Tag Archives: recipe

A very simple soup

The point of this soup is twofold: a warming dish for a sleety January night and to use up leftovers. So keep it simple, don’t rush out to buy extra spices, just substitute in whatever you have.

Broth can be anything. Salty water would do in a pinch. You could use veggie broth if you prefer. I’m not gonna lie, I used that “better than bullion” base.

The squash is a combination of whatever was starting to go soft in my cabinet with whatever was frozen from Thanksgiving leftovers. There’s definitely some white pumpkin in there…

My spices* are either fancy or lazy, depending on your point of view. The French four is just white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. The garam masala is corriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, kalonji, caraway, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Are you detecting a theme? This squash soup is warm and savory with ginger and just hints of the sweeter spices. If you’re working from a more standard collection of spices I’d use mainly pepper and ginger, add in a decent amount of nutmeg, a good shake or three of cinnamon, and just a pinch of whatever else from that list you’ve got on hand. Oh and the garlic. Don’t forget about it.

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Ingredients
Roasted squash (7 cups)
1 onion
Chicken broth (3 cups)
Olive oil
2 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp French four
1 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Roast the squash, or use leftovers. Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into your soup pot. Saute the onion over low heat (chop it first) until translucent and just beginning to brown at the edges.
Add the squash, broth, and spices. Simmer for awhile (30 minutes, 3 hours, whichever)
Puree. I use an immersion blender. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with bread and butter, if you’re feeling classic. We made muffins, not too sweet and with no fruit, to have on the side.

This was our dinner the night before last. I’m so excited that Windsor is good enough with a spoon to enjoy pureed soups.

*All my spices come from Penzeys these days. Although we’re still refilling old containers for a couple that we have just always bought in their bulk bags. I find the quality is amazing and the prices are so much better than at the grocery store. And I have no affiliation or reason to promote them here other than how delicious they are.

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Bacon Gingersnaps

In the grand tradition of putting bacon into random things I would like to present this recipe. It’s AMAZING. Possibly because gingersnaps are not really a sweet cookie, so they go with the bacon much better than some other things I’ve tried (bacon ice cream, I’m looking at you.) I hope you enjoy it, I’m probably just gonna leave this here until next year. It’s a wonderful way to wrap up the season!

bgs ginger

Bacon Gingersnaps

Ingredients
3/4 cup bacon fat*
1 cup white sugar, plus extra for rolling
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 TBSP chopped crystalized ginger
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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In a big bowl cream the sugar into the bacon fat. In a smaller bowl beat the egg, then add the egg and molasses into the mix. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and all spices. Mix until a smooth dough forms. You can mix everything by hand. Or break out the kitchenaid, use a metal blade, and this dough whips up so quickly you’ll be able to make it AND chase a toddler around the kitchen to keep her entertained.

bgs mixer

Chill the dough for at least an hour. I’m not kidding. This dough is much softer than butter based doughs. I actually left half in the fridge while rolling cookies with the first half.

Preheat the oven to 350F and prep your favorite non-stick cookie sheets.** Put a layer of white sugar in a flat, open bowl or plate.

Once the dough is nice a firm break off tablespoon sized lumps and roll into smooth little balls. Roll these balls in white sugar and arrange them on the sheet with about 2″ between each. The cookies will spread out as they cook.

bgs balls

Tuck the cookie sheet into the oven for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will spread out, then puff up a bit (that’s the baking soda) then flatten as they cool. You want them to be dark and just starting to crackle on the top – but not burnt around the edges. Good luck with that (I rotated 4 trays through the oven and only *almost* burned one) Once out of the oven let them cook on the sheet for a minute, then transfer them to the cooking rack.

bgs cookies

Enjoy them! But don’t eat the whole batch, even if you want to. That’s a lot of bacon fat to consume in one sitting… This recipe originated from a newspaper. Somewhere. My coworker’s father copied it and sent it to her. She modified it and passed it along to me. I tweaked a couple more things before I was totally happy with it.

*Note: We save our bacon fat and use it in many recipes. I’m not going to pretend it’s healthy. But if your subbing it in for lard, crisco, or butter – it’s probably not that much worse for you either.
Also note: I’m not a purist when saving fat, some mornings it’s darker than others. Sometimes there may be bacony bits in the mix. I have never, not once, used this mottled jar of fat in cooking and thought “gee, I wish this was less bacony.”

**say whatever you want about the ugly patina on my old cookie sheets – but they don’t really need anything to be “non-stick” these days…

slice of life

Or maybe a bowlful of life, since this is a soup recipe:

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It’s a chilled dessert soup; which is a bit different, but totally amazing. When Neil makes it the soup is about the same consistency as a smoothie. It’s sweet, but not cloying. And it tastes exactly the way late spring ought to taste.

