Category Archives: What the Fork?

Foodie related articles.

Stuffed Courgette

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini (split and hollowed)
  • 1lb sausage
  • sage
  • pistachios
  • nutmeg
  • cardamom
  • pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup black rice

Directions:

  • split zucchini and hollow the inner bits (you can grind these and eat them if you want)
  • mix the stuff together (including any ground up bits from the zucchini)
  • fill the boats with all the stuff
  • bake for an hour at maybe 325f
  • adjust the above as necessary

Best of luck.

JamesIsIn

Pickled Onions

Just a few ingredients and a jar.  I now keep these perpetually on-hand for sandwiches and salads and whatever else.  So good.

Ingredients:

  • Onion (red)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • some crushed red peppers

Directions:

  • Warm the water and vinegar enough to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Fill a seal-able jar with thinly sliced red onion.
  • Pour the cooled liquid mixture into the jar, covering the onion slices.
  • Seal jar and place in the refrigerator.

Go forth and make sandwiches!

JamesIsIn

Smoked Oatmeal Stuffing

I wanted to try something different for stuffing this year, so I surfed the Web and cobbled together several stuffing recipes to form this delicious mess of brown.  It does contain some pretty classic elements (dried fruit and sage, for example), but using oatmeal as the base instead of toasted bread as well as punching it up with dried Bing cherries should set this apart from the competitors.  (In my mind, when a recipe I create turns out well I imagine myself having done well in a contest.)

Anyway, here are the important bits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sausage (I used hot Italian because that was available)
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 2 or 4 celery stalks diced
  • 2 or 3 leeks sliced maybe half an inch thick
  • 8 oz dried Bing cherries
  • fresh sage (I probably added around two of those plastic fresh boxes from my garden so maybe a quarter cup?) (this is the only herb so don’t skimp unless the sausage you use is sage forward, in which case go easier I guess)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne to taste
  • 1 cube butter give or take very soft
  • 5 cups rolled oats + 1 cup steel cut oats (one could alter the ratio as desired)
  • 3 or 4 cups chicken stock (I make my own; be careful if you use store bought because they tend to be salty)

Directions:

  • Brown the sausage (it will cook together later so concentrate on browning only)
  • (I use a pastry knife to break up the browned sausage once browned)
  • transfer sausage to very large bowl
  • In the same pan and beginning with the shallots and then in order the celery, leeks, and cherries
  • add the oatmeal(s), sage, and the soft butter to the bowl; mix let macerate for ten minutes
  • add maybe half the stock to the bowl; mix
  • When the vegetables are softened add them to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Add salt, pepper, and cayenne tasting as you progress
  • Add up to the remaining stock (not too wet but not too dry) and continue to mix thoroughly
  • layer the mixture into your smoking pan(s), cover in foil, and transfer to smoker
  • smoke for a good 90 minutes repositioning as necessary (my smoker only goes to 275f so that’s what I used)
  • uncover and smoke for another half hour (adjust covering and uncovering to get your desired smokiness

Something like that.  I didn’t take notes.  Or these are my notes just several days after the fact.  Probably the next batch will be even better!  This is likely the best stuffing I’ve ever had so that’s something.

JamesIsIn

Mom’s Goulash (Mostly)

My mom made a pretty authentic goulash in certain respects.  In certain other respects it wasn’t really goulash at all.  I’m now making something somewhere in between.

The Hungarians would make a sort of soup called goulash and serve that with or over cubed boiled potatoes.  The Germans like a thicker version and serve that over spaetzle.  My mom used elbow macaroni.  I have a spaetzle maker but usually just reach for a nice orzo lately.

My mom used a combination of tomato juice and tomatoes.  I skip the juice.  Feel free to include some to make a thinner version.  You could also add chicken stock to take it more into the soup dimension.  My mom used stewed tomatoes but I use just diced.  She also added “a little sugar”.  I’ve dropped this as well.

My mom used ground beef, but I’ve gone more traditional here and cube nice beef and brown that.

Finally, my mom didn’t use paprika (I know!) and I use a lot.  If I can brown the beef and sauté the onions over fire I use Hungarian sweet, but if I can’t I use Spanish smoked paprika instead.  Or maybe a combination.  I’m not too picky about this detail.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef (browned)
  • 2 large onions (sautéed but not browned)
  • 1 T garlic (optional, I usually skip but sweat these after the onions)
  • tomatoes (2 x 28 oz cans of Muir Glen diced is typical for me)
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ C paprika (yes, a lot)

Directions:

  • brown beef and set aside
  • sauté onions in whatever fat remains, scrap up the bits, and let them go translucent (take your time)
  • add everything into the pot (except the pasta) and let that simmer for a long while, relax
  • cook the pasta you chose (or potatoes or make spaetzle) (1 box of orzo is a good portion for the above)
  • you can combine the starch and sauce together and server or serve portions (I usually combine in the pasta just prior to serving time so it’s a one pot stop)

That’s it.  Basic.  Easy.  Fucking delicious.

