FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Pumpkin

FFF PumpkinHere are 15 facts you may not have known about pumpkins:

  1. Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  2. The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’.
  3. Pumpkins are usually orange but can sometimes be yellow, white, green or red.
  4. Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball) that have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds.
  5. Pumpkin plants feature both male and female flowers, with bees typically being involved in pollination (the transfer of pollen)
  6. Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables.
  7. Pumpkins are 90 percent water, but they are full of nutrients. 100 grams of pumpkin produces around 26 calories of energy and contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  8. Pumpkin flowers are edible, but if you eat the flower, there will be no pumpkin.
  9. As a food, pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled.
  10. Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert that originates in North America and is traditionally eaten during harvest time and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  11. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  12. Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. The tradition of a carved pumpkin illuminated by candles, called a ‘jack-o-lantern’ is believed to have come from Ireland. There they faces into turnips, beet and other root vegetables as part of the Gaelic festival of Samhain.
  13. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  14. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. They also flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
  15. This year the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 2,058-lb. It squashed previous US record.

Since my birthday is on Halloween, I love pumpkins as decorations and as food. As a child, my daddy used to call me “Pumpkin”.

Next week is Thanksgiving here in the US. I wonder if my mama will have any pumpkin pie this year? What is your favorite pumpkin dish?

Get to know your food!

DMS

P.S. David and I will be having our annual pumpkin roll next week (if our pumpkins do not get too mushy). We take our decorative pumpkins and roll them down the mountain and see who’s goes the farthest. It may sound childish, but it is a lot of fun!! I hope one of these years we actually plant a seed by accident.  Stay tuned… :)

Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

School Memories About Potato Soup

Isn’t it funny how a simple recipe on a piece of paper can bring back memories?

A while back, I pulled out a recipe that I received in 7th or 8th grade for potato soup. Back in my school days we had a week called “Mini-Mester” in which we got to choose some special interest classes to participate in. I chose a cooking one that was offered, because I liked the thought of making soup and baking bread.

Other than not having regular boring classes, I really don’t recall that much about what went on during those days of “Mini-Mester”. I remember my history teacher who instructed the cooking class. He was quite the character and one of those crazy teachers with a lot of passion for the subject of history. I remember the bread making and how amazing it was watching the dough rise, and how frustrating it seemed to punch it down, only to let it rise again, so I could punch it down again. Most of all, I remember the taste of that potato soup we made and how creamy it was. My mama kept the xeroxed copy of that recipe I brought home for many years and gave it back to me a several years ago. I placed it in my binder and always remembered how yummy it was and planned to make it sometime.

This past March, I pulled that recipe out and revamped it to make a Meatless Monday Irish soup. I pulled it out again last week and made yet another version of that potato soup. Here is how I made Loaded Potato Soup:

Loaded Potato Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep: 10 Minutes | Cook: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Loaded Potato Soup | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish – The following are all optional and not limited to: Bacon bits, diced ham, olives, cheese, sour cream & scallions

Directions:

  1. Use enough water to cover potatoes, heat and bring to a boil for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, dice the onion. Place the onion in a small pot with the butter (MINUS 1 TABLESPOON) and sauté until the onions are cooked through and translucent. Add the flour and whisk/stir vigorously until a paste is made. Set aside and stir occasionally.
  3. Reserve two cups of the potato water and set aside. Drain out the rest of the water.
  4. Reserve two cups of the potatoes and set aside. Add the remaining potatoes back into the pot with the reserved two cups of potato water. Add in onion mixture and mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to cream up the potatoes.
  5. Add the reserved diced potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir all the ingredients and cook on low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Garnish with toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.

Every time I see that xeroxed copy of that Potato Soup recipe in my binder, I am always taken back to 7th or 8th grade. Is there a recipe that takes you back to your school days?

DMS

Categories: Soups, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Kielbasa Pata ~ A One Pot Wonder For A REALLY Bad Day

Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain KitchenOne pot wonder recipes always catch my eye when looking for new recipes to make. They are very attractive when I don’t feel like being in the kitchen to start with (yes, it happens). I stumbled upon a recipe over on YellowBlissRoad.com called: “One Pot Tortellini and Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce”. The sausage and pasta appealed to me. I don’t use sausage in recipes that often and to be honest, I have never purchased kielbasa of any kind. I figured it would be fun to try something new. I did not want to use turkey kielbasa. Since I had never had kielbasa, I wanted good ole’ PORK kielbasa! Although I’m sure a smoked kielbasa would have been better, I chose to buy mine fresh out of the butcher’s meat case. Here’s how I made this one pot wonder:

Kielbasa Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: Prep: 10 Minutes | Cook: 45 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 pound Kielbasa, cut into ¼” slices
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 24-ounce package of refrigerated or frozen Tortellini
  • 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend
  • green onion, chopped for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cook onions and kielbasa in oil in a 10” Dutch oven or heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is golden and the onions are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen
  2. Add the broth and tortellini to the pot. Next crush the whole tomatoes with your hands and add them into the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often.Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Turn heat down to low, add some fresh cracked pepper. Then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente.
  4. Turn off the heat and add cheeses.Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Cover and let stand for about five minutes.Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Stir well, before plating the pasta, then garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve hot.

Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain Kitchen

Kielbasa Pata | The Mountain KitchenThis was a very easy meal, but it was so rich and decadent that I believe I actually felt my arteries hardening as I ate. I did not have a bad day the evening I made this, but this could be considered T-Total comfort food if you have a really, really, R E A L L Y bad day.

DMS

Categories: Pork Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Dear Debbie I feel your pastry pain!

Debbie Spivey:

If you remember the incident I had with the pastry for my mushroom quiche, then you’ll be interested to know that there is hope. Find out about Anna Buckley’s pastry discovery!

Originally posted on Anna Buckley's Blog:

IMG_4523[1]

Have you thought about making the perfect pie or tart only to be put off by the laborious task of making pastry. The rubbing-in of butter and flour, letting the dough rest, rolling the dough, refrigerating the pastry shell, blind baking, removing the baking beads, baking some more blah, blah, blah….I HAVE DISCOVERED THE EASIEST SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY IN THE WORLD and it requires none of the above and you will produce a perfect pie crust every time!

View original 654 more words

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | 2 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Garlic

Here are some tips about garlic:

How to Buy Garlic:

Fresh garlic is readily available year round. When selecting bulbs, choose firm, plump bulbs that still have their paper-like skin intact. There should be no signs of sprouting, soft spots, or other blemishes.

Equivalents: 

  • 1 medium clove = 1 teaspoon minced = 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt = 1/4 teaspoon granulated = 1/8 teaspoon powder.
  • 1 small clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced; medium clove = 1 teaspoon minced; large clove = 2 teaspoons minced (these are approximate measurements).

Peeling Garlic:

  • For big batches, dip cloves into boiling water for about 10 seconds. Then strain and dunk in ice cold water. The cloves should pop out of their skins easily. OR Place garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins should peel off easily.
  • For small batches, cut one end of the garlic off, then peel off the skin with the blade of the knife.
  • If you are using a recipe that calls for minced or crushed, just smash the clove with your knife. You’ll be able to pick out the skin easily.

Storage:

  • Garlic bulbs should be kept cool with good air circulation. Garlic should be stored in a basket in a cool, dark pantry to prolong shelf life. Do not refrigerate and do not store sealed in a plastic container.

Smelly fingers after handling garlic?

Remove the smell by rubbing your fingers over a stainless steel spoon or on the side of a sink. I didn’t really think this worked, until I tried it recently. Stainless steel contains the mineral nickel that acts as a neutralizer for the garlic odor. Don’t believe it? Try it that next time your fingers are smelly after handling garlic!

I hope these tips help you out in the kitchen. Got kitchen tips to share? Tell us: themountainkitchen@gmail.com

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Veggie Stir Fry

Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen

I can’t believe I haven’t done veggie stir fry before last week as a Meatless Monday meal. It is so easy and fresh! Here’s how I make it:

Veggie Stir Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep: 15 Minutes | Cook Time 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenStir Fry Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 whole onion, sliced
  • 4-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets, stems discarded
  • 1 cup prepared teriyaki sauce, recipe to follow
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 cups of prepared steamed rice
  • 2 eggs, optional
  • 8 ounces snap peas

THE RICE:

Option #1: At least one day before you plan to make the fried rice, place rice in a sieve and rinse until the water is no longer cloudy and runs clear. Place the rinsed rice in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 2 cups of cold. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, and simmer until the water has cooked down to the level of the rice. Stir rice with a spoon well. Cover, and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

Option #2: I usually take the short cut and use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in place of the steamed rice. (It may not be the Asian thing to do, but I’m not Asian… ;) )

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

 Teriyaki Sauce Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk together until all of the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Stir Fry Directions:

  1. In a wok or a very large non-stick skillet, heat sesame oil and melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat, while stirring constantly.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  2. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent and have started to wilt, stirring constantly.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Add the mushrooms, cook for about 3 minutes. Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenAdd successively the carrots and red bell pepper, cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring and tossing constantly.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Add in the broccoli. Stir teriyaki sauce well and pour in ½ of it into the veggies. Cook until broccoli is tender, but still bright green in color, about 2 more minutes.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Remove the vegetable from the heat and set aside in a warm place.
  6. Place a small sauté pan on medium high heat.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen Toast sesame seeds until they are a light golden brown. Toss the seeds onto the veggies when browned. (Do not leave in pan or they will burn.)Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  7. Return the wok or skillet to the stove and turn heat up to high. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter add in rice and remaining teriyaki sauce. Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenToss rice and stir constantly. Break up any clumps of the cold rice with the back of a spoon. Stir constantly and do not let the rice stay in contact with the bottom of the pan or wok for too long. If the rice seems dry, you can add a few extra splashes of soy sauce.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenOnce the rice fried has become golden brown, turn down the heat to medium and push the rice over to one side of the pan or wok. Drop in the two eggs and scramble in the pan. Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenOnce the eggs have cooked, about one minute, stir the egg into the rice and toss to incorporate.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Add the snap peas and toss to warm through, about one minute.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  9. Add the veggies back to the wok or pan. Stir or toss until the veggies and rice are well mixed.Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain Kitchen
  10. Serve immediately.

