"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Link to King Arthur Flour Recipe

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour*
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/3 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
*See "tips," below.

3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese or the cheese of your choice
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or your own oven-roasted tomatoes
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, green or purple

To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a bowl (or the bucket of your bread machine), and mix and knead — by hand, using a mixer, or in your bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a smooth, very soft dough. The dough should stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl if you're using a stand mixer.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it's doubled in size.
Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the tomatoes, patting them dry. Use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller bits.
Gently deflate the dough. Flatten and pat it into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Spread with the cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Using kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.
Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8;" pinch the ends together to seal.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Damn Delicious Duck

This was a first for us, a new adventure in grilling.. A Damn Duck!
We pretty much followed the recipe below.  Due to the weather the duck sat for 48 hours in the brine.  Be sure to lightly rinse the duck before grilling, otherwise it may be too salty.  We also added hickory smoke for the last hour.  Like I said...Damn Delicious!

Rotisserie Duck with Honey Glaze and Drip Pan New Potatoes
Rotisserie duck, glazed with honey and lime, and served with potatoes cooked in the duck drippings.

Author: Mike Vrobel
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 2-4
Category: Rotisserie
Cuisine: American

6-pound duck
1 1/2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
A few thyme and rosemary sprigs, for stuffing the bird

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Juice of 1 lime (rind saved to stuff the bird)
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
A few thyme and rosemary sprigs, tied together to make a brush

Dry Brine the Duck: Slash the skin and fat all over the duck in a one inch diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Season the duck with the salt and pepper, inside and out. Rub the salt into the slashes in the skin. Put the duck on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet. Store in the refrigerator, uncovered, at least overnight, or up to 48 hours before cooking. This lets the skin dry, and gives the salt time to dry brine the duck.
Stuff, truss, and skewer the duck: Remove the duck from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking to let it come to room temperature. Juice the lime and reserve the lime juice for the glaze, then put the lime halves and a handful of thyme and rosemary inside the duck cavity. Fold the wingtips back underneath the wings, then truss the duck. Skewer the duck on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks.

Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at medium-high heat (400°F). For my Weber Summit, I remove the grill grates, turn the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turn the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. After preheating, I turn the lit burners down to medium-high.
Prep the potatoes: While the grill is pre-heating, halve the new potatoes, toss with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, put them in a microwave safe bowl, and seal the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to par-cook, and reserve for later

Prep the glaze: Put the reserved lime juice, honey, minced thyme, and rosemary in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until the honey and lime juice are evenly mixed.
Cook the duck and the potatoes: Put the spit on the grill, and cook the duck with the lid closed. After 45 minutes, pour the potatoes into the drip pan underneath the duck, and turn off the infrared rotisserie burner if the duck is browning well. The duck is fully cooked when the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 180°F; total cooking time is about an hour and a half. Once the duck is cooked through, brush it with an even layer of the glaze using the herb brush. Close the lid and cook for five more minutes to thicken the glaze, then brush the duck with another layer of glaze and remove from the grill.

Finish the duck and potatoes: Remove the duck from the spit, and transfer to a platter. Be careful – the spit is blazing hot. Remove the twine from the duck, then brush the duck once more with the glaze. Remove the potatoes from the drip pan with a slotted spoon, then taste and sprinkle with a little more salt if necessary. Let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Serves: 16 shells
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese
16 jumbo pasta shells
1½ cups salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese
For toppings:
3 green onions
Sour cream
Get Ingredients
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a pan brown the ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Stir together and mix well. Set aside and cool completely.
While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board or baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.
Pour salsa on bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Evenly cover shells with taco sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes with the foil removed. Top with green onions or olives if desired. Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.
Notes:  I rinsed off a can of black beans,, added to the salsa and coated the bottom of the baking dish.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mexican Goulash

You can make the recipe as hot or mild as your taste buds require by the taco sauces you use.

1 pound cubed chicken (you can also use ground meat..chicken, beef or pork)
1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup diced green pepper (any color will work)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, veined and diced
3 tablespoons butter or oil
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy pan, add peppers and onion sautee until they start to color and soften.   Remove from pan, add remaining butter and sautee chicken until it starts to get some color.  Add peppers and onion back to pan and sprinkle with chili powder.  Cook until chili starts to release its flavor.  You'll be able to smell it.

Add the following to the meat mixture:

1 ea.  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes w/juice
1 ea.  14 oz, can black beans rinsed and drained
1 ea.  16 oz. jar taco sauce (you can also use 1 pkg, taco seasoning + 1- 15 oz can of tomato sauce)
1 cup frozen or canned corn drained
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
As mixture absorbs the juices add either chicken or beef broth to keep it from drying out too much.  I ended up using about 1-1/2 cups.

