65. Six Sister’s 30-min Yeast Rolls

I am very charmed by the idea of Six Sisters Stuff, the blog where I found this recipe – all the six girls keep in touch and post on the blog together, which as a sole blogger, I have to admit I envy. I love writing often but given my desire to build community, I would welcome a second or third blogger to take over some days… let me know if you are interested 🙂

The yeast rolls sounded too good to be true: yeast bread takes so long to rise! The key to these rolls is that they have tons of yeast in them. This is the recipe to pull out when you have a jar of yeast that is getting a little older and needs to get used up – two whole tablespoons. But sure enough: 10 minutes to let the yeast bloom, 10 minutes of resting once the ingredients are all combined and put into roll-shapes, and something like 10 minutes to cook. It was more like 45 minutes in my scattered world, but definitely manageable while making dinner; in my case, manageable while ill. I am so glad to feel better now; it feels like a dim memory to have been so sick and now feel much better.

Speaking of getting well, I had these rolls sitting out on the counter in a bowl on Tuesday and one of the ways I knew that I was getting better, besides just having more energy, was that instead of just looking like something neutral, the way all food had for days, I was actually intrigued and excited about the rolls – the return of appetite is a strange thing. I am glad to be regaining my strength – Husband made some barbeque pork chops and I made veggies in the GoSun, and finally we got to eat a lovely meal together, complete with the last of the yeast rolls.

63. A’s Hearty Chili

A gave me this recipe as part of her wedding gift, which was a recipe book with pages to add all sorts of recipes to it – one of my goals, though not one I’ve been able to complete yet, is to put all the recipes I love onto the extra cards and fill up the book so I have it handy in the kitchen. A is Husband’s cousin, and she represents so much of what I love about his family: she’s a free spirit with an amazing sense of humor who is constantly going on adventures. She travels frequently and whenever I see her I get the biggest hug. Her sense of style is on point but also not like anyone else – she’s one of the most confident people I’ve ever met.

Her chili recipe was exactly what I needed the week before our trip – I needed something hearty and healthy, so I cut up a gazillion veggies for this dish as I listened to a podcast on the benefits of a plant based diet. Granted, I also threw the ground beef in there, but percentage wise, it was a very plant based dish. After two hours of cooking, it was one of the best entrees I’ve made – rich and flavorful but with most of the flavor coming from the veggies and spices and slow cooking, not from a bunch of butter and oil, which tends to be my go-to.

It took all week to finish the big pot, but unlike with most leftovers, I was happy to keep noshing on it throughout the week, happy that when I only had 20 minutes for lunch between engagements I could slip into the house, heat up a bowl, and feel warmed and fed. Good recipes seem to do that, though I’ll caution: this recipe is not for someone who wants the exact same results each time; there are almost no measurements, and while she uses bacon and steak, I used ground beef.

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57. C’s Honey-Garlic Meatballs

C made delicious cheese dip for my first dinner party, and thank goodness she was able to make it to this next dinner party, because she became the champion – with the only beef meatball of the evening, her honey garlic meatballs were homey and delicious, but not just regular red-sauce-covered meatballs either.

C and I recently got to go to a winery and learn about wine before sitting by a pond and enjoying the sunset, and it reminded me how much I appreciate her positive, calm energy. She behaves like a person who can tell when things are a big deal and when they aren’t, and so many people our age really can’t – because we haven’t experienced everything in life yet, we often think our little problems are way too big. C makes me feel like if I was to tell her about my concerns and worries, she would laugh kindly at some and sympathize with the others. It’s a good feeling.

The recipe C used was this one, and she’s a novice at meatballs like I am, so it probably isn’t incredibly complex: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/118085/honey-garlic-glazed-meatballs/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=15455&referringContentType=recipe%20hub. I am hoping to make some of these for the next potluck I go to, because it doesn’t contain any of the things that can sometimes throw people off – weird, surprising ingredients, scary amounts of spice, or unrecognizable shapes/colors. Most folks recognize a meatball, honey and garlic are familiar flavors without being bland, and there’s nothing newfangled or strange – I personally am a fan of trying things like quinoa and starfruit and any number of other less known foods, but it’s nice to not push people too far out of their comfort zones, especially since I am starting to get invited to parties where I don’t know very many people very well. C has given me a good back-pocket recipe that turns out great meatballs. 🙂

(Note on the picture: the only picture gotten of this meatball was with other meatballs; it’s the one in the lower right corner!)