Veggie Stir Fry | The Mountain KitchenMaking stir fry from scratch is simple and so worth making yourself. Although a wok is nice to have, you don’t have to have one to make this stir fry. You also have control over sodium and sugar when making it yourself at home. This is so good it was hard not to do a repeat performance this week…

DMS

 

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Ginger

FFF GingerHere are 10 facts you may not have known about Ginger:

  1. Ginger belongs to the family of plants called Zinziberaceae. Same as cardamom, turmeric and galangal. Ginger, Zingiber officinale, comes from the Far East and is now produced in tropical and subtropical countries where it’s used as an ornament thanks to its beautiful flowers.
  2. It is a pungent and hot spice and becomes more so over time. When cooked, the strong taste softens a little. It tastes different when dried or crushed.
  3. It has been around for at least 3000 years. India and China are the first and second producers in the world. In the 19th century it became more popular among rich European people who used it as much as salt on their tables.
  4. Ginger is a crucial ingredient of Korean cuisine as well as of Japanese and Chinese cuisines.
  5. Gingerbread was introduced in Europe by Armenian monk Gregory Nicopolis in 992 . He is the one who taught French priests how to make the sweet dough using spices such as ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
  6. The gingerbread man recipe was invented by Queen Elisabeth I. This classic English Christmas recipe also popular in Northern America, She used to offer it to foreign diplomats.
  7. It is recognized and used worldwide against motion and morning sickness.
  8. Ginger from the Fiji island is famous for having less fiber and being rich in oleoresin which makes its smell very unique. The local industries were shut down during the 80s and 90s due to a parasite that killed the plants, but they are now back in business.
  9. The most famous pickled ginger is Japanese. The gari is a not yet mature ginger marinated with vinegar and sugar: it’s a traditional accompaniment to sushi and sashimi.
  10. Ginger is also used to aromatize the liquid in electronic cigarettes. (I used a couple of electronic cigarettes to help me quit smoking and would have never known there was ginger in them…)

I love ginger, I eat it is most every form. I eat so much, I just may be addicted to it. Do you like ginger? What is your favorite way to eat ginger?

DMS

Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Mexican Cornbread Muffins

Mexican Cornbread Muffins | The Mountain Kitchen  As promised here is recipe for Mexican Cornbread Muffins I served with the chili:

Mexican Cornbread Muffins

  • Servings: 8-10 Muffins
  • Time: Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 15-20 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Mexican Cornbread Muffins | The Mountain Kitchen Ingredients:

1 pkg. “Jiffy” Corn Muffin Mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
¼  cup frozen corn
¼ onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon Jalapenos, diced  (pickled or fresh)
½ cup cheddar cheese divided

Mexican Cornbread Muffins | The Mountain Kitchen Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper baking cups.
  3. Combine muffin mix, milk and egg. Mix well.
  4. Fold in onion, jalapenos and ¼ cup of the cheese.
  5. Using a scoop fill muffin cups 2/3 full with the muffin mixture.
  6. Top each muffin with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.Mexican Cornbread Muffins | The Mountain Kitchen

These are so yummy! Can you belive David doesn’t like cornbread?!? Yep, he’s cray cray!

DMS

Categories: Side Dishes, Spanish Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Chili

The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain KitchenEnough talk about facts about chilies and tips about chilies! How about a recipe for crying out loud?!? Here’s a recipe for the best beef chili I have ever made:

The Mountain Kitchen Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: Prep: 1 Hour | Slow Cooker Time: 4-8 Hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  •  4 New Mexico chilies
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound check eye steaks, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 teaspoons cumin, divided
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 small poblano chili peppers, roasted, seeded, deveined and diced
  • 1 large chipotle pepper, chopped + teaspoon of adobo sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 10.75-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 15.5-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoon coffee, brewed (can be left over from your morning java)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Suggested Toppings: cheese, scallions and sour cream

Directions:

