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Archive for the ‘Recipes for Lazies’ Category

Here at RockStahl Ranch we have chickens that provide us with lots of eggs. That means lots of opportunities to try new things with eggs. Here is a new recipe (patent pending … I wish) for making great tasting eggs that is a combination of fried and scrambled eggs. But the main reason for making the recipe at home is to mess with peoples head and have fun.

First the recipe (scale it to whatever size you want):

2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of milk
1 Glob of seasoning, whatever you can dream of to make it tasty and exciting.

Separate the yolks from whites. I do this with the shell.
Whip the eggs with some milk and your seasoning.
Heat a pan the you would to fry and egg with butter, oil or my favorite bacon fat.
Pour in white mixture and then gently place the egg yokes on top of that.
Try to come up with several clever sayings when you server these to family members or guests.

Here are some starter ideas for when you serve the eggs.
“I left the eggs on the counter for a few days, but I think they are ok.”
“These are bald eagle eggs I bought on ebay.”
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Paprika style eggs. Lots of paprika (mine is freshly ground and a bit orange. I am sure you can get a better red color with store bought Paprika.)

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Pesto Eggs. Great to serve with ham for Dr. Seuss reading marathons.

Now it is your turn. I would love to know and see your creative inspirations, or videos of people’s first reaction to eggs that just don’t seem right. Post or send me pics and I will include them in this blog!

Yes I have neglected this blog for a few years now and it is time to start writing again.

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Straightneck Summer Squash is a better alternative to zucchini

Straightneck Summer Squash wins over zucchini hands down

This is our first year growing straightneck summer squash, and I wonder why it has taken years to discover this absolutely delightful veggie. In fact, I scratch my head wondering why on earth zucchini became as famous as it is today? Because it rhymes with spaghetti? Does anyone have an answer?

This squash is meatier and deliciously creamy unlike its watery flavorless cousin. When stir fried, zucchini tends to get limp, transluscent, and loses lots of water, whereas the yellow straightneck stays relatively firm and almost butter-flavored. The best part is that it is as easy to grow as zucchini, not to mention prolific!

You can use the yellow squash for my zucchini bread recipe , replacing the zucchini with this squash variety as shown in the photo. The bread was a bit denser but still delicious! Next time, I may add about 1/8 cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice just to see what happens when you add a bit more liquid.

As an FYI, we got our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at the Seed Bank in Petaluma, CA.

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Snickerdoodles Recipe

Enjoy warm snickerdoodles with milk, tea or coffee!

This recipe is credited to James Beard, whose recipe book I’ve had since the 70’s. A foodie friend told me that he was not a model of restraint with respect to butter, but that’s just fine with me as we consume probably a pound of butter a week, sometimes more.

These cookies are best enjoyed when fresh out of the oven!

Ingredients:

Sift together and set aside flour mixture:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mix

  • 5 tablespoons raw cane sugar (or granulated white, but raw cane is better)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Butter the cookie/baking sheet.

Cream:

  • 1 cup softened butter till fluffy, then
  • Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat till fluffy. Then add (mix between ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk

Combine well till mixture is smooth and creamy.

Gradually add the flour mixture till well-combined.

Using two teaspoons, put small dollops of snickerdoodle dough about 2″ apart on the baking sheet. It will look like a gooey mess – don’t worry. Then generously sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture on the top. Don’t worry if the sprinkles miss the dough because upon baking, the dough will rise and expand and pick up the sprinkles.

Bake approximately 10-12 min. till the sides of the snickerdoodles are light brown. Depending on the size of the snickerdoodles, this recipe can make up to 6 dozen/72 snickerdoodles! Best served warm.

Enjoy!

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Celeriac soup with red onions and Italian parsley

Celeriac soup with red onions and Italian parsley

Celeriac, or celery root, is one of my favorite vegetables … but my all-purpose kitchen knife must be razor sharp or I won’t even consider it on the menu. This root’s knobby outer layers are a toughie to carve off, not to mention dangerous, with a dull knife. But when you’ve peeled off the hairy outer layers, you’re left with a lovely white root that lends one of the most sublime flavors to soups and purées.

