October 29, 2007

Kickin' Chili

It’s about that time of the year when nothing tastes better than warm soups, stews and of coarse chili.

The weather is turning over, the leaves are changing colors and that northern wind is blowing strong. For me nothing is better on a fall night than warming up with a bowl of chili.

I’m pulling this recipe from my archives today: McConnell White Lightening Chili.

This isn’t your “normal” hamburger chili, it’s a white broth based chili with chicken. It’s got a little heat to it as well right at the end that sneaks up on you.

McConnell White Lighting Chili

by Lane

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up or chicken tenders
2 cans great northern beans, rinsed
1 whole white onion, diced
2 cups frozen white corn
2 yellow bell pepper, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3-6 habanera peppers, depending on how “hot” you want it
½ cup white wine*
4-6 cups of chicken broth
2 small cans of green chilies, chopped
4 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 -1/2 tbsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. olive oil1 lime, squeezed for juice
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Parsley to garnish with

In a large skillet heat oil and sauté chicken, garlic and onion. Cook for about 12 minutes or until chicken is done.In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven) add chicken broth, cumin, coriander, pepper and salt, lime juice, green chilies, chili flakes, Italian seasonings, peppers ( if want a milder tasting chili use less peppers about 3 because 6 makes it very HOT) and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken, garlic and onion mixture, plus the corn, beans, yellow bell pepper green chilies and white wine. Check you seasonings at this point and see if they suit your taste buds.

Cover and let simmer for approximately 30-35 minutes.When finished, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Garnish with the shredded cheese and parsley; serve with crusty garlic bread or tortilla chips.

*Depending on how thick you like your chili add or reduce the amount of liquid.

*Sserve with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkled cheese and a few sprinkles of parsley.

October 25, 2007

KC Market Cookbook

The City Market in Kansas City is selling the most beautiful cookbook, In Season Cooking Fresh From the Kansas City Farmers' Market.

My copy is on the way...

The cookbook is filled with beautiful photos of the recipes, market produce and farmers that sell their produce at the City Market.

The cookbook is only $24.00 and would make EXCELLENT Christmas gifts!

If you are interested in purchasing this wonderful cookbook:

Email: ashgrove@kc.rr.com with your request

By mail: In Season Cookbook, The Ash Grove Press, Inc.P.O. Box 8564Prairie Village, KS 66208

Here are some of the highlights of the cookbook:
  • 90 original recipes, organized by growing season and created with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Personal interviews with farmers and growers

  • The evolution of farmers' markets, including historic photos of the City Market

  • Useful tips on how to shop at a market

  • Helpful seasonal produce guide

  • Suggested wine pairing for all recipes

  • A portion of the proceeds benefit the City Market

October 23, 2007

Homemade Potato Soup

It's been cold, windy and rainy in Mid-Mo lately and I'm ready for this weather to decide if it's ready for winter or not.

Nothing is better on cold fall nights then one of the heartiest meals on the planet...potato soup!

My mother always made potato soup when I was a child because it was an easy meal to prepare and it warmed you up on a cold day of working on the farm.

Plus, this recipe can totally be adjusted to whatever you have on hand in the kitchen. No cream, just use milk. No cooked ham, use some bacon or hamhock.

I’ve got all my ingredients laid out at home, so that tonight when I get home I can cook some good ‘ole homemade soup…how about you?

Homemade Potato Soup
3 to 4 medium red potatoes
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 white onion
4 T. butter
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 cup cooked ham
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder, I usually add a little more
1 tsp. Italian seasonings

Start a large saucepan of water on the stove to bring to a rapid boil. While water is coming to a boil peel and cut potatoes into small chunks, about 1 inch cubes. When water is boiling add potatoes and cook until tender. Tender when you can easily pierce with a fork. Drain, but keep 1 cup of cooking liquid from the potatoes to add to your soup mixture.

While the potatoes are cooking get your onion chopped up finely.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to saucepan; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and tender, but not browned. Next add flour to pan and season with all seasonings. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add to saucepan potatoes, 1 cup cooking liquid, milk, cream and sugar to onions in pan, stirring well. Then add the cheese and ham. Simmer soup for about 25-35 minutes. Stir soup frequently.

*Depending on how thick or how thin you like your soup, you may want to add more/less liquid. Serve with some French bread on a cold fall night.

October 17, 2007

Buying Locally Grown Food

When I go home and visit my folks there is one topic of conversation that comes up often…. that most people these days don't know where the food comes from. Most people today don’t know who grew their food or how and where was it raised.