  1. When handling chilies put on a pair of rubber gloves.
  2. You can skip this step if you like heat. If not, open up the chili lengthwise with kitchen scissors, then remove the stems, seeds and any light-colored veins inside the chilies. This step will remove most of the heat from the fruit. If you like spicy food, set aside some of the seeds to add a little extra heat. You can add a lot or just a little of the seeds to make things hotter.
  3. Toast the chilies in a dry pan or skillet for 30 to 40 seconds on each side.
  4. Place the chilies into a bowl and soak the chilies in very hot water for about 30 minutes. The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain KitchenIf the chilies float too much use a clean heavy object to hold them down into the hot water. This will ensure that both sides of the chili become pliable.The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. While the chilies are soaking, brown ground beef  and onions over medium high heat in a large skillet, with 1 tablespoon of cumin. Once the meat has browned, drain grease and add the hamburger and onions to the slow cooker.The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Next, add the steak cubes to the pan and brown to sear the meat the same pan. The beef doesn’t need to cook through, but it needs to sear as much as possible, to seal in the juices of the meat. Remove seared steak cubes and add to the slow cooker.
  7. Remove the chilies from the soaking water. Ensure that stems are removed and add the chilies plus some of the soaking water to a blender and puree. Make between 1/2 – 1 cup of chili sauce by adding a little of the soaking water at a time.The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Strain the sauce to catch any large bits of skin or seeds that did not grind up into the slow cooker.The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain Kitchen
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well to incorporate. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or on low heat for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally.
  10. When the chili is ready taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
  11. Serve warm with cheese, scallions and sour cream or any toppings of your choice.

The Mountain Kitchen Chili | The Mountain KitchenThis chili was so good! I cannot believe the difference the chili sauce makes versus the powder. I chose to use the slow cooker so that I would not have to monitor it so much on the stove while it cooked. I served it with a Shenandoah Vineyards Rosé and Mexican Cornbread Muffins.

I hope you’ll give this chili a try. You will not be disappointed!!

Tomorrow I will give you the recipe for the muffins. Yeah, the ones David doesn’t like and I ended up eating all by myself for the next three days…lol! Stay tuned…

DMS

Categories: Slow Cooker / Crock Pot, Spanish Inspired Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried Chilies

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried ChiliesWe are all guilty of sacrificing flavor for convenience. Life gets in the way and you just want quick and easy to get out of the kitchen and get on with your life, am I right? I totally get why it happens. Trust me when I say this, every now and then you need to experience just how good things can be without shortcuts that take away flavor. Here’s why…

I love fresh cracked pepper. I wouldn’t be caught dead with a preground pepper anymore and my nutmeg is always freshly ground from the source, but when it came to recipes that called for chili powder, I reached for a jar, that was until I was enlightened by a blog posting I read on a blog called “One Man’s Meat“. In this post Conor used dried chilies to make his Texas Pork Chili. Until I read his post, I had always just pulled out the jar of chili powder from the cabinet. His post inspired me to make my own chili using dried chilies as the base of my sauce. I did some research and experimenting of my on about chilies and this is what I found:

Whole spices freshly ground have more flavor and aroma than preground spices. The same thing goes for whole dried chilies. They offer more flavor that you just can’t get from a jar of powder. Reconstituted dried chilies are much gentler, and are almost fruity in flavor. There are dozens of varieties of dried chilies available at local markets and each has its own special flavor and texture The flavors can range from smoky to earthy to sweet.

Did you know that there is a difference between Chile powder with an “e” and Chili powder with an “i”? The terms “chili” and “chile” are often used interchangeably across North America, but they don’t always mean the same thing. Chili powder is usually a blend of ground chile pods and other spices like cumin, peppercorn, and salt. Chile powder most often refers to pure ground chile pods with few or no additives; the only way to tell is to read the ingredient label.Using chili powder can result in harsh flavor in dishes. Store-bought chili powders limit you to whatever chilies the manufacturer has decided to use.

Picking the Best Dried Chilies

As mentioned on FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Chilies, there are many different varieties of chilies to choose from. Mexican cuisine popularity is at an all-time high, so it is easy to find a wide range of whole dried chili pods just about anywhere. Before grabbing the first ones off the store shelf, give them a squeeze, the best dried chilies are not brittle. If the chili is brittle that means that it was not stored correctly and it’s shelf life has expired. Chilies should be pliable and soft.

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried ChiliesPreparing Dried Chilies

