Category Archives: Come for Supper

Mrs H’s Indian Fry Bread Tacos

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Mrs H’s Indian Fry Bread Tacos

In case you missed this recipe, featured recently in A Native Thanksgiving, here’s a re-run of it all by itself, because it is just too delicious to miss.

There are several ways to make the fry bread. My grandmother used her homemade yeast bread recipe and then divided it into dinner roll size pieces. She pulled those into little robe shapes and gave them a little twist before frying. She called it “Squaw Bread” and I could have honestly eaten the whole stinking batch every time she made it. Nothing better than hot fried bread, unless of course it is hot fried bread rolled in cinnamon and sugar, which she also sometimes did.

You can save yourself a lot of work by just using Rhodes Yeast Rolls that come frozen in the grocery store. Thaw them and then fry them. It’s that easy!

The Native way is also very easy and delicious. This is the recipe:

Fry Bread (2)

FRYBREAD

This recipe makes 7-8 small ones

Ingredients

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

Deep hot fat in fry pan or fryer

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients. Stir in milk. Kneed and work the dough on a floured board with floured hands until smooth. Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into flat disk shapes, with a depression in the center. Fry in deep fat (about 375°) until golden and done on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.

Fry Bread Taco mrsh

INDIAN FRYBREAD TACOS

6 servings

Frybread tacos are very much like the Elephant Ear tacos that we used to get at the carnival when the rodeo was in town. Very easy and one of my favorite things to eat. If I have leftover homemade chili I use it in place of the meat recipe here. And when I can’t find Anasazi beans, and I’m in a hurry, I just substitute canned pintos.

Ingredients

6 pieces Indian Frybread — about 6” in diameter

For Chili:

1 lb hamburger

1 big can tomatoes (I used Rotel)

2 Tbsp homemade chile powder (or your favorite packet of Chili seasoning)

salt, pepper to taste

Fry hamburger broken up loose until cooked, then drain fat. Sprinkle some salt and chile powder over it (or use a Chili seasoning packet). Add tomatoes and their juice — break up tomatoes and stir it around. Simmer till meat tender and sauce is thick, 30 – 40 minutes.

Toppings:

1/2 lb cheese grated coarse (Colby/Jack)

1 1/2 c Dried anasazi beans, cooked

1 1/2 c Mache or arugula, washed & stemmed (I substitute Cilantro, chopped)

1 pkg sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced

2 ea Ripe avocados, halved & sliced

1 sm red onion, thinly sliced and diced

1 bunch red radishes, sliced

1 container Golden yellow cherry tomatoes diced

3 ea Green Anaheim (New Mexico) chiles, prepared (I’ve sometimes substituted Poblanos when Anaheims are out of season or unavailable)

1 lg Red bell pepper

Directions:

22448To prepare the anasazi beans, soak overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain the beans and place them in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the beans simmer until the skins break, about 3 hours. It may be necessary to add water as the beans cook to prevent them from burning and sticking. After the beans are cooked, remove from the heat and set aside. You should have about 3 cups cooked beans.

While the beans are cooking, roast, seed, and de-vein the chiles and the bell pepper, and chop each of the veggies. I usually do this early in the day, place each in a ziploc sandwich baggie, and store together in the fridge until I’m ready to serve.

Prepare the Native recipe fry bread while the meat (chili) is cooking.

Indian Fry Bread Tacos mrsh

To Assemble the tacos, place 1/2 cup cooked beans on each piece of frybread, then a layer of meat mixture, then your choice of the vegetables (I like all of them). Finish with a little Mexican Crema (sour cream), some bottled hot sauce (salsa) on top, and finally a little sprinkle of cheese.

You’ll need a fork and knife to eat this marvelous creation!

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Creamy Poblano Gravy (spicy)

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Creamy Poblano Gravy (spicy)

 

 

It’s funny, the seasons of life, how things have a way of making it around full circle to the exact same place where they started.  For instance, we start off life as little pudgy babies, unable to talk, unable to walk, getting shots, getting sick, wearing diapers, being told what to do, and existing on a mostly liquid diet; and for all the progress we make in our lifetime, we end up right back where we started, in diapers, drinking Ensure, eating mushy stuff, taking meds, being told what to do, and wheeled around wherever we have to go.

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It’s similar in a marriage.  First I learned to cook for two, and then to prepare meals for a whole family, and now here we are back at just two again.  I’m finding it a bit of a challenge to learn to scale things back so I don’t waste food, or blow the budget, trying to keep it healthy, but still tasting good!  I don’t want to feed us Lean Cuisines, or fast food, or frozen pizza every meal, but at the same time, I don’t have the energy or ambition to stand on my feet for hours chopping, measuring, peeling, blanching, boiling, broiling, and then washing, wiping, scouring, scrubbing, and putting back together a totally destroyed kitchen…everyday….for just the two of us.  <sigh>

So I find myself making things like quesadillas out of leftover fill-in-the-blank meat, cheese, and hot peppers; or fish tacos from doggie bag catfish gotten at a local restaurant the night before and some sort of cabbage slaw; or crispy fried SPAM-L-T’s (because I usually have Spam in the pantry and I don’t always have bacon) with a side of raw veggies (because that is healthier than chips, but a lot of times, honestly, it is chips); or this wonderful biscuits and gravy meal I recently came up with.  It’s super easy if you roast your chilies one day, toss them in a bag and into the fridge, and then peel and seed them the next day.

