Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pork and Veg Tomato-ish Soup

Winter is coming, the days are getting colder and I'm ready to start doing weekly soups. Family and friends have their favourites but every once in a while I'm game for something new. This week I decided to wander into the land of pork with a tomato groove to it. It's more of a soup than my usual, meaning it's a thin but savoury liquid with teeny bits of this and that floating about in it. My man dug it in a big way and I was able to modify it when sending it along as his lunch one day.

I cook my soups in a crock pot and let em simmer all day, it makes the house smell amazing!

It go like this here it go...

Part 1: Meat!

1 24oz Hormel Pork Sirloin - Garlic & Herb flavoured.
1/3 c Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
1/3 c Ken's Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 c White Wine
1 tsp Adobo Crillollo
1 Tbsp Molasses

Cook the meat in the crock pot till done. It takes about 3 hours or so. Let it rest until it's cool enough to handle. I took the meat out of the juice, strained the juice and put it back in the crock. This can be done the night before if you can't be there during the day to deal with it. Cut the meat up into small bits, about 1/2" cubes is good enough and throw it back into the juice.

Part 2: Souptastic goodness!

1 Lg Yellow squash - diced
3 Med Carrots - diced
1 Med Sweet onion - diced
1 Med-Lg Leek - sliced & chopped
2 c Mushrooms - diced
2 small cans Hunts Tomato Paste with Basil, Garlic and Oregano
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
2 Boxes Swanson Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Italian Dried Herb Mixture
Reserved Juice and Pork bits
1 tsp Adobo Crillollo

Throw the canned stuff and broth into the crock pot and wisk until smooth. Toss in everything else and give it a stir. Let it grok in the crock on HI for 5 hours or so. It's a crock pot soup, you really can't overcook it unless you forget about it for a couple of days. Check the veggies, when they're as tender as you want em to be it's done. Salt and pepper to taste when your veggies are ready. This makes about 12 cups of soup as near as I can figure.

I served it with Jiffy cornbread because I was feeling lazy. :)

Soup Mod!
I wanted to make some changes for the third serve of this soup and added diced smoked sausage, minced garlic and hidden veggie macaroni elbows. I transferred the last of the soup to a pot and put it on the stove. The macaroni cooked in the broth along with the rest of my new additions.  Pasta done? Serve it!

Sorry there's not a photo. I've been sick. *bleah*

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I saw a photo of  some Spider Chip cookies and knew that my little Goth Empress would lose her mind over them. Followed the art direction... Fail. Cookies tasted great. Did the chips end up looking like little spiders? No, they looked like chocolate chips the cats had taste tested while the dominant female human wasn't looking...

You know me, can't see a recipe without wanting to put my own thoughts and imaginings in the mix.  A quick search netted the Toll House recipe. Mhmm. White flour. Pfffft. Man I wish I had some peppermint extract. Oh well, I've got peppermint mocha creamer. Let's get into trouble, Baby!

*edit* Yeah, the creamer didn't pack as much of a punch as I'd hoped.

So I did this with it:

1/2 c Cheap ass Margarine
1/2 c Shortening
1 c Brown Sugar
1/2 c White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Peppermint Mocha Creamer

Toss it in your mixer and cream it all together. Throw in two eggs and 3/4 tsp salt. Keep on beating.

Whisk together in a separate bowl:
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 c Milled golden Flax seed
1 c Oat Flour (Ground down plain oatmeal)
1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 c All Purpose White Flour

Add the flour to the goo in your mixing bowl and whup it good.

Once combined, add in a whole packet of semi sweet chocolate chips. The dough is gonna be a little loose. Chuck it into the Frigidaire for at least an hour to firm it up. I might let it sit in there overnight.. Or you can throw it into the freezer to firm it up faster.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Nom nom nommity!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Duck me? Duck You! (Sauce)

I've been threatening to make Egg Rolls from scratch over here for the longest. Gotta have a fab duck sauce to go with. Some people dig the hot mustard, others want em au natural. Not me. I adore that sweetish yellowy orange goo. I ran through the recipe areas to see what's in it. Looks easy enough - but some of the stuff isn't stuff I keep around the house. Dry mustard? I've used it but spice goes over in a year and I'd never use a whole teensy tub o the stuff. I keep the prepared version in the fridge at all times. Red chili flakes? Yeah, not so much. Tiger Sauce, tho? Can't live without it. Time to jack around with some substitutions and my own brain sparkles and see what we get.