  • If you’ve ever handled chilies and then touched your eyes or mouth, then you know that even the mildest chilies can irritate your skin. Believe me, I know this from when I made my hand burning chili a while back.  Trust me, you do not want to experience a chili burn, so when handling chilies put on a pair of rubber gloves.
  • If you do not like the heat, open up the chili lengthwise with kitchen scissors, then remove the stems, seeds and any light-colored veins inside the chilies. This step will remove most of the heat from the fruit. If you like spicy food, set aside some of the seeds to add a little extra heat. You can add a lot or just a little of the seeds to make things hotter.
  • Once the seeds are removed, the chilies are traditionally toasted in a dry pan or skillet to intensify their flavor. Most chilies take just 30 to 40 seconds on each side to toast.
  • Soak the chilies very hot water (There’s no need to use boiling water, which can actually leach out too much flavor) for about 30 minutes.  If the chilies float too much use a clean heavy object to hold them down into the hot water. This will ensure that both sides of the chili become pliable.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried Chilies
  • To transform the chilies into a sauce, remove the chilies from the soaking water. Ensure that stems are removed and add the chilies plus some of the soaking water to a blender and puree. It is important to know that the soaking water can be quite bitter, so do not use much. Actually, some other type of liquid that is already going to be used in the dish you are about to make would be a better choice.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried Chilies
  • Strain the sauce to catch any large bits of skin or seeds that did not grind up.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried Chilies
  • You now have red chili puree to make your favorite dish. If you taste the sauce, it is probably quite overbearing, and a bit bitter. In order to bring out the complexity and nuances of the chilies, the sauce must meld together with other ingredients, which cooks out the raw flavor of the chilies. After adding the chili sauce to your favorite dish, simmer a bit, then taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to suit you. There are variations in flavor and heat. This is true even among the same variety of chili pepper. Consider adding honey or sugar if the sauce is too bitter, salt if the sauce is bland or reserved chili seeds if you want a little more heat.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Discovering Whole Dried Chilies

Yes, it is  a lot more work than opening a jar of powder or a store bought chili sauce but the flavors that come out of preparing the chilies yourself are so worth it. In tomorrow’s post I am going to show you how I made my new chili recipe. David and I agree 100% that it is the best chili I have ever made. Thanks for opening my eyes Conor!

Stay tuned…

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenThe quiche looks good in the fall sunlight doesn’t it? If this quiche could only talk…

I found a recipe online for a mushroom quiche that was featured in an issue of Food & Wine Magazine. The recipe looked awesome and I thought it would be good to have another use for my spring form pan besides cheesecake. There was also a note on the bottom of the recipe that I could make it ahead and then warm it up when it was ready to eat. What a perfect recipe. I could make it on Sunday and the just come home and heat it up after work on Monday and that would keep me practically out of the kitchen on Meatless Monday.

It was a great plan. A great plan indeed, until it happened. One of those moments when a great plan starts to go south. Call it a stubbornness, hardheadedness, a brain fart, a blonde moment or just plain stupid, but I really didn’t think things through when making this recipe. Here are some lessons I learned from making this quiche:

LESSON #1: The recipe for the pastry shell was specific to the dimensions of the pan and the amount of filling made.

The recipe called for a “Buttery Pastry Shell”. It even had a link to a recipe for a butter pastry shell. Did I click on the link for that specific recipe? NO! I did not click on the link. For some reason I had it in my mind to use the perfect pie crust recipe I posted about this summer when I made my homemade cherry pie for the Fourth of July.

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenBefore I could even try to make the pastry shell using the recipe I wanted to use, I realized I couldn’t use that recipe. That recipe called for shortening. I did not have any shortening. That was my chance to correct my mistake. Did I go back and click on the link to the “buttery pastry shell” the recipe called for? NO! I did not click on it. Instead, I Googled recipes for pastry dough that did not call for shortening. I found a recipe that made a 9” pie crust. In my head that is what was needed and that was what I was going to make. It never dawned on me that the recipe needed a specific pastry shell. One that actually fits the spring form pan and could hold the amount of filling I was going to prepare later. What is crazy is the fact that I used ingredients from another recipe, and intended on using the directions from the one I should be using, but I hardly read the instructions on the recipe for the pastry shell and I don’t think I really understood what was directed anyway. I didn’t care because I was going to make it work.

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenI made the dough and then placed it inside the refrigerator to relax and chill. While the dough chilled, I prepared the spring form pan and cut out two parchment paper circles that I thought would help the baking process. One would go underneath the dough on the bottom of the spring form pan. The second parchment paper circle would go on top of the dough to hold the rice. Yes, rice. I don’t bake often, so I don’t have any baking weights. I did not have any beans that I wanted to waste either (can you even reuse beans if you use them for blind baking?). The recipe said you could use rice for blind baking pie shells. Did you know that you could use rice? Me either! Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenAfter 30 minutes, I took the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and began to roll it out. It was really pretty dough. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenVery smooth and silky. It wasn’t too dry and it wasn’t too sticky. I folded it up to make placing it inside the pan easier. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenAs I began to unfold the dough and shape it inside the pan, I realized it really didn’t fit the pan, nor was it as thick as the directions said it should be. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenLooking at the picture of the made quiche in the printout, it looked close enough to the right height. So I decided to go with what I had.

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenLESSON #2: Never use rice instead of weights unless you use a piece of parchment paper that is large enough to keep the rice from touching the dough.

