many people are dissatisfied, say nothing yet do not come back, they are unable to take action to correct the  problems and keep customers.                                                                                                              

     My son, the pilot, arrived home for the Thanksgiving Holidays this afternoon. When you don't get to see your kids very often it is easy to forget how tall they are. I am only 5'5". My 2 oldest sons are 6'4" and         6'41/2". They live away from here, so I do not stand next to them often any more. sigh. Yet they are              wonderful young men. My youngest is also wonderful, but only 5'11" and he lives in my town. I get to see him at least once a week. yeah!. They will all be here for Thanksgiving Day. While they are here, there will be      noise and laughing and teasing, and it will be great. While the pilot is home, there will be lots of his friends in 
and out.                                                                                                                                                       
       When the boys were little, this was the house where all the friends congregated. Often there would be 6 or 8 boys here. I did lots of baking then. I kept cookies and ice cream treats on hand always. Since our        basement has a large family room in it, that is where they spent their time. They often played "Golden Eye", or "Mario Kart", or any number of other nintendo games. They even took the legs off an old couch and put it up on concrete blocks so they could have stadium seating. That way, more kids could get a good view of the TV in less space! We still have the old games and gaming systems - maybe future grandkids will be interested in  the old toys of their parents! lol!     Thanks for the memories!                                                                                                                                                                                      


Making Homade Sausage

     My cousin called today to ask if I wanted to make any sausage this year. Last year was my first time to try this. It was great. My cousin was a meat cutter and has all the tools and the space at his place, plus he has a smoke house. I'd like to share this with you, for those who have never had this experience.
     First the meat is needed. My cousins hunt, so much of the sausage they make contains deer meat. I used beef and pork. My sausage is approximately 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork (50 # and 30# roughly) to which was added approximately 10 # fat. My meat was purchased from a local meat market, but family friends butcher their own beef and pork. I have never been present for butchering, not even when my Grandpa did, so I can't say much about that. I think they shot the animals, hung the animal from a stout branch and slit the throat to drain the blood. Blood was captured to make blood sausage, which I always refused to try as a kid. The animal was skinned and cut up. I remember my mom and aunts talking about having tongue, sweetbreads, brain, liver and head cheese. I don't remember these on my Grandmothers' table. and I would not have eaten them if they were. It used to be that the intestine was cleaned and sausage was stuffed in it. Now a natural casing is used and is edible.
    My cousin has a shed equipped with a cutting table, knives, water and stove, so that is where the action takes place. Meat is cut in to fairly small chunks with knives that are frequently sharpened. They cut through that meat so easily. My cousin checked for dullness, maybe 4 times before I finished cutting my meat - I now understand the term razor sharp and how chefs cut tomatoes so easily!
     Once meat is cut it's time to grind it into a fine hamburger-like consistency. The beef is ground separately, then ground a second time alternating beef, pork and fat. Then comes the seasoning and mixing. The spice mixture is a secret, even my cousin does not know it. His wifes' father "invented" the recipe and only he knew it until he passed the recipe on to one of his sons. It is now known to 2 people, one in my generation and one in the next. Only once have I tasted a summer sausage similar in taste, and curiously, it was from a butcher shop just 10 miles from my town!   So, spice mixture is sprinkled onto meat and mixed in really well. Ir is then checked for moisture. I was surprised how wet the meat is before stuffing. My cousin added probable 10 cups water to the meat mixture before he decided it was just right. It does work the arm muscles mixing that amount of meat. And I did it myself!
     The stuffing machine he uses is an antique! There are newer models available, but prefers the old one best.It was a 5 person job to stuff sausage. (There were 6 of us working that day, making sausage for 6 families. I had the least amount of meat by far! That's a lot of meat and work.)  One person loaded stuffer with meat mixture, one threaded casings on to nozzle through which meat exited, one wound stuffed sausage into a rope-like arrangement, one cut sausage into correct lengths, one hung sausage until my cousin took it to smokehouse.
     Meat was hung in smokehouse and smoked with hickory wood for 4 days. It was then hung in a cool shed, away from sun and animals for 3 weeks before I could bring it home. At my house, it was hung a further 2 weeks before it was dry enough to put in freezer. This is a cured sausage and the smoking further cures it, but we have always stored it in freezer.
     I have been calling this sausage, but mine was more like hot sticks. The sausage uses a different size casing that is much larger than the one I used. What I have is more the size of the round jerky sticks you see in stores.
     Needless to say, all of this is done in late fall so that the temperature is, hopefully, in the 40's. This weekend is one weekend of deer season, and probably in early December the next batch of sausage will be made.
     It used to be that several farm families from my mom' old stomping grounds used to get together for sausage making (and making hay and any other farm activity where many hands made light work). Now these families have "separated" and each is making sausage at their respective places. The last year it was a community affair, something like 2000# sausage was made in several different flavors, and several cows and hogs were butchered into steaks, etc.
     Still, at my cousins, we had 4 generations present. My mom and aunt, myself and my cousins, My cousins kids and grandkids. It was great seeing everyone working together and helping where and when needed. The 2 smallest ones present were just month old and slept through most of the "goings on". The next 2 had their own issues that day, as one cousin tried to shut the other in the smokehouse. Their grandpa had to keep a close eye on them! Good thing there was no wood smoking in there at the time.  And when we had the first batch of sausage done, we had lunch before starting the second batch. We worked until late afternoon. And, of course, then things had to be cleaned. But it's all part of it.
     I certainly do not know the nuances of sausage making. But I will try this again. Between myself and my cousins, we have quite a few recipes for different sausages. I think we will try several small batched of various recipes this year.
     One of the young women I work with and her family butcher their own meat. If you have never had farm raised beef or pork, I really recommend it. There is just something about knowing the farmer and how the animal was raised. And you know the meat is fresh-----as long as you trust the meat processor to return to you the same meat you brought in. Very important to get your own meat back - I know from experience that it does not always happen. But that's infrequent.
     Let me know your experiences with butchering or making your own sausage. I will post some recipes in a later post.


