Local Meat: venison stew

The son-in-law hunts and got himself a nice buck. I want him to use all the meat so he gives me some. This deer gave me ground venison and stew meat. So I made a stew.

Stews are simply soups with larger cuts of meat and vegetables and less liquid. They are super simple to make especially when using a crockpot.

  • a pound (?) or packet of meat cut into stew sized chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into chunks
  • 6 small potatoes cut into chunks
  • 6 parsnips cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion cut into chunks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water or more to almost cover
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

Throw all this into the crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Voila!

I served this with homemade Sally Lunn bread.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I wanted to bake a cake. I wanted to try something new. I looked at my Soulard Market cookbook and found the 12th street hot milk cake and decided to try it. The first time I made this I halved the recipe. I remember my sister mentioned she uses this recipe. I then called her up and asked if it really called for so little butter. She then reminded me that this is a sponge cake and that she actually uses our mother’s Hot Milk Sponge cake recipe. The key to success, she said, was to aerate the eggs long enough.

I then went to my mother’s recipe notebook and found the Hot Milk Sponge recipe. The ingredients are almost the same as Soulard’s, except the typo in Soulard of “1 teaspoon flour” which most likely is the salt, except it calls for a “dash of salt” later in the ingredient list and it did not say when to add the vanilla. A bit confusing but when I made the half recipe it came out beautifully. We ate that one before taking a picture.

I made the full recipe in a greased 9×13-inch cake pan as directed in the Soulard book. Mom’s recipe calls for an ungreased 9-10 inch tube pan. There is also a difference in directions in putting together the batter. I used the Soulard because I knew that one worked. I have not had much luck with sponge cakes before but this one is going to be a repeat!

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour (or sifted cake flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter per Soulard (2 Tablespoons per Mom’s)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix butter and milk in saucepan or pyrex (for microwave) and heat until butter melts. This takes 1-2 minutes in the microwave. In the mixer bowl put the eggs and beat 5-8 minutes and then slowly add the sugar. This will look fluffy when ready. Now fold in the dry ingredients except the baking powder. I mixed this in on low speed for 30 seconds. Stir in the hot milk mixture. This is where to add the vanilla. Now fold in the baking powder and allow to stand for 10 minutes “to allow the baking powder to expand”.

Pour batter in a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Frost with icing of your choice. My choice of frosting is a super easy chocolate one from a King Arthur Flour sales flyer. Melt one stick of butter in a saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup cocoa and 6 tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in 4 cups confectioner’s sugar. This makes a wonderful fudge like frosting.

Variations: one can use coconut oil in place of the butter. This will give the cake a slight coconut flavor, a very mild one. It using coconut oil in place of the butter in the frosting this will be a stronger coconut flavor. I like the combination of chocolate and coconut. It is one of my favorite combinations.

Vegetable Beef Soup and 60-minute rolls

What is for supper when I’ve used up everything in the produce drawer, the meats in the freezer are too big to thaw quickly, and I have to be at work?  It’s a cold rainy fall day so soup seems in order. But what soup to make with frozen mixed vegetables as the main ingredient? There’s not even a potato in the house!

Building a soup, as my sister says, can be an adventure in creativity.  Here’s what I found to use. I had a half a box of beef broth in the fridge. There were remains of green onions in the produce drawer. I found a bit of ground beef hanging about the fridge freezer. Earlier I had found the ground turkey and mistook it for an Italian sausage, hubby had made sausage and peppers a few weeks before, so it was still in the freezer waiting for a use.

  • Beef broth, enough to cover the ingredients in the crock pot, about 2-4 cups;
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • White ends of two green onions, sliced
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, these had basil, oregano, and garlic seasonings
  • ¼ pound ground beef
  • ½-3/4  pound ground turkey
  • Fresh herbs, parsley and spicy oregano

I sautéed the onion and garlic with the ground meats until the meats were browned. I used a bit of olive oil in the pan as well. I put this and the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot and covered with the beef broth. I set this on low and let it cook all day.

Sixty minute rolls are a staple from the Fleischmann’s Yeast bread book my Mom gave me eons ago. These are a tasty dinner roll that does not take hours and hours to make.

  • 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups of flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages yeast; I use instant yeast which is 3 teaspoons plus a scant bit more.
  • 1 cup milk; I did not have milk of any kind in my refrigerator so I opened a can of evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ stick butter  = ¼ cup

Mix 1 ½ cups flour and next three ingredients in the mixer bowl. Heat the milk, water, and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F). Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add ½ cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make soft dough and knead until smooth and elastic. I do all of this in the KitchenAid with the dough hook. Place in greased bowl and cover; let rise 15 minutes.

At this stage I read that that first rise is to be done by placing the dough bowl in a pan of hot water.  This is news to me! I have been making these rolls forever and have never done that. One thing about making bread and knowing how it works, I apparently mostly read the ingredients, skim over the directions, add up the rising and baking times, and just go about the business of baking bread. So this time I did put the bowl in a pan of hot water mainly because it was a cold and rainy day.

