Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Again, its St. Patty's Day and I'm baking bread. What better to make on St. Patrick's Day than the traditional Irish Soda Bread. I've never made this before. I had it recently in New Frontiers as a sample and I didn't care for it. I went searching for recipes and turns out there are a variety of Irish Soda Breads. I went with a relatively simple recipe. I like it. The bread is nothing outstanding, but it is a nice. Recipe from

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants (I used raisins)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a small cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with a fork, or use your hands, until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in raisins and buttermilk until the dough is evenly moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth.

Shape into a 6" ball, place on a cookie sheet.

With a sharp knife, cut a 1/4" deep cross on the top of the dough.

Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the dough is just cooked through and the top is golden brown.

Banana Nut Bread

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is windy as all get out outside, so I am staying in. I decided to bake bread today. First on the menu is Banana Nut Bread.

I have always loved banana bread and what a great comfort food it can be. I hope you enjoy this recipe and feel free to add whatever you desire to spice it up such as chocolate chips, raisins, etc.

Recipe: Banana Nut Bread

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 extra ripe regular sized bananas, or 3 small bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (i used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. I used 4 mini loaf pans. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time.

Add flour, baking soda, and mix until just blended.

Then add mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix until just combined.

Fold in nuts or other ingredients of your choice.

Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle loaf (s) with sugar.

Bake for 45 min if using regular sized loaf pan or 30 min if using mini loaf pans. Toothpick inserted should come out clean.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chile Rellenos Casserole

I love fresh Hatch chiles, or at least frozen and once fresh Hatch green chiles. I had a bag in the freezer and thought this Chile Rellenos Casserole recipe would be a good use for my Hatch chiles. Turns out it was.

This dish reminds me of Dorothy Culliton's "John Wayne Eggs". It was a speciality breakfast she would make on occasion and was loved by all. Thanks for the inspiration Dorothy!

This recipe was adapted from I will say I reduced the amount of cheese in this dish by half or so. The original calls for 2 lbs of cheese, that is alot. So feel free to load up on cheese or not.

Recipe: Chile Rellenos Casserole

8 green chiles, skinned and deseeded (fresh or canned)
1 lb. (16 oz.) Mexican blend shredded cheese ( or you can use 1/2 lb Cheddar and 1/2 lb Monterrey jack)
4 eggs
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/3 lb ground elk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
pepper to taste

Wash and rinse chiles and remove all seeds. Set aside.

Cook ground elk or meat of your choice (you can also leave the meat out too) over medium heat. Add garlic powder, cumin, and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Layer 4 green chiles on the bottom of a 8"x8" baking dish or similar sized casserole dish. Sprinkle ~1/2 of the cheese blend over the chiles (reserve about 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top). Sprinkle cooked meat on top of the cheese.

Layer the next 4 green chiles over the meat. Sprinkle with ~1/2 cheese blended on top of meat (still reserving bout 1/4 cup for top). Set aside.

Separate eggs into 2 medium bowls.

Beat egg yolks for a couple minutes until light and bubbly. Add milk, flour, and salt. Beat for 1 more minute.

Beat egg whites for 1 minute. Add egg yolk and milk mixture to the whites. Beat until combined, 30 seconds.

Pour egg mixture over cheese and chiles in the casserole dish.

Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees uncovered.

Remove from oven and spread tomato paste over top of casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cook for an additional 30 minutes at 300 degrees F.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with rice and beans or eat on its own. Delicious! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vegan Veggie Pot Pie

This recipe or dish used to be one of my fallback dishes when I was vegan. When I didn't know what to cook I'd go with this staple dish. It's really easy to make and it's too time consuming.

Recipe: Vegan Veggie Pot Pie

2 sheets pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup onion, sliced
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
1 bakers potato, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 can (14.5 oz) blackeyed peas
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder

For Sauce:
1/4 cup flour
2 cups soy milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place one sheet of pie crust into a pie baking dish. Bake for 8 minutes until slightly cooked. Remove from oven and set aside.

Pour 1 Tbsp oil into a medium skillet. Place carrots, potato and asparagus into skillet. Cook for 5-10 minutes until slightly tender. Add celery, onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until veggies are tender 10-15 minutes. Add peas and blackeyed peas, cook an additional 3-5 minutes until heated through. Add Spices and mix.

While ingredients are cooking in skillet or after, make sauce.

Pour 1 Tbsp Olive oil into a saucepan. Heat over medium. When warm, add flour. Stir.

Add 1/2 cup soymilk to saucepan, mix with flour. Continue to add 1/2 cup soymilk at a time until you have added 2 cups. Based on the desired thickness of your sauce you can add more soymilk if you wish.

Add soy sauce and nutritional yeast, mix. Taste and add more spices if desired. The sauce should have a somewhat strong flavor.

Pour sauce into skillet with vegetables, mix. Pour mixture into pie crust that is partially baked. Top with other pie crust. Pinch edges of crusts together. Place 4-5 slices in top of crust to allow venting.

Bake until golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. (Tip: cover edges of pie with foil to avoid over browning. Remove 5-10 minutes before pie is finished baking.)

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Clementine Curd Shortbread Bars

So I apologize to the many who like my blog posts. I felt the wrath the other night from everyone. (I'm just joking, only one person mentioned something to me, PETE!) Thanks to Pete mentioning something I decided to jump back on the wagon and begin my back log of posts.
I have been cooking and baking since my last post, but haven't been blogging about it. I'm starting again.

Yesterday Dozer, my dog, woke me up at 4:50am. He was barking and howling, which is not normal for him. I think it may have been the coyote in the neighborhood that I heard howling earlier. Dozer's response was just a little delayed. None the less, I woke up earlier than I wanted. So, what do I do? I made shortbread bars. I had some clementine curd I made the other week that I really wasn't using. I figured this would be a great use of the curd before it goes bad.

Curd takes a little time to make, but it is quite tasty. So if you have the 30 minutes or so that it takes to make it, do it.

Recipe: Clementine Curd Shortbread Bars


For Curd:
6 Tbsp of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh clementine juice
1 tsp grated clementine zest

For Shortbread:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp Flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

Make curd first. I suggest a day ahead or night ahead of time.

For Curd: 

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl for about 2 minutes or until light, pale, and fluffy. While mixing, slowly add eggs and yolks. Beat the mixture for 1 minute before mixing in the clementine juice. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled, because it’ll get smooth as it cooks and the butter melts.

Cook the mixture in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 20-25 minutes (lemon curd only takes 15, but I’ve found the clementine curd takes me longer), or until it’s thickening and it registers at least 170 degrees on a candy thermometer (I usually end up around 175 before I get it to the thickness I want). Just don’t let the mixture boil. Also, remember it’ll continue thickening as it cools and then chills, so don’t feel like you have to get it to its final thickness on the stove. When it’s done, it should leave a clean path on the back of a wooden spoon when you run your finger down it.

Remove the clementine curd from the heat and stir in the clementine zest. Transfer the mixture to a wide bowl and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a film from developing. Place the curd in the refrigerate to chill it. Cover it tightly and keep if you about a week in the fridge or for about 2 months in the freezer.

For Shortbread Bars:

Line a 9×12 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving extra overhanging short edges to use to remove the bars after baking. 

Mix the flour, powdered sugar, and salt until just combined. Add the butter and cut in until blended.

Pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking pan and spread evenly. Use hands to press crust firmly down. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown.

While it is still warm, pour the chilled clementine curd over the top and use a spatula to spread it evenly.

Bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the curd is set.

When cooled, use the parchment paper to pull the bars out of the pan. Use a flour sifter to sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, and cut into squares.