Let’s put it this way, you can use rice, in place of weights, as long as the parchment paper is large enough to keep the rice from touching the dough. The recipe instructed that I start with weights for a certain period of time and then take it out and continue to bake the shell until golden brown. When I cut out a circle of parchment paper to place into the bottom of the shell, I should have made it large enough to just lift the rice out of the shell. I did not think about making it easy to empty out the rice to finish baking the crust. Also, I am pretty sure I did not put enough rice in the shell either. As the shell baked the sides that I knew were way too thin began to roll downward into the bottom of the shell. This made trying to get rid of the rice and parchment paper almost impossible. The dough started to encompass the rice. I had to gently pick some grains of rice out of the shell using a pastry brush and a toothpick before I could return it to the oven to finish baking.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenUGH! What nightmare! Why didn’t I just start over after realizing the dough didn’t fit the spring form pan correctly? I still thought I could make it work.

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenLESSON #3: If the filling of a quiche starts to overflow and not fit into the shell, STOP POURING.

After that lovely pastry shell came out of the oven, I let it cool while preparing the filling for the quiche. Yes, I was still determined to continue on. I prepared the filling as directed. Before assembling the quiche in the shell, I decided I had better cover the outside of the spring from pan with aluminum foil, just in case it started to leak out of the pan. That folks, was one moment of genius! The first layer of ingredients seemed ok, but by the time I made the second layer of ingredients, things got really chaotic. Even though the pastry shell was practically engulfed by the filling from the first layer I proceeded to pour more filling into the spring form. I could see that it was starting to seep out of the pan into the layer of foil I had wrapped around it. I then decided I may want to put a sheet pan underneath that foil lined spring form pan. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenWell that is another genius moment. As the quiche was inside the oven beginning to bake the filling started to ooze out of the foil lined spring form pan and onto that sheet pan. All I could do was sit there and watch it happen. At that point, I really didn’t have an option to do anything else. Minute by minute passed and the oozing seemed to slow down. My next concern was that this thing had to bake for an hour and a half. That filling that had oozed out would start to burn and smoke up the house.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen So, with David’s help, we took it off the original sheet pan and placed it onto a clean one. Sheeew! I was exhausted and this thing just got into the oven.

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenAfter the long baking time, I took the quiche out of the oven and let it cool. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenFinally I was able to spring it out of that pan. It really didn’t look all that bad and it smelled great! I proceeded with pictures and enjoyed the natural light on the deck rail. It took until we went to bed that night for that quiche to cool enough to place into the refrigerator. Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenThe next day we came home and I sliced it up and placed it into the oven as suggested. David’s tummy was bothering him and he didn’t eat. I did and guess what? That quiche was great! Yes, the crispy crust on the outside would have made the texture a little better, but the flavors were not harmed. The next day David had his for lunch and it was so good he encouraged me to try it again. Said it was way better than “that soup” we had for Meatless Monday the week before. Thanks dear! I think…

Even though I had issues, this quiche would be awesome for entertaining friends and family during the holiday season. I had to change up the ingredients just a bit from the original due to limited cheese and cheese selections. Here’s how I made it:

Mushroom Quiche

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Active: 1 Hour 30 Minutes | Total Time: 5 Hours 3o Minutes
  • Difficulty: Not that bad if you can follow directions :)
  • Print

Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, dried
  • 7 ounces Swiss Cheese, slices
  • Buttery Pastry Shell (USE IT!)
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat, stirring, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the butter, shallots and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Lay 4-5 cheese slices and half of the mushrooms evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Using a hand blender or regular blender, mix 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream and 3 eggs, season with salt, and pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Pour the custard into the pastry shell.Meatless Monday ~ Lessons Learned From A Hidden Crust Mushroom Quiche | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Top with 4-5 more cheese slices and mushrooms. Make a second batch of custard with the remaining 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cream and the last 3 eggs. Add the same amount of salt, pepper and nutmeg as before and pour into the shell. Top with the remaining cheese on top.
  7. Bake the quiche for about 1 1/2 hours, or until richly browned on top and the custard is barely set in the center. Let cool in the pan until it has cooled enough to handle.
  8. Using a knife, carefully lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Cut the quiche into wedges, transfer to plates and serve warm.

If you didn’t get lost in the story and have read this all the way to here, congratulations you are at the end. Thanks for reading and learning through my mistakes. The original recipe was called “Over-the-top Mushroom Quiche”. You have no idea…

DMS

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

From Mud Pies to 100,000 Views!

Pardon me, excuse me for just one moment…. HOLY SHIT!!

Sorry about that, I cannot control myself. I was sitting here drinking coffee and realized that some time during the night, we hit 100,000 views! I wrote about when we had passed our 80,000 view mark, but now I am in shock. In two short months we have had 20,000 more views that brought us to this milestone! I am humbled. Thank you so much!

