I’ve bought a pressure canner to do some canning this summer, and one of the things I want to can are what I call complete meals. That is, they have everything in them for a complete meal. I’ve also been wanting to play around with some spice mixes that came my way: berbere and Ras El Hanout.
Berbere is Ethiopian and there are possibly thousands of variations. The one I got is not as hot as some, but does pack some nice warmth if not heat on top of some interesting flavors. Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend (though an Algerian-born acquaintance swears it is Algerian). It has a little bit of warmth to it, and some amazing and exotic (to American palates) flavors.
I’d experimented a small bit with them, when the idea of doing a stew popped into my head. Thus, I did a trial run this weekend and have very much enjoyed the results.
I started by cutting chicken thighs up into cubes, coating them with olive oil, then hitting them with salt, pepper, and a healthy dose of the berbere mix. They went on skewers and into my smoker at 350 degrees to roast.
While that was going on, I diced up a yellow onion and began sweating it in the pot. Once it got where I wanted it (translucent for the most part, bit of caramelization), I added in dice portobello mushrooms, diced zucchini, and diced fire-roasted tomatoes. I then added salt, pepper, and several tablespoons of the Ras El Hanout mix.
Most of the chicken then came off the skewers and into the pot. No, not all of it as I did some quality control, in fact a bit more than normal as it was very, very good. Once in, I let it simmer for a while.
I had it for dinner last night, and it was delicious. Rich, full of flavor, and a decent amount of heat that helped the other flavors pop without being too hot if I share any of it. Three containers (potentially up to six single servings) in the freezer.
The only thing I think I would do differently is to add crushed/minced garlic to the onion as it was sweating. The garlic should work well with both spice blends, and add a bit more depth to an already rich dish.
For now I’m calling it Moroccan stew, but since it is a blend of Moroccan and Ethiopian, need to come up with a better name. Maybe next time inspiration will strike with a name to go with the recipe.
In a bowl, beat the 8 eggs until well blended. Then add honey, any extracts or spices or nuts, salt, and the baking soda and beat until thoroughly mixed. Then, add the almond flour and beat until smooth. Then add the arrowroot and beat until the mixture is smooth. Then add the coconut flour and repeat. Add water to get the desired consistency.
Cook in a skillet on the stove in coconut oil. Makes 10-12 pancakes.
It has been a wet and wild Saturday. The rain started yesterday and was a bear. Today has seen yet more rain, winds, and other delights. Good news is, only small limbs down in the yard and no flooding here — though I am hearing of flooding elsewhere in the Indy area.
Given the weather, I only made one stop when shopping. They were out of one thing I wanted (adobo sauce), so I modified my plans a bit.
In the slow cooker, I have put down one layer that was a large white onion sliced fairly thick. On top of that went about a dozen boneless and skinless chicken thighs. On top of that went two cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, along with one can of mild and one can of medium enchilada sauce. On top of that went another large white onion that was sliced thick.
Tomorrow morning will tell the tale if this worked as I wanted. Even if not, I hope to get something tasty as the temps are to drop next week. Hoping to have tasty, somewhat hot, chicken with lots of good onion to eat here next week (or so).
I went non-traditional this year, and did a nice ribeye steak seared in a brown butter sauce. Deglazed the pan with some vermouth, then threw in a mix of mushrooms to sautee in the deglace and brown butter sauce. Added a little more butter, a bit of balsamic, and had a very tasty treat. More soon, had to go out of state on Boxing day for business, going to see where today takes me.
Sorry to be away so long, but the allergic reaction set me up for catching the upper respiratory bug that is going around. Better, but still fighting it. That said, I did manage some decent food for Thanksgiving. Smoked a turkey breast that I had injected and coated in chipotle butter. Enjoyed it that day, along with cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and a keto-friendly chocolate mousse made with coconut cream. After freezing some packages of sliced turkey, chopped up the rest and mixed with mushrooms, goat cheese, broccoli, cheddar cheese and fresh mozzarella (and other delights) and put up four helpings of turkey hash. Then, I made stock out of what was left of the smoked turkey breast, and boy howdy did it turn out great — smokey flavor, flavor from the turkey, plus some of the spice came through as well. Put up one container of it, then used the remaining (after a bit of reduction) to make soup out of the leftover broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach — after adding a mix of mushrooms as well. Blended it, added some cream and sharp cheddar cheese and got some amazing soup. Other than that, have been trying to do as little as possible and focusing on getting well. Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.
Ingredients: 3 large cans white or green asparagus 2-5 hardboiled eggs 1/2 -1 cup grated cheese 1.5 cup cream sauce 1/2 cup blanched almonds (sliced or slivered) 1.5 T butter 3 T flour pepper salt 1.5 cups hot milk
Directions: Cream Sauce for Asparagus Supreme Melt butter and add seasoned flour and stir until well blended. Gradually add hot milk while stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil for 2 minutes. Add cheese just before pouring over the asparagus.
Slice eggs. Add grated cheese to the cream sauce. Place alternating layers of asparagus, sauce, eg, and almonds in casserole and bake 20 minutes at 350-375 degrees, or until golden brown.