I’m sharing it because Husband said this is the best gravy he’s ever had, and at 61 I guess that’s saying something.  However, it could be that he has just totally forgotten what the best gravy was he had before this.  Which is kind of a perk, the memory loss thing, it can really work to an old lady’s advantage sometimes!  Ha!  But I did also feed it to my daughter, the sweet young thing with a chipper young mind, and she concurred, so there you go, for what that’s worth.

Anyway, this gravy isn’t just good on biscuits.  It would be fantastic on Chicken Fried Steak, pepper steak, mashed potatoes, as a dip for Waffle Fries, Chicken strips, or even just toast, if that’s all you have.  I fried up some bacon (in the oven) and chopped up a couple dozen fresh okra from my garden, along with a cold, leftover baked potato, coated the pieces in cornmeal and then fried them in oil, as sides to our supper.  Perhaps this sounds like “jail food” to you?  Well, wait until you’re my age honey.  You’ll be a LOT less picky.  Hubby and I thought it was GOOD EATS!!!!

 Poblano Gravy ad

Creamy Poblano Gravy

¾ of a stick of butter

2 TBSP bacon drippings

¾ cup flour

¼ tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (which is basically cayenne powder and black pepper)

Melt butter in frying pan, add bacon fat, flour, and seasoning.  Stir to combine, then cook, stirring continuously, over medium high heat for a few minutes.  To this rue add:

1 tsp. chopped jalapeno or serrano (or both if you like it spicy)

2 roasted, peeled, and seeded Poblano Peppers, chopped

4 cups of whole milk, or Half-and-Half

Water (as desired)

Stir until thick and bubbly.  Add water to thin the gravy to your desired thickness.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Poblano Gravy Collage

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“He was known to them in the breaking of bread.”

  Luke 24:35

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake is my go-to, super-fast-and-easy dessert after any Mexican dishes that I serve for supper (like “Taco Tuesday,” Taco Salad, Tamales, Chicken/Cheese/Beef Enchiladas, Chili Rellenos, Asada Street Tacos, Carnitas, Loaded Nachos, Quesadillas, etc.).  This year I decided it would be a perfect Red, White, and Blue sweet ending to our Independence Day meal, because of the colors, and because I had all the ingredients in my fridge!

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

2 (8-oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened (room temp)

1 cup sugar

½ tsp Mexican Vanilla (or, if you want to be fancy, you can scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean pod)

Mix together all three ingredients until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.  Set aside.

 

2  (8-oz) tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (or, you can make your own croissant dough)

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ cup butter, softened (room temp)

¼ cup honey (warm in microwave for about 20 seconds, after baking cheesecake)

Lightly grease a large baking pan (or small high-sided cookie sheet) with a tablespoon of the softened butter.  Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and roll out to fit in the bottom of the greased baking pan/sheet, pinching the perforations together.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a small edge of the dough all the way around uncovered (like a pizza).  Unroll the second tube of dough and roll out to fit over the cream cheese layer.  Press down slightly around the edges.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and remaining softened butter together into a paste.  Spread over the top layer of dough. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and drizzle the entire top of the cheesecake with warmed honey.

 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

(This is what gives the dessert the RED and BLUE  on WHITE treatment)

¼ cup of cold water

Juice and zest of one lemon

½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 pkg frozen strawberries

½ pkg frozen blueberries

Place water, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch in a sauce pot on the stove.  Stir to mix the ingredients and then turn heat on medium high.  Add strawberries and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and add blueberries.  Set aside until ready to serve.

 

Cheesecake may be served warm or cold.  My son-in-law loves it warm and gooey.  I think it is delish the next morning after being refrigerated overnight, with a hot, creamy cup of coffee – like a cheese danish.  Mmmmmmm…don’t you?

SopaCheesecake wName

 

The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:25 NKJV

 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” 

Galatians 5:1

 

South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

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South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

The title is kind of a guffaw, actually, and the reason I grin-and-bare that is that when hubby and I first moved to south Texas, and specifically the little town that we’re in, there wasn’t a chili relleno to be had on a single menu; not in a single restaurant in our town.  And when I asked for “green chili” on an omelet for the first time I was met with a puzzled look and a question, “Do you  mean Tomatillo sauce?”  Um, no.

Needless to say, we were terribly disappointed, and bewildered.  How could this be?  Is it that green chilies only migrated north and west from New Mexico and not east?  Maybe they aren’t a Mexican food at all?  Perhaps it was my ignorance that green chilies and Tex-Mex were synonymous? 😞

I’m happy to report that just a couple of years later Hatch green chilies started making an appearance in these parts, and when they did, they made a big appearance.  There are still no Chili Rellenos on the menus in our town, but at least this girl can get the ingredients in our local grocery to make them now, and that’s really all that matters.

And in all fairness, not all of South Texas is a dry Rellenos area; we’ve had them in a few San Antonio restaurants, even though they only barely resemble the authentic Rellenos that first stole my heart.

And, please pardon if I don’t make mine like you do.  This is the way I personally like them.  I’m sure I would love yours, unless you make them with ground beef filling, and then I’ll have to reserve my judgement until I’ve tasted them.  Husband likes the beef filled rellenos, but I dream about cheese filled rellenos and am content to eat those for the rest of my days.

I got my Ranchera Sauce recipe from a gal I stopped in the middle of HEB not long back.  She works in a local restaurant, so I knew she would steer me straight, at least as much of it as I could remember as she rattled her recipe off to me in the midst of my gathering ingredients.  Ha!  I hope I’m making it right. It’s sure tasty, so I’m sticking with it. 😆

First we start with the Ranchera Sauce

Place a stick of butter into a heavy pan and on medium high heat begin melting.  As soon as it is melted add one whole large chopped onion (white or yellow).  Saute the onion until it is translucent, turn heat down to medium and continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized.  This will take quite a while.

