Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Kayla’s Pumpkin Pie 12/28/2013

Filed under: Desserts,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Oven,Winter — kdearmas @ 10:23 PM

The original is here. This version includes Kayla’s modifications that have made her pumpkin pie the envy of all! It’s also better made the day before, cooled and put in the frig. If your spices are old, double up on the spices to avoid it turning out a bit bland.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Kahlua
  • unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional) (I have no idea who thinks whipped cream is optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425° F

MIX 

  • Sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.
  • Beat eggs in large bowl.
  • In the large bowl with the eggs, stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  • Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE 

  • In preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (per Kayla: “That knife should come out clean as a whistle!”.
  • Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  • Top with whipped cream before serving (again, who thinks whipped cream is optional?!?)
 

Chicken Stock

Filed under: CrockPot/Slow Cooker,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Reijo Pitkanen,Soups,Winter — kdearmas @ 1:40 AM
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We like to make our own stock with tons of flavor and lots of chicken fat and butter. We use the stock in many many recipes, including basics like rice or more complex soups. It’s the main reason we do Beer Can Chicken, to make stock.

We start with Beer Can Chicken.

Once the chicken is cool enough, strip off all meat and store for future recipes. I’m still developing those, including a work-in-progress Southwestern Chicken Chowder. We recently got a Food Saver for better storage of the extra chicken.

  1. After you’ve stripped off and stored the meat, take a cleaver and halve the carcass and the thighs to get the marrow exposed during cooking. Do the same thing with the wings. Split the rib cage. There is not real right way to do this.
  2. Put all bones, skins, and fat into a crock pot.
  3. Pour leftover beer and one more full beer into the pot.
  4. Add about a one quart bag of leeks, onions, and ends-and-stems of everything we’ve collected. We save all ends and stems of vegetables like carrots, onions, leeks, celery, etc. We store them in the freezer until it’s time to make a stock.
  5. Cover with water
  6. 6-8 hours on lowest setting, maybe 10 hours depending on what’s left on the bones.

Next day:

  1. Strain into a stock pot to remove most solids (all the chunky stuff). You are left with a very cloudy liquid.
  2. Reduce, reduce, reduce to your taste.
  3. To clarify, add egg whites, then strain them out.
  4. Use fine strainer to funnel into bottles for storage. We save 360 Vodka (which is a very decent and reasonably priced Vodka) bottles with the Grolsch-type tops for stocks.
  5. Fat plug optional: Butter on top floats and seals the neck, kind of like a wax plug. This helps preserve your stock from getting air into it. Good for if you intend to keep the stock for some time. Not needed if you intend to use stock quickly. If you want to do a fat plug: Quarter/half stick melted and poured on top of stock once it’s in the bottle.
 

Southwestern Chicken Chowder

Filed under: Fall,Karin DeArmas,Reijo Pitkanen,Soups,Stove Top,Winter — kdearmas @ 1:19 AM

This recipe is a work in progress. I will be amending it as I refine what I want out of it.

The reason for exploring this was to find a recipe that would allow me to use the chicken after making Beer Can Chicken. Our main reason for making Beer Can Chicken is to make Chicken Stock, but we end up with about 4-5 pounds of chicken left over and few recipes to do something easily.

First, after we tear the chicken off the bones, we are left with about 4-5 pounds. Using our new (as of 2013) Food Saver, we create 1-pound bags of chicken for later use. This Chicken Chowder recipe calls for about 1 ½- 2 pounds of chicken. I’ve modified the recipe as I’ve done it so far.

I started with this Chicken Chowder recipe, but immediately modified it.

Major departures:

  • Substituted black beans for potatoes. Major improvement as far as we’re concerned.
  • Dramatically increased the amount of chicken to about 1 ½- 2 pounds.
  • Liberal use of Tiger Sauce in addition to Creole seasoning/salt.
  • Like with most of my soups, I don’t like chunky vegetables or meat. So I tend to use my Cuisinart to finely dice vegetables and chicken. It’s entirely up to you.

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon, diced

1/2 cup diced celery

1 15 oz. can of black beans

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced carrot

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning or seasoned salt

Tiger Sauce (or preferred hot sauce) to taste; I use about a quarter cup.

1 cup corn kernels

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked chicken (see Beer Can Chicken)

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Preparation:

  1. Fry bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven
  2. Remove to paper towels to drain
  3. Add butter to bacon drippings, if necessary, to make 3 tablespoons.
  4. Add celery, onion, and carrot. Saute, stirring constantly, until onion and celery are tender.
  5. Stir in flour until well incorporated.
  6. Add chicken broth and seasoning or seasoned salt, stirring to blend well.
  7. Cook—stirring—until  thickened.
  8. Cover and simmer for ~12 minutes.
  9. Add the diced chicken and corn; simmer for 7 minutes longer, until vegetables are tender.
  10. Add half-and half and tomatoes. Heat through and taste.
  11. Add black beans
  12. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
  13. Serve with tortilla strips on top and additional hot sauce as desire.
 