After rising, turn dough out on lightly floured board and shape into rolls as you like. The recipe gives directions for Curlicues and Lucky Clovers. I decide on Lucky Clovers. Divide dough into 24 pieces, shape into balls, put in greased muffin tins, cut crosswise into the top of the dough almost to the bottom.

Cover and let rise for another 15 minutes. Bake these in a 425 degree oven about 12 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

Dinner is served!

Flan…or is it cake?

I got the pan for free at the Dump. You know how some municipal dumps have a “free shack” where reasonable items can be donated for others to take at will. This was my prize find along with a Trivia game of facts from the 1940s through the 1990s which proves to me how much I should remember but don’t!

We like flan. Flan is like custard, crème caramel. I find the pan where it had been hiding in my overfull kitchen cabinet. I have these ingredients. I’m making flan. This will be the dessert for the week, not counting the apple pie made 3 days ago which we have since eaten. 

In making the recipe I do wonder about flour and butter in a custard, but forge ahead. I did not separate the eggs very well so there are two whole eggs with one egg yolk. Otherwise all is as is printed on the pan.

This is a light sponge-y cake. I look up flan on the internet and find some pictures of this pan since the title of the pan is Nordic Flan Pan. But flan is custard. Or cake with custard.  This pan and cake are designed to be topped with fruit, custard, ice cream, etc. I sprinkle this one with powdered sugar for the first taste. The second slices are topped with jam and marmalade. It’s a nice light dessert, but it is not flan!

Soulard Veggie Stew, my way

We got gifted fresh garden vegetables and then got the weekly produce delivery. There were lots of tomatoes and some were eaten in salads and on sandwiches. A big hearty thank you to all the gardeners out there!

Soups and stews are an easy way to use up vegetables. I went through my handy-dandy Soulard Market Cookbook and found a veggie stew. This sounded good so this was the plan for the weekend, along with home baked crusty bread. For the bread I am making a French baguette.

For those interested, Soulard Market is St. Louis’ oldest public farmer’s market operating since 1799. It is a fabulous place to visit on Saturday mornings when visiting family in the area.

Basically vegetable soup can use any vegetables you have hanging about. For this recipe I substituted okra for the eggplant, added a green pepper, used veggie broth for the water, omitted the tomato paste and brown sugar. I used several hefty shakes of a dried Italian seasoning since my basil plant is pretty much useless.

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut in rounds
  • 3 okra, sliced in rounds
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 shakes of salt
  • several hefty shakes of Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups, or thereabouts, chopped tomatoes,
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 4-5 quartered tomatillos
  • about 1 cup broccoli flowerets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

First sauté a Mirepoix of the onion, one carrot, celery, garlic, and bell pepper in a bit of olive oil for about 8 minutes. I chose to cook this soup in a crockpot so I added the potatoes and the other carrot to the pot first. Add the Mirepoix and the other vegetables ending with the zucchini and the broccoli. Add seasonings. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Very nice soup!

(The original recipe instructs to put all vegetables except zucchini and broccoli in a large Dutch oven with the seasonings and liquid and bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Then add the zucchini and broccoli, a can of tomato paste and 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and cook until broccoli is tender.)

More custard, with fall flavors

This recipe is adapted from the Eating Well Magazine print edition Fall 2002.

Maple-Pumpkin Custards with Crystallized Ginger

  • 1 1/2 cups milk; I used half-and-half
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree; freeze the remaining puree for later use.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream and crystallized ginger to serve

For this custard a bain marie is used so put the kettle on to boil. I did not line the roasting pan with a towel, nor did I heat the milk to steaming.

Whisk eggs and syrup until smooth. Add the milk or half-and-half, pumpkin puree, spices and salt. Whisk until blended. Divide between 6 custard cups or ramekins and place in the roasting pan. Pour boiling water to half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least one hour.

This was absolutely delicious. The texture was a combination of pudding and custard in my opinion.

Baking weekend: lemon snack cake

I wanted to make a lemon cake. I wanted to make a lemon cake with fluffy coconut frosting. I wanted to bake something. The grandkids were coming so I wanted something fun so I baked an ordinary banana muffin recipe in the “bug pan”.

Then I got out the snack cake recipe. I’ve made different versions before, https://mykitchenmythoughts.com/2019/06/20/snack-cakes/.

I figured I could make it lemon although that is not one of the options given. Would white sugar be okay instead of brown sugar? I just gave it a go.

So for the lemon cake I substituted all white sugar for the brown sugar. I added 1 teaspoon of lemon flavoring and one teaspoon of lemon zest. I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water, still equal to 1 cup.

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup water, add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to measuring cup then fill to 1 cup with water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. I sprinkled unsweetened coconut flakes on top before putting it in the oven at 350 degrees F. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Looks a paler yellow in real life!

It worked; a moist lemony cake.