Finnish Cardamom Bread

     Tonight is not so cold as last night and it isn't raining, but I am very cold. I'm sitting here with 2 sweatshirts/hoodies on! So I am thinking I'll bake some bread. But not just any breads - I'm thinking of a Finnish cardamom bread. It's sweet, moist (if not baked too long) and perfect with a big glass of cold milk. I know, cold and drinking cold milk? But yesss! Milk goes good with everything, and I wouldn't dream of anything else with fresh bread. I love to bake in winter not only for the food, but to warm the kitchen and because the aromas are heavenly. Don't you agree? If you have a favorite bread recipe, please share it with us!

                                                  Finnish Cardamom Bread
I got this recipe from a friend whose family came from Finland. Her dad, who lives in the Northeast, built his own sauna from 12 different kinds of wood. While I haven't actually tried the sauna, I have seen it and it is very nice. A dressing room, sitting area and the sauna itself. It is some feet from their house, so in a cold, snowy winter there is a bracing walk to and from the moist heat of the sauna. Maybe they have a loaf of bread waiting for them when finished in the sauna room.

          1 pkg instant dry yeast
          1/4c warm water
          1c milk - scald and cool to lukewarm
          1/2c sugar
          1/2tsp salt
          1/2tsp ground cardamom
          2 eggs
          4-41/2c all-purpose or bread flour.
          1/4c melted butter

     Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs and about 1c flour. Beat until dough is smooth. Add another 1c flour and stir, then add the melted butter. Beat again until the dough has a glossy appearance. Add 2c flour and stir in until a stiff dough forms.  * While the directions are to knead bread at this point, I make mine in my mixer.*  Use paddle attachment and mix until dough is smooth and satiny.  Allow to rise in a warm place and in a  lightly greased bowl until doubled in bulk. Punch down and allow to rise a second time. This second rising will take approximately 1/2 the time of the first rising.
* Original recipe calls for bread to be divided into 3 sections and braided. I am too lazy to do this, so I bake it in a regular bread pan.*   Place dough in greased bread pan and allow to rise to slightly above top of pan.
Bake in a 400 degree oven about 25-30 minutes. WATCH bread carefully in a pan - top tend to brown and look done before bread really is done. This is a bread you DO NOT want to bake too long or it dries out very quickly. But if not baked long enough, bread is too doughy in the center. I test bottom pan with a finger dipped in water - listen to how water sizzles: if it just sizzles, bake about 5 minutes longer and check again. If it sort of pops and spits bread should be done.  I should say that it is easier to get right consistently if you make the braids.
     One more thing: original recipe calls for glazing bread with a beaten egg, then topping with 1/4c chopped almonds and 1/4c sugar. I do not like this version, so I do not add it. It does look nice on the braids, however. I understand this was made for special occasions, which means the braids would be the way to go. I just like it as a breakfast bread, so my version suites me fine.
Makes 1 5x9 loaf

This is a picture of my Pineapple Sage taken a few days ago - before the rain. I always have these growing because the are so pretty late into the fall. Until frost, actually. The rain (another 5 inches!-unbelievable) has made it look a bit ragged, but it still has color.

I need to get my groceries for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I have a turkey, my mom is making a ham and for my vegetarian son and his girlfriend I'll make some vegetarian "chicken" patties. With this will be mashed potatoes, a sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, and salad. Desert is to be pie, probably pumpkin and a spiced apple cake with ice cream. My oldest son and his wife may be bringing a new friend of theirs. I have not met him yet, but he is from Ivory Coast and is suffering terrible from the Illinois cold (the poor guy really doesn't know what central Illinois winters can be like). While we don't always get lots of snow, we do get rain and ice.. and snow. It can be in the 60's or it can be below zero. Anything goes!



Kim Chee, Cookies, Girl Scouts, sweet rolls and Alison Krauss

     At this moment I am listening to a DVD a co-worker burned for me of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, a special from several years ago. I'm not getting much writing done! Surprising how well their voices work together. I would not have expected it.

     Earlier this evening, my neighbors' son and grand-daughter brought by the Girl Scout cookies I ordered from them. My kids LOVE the thin mints - there are now 2 boxes per son  here (they'll last, maybe 2 days!!).

     Last evening I met my cousin and aunt and mom at a local restaurant called Red Apple. It is a family place and the food is OK. Best part is 24 hour breakfast. The scrambled eggs were creamy and hot, pancake tender. My cousin had a stuffed pork chop that was tender and stuffed with dressing. Served with a potato and THEIR choice of vegetable, no salad. I don't know if that was because it was a "special" or if they are cutting back to eliminate waste. I think they raised their prices as 2 eggs were $2.99. Eggs did not include toast, which I would not have wanted anyway, but I thought it strange that some sort of bread was not included.  Maybe it's the result of the economy?. Has anyone else noticed restaurants and diners cutting back? I don't eat out that often, so maybe I'm just out of touch.

     This weekend I am hoping to try my hand at making KimChee. I have several recipes, but I finally found one from a Korean grandmother that I will try. Should be interesting. I'll post recipe and pictures in a few days.

     Now I need to get my sweet rolls out of the oven. I cheated and used purchased frozen rolls for them. Butter, brown sugar and pecans go on bottom of pan, thawed rolls on top. Let rise till double in size and bake about 15-20 minutes. Turn out of pan and let topping run down rolls. While these are not as good as ho-made, they do in a pinch. Best eaten fresh and not re-heated.

     More later.


Berber, Injera and Ethiopian Food Recipes

     Does anyone out there like Ethiopian food? I like a number of things, a few of which I've listed on this post. I would love to share recipes with anyone else. For lunch today I made a spice lentil "stew" called Yemiser W'et,
a dish of lentils with sweet potatoes, and Injera ( a soft, spongy bread) The sweet potato dish was OK to good, the W'et was very good and the injera, well I've been making that for years with another dish called Doro W'et. I think the W'ets and injera just go hand in hand. I hope you like these dishes also.

