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Hot And Spicy In The Kitchen: Making Horseradish

Hot And Spicy In The Kitchen: Making Horseradish


The Finished Jar of Homemade Horseradish

At the farmer’s market this morning, I bought a large root of horseradish. Actually, I only bought half of the piece, because it didn’t smell that spicy, and I was worried it would be too mild. Isn’t it lovely?

Making ground horseradish is pretty important for our winter’s diet. The spicy oomph that it brings to the heavier dishes, can’t be beat. Even the kids like it mixed with mashed potatoes or to make a spicy dip for fries. For our family, having 4 jars of this condiment is a must have.

The strange thing about horseradish, is that it loses its flavor when cooked, so I can’t seal the jars. Although they are not sealed, it stays fresh and delicious just sitting in the back of my fridge.

To make horseradish yourself, find a fat root of it at the market:

 

 

After washing (it can be pretty dirty), peel the skin and ends.

Chunk it up and place into a food processor, with a pinch of salt and 1/8 cup of white vinegar.

Blend until smooth.

 

WARNING: After blending, keep your face away from the top as you open it. The fumes are very strong. Then, place in your canning jar with a lid and band. Place in fridge to store.

 

For more info on horseradish,

Horseradish also makes a fantastic flu tonic

A post I did for EarthEats.org

 

 

Crockpot Summer Supper

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Today’s crockpot summer supper, is a recipe that came about in a convoluted fashion, as so many scratch recipes do.
My garlic cloves were overpowering the rest of the fridge contents, and it is so hot, that heating the oven just seemed wrong.
I came up with this recipe originally as a way to eat wild game that was too gamey on its own. It is a wonderful base for beef as well, and tonight’s dinner proves it.
Quick and easy, place your ingredients in the crockpot and walk away. No miss, no fuss.
Crockpot Beef
1 frozen beef roast 3-4 lbs
1 pkg onion soup mix or your favorite seasoning
1 can tomato paste
Garlic cloves (use plenty, they sweeten as they cook)

I start with a frozen roast and cook it all day on high. If hubs is late, I turn it off and keep it covered.

Serve with greens from the garden and a crusty bread. Leftovers are even better!

Lovely Fan Potatoes

This recipe is one that has been calling to me from one of the cookbooks I have in my stash. It seems so simple, yet interesting enough to make dinner seem a little bit special.

To make them, slice as thinly as possible, but leave the bottom intact, so you can fan out the slices. Add a bit of butter or olive oil to each potato ( in this case, I used 1/4 stick of butter for 7 potatoes), and applied it with a basting brush.

Sprinkle with sea salt/seasonings and bake in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour. Then remove from the oven and shred just a bit of cheese onto each potato. Pop back into the oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve!

Warm Pasta Salad With Mushrooms and Sausage

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When all else fails, make pasta! I often cook a meal, knowing there will be leftovers. Pasta salad is a great recipe to make a nice dinner and at least one lunch for everyone, and I can put all the vegetables into it that I have on hand.
This salad was served warm, and included:

  • 2lbs pasta
  • 5 links Italian sausage, frozen and sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch green onions(I used walking onions from the garden)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
  • 8 ounce pkg sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1Tbsp olive oil, to sauté veg
  • 2 (or more) Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • chopped basil, other herbs as desired
  • salt/pepper (the sausage is salty, so use caution)
  • In a cast iron pan, sauté onion, garlic and any other vegetables until almost cooked through.
    Meanwhile boil pasta in salted water, until al dente.
    Combine pasta, meat and veg, additional olive oil and vinegar.
    Taste and adjust salt/ pepper.
    Serve with a garden salad and bread.

    Leftovers of this salad, are delicious when server cold. Enjoy!

