Friday, December 23, 2011

Spent Grain Crackers


Having mastered the Spent Grain Dog Treat, toyed with Spent Grain Granola (still need to perfect that one) and learned to incorporate the grains into Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, it was time to seek out yet again a way to use these lovely little leftovers from Mike's brewing adventures...and this time, we get crackers! Crackers that taste insanely like wheat thins!

I found a number of recipes but ended up using the one posted at Acute Cuisine

In a food processor pulse one cup of wet spent grain for 30 seconds or until finely chopped. Mix together with 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour, 1/2 cup Water, 2 Tbsp Sugar or Honey, 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil and 1/2 tsp. Salt.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and shiny, not sticky. Add water or flour as needed. Let rest at room temperature for at least 30minutes and as long as overnight.
Roll out dough to desired thickness (I go around 1/8 inch) and cut into crackers. Bake for 20-25m at 300 degrees until golden brown and crisp. Leave on cookie sheet to cool- crackers will continue to crisp up there.
If you want toppings on your crackers, you can egg-wash them before baking and top with sesame seeds, whole spent grain or other seeds. For toppings like salt, pepper, cinnamon sugar, spray the crackers with a quick shot of oil (Pam will work) right out of the oven and sprinkle.
Makes ~3dozen

We served ours with some Mild Cheddar and enjoyed opening Christmas gifts with the family!

Gingerbread Scones


With the in-laws coming to town on Christmas Eve and plans to wake up in a guest house near the airport on Christmas morning in a land where breakfast is just as pungent and savory as every other meal of the day, I decided it was an absolute must to have something delectable prepared to enjoy after opening stockings and making our way into Seoul.

So, on the night of the 23rd I got to work on a few 'Christmas' dishes: Eggnog and Spent Grain Crackers for when we made it back to our house, and these pefectly seasonal Gingerbread Scones.

From Gooseberry Patch Gingerbread Cookbook


Combine 2 cups Flour, 2 tsp. Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda, 1 tsp. Cinnamon, and 1 tsp. Ginger in a bowl. Cut in 7 Tbsp. Butter with a pastry blender of two knives until crumbly. Combine 1/3 cup Molasses and 1/3 cup Milk; add to flour mixture stirring until just moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4-5 times. Divide dough in half; shape each into a ball. Pat each ball into a 5-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut each circle into 6 wedges, do not separate. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Enjoy as a Christmas morning treat with family while exploring your stockings!

Eggnog 2012


Used the same recipe as last year.

Still not as thick as I expect...not sure why.

However, absolutely delicious!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eggsplosions and Spicy Black Bean Soup


Pinterest is the source for so much inspiration, it is unbelievable.  This latest 'pinspiration' can be tracked back to this website, and let's just say - my world may never be the same! You may know that we have a deep, deep love for fried eggs, match that up with some toast and a slice of cheese and even the worst of days get to end in a glorious fashion. If you've ever made a grilled cheese and if you've ever made a toad-in-a-hole, you can nail this sandwich.

Using a biscuit cutter or a glass remove a circles-worth of bread from each slice of bread that will soon become a sandwich. Grease a fry pan, throw in one or two slices of bread (depending on space) crack an egg into the hole and let set for a minute or two until bread is toasty and egg is cooked through on the bottom. Flip each slice of bread over, sprinkle or lay on some cheese, let the cook on the other side, but two breads together and you have a eggy, cheesey, amazingly AMAZING sandwich! Serve that up with a bowl of soup and you've got yourself the perfect meal to beat the winter blues.

As for my black bean soup I boiled about 2 cups of Chicken Stock from the freezer added a cup or two of water, roasted about 6 tomatos and an onion, threw them in a food processor with some garlic for a quick chop dumped that into the broth mixture added about 2 cups of black beans and some crisp bacon. Seasoned with salt, pepper, red chili powder, cumin, cilantro (from the freezer) and a roasted green chili mix I had also froze before the chiles could go bad.

(These freezer concepts revolve around a desire to extend shelf life of certain foods, I've posted about the cilantro before, I did the chiles in a similar fashion. Roasted in the oven, threw into the food processor with olive oil and garlic, pulsed and placed in ice cube trays. Now, if I want to add a punch to my dish, I just throw in one or two cubes of 'fresh roasted' chiles from my freezer!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy Tomato and Alfredo Baked Pasta

Extended Shelf Life for: Alfredo Sauce

The expiration date on this Alfredo Sauce had long since passed...fortunately, I have a long history with using 'expired' foods, so I wasn't phased, but was in a bit of hurry to use that jar up and have a satisfying meal.

This isn't rocket science. It doesn't even really belong on a food blog, but I have developed a habit of keeping track of what comes out of my kitchen, what my brain comes up with in those moments I don't want to cook or am too impatient to wait for a more proper and creative meal. This one of them - boil pasta, mix with sauce, toss in a tomato or two, throw in some basil if you have it on hand, a small bit of mozzarella mixed into the pasta dish is nice and of course, top the dish with some cheese before throwing into to oven for 30 minutes or so when it'll be nice and golden, crispy, cheesy and delicious!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Italian Pork and Potato Stew


The slow-cooker is absolutely wonderful. I can't imagine life without.


