"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing"~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Blog

I have started a new blog : Homecookinginmontana.blogspot.com
Check it out....this one for now has retired:) The same recipes with quite a few more added....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Easy Breakfast Potatoes

Easy breakfast potatoes... We love having potatoes for breakfast. On Saturday we like to have a real breakfast...eggs, potatoes, bacon/ham, fresh garden salsa, coffee, orange juice and maybe something sweet(not always). I like making these potatoes first as it takes about 4o-45 minutes in the oven to bake. It gives me plenty of time to set up the table while they are baking as well as make the rest of the menu. I like to use these potatoes as well in egg burritos. These potatoes are versatile .... they do very well as a side dish for lunch or dinner.


2 large russet potatoes, diced
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp dried dill or parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
2- 3 tsp salt (I use kosher... a bit less if you regular salt)

tip: you can make them spicy if you like by adding a few chile flakes.

Preheat oven to 425 deg.

Peel and wash potatoes. Dice potatoes in small cubes (about 1/2 inch thick).
Place in a medium bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat all potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix.
Place potatoes in a single layer in a 13x9 pan.
Bake for 40 -45 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Almost No Knead Bread

Crusty Bread.... I love crusty bread! And to be able to make it at home...who would have thought!
I was introduced originally to the NY Times "No Knead Bread" by my sister. She had tried it at home and had awesome results and was thrilled to share it with me. Well, Cooks Illustrated came up with their own "Almost No Knead Bread Recipe" that I had to try! It is a bit more easier than the New York Times and yet different...The crust still has a nice crunch, it is easier to chew,has a softer and finer crumb texture which I like. Both are great ....the NY Times version is just a bit more rustic than the Cook's Illustrated method.Well, today I had to start on it as I was curious to see the final product. Boy, was I ever pleased!!! I really, really like it! I hope you will try it as well.There is a really neat video you can see at breadtopia that shows you how to accomplish this wonderful bread step by step. Just click on their link and enjoy! http://www.breadtopia.com/cooks-illustrated-almost-no-knead/

I really like the fact that you can add all sorts of ingredients to vary the breads. I did 2 breads at one time. One I left simple the other one I experimented a bit with... I added sesame seeds, dried onion flakes,poppy seeds and Parmesan cheese (things I had around the house).

This recipe makes you look like a professional bread baker!! I hope you will try it as well...you will be pleased with the final product. I listed a White flour recipe as well as the Whole Wheat recipe in case you prefer to try both. I did both of my breads using the White Flour recipe.

White Flour Recipe:
3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour

1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager (or any beer)

1 Tbs. white vinegar

Whole Wheat Recipe:
2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose or bread flour

1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 tsp. salt2 Tbs. honey (I used 2 Tbs. raw sugar)

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager(or any beer)

1 Tbs. white vinegar

Note: The beer can be non-alcoholic.

In a large bowl add flour , yeast, and salt. Mix well.

Add water:

And then add the beer and vinegar.

Mix well to incorporate all the dry ingredients with the wet.

Form into a ball and cover with a plastic wrap.

Let rise for 8-18 hrs in a 70 deg warm place. (I placed mine in the oven).

Flour your working place(countertop) and place the risen dough bread onto it. It is at this point you may want to add seeds, cheese etc. as you knead the dough 10-15 times being careful not to deflate all the bubbles in the dough. It is a soft dough...don't put all your strength into it.

Form into a ball and place on a lightly greased parchment paper lightly grease the top. Add any toppings (or omit if doing plain) and cover with plastic. Let rise for 2 hours. Score with a sharp blade 1/2 inch deep and sprinkle with some flour.

After 1 hour and a half hour has passed preheat the oven to 500 for 35 minutes with the Corning ware in it.

Place bread with parchment in hot corning ware. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool and Enjoy a slice or two!

Basic Baking Instructions: For both these recipes, preheat your oven with Dutch oven Corningware (which I used) inside to 500 degrees. Reduce temperature to 425 when the bread dough goes in and bake covered for 30 minutes. Then remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the internal bread temperature reaches about 200 degrees. ( I baked mine for 10 more minutes as I prefer a lighter crust).

Fried Rice

Fried Rice...an easy way to do it at home and still get the restaurant quality or even better! I finally found a way to get the rice from not sticking and clumping together which makes for a better fried rice recipe. The trick is to start with cold rice....or day old rice. This way the rice has less moisture and can be fluffier in the final product when combined with the other ingredients. I like to use basmati rice as it is not as starchy as the other rice. You may use any long grain rice though.
You can add really any leftover meat you prefer (or omit)... like diced shrimp, diced pork or diced ham. Vegetables you can use to your liking. Some examples can be...diced carrot, diced celery, and a handful of peas. Or, you can stick to a classic fried rice recipe that includes peas, carrots, green onion and egg. Well, I will show you how I did mine ...
In a rice cooker cook 2 cups (rice cooker measurement cup) with 3 3/4 cups water (or basically a 1:2 ratio rice to water. Cool overnight in refrigerator or do my quick version. Spread rice on a cookie sheet thinly and put in freezer till cold.
It may get frozen a bit but as you let it out on the counter it will defrost quickly. Break up any clumps. I usually freeze it as I am working on sauteing the rest of the ingredients.
I used:
1 TBS finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1/3 cup diced ham
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 carrot diced
1/2 stalk of celery (this was my addition ...feel free to omit)
about 4 cups cold rice
2 green onions sliced thinly
1/3 -1/2 cup peas
3-4 TBS Soy sauce ( or you can omit (as I do many times since it triggers headaches for my husband) you can adjust by adding salt only...you won't get the amber look but will taste just as good.
salt to taste
In a skillet scramble 2 eggs. Let set and roll up and slice thinly and cut slices again to make smaller pieces. Set aside
In skillet heat oil (on medium heat) and add garlic, ginger and ham. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add diced vegetables and saute for another 2-3 minutes or till soft. Add cold rice and soy sauce and stir to combine .
Stir in peas, egg and green onions.
Adjust seasoning and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peach Pie