Chop 2 jalapenos (stems discarded), and about 6 large plum tomatoes into chunks.  Add them to the caramelized onions and let them cook until softened.  Add a 14-oz can of tomato sauce to the mixture, stir, place a lid, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until you are ready to batter and fry the rellenos.  I have had the Ranchera sauce served to me chunky several times, so I presume that is the authentic way, but I use a Braun Wand blender tool to whirl the Ranchera into a smooth sauce with no large chunks.

Now, the preparation of the green chilies…

Pick the largest, firmest ones you can find at your grocery.  Bring them home and wash them, and then dry them.  I like the spicy ones.  You might prefer the milder ones.

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Move an oven rack up to the highest level of your oven.  Preheat your oven broiler (you can do them on the grill, or use a propane flame torch outdoors, which is a thousand times more efficient…but if you don’t have one the oven might be more convenient for you).  Place your washed chilies on a cookie sheet and slide them onto that top rack in the oven.

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Close the oven door (I prop my door open slightly with a wooden spoon – I like to hear my chilies popping and crackling).

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Let the chilies broil on one side long enough for them to become charred and blistered.

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Use tongs to roll them a quarter turn and return to broiler.  Check them often for doneness.  Continue turning and broiling until the chilies skins are blistered and charred all the way around.

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Quickly remove them from the cookie sheet and place them into a large Ziploc freezer bag, and seal it.

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Allow chilies to steam inside the bag for several minutes, while you prepare the rest of the meal.

NOTE:  I like to serve my Rellenos with homemade refried beans and a cheesy green chili rice.  See those recipes below, and it would be a great time to start making them now.  This is also a good time to blend your Ranchera sauce and make is smooth.  Keep it simmering on a back burner until ready to serve.

Start about 2 inches of oil getting hot in a deep sided frying pan (…just hot enough that a droplet of water makes it pop and fizzle.  Not hot enough to be smoking.  If you are seeing streaks/waves in your oil, it may be too hot.  Either drop your heat, or add a little more oil to cool it down a bit before adding your chilies).  The pan you use should be large enough that two chilies will fit without touching the sides or each other.

Hot oil

As soon as the green chilies have cooled enough to handle take them to the sink and begin removing the skins.  They should slide right off easily.  If not, be careful not to tear the chili, as it will be hard to keep the filling inside while you are battering it.

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Once the chilies are skinned, make a slight slit along the side near the top stem of each.

cut the chili

Only make it big enough to slide the pieces of cheese inside.  If you wish to remove some of the seeds you  may do that also.  I push the seeds out through the slit.  I don’t mind a few seeds in my rellenos though.  I use Pepper-Jack Cheese.  For 8 to 10 chilies you will need about 1 1/2 8-oz blocks, which I cut into quarter-inch slices and then into quarter inch strips.

DSCN9904cut the cheese

Begin stuffing your chilies with strips of cheese, about 5 or so strips per chili.  Dust the outsides with flour and lay them on a paper towel as you prepare them.  Once all the chilies have been stuffed and floured, you are ready to make your batter.

I beat two eggs and add about a cup of water to them…

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…and then I whisk in some seasoned beer batter mix (part of one bag) until the consistency is about that of thin pancake batter.  The batter should stick to your chilies, but just leave a fairly thin film.  Hold the chili by the stem and dip it into the batter.  Use a fork to sweep batter over the top of the chili and then gently lift the chili out of the batter, with the fork.  Slide it into the hot oil and let it begin frying.  Add another chili and let the two fry together.

Allow the chilies to fry for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn.  The batter should turn a golden color.  Scoop the chilies out of the oil and place on paper towels for a moment to absorb the oil.  Quickly plate them and cover them with simmering Ranchera Sauce.

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Oh my how I love them!!!!!   Now if I could figure out how to feed a crowd all at the same time I’d be in business.  I only know how to make Rellenos for one person at a time.  Hot and fresh.

Chili Rellenos2wBlur

 

Colleen's Chile Rellenos

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Mama’s Refried Beans

If you’ve made a pot of pinto beans and have leftovers, by all means use them for this.  If not, look for these varieties at your local grocery store.  I used 2 cans of Charro and 1 can of Barracho (which means drunken – notice that they use Shiner beer for this).

First I drained my beans of all the liquid (don’t rinse them).  I melted about 2 Tablespoons of rendered pork fat (lard), actually I used some bacon fat I had on hand, in a sauce pan on the stove, and then added my beans.  I let them just bubble and cook on medium low heat until I was almost ready to serve my meal.  Moments before I was ready to serve I took a potato masher and mashed the beans until they were the desired consistence.  They may be served with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and some chopped green onion.

NOTE: This also makes a wonderful bean dip, if you like that with tortilla chips for a snack.

DSCN9810Cheesy Green Chili Rice

First I sautéed my rice in about 1/2 a stick of butter in a small sauce pot, on high heat.  After about a minute of continuous stirring, I added 2 cups of hot chicken broth, 1 can of diced green chilies, and a grind of sea salt.  When the liquid boils, place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Lift the lid and lay several slices of pepper jack cheese on top of the rice.  Replace the lid and leave until cheese is melted.  Lift lid and fluff rice with a fork, incorporating the cheese throughout.  If you like it just a little creamier, you may add a splash of Crema, or heavy cream, and a sprinkle of cayenne.

