Archive | January 2013

New England Baked Shrimp

When I get a “hankering” for some delicious seafood, my favorite way to prepare it is with the following recipe. Gone are the days in our household where deep fried shrimp is served. THIS recipe is not only delicious, it is quick and easy to prepare and has a low calorie count (190 calories per serving). It works on all kinds of white fish – halibut, cod, and mmmmm – walleye. Give it a try!

New England Baked Shrimp

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound fresh large shrimp

In a small saucepan, melt your butter and stir in the bread crumbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the burner and cool. Shell and devein your shrimp; cut through lengthwise until almost split. Flatten and place in a single layer in a medium sized baking pan. Spread each shrimp with a scant tablespoon of the crumb mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until shrimp are tender.

The shrimp come out of the oven with a wonderful garlic, cheesy flavor with a slight breadcrumb coating and boy, they are good!


A couple of months ago, I read an article about bread crumbs. Yup – not all breadcrumbs are created equal!

I enjoy making my own bread, but there are times when you don't get to the end of loaf fast enough and the bread gets kind of dry. I just pop the slices on a cookie sheet and let them totally dry out, then hit then with a rolling pin to make my own bread crumbs. They are great for this recipe. The article I read on bread crumbs told me that the package you purchase in the store of your favorite bread crumbs is perhaps more than you bargained for. So, last time through the grocery store, I had to see for myself. Here is the list of ingredients on the back of one particular bread crumb container.

I will continue to use my “day old bread” for breadcrumbs. Who knew?

 

Farm Fresh Eggs – Make It Like “Free Range” For Your Girls Even In The Winter

 

As people stop by our home this winter and see the trays of lush-looking grass, “what'cha growing there?” is the first question out of their mouths.

 

It is lovely – thick, green grass. Eight trays on a shelf – each one in a different stage of growth.

 

We stumbled onto the idea, really. Looking through a farm products magazine, here was an ad for a machine to grow “fodder”. Fodder – I had never heard of it, but it looked intriguing. Cattle, horses, chickens – farm animals that you could feed with fodder. After a bit of searching on the Internet, I was convinced that I should give it a try. We had a big barrel of hard red winter wheat seed, so I grabbed a couple of cups and put it in a bucket to soak overnight. The next day, I took those soaked seeds, poured them into a seed tray (you know the kind you get when you buy your annual flowers in the spring) and put the next batch in a bucket to soak. At about day three, the wheat seeds were sprouting and by day four, the sprouts were turning green! I had read that the sprouts were at their “nutritional best” at day eight.

 

I could hardly wait for the sprouts to be ready to feed! On the big day, I proudly took a bag full to the chicken coop and set them out to be eaten. The girls walked around staring at the sprouts – maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was the middle of winter and they hadn't seen anything green for a few months – but they looked pretty darned suspicious of the whole thing! After about five minutes, one brave soul walked up and took a little peck at them. Then another. Well, the others followed suit, and in no time, they were all happily munching away on the sprouts.

 

Next I started some black oil sunflower seeds for the chickens. They seem to take a bit longer to sprout and grow, but the happy chickens meet me with open wings!

I spend about 10-15 minutes each morning spraying the sprouts with water and getting the next batch of seeds soaking. Not a big price to pay for those beautiful farm-fresh eggs.

When spring does arrive, the chickens will be happy to tear around the greenhouse and garden again, but until then, they seem very content to eat the greens!

 

 

Kale…..Who Knew?

My parents never grew kale in their garden. There wasn’t much that they missed growing in our garden, but I know for sure that kale was not a crop they planted.

The first time I saw this veggie, it was growing in a flower garden – so what a switch for me to be here, on a soap box, telling you that you should definitely grow this crop!

Kale is one of those crops anyone can successfully grow. It is a part of the cabbage family and it can ‘take’ the cold weather extremely well. Put it in full sun in the spring and you will be harvesting it in about two months. It really prefers cooler temperatures and is even sweetened by a touch of frost. A spring and fall crop of kale does extremely well in our zone 5 Colorado.

So, now you’ve grown the stuff. What do you do with it? If you let the kale leaves get too big, you’ll note that they will get bitter. Take care to harvest the young, tender leaves as they mature. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and calcium. It’s high in fiber, a super source of beta-carotene and also possesses carotenoids to help keep UV rays from damaging your eyes. OK, OK – I get that, but kale is not just one of those veggies you will sit down and eat by the bowl full in front of the TV!

Baked kale chips are amazingly delicious, and when my friend, Katie, told me about this recipe, I decided to try it that same night.

Baked Kale Chips

After harvesting a bunch of kale, wash and thoroughly dry the leaves. On a cutting board, remove and discard the center rib and then tear the leaf into bite-sized pieces. I like to put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a plastic bag and toss the leaves in to coat. Place on a baking sheet, spreading the leaves apart so they are not overlapping. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees turning and moving them around as they shrink to make sure they crisp evenly.

We like to top with grated Parmesan cheese – returning to the oven for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.

The first time I made kale chips, I was a bit hesitant. They are green for heaven’s sake! Amazingly, they were delicious – and as I picked up the dinner dishes, I watched as my husband tipped the paper towel to get the last crumbs.
Score!!!!!

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Mom’s Good Luck Bread

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My memories see rows of ripe, red raspberries, plump peas hanging from the vine, and baskets of freshly dug potatoes. Lots of potatoes. Growing up in the midwest in a Scandinavian family, potatoes were a staple. My Dad loved them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if my Mom would fix them for him.

Food was harvested from the land whenever possible, whether it be from the garden, fresh venison or grouse, fish from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, or picking wild blueberries in the woods. The food was fresh, and OH, so good! I barely remember a box food besides my favorite breakfast cereal. It’s clear that, as the generations unfold, many ways are forgotten or lost.

My Mom gave me the recipe for her bread years and years ago. It was handwritten on a small piece of paper, and the heading on the paper read, “Good Luck”, I think more in keeping with my ability to make the bread than this bread being called the good luck bread! Her ingredients weren’t exact, but were written to say things like “add flour until it feels like”, or “scald the milk, but don’t boil tho”. The scrap of paper with my “Good Luck” bread followed me and my family for years from house to house always stuck in the recipe box – but one day, it was gone. I tore through my collection of recipes, frantic to find the paper. Nowhere! You’d think after years of preparing this bread, I could recite it by heart, and to that end – yup, I almost can. But I still looked for it, hoping to this day to see that slip of paper with Mom’s handwriting on it. So, before it gets lost again in another shuffle, here’s our “Good Luck” bread recipe.

Good Luck Bread

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon of salt
3 3/4 cup flour
1 pkg. yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

I use my breadmaker for this recipe – setting the machine on the ‘dough’ cycle. Always put your wet ingredients in the bottom of the breadmaker pan first – followed by the dry ingedients.

As the dough is getting mixed, lift the lid on your breadmaker just to feel the consistency of the dough. Add a little bit of flour if it feels too sticky, or a little lukewarm water if it feel too dry. You’ll want it to mold easily, but not stick to your fingers. When the dough cycles is finished, let it rise until you can poke the doughball with your finger and the hole remains in your dough.

Mom often made “finger rolls” from this recipe – and it was a favorite around our house for sure! Cut your dough into eight (or so) equal pieces and shape each portion into a “finger” laying each side by side in the pan.

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