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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

The snow continues to fall and we are nearing a foot of accumulation! Weather reports are calling for another 4-6 inches overnight! I can’t get over it! The snow is falling so hard we cannot even see across the road!  The satellite TV is out which is fine because there probably isn’t anything on anyway.  Richie spent most of the day playing chess online, which he enjoys and doesn’t get to do very often.  I spent most of the day reading and cooking.  I made homemade brown beans and made soup out of half of it and refried beans out of the other half along with homemade tortillas and dirty rice.  We are saving the soup for tomorrow but had the bean burritos today.  They were warm and yummy and perfect for this cold day!

Brown Beans (Soup and Refried Beans)

1 lb. Pinto Beans (soaked over night)
5 slices salt pork, chopped (you can substitute bacon)
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
1 jalapeno, chopped
6 cups of water
Salt
Pepper
Ground Cumin
3 Bay leaves
Oregano

In a large pot cook onion and salt pork until the onion is just starting to cook and the pork is just starting to render some of its fat.  Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook a minute longer.  Add beans and the water.  Add each of the spices to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on a low burner for several hours until the beans are soft and cooked through.  When cooked to your liking, remove half of the beans with a slotted spoon and put them in a frying pan over low heat.  Use an immersion blender to whip the beans to a desired consistency.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender or food processor.)  If beans are too dry, spoon in some of the cooking liquid from the soup pot.  Serve the refried been with homemade tortillas.  Enjoy the soup with a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Homemade Tortillas

2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs. butter
2/3 cups water

Melt butter and water together in the microwave.  Combine all ingredients in a mixer.  Need the dough for about two minutes by hand and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes.  Divide the dough into 12-18 pieces depending on the size of tortilla you are needing.  Roll each piece into a thin round.  Cook on a DRY skillet over high heat until light brown blisters begin to form. Flip and cook on the other side.  Stack on a towel lined plate.  These can be put in the fridge and reheated either in the microwave or in a skillet.

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I got to meet Adam Gertler today! You may remember him from Season 4 of the Food Network Star. He was the runner-up. Well now he is the host of a show called “Will Work for Food”.  In this show he goes around the country learning different food jobs.  Today he came to Mountain View, Arkansas to the annual Bean Fest to learn how to make beans.  We got to watch him put together a pot of beans while they were filming.  During a break I asked for a picture and he was happy to do it. It was pretty cool and I look forward to watching the show.  We were in the crowd and might even show up on the Food Network when it airs!  Cool!

 

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I won a blue ribbon at the county fair for my Butternut Squash.  The coolest thing is that it grew by accident. I had given my chickens some butternut squash seeds last winter.  They must have left a few behind cause I had a few plants growing. I got about 12 squash.  This one won a blue ribbon!

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Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl

Over the Summer I read the books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child.  Of course when the movie came out I convinced Richie to take me to see it.  The previews were funny enough but after being put through hours upon hours of the Food Network I’m certain Richie must have dreaded it just a little bit.  It turned out to be one of the best movies I have seen in a long time.  The story flowed well between Julie and Julia and Amy Adams’ and Meryl Streeps performances were spot on and hilarious.  And the food!  Oh the food looked delicious. 

After seeing the movie Richie bought me a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 and suggested that I try some of the recipes.

Two weeks ago I cooked the famed Boeuf Bourguignon with brown-braised onions and sauteed fresh mushrooms.  For sides we had cracked new potatoes (an Amy Finley recipe) and Asperges a la Beurre au Citron (Aperagus with Lemon Butter, a Julia Child recipe).  For desert I had made Le Marquis which is a chocolate spongecake with Creme au Beurre, Menagere which is a butter cream frosting with powdered sugar.  The meal was absolutely divine but literally took hours to prepare and I began to think that this French Cooking thing was not for me.  The results were fantastic and the process was enjoyable but the amount of dishes at the end was daunting to say the least.

It seems as if each recipe in this book is several pages in length and references at least two other recipes or techniques in the book. The opening sentences of the cookbook read,

This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistline, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.  Written for those who love to cook, the recipes are as detailed as we have felt they should be so the reader will know exactly what is involved and how to go about it.  This makes them a bit longer than usual, and some of the recipes are quite long indeed.

WOW! She wasn’t kidding.  I think I have grasped and understanding of why French Cooks/Chefs are so talented and the french methods are coveted by so many chefs.  While labor intensive and long, the culinary knowledge you gain from cooking a single recipe can a turning point in your cooking skill.  The recipes aren’t about putting together food items as much as they are about getting to know the ingredients, building an understanding of how they work together and learning to combine technique and flavor in an effective and tasty recipe. 

After two weeks of rest and cooking food that was good but not great I decided it was high time to break out MTAOFC again and see what treats I could whip up.  I had a beautiful whole chicken on hand and some juicy looking pears from the farmers market that I knew I wanted to use.

