Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goat Cheese and Tomato Omelet

This morning I was wandering around my kitchen trying to figure out what I wanted for breakfast.  After a while you get kind of bored with having the same thing every day.  This morning I decided to make an omelet but I didn't want the normal omelet which is usually cheddar cheese with tomatoes.  I knew I had some goat cheese (chèvre) in the refrigerator so I went from there.

I used 2 eggs, cooked them and then after I flipped the cooked eggs over, added some large chunks of goat cheese and a few cherry tomatoes that I chopped into small pieces.  I let the omelet sit for just a little bit to give the goat cheese time to soften a little.  Breakfast is served!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Mahi Mahi

We have this wonderful fish market in the town we live in, they carry all different varieties of fish.  We don't live on the coast so they are trucked in fresh.  Tonight's fish of choice is Mahi Mahi.

I first made a butter for the top made of soft butter, lemon juice, and fresh mint.  The fish I drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

I also made a Tabouli Salad.  I had a mix to make it.  The mix is made by Fantastic World Foods which I piked up at our co-op.  I thought this would go nicely since it isn't really cooked (it uses boiled water to make the mix).  The mix contains, mint, lemon, garlic, etc.  Since I am using a butter that is mixed with fresh mint and lemon juice I thought this would compliment it nicely.

Also grilled peaches, and a head of romaine.

The peaches I sliced in half dipped in melted butter and then in sugar.  Then put on the grill cut side down.  The peaches cook slightly and the sugar caramelizes.

The romaine I drizzled with olive oil and then ground some black pepper and sprinkled some garlic powder on it.  Put it on the grill for about 4 minutes per side, it really depends on the size of the romaine. Once grilled, I shredded some Romano cheese over it and  a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Sourdough Bread

I had to refresh my sourdough bread the other day so I went ahead and made a loaf of bread.

If you have a sourdough starter already here is the recipe I use.  If you don't have a starter you can either get one from someone who does or order your own from GEM Cultures.  This is where I ordered my sourdough starter.  At the end of the recipe I will give my own notes on what I do different.

Basic Sourdough Bread - Makes 1 standard loaf
Combine 1/2 cup fresh starter, 1-1/4 cups warm, non-chlorinated water, and 1-1/2 cups flour (any flour can be used). Set in a warm place until bubbly (several hours).
To this batter add:
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking yeast (optional)
Mix well and turn onto floured board.  Knead, using enough additional flour so that the bread no longer sticks to the board. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
Put the dough into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dough.  Cover with a towel and place in a warm area until nearly double. With a very active culture at optimum temperature, this could take only 2 hours.  With other conditions it may take as long as 4-5 hours.  Once mixture rises to approximately one and half to double its size scrape dough onto a lightly floured board and knead slightly to expel any large air bubbles.  Place into oiled bread pan, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and allow to rise to nearly double.  Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes until it "thumps" done, sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf.  Remove loaf from pan and cool on a wire rack.

My notes:  I don't know about all of you but I like to make things homemade but also don't want to take my time forever doing it, so I have adapted this recipe slightly to makes things go a little faster with minimal clean-up.  I have a kitchenaid mixer that has a dough hook.  I put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and slide in the dough hook.  I mix it with the hook and then as the mixture begins to mix thoroughly I add more flour until the dough isn't sticking to the sides of the bowl.  I add just enough flour to the mixer with the mixer running and continue mixing until the dough smooth and elastic.  I then add the mixture to bowl that I warmed with hot water and wiped off.  I then add just a very small amount of oil to the bowl and then add the dough, move the dough around in the bowl so that the oil coats the top and bottom of the dough ball.  Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel.  The oil makes the dough easier to get out without sticking to everything.  When it is time to place the dough into the pan instead of turning the bread out onto a floured surface, I add just a little flour to my hands and the top of the dough and punch it down to remove air bubbles.  I then add it to the loaf pan.

I will on occasion do everything by hand as the recipe calls but when I don't have the time I go the quick route.  I have not found any difference in the texture of the bread by doing it a different way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bratwurst on a bun and more!

