Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A new toy for my kitchen!

Boy, it's been a really long time since I've been here, but I wanted to stop by and tell you about my new favorite kitchen toy that my eldest DD got me on Black Friday!  It's an Instant Pot, which is an electric pressure cooker that also has additional features that allow you to steam, keep warm and slow cook.  Some versions of this pot also make yogurt, and many, many people tout it's greatness for making cheesecake---but that is another post entirely, lol!I haven't gotten rid of my crock pot yet, but it's a distinct possibility!

In the past I've used a stove top pressure cooker for several things:  tough meats like stew meat, beans, making broth, etc.  I had found a recipe for Risotto in the pressure cooker and tried it, but burner control on my old stove was not up for the job, and it scorched horribly.  I thought I was doomed to spend the 45 minutes or so it takes to make risotto at the stove stirring, and stirring, and stirring.....well, you get the picture :)  But then this little bad boy came along and I am in risotto HEAVEN!!!   So I'm sharing with you today--try it out and tell me what you think!

You're welcome :D

Instant Pot Risotto

Serves 4

1 cup Arborio rice
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup white wine
1 cup mushrooms, sliced and sauteed *
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas*(I've also substituted fresh asparagus)
1/4 -1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

* I cooked the sliced mushrooms in a skillet with 1 Tablespoon of butter, until golden, then added the peas to heat through.  I deglazed the pan with 1/8 cup of white wine, allowed to cook down and set aside.  This can also be cooked in the Instant Pot using the saute feature. In this version, the butter and wine are in ADDITION to what is called for in the recipe. 

Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in the Instant Pot using the saute function.  Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Place the rice in the pot with the onions and continue stirring until the rice becomes translucent and the edges begin to toast.  
Deglaze the pan with white wine and add the salt and broth.  Stir to combine.  Lock the Instant Pot lid and push the RICE button, making sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position. When finished, do a quick release by setting the valve to vent.  Add the mushrooms and peas, remaining butter, Parmesan, and a splash of broth, stirring to finish.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wine & Food Pairing

Happy National Drink Wine Day!  This is such a great chart, I just had to share!  While MY preferences run to the right side (and the really big reds!), I have some trouble pairing with foods that need a lighter touch.   Off to figure out what might pair with tonight's tilapia!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Best Bacon Ever!

This morning I noticed that I had a package of kind of inexpensive bacon leftover from making those wonderful bacon-wrapped, cream cheese filled jalepenos I found on Pinterest.  Not being the wasteful sort, I recalled seeing on Pinterest a method of cooking bacon in the oven that I had been meaning to try.  Me being me, I couldn't resist tinkering a bit and making the recipe my own.  The result is so amazingly good, you will wonder why you ever made bacon any other way!  This will definitely be on the menu for large family gatherings, brunch, and Christmas morning!

Best Bacon Ever

1 package of bacon--inexpensive kind is OK
Brown sugar
Coarse black pepper

Line baking pans with aluminum foil to make clean up easier.  Place bacon on foil --be careful to not overlap.   Sprinkle with brown sugar and coarsely ground pepper.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Enjoy!   :D

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hot Pickled Carrots

You know those hot crunchy pickled carrots that they serve in some of the more authentic Mexican restaurants?  Yep, you know what I'm talking about!  The husband brought home a bag of assorted hot peppers last week that a friend had given him.  Just a few I would have grilled, filled with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon (that's another post, my friends), or made into jalepeno jelly, but there were more than I could use, even if I made BOTH of those tasty concoctions.  So I did a little research and came up with the idea to make hot pickled carrots.  I've been toying with the idea for some time, and now I had one of the crucial ingredients. I couldn't come up with a recipe that called for fresh jalepenos, so I used a couple I had found as starting points and charged ahead.  I opened a jar after 4 days, they are wonderful, but hardly spicy at all.  My research told me to remove the seeds and membranes to keep the heat down, but I'm not sure I would do that again.  We like them HOT!!!  Also, I believe that the heat will increase as they age in the jar, but I JUST COULDN'T STAND IT, and had to crack open a jar this morning.  Time will tell.  Here's the recipe--enjoy!!!

Hot Pickled Carrots

5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into uniform pieces, about 1/4' thick (make the skinny end pieces bigger so that they all cook evenly)
Jalepenos--lots and lots of jalepenos (I think I had about 50-60--including some that had matured to a red color and some that appeared to be habeneros)
2 large sweet onions
12 large cloves of garlic
4 t. dill seed (hard to find--Fred Meyers has it in the bulk spices)
8 cups cider vinegar
8 cups water
2/3 cup canning or Kosher salt

Prepare the vegetables, combining peppers and onions in one bowl.  Layer pepper/onion mix, carrots and another layer of the pepper/onion mix tightly into pint jars.  Add one garlic clove to each jar.
In a large pot, combine vinegar, water, salt and dill seed.  Bring just to a boil, then ladle hot liquid over vegetables, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Slide a table knife down the sides of jars to remove any air bubbles.  Wipe rims of jars and place sterilized lids on each.  Secure with jar rings.  Place in water bath and process for 20 minutes.  Yields 12 pints.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The recipe....finally!