50. T’s Chicken Salad

Things don’t always go the way I expect them to. This morning, I expected yet another day of sunny skies and instead, a soggy day rolled in. When we were 17 and  T and I played on rival sides of an ultimate frisbee game, I expected she wouldn’t even want to talk to me because I’d been such an obnoxious guard. When T and I became each other’s long-distance friends for the next 10 years, I couldn’t have predicted that either.

So when, this week, months after the wedding, an email from T revealed a recipe for chicken salad, I had to give it a shot. I’ll start out by saying: I don’t like chicken salad. I always find it cloying and full of flavors that don’t mesh. Granted, I’ve never made it myself, and I’m sure that making it myself would allow for a lower input of mayonnaise, which would make me far happier with it, but it’s exactly the possible serendipity, the chance that it could be delicious, that made me give it a chance. With T, you really never know.

T’s recipe reads more like a poem than a recipe, but I promise it’s worth at least considering her style before you return to your old standard, because let me say, I ate myself silly on this stuff, smeared on cracked pepper crackers while looking out at the rain. It’s worth your trouble. This is the same T who once made biscuits for me purely from feel, with no measuring, so I encourage you to unleash your “inner T” when it comes to measurements, and try to feel the right chicken salad out.

Roast (or let the crockpot do the work) a couple of bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts with your favorite marinade and whatever chicken-lovin’ herbs you have in the garden. I used rosemary, parsley, oregano.  Let it cool down, and take the meat off the bone, handshredded is best to make sure you don’t have any bones or other skin or fat that you wouldn’t want to eat.  Add a stalk of celery, chopped (I like more, but good to start with just one and keep adding); half of a red delicious or some other sweet crunchy apple chopped; more poppy seeds and black pepper than you would think you need; toasted pecans chopped; and a slice or two of red onion chopped very fine.  Stir in enough Duke’s mayonnaise with some pan drippings, if you dare, to hold it together.  This is Mom’s voice: “”If you like chicken salad, It will make you do the happy dance.”  Duke’s mayo is a must.  Freshly ground pepper is best.  Let it sit in the fridge overnight so the flavors marinade.  
Serve with anything: make a sandwich on wheat with spinach, croissant if you are feeling fancy, any crackers you like, celery stalks, the rest of the apple, romaine lettuce leaf and roll it up.  Yum.  Make a little bit at a time and make it often.  Pairs great with fresh tomatoes out of the garden cut up with pepper on them.
The main counsel I completely ignored was letting it marinade overnight, but there is some left, so tomorrow I’ll get that glorious aspect. Whatever happens, it will probably be different from your expectations, and it might be worth reveling in that for a little while.

47. Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

A comforting repost from summer. 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been wanting to try a recipe for strawberry cobbler given to me in a comment by the author of Pigtails and Mudpies, and I also saw that someone on the GoSun page made fruit crisp in her GoSun, so yesterday I put together a pretty wonderful concoction. Pigtails and Mudpies says she likes picking her own strawberries to make this cobbler, so I am pretty happy with the combination of garden and farmer’s market that went into it:

All the strawberries I’ve been collecting and freezing from our plants (about 25 in total! Not bad for leftover plants from the former owners of our house.)

4 of the stalks of rhubarb that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday morning.

A mixture of flour, milk, and sugar (1/2 cup of each) and lots of butter-flavored veggie oil spray to keep the cooking tray slick. Finish with cinnamon!

Unfortunately, a sunny day turned stormy by the time I was putting the GoSun out, so after an hour and a half, the hot but not cooked tube was removed in favor of cooking in a conventional oven. Note to self: aim for sunny day cooking.

