Monthly Archives: September 2020

Refried Beans by guest cook Deborah

What bad recipe starts with a pound of bacon – um not a one!

So this has been quite a week around here, my father-in-law has been in the hospital (none covid related) for 10 days. Thankfully he is home now and doing fine but we have had several family members staying with us over the whole ordeal. I didn’t make anything “new” to share with you but we definitely made and ate well and currently my husband is in the kitchen making us all breakfast with his self acclaimed famous home fries. He has definitely stepped up his game with them, they are excellent.

My sister-in-law is a huge help while she is here and wants to help out in whatever capacity. She knew I was working all week and I KNOW she wanted to make something since she loves to cook as well. I put a pork butte in the slow cooker with no real plans; Deborah had a plan she wanted to make burritos. I personally have not used pork butte for burritos but I totally “get it”. I have only had canned refried beans and that’s all I have in the house; so off to the store she went.  When she announced she was making homemade refried beans I told her she HAD to take pictures; which is another passion of hers. So this week I give to you a Guest Cook recipe and photos.

what bad recipe starts with a pound of bacon – um not a one!

You know the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” well my husband; while making breakfast; started talking smack about him winning the chocolate chip cookie contest we had several years ago; that everyone in the house except him remembers that I won. Well challenge accepted we are having another one today, I told him to take out the butter it’s on! We are going to do a blind taste test with my niece, sister-in-law and daughter being the judges. I’ll report back next week with my winnings; I mean the winner.

Refried Beans

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package dry pinto beans rinsed
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 pound bacon cooked, fat reserved (optional) Oil, or lard any oil will work but some add more flavor than others.

Instructions
 

  • cook the bacon however you want, we really only need the fat from it. I cook my in the oven on a rack. Save the bacon for breakfast sandwiches or BLT's or crumbled some of a salad. Or eat it right out of the bag.
  • cover the beans with water and let them boil uncovered for 2-3 hours, make sure to keep them covered with water.
  • dice the onion and add it to a large saute pan with the bacon fat. saute till they are golden brown, not burnt
  • using a slotted spoon take a couple of spoonfuls and add them to the onions and using a potato masher, mash the beans into the onions, You don't need to mash them all completely flat. Continue adding and mashing until all the beans are added to the pan. Add some of the leftover bean liquid to your pan until they are the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
  • taste and adjust the seasoning with salt

Corned Beef Hash

I am pretty sure the title of this blog with garner some sort of a response. People are funny when it comes to food, I know this because I used to be one and am in some respects. I am not a fan of mushrooms, raw red or really any onion is on my no thank you list. And I am pretty sure I don’t need snails in my life; though the garlic and butter part of how snails are prepared in restaurants is pretty outstanding.

I think it is funny that just the name “corned beef” turns people off. Here is a little history from the Smithsonian Magazine to why it is called Corned Beef. The British invented the term “corned beef” in the 17th century to describe the size of the salt crystals used to cure the meat, the size of corn kernels. After the Cattle Acts, salt was the main reason Ireland became the hub for corned beef. Ireland’s salt tax was almost 1/10 that of England’s and could import the highest quality at an inexpensive price. I didn’t even know this but was pretty interesting.

The old saying it takes a village well the potatoes and cabbage were picked from the garden by my husband,  my daughter cooked the corned beef while I was out, the huge cast iron pan came from my mother, the eggs were from my friends chickens and my sister-in-law is here for a few days and she washed the dishes.  We had New England boiled dinner last night and all the leftovers we made into this delicious breakfast.

corned beef hash

great way to use up boiled dinner leftovers

Ingredients
  

boiled dinner

  • 1-2 packages corned beef
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 small turnip
  • 1 head cabbage quartered and cored

Corned beef hash

  • 1 leftover corned beef diced and cubed
  • leftover potato, carrot and turnip chopped
  • leftover cabbage chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 egg per person optional

Instructions
 

boiled dinner

  • place the corned beef in a large pot and cover it with water, add a bay leaf or two and some pepper corns. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a slow rolled boil. Let it boil for 2-3 hours take a look and add more water if needed.
  • Peel and chop the carrots, turnip and potatoes and add them to the pot. let it boil for about 35-45 minutes until the turnip is tender add the cabbage and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes or so just so the cabbage is cooked through but not mushy.

corned beef hash

  • prep the meat and veggies by dicing and chopping everything so it is all similar is size.
  • dice the onion and add some oil or butter to you pan, add the meat and the onion and cook until the onions are soft and the meat get a little color.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies. cook through and allow the pan to give everything a little crust. you don't need to stir too much, if you do things tend to breakdown even smaller
  • Add an egg of your choice, my favorite is poached.