My parents are farmers who are in their 60’s. Whenever my husband and I come and visit and it’s dinner time my father tells us about how things were when he was growing up. He says when he was a kid my grandmother would go to a local butcher in town that would help her pick out the perfect pork roast or the best steak. That butcher would not only cut the meat in front of her, but also knew exactly what farm the meat came from.

Times sure have changed. Today, most everyone shops at the supermarket (where you buy food, clothes, shampoo, medicine, garden supplies, pet food, birthday cards all at the same store). All meat purchases are pre cut and packages and it’s almost impossible to find a whole chicken.

Food has become so impersonal. Today, we don’t know the farmers that raised and produced our food. We don’t know the process the food went through from the farm to the family table. Do you know that most all food Americans consume today is trucked in 1,500 miles before it reaches our local supermarket! 1,500 MILES! It’s a fact that food that travels that many miles looses much of its flavor and nutrition. If we want to make food more personal again we need to start buying local food.

Being a farm kid it is important to me to know where my food comes from. All beef in my refrigerator comes from my family’s beef farm. I buy chicken either in the store (but I try to only buy chicken that is raised in Missouri) or I purchase from some FFA students that raise free-range chicken. Lamb and pork come from some producers I know in southwest Missouri, I place three orders a year with two families. I do however, purchase Burgers Smokehouse pork products too because this company is a Missouri product.

I try to buy all food products I can local – and my definition of local is made in Missouri. What produce I don’t grow in my garden I purchase from the farmers’ market. I also purchase Missouri honey from the beekeepers, goat cheese, walnuts, pecans, ice cream, breads, jams and jellies….you get my point. It’s really not that hard to find local products, you just have to be more selective in your purchasing decisions. I can buy many food products at area farmers’ markets or I can find a lot of what I need by searching on the AgriMissouri Buyer’s Guide.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Food
1.) Helps to sustain the environment
2.) Promotes tourism within the area
3.) Grown locally, not traveling 1,500 miles from field to table
4.) Promotes healthy food choices
5.) Maximum freshness
6.) Exceptional taste
7.) Unique varieties
8.) Nutritious and affordable
9.) Helps to support our family farms
10.) Retains food dollars in the community

October 15, 2007

Another Apple Recipe

Who doesn't like a good homemade apple strudel...everyone!

Thanks to my friend Sarah for this great apple recipe...

From the kitchen of Laverne Haller

3 pounds cooking apples
1 egg1 cup sugar
2 ½ cup flour1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt1 cup Crisco
2/3 cup milk½ stick oleo
1 cup crushed corn flakes
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup Crisco
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Mix flour, salt and Crisco with fork or pastry cutter until consistency is crumbly.
In a 2/3 measuring cup beat egg yolk (save egg white for later)

Add milk to make the cup full. Add egg and milk mixture to flour and Crisco mixture.

Stir only until it is mixed, do not over stir. Use half to make bottom

Crush corn flakes to make 1 cup. Pour over crust. Peel and slice apples about 3 pounds of cooking apples. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup sugar

Pour apples mixture over corn flakes and crust. Pat with butter about 1/2 stick. Roll out remaining crust and put on top of apples. Beat egg white until foaming. Using a pastry brush, spread on top of crust. Sprinkle with sugar (about 2 tablespoons)

Bake at 350 for 1 hour maybe less depending on the apples

In a cup, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and water to make a thin icing. Drizzle over hot strudel.

October 10, 2007

It's Apple Season

It’s apple season….and there might not be many Missouri apples available….which is a total shame, there are apples.

I’ve tried many, many apple pie recipes out and there is only one recipe that really takes the cake, or pie in this case. Martha Stewart’s Apple Pie is the best recipe out there.

Happy baking with this recipe!

Apple Pie
By Martha Stewart

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
2 Basic Pie Doughs
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
4 pounds (8 to 10) apples, such as Empire, Granny Smith, Gala, Cortland, Winesap, or a mix
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Lightly flour a large piece of waxed paper; place a disk of dough in center. Rolling from center outward, form into a 12-inch circle. (Use paper to rotate dough, and flour rolling pin and paper as necessary to prevent sticking.) Transfer dough (still on paper) to a baking sheet; cover and refrigerate. Repeat with second disk of dough.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack set in lowest position. Remove first circle of dough from refrigerator; wrap around rolling pin (discarding paper), and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently lift edges and lower dough into the pie plate so it hugs bottom and sides. Avoid stretching the dough, which will make it shrink during baking. Refrigerate.

Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; halve crosswise, and add to lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown) as you work. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt; toss to combine.

Remove dough-lined pie plate from refrigerator. Fill with apple mixture, gently packing apples and mounding slightly in center; dot with butter. Lightly brush rim of pie shell with water. Remove remaining circle of dough from refrigerator. Lay over apples; press along moistened rim to seal. Using kitchen shears, trim overhang to 1 inch.