 

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”  Acts 2:46

 

 

Daily Prompt: Festive

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Daily Prompt: Festive

via Daily Prompt: Festive

dscn7518Tis the season for TAMALES, fa la la la la la la la la…

What could be more festive than tamales?  Just the shear process of making them is by definition, FESTIVE!  All the women of the family, closest friends, and surrounding neighbors gathered together in one tiny house.  Cherished loved ones in aprons hovering over perfectly seasoned smoldering pork and stewing chicken.  Gifted hands dutifully chopping and cleaning jalapeños and onions.  Skilled hands making masa with lard, kneading it for an hour to get it just right, and washing and soaking corn husks.  Little hands scrubbing countertops and tables in preparation of the assembly process.  Pots of steaming water bubbling away furiously on the stove.  Music and chatter, mostly Spanish, lingering festively in the atmosphere.  Restless children bustling underfoot.  Moms and grandmoms hollering at them, and also sharing stories of Christmases past, faith, and Jesus and Mary and Joseph, women having babies, and the glory of God.  Aunts, cousins, and in-laws laughing, tasting, teasing, gossiping, squabbling, crying, and making merry with one another.   Everyone settling into their station to lovingly mass produce dozens upon dozens of these tasty little treats, for their grateful families…and ours.

 

Even the act of eating tamales is festive.  In fact, Christmas isn’t Christmas without tamales (especially if you’re in Texas)…freshly made, piping hot little packages of glistening gold, waiting to be unwrapped, and then decorated with red and green, and flocked with white.

tamales

My very favorite tamales are savory pork with spicy jalapeno and dripping with bacon fat.  Mmmm.  Oh my goodness!  I love them hot and fresh from the steamer, buck naked, and so scorching that I can barely hold onto the wrapper to unwrap it, blowing and blowing, and deliriously addicted to its intoxicating aroma as it passes over my lips and melts on my tongue.  If that were the only way I could ever have them, it would be plenty enough for me, but a little hot sauce, red or green, makes them even better!  And, oh how I adore them dolled up Tex-Mex style, like a taco.  Three sleepy amigos laying on my plate, brought to life with green onions and lettuce and cheese and pico de gallo and black olives and sour cream with salsa mixed in it, spooned on top.  Or, how lovely they are dressed with green tomatillo salsa and some chopped green onion, or smothered in spicy New Mexico green chili, or Terlingua red chili.  Or swimming in a spicy, creamy pepper-jack cheese sauce and heaped with fresh pico on top. Or, my favorite way, decked out like a bowl of tortilla soup, sitting in their husks and splashed with a squeeze of lime, then slathered in red or green salsa, with a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, guacamole, and a generous crumble of queso fresco tossed on top.  (I’m seeing a Tamale Bar in my future; an Ugly Sweater Christmas party with a Tamale Bar and a house decorated in hot chili pepper lights – see how festive tamales are?).  Oh how I love them!!!!!!!  I love them sooooo much!   I feel almost guilty penning my intimate thoughts.  Fifty shades of GOLD.  Is it okay to lick the husks?  <blushing!>

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Just lift the lid and let the steam swirl up onto your face.  Gaze upon their golden deliciousness!  Decorate them with your favorite red and green, and white!  Serve them at parties or eat them on the street.  Give them to your family, or sneak a midnight treat!   Eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the week and the whole month of December.  I know all these tamales will lead to diet resolutions, but for now please let us savor our binomial distributions!  Muy fantástico!

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* feliz navidad *

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Soup’s On!

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Soup’s On!

In this post are my recipes for…

  1. Green Chili
  2. Red Chili
  3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  4. Creamy Poblano Soup
  5. Farmhouse Potato with bacon and jalapeno
  6. White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup
  7. Zuppa Tuscano
  8. Nacho Cheese Soup
  9. Clam Chowder in a bread Boule

It’s that time of year when a bowl of steaming hot soup with a side of hot, fresh baked, heavily buttered, crusty bread not only warms the body, but the heart and soul as well.  I have been asked soooo many times for these soup recipes that I decided to make a place for them here.

My husband says it is impossible for me to make a small batch of anything.  Tis true I suppose.  So, if you find yourself with more soup than you can eat, please wrap some up and take it to a neighbor, or share it with friends in the office, or bring a bowl to your child’s teacher, for lunch on a blustery winter day!

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Mom’s Green Chili

…First we have to make the roast!…

1  8-lb Boston Butt Pork Roast, patted dry and rubbed all over with this dry rub:

1 heaping Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 heaping Tablespoon dried Cumin

1 heaping Tablespoon smoked hot Paprika (Pimenton Picante)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper mélange

Place roast on grate in roasting pan, cover with foil, and put into a preheated 350°F oven for about an hour.  After an hour, turn the oven temp down to 225°F leave roast in oven to finish baking until meat is falling off the bone, approximately 3 to 6 hours.  I actually leave mine in all day (6 to 8 hours) tightly covered.

I usually always make my green chili from this leftover roast.  After the roast has cooled I pull it apart into large chunks (this is a very fatty roast, and I discard all the fat and bone), wrap the meat up in a freezer zip-bag and either put it in the fridge for the next day, or in the freezer, to make my next batch of Green Chili (recipe follows).

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dscn9111Mom’s Spicy Red Chili 

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I sometimes switch out one pound with ground bison, or you could use venison)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3  (14-oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (reduced or NO sodium)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium chicken broth (I use the empty tomatoes can to measure my broth from a larger carton)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium beef stock (again, I use my empty tomatoes can to measure my stock from a larger carton)
  • 9 Tbsp of chili powder (added at different intervals)  (I make my own; it’s sooooo much better than anything you can buy at the market – see recipe below)
  • 3 Tbsp of yellow corn meal or fine masa flour (used to make tamales)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, mashed and minced

In a large, high-sided frying pan, or dutch oven, fry burger meat on medium high heat until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Drain off excess fat. Return dutch oven to medium high heat and add onion to the ground meat.  Stir and cook together a few minutes.  Dump in the tomatoes, chicken and beef stocks, garlic, 6 spoonsful of the chili powder, and then the corn meal.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for 1 hour.