Options/Extras: First, I always double the cream sauce, and more than double the cheese. What is above is NOT doubled.
Use good cheese in the sauce, and I had great luck using real smoked cheese as a part of the mix. I used some good sharp cheddar, a real smoked cheese, and one other type (can’t remember, used what was in at the cheese store) to add flavor.
Also, I prefer to use the sliced almonds, and to toast them a bit beforehand. Adds to the flavor and the crunch
Realized that this is one of several recipes I need to get re-posted.
Pepper Jelly has been an important part of Christmas for as long as I can remember. In the summer, Dad raised bell pepper and hot peppers in our garden, and come the fall he (and later we) would make pepper jelly — usually two or three cases of it — to give at Christmas. To say that family and friends looked forward to it is an understatement, and so did we. It was not unusual for Dad and myself to polish off a jar (along with a block of cream cheese and most of a box of Ritz crackers) “testing” it to be sure it was good.
Dad’s recipe has been semi-guarded for some time, but I have decided that now is the time to share it with the world lest it be lost. One of the things that has helped make this year a good Christmas for me is that I grew hot peppers (the drought was not kind to the bell peppers) and made a batch and have shared it with family and friends. It is good to continue some traditions, and so I share this one with you.
Hardware: Large pot Cutting Board Knife Food gloves Large pourable container Strainers (I use at least two, one medium one fine) Jelly Jars Measuring cup additional container Jar funnel Canner
Ingredients: 1 cup finely chopped hot peppers 1 cup finely chopped bell peppers 13 cups white sugar 3 cups apple cider vinegar (use only real!) Green food colouring 1 box Certo
Dad used, and I use, a mix of hot peppers. Usually about half a cup are home-grown jalapenos and the other half are home-grown small Thai peppers. This year, I used home-grown Thai, jalapeno, habanero, and one home-smoked jalapeno. It is not necessarily the heat, but the flavors that count. That is also why you need to be sure to use real apple cider vinegar and not the artificially flavored stuff that so many places try to pawn off. Always read the label…
Trust me: use food gloves while handling and chopping the hot peppers…
Prepare jelly jars and lids per directions. I run my jars through the dishwasher with heat-dry on, and it is an excellent sterilizer.
Put all ingredients except Certo into a large saucepan/stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil, cut off the stove, and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain into pourable container, add about three drops of food colouring and the packets of Certo. Stir well without adding a lot of air, then pour into the jelly jars. A uniform green colour lets you know that everything is well mixed. There is usually a bit left over, so pour into spare container to let set and serve as your “proof” batch for taste-testing. Seal. Dad could always get them to seal as is, but I never have so I bring a canner to the boil and can for about 10 minutes.
Realized recently that I have not restored a lot of recipes from the old site, and that the weather is getting right for chili. So, here are three recipes for your enjoyment.
Beanies are for Weenies, Not for the Faint of Heart, No Guts No Glory, Feel the Fear and Eat it Anyway Road Kill Grill Chili (submitted with permission)
1/4 cup Castrol GTX 10W/40 1 pound freshly flattened opossum 1 pound aged armadillo bellies 1/2 pound squashed skunk 1/4 pound pulverized jack rabbit 1/8 pound finely ground crow 1/8 pound minced little old lady (When doubling the recipe, continue to use 1/8 of pound; little old ladies are a little tough, stringy, and gamey. If gamey, soak in a little Jim Beam.)
OR 3 pounds sirloin or top round, diced into 1/4 inch cubes 3 large onions 5 cloves garlic 2 freshly chopped jalapenos 1 tablespoon paprika 6 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon extract of sweaty gym socks (cumin) 1 teaspoon oregano 15 ounces tomato sauce 1 cup rainwater 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cayenne 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Freshly crushed black pepper Tabasco™ to taste
Brown meat. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for at least 3 hours.
Laughing Wolf Road Kill Grill 2 pounds sirloin, in cubes 2 pounds pork, in cubes 3 large onions, chopped small 8 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped 2 freshly chopped jalapeno peppers 1 freshly chopped habanero pepper 2 chipotle peppers, chopped 1 T smoked paprika (use regular hot if no smoked) 6 T chili powder 1T cumin 1 t mexican oregano 15 ounces tomato sauce 1 t chipotle powder sea or kosher salt to taste (start with 1t, go from there) fresh ground black pepper to taste pinch cinnamon (use up to 1t) 1 cup water 5 T Worcestershire sauce Tabasco™ to taste
Brown meat. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for at least 3 hours. To increase heat, increase fresh peppers.
Carne Adobava Hardware: LARGE mixing bowl Food processor or blender Large spoon Knife Oven, preheat to 375 degrees
Ingredients: 1 lb dried hot NM red chili pods 1 lb dried mild NM red chili pods 20-40 peeled cloves of garlic (Go High) 2 large onions, cut into wedges 4T Mexican oregano 2t Kosher salt Water
Working in batches, place dried pods on a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet and warm for a couple of minutes in the oven to make them pliable. Remove stems and place in food processor or blender along with a small amount of water, some garlic and onion, and a bit of the spices. Pulse until smooth, adding water as necessary to get a slurry the consistency of heavy cream. Combine all batches in a very large mixing bowl and divide into thirds for freezing. Sauce should keep for six or so months frozen. This should make 1-2 gallons of sauce.
