Archive | November, 2013

(Leftover) Turkey Soup

30 Nov

I can’t believe I’ve been updating so infrequently lately. We’ve had a pretty busy couple of weeks… I finished my second clinical, we hosted Thanksgiving, and I’m starting to pack up for my move home.

Well, we sort of hosted Thanksgiving. We cleaned up the apartment, borrowed some tables, and Nick’s Mother stayed over the night before and did all of the cooking. Growing up, the max we ever had at a Thanksgiving was probably ~8. We had about 30 people here yesterday, which is legitimately more people than I have in my entire extended family. The food, the company, and the organization was more incredible than I ever could have imagined.

We’re still sleeping it off, but I did have the chance to make a turkey soup for dinner today. All of the ingredients were leftovers which was pretty awesome, and it means we’ll have more to eat over the next few days than just turkey sandwiches!

What I used:
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped peppers
2 onions, chopped
3 cups black bean corn salsa (which was equivalent to 1.5 cups each, plus a tablespoon of cilantro, lime juice, and a small jalepeno)
~5 cups turkey
turkey broth (made from the carcass)
red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme
cornstarch + water
2 tablespoons butter
cheese + other toppings


What I did:
I melted the butter in a huge frying pan on medium heat, and added the celery, carrots, peppers, and onions in with about ½ cup of broth and cooked until the onions became translucent and the carrots became soft.


Once those were ready, I put them in the crockpot on low with the salsa, turkey, and a dash (½ teaspoon) of each of the spices. I added turkey broth until everything was just covered in liquid. I combined a couple tablespoons of cornstarch with some cold water until it dissolved, and added that into the pot. After some rearranging in the fridge, a stray turkey leg was found, and we (read: Nick) figured it would be a great idea to just throw that in too.

I cooked on low for about 6 hours, topped it with whatever cheese and stuff we wanted, and ate it with buttermilk biscuits… and then instantly fell back into our food coma.



Poblano Meatloaf

26 Nov

Meatloaf has always been a food that has eluded me. When I was a kid I just didn’t get it. Was it meat? Was it bread? Why did my Mom insist of stuffing it with ketchup AND cheese? Luckily she realized our hatred for it when we were still pretty young and stopped making it for us. I did learn to love the loaf eventually, and recently decided to give it another try. In the past, I usually saute the onion before putting it in, but I was feeling pretty darn lazy today. I used a poblano pepper to get a little extra smoke/flavor out of it (and because we have a couple extra ones sitting in the fridge that would be going bad very soon).


What I used:
1.7 lb ground meat (beef + pork, I’ve used other combinations as well)
1 small onion, chopped.
1 poblano pepper, chopped
½ cup bread crumbs (usually Italian seasoned)
1 egg
¼ cup and 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper

I combined the meat, onion, poblano, bread crumbs, egg, dashes of salt/pepper, and ¼ cup of bbq in a bowl. I mixed all of it up with my hands until everything looked pretty well mixed.


I arranged the meat mixture in a loaf pan – it fit with a little room to spare. I sprinkled garlic powder and red pepper flakes on top. Meanwhile, I mixed the 2 tbsp bbq, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar together. I coated the top of the loaf with the sauce, covered with tin foil, and baked for an hour at 350 taking the tinfoil off for the last 10 minutes or so. Once the loaf is out of the oven it needs to sit for about 10 minutes to settle before its cut open. It was really hard for us to be patient while it settled, but it was so worth it!


Barbecue Chicken Spent Grain Pizza

22 Nov

So it turns out we have way way more than grain than we even know what to do with. The other day Nick made some beeeeer and so we had a fresh batch of wet grain. With it we decided to make some grain-y pizza dough for the next night’s dinner. This would be hard to replicate without the spent grain, but it could be done using wet barley or some other type of large-husked grain.
I definitely jacked the dough recipe from Spent Grain Chef because their stuff is friggin incredible.


What I used
For the dough
1 package active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (hottest faucet setting)
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ wet spent grain
2 teaspoons salt
sprinkle of white sugar
olive oil
garlic powder

For the toppings
~10 oz mozzarella cheese
2 lb of chicken
½ onion, caramelized
1 cup barbeque sauce
red pepper flakes

What I did
I combined the warm water with about two pinches of white sugar. Once that fully dissolved, I added the yeast and gently mixed it in together. It took about 10 minutes, but it started to bubble and get pretty big.