Remove lid, stir, and add 2-3 more spoonsful of chili powder.  Taste for seasoning.  If a soupier chili is desired, add a tomato can full of water.  If you want a thicker chili, stir in a tablespoon or two more of masa.  Stir, replace lid and let cook another 30 minutes.  Taste to make sure it is yummy before serving.  Add a can or two of drained rinsed beans if desired.  I like to add 1 (14-oz) can of pintos and 1  (14-oz) can of red beans.

Serve with crackers (I have to spread real butter on mine) or cornbread (I usually always make a Mexican style cornbread – I use a honey cornbread mix and add shredded cheese, diced onion, and diced jalapeno to the mix).  Chili may be served with any of the following toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, chopped red or green onions, diced jalapenos, a dallop of sour cream, etc.   This recipe makes a lot, but you can use the leftovers to make Frito Pies, Chili-cheese Dogs, and Hay Stacks.

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn into small pieces
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika
  • Chili Pequin (I crush about 10 of these little guys seperately and only add it when I can really bring the heat – and otherwise it can be added to individual bowls)

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender (my Bullet is perfect), along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season Mexican Street Corn, or as an ingredient in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

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Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (mildly spicy)

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Mom’s Creamy Poblano Soup (spicy)

Let me start with my prep work on this one.  First, I grow my own Poblano Chilies in my garden, and in the fall/early winter when the weather calls for frost I harvest everything and hurry and preserve it, either by drying or freezing.

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After (1) picking my Poblanos and (2) washing them, I (3) roast them in the oven until the skins are charred and bubbled all the way around, then I (4) seal them in plastic bags and let them sit until I am done with all my roasting.  Finally I (5) put on a pair of latex gloves and begin sliding the skins off, pulling the stems out, and wiping all the seeds from the insides.

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Then I fold each chili in half and tuck them inside a freezer zip-bag, about 15 chilies to a bag, squeeze all the air out, zip the bags closed, fold the bags over, and tuck about three bags of the chilies into another zip-bag.  Then I stash these bags in my freezer for soup all winter long (or until they run out).

Recipe:

8 cups Chicken Broth (I’m kind of an organic girl, so if I can’t find organic broth I usually make my own)

2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced

2 large onions, diced

Kernels from 6 cobs of sweet corn

1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1 stick of butter

4 cloves of garlic

¼ cup fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil and add all the ingredients after that.  Cook until tender.  Add:

15 processed Poblano Chilies (as described above)

Whirl contents of the soup pot in a blender until smooth, then return to the soup pot and add:

6 cups Heavy Cream (or 3 cups heavy cream and 3 cups Half-and-half)

Let this simmer on the stove until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with shredded Pepper Jack cheese. 

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Mom’s Creamy Farmhouse Potato Soup, with Bacon and Jalapenos

12 medium potatoes (I actually prefer russets for this soup, plus they keep better so I usually have them on hand), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ribs of celery, chopped

2 to 3 Jalapenos, finely minced (if your jalapenos are mild, use more, if spicy use less, to taste)

1 large (48-oz) container of chicken broth

2 small or 1 large can of Cream of Chicken soup (I prefer Campbells)

1 stick of butter

2 cups of whole milk

1 8-oz package Cream Cheese, at room temp

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry bacon either while soup cooks, or before starting the soup.  Lay on paper towels, and set aside.  Place potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and jalapenos in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the potatoes about one inch over.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated.  Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a steaming simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom of the soup doesn’t stick and burn.  Ladle into bowls and garnish just before serving!  Make the garnish pretty by first adding a dollop of sour cream to the center, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and chopped green onion (and pass the diced jalapeno for those who want a little more heat).  Bon appetite!

Garnishes:

Sour cream

½ lb crispy fried bacon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Fresh chopped Parsley

2 large jalapenos, minced

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20170219_152315-1Mom’s Spicy White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup

This is one of those soups that I make for my daughter.  She and I LOVE this soup, especially on a cold winter day (when we can lounge in our jammies and eat and watch a marathon of something on TV).  My crazy husband is not a fan of Kale, or really anything green-leafy and floating in his soup, so this is a special treat for when he is out-of-town and the girls and I can have a girl’s night! 

1 pkg Andouille sausage (if you can find the semi-hard Chorizo, that works too, or even a jalapeno smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small chunks

½ white onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 finely minced Poblano chile

4 cups Chicken broth

1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 bunch of kale (fresh, raw, and washed well, stems chopped off and discarded), torn roughly into bite-size pieces  – I love Kale, so for me moooore is better!!!!

1 14-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and washed (Garbanzo’s will also work)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the sausage in a heavy soup pot until crispy on the edges.  Toss in the potatoes, onions, garlic, and poblano.  Saute for a few moments and then add the chicken broth and tomatoes.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, and then add the kale.  Taste it and add salt to taste.  Grind some pepper also to taste.  Simmer another 20 minutes and add the beans.  Allow them to heat through.  When steaming hot, serve with warm, crusty bread slathered in fresh, creamery butter.  Oh Lord, I’ve died and gone to heaven!!!!

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Mom’s Zuppa Tuscano (spicy)

I found this recipe online, published by Big Oven, and tweaked it to make it my own.

