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Figgy Jam

5 Nov

Figgy Jam

For the first 12 years of my life I lived across the street from a huge fig tree.  I remember picking them up off the ground and then throwing them at my playmate.  These bright green pods with lots of little seeds were collected and preserved every year by my love grandma Angie.  Her parents built a giant Victorian house right off of Union Ave (now it’s MLK Blvd) during the  late 1890’s.  This house had a giant cellar and a giant willow who’s branches we used to swing from for hours.  After the death of Angie and her sister Barbara, eat time I bit into a fig it took me right back to their home.

Last year I was biting into a fig newton and I instantly knew the next recipe I wanted to bake.  Too bad figs were out of season at the time, but not for too long.  I know that there is a cool website for the Portland area where people list fruit trees and other veggies that are on Public and private property.  You are able to go to these sites and respectfully collect fresh produce that would go to waste.  I will blog about this site later:)  I found lots of fig trees, but decided to hit up the Farmers market instead.

The figs that I found at the farmers market were bright shades of green and most of them were ripe or soon to be.  I paid $2.50 for 7 large sized figs.  Too fill up a jar you will need 12-16 of these, so it can be quite spendy.  If I was not planning on putting my jam in a small batch of newtons, I would have found a tree:)

My jam turned out great.  It has an earthier and better flavor then the over sugared store bought jam.  I also decided to leave it a bit chunky and not cook it down to a thick dark brown jam.    I loved the fresh flavors, texture and colors that it gave the jam!

Ingredients

1 cup Mashed figs
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Water

Directions

Combine mashed figs, sugar and water.

You can use your stove top on a low to medium heat, stirring often.  Or use a crock pot.  Cook until desired thickness.

Cool and use as filling ore spread on some crackers with fresh goat cheese. Yum.

*If you plan on canning this jam use safe preservation methods.  Or you can simply make this freezer jam.

Immature figs

Figs growing on tree

Beef n’ Barley Crock Pot Stoup

2 May

Beef n Barley Stoup

Beef and barley has always reminded me of dirt.  But in a good way.  I love how this soup tastes so earthy and fresh.  There is nothing like a hearty bowl of root veggies and some grains to make you feel warm on a brisk day.  Or for me, after a long day with the sled dogs!  This soup is great for a big group as this hearty Stoup (stew/ soup) has the yummy broth of a soup, but the heartiness of a stew.  This goes best with a crusty loaf of fresh bread.

Winter is over for us and I don’t think I have had my seasons’ worth of this hearty soup, so here we go!

Beef n Barley Crock Pot Stoup

1-2 pounds of stew beef.
1/2 lb. dry barley
2 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. sliced celery
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 (16 oz.) can cut up tomatoes
1/4 c. snipped parsley
1 tbsp. instant beef bouillon granules
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried basil, crushed
5 c. water
Cut beef into cubes, brown on all sides, and drain well. In crockery cooker place carrot, celery, green pepper and onion. Place beef on top. Combine undrained tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt and basil. Cover.Cook on low heat 10 to 12 hours. Remove bones if used. Skim any fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip-If you like your stoup on the creamier side, go ahead and stir it a few times while cooking.  This incorporates the starch from the barley through out the dish and thickens it up.  This is my favorite way.
If you like your stoup with more broth and more soup like, DO NOT STIR.

Garlicky Baked Parmesan Fries

28 Feb

The best fries ever!

The best fries ever!!! And how did I come upon this great potato recipe?  I saw a version of these fries on a few different blogs, spun a few different ways.  One lazy and hungry night I wanted corn dogs with fries.  I  had the dogs but not my favorite bag o’ freezer fries.  On this night, I decide that I was no longer going to let the lack of a freezer food to prevent me from catering to my craving.  So what did I do?

I made the damn fries!!

And I have never bought another bag of frozen fries since:)

The recipe for Garlicky Baked Parmesan Fries

Ingredients

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (The drier the better crunch)

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Cut your potatoes into wedges and put them in a microwave safe dish with cover and vent or steam bag for about 4 minutes.  Next I mix my garlic and oil together and microwave for about 1 minute to infuse the garlic a bit.  Take 3 tablespoons of your garlic oil(no garlic bits, they burn) and spread it on the bottom of your baking sheet.  Next toss your garlic oil with your potatoes.  Now toss the rest of your dry ingredients with your wedges and lay out on baking sheet. Pop these bad boys in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping the wedges over at 10 minutes. Take them out and let the cool for about 5 minutes if can, before devouring the best fries you have ever had:)

*If your sheet does not have sides reduce the amount of oil by 2 1/2 tablespoons or else the oil will drip onto the burners and smoke your place up!