Throw into a crock pot - 3-4 cubed Potatoes (peeled if you prefer), 1 chopped Carrot, 1 chopped Onion, 2 diced Tomatoes, 5 minced Garlics, one or two cups of Shredded Pork, 1/2 cup Tomato Paste, and a combination of Cold Chaser Tea, Water and/or Broth to cover all fresh ingredients, turn on low and cook for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Season with salt, pepper, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning blend and enjoy with fresh bread and friends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup


I really wish I were better about posting recipes and such immediately...we're just going to add that goal to the News Years Resolution/30 Day Challenge what-not that I'm taking on for 2012.  Anyway, I was feeling quite sick throughout December and got hit with such an intense craving for Tomato Soup while I stayed at home with a high fever.  I didn't make it that day, because I felt shitty, but the craving hung on until I finally roasted some tomatoes (in the oven, about 30 minutes, helps to remove skins) and whipped up a pot of creamy tomato soup.

The problem that we have currently Pinterest refuses to work on my home computer and I'm not sure which recipe I loosely based this on, nor the details of the recipe.  What I do know is that it includes fresh roasted tomatoes, sauteed onion and garlic, broth or cold chaser tea, milk, salt, sugar, and pepper.  And it's easy. Not as easy as a can, but easy enough. Cook the roasted tomatoes up in the broth with onions and garlic, a touch of spices until warm and fragrant, blend it up in a blender or using an immersion blender then add milk till you reach your preferred consistency and level of creaminess - can also add a mix of cornstarch and water/milk to thicken it up a bit if you so desire. Serve with toasted baguette or a grilled cheese and you'll enjoy yourself the perfect pick-up for the winter blues and cold!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kimchi Jigae


Mike really loves Kimchi -- I can take it or leave it, often I choose to leave it.

But I do love when Kimchi is used IN things and is served hot - such as kimchi fried rice, kimchi dumplings and kimchi stew (aka-Kimchi Jigae).

We were recently gifted fresh and fermented kimchi...a lot of it.  So, fully aware that we won't live in Korea forever, but I will miss certain foods, I set out to finding the perfect kimchi jigae recipe and I definitely found one - the secret is in the 'sauce' pictured bottom right hand corner.

Ingredients/Directions (kind of rough as stew recipes generally imply I don't measure anything...):

In a large stockpot or dutch oven heat some oil and saute an onion or half an onion depending on your taste preferences etc. Once the onions are translucent, shove them to the edge of the pot and dump in about a cup of chopped fermendted kimchi (more or less depending on your preferences again) and heat through. 

Now, at this point you can add meat (or you could do that first, honestly, we don't use a lot of meat so I don't know how that process should go) but we've added any of the following veggies: mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, bean sprouts, fresh cabbage and/or baby bok choy. With carrots and potatoes they'll need some time to boil in a bit of the broth or water so that they are edible, so if that's part of your veggie repertoire, they go in first. Mushrooms can be sauted with the onions if you disire, cabbage and bean spouts can go in after kimchi and I've always thrown the baby bok choy in for the last minute or so of cooking. 

Once you've figured out the order of veggies add broth or water, perhaps 4 cups, but once again it's completely your preference.  Boil the stew for about 10 minutes or so while you prepare the special sauce. Sauce consists of Korean chili powder (I imagine most Asian markets would have this, or you could use an Asian chili powder as a substitute), Korean chili paste (go-juchang), Soy Sauce and Minced Garlic.  I've done 2 tsp Powder, 1 tsp. Chili Paste, 2 tsp Soy Sauce and 2-3 cloves garlic...but it's spicy so think about who's eating the dish and move forward from that point.

Stir in the sauce, throw in some tofu or baby bok choy if you wish. Serve alongside or over rice and enjoy a taste of Korea!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cranberry Coffee Cake


With Thanksgiving leftovers and weekend desires for sweet eats I opted to make a few substitutions and alterations to a recipe found in the Gooseberry Patch Pumpkin Cookbook. The recipe is for Pumpkin Coffee Cake and while I could have defrosted some pumpkin, I opted rather to use up leftover Craisin Cranberry Sauce and turned out a quite delectable Coffee Cake.


Blend together 1/2 cup Butter, 3/4 cup Sugar and 3 eggs until creamy; add 1 tsp. Vanilla.  Mix in 2 cups Flour, 1 tsp. Baking Powder and 1 tsp. Baking Soda. Add 1 cup Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt (I used plain yogurt), set batter aside.  Combine 1 1/2  cups Cranberry Sauce with 1 Egg and a dash of Cinnamon; set aside. Prepare streusel by combining 1 cup Brown Sugar, 1/3 cup Butter, 2 tsp. Cinnamon and 1 cup Sliced Almonds; set aside. Using one large, well-greased 9x13 baking dish (or 2 cake rounds) spoon in half (or one quarter) of the batter, top with half (or one quarter) of the streusel then all (or half) of the cranberry mixture followed by the remaining batter and steusel. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes to one hour (or less for the cake rounds) enjoy with your morning tea.
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