I added the flour, grain and salt into the bowl and mixed well. Once it almost resembled dough I kneaded it for a few minutes until it became a good dough-y texture. I covered it in a light layer of olive oil on top of the dough, put it back in the fridge, and let it sit overnight.


The next day we took it out a few hours before we wanted to use it. We let it rise and come to room temperature (about 4 hours). We then packed it down again and made it into a tight ball, and let it re-rise for another 30 or so minutes. At this time we pre-heated the oven to 500 and made the toppings.

We pan fried the chicken on medium until it was cooked through and then cut it up. We tossed it with ½ cup of barbecue sauce.


I took a small cookie sheet, lightly dusted it with flour, and stretched out the dough until it covered almost the whole thing. I drizzled olive oil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes right onto the dough. I topped with cheese, chicken, onion and the rest of the sauce. We baked for about 12-14 minutes, at which time the cheese started to brown.


It was really good – I’m planning on making it soon using a lager yeast instead of active dry. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to be topping it with… any ideas?

My First Tomato Sauce

20 Nov

I had never tried to make pasta sauce from scratch, but I think this was a decent first attempt. The sauce I make is usually from a can of crushed tomatoes, but I felt like it was about time that I took a risk. I had absolutely no clue what type of tomatoes to get, so I just looked for something pretty. I grabbed about 5 pounds of good looking tomatoes on the vine, I’m honestly not even sure what type they are. I’m planning on using this for a baked ziti sometime next week at some point, we’ll see how it goes.

What I used:
5 lb of tomatoes- about 15 big ones.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped basil
¼ cup red wine
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
dash salt, pepper
2 bay leaves
2 stalks celery, whole

To start, I needed to peel the tomatoes. This is most easily done if you quickly boil them and then immediately dump them in ice… so I did just that. I brought a big pot of water to a boil. I had a big bowl about ½ full of water and ice close by. When I was waiting for the water to boil, I cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato (it helps with the peeling). When the water started to boil, I dropped the tomatoes in and pulled them out about two minutes later when the skin started to peel. I pulled the tomatoes out and put them in the ice bath to stop the cooking/cool them down. Once they were cool enough to touch I pulled the skin off and squeezed out the seeds. I pulsed them in the food processor and set them aside for later.




I emptied out the pot of water and put the olive oil in, and turned it to medium heat. I added the onion, pepper, garlic, and carrot and sauteed until the onion became translucent. I added the tomatoes, basil, seasonings, wine, bay leaves and whole stalks of celery. I brought to a boil, covered, and let simmer for two hours. After that, I pulled out the celery and bay leaves, pulsed the tomato mixture in the food processor until it was smooth. I added the mixture back into the pot along with the tomato paste, and simmered uncovered for two hours which helped it thicken up. When it was done, I let cool, and then spooned into jars to pop in the fridge until next week.


Granola Bars

16 Nov

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while! We went away for the long weekend, and when we got back my computer was non-functioning! After toiling with things I don’t really understand, we got it back running.
So Nick and I have been planning on visiting his Aunt (and my other roommate’s mom) Marianne up in Vermont. We needed food to fuel the drive and a hike, so I thought of turning my granola into a portable (and not ridiculously messy) snack. This time around I altered the recipe pretty significantly, including changing the type of grain I use. Nick brewed beer last weekend and I still had some leftover barley, so I made it using mostly that. They were a little sweeter than usual but they stuck together pretty well – they even lasted after being jostled around in my backpack but 48 hours. Next time I’m going to see if I can make them a bit chewier, but I thought this was a good first attempt!

What I used:
3 cups grain (I used one cup of old-fashioned oats and two cups of dried barley, but three cups of oats would work just fine)
½ cup flax seed
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried fruit (I used a combination of crasins and rasins)
½ cup honey
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter

I started by preheating the oven to 400. I combined the grain, seeds, and nuts, and roasted for about 15 minutes.  While I was doing that, I combined the honey, sugar, and peanut putter in a large pot (the one I use for pasta) over medium heat. I stirred until the sugar dissolved and the mixture started to bubble/became frothy.

When I pulled the grain out, I turned the oven down to 350. Once the liquids were ready, I dumped my salt and grain mixture into the pot and stirred to coat evenly. I had a 9×13 dish lined with parchment paper all ready and set to the side – once the mixture was ready, I spooned it into the dish and spread evenly. I pushed down with a spatula to squish everything together… this step is actually pretty important. If you don’t squish enough, everything will separate when it bakes. When I felt like the mixture was pressed enough (and I got bored), I put it in the oven for 20-ish minutes until everything looked golden.