For the meal I decided on Polet Roti (Roast Chicken), Puree de Pommes de Terres a l’ail Roti (Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes) and Choux de Bruxelles Etuves a la Creme, or Creamed Brussels Sprouts.

For dessert I made Tarte Aux Poires a la Bourdaloue. 


Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl

The tart crust is a Pate Sablee or sugar crust.  Basically it is similar to a sugar cookie only a little less dense.  The Pears are poached in Red Wine.  The recipe calls for Bordeaux Wine but I had Chianti so that is what I used.  After poaching the pears are removed and the wine sauce is reduced until it is thick and syrupy.  It is then mixed with jelly(the recipe calls for red currant but I used strawberry) and brushed over the crust.  The wine reduction takes on a deep earthy grapey taste that is amazing.  The crust is then filled with a chilled Frangipane, or almond custard, and then topped with the sliced poached pears.  I also toasted some slivered almonds to decorate the edges.

French cooking isn’t easy but the tastes are pure and amazing.  It takes time and patience and is even better if you can convince someone else to wash the dishes.  And the best part is sitting down to a meal with the ones you love, knowing you are eating good food that was made with love.

Please Note all photos are Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl.  Please do not copy or use these photos without my written permission.

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Unless you have been accused of a crime I think most people enjoy seeing themselves in the paper. I have been in the paper quite a few times in my life.  My birth announcement was probably the first time, then as a small child I appeared in the paper trying to choose between two Easter dresses.  In high school I was in the paper several times for band, soccer and musicals.  I even was in the paper after I received a Rotary Club award.  Two summers ago I was filmed for the HGTV show That’s Clever.  The show still hasn’t aired but I was still interviewed by the local paper and had a nice article written.  My highlight of celebrity in the news was the year my picture appeared in TIME magazine! YUP!  That was REALLY cool.  But this summer my picture made the paper twice! I thought I would share these.

Here I am at the Farmers Market in Searcy.  During the summer I helped out at the CAFM booth every Wednesday.  Now that school is back in session I cant anymore and I miss it terribly! (I’m the one in the pink Certified Farmgirl t-shirt!)

This picture appeared in the Statewide paper on Thursday.

I am the one in the Blue Dress.  The Chesapeake Energy Company along with the Thea Foundation donated $1500 worth of art supplies to 19 high schools in our area.  This is the second year my school has received a donation from Chesapeake.  Working in a small rural school district makes adequate art supplies hard to come buy.  The annual art budget is very small and I often end up spending much of my own money to purchase things for my students because many of them cant afford to buy it themselves.  This donation will help minimize that need this year so I am extremely thankful.

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I didn’t forget! I swear! Yesterday and Today have been bizarre days to say the least.  My project for yesterday was another food project but I didn’t get started on it until after 8:00 last night.

Richie and I decided to go to Little Rock yesterday to do some clothes shopping for the upcoming school year.  Monday was our first “teacher day” of the year.  We don’t have to go back again until next Tuesday but when we do we are in it for the long haul so Monday was a stark reminder of why we look forward to summer break and that it was once again coming to an end!

So after hitting the gym we hit a few highly-overpriced boutique stores and then the mall.  We grabbed lunch at BlueCoast Burrito where I DEVOURED a Veggie Burrito! YUM!  I had to pick up something at Micheal’s for my day 5 bit of creativity and then we stopped at Sam’s Club.  We also needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a tube for my bicycle tire and some canning jars.  We finally made it home around 5.

Did I mention that after a summer of unseasonably cold temperatures(80’s) and amounts of rain for Arkansas that we finally hit upper 90’s with typical high humidity? Well it was a scorcher and I was ready for the pool when we got home.  I spent about an hour floating around before it was time to get out and take care of my farm chores and fix my bike.

Well it turns out the problem with my bike is the actual tire and not the tube so that project is tabled until I can get to a bike shop!  It was just after 8 when I finally went inside to relax.  And then I remembered 30 Days of Creativity/Trying something new and realized I had yet to do anything for the day.

I wracked my brain and all I could come up with was Zucchini Bread.  I know, LAME!  But I have 4 HUGE Zucchini left over from the farmer’s market that I need to use.  So I perused the internet and found a suitable recipe for two loaves which called for TWO CUPS of grated Zucchini.  I thought “GREAT, this’ll get rid of my Zucchini!” HA! Think again!  My huge zucchini are so huge that ONE alone yielded 3CUPS OF SHREDS!!!! Yeah!  So now what?

Well I made the bread and threw in the extra cup of shreds which proved to be fine.  The bread is delicious.  I ate a piece last night and one for breakfast.  I froze the extra loaf.  But now the dilemma is what to do with the 3 remaining gigantic zucchini!