I can’t claim this recipe. It is from the internet, somewhere… But we’ve lost the original source.

Testing a recipe

For the last two weekends I’ve carefully baked a pie. Starting with the same recipe each time; I carefully adjust the amounts of every ingredient.

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I’ve made up plenty of recipes in the past. And while we were writing the book I tested several of Calley’s finished recipes. But this is the first time I’ve approached the development as methodically as this.

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I’m perfecting this pie recipe for publication! I’ll let you in on the details, eventually.

Play Dough!

Here’s a combination craft recipe and cooking recipe! Home made play dough. This stuff is awesome, it’s my mom’s recipe and I remember many fond hours playing with it as a child. This weekend I shared it with Windsor for the first time.

play dough ing

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s cheap and non-toxic (although a bit salty). Which means when Jake eats it, or it gets full of dirt and we throw it away, I really don’t mind. Just be aware that the food dye can stain things if you add too much or don’t mix it in thoroughly.

Ingredients
2.5 cups flour
2.5 cups water
1.5 Tbsp cream of tarter
1.25 cup salt
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
food coloring

Directions
In a medium saucepan mix everything together except the food coloring. Put it over low to medium heat, and start cooking. Stirring. Keep stirring, this doesn’t take long and you don’t want it to burn.

Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring. We did yellow (less likely to stain, but also less fun) and needed almost 20 drops. You’ll need far fewer for blue.

Continue stirring until the dough is thick and begins to gather around the spoon. When it’s so thick you can’t really stir it anymore, remove from the heat and put on a plate to cool.

play dough cooking

You can also mix the colors in once it’s cool. But be careful not to get the food dye all over your hands. Once it’s cool you’re good to go! Be sure to store it in an air-tight container or it’ll dry out. And like commercial play dough, this doesn’t dry smoothly. It tends to crack as it goes.

play dough time

(yes, she does have playdough stuck to her cheek. That’s the sign of a good time!)

bookBOOKbook

I’ve teased you more than a couple of times over the last year (or two. Dear Lord I’ve been working on this book a long time…) But this thing is really happening. The patterns are edited, the recipes tested, the text is written, and this baby is headed to layout.

berry cuffs and cocoa

Oh, and I have permission to share a few sneak peaks. This purple sweater is just perfect for a blustery February morning, don’t you think? Let see, what would you like to go with that? How about some blueberry crumble?

Cobbler-Dish

Yep, that’ll hit the spot. I’m pretty sure I actually have local blueberries in the back of my freezer. Which is perfect since Calley whipped up this recipe to take advantage of frozen fruits so we could have something local in the cold time of year. Back to the sweater I have to say this was hands-down one of my favorites in the whole book. I’ve been wearing the sample pretty much since we finished that photo shoot. I’m gonna have to knit a second for book tours. Or maybe just bring this one along and show how well the super-wash yarn holds up to CONSTANT use. (That’s not actually a bad idea. Periwinkle Sheep dyes some awesome yarn)

In case you’ve forgotten that’s what our book is all about: Calley and I focus on local ingredients and American made yarns throughout the seasons. Each chapter features a new month and each month has a pattern or two and a recipe or three. We’ve paired fresh summer dishes with simple summer garments while cozy fall sweaters rub elbows with hearty baked goods.

full view walking Pasta-Ingredients

Crust rolling pin apple hood up back

I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to proof read the final draft of anything. Want to know the best way to learn when the book is available to order? Of course you do! Sign up for the Cooperative Press newsletter. You can sign up for mine as well, I don’t send e-mails very often, and that way you’ll never miss a pattern release.

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Once the book is available I’m planning some seasonal knit-alongs and some cook-alongs to go with!

beef tagine

Remember how I used to do all those lovely food posts? I have to say, the process of getting dinner on the table when you’re trying to feed a baby before her 7:340 bedtime? It’s a bit different. I’ve become a big fan of my crockpot (stereotypes are true for a reason)

But this crockpot recipe is actually pretty amazing. I adapted it from a dutch oven recipe I found online. I was looking for something beyond the standards of chilli, stew, and soup. I guess this is sort of like chilli. But the flavors are completely different.

Ingredients
1lb hamburg
1 14oz can each tomatoes and chickpeas
1 medium onion
3 c stock
1 small winter squash (I’m using mostly kaboucha, a small one is still 2-3lbs)
3oz prunes
spices: pepper, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, paprika

Now for the fun (easy part)
The night before put the frozen hamburg lump in the crockpot. Open the tomatoes and dump them in. Open the chickpeas, drain them, and dump them in.

Chop up that onion and those prunes, and dump it in too.