It came out delicious! Both fruits are tart, so they were well supplemented by the sugary dough, but the juices from each fruit gave the whole thing a soft, pudding-ish texture; not the crisp I expected but still wonderfully flavorful. Thanks to Pigtails and Mudpies for the tip about cobbler and I will try it again in the GoSun on a sunny day!

42. Kristin’s Zucchini Bread

27This recipe, like the Avocado Bread from Khadija, was one I found while trying to clean out my cupboards. You know how after a while you have amassed the odds and ends of many different recipes and you have ingredients you didn’t even remember you bought? This summer I’m hoping to get rid of those odds and ends via recipes from blogs I respect, like this one: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/zucchini-bread-recipe/ Yellow Bliss Road is a great example of someone who has turned her passion into a full time job, but who also just produces a really great product.

I found grating zucchini (one of the two ingredients I was trying to finish up; also had a lonely almost-empty bag of flour) very soothing, but I ran into a problem: no eggs in the house! After a quick google search for egg substitutes, I thought I would throw in some applesauce… no go for that either. For a girl who claims to be clearing out the cupboards, I seem to be doing an awful lot of running out of things!

What I did have, however, were two sad neglected apples. I cut them into pieces and grated them straight into my pile of zucchini shavings, added all the other ingredients, and hoped for the best. The result? DELICIOUS. Like, maybe my new favorite sweet bread. It’s moist in the middle but has some integrity to it, and caramelized-crunchy on the exterior… I was totally pleased. Probably even better with eggs, like Kristin intended, but I’m quite pleased. When life gives you no eggs or applesauce, you can still turn old zucchini and apples into the perfect breakfast treat.

41. K and G’s Nana’s Cornbread (but Gluten-Free!)

K and G are a power couple in my in-law’s town: K is a world-class photographer, whose beautiful print is now hanging in our living room, and G works for the local government. They passed on a recipe for cornbread, which was perfect because Husband is a cornbread afficionado. The last time I made chili, ages ago, I made this cornbread mix but with a small change: gluten.

I don’t know how you all feel about going gluten free, but for my friends B and K, it has been really helpful to their health and energy levels. I understand that it can be hard to cook for, but I was so pleased to find a cornbread mix that was gluten free that, when combined with all the perfect ingredients from K and G’s recipes, was moist and a total crowd favorite, among both the gluten-free and the gluten filled.

K and G’s Nana’s Cornbread

2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix (I used one large gluten free mix; compare ounces to get a good ballpark for what you need)

1 8 ounce container of sour cream

1/4 cup of corn oil

1 15 ounce can of cream style corn

3 large eggs

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal mix, creamed corn, sour cream, oil and eggs. Pour the mixture into a pan and bake until lightly brown, about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

34. J’s Sausage Gravy

I don’t remember when I met Husband’s aunt J – it feels like I’ve always known her. She’s the family member who lives closest to us (though she is moving away soon!) and one of the sassiest, strongest women I’ve ever met. She works a management job, which I have very few female role models who do this; she’s also a blast to hang out with and provided us with a good bit of the furniture in our house. Clearly, a wonderful person to know.

For breakfast last weekend, I whipped up this sausage gravy – I was worried that using coconut milk would make it weird and it sort of did; the mixture was a lot thicker than I expected from my Mom’s gravy as a kid, and the tiny back-of-throat sweetness of the gravy was not normal, but the flavor over all was so good that I devoured those biscuits like they were going out of style. I was never a big gravy girl, always a little picky and dubious about sauces, but I’m coming around to this one, especially when it has so much actual sausage in it and isn’t just a roux made of drippings. I would see this as part of a main course over biscuits or toast, not just a sauce on the side. Kept me full and happy for a whole morning of gardening and cleaning.

J’s Sausage Gravy

 

 

  • 1 lb. spicy pork sausage
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ to 1 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper, cayenne pepper.

 

Brown sausage; when fully cooked add butter and let it melt. Add flour 1 tbsp. at a time until all sausage covered lightly. Slowly add salt, pepper, cayenne, to your liking. Cook over medium-low heat; serve over biscuits/toast; top with your favorite hot sauce.