Peach Pie.... I had a few ripe peaches and what better way to use them than in a Peach Pie!
This recipe actually came about with ingredients I had on hand. I had a frozen pie crust dough that I had made previously. I thought I would use a crumb topping to top the pie off with instead of adding another pie crust on top. We like more filling than dough in this case.
It actually came out great. So here is how I made mine.
Preheat oven to 375 deg.
I used 1 pie crust to cover a 9 inch pie plate.
Roll out dough to cover the pie plate and still have an overhang of about an inch or so.
Tuck in the excess dough and pinch to give it a crimped look.
Next make the Filling:

I used 5 big peaches.
Peel and slice thickly.
Sprinkle some lemon juice (2-3 TBS or to taste).
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar ,1/4 brown sugar,4 TBS cornstarch, a splash of vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon/nutmeg (or omit if you like).
Toss the peaches with the sugar mixture until combined.
Place peaches in the pie plate.
Sprinkle with a crumb topping or another pie crust.

I used a simple crumb topping. ( 1/2 c flour 1/2 sugar 1/4 cup butter...Mix in butter with a fork just until the topping is crumbly. ... you can make any streusel and add nuts as well if you are a nut lover)

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for an hour or so... until filling is bubbly-thick and not watery.

I baked mine for about 65 minutes as I kept opening the oven door to check and see if it was done:).
Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chewy Granola Bars

Chewy Granola Bars:I think I finally found a recipe that I like for the chewiest granola bars ever! You don't have to bake these granola bars. I can easily have a healthier alternative to the store bought ones that are packed with high fructose corn syrup....so, I prefer making my own. Granted these are not sugar-free, but they are great because you can use honey and really any ingredients you like. You can omit the nuts if you have a nut allergy. You can add only dried fruits ... The fun part of about this recipe is that you can experiment with what you like.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather your ingredients:
2-2 1/2 cups oats (I used 2 )
3/4 cup wheat germ/rice crispies or omit if you like (I omitted since I didn't have on hand)
1 cup sunflower seeds/almonds/walnuts/cashews/ or a mixture
1/2 shredded coconut (unsweetened if possible)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract (I also added almond flavoring)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (I omit this)
approximately 8 oz. dried fruit cranberries/raisins/apricots/cherries/or a mixture
Mix nuts and oats. Toast them in the oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.... better if they are lightly toasted than biting into a granola that has burned nuts!
Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray. I used plastic wrap and it works very well. You can use a smaller pan as well if you like them a bit thicker.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until you see it getting thick and carmel color.
Add the carmel mixture (which should be quite sticky at this point) to the dry ingredients.
Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything.
Dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.
Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula. You may need to oil you hands a bit if you want to spread it evenly without sticking.

Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top(or plastic wrap as in my case), and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.
Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled. (I don't have patience and I put it in the fridge for a bit so I can speed up the process and wrap/store them.)
Then, open the waxed paper.
And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.
Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.
I wrapped ours individually in plastic wrap, so you can grab one for a snack on the go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pretzel buns (Laugenbroetchen) and Pretzels

Pretzel Buns and Pretzels
I love this recipe!!!... you can actually do 2 bread products from 1 recipe. Just the way I like it! I received this recipe from my sister-in-law who lived in Germany for quite some time and she in turn shared it with me. It is an awesome recipe that is quite similar to the bagel recipe. The rolls actually get boiled just like the bagels and then sliced on the top for a criss cross look which puffs up a bit to give it an unique look. I like to split the original recipe in two and do some soft pretzels as well. So here is the recipe for both the buns and the pretzels.
Dough recipe
7 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 1/2 TBS butter (softened)
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp salt ( using coarse salt as a topping)...(if you don't use salt as a topping adjust to 1 TBS salt)
2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 tsp yeast ( I always use instant)
In a mixing bowl add flour and yeast. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix salt, sugar and butter add warm water (butter doesn't need to melt). Pour liquid over flour all at once. Mix well and knead for 5-6 minutes using a mixer( kneading dough hook attachment). Form 16 rolls and let them rise on floured table for 20-25 minutes.
Do not allow the dough to rise too much as it will collapse and get soggy in the boiling process. In a large pot, boil 6 cups of water with 4 1/2 tsp baking soda. Carefully transfer 2 buns at a time with a spatula into the boiling water. Boil rolls exactly 1 minute turning constantly.
Sprinkle with coarse salt and cut in the middle an X 1/2 in deep. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 20 minutes.
If you want to make pretzels split the dough in 2 and make only 8 or 9 rolls and 8 or 9 pretzels.
Use half of dough and form 8 or 9 long ropes. Form into pretzel shapes.
Let rise 20- 25 minutes. It is at this point that I use my rice cooker with the steaming plate to hold the pretzels and steam them instead of boiling them. (I have found out that it can help the pretzels keep its shape and make the pretzels shiny and chewy). Place some water in your rice cooker and put the steaming plate in place. When it starts steaming, add a pretzel and steam 2-3 minutes. Do each one separately.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 10 or so minutes. Do not over bake as they will become hard. You can brush with melted butter or dip in melted cheese or marinara sauce or whatever you fancy!
Tip:You can also use a steam rack(the collapsible type) in a pot as well for steaming the pretzels.