Friday, October 30, 2015

Blueberry Whiskey Crumble

Blueberries and whiskey... yes please!  I like to keep frozen fruit on hand to make smoothies with or throw into some Greek yogurt.  I usually only have one bag at a time, but somehow I ended up with two open bags and a whole bag of blueberries.  So I just decided to make a crumble with them.  I still had a bunch of Piehole Pecan Pie whiskey sitting around after making the Liquored Up Leftover Pie Pops (which you could use with this blueberry crumble!)

I'd been thinking about the movie SLC Punk, so I decided to use a song from the soundtrack - The Suicide Machines' cover of "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden".  -jen

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  50-55 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Serves:  9
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
  • 24oz frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (optional - I used Piehole's Pecan Pie Whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
*1 tablespoon of corn starch will leave your filling still a little runny - not soupy, but not gelled.  If you're looking for a firmer, gelled filling, use 2 tablespoons of corn starch.  Everyone has their own preferences! 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with non-stick spray, particularly up the sides.

In a food processor, combine oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and cubed butter.  Pulse until combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, cranberries, corn starch, cinnamon, whiskey and vanilla.  Pour into prepared baking dish and spread them into an even layer.  Spoon crumble topping evenly over blueberries, then gently press down with your hands to lightly pack it.  Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes, topping will be golden brown.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes so the filling can set.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed pumpkins rock!  I'm definitely one of those annoying people that look forward to everything-pumpkin in the fall.  I'd never stuffed a pumpkin until a few years ago and it's become one of my most favourite autumn dishes.

We have a recipe for a sweet Apple and Oats Stuffed Pumpkin, but we also enjoy doing savoury stuffed pumpkins, so I thought it was time to get a recipe up!  This stuffed pumpkin was so delicious.  While I chose wild rice and sausage, you can really put anything you like in one!  Change up the meat and use chicken or shredded beef.  Change up the grain and use barley or white rice.  Add nuts - try dried apricots instead of cranberries.  Try a theme - Mexican, Italian, Moroccan, Chinese...

How about The Hollowpoints - The Sickness.  -jen

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Bake Time:  60 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy to Medium
Serves:  about 6
  • 1 pie pumpkin (like a Sugar Pumpkin or a Winter Luxury)
  • 5 links maple sausage 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil + 2 teaspoons, melted
  • 1 small carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cups)
  • 1 large stalks of celery, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small green pepper or poblano, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 apple, diced (like a Gala or Fuji) (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced (1 tbsp)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (1 tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (brown sugar would be a suitable substitute) + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper + a pinch
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cups cooked wild rice (recipe below)  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Like carving a jack-o-lantern, cut the top of your pumpkin off and scoop the inside and the base of the lid clean.  (Save your seeds and make Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds!)   Discard the insides, keep your lid!  Make sure you get all those stringy pieces out... it's worth the extra effort to make it totally scraped clean.  Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausages through.  Set aside.  In same skillet with the remaining sausage fat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and the carrots, cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the onion, celery, and green pepper.  Saute about 5 minutes, until vegetables become tender.  Add the apples, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, cranberries, salt, pepper, curry powder, sage, cinnamon, marjoram, and red pepper flake.  Cook another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.

Once cool, dice the sausages and add the sausage and the rice to the vegetable mixture.  Add 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp salt, pinch of pepper, 1/4 tsp curry powder and 1/4 tsp of sage to the inside of the pumpkin, .  Using your hands, massage oil and seasonings all over the inside of the pumpkin, as well as on the bottom of the lid. 

Stuff the pumpkin completely full with the stuffing.  Place the lid back on the pumpkin and place on a sheet
pan.  Cook at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour.  A sharp knife should slide easily through the skin and the flesh if the pumpkin is cooked thoroughly.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

Place on a serving tray.  Remove lid.  Slice wedges and serve.  Don't forget to slice the pumpkin meat off of the lid, too!

If you have leftover stuffing you can serve it on the table with your stuffed pumpkin for folks who want extra.  You can make an egg scramble out of it (which we did!) or use it as a side dish for your dinner the next evening.

Cook Time:  45-60 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage (optional)
In a large sauce pan, combine rice, broth and sage.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes and check.  You'll want about half of the kernels to split open (they'll look lighter in colour)... could take up to 60 minutes.  If there's any remaining liquid, drain it off.  Fluff with a fork.

Note:  Wild rice will triple or quadruple once cooked.  1 cup may yield 3.5 - 4 cups.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Liquored Up Leftover Pie Pops

Apple Crisp and Piehole Pecan Pie pops

I made some apple crisp the other day and I had just a little leftover.  I was going to eat it, as is, but it would have been a pretty small serving.  Looking in the fridge, I was inspired!  I always have plain Greek yogurt because I like to make berry smoothies - I make a double batch, pour a glass for myself, then freeze the rest so I have some froyo later.  I had that in mind when I decided to make these frozen yogurt pops!

Really, I think it'd be delicious with just about any kind of sweet pie (if you want to make yourself savoury, meat pie yogurt pops, you go right ahead!) and you can come up with a plethora of delicious liquors to put in them!

The punk rock stylings of Street Dogs with "I Got Drunk".  -jen


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
I used a stick blender with mine
Makes: about 2 cups - I got 4 pops out of them 
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of leftover pie (about 1 slice)
  • 1 shot of alcohol (or a 50ml bottle) - I recommend Piehole's Pecan Pie Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sugar if desired
Using a blender, combine all of the ingredients.  (I like to leave a little bit of chunky pie bits in there instead of blending it completely smooth.)  Taste mixture.  You may need to add some sugar, depending on how sweet your pie and/or liquor are.

Pour into pop molds and freeze for several hours.  If you don't have pop molds, just use a cup and stick a straw in it for a handle.  You can get all MacGyver if you need to!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pozole Verde de Puerco (Green Hominy Soup with Pork)

Maiz blanco (white maize/hominy)
Pozole... a Mexican soup with a history of human sacrifice.  If that doesn't make you want to eat it, I don't know what will! 

According to Wiki, "...pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions...on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human.   After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it 'tasted very similar', according to a Spanish priest."

Pozole garnish
Pozole is made with corn (maiz) that is treated in an alkaline solution, a process called nixtamalization.  Wiki also says, "Maize subjected to the nixtamalization process has several benefits over unprocessed grain: it is more easily ground; its nutritional value is increased; flavor and aroma are improved; and mycotoxins are reduced.

Justin decided to go with pork instead of long pig for this recipe and it was delicious!  Garnishes for pozole vary - we used cabbage, radishes, green onion, cilantro and lime.  I've also had it with salsa and/or sliced avocado.

Sticking with the theme of eating people, let's listen to this cover of a song I knew growing up - The Meteors covering "Little Red Riding Hood" (originally done by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, and I think it was titled "Li'l Red Riding Hood"?)  Anyway, I dig this cover.  Eat pork, not people.  Unless you really want to - I'm not the boss of you.  -jen

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  about an hour, including simmering
Difficulty: Medium
Makes: about 2.5 quarts
  • 1 pound country-style pork ribs, cubed to bite size
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
    Pozole ingredients
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced (half of a large onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced (about 2 large ribs)
  • 3 large fresh tomatillos, diced
  • 1 large jalapeƱo, seeded, de-veined and diced
  • 1 large green onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 12 cups (1.5 quarts) pork broth (or chicken broth if pork isn't available)
  • 28oz can pozole (hominy), drained
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • shredded cabbage
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • green or white onion, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges
Country-style pork ribs
Put cubed pork in a large Ziplock bag and add salt, black pepper, paprika and cinnamon.  Massage bag to distribute seasonings evenly over meat.

In a large stock pot, heat butter over medium-high and add seasoned pork, browning on all sides.  Remove and set aside. 

In the same pan, using the pork drippings, add onion, celery, tomatillos, jalapeƱos, green onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper.  Saute until vegetables are tender and translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Once vegetables are cooked, add broth and hominy and the browned pork.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer about 40 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in 1/3 cup cilantro.

Serve hot with cabbage, radishes, green onion, cilantro and lime juice on top of each serving, or serve on the side for folks to add their own.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Apple Hooch

Several years ago while spending Christmas in Phoenix, we'd tried a homemade alcoholic apple beverage that we all decided to call "hooch" for lack of knowing what it was or how it was made - it was just gifted to someone.  Everyone at the house loved it and we went home, determined to figure out something comparable!

So we came up with this recipe... and it's awesome!  I'm not really an alcohol drinker myself, but I can get behind this hooch!  Last year, we made a big batch and gifted them out.  This year, we've made a big batch already... and gone through 3 bottles ourselves, heheh.  I think we're going to have to do another batch up if we want to give any away.  Why we didn't get a recipe posted last year, I have no idea.