Do Not Be Afraid Of Cooking

Do not be afraid of cooking. So many times I hear people say “Oh you are such a greatcook!” Or that they cant possibly cook. I always wonder about that. I mean, whatis there but something tastes good or it doesn’t? I don’t know many things thatdon’t come with some sort of recipe attached to them, either verbally from thegifter or on the label..You simply follow the recipe and watch what happens.Then the next time you tweak to make it work better for your taste.
I don’t know how many times I have taken the heat out of arecipe for my family. My  husband’s tastebuds are dead due to a lifelong addiction to chewing tobacco, and he has to usestraight up super hot sauce on every conceivable thing (no lie) but babies can’ttolerate that . So I remove the heat and slowly build up as they growolder. I do have one child who can’t tolerate any heat-even black pepper as aseasoning. I am not hip to what that means for digestion, but he is a teenagerand just in the last 6 months has been able to at least be open to trying hotthings. Of course, his idea of hot is sort of silly for even the baby, but weall grow at different paces right? J

Anyways, Do not be afraid to screwing up food! Just playwith heat temperatures, cutting sizes, seasonings and when  you do eat, really sit and taste what you areeating. Have you ever heard that a cook is never happy with what they make?Except for on FoodNetwork, but that’s not real.
Of course they are not happy! A cook always tastes what theycan do to either improve or tweak what they are eating. That doesn’t mean theydon’t enjoy what they are putting int heir mouths (heck I love it when someoneelse cooks-even a restaurant), but cooking evolves every single day for aninspired cook. One who is not afraid to make a mistake and then move on fromit.
One of my favorite things to read when I was younger was theinside cover of many cookbooks for the substitutions section. That was whereyou could go if you were out of eggs perhaps, or find out that you couldsubstitute an egg with ground flaxseed and water or something.
That is where I learned that you could make buttermilk by mixing milk and vinegar. Who knew? I have only had access to real buttermilkwhen I make butter from our goat’s milk and have it left over. In no way doesit resemble that thick weird stuff in the carton at the grocery store..I amnot sure whose brilliant scheme it was to thicken buttermilk. 
I digress. The point of today’s post is to not be afraid offood. It is there for the cooking, marinating, growing eating, making mistakeswith. Where do you thing recipes come from?There are no new recipes..cooks just mess around with things they like to eatand write them down.
I know writing my books, that I shared hundreds of recipeswith the publisher. Almost 400 of them actually. The hardest part of sharingwas that many times what I cooked was jotted down on the back of a scrap paperand god forbid I measured…I had to make so many things just to measure them tosend in to the publisher. It was tedious. But now, I can simply cook out of mytwo books and have a fairly wide range of my regular recipes turn out time andagain. Of course I play around with the tried and true ones still..that isbecause I am a fearless, rebel cook. 

Food Musings

Photo midiman
What a powerful thing, food. We have to eat, and it is so easy to eat badly.
 For some reason our society started thinking that food was supposed to be fast and furious, indulgent, and that we were much too busy to prepare or have anything to do with food, other than packing it inot our mouths.
I think when I was younger, I don’t remember being hungry really, just that food was precious? I would feel so guilty that I couldn’t stand the taste of something, no matter what it was. My biggest dislike was of beets. To this day, I can not even smell them without gagging. It all stems from a horrible memory I have of my brother overeating them, but that’s all I am going to say. Beets = ewww
So as I grew older and started having children, the instability of my young adulthood became very noticeable. I remember when I had $11.00 a week to feed pregnant self and my toddler. Yep, 11 bucks. Those were pretty tight times, but we ate whole foods because I knew how to scratch cook. I am beholdin to all the women of days past, who wrote their meticulous notes on the edges of the old, musty cookbooks at the library. Have you ever seen those? Their pages look like they are falling out, they recipes always include using organ meats nad weird pans and utensils that modern day cooks don’t even know how to pronounce.
 These women cooked on the prarie, on wagon trains and in small sod houses, after starting their own fires before anyone in the family was even awake. Their talents are vastly under appreciated in this modern age of hurry up and rip that box open-style of cooking we all know. Nowadays, we think we are entitled to having someone else cook for us, entitled to eating a dizzying array of foods from around the world at any time of the year, and somehow that sitting down to family food is an unworthy cause-not worth our time or effort.
I don’t get that. At our farm, dinner is the only time we actually all sit together with my husband. He is always busy working on some project or another. Yes he sees the boys, but they are not talking or connecting, they are building or fixing or cleaning up.
Dinner is our time together, then we sit, sigh and catch up. Dinner feeds our stomachs and our souls. We connect. Our time at the table is just as important as a good night’s sleep, our seatbelts, a hug or a good laugh. It is our fuel. Be sure to fuel up your family at least once a day.