With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a thick rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around the rim of the pie plate.

To crimp edges: With thumb and index finger of one hand, gently press dough against knuckle of other hand (photo, above); continue around pie. (Deep indentations anchor dough on rim and prevent it from sliding down sides of pie plate during baking.)

With a floured paring knife, cut 5 to 6 slits in top of pie, radiating from center; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes more. If edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Cool completely, at least 6 hours, before serving.

October 6, 2007

Lemon Roasted Chicken

Many of my friends say they have trouble finding new recipes for cooking chicken, but there are many various ways you can cook chicken. I like to buy chicken whole and bake it in the oven. This best way to cook any roasting chicken in the oven is to marinate the chicken in a marinade for a couple of days before you plan to cook the chicken. This not only enhances the taste, but a salt marinade will tenderize the meat.

I took a recipe from Martha Stewart for a lemon chicken and made a few changes to make this recipe a little more flavor enhanced.

This Lemon Roasted Chicken recipe makes great sandwiches the next days. You can also substitute dried herbs for fresh if fresh is not available.

Lemon Roasted Chicken
* Marinate the chicken for two days for the best flavor and texture.

1/3 cup kosher salt (this is coarse salt)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 five-pound roasting chicken
Zest of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried basil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped roughly fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 fresh, or dried bay leaves
4 lemons, quartered lengthwise, plus 3 lemons halved (optional)

In a small bowl, combine kosher salt and lemon juice. Loosen the skin of the chicken from the flesh. Rub mixture under the skin and in the cavity of the chicken. Place chicken in a large bowl, cover and chill at least 48 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse all of the salt off the chicken with cold water; pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and zest, dried basil, salt and pepper to taste, parsley, garlic and softened butter. Rub two-thirds of the mixture under the chicken's skin; rub the rest on the outside. Salt the cavity of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bay leaves and the quartered lemons.

Place chicken in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Tuck the tips of the wings under the bottom of the bird. Transfer pan to oven. After 40 minutes, baste. If using lemon halves, place in pan, cut side down. Cover chicken with a 14-by-18-inch piece of aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Cook, basting occasionally, until the skin is crisp and golden, 40 to 45 minutes more. The juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced; an instant-read thermometer should register 170 degrees in the deepest part of the thigh when done. Serve warm or at room temperature.

October 5, 2007

Oh the Butter

Paula Deen is the “Queen of Butter.” I laugh every time I watch her in the kitchen, cooking with any recipe that includes butter. She even had a whole show on “Butter” which was absolutely wonderful and full of great recipes.

But I will say out of all of the Paula Deen dessert recipes my favorite is her Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake, which I’ve posted about many times on my blog.

This recipe is the one dessert recipe I pull out when I want a delicious quick dessert for parties, birthdays, work functions or pot lucks. And the best part of this recipe is it can be mixed up and in the oven in less than 15 minutes. Oh, and did I mention it has two sticks of butter in it. TWO.

Try it next time you have an upcoming party, and just don’t have the time to spend half a day in the kitchen making a dessert. I’m making it next week for my Master Gardening class that I’m taking right now. Each Monday three of the students provide food for 30 Master Gardening Trainees. I hope my dessert is a hit, but truthfully I’m not that worried…you can never go wrong with any of Paula’s Gooey Butter Cake recipes.

Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

by Paula Deen

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus 8 more tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus additional butter, for greasing pan

1 (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix

1 egg, plus 2 eggs

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and 1 stick melted butter, and stir until well blended. Pat mixture into prepared pan and set aside.In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining 2 eggs, and the cocoa powder. Lower the speed of the mixer, and add the powdered sugar.

Continue beating until ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add the remaining 1 stick of melted butter, and the vanilla, continuing to beat the mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts with a rubber spatula. Spread filling over cake mixture in pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the cake; the center should still be a little gooey when finished baking. Let cake partially cool on a wire rack before cutting into pieces.

October 1, 2007

Chicken Brochettes with Feta and Peppers

Here is a healthy meal that is low and fat but packed with flavor from the feta cheese, which is one of my very favorite cheeses to use when cooking.

Chicken Brochettes with Feta and Peppers
1/2 cup (4 oz/120 g) plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 large clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces (360 g) chicken tenders, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the feta, garlic, rosemary and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Light an outdoor grill or heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the grill rack or pan with cooking spray. Thread the chicken and bell pepper pieces alternately onto skewers or rosemary sprigs (spear from base end). Sprinkle the brochettes with salt. Grill until the chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Transfer the brochettes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the remaining feta cheese and serve.