1 lb Italian sausage (my grocery meat dept. has parmesan and something else Italian meatballs that I brown and chop up, plus the Italian sausage in casings – which I remove from the casings, brown and break up)

1 tsp red pepper flakes; (I grow all sorts of hot peppers in my garden– Hungarian paprika, cayenne, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, thai hots, habanero, etc. – and dry them and grind them into powder.  This is what I use in my soup.)

3 large russet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 lb. bacon, chopped (I cook mine crispy the day before, wrap it in paper towel, and place in a plastic bag in the fridge. Unlike Big Oven, I don’t add it to the soup until after I’ve added the kale and cream)

4 garlic cloves; minced (I use the biggest outside ones)

3 cups kale, chopped (I’m sorry, I really never measure this, I just add until it looks good, probably more than 3 cups because I LOVE Kale).  Remove the tough ribs and tear the leaves roughly.  Rinse really well.

2 boxes (32 oz ea) chicken broth

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Liberal sprinkling of white pepper

(I add about a ¼ tsp of my *special chili pequin and pepper mélange seasoning also)

Original recipe makes 10 Servings.  Cook Bacon ahead of time and have ready.  Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pot. Drain excess fat, remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic (I cooked mine in a little butter). Sauté for approximately 5 mins. or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add kale during the last 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage and cook until heated through. Add white pepper to taste.

If you want the soup a little thicker, you can make a blonde roux in a separate pan and incorporate it into the soup. I make my own *spice mixture of ground pepper mélange, ground chili pequin, and kosher salt and I sprinkle my portion with it just before serving. I also add some to the soup, but careful not to overload, it in case some folks were sensitive to the spice. The soup is especially good when served with warm, buttered crusty bread!

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Mom’s Spicy Nacho Cheese Soup

1 gallon can of Nacho (or Cheddar) Cheese

2 cups Chicken broth

4 cups water

1 Poblano chili, diced

6 ribs of celery, diced

2 cups of ham, diced

1 small white onion, minced

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot, cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until celery and onion are tender and soup is piping hot.  Great served with Panini sandwiches!

Serving Suggestion:

Thin sliced Italian Bread, brushed with olive oil on one side

Fillings:

Mozzarella

Provolone

Heirloom Tomatoes

Prosciutto

Pepperoni

Fresh basil

Roasted red peppers

Portabella mushrooms

Spinach

Arugula

And whatever else makes your tongue dance

Put your sandwiches together, olive oiled sides out, and then grill in a Panini press.  I don’t personally own a Panini press, but the George Foreman grill works pretty well if you clamp it down.

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder, served in a fresh sour dough bread boule from the bakery!  Toast the lid and drizzle it with garlic butter for an added treat!

 

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May our soup bowls be deep and our friends plentious!!!!

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“And one day Jacob was cooking some soup when Esau came in from the fields in great need of food”  Genesis 25:29

Come for Supper – Asian Hot Pot Party

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Come for Supper – Asian Hot Pot Party

This party is from the book, Come for Supper? the memoirs of a reluctant hostess 

It was my first attempt at writing.  I self-published a few copies of the book to give out to friends and family, testing the waters to see if it would be worth the added effort of seeking mass distribution.  In all honesty, it didn’t go over very well.  I soothe myself with the delusion that my friends and family were probably hoping it was a book of my own recipes and when they discovered it was world cuisine were possibly disappointed or uninterested.  I couldn’t ever bring myself to ask them. And they have never mustered the courage to tell me, so I could be all wrong about that, but licking my wounds I buried the remaining copies I had purchased in a small, unmarked grave in the back yard, under a tree, next to the cat; without much pomp or circumstance and certainly  no fanfare, I patted the dirt over the heap and piled on some rocks, and every little once-in-a-while I wander out there with a little bouquet of kitchen scraps, lay them on the heap, and just sit and ponder its short, unfulfilled life.  Sigh.1 Asian Supper

The book may have been a failure, but the suppers inside of it weren’t.  This is one of the parties from inside its pages.  It was one of my kids’ very favorite parties I ever threw while they were still living at home. It is also one of the favorites of my cooking club group, who helped me test some of the recipes in the book.    

It’s like an “Asian fondue” party! Everyone cooks their own food — which is a reluctant hostess’s dream party, right?  All you have to do is collect some equipment, do some grocery shopping, do a little slicing, dicing, and chopping, mix up some sauces, set up tables, toss a CD in the player, and decorate.  Voila! (– or however they say it in Chinese).

So now, imagine yourself invited to my house for Chinese.  You come knocking on my door and can hear Chinese music playing faintly, and can also smell what smells like dinner cooking (in reality it’s just chicken broth and hot peanut oil).  You’re dressed in your best Asian get-up (complete with a coolie douli hat?) and are eager for me to turn that knob and invite you warmly inside.  When I do, you find me decked out in a green t-shirt with Chinese scribbles across it, my hair tied up with chopsticks, and wearing flip-flop house slippers on my feet.  Inside the house there are paper umbrellas hanging upside down from the ceiling over the lights, and little paper lanterns strung about.  Some little Chinese fans scattered on the tables and around.  Vases of bamboo set around as gifts for guests to take home after the party.

Some of my other guests have already arrived and are wearing red silk dresses, tank tops with black leggings, and one is wearing a white Gi, tied with a yellow (beginner’s) belt.  There is laughing and mingling as everyone crowds into the kitchen to pour themselves a drink.  Your options are hot Green, Oolong, or Jasmine tea, Bubble Tea, a shot of sake, or a cold imported Chinese Tsingtao beer.

