uh oh spaghetti-os

We decided to make some soup to warm us up from the cold weather that finally arrived. So I made  a spin on a classic, spaghetti-os. It is a simple roasted tomato & red pepper soup with circle shaped pasta, anelli, added to it.

Homemade spaghettios

ingredients:

  • 1 package of anelli pasta (or any other circle shaped pasta)
  • tomatoes on the vine (about 24 small/medium sized ones)
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine + a little more to splash in later
  • a heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • a heaping tablespoon of course ground black pepper
  • enough olive oil for roasting the red peppers and tomatoes and cooking the onion and garlic
  • salt to taste

Roast the tomatoes and red peppers, lightly coated with olive oil, in an oven at 350° for about 35-45 minutes or until they start to blacken here and there. Set aside to cool. Once cooled enough to the touch core the tomatoes and cut the stems and deseed the red peppers. Cut the red peppers into strips (if your blender is powerful enough no need to do this). Put the tomatoes and red peppers in a blender and puree. Add some olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, about five minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the red wine reduces. Once reduced add the tomato and red pepper puree. Add the oregano, pepper, and a few extra splashes of red wine. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to get the flavors to mix. Salt to your taste preference. You can puree the soup again at this point, or just let the onions and other ingredients add a bit of texture to it. I’m lazy so I just left it as is.

In a separate container cook the pasta according to the directions. Once cooked you can add it directly to the soup. The pasta will soak up some moisture in the soup when stored, so if you can’t eat it all when you make it I recommend coating the pasta in some olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, storing it separately, and just add the pasta to the soup before serving. “The greatest invention since the napkin.”

Homemade spaghettios

by Ryan | 01.11.15 | Recipes | No Comments »

good luck

Happy New Year's Eve

We enjoyed a lovely New Year’s Eve with friends and followed it with a full day of house cleaning and a delicious dinner of pan-fried yellow lake perch, rosemary cornbread, roasted potatoes, and black-eyed peas (we used this recipe as a guide, but Ryan gave it his own spin). Here’s hoping that the new year brings us all plenty of good luck!

Black-eyed peas

Rosemary cornbread

by Valerie | 01.05.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Panettone French Toast

Panettone4

Several years ago one Christmas my Dad suggested making French toast with panettone, Italian for bread with stuff in it. While we had never thought to try that it made perfect sense. The panettone is light and fluffy like challah and a bit similar to raisin bread with stuff inside making it the perfect combination of the two types of bread I most commonly use to make french toast. Since then each year we make sure to get a loaf of panettone and make French toast. My French toast recipe is probably the combination of several other recipes online but it works pretty well.

  • 1 loaf of panettone
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • butter for cooking (about 1 tsp)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Slice the panettone in thick slices, about 1/2-inch thick or more. Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and extract together in a wide bowl. Heat up a skillet, pan, or griddle over medium heat. To check the heat toss some water on it, when it dances and sizzles in the pan it is ready. Melt some of the butter in the griddle (I do this each time before I add a new slice of toast). Dip a slice of panettone in the batter make sure to coat both sides. Place on griddle to cook. Cook each side until golden brown. Plate and dust with powdered sugar.

Panettone2

by Ryan | 12.25.14 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Christmas eve tamales

Christmas Eve tamales were a success!

Growing up in El Paso I was always able to count on one thing being there to eat, tamales. While my family didn’t make a tradition of making them each year, we always received them as a gift from family and friends. Many of my friends’ families would spend Christmas eve, or the days before, making tamales for post-midnight mass celebrations. Having stayed in Michigan this year Val and I decided to bring a little tradition into our home and make our own tamales.

We’ve made tamales before, and for the most part followed this basic recipe for the masa. The only difference this time around is I used 2 cups of veggie stock, real butter, and I nixed the green chile powder. For the fillings we made three different varieties: chipotle sweet potato; corn, peppers, and cheese; and faux-acoa (vegetarian barbacoa).

Chipotle sweet potato filling

  • 1 tsp (or a little more) chipotle infused olive oil
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato diced (into pieces 1/2-inch or smaller)
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 heaping tsp dried thyme
  • 1 heaping tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 2 tbsp canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • salt

Par-boil, or quick cook in the microwave, the sweet potato. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat up. Add the red onions and cook until translucent. Add the par-boiled sweet potatoes, chipotle powder, thyme, and oregano. Cook until potatoes begin to brown. Salt to your taste preference. Set aside. Puree the canned chipotles, you can use either a food processor or just chop into a puree. Set that aside as well. When making the tamales place a large spoonful of the sweet potato mixture in the masa then drizzle or spread some of the chipotle puree on top. Wrap the tamale.