Bring mixture to a boil and give it a stir once in a while.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until macaroni is tender. 

Optional:  I added 3 oz. of cream cheese and about 3 oz of grated pepper jack cheese.  Turn off heat and let the cheeses melt stirring.

Eat and enjoy.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pumpkin Cream Pudding by Valerie

We give this recipe a 5 star rating, Valerie's Recipe

After making at least a million baked custard pumpkin pies for the holiday season...NO MORE.  We are huge fans of Vanilla Cream, Banana Cream and Chocolate Cream Pies..  We are going to add Pumpkin Cream to the list.  
I used home made pumpkin puree for this recipe so the colors aren't as bright and what comes out of the can.  I am also using Valerie's Directions, though I feel that they make the process sound WAY too complicated. It comes together quickly, just remember that it's very important to keep stirring the mixture as it heats up, mixture will burn easily on the bottom of the pan if you don't.  There is a stage of thickening where the mixture will look lumpy, hang in there it will smooth out.

4 cups whole milk
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie mix), about 1 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 12 ginger snap cookies
In a medium saucepan, combine three cups of the milk, the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. Whisk to combine and then set over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and the remaining 1 cup milk.
Whisk half of the hot milk-pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture until smooth, then gradually whisk the egg-milk-pumpkin mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to cook, now over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
To assemble, layer the cookies and pudding mixture in a serving dish or parfait glasses. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).
Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli

Friday, September 9, 2016

Homemade Velveeta Cheese

I have to confess, one of the reasons this recipe went to the top of the "try" list is I have a new "toy" in my kitchen.  I used the food processor attachment to shred the cheese and the blender to do the mixing.  The power this machine has is amazing.  I have been using a 20+ year old food processor....NO MORE!

It shredded a 16 ounce block of sharp cheddar in a matter of seconds.

This recipe is harder to handle, as it cools very fast...I used a cup of hot water that was still at a rolling boil....  The blender handled the mixing process of the shredded cheese very well..and fast.

Brown Eyed Baker and King Arthur Flour Kitchens have had this recipe on their blogs for a while....I just had to try it.  This version there is a lot less salt, and it will only be as good as the cheese you use.

yield: About 22 ounces
prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 10 minutes

¼-ounce packet unflavored gelatin
6 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 cup boiling water
16 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap, covering all sides and leaving excess to hang over the sides.

2. Place the unflavored gelatin and dry milk powder in a blender or food processor (I used my blender). Pour the boiling water over top and immediately pulse to combine. Add the cheddar cheese and puree the mixture until smooth.

3. Immediately pour and scrape the cheese mixture into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the cheese, pressing it against the surface of the cheese, ensuring that it is completely covered. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, until set. The cheese will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.

(Recipe from Michael Symon)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fun with Pesto

We are huge fans of the TV series "Big Band Theory", for you that follow the show you know that Sheldon Cooper had an internet show called "Fun with Flags".  Hence, "Fun with Pesto" sense what so ever but that's my justification and I'm sticking to it...

I am having a wonderful Sweet Basil year here in central Missouri..too bad it's quickly coming to an end...The need to get busy and do "stuff" with the stuff is here.  So we are drying a bunch of it, using a lot of fresh in salads and other recipes and finally Pesto...

There are at least 100,000 different/same Pesto recipes out there on the great internet.  I chose an Almond Basil recipe...we are really glad as it has worked out very well with our taste buds...

2 cups firmly packed sweet basil leaves, washed and drained
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2+ grated Parmesan cheese
3 to 4 minced fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

Add everything but the olive oil and salt and pepper to a food processor and coarsely chop.

Once you have achieved this it's time to start slowing adding the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Next thing that is happening it grilling!  What isn't great with bacon?  I used tenderized chicken tenders ( on words) and simply layered bacon, tenders and basil pesto.  Fastened with tooth picks and grilled until temp of 160 degrees.  Wow!!! and tender tenders!!!

Now for the tomatoes...don't you just love home grown tomatoes?

We are not Vegan's in this house, but this just sounded so good...would be a great first course???

I used Bobby Flay's Pizza Dough recipe which, since I was using my 10" Cast Iron Grill Pan I divided the dough into 1/3's and pre baked at 500 degrees for about 5-8 minutes.  This was not a thin crust but it wasn't thick either.  Make it your own..
Tomato Basil Pizza

 Add Pesto
 Add sliced tomatoes (maybe add salt and pepper to taste)
 Mozzarella Cheese
 Bake at 500 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes


Fun with Pesto has come to an end!!!