Butcher’s Block and Random Thoughts

Butcher block smallFor those of you who have been following for several years, I thank you! And for the people who are fairly new to my blog, I thank you too! I do appreciate all of you who read my recipes and try them. I look forward to hearing your comments also. This is my cooking and day to day life but I want to get and hold your interest. Please leave a comment here if there is a recipe that you would like to see and I have not posted anything related. The photo on this post is my butcher’s block. Some of you may recognize the top from finished dishes I have posted. Well, here it is full on. I bought it from a butcher shop in that un-named Northeastern state where I was born and raised. I love this thing. I only wish that my house looked more like a cabin than the 1990’s refab ranch house that it is. Ah well. Maybe I will get to do some remodeling. Paint can cover up a multitude of sins!

Posted in herbs and spices, main dish, salad, sandwich, sides, snacks, soup, stew, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2014 smallI know a day late and dollar short. That’s me. But I was having a good time yesterday. I hope everyone had a very good Thanksgiving. This was my table for my brother and me. Brined turkey, cold green bean salad, mashed Hubbard squash, orange cranberry relish, oyster stuffing and giblet gravy. Coconut Butternut German Chocolate pie for dessert.

Posted in dessert, main dish, sides | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Persimmon Fruit and Nut Bread

persimmon fruit bread smallIt is a windy cold day today and I wanted to bake something nice and warming. I had a Tupperware container full of Persimmon pulp that I processed about a week ago. I am lucky to have the native persimmon trees out in my pasture. Fruit free for the picking! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make. I thought scones or muffins. Then I stumbled across a pumpkin recipe from King Arthur’s Flour. Bingo. I substituted persimmon for pumpkin and voila, wonderful bread for a cold day. And as a bonus it also helped to warm up my kitchen. I love twofers.

  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 2 cups Persimmon Pulp
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 3 1/3 All Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated Nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup chopped Nuts (Pecans, Hazelnuts, Walnuts) I used Butternuts that I forage on my property.
  • ¾ cup assorted dried Fruit (Cranberries, Blueberries, Raisins, Currents etc)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9” x 5” loaf pans.

In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, persimmon, water and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Mix to combine.  Mix in the nuts and fruits. Spoon the batter equally into the loaf pans.

Bake for 60 to 80 minutes depending on your oven temperature and cook time, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I started checking about 70 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool on a rack. Remove from pan and cool completely. You can dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Posted in bread, snacks | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuscan Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

Tuscan kale and white Bean smallI know I post a lot of soup and stew recipes but they are the best way to stretch your groceries to feed a lot of people for several meals. I have been trying make my groceries go farther and farther as I watch their prices go up and up. I realized, finally, why peasant cooking is the way it is. And I cast no dispersions on peasant cooking that is my heritage. The women of the house had to make everything last and they did this by using every bit of the meat proteins and vegetables. Cutting small pieces so everyone gets some. And using the bones and scraps to make broth and scrapple. I think about the large portions of dishes served in Western style restaurants and how they differ from the dishes I serve. I love to eat a big strip steak or ribeye but I also appreciate the humble origins of my at home cooking style.

  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil or Butter
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 ribs Celery, diced
  • 3 medium Carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cups packed Tuscan Kale, chopped and tough stems removed
  • 6 cups Vegetable Broth, store bought or home made
  • 1 can (14 ozs) White Kidney Beans / Cannellini Beans, undrained
  • 1 can (14 ozs) Italian style Diced Tomatoes
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried Parsley

In a large soup pot heat the oil/butter over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and kale. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, Italian herbs, parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Serve with bread and an optional topping of Parmesan Cheese.

Posted in main dish, soup | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Chinese Noodle Beans

Red Noodle beans smallI have been very fortunate during this growing season. My Red Chinese Noodle Beans have produced a bumper crop. These beans are usually more than a foot in length but still tender. I bought my package of these heirloom green beans from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri about 5 years ago and they have not disappointed me. After that first purchase I have been able to save my seeds and replant the following year.  The green beans in this photo are Yard Long Beans. They don’t produce as vigorously as the red beans. As I said I have been fortunate this year. The spring was nice and warm, the Oklahoma summer was not too oppressive and my brother was able to keep the garden watered. Now with the cool snap in the air, the vines are producing again. In addition to meals and soups I made over the summer, I have 8 gallon bags of cut beans in my deep freeze.

It is so easy to freeze and preserve these beans. I trim them, cut them into 2 inch pieces, blanch them in boiling water for one minute and then I shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Before I put them in one gallon freezer bags I let them drain the excess water. I label and pop them in the freezer. Viola good eating for the winter. When you want to use them separate what you need for the recipe and stash the rest back in the freezer.

P.S. I just noticed that I really need to oil my Butcher’s Block.

Posted in canning & preserving, cooking tips, sides, soup, stew | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venison and Barley Stew

Venison and Barley smallBarley really needs to find a place in American pantries again. It is a powerhouse whole grain that is high in fiber and high in veg protein. Most barley grown in America today will be used to make barley malt used in the production of beer. Now I like beer but I would like to see barley used in healthy from scratch cooking in American homes. There are different styles of barley in food stores. I used the quick cook barley that most people see on store shelves. The quick cook is just that. You can put a cup of barley in a soup or stew and 10 minutes later it is cooked. Other types take much longer up to  1 to 2 hours, depending on pre-soak, due to the hull. In my venison recipes all of the meat is taken on my property. This stew can be easily doubled with leftovers packaged in single servings and frozen.

  •  3 tablespoons Mary’s Oil Blend (recipe follows) or use your choice of cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground Venison, lean Beef, or Bison
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 large Potatoes, peeled and small diced
  • 2 teaspoons Celery Seeds
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 3 ½ cups low sodium Beef Broth, store bought or homemade
  • 2 cans (14 ozs.) Diced Tomatoes, traditional flavored, undrained
  • 2 cans (14 ozs) Margret Holmes brand Field Peas and Snap Beans, undrained (If you don’t have that brand you can use red beans or pinto beans or Black Eyed Peas)
  • 5 medium Carrots, peeled and cut on a diagonal oval ie Chinese restaurant style
  • 1 cup Quick Cook Barley


In a large cast iron Dutch Oven or large soup pot, place the cooking oil. Over medium high heat brown the ground meat about 5 minutes. Add the onion, green pepper, celery seeds and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add all remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Mary’s Oil Blend

This recipe comes from Mary Enig and Sally Fallon’s “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”

  • 1 cup Coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup cold pressed unflavored and untoasted Sesame Oil

Blend together in a glass jar and keep on the kitchen counter.

Posted in cast iron cookery, main dish, soup, stew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crown Royal Cookies

Crown Royal CookiesI found this on Facebook and have not tried them yet but and I am going out on a limb here folks to say that they will be goooood!

This past weekend I was in Tulsa for a liquor tradeshow in conjunction with my town job. I tasted some good products and feature some of them on my other blog “Just a Little Whisky” blog. I have had that page but have not got aroun’ to it as they say aroun’ here. For now happy baking  and enjoy!

Posted in snacks | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment