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Recipe – Hillbilly Schnitzel

Irish Woman bought what she thought was half a boneless pork loin the other day, but it turned out that it had been cut into chops.  Those would have been tasty, but putting them in the crock pot with the package of fresh sauerkraut that she also bought would not have worked.  So, I tried my hand at making schnitzel.

Ingredients

Pork loin chops, 1 inch thick.
3 to 6 eggs, beaten.  Number of eggs will depend on the number of chops
4 cups of seasoned flour, either store bought or homemade.  I used Kentucky Kernel
4 tablespoons of seasoned flour
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms
Bacon grease or butter
1 quart of beef broth

Using a meat hammer, pound each chop until it triples in diameter and is between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick.

Heat up a large skillet.  Melt enough of the bacon grease or butter to cover the bottom of the pan.  Equally divide the seasoned flour into two shallow dishes large enough to hold one of the flattened chops.  Coat a chop in one dish of flour, then dip it into the egg, then coat it in the other dish of flour.  Pan fry in the grease until both sides are browned and the chop is barely cooked through.  I was able to do two chops at once in my pan, but your mileage may vary.  Put cooked chops into a covered baking dish and place in a warm oven to keep hot.  Melt more butter or bacon grease in the pan prior to cooking each round of chops.

Once all of the chops are cooked, melt more grease in the pan, then add the onions and mushrooms.  Saute until the mushrooms are cooked and the onions are soft and translucent.  Sprinkle in the four tablespoons of seasoned flour, and stir to allow it to soak up all of the fluid in the pan.  If you like, you can allow this mixture to brown a bit in the pan.  Deglaze the pan with the beef broth, and stir until the flour is dissolved into the broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy is just about as thick as you like.  It will thicken a bit more after you shut off the heat, so don’t overcook it.  Season to taste, but make sure you taste.  The flour will add a lot of salt and other flavors.

Serve your schnitzel with the mushroom and onion gravy, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut, along with your favorite vegetable, a good crusty bread, and your favorite beverage.

Dinner Tonight

Ingredients

4 to 6 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large white onion, peeled and coarse chopped
2 large stocks of celery, chopped
2 quarts homemade chicken or turkey broth, or four cans of store-bought chicken broth
1 pint white mushrooms, thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
Preferred spices (salt, pepper, whatever)
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
4 to 6 cups uncooked egg noodles or frozen dumplings.  If you’re feeling luxurious and decadent, use cheese-filled tortellini or ravioli.

Combine chicken, onion, broth, mushrooms, and garlic in crock pot.  Add spices to taste.  Set on low heat in crock pot and allow to cook for 8 to 10 hours while you’re at work.

Put vegetables into a pot of cold water and heat until they are thawed.  Drain thoroughly and put into crock pot.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for one hour.

Prepare pasta in a pot of boiling water until they are just short of al dente.  They should still be quite chewy and not ready for consumption yet.  Drain thoroughly and add to crock pot.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for half an hour.

Season soup to taste.  Serve with fresh bread or biscuits.  Makes enough for several meals, and freezes well.

Variant – Substitute one quart of tomatoes and peppers (either homemade or Rotel) for one quart of broth, substitute 2 cups of cooked rice for the pasta, and garnish with corn tortilla chips and avocado.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

Ingredients

4 cups leftover plain white rice, cold
2 cups coconut milk (Look in the organic foods cold case at the grocery store.  I didn’t know they sold it by the half gallon either.)
2 large eggs, beaten
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pudding to be
1/3 to 1/2 cup amaretto or bourbon, depending on your tastes

Combine all ingredients but the rice in a 6×6 baking dish.  Add the rice and mix thoroughly.  Make sure you break up any clumps of rice as much as you can.  Place dish in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until the top browns and the rice absorbs most of the liquid.  Allow to cool and serve.

Possible additions – Raisins and/or toasted coconut.

Tomato Jalapeno Jelly

The garden is winding down, and while a few things are still producing, we’re coming to the end.  I took a swing through and picked a bunch of things last night, and found this to match what I got.  Here is my variation on the recipe.  I was looking for something a little tarter and more savory, but didn’t want to make homemade Vegamite.