I was at the grocery store today and was trying to figure out what to cook for dinner.  Since I hadn't thawed anything I had to figure out something.  I picked up a package of Boars Head Bratwurst and then a couple of red and green peppers.

I decided to cook the bratwurst on the grill.

I also cooked a mixture of sliced onion, green bell pepper and a red bell pepper.  I added a olive oil and then added it to a cast iron pan that was then cooked on the grill.  I cooked the pepper and onion mixture until the vegetables were soft.

Took the grilled bratwurst and added it to a bakery style hot dog bun.  Spread the inside of the bun with a Spicey Mustard from Schmidt's from German Village, Ohio.  On occasion we order knockwurst from them and get their mustard, which is wonderful.  I then added the bratwurst and then the pepper and onion mixture.

To add to the meal we had corn on the cob and a small salad of romaine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicken and Vegetables

Grilled chicken with a barbecue sauce that we found at our local co-op.  It is called Camp Sauce made by Treser Family Foods.  It is made in Blacksburg, Virginia.  We really like it because it is just tangy enough but isn't overpowering.

We grilled a peach, asparagus and romaine.  As you can tell we love to grill.  The weather is perfect and why not?  Also by cooking outside it doesn't use electricity and make your house warm.

The asparagus was cooked on our cast iron skillet and I used a little bit of rosemary flavored oil.

The peaches I sliced in half dipped in melted butter and then in sugar.  The put on the grill cut side down.  The peaches cook slightly and the sugar caramelizes.

The romaine I drizzled with olive oil and then ground some black pepper and sprinkled some garlic powder on it.  Put it on the grill for about 4 minutes per side, it really depends on the size of the romaine. Once grilled, I added blue cheese chunks, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sausage Kabobs

I have never done a kabob with sausage before but decided it would be nice to do something different, so here goes nothing.

Caesar Salad with homemade dressing
Cut the romaine lettuce into small pieces then added just enough dressing and then tossed.  Then added a few shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Caesar Dressing

¼ cup Lemon Juice  
¼ tsp. coarse black pepper  
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard  
1‐2 tsp. Sugar  
2 pressed garlic cloves  
¼ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese  
1 cup vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil

The pork sausage came from a farm in Blacksburg, Virginia.  They pasture all of their animals.  The sausage is done in a German style (spices, etc).  I cut the sausage into chunks and then layered it on skewers with green pepper and red onion.  I drizzled the kabobs with a little extra virgin olive oil, some fresh ground pepper and a little bit of garlic powder.  They were grilled on indirect heat at about 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  

The kabobs were served over basmati rice.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pizza with Beer

Tonight we didn't want to cook a darn thing so we decided to get pizza from one of our local pizza places.  This pizza is called their "loaded pizza" it had ham, pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onion, green pepper, mushroom, hamburger, olives and extra cheese on it.

Along with some beer and wine we are all set for the evening.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dinner on the Grill

Tonight's dinner is salmon, asparagus, peaches, salad of romaine - all cooked on the grill.

Grilled Peaches
If you have never had a grilled peach before I highly recommend it.  It is a easy and great thing to do with fresh peaches.  To get the peaches ready for the grill, cut the peaches in half remove pit, dip the cut half into melted butter, and then dip it into sugar.  Add the peaches cut side down to the grill.  The grill needs to be warm enough but not too hot, you don't want to burn the sugar only caramelize it.

Grilled Asparagus
Bend the asparagus so that the tough section will break off, discard.  Wash the top sections, place on platter and drizzle with olive oil.  To grill the asparagus we use a flat cast iron skillet that is put on the grill heated to warm then the asparagus placed on there to cook.   Cook to the desired doneness.  