The music that is playing sounds a little bit like a Chinese version of Manheim Steamroller, so you ask, “What is this playing?” and I answer, “It’s Twelve Girls Band!”  Hmmm…nice choice, right?  My daughter turned me on to them.  

And when everyone has arrived we take our places around the tables.  Each has been set up with a wok in the center.  The wok at one table is filled with a steaming hot liquid bubbling inside.  On either side are platters of raw ingredients, meats on one side and veggies on the other. At each place setting around the table is a bamboo mat, with a small platter centered on it.  A set of chopsticks lays across it, and each is flanked by several small cups of sauces of various colors.   

At the other table is the hot peanut oil wok.  The platter to one side is egg roll wrappers, little cups of water, and a bowl of filling , and on the platter on the other side are various raw meats and veggies and a bowl of tempura batter.  The guests sitting at this table get to fry their supper.  Their place settings are the same.

I gather my guests to the tables and we join hands as I play an audio version of the Lord’s Prayer being spoken in Chinese, from YouTube, and then we pray the same prayer together in English.

I explain to everyone how we’ll select a meat or veggie from the platters using the fondue forks, and then plunge our selections into the hot broth to cook.  After a minute or so we can bring the morsels to our personal platters and spoon on whichever sauce we’d like to try.  After half an hour or so those seated at the broth wok will take their personal platters and trade places with those seated around the hot oil wok to make egg rolls and tempura things.  And then, when everyone has had a chance to try everything, I toss a bunch of noodles into the broth wok and in a few moments serve a small cup of noodle soup to each of my guests.

Of course we all sit around the woks and cook and eat until we are so full we can’t breathe, and that’s when I suggest we leave those tables and gather in the living room for games.  I have several set up to choose from: Go, Mahjongg, and Chinese Checkers (even though I’ve been told Chinese Checkers aren’t really Chinese – although if you turn my game tin over to the underside it says, “Made in China” which is good enough for me.  Of course everyone is welcome to refill their drinks, and those who are up for learning a new game can sit down to it.  Those who know already how to play are encouraged to teach others, and those who are not into new and complicated games can play Chinese Checkers.  We all had a set of those at home when we were kids, right?  Easy.  Only trouble is Chinese Checkers is over in a short time and boring after a while, so for a backup activity I have a Chinese movie all ready to go.  

Although the Chinese do not eat dessert (or take beverages) as part of their meal, they do snack on sweets between meals.  Their sweets traditionally consist of fruit or almond cookies.  So I have a big fruit platter set up in the kitchen with cut up melon, bananas, oranges, apples, strawberries, grapes, berries, and whatever else is in season at the grocery store, along with a platter of crisp Almond cookies, and those yummy rice krispy type treats made with sesame seeds that they serve at my favorite Chinese place on main street, plus a big pile of Fortune Cookies (which also are an American invention, but at least from China Town in San Francisco).  My sister has this fun little tradition of adding “…in the bathroom” to the end of all Chinese fortune cookie fortunes, which  makes them kind of funny, so I of course suggest we do that.  And everyone reads theirs, and we all laugh, because we’re supposed to.  And it’s a little awkward, so we refill our drinks and grab some dessert, and head out to the family room to play our games or watch the movie.  

What is the movie, you ask?  Well, you have your choice:  I have China Cry for the Christian crowd, who possibly wants to be inspired by a flick about faith, or I have the Karate Kid for all of us who remember that from what, the 80’s?  I have a Bruce Lee flick, and a Jackie Chan.  Or, I also have the Season One episodes of Better Late Than Never, with Henry Winkler, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw, and William Shatner saved on my DVR for anyone that missed that and wants a good laugh.  (They are probably available on Hulu or Netflix too, and the NBC website).   

(In the book I also suggested that a host of this particular supper may want to invite some missionaries from their church who have returned from China and would have interesting stories to share, pictures, and treasures that we could touch and pass around.  I also suggested that we could talk as a group about going in on a donation to support a missionary we know, or give a donation to an organization that gives out Bibles in China, or give a money gift to a couple adopting a child from China).

When we’re ready to call it a night, I hand out fireworks (just sparklers and party poppers and the safe backyard varieties) and we all wander out to the front yard to end our night with a BANG! But not too big of a bang because all the neighbors are sleeping.  Shhhhh!   I have little red goodie bags also hanging in the trees and ask everyone to go look for one by flashlight and take with them before they head to their cars.  They have little trinkets from the dollar store in them, a chinese jump rope, some small candies, and a few shiny new quarters – because that’s what they do in China.  There’s kisses and hugs all around, as engines begin starting and lights start flipping on, and one by one the cars drive away.  And that’s when I turn and contentedly wonder back inside with a heart full of memories and a sink full of dishes to wash.  

YumYum Chinese

MONGOLIAN HOT POT
You’ll need a platter of meats and a platter of veggies, cut up and ready to cook fondue style.

Meats: Scallops, Shrimp, Chicken breasts (cut into strips), Beef (flatiron steak cut into small strips), Pork (loin, cut in small strips or pieces). Place meats on a platter with partitioned wells (like a serving set for tacos) would be ideal. This way the meats won’t mingle and contaminate each other in their raw state. I cut my meats and wrapped my platter in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator the morning of my dinner. Be sure to clean cutting surfaces with warm, soapy water and Clorox wipes between meats and when finished.

Veggies: Carrot coins, cut on the diagonal and then in half, Celery slices, cut on the diagonal and then in half, Snow peas, Cabbage leaves, Broccoli florets, Green pepper slices, Zucchini-cut on the diagonal and then in half, Mushrooms (straw or shitake), Green onions, cut on the diagonal.

