Nancy

Barley Stuffing

by Nancy on March 13, 2012

in Side Dish

Maybe you’d call this stuffing and maybe you wouldn’t. It’s based on barley instead of the traditional bread but it has all of the flavors of traditional stuffing. It makes a good side dish for poultry or pork chops whatever you call it.

For me stuffing isn’t stuffing without sage. I grow sage in my backyard. The sage garnishing the plate is a selected variety called Berggarten sage. It has large, fat, oval leaves in comparison to leaves of regular sage making it ideal for garnishes. It has the same flavor as regular sage so can be dried and ground for cooking also.

We’d like to thank Bob’s Red Mill for providing the barleydried apples and black currants for this recipe.

Barley Stuffing

three 3/4 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill hulless barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup finely diced sauteed onion
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill black currants
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill dried apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  1.  Place barley, water, and bouillon  in a 2 quart saucepan for stove top or 3 quart bowl for microwave. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 90 minutes. Ideally all of the water should just be absorbed as the barley finishes cooking. Check near the end of cooking time and add boiling water if the barley is too dry or remove the lid if the barley is too wet. Barley will be chewy even when fully cooked. When cooking barley in the future, adjust water and/or cooking time as needed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to pan or bowl, cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Degas Dried Beans

by Nancy on February 28, 2012

in Tips and Tricks

Cooked dried beans are a healthy addition to your diet but some people avoid them because they produce gas in our intestinal tract. You can easily eliminate all or most of the gas by adding just one step to the cooking process and it doesn’t even increase the preparation time. Gas is produced in the large intestine from a sugar present in dried beans that is too large to be absorbed through the small intestine wall. The good news for us is that this sugar is water soluble.

Place the beans you want to cook in a large pot and fill it with water. I put 2 cups of beans in a 3 quart pot of water. The more water relative to beans the better. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let sit until cool – at least 1 hour. The beans will continue to cook as the water cools. Drain the water (and the gas producing sugar dissolved in it) from the beans and your degassed beans are ready to use. I use the same pot to make bean soup so I rinse the pot to remove any bean cooking liquid from it. Some beans like Anasazi beans will cook completely or nearly so as the water cools. Other beans may need more cooking time but the 1 hour cooling counts as part of the total cooking time. It’s that easy!

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Anasazi Bean® Soup

by Nancy on February 28, 2012

in Main Dish,Soups

After our Easter ham, my mother would save the ham bone and pan drippings to make a big pot of navy bean soup. It was a good, hearty soup for the still chilly days of spring. I still make the same soup but with a few changes. First of all, I no longer save the pan drippings. I usually get a spiral cut ham with honey glaze these days. The sugar and spices in the glaze get into the drippings and add a terrible flavor to soup. Likewise, I don’t use the ham bone for stock. I usually get a small ham as I’m not serving 15 or more people like my mother did and the ham bone just isn’t large enough to make much stock. I substitute chicken stock as ham stock is not made. And then I have switched from navy beans to Anasazi beans. Well, I still think of it as the same soup.

I use to think all dried beans were created equal but not anymore. Some beans like navy beans and Anasazi beans hold their shape well when cooked. Others like pinto beans get mushy and fall apart. That’s why pinto beans are used for refried beans, they mash easily, whereas navy beans or Anazasi beans do not mash well and refried beans made with them are mealy. Other beans such as black turtle beans have distinctive flavors.

Anasazi beans are my favorite soup bean. The name Anazasi Bean® is a trademark used to popularize the bean as a gourmet bean beginning in the 1980s. The bean is also called Aztec bean, cave bean, New Mexico Appaloosa and Jacob’s Cattle. The bean cooks quickly (for a bean), stays firm and has a little more flavor than some other dried beans.

The only other ingredient that you might not be familiar with is chipotle pepper. Chipotle peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried. The pepper gives a nice earthy taste and a little spice to the soup. I can buy the pepper either whole or ground. I use to buy it in the Mexican section of the grocery store but it is now in the regular spice section. I add either 1 whole pepper or 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper to the pot. I’m recommending that you start out with 1/8 teaspoon, add more if you like.

Anasazi Bean is a registered trademark of Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, Colorado.

Anasazi Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Anasazi beans
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 strips bacon or 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes or chicken stock base for 2 quarts liquid
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried and ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  1. Degas beans by placing beans and 2 quarts of water in 3 quart cooking pot, bring to a boil, remove from heat and place lid on pot, let cool (about 1 hour), then drain beans discarding water. Anasazi beans cook quickly for beans and will be cooked or nearly so by the time the water cools. Remove beans from pot if you haven’t already and continue with same pot.
  2. If you choose to use bacon fry until fat is converted to oil. This will take about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. The bacon will be “floating” in oil and the fat will be covered with tiny bubbles when it is finished.
  3. Saute onion in bacon fat (I leave the bacon in the pot) or olive oil.
  4. Add beans and remainder of ingredients including 2-2 1/2 quarts of water and simmer until vegetables are done, 15-20 minutes.

 

 

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Apple Crisp

by Nancy on December 13, 2011

in Desserts,Fruit

Fruit crisp is an easy dessert to make but one that I only make when I have fresh fruit. I use any firm fruit that I happen to have available – apples, pears, peaches, or cherries. I usually use apples though so I call it apple crisp. If my fruit is tree ripe and sweet, I don’t add any sugar to the fruit, just a little tapioca to thicken any juice that cooks out. I particularly like this topping because it has oatmeal in it for both the texture and the flavor. I pile the fruit high in the baking dish as it will shrink about half after baking.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  1. Toss apples with tapioca and place in 1 1/2 or 2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish.
  2. Mix sugar, flour, oatmeal and cinnamon in bowl.
  3. Cut room temperature butter or margarine into mixture with pastry cutter or fork until crumbly, like pie crust if you make pies.
  4. Pour mixture over apples.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees until apples bubble up around crust, about 45 minutes.

 

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Pumpkin Bread

by Nancy on November 8, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

I suppose I can admit that we don’t always have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving anymore. Kinda sad I know but the apples on my tree ripen about a month before Thanksgiving so I often make an apple pie and freeze it so all I have to do is bake it the day before. And then I have a couple of diehards that insist on a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Carrie is one of them so she bakes the pecan pie, one less thing for me to do. But it still doesn’t seem like fall without something pumpkin with the accompanying spicy aroma.

So to get my pumpkin spice fix I make pumpkin bread and have a slice or two for breakfast with a cup of tea. Many pumpkin bread recipes suffer the same “flaw” as carrot cake (another favorite of mine). To keep the bread moist, the recipes use a lot of oil – 2/3 to 1 cup for an average loaf. I don’t like my pumpkin bread or carrot cake to leave an oil ring on my plate and that oil adds a lot of calories. So I tested several recipes and made a few changes of my own until I came up with a recipe that is moist and uses only 1/3 cup of oil.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two 3″ x 7″ mini loaves.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Blend pumpkin, sugar and egg with spoon in 1 quart bowl.
  2. Stir in oil, salt and spices.
  3. Add water, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Pour into two 3″ x 7″ mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Do not underbake.

 

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