Celeriac

Celeriac

Warning: working with celeriac is a messy business and you may be shocked to see how much of the outer layer has to be sloughed off. But don’t worry, it’s worth the effort. Celeriac soup is truly out of this world.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large (about 4″ diameter) celery root bulbs, cut up in 1/2″ cubes
  • large bowl of cold water w/ juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 – 2 quarts soup stock (chicken or vegetable). If possible, use water used to cook celeriac cubes – see below – and add bouillon.
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • parsley (Italian, vs. curled, parsley somehow goes better)
  • olive oil
  • Blender

Carve off the tough, fibrous outer layer of the celery root till you’re left with a mostly white fleshy bulb. Then cut up the root to make ~1/2″ cubes.  Put cubes in the cold lemon bath to prevent browning. When all the celeriac has been cubed, boil about a quart of water in a medium pot. Remove celeriac cubes from lemon bath, and add to boiling water. Discard lemon bath. Cook for about 20 min. You’ll know it’s done when a fork can easily go through a cube, but take care not to overcook.

Cubed celeriac

Cubed celeriac

Remove cubes from water and let cool in a bowl. Save the water to make your soup stock, as you’ll want to retain that wonderful flavor! I’ll add homemade chicken stock, a few bouillon cubes, or a couple of spoons of “Better Than Bouillon“.

In a soup pot, heat up olive oil and add diced onions. I love caramelized onions and sauté till they’re golden brown. Turn heat to medium-low. Just before the onions are ready, put about 1 cup of cooled broth in the blender and add another cup or two of the cooked diced celeriac. Purée till it’s nice and smooth, like mashed potatoes. Add to pot with onions.

Do this for the rest of the celeriac, always stirring the purée in the mix. When done, add the rest of the soup stock. Adjust the amount of soup stock to get the desired thickness of your soup. Gently heat but do not boil.

Sprinkle Italian parsely (a relative of carrots, celery and celery root in the Apiaceae family) into each bowl before serving. Bon appetit!

P.S. Making celeriac purée in place of mashed potatoes is very easy. Follow the recipe but limit the amount of liquids. You can add cream to give the purée some body. Or add peeled, cubed apples to combine flavors.

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Baked Tilapia with Lemon Verbena & Harvest Grains Blend

Baked Tilapia with Lemon Verbena & Harvest Grains Blend

This incredibly fast, no-brainer recipe works for seafood like halibut, tilapia, salmon (wild Alaskan is better than farmed), sea and bay scallops, shrimp, etc. Lemon verbena is so easy to grow, and versatile, too! Works as an herb seasoning as well as a lovely tea! Make cuttings, plop it in a vase or glass and place it next to your workstation to envigorate your surroundings!

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup
  • Veg or chicken stock, 1/2 – 1 cup
  • White wine (optional; I like sauvignon blancs), to taste.  Let your inner Julia Child emerge!
  • Sweet onion, diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Seafood, about 1 1/2 lbs.
  • Sprigs of lemon verbena
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon verbena is a delightful herb!

Lemon verbena is a delightful herb!

Preheat oven to 400F/204C.  In a large baking dish, mix olive oil, stock, lemon juice, about 1/2 tblspn salt, wine (optional), and about 8 roughly chopped leaves of lemon verbena. Place in oven for about 10 min. to soften onions.

Remove from oven and add seafood, taking care to baste it with liquids and onions. Add a few more chopped lemon verbena leaves, and pepper, to taste. Bake another 10-15 min. or till done (test after 10 min.)  Serve with rice, quinoa, or this gem of a find “Harvest Grains Blend” from Trader Joe’s.  It contains couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa.

Enjoy!

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Maybe it was the temp of 160F or the ammonia gas, but somehow I got the notion that I could cook in the compost bin and had to figure out IF and HOW I could pull it off.

How to get compost pile hot:

A hot compost pile is a delicate balance, and sometimes a freak accident, which is how I got this foolish notion of using it to cook food. It is the combination of ingredients, moisture, mass and air.

  • Ingredients: Entire books are written about the ingredients and ratios for compost. For hot composting, it takes lots of finely-chopped greens. I get a garbage can of grass clippings each week when Odilon, our friendly neighborhood gardener, happily disposes of our neighbors’ grass clippings into our compost bin. Grass is a nitrogen-rich “green” ingredient has to be mixed well with compost “browns” like dried leaves, wood chips, straw (preferably chopped). I have gotten very hot compost with materials like straw bedding from sheep, and mushroom compost (which is woodchip mixture used for growing mushrooms). I keep browns on the side and mix in.
  • Moisture: A balancing act between too wet and too dry. It should be damp. If you grab a handful, you should be able to squeeze a little water out. Others describe it as a damp wash cloth.
  • Mass: A small pile will never be able to get hot. I have gotten hot compost with as little as 2/3 of a cubic yard (3ft x 3ft x 2ft) This is enclosed in a bin which also helps retain the heat.
  • Air: Straw and wood chips also help form air pockets and keep the grass from matting up. Then I turn my pile from either twice a week or every other day to get more air mixed back in. To get hot, your compost pile needs a few days to sit and build up heat.