                                                 Sweet Potatoes with Lentils  (Serves 2-3)

         1 large onion, diced
         3 cloves garlic, minced
         1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (or 1/2 dried ginger)
         1/4  large red bell pepper, diced
         1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
         1 tsp niter kebbeh (recipe follows)
         2 Tbsp lentils, rinsed
         11/2 tsp tomato paste
         1c water (may need a bit more)
         3/4 tsp Hungarian paprika ( smoked or hot paprika will give a different flavor)
         1/2 tsp ground coriander
         1/4 tsp allspice
         1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
         1/4 tsp ground fenugreek (try not to omit this. It can be difficult to find outside of an ethnic grocery)
         1/4 tsp ground ginger
         1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
         pepper to taste

Saute onion, garlic and ginger and sweet potato in niter kebbeh until onions are almost translucent.
Add bell peppers and saute a few minutes more.
Add water, lentils and tomato paste and bring to a boil.
Add spices and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender and all water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.  Correct seasoning. Serve.

                                              Niter Kebbeh (Spiced Butter)

          1lb butter
          1/4 c onion
          2 cloves garlic
          2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
          1/2 tsp tumeric
          4 cardamom seeds, cracked
          1 cinnamon stick
          2 cloves, whole
          1/8 tsp nutmeg
          1/4 tsp fenugreek
          1 tbsp fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried

In small saucepan, melt butter until bubbling and top is covered with foam.
Add all other ingredients, reduce heat and simmer 45-60 minutes. Yes, that's correct. This is basically a spiced clarified butter.  As it simmers, it will become transparent and the milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan.

At the end of cooking time, strain through a cheesecloth in to a heat resistant container. Spices and solids are discarded. Cover butter tightly and store in refrigerator up to 2 months.

                                          Yemiser W'et (Spicy Lentil Stew)   Serves 2-3

          1c brown lentils
          1c onion, diced
          3 cloves garlic, minced
          2T niter kebbeh
          1 tsp berber (recipe follows)
          1/2 tsp coriander
          1/2 tsp cumin
          1tsp Sweet paprika
          2c tomato, chopped
          1/2c tomato paste
          1c stock
          salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils until almost done (about 20minutes)
Add all spices and cook a few minutes. Becareful to stir often to prevent burning.
Stir in tomatoes and paste and stir 5 minutes.
Add stock and simmer. At end of cooking time, drain lentils and add to pot. Finish cooking - until lentils are tender and sauce is slightly thickened.
Correct seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve with Injera.

Note: the original serving suggestion was a side of cottage cheese. I did not like this and would not serve the cottage cheese with this W'et.

                                                     BerBere Spice
Combine all and toast gently in dry pan over low heat about 8 minutes.
          1tsp groung ginger
          1/2 tsp ground cardamom
          1/2 tsp ground coriander
          1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
          1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
          1/4 tsp ground cloves
          1/4 tsp cinnamon
          1/4 tsp allspice
          2 Tbsp salt
          11/4c cayenne (***I like things way milder here - I use 1Tbsp cayenne!!)
          1/2c paprika (I use Hungarian)
          1tsp black pepper ( I just add a dash - enough heat for me with cayenne)

                                        Injera Bread
Note: this is a simplified version of Injera I found long ago in an African Cookbook. It was promoted as tasting almost authentic. If I recall correctly, the real deal uses all Teff and ferments several days). I have cut the original recipe in half - and that usually makes 12 or more breads. This bread is soft, airy, spongy and is designed to scoop up food. If you think of a crepe, you'll have a pretty good idea of how to handle the breads.
          2c self rising flour
          1/2 c whole wheat flour
          1/8c Teff (if you can find it. Better grocery stores usually carry it)
          1/2 tsp baking soda
          1c club soda (will probably need more)

Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
Add club soda and stir well. Add enough to have a fairly thin batter without lumps.