Pasta e Fagioli—Sausage/Kale 12/10/2013

Filed under: Fall,Karin DeArmas,Soups,Stove Top,Winter — kdearmas @ 12:38 AM
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This is a mash up of about three different recipes that I’ve been experimenting with. Two from Cooks Illustrated with a few touches from two of my local lunch soup places. Makes about 4 quarts, serving 8 to 10

So I’m all about soups right now. For three main reasons:

  1. Leftover potentials: I’m a busy person and don’t have time to cook every night. But I want a home-cooked meal most nights. Soups, done carefully, can last several days to over a week.
  2. Weight-maintenance: Soups are a great way to lose/maintain weight with heavy on the liquids.
  3. Eat food/not too much/mostly plants: Soups are a great way to incorporate less meat, less carbs, more veggies in your diet.

But, there have been several issues I’ve had with soups. Predominately:

I don’t like big chunks of veggies. For all I’m trying to incorporate more plants in my diet, I just don’t like big chunks of them in my soups. So for this, I pull out the Cuisinart. It’s not necessary for this recipe if you don’t have the same issue I do, but if you do, then buy/pull out the Cuisinart and your chunky veggie issues will disappear.

Figuring out how to make them last over days without making things like the pasta a mushy mess. Cooks Illustrated recipe indicates that the pasta creates a problem. This is true, particularly if you like this recipe for the multi-meal aspect. How I’ve gotten around this is to not cook the pasta in the soup itself but make each time you eat the soup. I cook the pasta in half/half water and chicken stock to get the flavor in the pasta since I’m not cooking in the soup proper.

Tips:

Cooks Illustrated recipe indicates that the pasta creates a problem. This is true, particularly if you like this recipe for the multi-meal aspect. How I’ve gotten around this is to not cook the pasta in the soup itself but make each time you eat the soup. I cook the pasta in half/half water and chicken stock to get the flavor in the pasta since I’m not cooking in the soup proper.

If you’re like me and you don’t like the chunky vegetables in your soup, then pull out your Cuisinart and do all your chopping with that. If you’re going to do this, process your parsley and kale first (even though they go in the soup last) and set aside before doing more liquid ingredients like onions, tomatoes, anchovies, etc.

Ideally, the parmesan cheese rind makes for the best taste. But I don’t always have one handy. So a take-out restaurant sized ramekin of parmesan substitutes for the cheese rind fine. Not as good, but doesn’t really detract.

I process all the ingredients in my Cuisinart in advance for ease of preparation. Even if you decide to chop everything by hand, I recommend doing it in advance for quick assembly/cooking.

Ingredients

Prep in advance (hand chop or food process)

  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped fine (I use a food processor)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup) (I use a food processor)
  • 1 medium rib celery, chopped fine (about 2/3 cup) (I use a food processor)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 heaping tablespoon) (I use a food processor)
  • 3 anchovy fillets , minced to paste (about 1 teaspoon) (I use a 2 ounce package and put in food processor)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I use a food processor)
  • 1-2 cups chopped kale (I use a food processor)
  • Chicken sausage (I prefer mild Italian or rosemary chicken sausage)

Have ready on hand:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 piece Parmesan cheese rind, about 5 inches by 2 inches (I’ve cheated here with a take-out size ramekin of ground parmesan)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
  • 3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (personally, I use home-made broth, but store-bought is fine too)
  • 8 ounces orzo or other small pasta (ditalini, tubetini, conchigliette)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)

Instructions

Pancetta/Bacon, Vegetables, and Seasoning:

  1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add pancetta/bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and anchovies; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan.

Beans and Whatnot:

  1. Add cheese rind and beans
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, 10 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water (I’ve found less water is needed, but judge for your own taste), and 1 teaspoon salt
  4. Increase heat to high and bring to boil.

Sausage:

1.       Smoosh (smoosh is a very technical term and there is even a tool for it) and brown four links of chicken sausage in separate pan

Kale/Parsley & Finishing:

  1. Discard cheese rind.
  2. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley (I use way more than this)
  3. Stir in Kale
  4. Stir in browned sausage
  5. Put in oven at 250 degrees in covered Dutch Oven for one hour at 250 degrees (I’ve been told the 250 degrees oven is the perfect simmer and I’ve not been steered wrong since).

Serving

  1. This is where you cook your pasta
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle individual pasta serving and soup into individual bowls
  4. (Optional) Drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with a portion of remaining parsley
  5. Pass grated Parmesan separately.
 

Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce 10/19/2013

Filed under: Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Main Course,Stove Top — kdearmas @ 10:17 PM
Tags: , ,

My mom cooked almost every single night. She was/is a really a good cook and thank god she did or I don’t know if I would have the habit of cooking as much as I do. Not everything was gourmet nor did it need to be. But I’ve evolved several of her standard recipes over time.

Thing is, back then, we didn’t have to obsess over high fructose corn syrup, gargantuan amounts of sugar and sodium, and god-knows-what-else was in our food. My mom could take ground beef and spaghetti sauce, season it up, pour over pasta, and it was a really good meal! A decade later it didn’t taste the same.

