Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dark Day Challenge Week 4 Crockpot Chicken Chutney

I defrosted some chicken yesterday wanting to do a crock pot recipe, but of course I started too late in the day to have it for dinner. Sometimes it's actually better that way, because then it's almost like I'm planning ahead.  So I knew that I wanted to do Chicken in the crock pot, but what else could I throw in with it... peaches, apples, potatoes w/carrots? How about Peach Chutney? It is one of my staples that I can every season. Peaches, onions, vinegar, garlic, spices, and raisins make up this amazing accompaniment to chicken, pork, or turkey.  So here's to the fastest thrown together crock pot meal- Cheers!

Chicken (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
Peach Chutney (home canned goodness)

Place chicken in crock pot and add enough chutney to cover chicken. Cook on low for 6-9hours.

Enjoy with rice or pasta or by itself, but don't forget to include some saute green beans on the side.

Green beans (homegrown)- heat up some butter in a saucepan, thrown in 3 garlic cloves sliced, add your beans and saute till a bit browned. Add salt and serve warm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 3 Lamb Stew

Lamb is one of those meats that have to cooked correctly to be fully enjoyed. It took me a few tries to get it right. Marinating and the crock pot are the two best ways to prepare lamb.  Lamb meatballs, leg of lamb marinated in red wine, and lamb stew in a crock pot are my favorite ways to prepare this tasty meat.  Whenever this chilly weather rolls around I can't help but to take out the crock pot to make delicious, easy, and time saving meals.

Lamb Stew

1 lb of lamb stew meat or lamb shanks (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
1 large onion chopped (from our garden)
3 carrots chopped (from our garden)
2 ribs of celery chopped (not local, but organic)
4-6 cups of chicken broth (homemade)
Rosemary, salt, pepper -to taste
olive oil

Saute onions, celery, and carrots till tender in a pan with oil olive. Transfer to a crock pot. In the same pan, saute up the lamb meat till browned on all sides. Transfer to crock pot. Add in the stock and spices to the crock pot and turn on low for at least 8 hours. Serve with warm bread and some good homebrew (espresso chocolate stout made by Chris with local malt from Hadley, MA).

Italian Bread

3 cups of water
1 1/2 tbsp of yeast
6 cups of bread flour (organic from Westport, NY)
1 1/2 tbsp of salt

Add the ingredients into a mixer with a dough hook, in the order of ingredients. (Never add salt directly on the yeast or it will fight). The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Let it rise for about 2 hrs. This recipe will make about 4 pounds of dough so use as much as you want to make rolls, baguette, loaf, etc. Whatever dough you don't use, you can place into the fridge in a plastic container with a lid for up to a week. Once you shape the dough let it rise for about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 and slide bread onto a hot pizza stone or let it rise on a metal pan w/parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes depending on the size of the bread.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 2 Pork Schnitzel

Gotta love deadlines. This post is due by 5pm Tuesday and here I am Monday evening 8:30 whipping up something to feed myself and husband that qualifies for this challenge. After baking 48 loaves of bread (for a market tomorrow) we decided on Pork Schnitzel (isn't it just too much fun saying Schnitzel?).

2 pieces of Pork Loin Cutlets (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
1/4 cup of flour (Champlain Valley Westport, NY)
1 egg (local farm Rutland, MA)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (homemade)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
3 tbsp of olive oil
3/4 cup of Chicken Stock (homemade)
1/2 cup of sour cream (Cabot- VT)

Dredge the cutlets through the flour (add your salt and pepper in here), then egg, and lastly bread crumb mixture.
Heat up a cast iron skillet with olive oil and cook each cutlet about 5-7 minutes on each side, till crispy.
Remove the Schnitzel and place on plate.
Add the chicken stock in your skillet and scrape up of those yummy brown bits.
Next add the sour cream and stir till it thickens (but not boiling). Serve with the Schnitzel and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Curried Pork Empanadas

Curried Pork Empanadas

This is one fantastic recipe that I came across. I found it at Simply Recipes and have made it several times since. You can make these for dinner, to freeze, for parties, etc... The recipe also allows you to be creative with whatever you want to fill the Empanada with.  The Pastry recipe is incredible and very versatile. 