Faux-acoa filling

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 package of chorizo seitan (we use Uptons) diced
  • 1 package of Rick Bayless’ Red Chile Barbacoa sauce (or make your own sauce)

I was a bit lazy on this one because the task of making 3 different fillings plus the tamales was a bit daunting. But none the less it worked quite well. Heat up a skillet to medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the chorizo seitan and cook for another minute or two, until the seitan heats up. Add about three quarters of a package of the barbacoa sauce and let cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. I didn’t add a full package because I didn’t want the mix to be to wet when putting it into the tamale. Add a large spoonful of the filling on top of the masa and wrap the tamale.

Chiles, cheese, and corn filling

  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp green chile powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded queso asedero (Queso Chihuahua or Monterey Jack will work too)

Roast the poblano peppers using whatever method you wish. I roasted them in the skillet over medium heat until they browned. Once browned, place into a paper bag for about 30-minutes or longer. Remove from the bag, remove the skins, stem, and deseed them. Dice them and set aside. Drain and rinse the corn. Heat a skillet to medium. Once hot add the butter, corn, and green chile powder. Cook until corn starts to brown. Add the chiles. Set aside. When making the tamales place some cheese and some of the chile and corn mixture into the tamale and wrap it up.

Sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 red onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 medium tomatoes on the vine (cored and deseeded, cut into slices)
  • 1 heaping tsp new mexico red chile powder
  • 1 large roasted jalapeño minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (rinsed)
  • salt

Pan roast the jalapeño and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions sweat. Add the red chile powder and cook for an additional minute or so. Add the slices of tomatoes and cook until they either start to brown or fall apart. Put tomato mixture into a food processor. Blend into a sauce like consistency. Add the minced jalapeño. Chop up the cilantro to a size that you like and add into the mixture. Set aside to serve on top of the tamales.

The tamales

Steam the tamales for an hour. Set aside and let cool for a minute or two. Unwrap and enjoy.

Christmas Eve tamales

by Ryan | 12.25.14 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

ryan broke the deviled eggs then made them better deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs

So Val made some bland deviled eggs which I tried to fix. I then made them inedible. So I decided to improve upon deviled eggs.
  • eggs (we used 6 for this batch – makes 12 deviled eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons of capers (rinsed and dried)
  • 2 slices of bacon (cooked to a crisp, we were lazy and made microwavable bacon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried “special thyme” blend (our “special thyme” blend is a mix of mother of thyme, orange thyme, and lemon thyme)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon green peppercorn dijon mustard
  • olive oil (1 teaspoon or more, 1/2 a teaspoon or so is for the egg mixture)
  • 1/2+ teaspoon hungarian sweet paprika
  • smoked paprika (enough to sprinkle on top of eggs)
  • salt
  • tarragon leaves

Heat up a small pan to medium heat, add olive oil to it, heat up olive oil. Add the capers, they will sizzle and pop. Cook them for about 30 seconds to a minute. (If you didn’t use microwave bacon you could probably use the bacon grease to cook them in). Set the capers aside to cool.

Prepare the eggs as you normally would, boil them (I boil mine for 10 minutes), cut them in half, dump out the yolks. In a bowl mix the yolks, thyme blend, and mustard. Mash them with a fork, as you mash them drizzle in some olive oil until they get to a consistency you like (you can also use something like canola oil). Add salt to taste (keeping in mind bacon and capers will add some saltiness). Scoop the mixture into the egg whites. Top with capers, bacon, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and a leaf or two of tarragon.

It must have worked, because when she tried one she declared, “You just Top Chef’d that s*#t!”

Deviled Eggs

by Ryan | 11.27.14 | Recipes | No Comments »

adventures in home canning: salsa edition

Adventures in home canning

Just in case you didn’t read the last 3 posts, we have waaaaay too many peppers this year and don’t know what to do with them. From hot sauce to pickled jalapenos now we are giving a go at making a salsa for home canning.

Ingredients:

  • 23-24 roma (paste) tomatoes (roasted on the grill)
  • 1+ tbsp olive oil of your choosing (the + is for coating the tomatoes)
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
  • 8-10 serrano peppers, minced w/seeds in; adjust that for your heat tolerance
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of cilantro (before chopping)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

1. prep the tomatoes

Heat up a grill to medium/medium high heat. Coat the tomatoes in an olive oil of your choosing; I used a chipotle infused olive oil. Place tomatoes on grill then roast them until skins start to blacken in spots and tomatoes become a little bit soft. You don’t want them too soft as they’ll just turn to mush. Set aside to cool. Once cool cut the top of the cores out and place in a blender and puree.