Honey Corn Dog Bites with Garlicky Parmesan Fries

23 Jan

Can we say "yummy in da tummy!"

If you have kids or a man, this is the recipe for you!  And for caloric purposes, the corn dogs can be baked or fried.

I am personally a huge fan of convenience food.  There is nothing better than a night out and then coming home with your friends and continuing the party at your pad.  And if your freezer is stocked with what I call “freezer eats,” then you should be able to pull out at least one of the following to satisfy your friends and help soak up the booze:

A frozen pizza, burritos, taquitos, bread,  fries, jalapeno poppers, cookie dough, and corn dogs.

And if you don’t have at least one of the listed items, then I highly suggest you start cleaning up your place so that your friend’s will feel welcome to come over and eat:)  And while your at it re-evaluate your budget, because eating out all the time sucks and its expensive.  But coming home with a buzz and no food even sucks worse!

That is why my first recipe post on this blog will be my boyfriend’s and my favorite, corn dogs!  He seriously survives on these when I leave town:)  We love the crispy sweet outer dough and of course the dog inside.  The convience of taking a few out of the freezer and popping them on a baking sheet with a hand full of fries is wonderful.  However, until the economy took its grip on my food budget, I never realized how expensive my favorite box of corn dogs were.  Eight bucks for some dogs and dough didn’t settle right in my belly or on my budget.  So instead, I bought some really good beef dogs that were on sale for $2.00 and came in an eight pack.  And I knew I had some boxes of Jiffy at home as a back up to use if I didn’t have enough cornmeal.  So that night I got home, made some batter, heated my oven and a pot with oil to make the best corn dogs I have ever had!

And here’s how:

I was having a very hard decision deciding whether I wanted to baked the bites and make them healthier or fry them the good ol’ fashioned way.  I couldn’t make up my mind so I did both to see which I would like the taste of better.  The verdict is below:)  My hypothesis was that I would like the baked ones better since I am not a fan of fired foods and the smell of the oil hanging out in my kitchen for a while turns my stomach.

For the batter (adapted from Martha Stewart’s baked dog batter):

3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting sausage

1 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoons Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 cups of milk

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

8 precooked smoked sausages or dogs of your choice

Ketchup and mustard, for serving (optional)

*If you don’t have these items but have a couple boxes of Jiffy Cornbread, this can be your batter.  But remember to make the batter thick so it can stick.

Directions for baking:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cayenne and black pepper. Add eggs and oil. Slowly add half of milk to batter and blend. Then slowly add enough milk until batter is like a very thick pancake batter. Mix just until combined.

Take your dogs out of the packaging and slice into any desired size. The smaller your pieces the more bites you get.  Since I was baking this batch and had bun length dogs I decided to keep these a bit longer and cut the dogs into thirds.  That’s 24 dogs from an 8 pack.  Dust with flour; tap off excess. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spoon batter to coat evenly. Place on sheet; bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using a spatula, reapply batter that has slipped on to the sheet. Return to oven; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

baked dogs

Directions for frying:

Fill a heavy pot or deep skillet with an about an ich and a half of vegetable oil.  Heat until 375 degrees.  Since I am not using a deep fryer and not using sticks I decided to keep my hot dog pieces small.  You can get about 8 pieces from most lengths of dogs.  Gives these pieces a light dusting of flour so that the batter can stick.  I like to dump my cut up dogs in the batter and then fish them out with a spoon to be placed in the hot oil. Place a few pieces in your oil and quickly turn these as they will take about a minute or less to brown.  Place on paper towel to cool. *If you are having trouble getting the batter to stick, place the dogs in the oil for a several seconds and take them out to cool for a minute.  Now reapply more batter and finish up the fry.

Freezer Instructions:

Allow corn dogs to cool to room temperature then place on a baking sheet and freeze.  Once they are fully frozen, put them into freezer bags.  Reheat them at 400°F in the oven for about 15-20 min.  Serve with ketchup and mustard, an enjoy.

The verdict of bake vs. fry:

To be honest I love each of them differently.  The baked dogs taste like a baked corn bread roll, with a dog and kept a healthier flavor without the oil.  But there is nothing like the crispy taste of the sweet fried corn dough that comes with oil.  So my choice would be the bad one, of course:)  Enjoy!

And what about those Garlicky baked Parmesan fries?  The recipe is an adaptation from The Purple Foodie that is to die for.  But I have decided to save that for the next posting, as the fries do in fact stand-alone.

The best fries ever!