Take one third of the sauce and place in a pot/crockpot. Add in 3-4 lbs. cubed pork, recommend loin, about .5 inch to 1 inch. Simmer for 3-8 hours.
A friend asked for the recipe, as she had lost her copy and couldn’t find it here. That needs to be fixed…
This is a cake I do on special occasions, both because it can be a bit pricy to do and because too much of it can be deadly. Enjoy.
Recipe by C. Blake Powers based on version from the Death By Chocolate TV show
Items Needed: Mixer cake pans wire racks double boiler or boiler and stainless steel bowls whisk spatula fork spoons knife
Cake Ingredients: 4T + 1t unsalted butter 1/4 cup + 1t all purpose flour 3 whole eggs 3 oz. unsweet. choc. in pieces 2T unsweet. cocoa 1 C gran. sugar 2 oz. semisweet choc. in pieces 1t baking powder 1t vanilla 1/2t salt 1/4 cup sour cream
Optional ingredients: Chocolate Chips nuts
Cake Directions: Preheat oven to 325o. Coat a 9-inch cake pan (round) with unsalted butter. Measure dry ingredients (2nd column, above) together then sift to ensure complete mixing and uniformity.
In a double boiler, melt butter over medium to medium-low heat. Add chocolate and allow to melt. If you are in a rush, dump it all in at once and let it melt. I’ve noticed no difference in texture, etc. for doing it this way. This is called a chocolate liqueur.
As the chocolate is melting, break the 3 eggs into a medium to large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Then add 1 cup of granulated sugar. Whisk until well blended. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and whisk again. If you eyeball the vanilla and use more, it does not matter.
Mix melted butter and chocolate together, remove top part of double boiler being sure to wipe the bottom of the pot to prevent any condensation/water from getting into the chocolate or the mix. Pour chocolate liqueur into egg mixture and whisk to blend. When well mixed, add dry ingredients – whisk slowly at first to keep from spreading dry ingredients all over kitchen. When this is mixed, add in sour cream and repeat whisking. Once all ingredients of basic recipe are blended, then add optional to your taste. I find 1/3 bag of semi-sweet chips is a very good add to the mix.
Pour final mix into greased pan. Place in oven and bake for app. 40 minutes. If additional ingredients are used, you may need to increase baking time by 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cut in half.
Filing: 1 cup of toasted, crushed (food processor) hazelnuts. These are best if toasted and peeled a day or two ahead of time and soaked in some brandy or Frangelica hazelnut liqueur. Use at least 2T.
Icing (Chocolate Ganache):
Icing Ingredients: 1.5 cups heavy cream 3T unsalted butter 3T granulated sugar 12 oz. semisweet chocolate in .5 oz. pieces—I find 14 is better and will make icing darker. Up to 18 ounces can be used if desired. I also recommend doubling the recipe to ensure enough for decorating and proper glazing of cake.
Icing Directions: Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Bring cream, sugar, and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Keep a ladle in the pan to prevent boiling over and the creation of messes. Pour boiling cream mix over chocolate pieces. Whisk together until chocolate is melted and ensemble is completely mixed.
Reserve 1 cup of mix for decorating. I strongly suggest refrigerating it for at least 1 hour. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup of mixture with hazelnuts. Again, I strongly suggest refrigerating it for at least 1 hour until almost firm. Reserve remainder for icing finished cake. This can be placed on top of sauce pan containing water. Said pan can be placed on low to keep icing fluid while other parts are chilling/firming.
Denouement: Place bottom layer of cake on wire rack located over catch-pan. Spread chocolate-hazelnut mixture on bottom layer of cake. Then place top layer over hazelnut layer. Pour liquid ganache over the cake using ladle to direct and ensure that top and sides are completely covered. Refrigerate until ganache has set. Icing in pan can be added to that reserved for decoration. FYI, cake does not have to be decorated as glaze is what is presented in fine restaurants. If you want to decorate it, do what makes you happy.
Variations My favorite is to bake two cakes and make the final cake either two- or four-layer depending on humor of the moment. This will require all ingredients, especially the ganache, to be doubled.
In place of hazelnuts, use raspberries. Run a bag of frozen raspberries through the food processor. Take 1 cup of the processed raspberries and soak them in 2T to 1/4 cup (or more) of Chambord raspberry liqueur for up to 24 hours. Then mix them with 1 to 1.5 cups of the icing mixture and refrigerate until stiff. Then use in place of hazelnuts. For decorating, rinse and drain 1 pint of fresh raspberries and soak them in Chambord. Place these around the top of the cake. You can also place a few around the bottom for effect. If you want to be really decadent, place a chocolate chip in each of the firm, fresh raspberries.
The ganache can be much improved by adding additional chocolate, of the bittersweet and bitter chocolate varieties.
As I work my way back into writing, and especially blogging, I hope to do more reviews. What would you like to see in terms of food, drink, and cigar reviews (other than just seeing some finally go up again)? Let me know.