I have always loved to cook. As a child, I watched both of my parents cook and never turned the television away from the great Julia Child or Justin Wilson when they were on PBS. I didn’t realize how much I was absorbing. Inspired by something I saw, (long before Food Network or the Cooking Channel existed) I would go outside and have my own cooking show right there in the back yard. I would to steal vegetables out of my parent’s garden to incorporate into my recipes that mostly consisted of mud. Believe me, my mud battered hydrangea leaves were the best fried fish around. Especially those mud pies I used to make.

I started this blog in February of last year with terrible smoker’s flu and a passion for food. I really didn’t know I was going to like blogging so much. Writing this blog has been a great experience. It has given me some great opportunities, and most importantly it has given me some pretty great friendships. I expect to make so many new friends. I love communicating with people of different walks of life all over the world. Sharing experiences with others and then learning from them and their experiences.

We would like to personally thank each and every one of you who have stopped by to visit us at The Mountain Kitchen. That is what makes all of this so worthwhile. It is you! You, the person that took 5 minutes out of their day just to see what kind of crazy meals David and I made, what His Royal Highness has been up to, our life here up on the Blue Ridge or to read the crazy stories like the one about bears and goats.

Our wish for you is that you get a good laugh, learn something new and find something good to eat while you are here. Then take it with you and share it with others.

Thanks for visiting & come back again soon!

Sincerely,

Debbie, David & Ashes
Spivey

 

P.S. In case you wondered, I am still smoke free.

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Chilies

FFF The ChiliHere are 18 facts you may have not known about Chili Peppers:

  1. The chili pepper was first cultivated by the people of Central and South America around 3000 BC.
  2. The first European to “discover” Chili Peppers was Christopher Columbus in America in 1493. Within a century, chili peppers’ popularity had spread worldwide.
  3. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two of the founding fathers of America, are both known to have grown chilies.
  4. There are more than 140 varieties of chilies peppers are grown in Mexico alone.
  5. Chilies are fruits not vegetables.
  6. Chili and chile are both the pungent fruit of the capsicum. Chili is short for chili con carne, a ground beef dish that incorporates chili powder or chili peppers. Chile, capitalized, is a country.
  7. The heat from a chili pepper is concentrated in the interior veins or ribs near the seed heart. The seeds taste extra hot because they are in close contact with the hot veins.
  8. Chilies are known to reduce harmful bacteria on foods.
  9. People who eat chilies are generally healthier.
  10. Chilies curb your appetite – especially for fatty foods and sweets.
  11. Capsaicin has been associated with many cures that include lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and warding off strokes and heart attacks, speeding up metabolism, treating colds and fevers, preventing cancer and pain control.
  12. The most common reaction to the heat of a chili is for the body is to sweat, particularly on the forehead. The technical term for this is gustatory perspiration.
  13. Low in calories, chili peppers contain more vitamin A than carrots, especially red chilies.
  14. Chilies help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
  15. Green chilies has more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
  16. The Mayans rubbed hot peppers on their gums to stop toothaches.
  17. The smaller the pepper, the hotter it will be. All the world’s most potent peppers are under three inches long.
  18. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the hottest chilli is Smokin Ed’s ‘Carolina Reaper’, grown by The PuckerButt Pepper Company (USA), which rates at an average of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Wow, if these things increase metabolism and help with weight loss, I may need to eat them every meal! ;)

DMS

Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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Sizzle Burgers

Sizzle-Burgers | The Mountain KitchenThere’s nothing like a good fried hamburger every now and then. I have fond memories of when my mama would fry us one on Friday nights when my daddy was eating at the hunting club. She would fry the hamburgers in the pan without anything but the wonderful juices of the meat. When they were done, she would put the burger in the center of two pieces of mustard covered loaf bread and cut it into triangles. We would usually have potato chips or French fries to accompany our burgers.

David’s has fond memories of his mama frying hamburgers too. He said years ago they saw a commercial for Worcestershire sauce on television. The commercial introduced people to “Sizzle Burgers”. They were called that because the burgers were doused with a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, which made them sizzle. His mama started making them and that memory has stayed with him just like my mama’s mustard topped triangle burger sandwich.

A couple of weeks ago David decided it was time to make some of those Sizzle Burgers, so we took a trip down memory lane. Here’s how he made them:

Sizzle Burgers

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: Prep: 10 Minutes | Cook: 10 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sizzle-Burgers | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter,divided
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired
  • Suggested Toppings:  Cheese slices, onions, mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, the possibilities are endless!

Directions:

  1. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a 1/4-inch-thick burger. Do not overpack and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb, so that it will not shrink as much. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan or medium high heat until the the butter begins to foam. Splash in some Worcestershire sauce and place burger in the pan. Cook until golden brown and very slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes.
  3. Before flipping add 2 tablespoon more of the butter and allow it to melt. Flip over the burgers and move them around in the butter to coat the bottoms. Splash is some more Worcestershire and cook the burgers until golden brown and very slightly charred on the second side. 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese).
  4. Add the cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking and top the pan with a lid or or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese. Remove the burgers from the pan. Place in a warm place and allow to rest while browning the buns.
  5. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Split the buns in half and place them in the pan. Allow the buns to brown and become crispy.Sizzle-Burgers | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Sandwich the hot burgers between the buns, add toppings and serve immediately.Sizzle-Burgers | The Mountain Kitchen

What’s your favorite way to fry a hamburger? Do you have fried hamburger memories too?