Pastry Ingredients 
8 ounces cream cheese (do not use light), room temperature
4 ounces (1 sticks, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5-2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten, for pastry egg wash
Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and  salt, until well blended. Slowly add in the flour, mixing until incorporated. Form two balls (it will be easier to work with 2 separate pieces of dough), then flatten each into a disk. Dust with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
While dough is chilling, heat a large frying pan on medium high/high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon or so of salt on the bottom of the pan and add the pork. Once the pork is nicely browned, reduce the heat on the pan to medium, and remove the pork to a bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Then add the chopped onion. Let onions gently cook on medium heat for a few minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant.  Add the curry powder, ground coriander, and cardamom to the pan. Mix the spices in with the onion mix. Add the ground pork back to the pan, mixing in the seasoned onion mix. Add the raisins. Add the sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and corn starch, mixing well.  Remove from heat, and chill until time to stuff the pastries.

Stuffing the Pastries:
Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured, smooth, clean surface, roll out one of the dough rounds to a thin 1/8-inch thickness. (If refrigerated for more than an hour, you may need to let it sit for 10 minutes to soften it enough to roll it out more easily.) Use a wide-mouthed jar (about 3 inches wide) to cut out rounds. Place them on a baking sheet.

During this and the next step, if the dough becomes too soft and therefore difficult to work with, put whatever you are working on in the refrigerator to chill for 5 or 10 minutes.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the inside edge of the rounds with egg wash (to help the empanadas seal). Place a teaspoon of meat inside each round. Fold the round over to and press the edges to seal shut. Use the tines of a fork to flute the edges. Place standing upright on a baking sheet, spaced an inch apart. (You can also lie them down, but with them upright, you'll fit more on a pan.) Use a pastry brush to brush the sides (not the bottom) of the empanadas with more egg wash.

Working in batches, cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 3 dozen empanada turnovers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dark Days Challenge #1 Burritos

My friend Rachel forwarded me a link to the 5th Annual Dark Days Challenge.
The challenge runs from Sunday, November 27th, 2011 to Saturday, March 31st, 2012.
So what's the challenge? Cooking once a week a meal that is SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) and posting about on my blog.
Local means about 150 mile radius with a few minor exemptions that are set up ahead of time (i.e. oil, spices, coffee, and chocolate). I am ready and this will keep me posting weekly recipes (I've been slacking).
My exemptions will include: spices, citrus (who can go all winter without Oranges or Grapefruit?), olive oil, yeast, baking powder/soda, and salt.

Who doesn't love Mexican food? Only if I had tequila to make some Margaritas would make this meal perfect (although not local).  The Homemade Tortillas really make the Burrito.  It has been a really long time since I have bought pitas, flat bread, or tortillas from the grocery store. They always are bland tasting and stale. I can guide you on making very simple, but delicious tortillas to go with your favorite style Burritos.

Homemade Tortillas
2/3 cup of water
~2 cups of flour (Mt. Marcy Organic Flour from Westport, NY)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of soften butter (Cabot, from VT)

Mix together your flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Place your water and flour mixture into your Kitchen Aid mixer and add in the butter.  Knead with a dough hook until dough is soft and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Add in additional flour if needed. Cover with a towel for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 6-8 balls. Roll out each one with flour while heating up a griddle. Cook each one a couple minutes on each side till you get some lightly brown spots. If you cook them too long they will get hard and not really good for the next day. As you are cooking the next ones, place the cooked ones on a plate and keep covered with a kitchen towel. 

1 lb of ground beef (Chestnut Farms CSA Hardwick, MA)
1 medium onion diced (from our garden)
3 cloves of garlic diced (from our garden)
Chili Powder -to taste
~ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add in your onions and garlic. Saute till tender and the beginning stages of caramelizing.  Add in your beef and cook till the pink is almost gone. Next add in your Chili Powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt to taste. Cook till the meat is all brown.

Now it's time to create and layer your Burrito. My Favorite starts with sour cream, next comes the beef, then the Cabot cheese, and lastly the home canned peach salsa.