Ready? This is the hardest part. Chop/peel the winter squash. I generally slice the thing in half, scoop the seeds, slice it into wedges, then use the chopping knife to take the skin off. Then finish chopping.

If you’re really trying to minimize work the next day put all the spices in a bowl and stick it somewhere safe, so you don’t have to measure them while keeping a 14 month old entertained. I probably use about a teaspon each of cumin and ginger, half a teaspoon of paprika nad cinnamon, and I just grind the pepper right into the crockpot so I have no idea how much I’m adding. This dish definitely needs salt, but I usually add that at the table.

Put the crockpot in the fridge and go to bed.

In the morning put the crockpot on low, and walk away. When you get home (for me that’s 11.5 hours later. But I bet this dish is done in 8 or 10) add the spices, and start some rice on the stove (bonus points for a rice cooker with a timer)

tagine

Fish stew

I did that thing where I decided it was easier to create a new recipe than follow someone else’s (again). You do understand this is how I got into designing patterns as well, right?

I wanted a non-cream-based stew to use up the white fish in my freezer*. I wanted veggies and a clear broth, and fish. And I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store for clam juice or celery.

Ingredients
3 shallots
1 bulb of garlic (5-8 cloves depending on size)
2Tbsp olive oil
3Tbsp sherry
1 carrot
1 handful fingerling potatoes (probably 1.5 C sliced up)
1 C chicken stock
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 6.5oz can whole clams**
1 6.5oz can chopped clams**
2 fillets cheap white fish (feel free to substitute with something nicer ;-)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

fish stew ingredients

Slice the shallots and garlic. Saute in the olive oil 2-4 minutes over medium high heat. Meanwhile grate the carrot and slice the potatoes.
Toss in the sherry. Stir. Toss in the carrots and potatoes. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover everything. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain the cans of tomatoes and clams. Add both, plus the spices.
Nestle the fish into the soup add water if necessary to cover the fish.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes more, or until fish is done and flakes apart as the soup is stirred. Salt and pepper to taste.

fish stew

And yes, I store my leftover soups in mason jars. I’m not trying to be a hipster, they’re just the most leak-proof lunchbox container I can find.

*which, honestly, I’ve decided was cheap, doesn’t cook evenly, and not worth buying again. But I’m not gonna throw it out either.
**the clams were not cheap. We’ve been buying Bar Harbor products since they showed up in our local store and I love them. But then, I’m predispositioned to love small, local-ish, companies…

cocoa popcorn

I am a genius! Ok, that might be an exaggeration. But I DID make cocoa kettle corn the other day, and it’s amazing. Not really chocolatey, it’s kettle corn with a hint of cocoa.

cocoa popcorn

I make kettle corn (and all my other popcorn snacks) in a whirlypop. For kettle corn I heat the oil and salt, add a 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. And when they start to pop I toss a 1/4 cup of sugar in.

cocoa ingredients

For cocoa kettle corn I also added a tablespoon of cocoa powder. I used the good hot chocolate stuff, but not baking cocoa. This powder has sugar, but not milk powder in it. I’m sure you could use anything else, but the strength of the flavor will probably change. So that’s a simple change but it made an extra tasty snack!

Roasted Stuffed Squash

This isn’t exactly a recipe, more of a set of guidelines. But still, this is a perfect meal for late fall, early winter, or whatever the seasons are doing where you are*.

Ingredients
sausage/bacon/something
quinoa/rice/something
apple
garlic
tomato
spices

sliced tomatoes

So the idea here is that you mix up some flavors you like, then stuff them in the squash and roast it. What you’re aiming for is a protein (preferably something flavorful) a grain/starch, and some flavorings. My squash contained sausage, quinoa, apple, garlic, savory, thyme, salt and pepper.

Start by cooking the meat and the grains (or use leftovers, that’s always a good plain) I cooked the sausage and garlic together, then added the quinoa and water to that pan so it’d absorb the sausage flavors. Add the apple close to the end so it doesn’t disintegrate into applesauce (unless that’s what you want…)

While that’s cooking hollow out the squashes. I like delicata as they make great boats for holding the stuffing. They only need about 30-45 minutes in the oven which is also about perfect for roasting the stuffing.

stuffed squash

Once the stuffing is done scoop it into the boats. I laid the tomato on top so it’d roast prettily. Slide the whole pan into the oven and roast until your squashes are tender (like I alluded to above, the length will depend on the type of squash.)

stuffed squashes

Drizzle some maple syrup over the whole thing, add some butter, and enjoy!

*It may be the end of october, but we’ve got a high of about 38F today and it smells like snow. Which makes me feel like it must be just about thanksgiving time…