JamesIsIn

Mom’s Chocolate Zucchini Bread

My mom makes chocolate zucchini bread.  Well, she did when we were kids.  I don’t think they eat so much dessert foods now that we’re grown.  Regardless, I asked her to send me the old recipe.  The poor card has seen better days!

Ingredients
Ingredients
Directions
Directions

I’ll do my best to get those interpreted correctly here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ C flour (unsifted)
  • 2 C sugar
  • ½ C cocoa [presumably Dutch processed but certainly powder]
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ t baking powder
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 ½ t [baking] soda
  • 2 t orange peel (grated) [zest]
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 C zucchini (shredded)
  • ¾ C butter or margarine [seriously, butter though]
  • ½ C milk
  • [ewe] 1 C pecans or walnuts (chopped) [No nuts!  obviously optional]

Directions:

  • Pour [something] greased and floured [something] [maybe cake] pan or Bundt pan
  • [over]
  • Bake 350° for 1 hr
  • Cool in pan for 15 min
  • Turn out on wire rack
  • Cool thoroughly
  • Glaze

Glaze:

  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla

I have no specific memory have actually eating it, but I know we greatly enjoyed doing so.

Enjoy!

JamesIsIn

Jerky Recipe from Next Door (or His Friend Anyway)

My neighbor is a hunter and a fisher which has been a boon for my access to random unexpected proteins.  We were talking the other day about the jerky he makes (nearly all of his goose breast ends this way).  He uses a recipe from a friend of his and I told him I could post it to my blog so it would be easier for him to find.  So, here it is.

  • 3T coarse salt
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 1C water
  • 3/4C soy sauce
  • 3/4C Worcestershire sauce
  • 2T garlic
  • 2T chili powder
  • 3T ground (black) pepper
  • 2T (red) pepper flakes

I am going to try it out at some point.  From there I will likely play with it and see what works for me.  Anyway, perhaps it will be a good starting point for you as well.

Enjoy!

JamesIsIn

Roast Chicken with Plums and Black Rice

  • in a pot (French oven) saute three shallots in butter and olive oil
  • add dried mushrooms and stir
  • add peppers trio and stir
  • add garlic confit and stir
  • add black rice and stir
  • add layer of halved plums
  • finely chop giblets and add them to this layer
  • add four rosemary twigs
  • drizzle honey
  • butterfly whole chicken and spice in and out with:
    • salt
    • cayenne
    • sumac
    • coriander
    • cardamom
    • expert level:  spread spices under the skin
  • drizzle over chicken a bit more honey
  • cover and put in the oven 350f for 60 minutes
  • uncover for another 15 minutes on broil to brown

I could have probably used two bags of rice for this volume.

Also, might be good to stir the rice mixture (including stirring the plums in) midway through the roasting process.  In other words, life the chicken and stir what’s below together again.  This may mean leaving out the rosemary (which seems to play only a small role) or perhaps moving it to the top during roasting (and removing before broiling).

 

JamesIsIn

Stuffed Baked Pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 1 decent sized pumpkin with lid removed and inside cleaned
  • sauté
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper chopped
    • 12? cloves garlic chopped
    • handful of dried bing cherries chopped
  • deglaze
    • 1/4 cup? pomegranate molasses
    • 1/4 cup? white wine
  • remove to mixing bowl (leaving liquid behind)
  • sauté after reducing retained liquid
    • 10 maybe mushrooms (let them fully wilt)
    • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • remove to mixing bowl
  • 1 cup black rice with 3.5 cups chicken stock 5 minutes boil and simmer to finish, then add to mixing bowl
  • finally add the rest to the mixing bowl
    • 1/4 cup? Asiago
    • coriander, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
    • 2 apples chopped
    • lemon juice
    • cream
    • sage
  • mix everything and stuff the pumpkin

450f for 30 minutes and then 350f for another 90 minutes

I ended up with too much liquid after cooking and would reduce the amount of liquid used (or reduce the rice liquid more) for the next cook.

Pumpkin seeds

  • sauté in olive oil
  • add salt, cayenne, and butter
  • 300f oven 45 minutes

These turned out amazing for being so simple.

Gutting the pumpkin (and then salvaging the seeds) was a bit of a pain in the ass.  I used an ice cream scoop for gutting the pumpkin which did a fair job for most of it.  I may try using a serrated knife for removing the lid next time, though I suspect my dreams of sawing around are folly.

The flavor combination of the stuffing was amazing and I wouldn’t hope to alter it one bit.  Just maybe reducing the final liquidity some.

Have fun!

JamesIsIn