 

Harvest Chowder


Garden update – it’s been a great zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin and butternut squash season; despite we bought honey dew melon plants not pumpkin. It’s been an OK tomato, acorn squash, potato and summer squash and a few small onion season and a why bother carrot, swiss chard, beets, eggplant the list goes on and on. I do hope not only the ones I personally gave veggies to were able to enjoy them as well as the people that picked up all the veggies I left at the end of the driveway on my little table also enjoyed them. And to whoever left some change in the mailbox; that was very kind.

So what to do with the 4 ridiculously small carrots and one of my last summer squash; the fatter off colored one I ended up throwing in the compost pile; It didn’t look right when I cut it open. I or rather the weather has decided it is becoming soup season quicker than I would like so I googled myself, I do that ALL the time and harvest chowder didn’t come up. Firstly I couldn’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe; or maybe I have and I labeled it something else; who knows with me I’m all over the place. But I initially made Harvest Chowder in a soup cooking class I took; it has to be over 15 years ago. It’s one of my husbands favorites though thankfully the list of his “favorites” is pretty extensive. I mean it could be his favorite today, or this week or this year if you get my drift. Anyway he was psyched that I was thinking about making it.

I actually did end up changing it a bit from what I made in class; only for I wanted to use up what I had on hand that needed to be eaten or used up before going in the trash. I do this a lot; I hate throwing out perfectly good food so I make something with what I need to. could be one of my super powers. sure why not!

I will share with you the original recipe then tell you how I made this one.

Harvest Chowder

Easy to make and use up veggies from the garden / fridge
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Chowder, Soup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 medium carrot's peeled and diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 6 ounces ham sliced and diced
  • 1 small zucchini sliced
  • 1 small summer squash sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and diced
  • 7 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoon flour
  • 3-4 cups milk
  • thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a dutch oven or stock pot melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the onions, celery and carrots for a few minutes. Add ham and potatoes and continue sauteing
  • Add about 1 1/2 cups of milk to the ham and veggies, some thyme and a bay leaf. Simmer this mixture while you prepare the cream base for the soup and allow the potatoes to cook through.
  • In a medium saucepan melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour stirring to make a roux, allow to cook on low stirring constantly for 3-4 minute. be careful not to burn it.
  • Add all the milk at once, while whisking constantly. allow to simmer until it reaches the thickness that you are wanting for your chowder.
  • Add the roux to your ham and veggies, at this time I would add both of the squash. I personally do not like over done squash so simmer just until they are aldente. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!

What I did a little differently this time

  • I used less milk and simmered all the veggies in some homemade chicken stock. I did make the roux out of milk which gave me the creaminess but my chowder was a little on the lighter side instead of using all that milk. I also had some mashed potatoes and some corn leftover from dinner the night before and I added those. The mashed potatoes helped thicken the chowder even more and the corn added a little sweetness.
Keyword Harvest Chowder, soup

Grilled Za’atar rubbed porkloin with apple cabbage slaw

Well it was a pretty uninspiring week for food in my house this last week. I didn’t come up with anything new, I was totally fine with eating cereal for dinner every night; we didn’t but I could have.  Sometimes I am just not feeling it and then my Yankee New England roots kick in and see some things that need to be eaten or made into something before they go bad.
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So getting the feeling that I needed to start making something with the bag apples my mother-in-law dropped off, the cabbage my husband harvested from the garden and also the pork loin I took out of the freezer the other day to thaw last nights dinner pretty much made it self. Pork goes great with apples and cabbage goes great with both. I was slightly concerned it didn’t look very appetizing but I knew the flavor was there. A few comments from the fam. in-laws included it was a resounding success.

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Za’atar spice blend can be toasted sesame seed, sumac and ground thyme – try it if you come across it.

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So here is what I made with what I had on hand. Yes I even had the Za’atar spice blend on hand; my daughter brought it back from Israel. You can find it locally if you are interested or use your favorite spice blend on your pork loin.

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I forgot to grab a picture before I started slicing up the pork!

 

grilled za'atar rubbed pork loin with apple cabbage slaw

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons Za'atar spice blend or choose your favorite
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

apple cabbage slaw

  • 1 small head of cabbage diced
  • 3-4 medium apples peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions
 

  • season the pork all over with salt, pepper and the Za'atar blend and let it sit until it comes up to room temperature and the grill heats up.
  • Dice the onion, slice the cabbage and peel the apples.
  • when the grill is ready add the pork loin and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 145'F
  • With the pork on the grill add the olive oil onion and cabbage to a large enough fry pan, season with salt and pepper and cook down for 3-4 minutes. Slice the apples and add to the cabbage. cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add some wine and chicken broth and then cook till the liquid is gone. serve along side the pork and enjoy!