Not just another lemon chicken

Hubby has been retired for a couple years now and has “taken over my kitchen!” He does most of the grocery shopping and cooking of weekday meals. At times I miss the planning and prepping for our meals but am also grateful that it does not all fall on me when I come home from work. I am still in charge of the baking and desserts but it is summer and usually much too hot to bake.

This recipe is adapted, but not too much, from Eating Well via my local newspaper’s Flavor section that comes weekly wrapped around all the ads for the grocery stores and more. I look through this for any interesting tidbits about food, wine, and cooking. I read this recipe and realized I had the ingredients, mostly, and chose a weekend day to cook. And had fun doing so.

First gather the ingredients. And chop and mince as directed. And cook the rice.

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and more
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or thereabouts
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 bag of frozen spinach
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice; I used Jasmine rice.
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice and more

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 2 8×8-inch baking pans with oil or cooking spray. One of these will be frozen. Two meals are gotten out of this cooking episode.

Put oil in a skillet and brown the chicken on both sides. Put on plate and set aside. Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Add a little bit of oil and the onions with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook until golden and soft. Stir in spices and cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring. Put on a plate and set aside.

Add spinach to pan and cook until no longer frozen. Then add lemon juice, the remaining salt, and half the onions. Oh, and add the rice and cook and stir until rice is completely coated, about 5 minutes. This has a wonderful aroma and beautiful color.

Divide the rice mixture between the two prepared pans. Top each half with 4 chicken thighs and then the rest of the onions. You will cover one pan with foil and freeze and the other also with foil but to bake.

So at this point I looked at the chicken and was concerned that I did not brown them sufficiently. So I added a touch of oil back into the skillet and browned the chicken again. Then there were nice browned bits on the pan so I deglazed the skillet with additional lemon juice and then poured this “lemon gravy” on top of the chicken in the square pans. Then wrapped one in foil and stuck it in the freezer to be used within one month or so. At that time it is to be thawed overnight in the refrigerator and about 10 minutes added to the baking time.

Bake the other pan at 375 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer. A thermometer stuck in the chicken should register 165 degrees F.

Reviewing this recipe makes me realize it is more fussy with the various “setting asides” and the numerous spices, than I usually go for but this was absolutely delicious and worth it.

Custard

A while back I made custard. I read recipes in my newsfeed and I am not sure where this one originated. The writer talked about adding salt to prevent chewy custard and insure creamy. I’m not sure what chewy custard is like. But what struck me most was that the ratio of cream to eggs is what I have always used to make quiche that Hubby raves about. Taking that into account I was inspired to make custard.

  • 2 cups half-and-half or cow’s milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground nutmeg

Basically it is milk and eggs and sugar. For quiche omit sugar and add vegetables and meat, and cheese if desired. No need for a crust actually. Preheat the oven with a cookie sheet pan to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs slightly with the salt then whisk in the milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into four custard cups/Pyrex/ramekins. Sprinkle with generous amounts of freshly grated nutmeg. Bake in the oven on the cookie sheet pan for 30-35 minutes. It may be slightly wobbly but that’s okay. No need for a bain marie. I was thinking I don’t bake custard pies in a bain marie so let’s see about custard. We ate the custard before I remembered to take a photo.

Crème Caramel

The above picture is the second batch of custard made. This recipe is very easy to halve. For this I made the quick caramel by melting 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauce pan and pouring a bit into each of the four cups before adding the custard mixture. I reduced the vanilla and omitted the nutmeg. A full recipe of the custard would have more depth. But this was a lovely bite of dessert.

potato salad

A week or so ago Hubby was planning to make his mom’s potato salad but found he only had potatoes from the ingredient list. So now I decide to make potato salad and look into the Soulard Market cookbook and find Bevo German Potato alad. Well, I am not cooking 5 pounds of potatoes and really do not want 1 1/2 cups of sugar either. I am adding green beans, just for fun. Here is my version of Green and White Potato Salad!

(I am slicing all of the vegetables with my handy-dandy Rapid Prep Mandoline from Pampered Chef. I try to support my daughter’s business efforts. I like slicing and chopping by hand but this is a cool tool.)

  • about 3 pounds of potatoes, sliced and cooked
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1-2 cups frozen green beans, throw in the pot with the potatoes when the potatoes are almost cooked
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced thin
  • handful of fresh parsley, my herb garden is not exactly flourishing but hasn’t died!
  • handful of bacon, fried, and made into bits
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

I have not cooked potatoes for ages so am not exactly sure how long to cook nor when they are actually done. I buy bacon ends and pieces so that is what I used. Be sure to save the drippings.

Slice all the vegetables except the green beans. Put the sugar, cider, water and bacon drippings into a small sauce pan, whisk, and boil. The original recipe called for flour and reducing this to the consistency of a white sauce. I did not do this. I just boiled it for about 5 minutes.

Put all vegetable in bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. I sliced the potatoes too thin so have a little bit of mush when tossing. But the dressing tastes yummy!

We are having this with barbecued ribs. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and father-like figures.