Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer Corn Chowder

My daughter, who insists she does not like soup, requested corn chowder yesterday.                                                              
 I had just picked up a dozen ears at an Amish market over the weekend.  Corn is terrific this year.  I am guessing all the rain we had in the beginning of Summer has something to do with it.

 I had just made stock using a free range chicken.  I heated it in a pot and added all of the corn cobs after having cut the kernels off of them.  If you simmer the cobs for an hour or so, all the rest of the pieces of corn can easily be scraped off of them adding lots of flavor to the chowder.

Dice a large onion, some celery and carrots and some green pepper.  I used my poblanos.  Saute them in a bit of bacon grease to add smokey flavor.  Add 4 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring for a minute. Add the stock. Add salt and pepper and some thyme.
Dice some new potatoes and add them and bring this to a boil.  Turn it down to a simmer.                                                   
Add 2 cups of milk.  You can add cream or half and half if you want it to be really rich.                                                    
When the potatoes are tender, it is ready.  You can serve this topped with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese to make it heartier.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Homemade Caramel Apples

I guess I should have waited for cooler weather to make these treats.  I fought the melting caramel battle and ended up refrigerating them to firm them up. I was cooking for a friend and made these for her kids.
This recipe made 6.  Wash and dry your apples, set aside and push a stick into the core.  I think if you refrigerate these the caramel will adhere better.  I hope I remember that next time.  In a heavy pot, mix 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of light corn syrup, 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk and 2 cups of white sugar.  Cook this over ed/high heat until it comes to the soft ball stage, stirring occasionally.  Remove it from the heat and stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.  Let this sit for a few minutes.
Sit them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

I drizzled some melted chocolate over them. 

My friend's husband loves eggplant parmesan.  I picked up some eggplant at an Amish market over the weekend and made him some.
I don't like eggplant parm when it is soaked in tomato sauce.  I like to keep it crisp and add jut a bit of sauce.  So, I fry the eggplant until it is very crisp and drain it on paper towels.
I usually serve it on top of cacio e pepe with a drizzling of spaghetti sauce on it.  I top each slice with provolone cheese and a slice of fresh mozzarella and add a dollop of pesto.  You can find the step by step here:  http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/2011/07/eggplant-parmigiano-and-cacio-e-pepe.html

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Yesterday we headed out to Amish country with one goal in mind....find the first pumpkins of the year!
All of the garden centers have mums, cornstalks and straw bales.....none had pumpkins.
We passed some interesting characters along the way. Click to enlarge.
We pulled up to an Amish farm market and there they were.
And now they are mine!
Lined up on my table in the rain this morning.  RAIN!  Pumpkins and rain...I am having a wonderful day.

 A friend sent this to me the other day and I just thought it was so perfect!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer's End Spaghetti

Here's another very good, easy and quick recipe to use up your tomatoes.    I used angels hair but you can use any pasta you like.                                                                                 
 An hour or so before you are ready to eat, dice up a bunch of tomatoes and throw them in a bowl.  Add a finely diced sweet onion, several minced cloves of garlic, some diced green pepper and salt and pepper.  Cut up a bunch of basil and add it too.  Drizzle this with a good olive oil and mix it all together. 
 Let this sit at room temp for at least an hour and stir it occasionally.

 Boil your pasta  and then stir in the tomato mixture and toss it to coat the pasta.  Serve it sprinkled with parmesan cheese. It's summer in a bowl!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pumpkin French Toast

Are you ready for pumpkin everything?  I sure am. We've had a teaser of Fall weather the last few days so I made my family pumpkin French toast for breakfast.
 Mix 3/4 cup of milk with 1/2 cup of pumpkin, 4 eggs, 2 T. light brown sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

 Add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.

 Beat until blended and dip slices of slightly stale bread in it.

 Cook them in a nonstick pan coated with butter.

Sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar and top with some good maple syrup.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chex Mix Season

I make so much of this that I have to mix it in a garbage bag.  I dump all of the ingredients in and gently roll it to coat everything completely. I use wheat, corn and rice chex, cashews, potato sticks, fritos, bugels, fried onions, wheat thins, pretzel sticks and mini triscuits.
Spread it out on cookies sheets and bake it at 275 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours turning it over half way through.
Let it cool and pack it in bags and give it to your friends.  They will be happy.  I put 2 large bowls outside for my workers yesterday and it was funny to see them eating it all day long. There weren't even crumbs left!

 Look at the new Fall Twizzlers I found!  Caramel apple.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pork Carnitas

This is such a good recipe and very simple to make.  Buy a 4-5 pound pork shoulder roast and cut it into 2 inch cubes.  Trim off the excess fat, leaving  some on for flavor.  Put the pork in a heavy dutch oven and add, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cumin,1 onion peeled and cut in half, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 cups of water and the juice of 2 oranges.  Throw the orange rinds in too.  Cover this and place it in a 300 degree oven to cook for 2 hours.
After 2 hours separate the meat from the pot, pick out the solids and discard and pour the juice into a small pot.

Place the cubes of meat on a cookie sheet and break them into 2 or 3 pieces.  Cook the sauce down to about 1 cup.  This will take about 8 minutes.  Pour it over the cubes of meat and place the meat under your broiler and broil until it becomes crisp. Turn the meat over and broil again until the tops ore crisp.

Make a quick slaw by slicing some cabbage and sprinkling it with the juice of a couple limes, 2 tsp. of honey and some salt and pepper.  Add some fresh cilantro too.

Lightly brown some flour tortillas. I do this in a dry cast iron pan.

Place the tortilla on a dish.

Top with some of the meat.

Add some slaw.  You can add any toppings you like. Jalapenos and pico de gallo would be good too.

Roll and eat. Mmmmmm!