When it was done, I took out to cool. Once it was cool enough to touch, I put it in the fridge and let sit overnight. In the morning I cut into bars and threw into tupperware for our drive. Yum!

Goat Stew

8 Nov

As the temperature drops outside, I have been submerging myself (not literally) in fall foods. Pumpkin, apple… anything warm and delicious is okay with me. We hadn’t made stew this season and I was just itching for it. Before today I have actually never made stew in my life, so this was a pretty fun first for me. A couple weeks ago I went to a Halal market downtown in a search for slab bacon, and I found a wall full of goat that was just calling to me. I figured it was the perfect meat to use for my first stew, and I think the result was pretty good!

I had the guys at the store chop the shoulder, leaving the bone in. I think next time I’ll get boneless… it was a great cut of meat but the effort of pulling the bone out was just not worth it.

What I used:
~2.5 lbs of goat shoulder, bone-in, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups baby carrots, cut into circles
1 Jalapeno, seeded and de-ribbed
1 tomato, diced
3 white potatoes, cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, diced finely
2 cups of red wine
6 oz can tomato paste
½ bunch parsley, chopped
½ stick butter
Salt, Pepper

I started by tenderizing the meat and coating in the garlic, salt, and pepper. I marinated it with one cup of the red wine, and let it sit for ~5 hours before I started cooking with it. Once I was ready to start the stew, I melted the butter over medium-high in a large pot. I quickly seared the goat on both sides until it was brown. I added the onions, celery, carrots, jalapeno, and stirred to coat them in the butter. At this point, I added the tomato paste and second cup of red wine, turned the heat to low, and let the stew simmer covered.


Feel free to finish the remaining wine in the bottle (or box) at this point.


I let that cook for about an hour and a half (stirring occasionally), and then I added all of the potatoes. This way they would get soft without totally decomposing and making everything too starchy.


After another hour the goat was fairly tender and ready to eat. I added the tomato and parsley and let sit for about five minutes. I served it with cheesy jalapeno biscuits and we had to stop ourselves from eating the whole pot.



Tuesday Takeover: Sweet Potato Hash

6 Nov

We have made this hash for pretty much every brunch that we’ve had at our apartment. This is Nick’s specialty, so I’m going to let him take this one….

Nick here. God knows I’ve taken enough of these photos and been there to test the new creations so I guess its my turn to cook once in a while. This is something we make because it turns out delicious every time and we can really tailor it to better suit the crowd we are cooking for. As some like it spicy, and some prefer it sweet, we can appeal to both with this awesome brunch dish.

(I am really frustrating to cook with, as I don’t measure anything so bear with me)
3-5 sweet potatoes (depending on size)
1-3 bell peppers (depending on sweet potato content)
1 onion
1 Jalapeno
1 poblano
pumpkin pie spice
chili powder
cajun spice
olive oil

Drink the beer. I don’t care how early your brunch is.


(This is Nick drinking a homebrewed beer)
Heat oven to 350. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into half inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour on enough olive oil to coat the sweet potato cubes. Add cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cajun and chili powder. I tend to use roughly ½ tablespoon of each, and depending on how spicy you want this dish to be you can add more chili powder or cajun spice, or replace the chili with cayenne powder. Once the cubes are evenly coated spread them out evenly on the cookie sheet and place into oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then flip the cubes over and continue to cook until they darken.

NOTE: It is ok to undercook at this stage, as they will be pan cooked again. This is just to make the later steps easier.
While the potatoes are cooking, chop the onion and peppers. I generally cube the onion, bell peppers, and the poblano peppers, but dice the jalapeno. I like to think that this spreads the heat throughout the dish, but i have no information to support this theory. i add a little olive oil to a large skillet and began to saute the onion on medium heat. Once the onion becomes slightly translucent i add the peppers and turn the heat to low cooking the peppers and onions until the sweet potatoes are ready.


Once the sweet potatoes are done in the oven, i add them to the skillet and cook for 5 – 10 minutes depending on how long the sweet potatoes were baked for. With this step, as much as any other step, its all about how you feel. If you want a messy more evenly mixed hash then cook for longer and the sweet potatoes will begin to mix together to create a loaded mashed sweet potato concoction that is still delicious (I know through experience).