Tamales are labor intensive. Save yourself some grief and make at least the pork ahead of time. It cooks easily in the crock pot, then you can shred it and freeze it in large zip-loc until you're ready to use it.

Pork Filling

4 pound pork loin-I buy a large one at Costco and slice the rest into chops & freeze
Small can of chopped green chiles
1 t. Ground coriander
1 t. Ground cumin
1 medium sweet onin, coarsley chopped

Cook on low in crockpot for 6-8 hours. Reserve liquid for chile sauce.

Chile Sauce

You can make this ahead of time, too. I don't know how it freezes, but it should keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

3 oz. bag dried New Mexico chiles-at my store, these are called California chile pods-El Guapo brand (buy & add 4-5 Arbol chile pods if you want a little heat)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 t. Coriander
1/2 t. Cumin
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 cup reserved liquid from pork
With gloves on, remove stem ends from chiles and shake as many seeds out as possible. If a lot of seeds remain, break chiles in half and shake out the rest of the seeds. You can rinse under cold water to remove any remaining seeds, but I don't think it' necessary.

Toast the chiles in a large, dry skillet, about 45-60 seconds, just until aroma is released. DO NOT burn them! Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for about 8 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

In the meantime, place the garlic, spices and reserved liquid in blender, drain the liquid, reserving 1/2 cup. Add the liquid and chiles to the blender. Process until smooth.

The day you are putting them together, soak full package of corn husks for at least an hour. Drain.

Masa Dough

2 lbs corn masa
3 T. Smoky paprika
3 T. Salt
3 T. Cumin seeds-buy these in the Mexican section in the little bags, it's much cheaper
3 T. Chile powder- we used 2 regular & 1 chipotle
2 cups vegetable oil
8 cups chicken broth (2 boxes)

Blend dry ingredients together in a LARGE bowl. Add oil and blend with a wooden spoon until oil has moistened all dry ingredients. Using mixer, blend in broth, about 2 cups at a time until dough is the consistency of thick peanut butter. Most likely you will use all the broth.


Mix chile sauce with meat, adding reserved liquid or water if necessary. Sauce should just coat the meat, but not runny.

Set up your assembly. Corn husks, masa dough, meat mixture, steamer basket.

The corn husks are shaped like triangles. Place about 1/4 cup masa on one side of the wide part of the husk and spread evenly. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle of the masa. Roll the husk up lengthwise, ending on the side that has no masa. Then fold the top down. You can tear off thin strips of the husk and tie the ends if you want. Place the tamales in the steamer, open side up. Fill the steamer a little loosely--the masa will expand. Steam for about 2 hours. The masa will be fairly firm to touch when done--take one out and let it sit for a bit before you check it. Be careful not to run the steamer out of water!

*note: one of the most difficult parts of the tamale making process was finding the right kind of steamer. You will need one that allows you to stand the tamales upright in the basket to steam.

Gringa Tamales

I've been putting off posting my tamale recipe because it is complicated and I want to make sure I get it right. In November 2010, we visited the Mayan Riviera in Mexico with our good friends Debbie, Butch, Sandi & Mike. Of course, we ate a ton of really good food. When Christmas rolled around, we decided to try to make tamales for our Christmas dinner. I had been thinking about trying to make them and collecting various recipes for quite some time, so I gathered the recipes and set about combining them into a tasty, but easy version. That first year, they were well received, so last Christmas we decided to make them again. This time, of course, we had the basics down pat and tweaked the recipe a bit. Today, Deb and I are making them again, joined by our good friend DeNise. DeNise has been bugging us to make them and her BUSY schedule is finally allowing us all a day in the kitchen. Deb cooked the pork ahead of time and shredded it, so this morning we made the chile sauce and the masa dough. We're now just waiting for DeNise to show up with the makings for ceviche (YUM!!!).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Northwest Cabbage Slaw

This is my go-to recipe to take when invited to a BBQ or potluck.  It's asked for frequently, and with good reason!  DeNise asked me to share the recipe yesterday, so I've done my best to write it down.  This recipe has evolved, kind of from a recipe I used to make that started with raw ramen noodles and cabbage.  One night I decided to make cole slaw to go with something BBQ'd, but there was one little problem....I despise mayonaise!  So I decided to use an oil & vinegar dressing similar to the one I sued on the ramen salad and it got good reviews.  This recipe evolved from those initial attempts.  If you keep the ingredients on hand, this salad goes together really fast, especially if you buy the pre-shredded cabbage and toasted almonds. 

1 small head of cabbage, shredded (OR 1 bag of shredded cabbage, NOT the angel hair variety)

1 bunch of green onions, cleaned and sliced finely

½-1 whole bunch of cilantro, or to taste, chopped finely

¼ -1/2 cup craisins, chopped

¼-1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 jalepeno, chopped finely

Prepare vegetables and add to large bowl.  Toast almonds in a dry pan on stovetop (or buy them already toasted).  While the almonds cool, chop and add the craisins to the salad mixture.  Add the almonds when they are fully cooled.  Mix well.


3 T rice vinegar

1 T good light olive oil or grapeseed oil

Salt & pepper

¼ t cumin

¼ t coriander

1 t. sugar

Whisk until sugar is dissolved and pour over salad.  Mix well.