Grilled Romaine Lettuce
I have to thank Tara a new friend of mine for putting this idea in my head.  Have had it grilled but have never done it myself.    I washed a head of romaine lettuce took the few outer leaves off the head.  The head I was dealing with was a rather large one so I just cut it in half (which would be plenty for both of us).  I drizzled olive oil, added freshly ground salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder, do this to both sides of the lettuce.  Place on grill for about 2-3 minutes per side with the heat being at about 400-450 degrees.  Remove from grill and in my case since this was such a large piece of lettuce I cut it in half.  Placed the lettuce on each plate and added a little more olive oil, a little bit of balsamic vinegar and added a little bit of blue cheese chunks.

Grilled Coho Salmon
The salmon came from Alaska.  This salmon has such a wonderful texture and is full of vitamins.  I used a Pampered Chef Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce.  I brushed it onto the salmon before it was grilled and then brushed a little more on as it was cooking.  The salmon was cooked on the grill at 450 degrees for 3 minutes meat side down and flipped it over skin side down, re-glazed and cooked for about 10 minutes.  

The beautiful thing about this dinner is that there is hardly any clean-up at all.  Everything pretty much goes into the dishwasher. 

Breakfast Omelet

This mornings breakfast is an omelet with tomato and smoked gouda.

I cut the tomato into wedges and then took the seeds out of it, then diced it.  I added the diced tomatoes to the skillet and let them cook.  I then added the two eggs stirred it a little to mix the tomatoes into the eggs.  Let it cook to set up.  Flipped the eggs over and then added 4 slices of smoked gouda cheese.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sunday Dinner on a Wednesday

I took one of our small smoked hams out of the freezer and thawed it for dinner tonight.  I decided early on that I wanted to do something different with the ham instead of just roasting it.  So I found a recipe in The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook for Glazed Ham in Maple-Raisin Sauce.  I used the recipe but put my own spin on it.  I decided to soak the raisins this morning in light rum. This plumped the raisins and made them juicy.  The recipe for the glaze is on page 162 of the cookbook.  I can't really give the recipe out because I don't have permission from the author.  So please make sure you follow the link above to get her book.

Some things that I will change for the next time I make this is, use regular raisins not golden (this is the only kind I had on hand), use bourbon instead of rum (rum added a nice flavor but I think I want something a little more intense), also the recipe calls for the temperature to increase at a certain point of cooking.  This is fine if your ham is really juicy, my ham had minimal juices which made the maple syrup somewhat browned which changed the flavor of the sauce.  Other than that, this recipe is fantastic.

Along with the ham I added new potatoes that were cooked and smashed, chopped spinach, and a garden fresh tomato.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Burgers on the Grill

Burgers and potatoes for dinner.

Took new potatoes and sliced them and put them on foil added a little butter and some fresh cut rosemary.  I didn't cut up the rosemary just pulled it off the stalk and added to the potatoes.

potatoes getting ready for the grill

I hand patted the burgers.  The grassfed ground beef came from Mountain Run Farm.  Grilled the burgers and topped with sliced smoked Gouda cheese and the normal fixings of lettuce, tomato, pickle relish, etc.

It was a simple but easy dinner.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grilled Barbeque Basted Chicken Breast with Squash Casserole

The squash casserole recipe actually came from a cookbook that i picked up when I was on vacation a long time ago.  The cookbook is called “A Taste of the Outer Banks”.  The recipe comes from a restaurant called Queen Anne’s Revenge in Wanchese, North Carolina.  For those of you who are familiar with the Outer Banks of North Carolina and that area may remember this restaurant.  It was a restaurant that was known by the locals and was in a very out of the way place.  I loved going there when visiting that area.  Sadly the restaurant is now closed.
The recipe is called Posh Squash
2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash cut up into bite size pieces
2 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 of a green pepper, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Cook squash until tender.  Drain.  In a baking dish beat eggs well and add onion, green pepper, mayonnaise, cheese, salt and pepper.  Fold in squash.  Top with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  
The barbeque sauce recipe actually came from a recipe in The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook.  The recipe is on page 153.  I highly recommend purchasing this cookbook as it has many wonderful recipes in it.  The next time I make this barbeque sauce I plan on changing up the recipe a little bit.  I like to experiment with an already proved recipe and then put my own little spin on it, so next time I may post the recipe.
Along with this meal we had salads, which consisted of lettuce, tomato, green peppers and a homemade french dressing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grilled Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish with Herb Butter
Summer Corn Salad
Lettuce and Tomato Salad with simple dressing

The swordfish was drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and then grilled.  I made an herb butter.  The herb butter was made with softened butter and an herb mix that is made for fish.