It go like this, here it go...

1 Pluot (It's a plum/apricot hybrid or you can use a regular plum)
1/2 c Apricot Preserves
1 tsp Yellow Mustard
1 tsp Tiger Sauce
1 tsp shaved Ginger Root
1 tsp Molasses
2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 100% Apple Juice 10 oz juice box

Chunk up the fruit and throw it in the pot with everything else. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 mins. Make sure the fruit is soft. Throw it all in a food processor, blender or hit it with an immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Let it cool. Done!

*takes a bow*

Remember, this is from scratch, ghetto style. It will not taste like the packet goo with all the preservatives and etc. If you want it sweeter, make it sweeter. If you like a sour groove, add a touch more vinegar. The point is you can tweak it to be the kitten's whiskers with a little effort. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cinnamon Buns - Let's pretend it's healthy-ish!

Carbs, fat and sugar. Makes you feel naughty just thinking about it, eh? Mmhm. My sweetie had to work late and is going in super early tomorrow. It's time to bake something special. Something he can drag in and make a sucktastic morning not so crap.

A few minor tweaks are gonna turn my standard cinnamon buns into not quite so horrible for you breakfast fare.

It go like this, here it go...

2 c 5x Protein Vanilla flavored Almond Milk
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Yeast Packet

Warm the almond milk and pour over the yeast and sugar in your mixer bowl. Not too hot, don't wanna kill the yeast.  Let it get all foamy like - 5 minutes or so of waiting.

Add in:
1/2 c Milled Flax Seed
1 c Whole Wheat Flour
1 c Oat Flour (I put plain Oatmeal into an electric mini chopper and let 'er rip until it made powder)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 c Brown Sugar
A sprinkle of cinnamon

And beat on medium-low for a few minutes.  Hooray, you made glop! The oat flour will suck most of the moisture from the mixture, so expect a heavier dough than my usual stuff.

In a small bowl add 1/2c oil, 1 tsp Almond extract (or vanilla) and an egg. Beat em together. Throw that into your mixer and give it the business.

When it's combined nicely add in:

1.5 c All Purpose White Flour

Beat it some more. You should be seeing a doughy paste ball. Scrape it outta the bowl onto a well floured board and start with the kneading. Don't over knead it, but do make sure you get a happy ball of squishy dough. Maybe 5 minutes till you're to the good. Toss your ball into a greased bowl and hit it with some spray grease on top. The dough will feel like decent play dough. Not stiff, nicely pliable and springy. Cover with a moist paper towel and let it rise.

Punch it down in about a half hour or once the dough has doubled in size. Grease everything again and cover with your moist towel before letting it rise one more time.

And then:
Get out a small bowl, add in 1/2 c softened butter, 1/4c Brown sugar and 1 Tbsp Cinnamon. Mix till everything is combined nicely.

Flour your board again and drop the dough bomb on it. Roll it out until it's about the size of your 13 x 9 cookie sheet. Flip the dough once or twice while you're rolling. When you've got a nice even rectangle, spread your buttery sugary cinnamony paste across the entire thing. Grab a long side of the dough and roll till you hit the other side. Goo is likely to squeeze out, so be gentle if you want to keep the goodness on the inside where it belongs. Let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Slice the spiral dough tube into 1 inch thick circles. Lay these side by side on your cookie sheet. Don't crowd em too much, they still have to rise again. Shake a touch of cinnamon across the top. Maybe a pinch of nutmeg too, if you're feeling adventurous.

Time for more rising. Let em go as long as you can hang. If it's gonna be more than an hour, let it rise in the fridge.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Vital wheat gluten is wheat flour without the starch. It's a source of protein. With the super duper almond milk and egg, this should have more oomph than the crap you can find at a donut shop or in a cellophane packet at a convenience store. Almond milk does not have the fat that is in my lovely lovely red cap homo milk. We're robbing Peter to pay Paul with it, though. The buttery center is where we're gonna jam the fat back in.  You can replace the sugar with agave nectar or honey or whatever form of sweetish goodness floats your boat. I'm a fan of brown sugar. Why not have the little tickle of molasses in there to add it's own groove?