Heat a non-stick skillet (I use a 7" pan). When hot, pour just over 1/8c batter into pan. Work quickly to be sure batter is spread evenly over surface of pan. This is very important to proper cooking. It batter is too thick, it will be too wet in areas - and that does not taste good!). Cook until moisture evaporates - holes will form on surface, edges will curl away from pan. BUT do not cook too long or bread will be crusty. DO NOT cook on other side - one side only, which is why batter needs to be a thin coating on pan. I find that on medium-medium low heat these cook in about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from pan and cover with a clean cloth. I find it best not to cool them on a plate, but on a towel so steam can escape and not make breads soggy.


Injera showing curling at edge of pan.

                 Right shows how Injera drapes over plate  

Injera with Yemiser W'et, side of Lentils with Sweet Potato and Cottage Cheese. I would recommend no cottage cheese.

Fruit for desert would be good.

Please let me know what you think of these recipes. Were the directions for making Injera clear enough?


Oh Oh! Ethiopian Recipes

     Just a quick post - it's my day off, and I seem to have run out of time as I'll be away for the evening.
     Rain and more rain today. Several inches so far. Water is standing in the yards and creeks are out of their banks. It is in the high 40's and is a penetrating damp cold. Glad for a warm house!
     Chili was very good for lunch today - really hit  the spot. Now I'm on to cooking for tomorrow, something for work lunch and supper. I found some old Ethiopian recipes that will be my project. recipes and photos to follow tomorrow.


chili and micro greans

     What a day at work! VERY slow until about 2:30, then everything broke loose. That's a hospital, though. ER, the floor, Behavioral Health unit, drug rehab - everything really jumped. The work keeps you hopping, but then the Doctors start calling and ask questions. It's great, unless one of the machines decides to go on the blink and throw a wrench into the works. I guess this afternoon makes up for yesterday afternoon and this morning. Ah yes.....
     And tomorrow is my day off, so..... I need to start some micro green pots. These are salad greens that I raise only to, perhaps 3 or 4 leaves before harvest. They are used to supplement purchased salad fixin's during the winter months. I can raise them in a room I have with east and south windows and doesn't require supplemental light unless there are several cloudy days.
     I will probably start 4 pots this time. They will be 12" diameter and about 6" deep. I use purchased potting soil. Seeds are scattered lightly over the surface and lightly covered with soil. Surface will be covered lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. My biggest challenge is temperature, as I keep my house very cool in winter. To counter this, I use greens that will germinate and grow at reduced temperatures. Included will be:
      Claytonia            Rouge d"Hiver, North Pole, Arctic King, Tango lettuces             Mache
      Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Kyona       Red Russian Kale         a  variety of Chicories    Beet greens    Swiss Chard
 Harvest will probably be 30-45 days.
     Does anyone else have any other greens that work well? I always prefer to raise things with a minimum of inputs and extra lighting. I am really interested in hearing experiences of others.

     This is a picture of a few greens still outside. It shows the size pot my micro greens will be seeded in. This pot will soon go under mini-hoop houses because the temps are dropping this week.

     And because the temperature is dropping, I think I will make a pot of chili. There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes for chili. But in our house there is only one, and that is the one my mom made for my parents' restaurant. That restaurant is now closed, but the chili remains! It is very simple, but still my favorite of all the recipes I have. I hope you like it also.

                                                     Moms' Chili
                           2# Hamburger - or sirloin ground
                           1 medium onion, finely chopped
                           2 cans chili beans
                           1/2 tsp garlic powder
                           2T chili powder, or to taste
                           Salt and pepper to taste
                           4 large cans tomato sauce

     Brown hamburger and drain off grease. Add onion and cook with stirring about 4 minutes. Add sauce and seasonings. Stir well. Bring nearly to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook about an hour.
Increase or decrease meat and beans as preferred.   Freezes well.    Serves 4-6


unlimited combo breakfast cereal

As so often happens at work, the talk yesterday turned to food. I don't know if that is because our lab is mostly women or because we just like to eat. I do know there are a lot of good recipes that are shared. This was my contribution. I eat this almost every day.
                                      Unlimited Combo Breakfast Cereal

Combine: 2c raw sunflower seeds
                2c raw pumpkin seeds
                1c raw pine nuts
                3/4c chopped nuts - your choice. I am currently using raw almonds and raw cashews.