But my night didn’t end there.  I’m finally relaxing on the couch and there is NOTHING on TV!  Finally Richie puts it on the WE network which is airing some bizarro show about Mail Order Brides.  The show end and a new episode comes on this time about “Free Love”.  TOTALLY WACKO!  Had to be the weirdest thing I have ever watched!

Anyway, 12:00 rolled around and it seemed like going to sleep was the thing to do.  Only when I got in bed I couldn’t sleep.  The moon was full and right outside my window and even with the shade down it was seemingly light enough to read a book.  After tossing and turning for and hour I went into the living room to sleep on the couch.  I watched a rerun of Friends and two reruns of That 70’s Show only it was the dumb ones after Eric leaves.  Finally around 2:30 I got back into bed.

5 seconds after I fell asleep I was awoken by my dog Lily nudging at my feet.  Now here is the thing about Lily.  She HATES thunderstorms.  But as long as she is inside and not out in the storm she is content UNLESS there happens to be a Tornado Warning.  She is like our own personal Doppler radar unit!  Seriously, every time I wake up with her nudging my feet there is a warning. 

The satellite was already on the fritz from the torrential rain so I pulled up the Weather Channel App on Richies iPhone and discover that there where TWO Tornado Warnings piggybacking our area until 4 AM! SO, I am back out of bed, gathering pillows and blankets to put in the bathroom, consoling, the dogs and cats, looking for shoes and flashlights, and trying to convince my husband to get out of bed and come “cuddle/huddle” in the tiny bathroom with me.  He opts to stay in bed stating that he should have time to make it to the bathroom if he starts to hear the ROAR! MEN!  So I “cuddle/huddle” with the cat and play games on Richies iPhone until just after 4 when the storm finally slows down.  I crawl into bed now realizing that it is Farmers Market day and I have to get up at 5:50!

At 5 am I am awoken once again to torrential rains and thunder.  Lily isnt at the foot of the bed so I figure I am okay so I toss and turn until the alarm goes off at 5:50.  I shut it off and decide to lay in bed for two more minutes.  Well as you can imagine that didnt happen and I didnt wake up again until 10:54!

I’ve missed the market, I slept horrible and I cant breath.  I decide to go blog about day 4 when I come in to find that DSL is down due to widespread power outages in most of the state.  So instead I veg on the couch for a few hours.

And that brings me to now! I know I live such a sad pitiful life!  My camera battery is dead so I have no pictures yet of the Zucchini Bread (day 4) or of my wine glass charms which are the project for day 5. 

I knew all of you mysterious people out there in cyberland were just dying to know what happened to me.  I have reported and HOPEFULLY later I will be back with pictures!

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Well for today’s activities I am trying something new!  In my garden this year I planted some banana peppers.  Mine are mostly small and my crop hasn’t been very good, but a friend was OVERLOADED with them and passed a big plastic bag full of them to me.  So I decided I would can some pickled peppers!  I love gettingbanana peppers on sandwiches at deli’s but they just aren’t something I would think of to buy for at home. I figured, I have jars, I have vinegar, I have peppers, why not?!

Last night, in preparation, I surfed the internet for a pickled banana pepper recipe.  Let me tell you there are HUNDREDS of them out there!  A lot of them called for sugar but I wasn’t really looking for a sweet pickle.  A lot of recipes were similar to one you would use for bread and butter pickles.  A lot were similar to recipes that you would use for dill pickles.  I just wanted something plain old pickle-y.

Finally I came across the site Canning Pantry where there was a recipe for Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers.  It was just the recipe I was looking for!

Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers by Jerry Ziehm

Sliced Banana Peppers
1 tsp. salt per jar
2 tbsp. olive oil per jar
1 quart white vinegar
3 quarts water

In a large sauce pot add water and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Slice peppers and add peppers, salt and oil to each jar.  Pack tightly.  Add hot liquid to jars.  Process jars 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*I added a glove of garlic to each jar for a little extra flavor.

So – only time will tell if this is a good recipe or not.  I canned 6 pints.

Also – I just picked up the lasted issue of Mother Earth News.  I love this magazine.  It is one of my favorites.  I really need to subscribe.  I was flipping through the pages and saw a tip for making homemade grape juice.  My husband loves grapes and I had an extra quart of Mars Table Grapes on hand from my friend Joy at the farmers market.  I decided to give it a try. The tip is on page 38 and is sent in by Suzanne Mullins of Charlottesville, Virgina.  She says that you can put 2 cups of grapes into a quart jar, add a cup of sugar, fill with boiling water and process 10 minutes in a water-bath canner.  After six weeks you strain out the liquid and mix with an additional quart of liquid for 2 quarts of juice!  WHO KNEW! So I gave this a try too! I will report back in about 6 weeks to let you know.

Here is a picture of todays bounty!

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