The Summer Corn Salad was corn cut fresh off the cob, part of a red onion, diced tomato (I took the seeds out of the tomato) and fresh minced parsley.  I added a little bit of vinegar and just a small amount of sugar to even the flavors out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

Decided to do my own take on red beans and rice.

Dice 1 small sweet onion
Mince 2 cloves of garlic
Dice small amount of green pepper
Cook in pan with a little olive oil until onion is tender over medium heat.  Add 1 cup of rice and cook for about a minute.  Add 1-1/2 cups of some kind of broth or water.  I used my own homemade chicken broth.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed the water/broth.

I didn't have this meal planned tonight so I added 2 cans of organic red beans that I rinsed, otherwise I would have soaked the beans.  Add the beans to the rice mixture, cover and let remain on the stove at a low temperature, just enough time to allow the beans to cook.

I also added about 1 teaspoon of cumin.

I cooked Andouille Sausage on the grill then cut up the sausage and then added it to the rice mixture.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Grilling Out

Decided for tonight's dinner to go with steaks, asparagus, and salad.

I am trying a new rub recipe for the steaks.  It comes from the cookbook The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook.  We love this cookbook because of all the great information and recipes.

Garlic-Herb Rub
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground fennel
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Mix it all together and rub on the steaks.  I rubbed this on the steaks and let it sit for a while before we put them on the grill.  Something that we feel we need to adjust is the salt in the rub recipes.  We do not use salt for or in a lot of things and we really notice the saltiness of a rub so we will adjust it the next time we make one.

We get all of our grassfed beef from Mountain Run Farm.  Tonight we are cooking tenderloin steaks on the grill.

steaks with the rub before cooking

We have fresh asparagus that we grilled.  We use a cast iron flat skillet to cook the asparagus on.  First take your asparagus (after it is washed) drizzle it with a little oil (Tonight we used a rosemary garlic olive oil) and then we heat up the pan on the grill and then add the asparagus to cook.  Don't leave it on the pan for too long otherwise it will overcook.  You want the asparagus to be crispy.

We also fixed a salad to go along with tonight's dinner.  Salad consisted of lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, green peppers and some blue cheese chunks.

steak and asparagus

Monday, August 1, 2011


I made Potstickers (Chinese Dumpling) tonight for dinner.  The recipe actually came from Young Miss magazine 1987.  This is one of those recipes I pulled from the magazine and saved.

Here is the recipe.  I used ground pork instead of chicken or turkey.

1/2 pound boneless chicken or turkey, chopped
1 cup minced bok choy (chinese cabbage) - (You can find this usually in any grocery store)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I did not use this in my recipe because of allergies)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
24 round wonton wrappers  (If you can't find round ones, buy the square kind and use a biscuit cutter to make them round)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
dipping sauce (see recipe below)

Combine chopped chicken or turkey, cabbage, onion, ginger, orange peel, and soy sauce in a small bowl; mix well.
Place rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper, moisten wrapper with water.  Fold one side over filling press edges together to form a half moon shape.  Place the shaped dumplings on a cookie sheet and lightly dust with cornstarch.  Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat,  Add dumplings, a single layer at a time.  Cook, uncovered until bottoms of dumplings are a deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup water and cover skillet tightly.  Steam until skins are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Uncover and cook until water evaporates and skillet is dry.  Repeat with remaining oil and dumplings.  Serve brown side up with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:
Combine 1 cup soy sauce/tamari, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil or chili oil, and 2 tablespoons sliced green onion in bowl.