Vegetable Frittata

vegetable frittataStarting in the early Spring and continuing through to Fall, my hens happily produce more eggs than I can ever eat and I like to make frittatas for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. You can put anything in them that you have as leftovers. Use what you have and use your imagination. I do like to put bacon in my frittata but I didn’t have any when I made this so I used some of the bacon drippings I keep in my fridge.

3 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Butter or Bacon Drippings
2 cloves of Garlic, minced or peeled and pressed
3 Green Onions, chopped
1 large Potato, peeled and grated
2 small Zucchinis, grated
2 sprigs of fresh Thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 can (10 oz) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
8 Eggs
1 cup Cheese, grated (any kind you have)
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh Parsley, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried

Heat the EVOO, butter or bacon drippings in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Saute the green onions, garlic, potato and thyme for about 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste. Cover. Stir occasionally. Add corn and zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
In a large bowl throughly beat the eggs. Add cheese and parsley. Mix again. Pour into skillet and mix with the potato mix. Cook about 12 minutes or until the top of the egg/potato mixture is cooked and set.
Position the top rack of the oven under the broiler. Select broil and heat. When the frittata is finished cooking on the stovetop place the cast iron skillet under teh broiler for 2 to 5 minutes. Until teh top of teh frittata is browned. Serve immediately.

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Venison Breakfast Bake

Venison breakfast bakeI really love to look in my deep freezer and see venison that was taken from my own land. I do like to watch the deer cross my pasture in back of my house but I also like the self sufficiency of having a freezer full of meat that I didn’t buy at the store. Contrary to popular opinion, venison doesn’t taste “gamey”. But that is only my humble opinion. If you are concerned about the taste, you can soak any slice of meat, even ground burger, in milk before cooking. This recipe is only slightly different from my venison Breakfast Strata. I used what I had as leftovers in the fridge.

11 slices of Bread (any kind that you have) torn into 1 inch cubes
1 pound of Venison
dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or even Bacon Drippings
1 meduim Sweet Onion, chopped
5 New Red Potatoes, skin on and grated
1 cup Succotash (mix of Sweet Corn and Lima Beans)
4 ounces Cheese, shredded (any type you have) Today I had Extra Sharp Cheddar.
6 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk or 1/2 & 1/2
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Paprika, Regular or Smoked Hungarian

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray or oil a 13×9 baking dish. Put the bread cubes in the baking dish and evenly cover the bottom. In a large skillet, I use cast iron, heat the EVOO or bacon drippings over medium heat. Cook the meat, onion and potatoes for about 10 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Add the succotash and mix. Season to taste. Place the meat mixture on top of the bread. Spread the cheese on top of the meat.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk and mix well. Pour over the cheese. Sprinkle the paprika over the top. Bake for 35 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

This is a great make ahead breakfast dish when you have company or a breakfast for dinner meal for the family. Assemble all ingredients except the eggs, milk and paprika. Cover and refridgerate overnight. Before baking allow the dish to come to room temp, about 30 minutes. Add the egg and milk mixture to the dish sprinkle paprika and cook.

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Homemade Mayonnaise

There is nothing as good as homemade mayonnaise. It is so easy to make that I don’t use store bought mayo anymore. And bonus, I know exactly what I am putting into this condiment. Since I have an abundance of fresh, free range chicken eggs that my girls produce I don’t worry about salmonella so frequently seen in commerically produced eggs. I believe that my girls are happy hens and lay happy eggs. :-) One warning though, if there are young children or expectant mothers in the household they may want to avoid the homemade mayo.

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (I personnally don’t use Canola Oil)
1/2 cup Extra Light Olive Oil (NOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 whole Egg
1/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1/4 Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon or more Lemon Juice, fresh or bottled, as needed

Combine the oils in a measuring cup. In a blender add the egg, mustard and salt. Blend on high until the egg mixture is thick about 3-5 seconds. Add lemon juice and blend for about 10 seconds. With the blender on high start adding the oil a drop at a time then in a slow stream until it is all blended. If the mayo is thick add a bit more lemon juice. This will keep in the fridge for about a week, but I doubt that it will last that long.

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Navy Bean and Beer Soup

Here is another soup recipe that just takes me back to my childhood in the Northeast. I grew up in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. During the summer all of us kids looked forward to the many picnics put on by the fire companies and churches. My favorites the Polish Church picnic and one of the fire companies. They were called “hoses” and pronounced “hosiees”. I don’t know why. Maybe because they were fire hose stations. It is part of the local lingo of the coal region. Anyway, even in the heat of the summer soups were the most popular food at the picnics. Other food included perogies, halupkis, haluskie and so on. Being of various Eastern European ethnic backgrounds anything made from cabbage, potato and onion were a staple food for my people.
Last week I just got hungry for good old fashioned bean. Nothing fancy, just peasant food. My brother agrees that this recipe has the flavor of picnic bean soup from our childhood. I teamed this cheddar buttermilk biscuits but you can use a hearty, crusty bread just as well. I hope you enjoy.

1 pound dried Navy Beans or Cannellini Beans.
Water enough to cover by 3 inches to soak overnight
2 cans (12 ozs each) Beer. I used Strohs. Anyway lager type will do
12 cups Water
2 Smoked ham hocks or ham bones
6 slices of Bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme or 4 sprigs fresh Thyme
3 Carrots, peeled and medium size diced
2 Celery ribs, medium size diced
1 Onion, medium size dice. Type is your choice. I like sweet but any kind will do
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 cup of diced Ham, style is your choice. I have used thick sliced lunch meat, canned ham and cooked smoked ham. All are fine.