This would be a great treat to take to any houses you visit for the holidays!  Or to have for your company if you're hosting holidays.  Justin's family is expecting to visit us for Christmas this year and I have a feeling they will now be expecting apple hooch!  We better save a few bottles!

I just said to Justin, "What tunes do you want to use?"  He said the Buzzcocks, and then when I began looking something up, he goes, "Wait!  Have we used Tiger Army's "In The Orchard" yet?"  Haa!  Apropos.  -jen

Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, star anise
Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cool down time 
Curing Time:  3 weeks 
Makes:  5.5- 750ml bottles (about a gallon and a quart)
  • 2 large whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 8-10 allspice berries
  • 5-7 whole cloves
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 gallon of fresh pressed apple cider
  • 1 large bottle (750ml) Everclear, 151 proof 
Place whole spices in a large stock pot and warm over low heat until they perfume, 3-4 minutes.  Add apple cider and sugars; stir until dissolved.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temp (a few hours).  When cool, add the Everclear and stir to combine.  Strain out the spices and pour into glass storage containers with tight-fitting lids.  Store in a cool, dry place for 3 weeks or longer.  (It gets smoother the longer you let it sit.)

Local Cider
Serve cold over ice (we keep the bottle in the fridge once we open one), or warm up and add a little Tuaca to it (vanilla brandy).  You could totally make it mulled (we find pre-made mulling spice in our co-op's bulk spice aisle).  Justin even speculated that it would be tasty in a sangria!  If you warm it up, don't "cook" it too long or you'll cook out the alcohol!

Note:  We did the conversion of alcohol content once the cider was added, and it comes to about 12%, which is comparable to most wines.  If you wanted less alcohol, you could substitute 80 proof vodka for the Everclear and you'd get a hooch that's about 6% alcohol, which is more like an ale.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Skillet Potatoes with Shallots and Lemon

My mother-in-law (Justin's mom) had shared a recipe she saw on Facebook for skillet potatoes.  They reminded me of our Accordion Potatoes, only sliced all the way through and in a cast iron skillet.  I really liked the concept and wanted to give it a try.  Anything in a cast iron skillet is delicious!  But I wanted to combine what I was doing with the Accordion Potatoes... so I decided to add shallots and lemon.

They came out delicious!  Sort of pretty, as far as presentation goes... but the taste!  Man!  So delicious!  The lemons were thin enough that they sort of candied and you could eat them, rind and all, a fantastic flavour along with the potato and shallots.   The potatoes had so many different textures... some on the outside were as crispy as potato chips, the tops crisped up great, the bottoms were just tender, delicious, seasoned potatoes.  I loved this dish, and I am not a lover of potatoes! 

I chose some Off With Their Heads for this recipe - "Nightlife".  I dig this band.  I swore I had used them before on a recipe, but I can't find anything... so here we go.  -jen 

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  75-90 minutes
Serves:  6
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 3 large baking potatoes, skin on (we used russet)
  • 1 tablespoon Caldo de Pollo (dried bouillon - optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (if you don't keep bacon fat, you can just use 2 more tbsp of butter)
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • one-gallon-size Ziplock bag
  • 12" cast iron skillet
Before baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat bottom and sides of cast iron skillet.

Using a mandolin, thinly slice shallots, lemons, garlic cloves and potatoes.  (If you don't have a mandolin, just make sure you slice everything super thin... like a potato chip.)  Place the sliced potatoes into the gallon-size Ziplock bag.  Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, Caldo de Pollo, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.  Seal bag and use your hands to move the potatoes around and really mix it all up, separating all the sliced pieces so everything gets coated.

Arrange one layer of potatoes around the outer most edge of the skillet.  Once neatly arranged, carefully intersperse 1/3 of the lemon and shallot slices between the potatoes.  Repeat with a second and third layer inside the first.  Once the skillet is full, sprinkle the garlic slices over the top.  Melt the butter and the bacon fat (about 30-45 seconds in the microwave).  Pour all across the arranged potatoes.  I sprinkled a little more salt and pepper over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 75 minutes.  Using a fork, test by piercing the center potatoes.  The fork should easily pierce the potatoes when cooked through.  If there's resistance, bake for another 15 minutes and fork-test again.  Baking times may vary since potato sizes vary and how tightly you arrange them - if your potatoes were bigger than mine, it could take up to 90 minutes.  Just keep fork testing every 15 minutes after the first 75 minutes.

When potatoes pass the fork-test and are golden brown, remove from oven and pour the lemon juice over the top while hot.  Serve hot (we served it with homemade pesto over the top).

Topped with homemade basil pesto

Before baking