————————-

Ingredients:

16 cups of quartered tomatoes
5 to 10 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you want this to be
20 to 25 jalapeno, cerrano, and thai chilis, or whatever you like and get from the garden or market, with the stems taken off and cut into 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices
1 large sweet white onion, quartered
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
8 whole cloves of garlic
2 limes, cut into quarters, peel and all
Salt to taste. I used about 1/4 cup for the batch.
12 tablespoons classic pectin

Prepare jars and lids according to directions for a water bath.  This recipe made two pints and 10 half pints.

Combine all ingredients but the pectin in a large soup kettle.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain first through a course collender into a large bowl, then through a find sieve back into the large soup kettle.  Bring back to a rolling boil, then measure off two cups of the juice.  Mix the pectin with this juice, then mix back into the rest of the juice.  Continue to boil for three minutes.

Ladle into your prepared jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar.  Use a hot, wet towel to wipe the rim and threads of each jar, then close hand tight.  Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Recipe – Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups cold water
10 pounds or so of fresh, firm apples, whichever variety you prefer.  We used the kind-of granny smith’s off of our neighbor’s apple tree, which just ripened this week.
4 cups of sugar (you probably won’t use all of it)
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Put the lemon juice and water into an 8 quart kettle.  Peel, core, and slice the apples, and put them into the kettle.  Make sure they get a coating of the water-lemon mixture.  This will prevent browning.  Once the kettle is just about full of apples, put the kettle onto the stove.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring regularly, or until the apples start to fall apart.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Using a potato masher or similar instrument, mash the apple mixture to your desired level of smooth versus chunky.  Stir in 2 cups of the sugar, then taste.  It will probably be quite tart, depending on the variety of apple you used.  Sweet apples will require less sugar than tart apples.  Add the rest of the sugar in 1/2 cup increments, tasting after each addition, until the apple sauce is at your preferred level of sweetness.  Season to taste with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Put the kettle back onto low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

This recipe made 8 pint jars and 2 quart jars of apple sauce, which were canned in a water bath.  Total time was approximately 2 hours, including the time it took prepare the jars for canning and can the applesauce.

Campout Venison Stew

Ingredients:

3 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into one inch pieces.
5 pound bag of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch coins
3 large onions, coursely chopped.
Whatever seasonings you like.  I used Canadian Steak Seasoning (dried garlic, coarse salt, and coarse pepper) and some Essence
1 to 2 pounds of venison roast, cleaned of connective tissue and cut in to 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes.
1 cup of seasoned flour
2 12 ounce bottles of your favorite beer.  I used a nice wheat beer for this batch, but anything that’s not flavored with fruit will work.

Open both beers.  Enjoy one while you cook, but set the other one aside for the moment.

Parboil the potatoes.   Drain when they are almost fork tender and set them aside.

In a large soup kettle, fry the bacon until it is just about cooked crisp and most of the grease is out of it.  Add your onions and fry them until they start to become transparent. Season to taste.

Put the venison in a container that has a lid.  Pour in the seasoned flour, put the lid on the container securely, and shake the flour and venison for a minute or so.  Dump the flour and meat into the soup kettle with the onions, and scrape as much of the flour that sticks to the sides and bottom of the container into the kettle as you can.

Brown the meat in the bacon grease and onions.  A lot of the flour will stick to the bottom of the kettle, but scrape it off as much as you can.  Do not let it scorch.  Adjust heat as necessary.

Once meat is browned, pour in the beer you aren’t drinking and use it to dissolve the flour that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and carrots, then add cold water until there is about an inch of water above all of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often.  Taste the stew and season as needed.  The seasoned flour will have quite a bit of salt in it, so go easy on what you add.

Once the stew starts to thicken, shut off heat, cover with lid to the kettle, and let set for five to ten minutes.  The stew will thicken a bit more as it sets.

Goes well with biscuits or fresh bread and another cold beer.  Feeds a small army.

Dinner Tonight

DaddyBear’s Beef Stew

Ingredients

Butter, bacon grease, or olive oil, whichever you prefer
1 pound stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Seasoned flour (flour, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, black pepper, whatever you prefer)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large onions
6 to 8 large potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 to 6 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into 1/4 to 3/8 inch coins
1 bottle of beer
3 cans of beef broth

Put potatoes in a pan with water and bring to a boil.  Shut off heat and drain when they are almost fork tender.

Steam carrots until almost fork tender.

In a large pan, heat your fat.  Use enough to thickly coat the bottom, but use a bit more than you think you’ll need.  Add onions and saute.  Run stew meat through the flour, shaking lightly to remove excess.  Put meat into pan with onions and mix thoroughly.  Dispose of excess flour.  Some of the flour from the meat will stick to the bottom of the pan, and all of the fat will be absorbed.  Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Once the meat is browned on all sides, pour in the bottle of beer and deglaze the flour from the bottom of the pan.  Add beef broth.  Bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add potatoes and carrots and continue simmering for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Stew is ready when the broth thickens and the potatoes and carrots are tender.  Serve with fresh bread or biscuits.

Pasta and Mushrooms in a Spiced Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 cups of al-dente cooked pasta.  I used elbow macaroni, but use whatever you prefer
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups of coursely chopped mushrooms, whichever variety you like
  • 1 to 2 cups of spiced flour. I use Kentucky Kernel, but there are regional brands and blends in most grocery stores
  • 2 to 3 cups of milk
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh peas, boiled or steamed to preferred doneness.  Steamed broccoli florets would probably be a good substitute/addition.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzerella or cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and bacon fat together and roll the pan to coat the bottom.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion begins to soften.  Add mushrooms, mix with the onion/garlic mixture, and cover.  Stir occasionally.  If the mushrooms soak up too much of the fat, add more, but sparingly.  Once the mushrooms cook down a bit and give up most of their moisture, stir in the flour one or two tablespoons at a time.   Once all of the liquid in the pan is absorbed, stop adding flour, but continue to stir until the mixture starts to form doughy balls that are starting to brown on the bottom of the pan.  Add milk one cup at a time, stirring constantly, until all of the dough is floating and starting to dissolve into the milk.  The resulting sauce should be runnier than cream gravy, but thicker than milk.  Stir in the peas and pasta, then transfer all of it to a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Spread the pasta into an even layer in the pan, then sprinkle the cheese over the top.  Put into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  This will cause the cheese to melt and toast, and the pasta to soak up any excess liquid in the sauce.  Let stand 5 minutes after taking out of the oven to let the cheese cool down from “lava” to “edible”. 

This went really well with the baked turkey breasts we had with it last night, and should compliment just about any meat dish.  The spiced flour adds enough salt, pepper, and other flavors that I didn’t add anything else, but the sauce can be adjusted to fit any taste.  It isn’t exactly health food, but it is a great side dish.

Dinner Tonight – Spanish Rice

Ingredients

2 cups white or brown rice
4 cups water
Salt

Olive Oil
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped fine
2 jalapeno peppers, cleaned and deseeded, then chopped fine
2 bell peppers, cleaned and deseeded, then chopped fine
Chili seasoning to taste (Choose your favorite or make your own)
1/2 pound ground beef (optional)
1 dozen roma tomatoes
1 dozen canning tomatoes (Big Boy or Better Boys were used tonight)

In a saucepan, combine rice, water, and a couple pinches of salt.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil.  Shut off heat and leave covered until rice has absorbed all of the moisture.  Note – Nothing smells worse than scorched rice, so as soon as it comes to a rolling boil, shut off the heat.

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil, then add onions, peppers, and chili seasoning.  If desired, add meat as well, but this dish is great without meat.  Cook until onions are soft.

While that is cooking, clean the tomatoes.  Cut off the stems and butts, then chop.

Add tomatoes and all resulting juice to the onion/pepper mix in the frying pan.  Cook at high heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the tomatoes have broken down.  There will be a lot of juice.  Shut off heat and add cooked rice and mix thoroughly.  Rice will soak up most of the juice in the pan.

Goes well as a side dish or as a main dish with sliced fruits and vegetables.  Makes enough to feed a small army, so either have a lot of hungry people or be prepared to freeze leftovers.

Chicken and Mushrooms in a Tomato-Cream Sauce

Ingredients

2 large Vidalia or white onions, chopped fine
1 pound white mushrooms, or your favorite variety, coursely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
10 to 15 roma tomatoes, coursely chopped
1/2 to 1 pint heavy cream
Olive Oil

In a large saucepan, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add onions, mushrooms, and garlic.  Saute until the onions soften, then add chicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until chicken is browned. Add tomatoes and mix well.  Cook until the tomatoes fall apart.  There will be quite  a bit of juice in the pan.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by about 1/3.  Add cream until the sauce is a light pink.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce cooks down about 1/3 and darkens a bit in color.  Serve over rice or pasta.

One of the benefits of taking vacation but staying home is that I get to cook.  Usually, I get home too late to make dinner during the week.

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