Put the beans in a large bowl, rinse and check for stones. Then cover with the soaking water. Let them soak overnight or at least 8 hours. When soaking is complete drain the beans and set aside. Put the beer and 11 cups of water into a soup pot. I like to use my cast iron Dutch Oven for this. Put the ham hocks or bones and the bacon into the beer/water mixture. Over medium high heat bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer, uncovered for an hour. Don’t worry if it goes over an hour. It’s all good.
Add the beans and the thyme and simmer for another hour at least.
After simmering for an hour add the carrots, celery and onion. Add salt and pepper and season to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour.
Remove the ham hocks and bones. Allow to cool so you can get the rest of the meat off the bones. Now some people throw away the skin and bones. I give them to my dogs. It adds some good fat to their diet and the bones clean their teeth. Plus they love it. It a home cooked treat.
Using an immersion blender, food processor, blender or even a good old fashioned potato masher, puree half of the beans and veg. This thickens the soup nicely giving you that hearty food feel. Add in the rest of the ham. Season again to taste and serve. This soup did not last long in my house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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Okie Ranch Wife’s Bowl of Venison Red Chile

my vension chile
I have been experimenting with different styles of chiles for some time. I like great depth and many layers flavors instead of a one note tomato taste. I believe I have achieved what I was looking for in the recipe. I made this for lunch today and I really like it. There are a couple of surprising ingredients in the sauce such as coffee and maple syrup. But they pair oh so good. And I do put beans in mine, I am originally from the Northeast. I’m sorry, deal with it. Don’t put them in if you are chile purist. :-)

Chile Sauce:
1 cup Ketchup (I use the no High Fructose Corn Syrup kind)
2 tablespoons Black Strap Molasses
1/3 cup Maple Syrup, Grade B
1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce
½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and pressed
1 teaspoon Red Cayenne Pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated Onion Powder
2 teaspoon Pasilla Chili Powder (If you don’t have pasilla powder you can substitute Smoked Hungarian Paprika. You need the smoke)
2 tablespoons fine ground Coffee. ( I used Highlander Grog that has a butterscotch taste but you can use a robust French Roast)
1 bottle (12 oz) bock style beer like Shiner Bock (It needs to be malty)
Sea Salt or Kosher to taste

Mix all ingredients and set aside.

4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 pounds ground Venison (You can use lean Beef or Bison also)
1 large Sweet Onion, chopped
1 cup Beef Broth, homemade, store bought or low sodium
2 cans (10 ozs each) Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
¼ cup Tomato Paste
3 small Pablanos, roasted, skinned and chopped
1 can (15 ozs) Dark Red Kidney Beans, un-drained (optional)

For garnish use Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack or Colby Jack.

In a large soup pot, heat the EVOO. Working batches if needed brown the venison. Don’t crowd the pot because the meat will not brown if there is too much in the pot at one time. When you are finished browning the meat add the onion and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pablanos and kidney beans. Then add the chile sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and stir occasionally. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese of your choice.

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Cream of Peanut Butter Soup

The peanut, goober peas, salted roasted and butter. Good stuff. Packed with protein. But the peanut is really not a nut. It is a legume in a shell that grows in the dirt. Originally from South America the lowly peanut made its way to Spain via Spanish explorers then went to Africa. From Africa it was sent to America as food on the slave ships. Not much was done with peanuts until the Civil War. Oil and food shortages meant a new appreciation for the little legume. Around the same time, the people of the Five Civilized Tribes brought the peanut into Oklahoma. The property that I own was planted with a peanut crop before the Great Depression. The food that we know and love as peanut butter made its debute at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. A doctor formulated it for elderly and infirm patients who could not chew other proteins. Now one half of the peanuts grown in the US, goes to peanut butter. Normally a soup would not be the first dish you think of made from PB but most cookbooks from the 19th century has a soup recipe in it. I made this soup last week for dinner and I love the savory aspect of a commonly thought of sweet food. I researched some peanut soup recipes and found them full of fat and very rich. This recipe is my version of one I found in a Frugal Gourmet book. The onion and carrot puree provides the thickening agent.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
8 cups Chicken Broth, homemade, canned or low sodium (with more as needed)
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and grated
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt and White Ground Pepper to taste
½ to ¾ teaspoon ground Red Cayenne
½ cup cooked Brown or White Rice
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
Fine chopped salted or dry roasted Peanuts to garnish

In a medium soup pot, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté about 5 minutes. Stir often so they don’t brown. Pour in chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender puree the onions and carrots. Return puree to soup pot and add cooked rice, seasonings to taste and the cayenne powder. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in peanut butter. Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped nuts. Serve with hearty country style bread.

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Red Dirt Squash Casserole

More squash madness. Don’t worry folks, it will end soon with the first frost!

2 pounds Yellow Summer Squash or Zucchini, unpeeled and sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz) Green Chilies, chopped, undrained
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and chopped
8 ozs Pepper Jack Cheese, grated (or cheese of your choice)
1 cup Sour Cream
2 cups Tortilla Chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degress F.
Spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. I use EVOO style. In a large saute pan heat some EVOO over medium heat and saute the squash, onions and jalapeno peppers until tender about 5 minutes. Stir in green chilies, cheese and sour cream. Layer 1/2 crushed chips in the baking dish. Top with 1/2 squash mixture. Add the remaining chips and then top that with the remaining squash mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with salsa or other toppings of your choice.

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