What did my mom do?

Ground beef, spaghetti sauce, all kinds of Italian seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, parsley, stuff like that).

What do I do now?

Ingredients (I’ve provided the minimum, though really it’s to your preference how meat or veggy; thick or thin you like your pasta sauce to be):

  • 4 Hot Italian sausages (pork or chicken sausage will work fine); you can cut them or just squeeze them out of their casings (I prefer the latter)
  • 2 cans canned tomatoes (so much better if you can yourself otherwise use organic canned tomatoes)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • Sautéed sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, and chopped green and red peppers (about half a pepper of each); you really need the green and the sweeter red pepper though you can substitute orange or yellow for the red. There really is no substitute for the green.
  • ½ large onion
  • 2-4 garlic cloves per your taste for garlic (I love garlic so use 4)
  • 1 cerrano pepper, chopped finely (you don’t want to bite into a big piece of this pepper)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Liberal use of Italian seasonings including oregano, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning mix
  • Other seasonings such as a bit of turmeric, thyme, and marjoram

Directions:

  • Brown the sausage first, then add the mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic. Mash it all together to break up the sausage.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and let simmer until lightly boiling (do not over boil)
  • Add the brown sugar and do not let carmelize
  • Add the tomato paste to thicken to your preference.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add more canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, or water (though I think water thins it too much)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Simmer until thick to your preference
  • Serve over pasta* with crusty bread (if you eat bread) and a side salad (my favorite salad dressing recipe to come)

*Any kind of pasta will do though I prefer capellini or fusilli.

 

Baked Kale and What To Do With It

I went through this period as I was transitioning to a more local/seasonal diet where I had one of those home delivery services. And to really force myself, I let them decide what to deliver to me as long as it was local (within 100 miles) and seasonal. Then we would force ourselves to figure out what to make with it. It was a great experiment!

I don’t do the delivery anymore because I love my Co-Op and don’t need home delivery when the Co-Op is all local/seasonal anyway. But the process really was a forcing function to get me to explore different things.

And one of those was Kale. Yes, I know. Kale is all the new trend and whatnot. And why not? It grows like a weed (I’ve been growing it myself starting this past summer) and is all super-foody good-for-you. Sometimes trends are good!

But to make it into a salad I like requires a heavier dressing than I normally like. And to make it all Southern greens style sort of takes away from the super-foody aspect (though you should taste what Reijo can do with Collard Greens! Recipe to come).

So I did some Googling and found baked Kale chips. Which were awesome!

  • Tear the kale into chip-sized pieces
  • Put in a zip-lock bag with a drizzle of olive or grape seed oil and two shakes (no more!) of seasoning salt (I like Colonel Lee’s)
  • Lay out on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Eat as chips (my 9-year old god-daughter ate an entire tray!) or …
  • Put back in a zip-lock bag and crush it to use later in potatoes, eggs, casseroles, etc. (you’ll  get the hang of it).

In the bag, it lasts for months and is a great way to incorporate seasoning salt and kale in certain dishes. Even if you don’t like kale, I promise.

 

Smashed Tarragon Potatoes

In every household, current or past, there are staple sides. Those things you make without a recipe and almost without thinking as a complement to the main dish. Isn’t fancy and is rarely hard. Think about it, you know you have several. Or at least your mother did.

In our house growing up, one of those sides was parsley potatoes. Very simple: quarter red potatoes; boil; drain; mix with butter, parsley, salt, and pepper. Presto you have a side to steak, seafood, whatever. I loved those as a kid. I love potatoes (which are now my carb god send now that I have to severely restrict wheat).

So in college, in one of my first apartments with a real kitchen, I was making steak and wanted to make the parsley potatoes. It’s so simple there’s no way I needed to call my mom to get the recipe. So I cut the potatoes, boiled them, and drained them. Then as I was mixing in the butter I realized I had no parsley (dried, no one did fresh herbs back then). Hrrrmmm.

So I grabbed that which was green and seemed similar to parsley and dumped it in the potatoes. It was tarragon. And no, I put no more thought into it then it was green like parsley.

It.Was.Delicious!!!

And so parsley potatoes have ever since been tarragon potatoes and I’ve wowed many a dinner guest in my house with them.

You don’t mash them, but in the course of mixing in the butter and tarragon they get a bit smashed.

Brussels Sprout Hash & Smashed Potatoes

Of late, as I’ve been incorporating more local/seasonal greens in the fare, I started mixing in hashed Brussels sprouts and/or baked kale (recipes to come). For the Brussels sprouts, Just make the potatoes as described above then slice/dice up some Brussels sprouts and sauté in butter or oil with salt/pepper or seasoning of choice (I prefer Colonel Lee’s). Then mix them up with the potatoes (tarragon and all).

Smashed Potatoes w/ Baked Kale

Make the potatoes (with or without the Brussels sprouts though I like them with) and throw some crumbled baked Kale into the potatoes.

 

 
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