Additional ingredients for the soup: bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn, and noodles (I don’t really care for the traditional cellophane noodles, so I substitute Ramen or thin spaghetti), garlic cloves, and a smidgen of honey. I also like spicy Thai peppers and cilantro but not everyone does so ask your guests before you add these to the pot, as they can easily be added to individual bowls of soup instead.

Add chicken broth to a shabu yaki, (or electric wok, or an electric skillet or large fondue pot). Fill to about an inch or two below the rim. Place in the center of the supper table. Be sure to wrap the cord securely down a table leg so no one accidentally trips on it and pulls the hot pot over. Plug into a power source and set the temperature dial at the boiling point (about 215 degrees F).

Hot Pot is like fondue. Guests are seated at the table with plates and samplings of sauces. Each uses chopsticks (or fondue forks), takes meat and veggies from the platters, and cooks in the boiling broth. They bring their cooked morsels to their individual plates and dip in their choice of sauce (recipes below) before eating. Once everyone has tried everything and is near being full, noodles are added to the pot, along with the additional ingredients (mentioned above), and then everyone is served a bowl of soup.

NOTE:  After my supper I wrapped up all my leftovers and the next day made the best stir-fry ever with all the meats and all the veggies, and what was left of the sauces. If you prefer, this would also be a great idea for your Chinese Supper. Instead of making ‘hot pot’ as above, place all of your ingredients out on the table in the same manner, but replace the broth pot with a hot wok and a little peanut oil instead of broth, and let your guests make their own little “stir-fry” concoctions that they cook themselves. Kind of like a self-serve Mongolian Grill at home.

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch or tapioca starch

1 cup water

2/3 cup rice vinegar

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

½ teaspoon of red food coloring

In a saucepan dissolve the cornstarch in the water, add the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium high heat until sauce boils and thickens.

PLUM SAUCE
2 cups plum jam, jelly, or preserves

1 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 teaspoons cornstarch

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons wine vinegar

Mix jam and applesauce in saucepan. Bring to boil. Combine ginger, cornstarch, and soy sauce, vinegar. Stir into jam mixture. Cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Cool. Refrigerate until serving time. Bring to room temp before serving.

HOT MUSTARD
½ cup dry mustard

4 Tablespoons peanut oil

4 Tablespoons water

½ cup sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

½ cup white vinegar

Mix mustard and oil in small bowl. Gradually add the 4 Tbsp. of water, stirring constantly to form a smooth paste. Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Gradually add the cup of water and vinegar. Blend thoroughly. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Gradually add to mustard mixture, stirring constantly until blended. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve at room temp.

TERIYAKI SAUCE
1 cup pineapple juice

½ cup packed light brown sugar

4 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons peanut oil

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, simmer to blend flavors.

GARLIC GINGER SAUCE
2 Tablespoons ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

½ cup water

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup soy sauce

Mix all ingredients. Use as a dipping sauce.

DUCK SAUCE
1 small can cling peaches in heavy syrup

¼ teaspoon ground mustard

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon water

Drain pieces and reserve juice for something else. Mash peaches with a fork or potato masher until well crushed. Add mustard, ginger root, vinegar, and Chinese Five Spice. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to sauce, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, continuing to stir, until thickened. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Bottled Soy Sauce (try Kikkoman, which is slightly sweet, and La Choy which is more salty)

EGG ROLLS  (this recipe was given to me by my Japanese/American friend, Cyndi)

1 (16-oz) pkg Jimmy Dean regular sausage

Shredded or chopped Napa cabbage (a green cabbage will also work)

½ pkg of bean sprouts (approx. 2 cups)

¾ cup grated carrot

Grate about 2”  of ginger root on top

Mix together by hand.  Lay one egg roll wrapper on work surface and place a heaping spoon of the meat & veggie mixture in the middle.  Fold the wrapper as shown on the packaging.  Get a little water on your fingers and moisten the final corner of the wrapper so that it will stick and seal the roll.  They must be cooked fairly quickly after they are made as the wrappers will become soggy if wrapped up and stored in the fridge for very long.  And they can’t be fried and kept for very long either, as they lose their crunch.  They should be the last thing you put together for your meal, moments before your guests arrive.  Or, let your guests make these themselves, just as with hot pot above.  Have the meat mixture and egg roll wrappers (and small cups of water) ready for each guest to assemble on his or her own. 

Set up an electric wok with enough peanut oil for deep frying (again fastening the cord down a table leg so it isn’t accidentally tripped over).  Oil temperature should be about 360 degrees F. Consult your owner’s manual.  Drop a few egg rolls at a time (not more than 4 or it will cool the oil too much) into hot oil and turn once in a while during frying so they cook evenly, until golden brown.  Lay on the rack or drain on paper towels.  Serve with soy sauce, hot mustard, or sweet and sour sauce.

TEMPURA:  You can also mix up a batch of tempura batter and let guests batter their Hot Pot meats and veggies instead and fry them.  When I had my Hot Pot party I set up a soup table and a fry table.  I sat the girls down around the soup (Hot Pot) and the men around the wok.  I intended to have my crowd eat for a while at each table and then switch, but the men liked frying and didn’t want the hot pot, so they ended up frying egg rolls and tempura things and passing to us, and then just had a small bowl of our noodle soup at the end.

TEMPURA SAUCE

½ cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons cream sherry

2 Tablespoons grated daikon (Japanese radish)

2 Tablespoons peeled and grated fresh gingerroot

Combine first three ingredients.  Just before serving, stir in daikon and ginger.

((( Or just use a boxed mix.  That’s easiest! )))

Mongolian Hot Pot Party

(Scrapbook page from my party memoirs)

So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:15