23. D’s Kahlua Cake/Brownies

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D is a person who understands the need to improvise. He’s travelled to more countries than I can count, and when Husband says, “oh yeah, I talked to D today, he’s going to Mexico” I am never surprised. He’s climbed over craggy cliff-faces, biked around hairpin turns, and generally adventured his way halfway around the world. Which is why I had to laugh when I saw his cake recipe was a modification of a box recipe for Devil’s Food Cake. I have no doubt it was good, but because I had a rather old brownie mix in the cupboard, I used that instead.

I first met D when he came over for a game night about a month into my relationship with Husband. I’d heard a lot about him; he’d grown up with Husband, they’d been on so many adventures together, so I was pretty anxious to like him. He turned out to be a pretty avid board game player who was quite excellent, and a bit of a teaser. I could see how Husband and D had influenced each other’s personalities, and how at ease they were together. A lot of folks aren’t lucky enough to keep friends for a long time due to outside circumstances, but the ability to maintain good friends for years and years was one of the things that cemented my decision that Husband was a great guy.

As for my brownie-mix pursuits… let’s not even go there. Basically, I made brownies, added mint flavoring, cooked them barely to done (they taste like fudge), and put a chocolate chunk in the middle of each one while it was still warm. Was this truly in the spirit of the recipe? I don’t know – but telling the story of it would probably make D laugh.

(I promise I’ll have more recipe-oriented and food-oriented posts soon!)IMG_3894

Kahlua Cake

 

Devil’s Food Mix

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

¾ cup oil

6 ounces chocolate chip

 

 

  • Mix two minutes
  • Flour the bundt pan
  • Bake at 350 degrees, 55-60 minutes.
  • Enjoy your marriage!

 

 

22. S’s Egg-in-a-basket

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S and I spent 3 cold, shivery days in Sweden together almost five years ago; I had been lonely and searching for purpose in Spain where I was teaching, and she had been adjusting to a return to school in a country where she didn’t speak the language. S’s life had, like mine, gone back to essentials: while I had been spending long afternoons in the kitchen cooking in northern Madrid, she’d been discovering what the cheapest and most nutritious methods for eating in Sweden would be – until she received a scholarship, she was eating food bought through exchanged US dollars, which resulted in high prices.

What she’d found, though, became one of my favorite breakfasts for the years to come. The ingredients were simple: a couple of pats of butter, two pieces of bread, two eggs, and the salt, pepper, or garlic that most suits you. Like a child’s breakfast, egg-in-a-basket provides a good melding of homey flavors but also is rather energetically rich: fats from the yolk and butter, whole grains if you buy whole wheat bread, and protein from the rest of the egg. It needs little butter, mostly there just to create a crusty rim around the eggs, because soft-cooked eggs create their own sauce, perfect to be mopped off the plate with the leftover “hole” of toast that gets thrown in the pan with the egg-in-a-baskets. It was inexpensive and simple and easy to eat, and sitting there in S’s wide-open single-room home, I felt peaceful about food, and the many other things that were uncertain in my life right then.

I have attempted this dish many times since, and have used it to thrill Husband when I serve it alongside a pile of bacon, but this weekend was the first time I’ve ever made it with bread I made myself. Instead of just salt, pepper, and garlic, I added the same italian-herb blend that I’d used in the bread itself, and to my great happiness, the whole thing turned out as perfectly browned as they can get (under or overdone are the main downsides of this breakfast).

With a glass of orange juice, and possible those delicious bits of bacon, this is perhaps my favorite way to start a weekend day.

S’s Egg in a Basket
1. Cut a hole in the middle of two pieces of whole-wheat bread, careful to not sever the outer rim.
2. melt butter in a frying pan and coat both sides of each piece of bread and each cut-out of bread.
3. When the pan is nice and hot, crack an egg into the center of each piece of bread, and let sizzle. When the bottom is opaque, loosen the eggs to make sure they don’t stick as they cook through; season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
4. Flip eggs and season the second side, loosening the eggs after they cook.
5. Remove from heat before the egg yolks are completely cooked through; eat hot with other breakfast delicacies. 🙂IMG_3871