To eat:      3T above mix
                 2T flax seeds
                 3T oat bran
                 1/4c Grape Nuts - could use All Bran
                 1/4c Kashi cereal of your choice. Could also use Ezekial cereal
                 Sweetener to taste - I use sugar or honey or agave nectar
                 May add any fresh or dried fruit

Serve Hot or Cold

Note - I have never tried to figure out the calorie count not fat content.

Another favorite anytime meal is
                                                 My Breakfast Omlet

Saute:  1/4c sliced mushrooms - your favorite kind
           1/4c red bell pepper
           1/4c shredded or sliced zuchinni
Set aside.

Saute in same pan: 1/2c spinach, chard leaves or black kale leaves. A bit more oil may be needed. Saute
          2-3 minutes. Add 2T water, cover pan and allow to steam 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare 2-3 eggs. Beat well to incorporate lots of air. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook eggs. Flip when well set on bottom. Add sauteed vegetables and  1 slice smoked mozzarella cheese.

Top with fresh basil or a few leaves of fresh oregano.

     I am fortunate to have a local farmer who raises chickens for eggs to sell. Farm fresh eggs come in all sizes, so when I buy a dozen eggs, there will be jumbo, large, medium, small and even pullet size. They come in shades of brown to almost white and blue.  And it is so nice to know who raises them and that they were just collected that morning. And my farmer has a chicken yard, so the birds are able to roam about. Yes - rooster is on site! In the evening the birds are kept in the hen house to keep them out of harms way - away from owls, foxes and etc.

     As I write this, I am reminded of my Grandparents farm. I loved to spend time there. Grandma had chickens, so I was able to help gather eggs. This was not always a welcomed chore as some chickens liked to peck as you reached under them to get the eggs. Most were OK, as I recall. Grandma also raised chicks and they were kept in a separate brooder house. It was a low ceiling building shaped like a quonset hut. The brooder was kept quite warm for the chicks and was incredibly noisy from all the cheeping. But the chicks were sooo cute.  And the owls and foxes mentioned above? I remember a hawk getting a chicken once and hearing stories of Grandpa rushing out to the hen house, shotgun in hand when a ruckus was raised because of a fox in the hen house. Needless to say, an inspection of the house was needed to find out where the fox got in.

Anyone else have experience with raising chickens? My town does not allow fowl raising in town, though I wish they would.


Not bad for November

Harvested 11-13-09!    6 varieties of peppers, raddichio, sword leaf lettuce, Red Bull beet greens and 2 varieties of tomato.

 Sorry for the poor picture quality.  This was taken 11-13-09 also.


Fresh Peppers, tomatoes and basil, oh my!

     What a beautiful day these past few days have been! Sunny, warm and NO rain are very welcome after October brought 12+ inches of rain. My yard has not yet experienced a frost this fall, though outside of town they've been hit.
     Peppers are still ripening in the garden and I picked the last 8 tomatoes yesterday. While they don't taste like summer tomatoes, they were still juicy and were a nice addition to our meal. I still have 4 cherry tomatoes and some fresh basil to use up and  I think they will be served on a slice of crusty french bread smeared with roasted garlic and topped with fresh mozzarella. This has become one of my favorite meals of summer since I first came across the suggestion for it years ago.
     Tomorrow,  I think I will pick most of my fresh sage and oregano for drying. I have learned that the fresh herbs taste very little like their dried counterparts. They add a - well, a freshness - that store-bought dried herbs are missing. 
     I must also get my mini-hoop house up to cover my lettuce, chard, kale and beets. Hopefully we won't get a hard freeze anytime soon . I always like to see how late into fall I can harvest fresh greens. My carrots are too small to harvest, but will overwinter and I can dig them next spring. They will be kept under mulch and have done well for me in the past.
     I'll try to get some pics of garden posted tomorrow eve - I must work a long shift tomorrow, so we'll see.