Home remedy


 

The cold & flu brew

Stopped up, sneezing, coughing, achy, blah!  Yep, it's cold & flu season.

As soon as we start to feel a cold come on, we make a big batch of our home remedy, "the brew".  Even though this isn't a miracle cure, we sure think it helps.  And here's a plus, it doubles as a simmering potpourri making the house smell great!

First, I start with a 2 qt stock pot filled almost to the top with water, then add the following:  the peel of a small orange or tangerine, about 1" chunk of ginger thinly sliced, 3 cinnamon sticks, 3-4 cloves and 1 tiny shake of cayenne pepper.  Simmer the mixture for 3-4 hrs and top off with about a cup of water.  I strain off and jar about 2/3 of the mixture, then add water to the pan for another round.  Simmer the remaining batch for a few more hours.  This should make about 6 pints of the base. Any resealable containers will work. If you have a house full of sickies, double the batch and store in a tea pitcher. 

After you have the base made, the rest is easy.  I just microwave a cup at a time adding a heaping spoonful or two of raw honey and a squeeze of lemon.  For the last cup of the night, I add a generous glug of whiskey for the sleepy factor. 

Get well soon!

 

Irish Cream Recipe


Sláinte!!

 

Our Christmas holidays were forever changed a few years ago when we were gifted a bottle of sheer deliciousness from our friend Holly.  It contained the best Irish Cream we’d ever tasted.  She graciously shared her recipe & now we have it every year.  There are many similar recipes online & it’s an easy recipe to tweak.  Some have raw eggs, some don’t.  Some flavor with KAHLÚA, vanilla, almond extract and/or coconut extract & some are pretty straight forward with only chocolate & coffee flavorings. You can even switch from an Irish whiskey, like Jameson, to a sweeter mix with some good old Southern Comfort & I’ve even seen recipes that call for Brandy.  We’ve tried several versions, depending on what ingredients we have at the time, and it’s always good!  

We jazz ours up with some of the above ingredients & mix ours in a blender, but here is a good, basic recipe from Saveur magazine to get you started.  

Homemade Irish Cream

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. instant coffee powder
½ tsp. cocoa powder
¾ cup Irish whiskey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:
Combine 1 tbsp. cream and the coffee and cocoa powders to make a smooth paste. Slowly add remaining cream, whisking until smooth. Add whiskey, vanilla extract, and sweetened condensed milk; stir to combine. Pour into a 24-oz. jar and keep refrigerated until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks. To serve, pour into a tumbler filled with ice. MAKES 3 CUPS.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Venison

 

Meat, the old fashioned way

I know this shot looks like a scene from Dexter, but don't worry, this post is not about the butchering.  It's about what we do with it afterwards.

I haven't hunted in years, but fortunately I have very generous neighbors that do. (I'm lookin' at you, Lot 12!)

We only do 3 things with our freshly butchered goodness.

#1  Smoke the backstrap wrapped in bacon.  We usually do this within a few days of butchering, if not the same day.  To quote J.J. Walker from Good Times, it's "Dy-no-mite!".

#2  Take about 6-8 pounds of some of the larger muscles and cut them into strips about 3/4" thick & smoke over hickory until they temp about 150°.  Cool, cut into bite size pieces and freeze in 1 pound packs for some super awesome chunky chili meat.  Again, what does J.J. say?

#3  Grind the rest of the meat for burgers, casseroles & sausage.  Venison is an extremely lean meat, so I mix it with an equal amount of pork shoulder meat for the sausage & I mix it with brisket for the burgers.  I spend a LOT of time trimming both the venison & the pork 'cause nobody likes weird chewy bits in their sausage.   How you grind, stuff or pack it is up to you. 

tip: A.C. Legg has some great sausage mixes.

 

Baby, it's cold outside


 

Green Tomato Relish

So you watched the news last night and although it's supposed to be 78º today, the weather guy has you totally freaked out. A freeze is coming, a freeze is coming! Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But either way, what do I do with all of these green tomatoes? Time to break out the mason jars & can some green tomato relish, of course.  Here's a super simple canning recipe I found online a few years ago. If it's not too cold, I like to set up my canning in the cook shed. It's all about the elbow room.

Ingredients:
2 gallons (16 cups)    green tomatoes cut into chunks
1 quart                       onions, peeled & diced
2 cups                       jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 gallon                  white vinegar
6 cups                       sugar
1 cup                         salt


Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a boil. 

Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets leaving 1/2 inch of head space at the top. Screw on lids.

Put into a water bath for 5 to 10 minutes.  Don't over cook! 

Makes about 10 pints.

 

Amazing Use for Candy Corn


 

Make your own Butterfingers

“What’s the deal with candy corn?” I asked in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice.  Who eats it? Well, our neighbor Amy does and answered my question with an easy recipe for homemade BUTTERFINGER® Bars.  To avoid any legal trouble, we’ll just call ours Butterfanger Bars.  Work for you?  It’s only got 3 ingredients - a plus for any recipe in my book.  Buy it when it goes on half price after Halloween like we did & give it a try.  

 Candy Corn

There are several versions of this recipe online.  Here’s what we used:

1 pound candy corn
1 16 oz jar of peanut butter
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips or dipping chocolate

Lay out some parchment paper on a cookie sheet or 9x13 pan.

Melt the candy corn in a glass bowl (not plastic) in several 15-30 second intervals to allow a slow melt.  Stir after each blast of microwaves until it is melted & smooth.  This stuff is really goopy.

Stir in peanut butter.  You might need to zap it a couple of seconds now & then if it starts hardening.

 Candy Corn

Spread this onto your paper or pan. Refrigerate & let cool to harden.  Cut into bite size pieces.

 Candy Corn

Melt the chocolate chips & you can add up to a tablespoon of vegetable oil if you need to get the consistency looser for dipping, but that up’s us to 4 ingredients which I am against. Dip the orange chunks into the chocolate goodness & place on a paper or foil lined tray.  Refrigerate until ready to serve & keep stored in there until finished.  




 

Pecan Roasted Poblanos


 

I'm not one of those people that need to eat a bhut jolokia or a habanero to prove I'm a man, I like peppers that have a lot of flavor with just enough heat to know it's a pepper.  Simply put, poblanos are my favorite pepper. 

In our garden, we get a poblano or two a week throughout the summer. That's enough to throw on the grill with a burger or mix in with some scrambled eggs every now and then, but in the late summer, we have an all out pepper-splosion.  They all seem to mature at the same time, so here's what I do.

I build a pecan wood fire in my fire pit/grill and let it burn down to coals with just a few flames. 

Place peppers on the grill and char until the skin blisters.  Keep rotating until all sides are done.  This should only take 10-15 minutes.

Put the charred peppers in a paper grocery sack, roll down the top a little and let them rest for a least 10 minutes.

tip: Don't let those wonderful wood coals go to waste! Throw a steak or burger on that grill.

I usually wear latex gloves for this next part because, well, that's just me.  On a cutting board, remove the seeds and membrane & then scrap off the skin. I don't rinse the finished pepper, because I don't want to wash off any of that smokey, peppery goodness. 

Portion the peppers out for recipes & freeze in foodsaver bags. 

What can you do with this freezer gold?  How about: poblano cream soup, cream sauce over pasta (or chicken or crepes or enchiladas), on hamburgers, on pulled pork tacos, in scrambled eggs...... you get the point.

interesting fact: the ancho chili is a dried poblano.

Here's a pic of my most recent poblano inspired dish: smoked dove breast, stuffed with poblanos & wrapped in bacon. 

 
 

Tomato Overload


 

Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe

To me, one of the best things about summer is garden fresh tomatoes & one of my favorite ways to make them last all year is this sauce.  It's great over pasta, but also makes a great base for soups, chili, enchiladas & many other dishes.  We portion & freeze flat in food saver bags.  After freezing, the packages stack neatly in the freezer and for those of you that know me, you know that's very important.

tip: "blemished" tomatoes are great for sauces. If you're not growing your own, save some money and buy a box of 2nds from Lemley's Produce at the Dallas Farmers Market.

 

Ingredients:
7 lbs tomatoes - peeled, seeded and crushed
2 small onions, chopped (about 2.5 cups)
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground black pepper
 

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in the crock pot.
  • Cover, and cook 15 + hours on LOW.

tip: you may be tempted to reduce the cook time, but something magical happens after 12 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it is.

 If too runny, move to a pan and cook until some of the liquid is reduced.

*For mild sauce, reduce black pepper & delete cayenne pepper.  

Makes approximately 7.5 cups of finished sauce.