2. make salsa

Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat it up. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers to the pan. As they start to sweat add the cumin and chile powders, stir so that they are well coated. Add the tomatoes and vinegars and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt.

3. can that s*!t

Follow directions for your preferred method of canning. We used the water bath canning method, which we tried our best to follow Ball’s recommendations. Sanitize your jars and lids and keep warm while you prepare the food above (we used our dishwasher to sanitize and heat). Prepare a large pot for canning and bring that water to a boil. Once the salsa is ready add it to the jars, put lids on, and put them in water bath. Follow the recommendations of time for the jar size you are using and altitude you are cooking at. Once done, remove and set aside for 12-24 hours. Store in a cool place; we’re talking about temperature here not a fashionable location.

4. Is this a tested canning recipe?

No. It is based on many other tested recipes. From what I can tell is that the key to canning salsa is an addition of about 5% acid (vinegar or lemon juice) and making sure it is brought to a boil. There are lots of recipes published by university agriculture programs out there that break down how to calculate the addition of acid to your salsa. We will update this post months from now after we crack a jar open and consume it. If we don’t get sick, success. If we do get sick, yeah diarrhea!

by Ryan | 09.01.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

valerie picked a peck of pickled peppers

Pickled jalapeños

Our jalapeno plant has been rocking it this summer (along with our serrano, bell pepper plants, and our habanero) and since I am a fan of a good pickled jalapeno – especially on some homemade nachos, yum! – we decided to make our own jar of them. I don’t know why we’ve never done this before as it was fairly easy. The hard part for me will be waiting long enough to let them properly pickle and pick up all those amazing flavors sitting in the jar before I put them in my belly! Here’s our recipe below…

~2 cups chopped jalapenos (round slices)

seasoning

  • ½ tsp mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp cumin seed
  • ¼ tsp coriander seed

brine

  • equal parts distilled white vinegar & water (about 3/4 cup each)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • a little salt

Add seasoning into the bottom of a mason jar (preferably one that has been well sanitized). Add the jalapenos on top of the seasoning. Set aside. In a sauce pan add brine ingredients and heat until just before boiling. Pour brine over the top of the jalapenos into the mason jar. Let cool and refrigerate or can them.

Pickled jalapeños

Pickled jalapeños

by Valerie | 08.30.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

hot sawwwwwwwse

Homemade hot sauce

What do you do when you have A LOT of serrano peppers from your garden? If you’re us, you take your first crack at making homemade hot sauce. And I think it was a smashing success too; peppery, hot, and packed with flavor and we picked the peppers right from our own backyard! Here’s our recipe below…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 thinly sliced red onion
  • 22 serrano peppers
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water (1/2 for cooking, 1/2 for sauce)
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2+ tsp of molasses
  • salt

Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic, until they start getting soft and slightly caramelized. Add 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer until little liquid is in the pan. Add red wine vinegar and molasses, set aside to cool. In food processor add pepper mixture and puree while adding vinegar and water until you get the texture you want. Salt to taste.

Homemade hot sauce

Making homemade hot sauce with garden peppers

by Valerie | 08.30.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend fun

Summer patio

We had a fun and productive holiday weekend in which we found ourselves enjoying some r&r time with friends, good food (grilled peaches that were a little like this and our own, revised version of this potato salad which we used this tasty hatch chile pesto on – yum!), visited Maker Works to use their laser cutter for this project Ryan’s working on, and we got our garden planted. Filling up our garden boxes this year are: sugar snap peas, tomatoes (Fantastic, Green Zebra, and Grape), lots of herbs (varieties of thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, chives, spearmint, and orange mint), lots of pepper varieties, and flowers (Salvia, Marigolds, and Gazania). I find myself enjoying my little corner of the world more and more these days – the fact that the world is so very green and everything is blooming again certainly doesn’t hurt!

Summer patio

Summer planting

My little green corner of the world

And the award for 2014 laser cut glasses model goes to…

2014 laser cut glasses model of the year ;-)

by Valerie | 05.27.14 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes, Work | No Comments »

leftover heaven

We had a very large bowl of leftover mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce from our Thanksgiving (or, should I say, Thanksgivingukkah) feast and I like a little variety in my life so when I stumbled onto this recipe for Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes I smartly suggested to Ryan that it might be a great thing to try. What better way to celebrate the marriage of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, after all?

Instead of using scallions, we used shallots – because that’s what we had in the fridge. And instead of using sour cream to top them with, we used our leftover homemade cranberry sauce. It was delicious! In fact, to be honest, I actually liked the potatoes better in this form than I did in their original mashed potato form…shhh…don’t tell the mashed potatoes I said that.

by Valerie | 12.01.13 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

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