Why to NOT make compost that hot!

While having a compost pile at 160F/71C is good if you want to cook a meal, it is not as good if you want to use it for your garden. Somewhere above 130F you will start to smell ammonia. This is your compost pile releasing nitrogen into the air. But you want nitrogen in your garden, not in your disgusted SO’s nostrils! When I am not cooking dinner, I add dirt to my compost pile which helps absorb the ammonia and regulates the temp down to 120F. In his book “Gardening When It Counts” Steve Solomon has an excellent discussion on composting, and how dirt acts like the cooling rods in a nuclear reactor to control the process. He recommends compost piles to be about 5% dirt, and I probably end up at this amount when I keep adding dirt to cool it down.

What else could you do with compost at 160 degrees?

Beleive it or not, there are REAL trials being run on how to use compost heat being used on a farm. It’s a large PDF file to download, but really worth reading and very educational.

There were many other questions about this video that were asked on Twitter. If you want me to go into more details on other parts of the process, please add a comment and I’ll be happy to answer your questions, including (heaven forbid) post the recipe.

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For breakfast or tea time, maple walnut scones are a hit!

For breakfast or tea time, maple walnut scones are a hit!

This maple walnut scone recipe is a significantly-modified Joy of Cooking scone recipe. Scones can sometimes taste like dry icky biscuits, and it took quite a bit of experimentation to finally get it just as we love it, so we hope you’ll enjoy it, too!  I am writing this exactly as I prepare the scones. Scroll down to see the ingredients.

Grease and flour a cookie sheet.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 425F or 218C.

In a small bowl, combine egg, heavy cream, maple syrup, and imitation maple flavoring (Alas, the maple syrup alone does not give it enough of a maple “zing” to come through!). Set aside in fridge.

In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  I use a dry whisk to mix it well.  Take butter out of fridge and cut up in little 1/2″ cubes; add to flour mix.  Once all the butter is cut up, I use my fingers to work it in the flour until the chunks are mostly broken up and incorporated in the mix.  You don’t need to go crazy to make this completely homogenous.  You just want to break up the butter, but do take care to keep the butter cold or the scones will not rise properly.

Add nuts to flour mixture and mix in with fingers till blended.

Make a little well in the center of flour/nut mix.  Pour in the egg/cream/syrup mixture that you took out of the fridge.  Set this small bowl aside as you may need it again (read on). With a large spoon, blend the liquid and dry ingredients till most of the liquid is taken up.  Do this gently as overworking the mixture will yield hard scones.

Now with your fingers, continue blending the liquid and dry ingredients till you’ve cleaned up the bowl of any dry clumps.  Gently work the ingredients together into a nice ball of dough, taking care NOT to knead the dough as you would with bread.  Kneading yields hard scones 😦 If your dough is too dry and won’t stick together, dab it along the inside of the small bowl that contained the wet ingredients to moisten it up.

On a floured surface, gently flatten out your ball into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and ~1/2 ” thick.  This may take a few “flips” of the dough to get it just right.  You’ll want to keep adding some flour to prevent it from sticking to the surface.  Cut up the circle into 8 triangle wedges as you see on the photo.

Place the wedges about 1/2″ away from each other on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 min. till scone is slightly brown on underside.  The scones should have risen at least 2x its pre-baking height.

While baking, prepare the glaze.  Mix the confectionary sugar, imitation Maple flavor, maple syrup, vanilla flavor till well blended.  Add 1/2 teaspn of water at a time till you get a nice viscous mixture, similar to ranch salad dressing.

When scones are done and still warm, brush the glaze over the top of each scone. I found a really cool silicone brush which does a great job and cleans out beautifully.

Serve warm with your favorite beverage.  ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose or pastry flour
  • 1 tablespn finely sifted baking powder (caked baking powder will NOT work, so I put it through a small mesh strainer like those used for teas)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespns brown sugar
  • 6 tablespns COLD butter.  Leave in fridge until ready to use!
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup; keep extra maple syrup (about 1 tablespn) on side to make glaze
  • 1 1/2 tablespns imitation Maple flavor (from McCormick)
  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts
  • GLAZE:  1/2 cup confectionary sugar, 1 teaspn. imitation Maple flavor, 1 teaspn. vanilla extract or imitation vanilla flavor, 1 tablespn. maple syrup, a little water to add 1/2 teaspn. at a time

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