DMS

Categories: Beef Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mediterranean Chicken

Mediterranean Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen

While doing meal prep last week, I came across a recipe I had torn out of a magazine years ago. It was actually an ad in the magazine for Athenos Cheese. I had made this dish a long time ago (I think we were still living in VA Beach, which seems ages ago). Back then, I hadn’t developed a taste for the bell pepper yet. I always eliminated the peppers and used raw tomatoes instead. That recipe was good, because I still had the recipe in my binder of recipes. Since I needed a chicken dish for the week, I figured I would give this recipe another shot. This time I was going to add the red bell pepper it called for over the years I have developed a taste for them and enjoy eating them. I also added several ingredients to the recipe, but even though the chicken was smothered in the vegetables and cheese it seemed to dry out during cooking. I had a little vegetable broth left over in the refrigerator from when I made the Meatless Monday Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup. That was a wonderful addition to this chicken as well. Here’s how I made Mediterranean Chicken:

Mediterranean Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 40-50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Mediterranean Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken breast, boneless skinless, cut into 4 fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can black olives
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • Capers for serving, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken in 13×9-inch baking dish.
  3. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with black pepper. Top each breast fillet with cheese, red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and olives, then drizzle with remaining lemon juice.Mediterranean Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, then gently pour the vegetable stock over the breasts, trying not to disturb any of the toppings.
  5. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees F).
  6. Spoon up some of the broth from the baking dish and pour it onto the chicken breasts. Top with parsley and garnish with capers.

Isn’t it funny how the simplest dishes, especially the ones that are practically thrown together turn out to be some of the best? I’m usually not a fan of leftover chicken. Surprisingly, the leftovers were just as good for lunch the next day!*

DMS

*Note: If you have any leftovers  make sure you pour the rest of the broth over top before sealing them up for the fridge. Keeps it moist and the broth is super flavorful!
Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ The Best Apples for Baking, Cooking and Eating

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ The Best Apples for Baking, Cooking and Eating |The Mountain KitchenWe are surrounded by apple orchards up here in the mountains. I have been eating an apple a day since they came in season. They are my favorite fruit!  I have tried them in all kinds of desserts and just this year I have been eating them in some savory soups.

Have you ever had an apple recipe that just doesn’t come out quite right? Perhaps it is the type of apple your using. Here is a chart that can help you choose the right apple next time you come across a recipe:

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ The Best Apples for Baking, Cooking and Eating |The Mountain Kitchen

I hope this helps you make the right choice next time you purchase apples. What is your favorite and what do you like to do with them?

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup

Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain KitchenLast week I shared with you Five Fantastic Soups. Here’s another one to add to the list:

Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: Prep: 10 Cook time: 6 Hours 20 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, cored and quartered
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the apples and onions in the oil, salt and pepper, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
    Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Meanwhile, add the garlic, broth, mustard and cider to the crock pot and stir to mix well.
  4. When apples and onions are roasted, allow them to cool. When they have cooled gently peel the skins away from the flesh. They should come off very easily. Toss the apples and onions into the crock pot and cook on LOW HEAT for 6 hours.
  5. After 6 hours, add the milk and cheese. Let the cheese melt and season with salt and pepper to taste.Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Puree the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor or blender.Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain Kitchen
  7. Serve with some extra cheese, apple slices and crispy bread.Meatless Monday ~ Slow Cooker Roasted Apple Cheddar Soup | The Mountain Kitchen

David did not like this soup and I am not sure why. I liked it! I guess we can agree to disagree on this one…

DMS

Inspired by ClosetCooking.com’s Roasted Apple and Aged White Cheddar Soup

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

HALLOWEEN 2014

HappyDon’t worry, FOOD FACT FRIDAY will return next Friday. If you were hoping to learn more food facts today, sorry to disappoint you, but I wanted to take today off to celebrate my birthday! Yep, that’s right, I was born on Halloween. That explains a lot doesn’t it? ;)

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN, HAVE A SPOOKTACULAR DAY!

Debbie, David & His Royal Highness of The Mountain Kitchen

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain KitchenI made stuffed cabbage in June of last year for the first time. I was surprised at the amount of great flavor this dish had using such simple ingredients. I have made these a time or two since then, but last week I decided I was going to try my recipe in the time saving wonder machine called the crock-pot. Boy Howdy, did slow cooking make the most tender cabbage rolls ever!!! I have never truly had the time to bake them in the oven long enough to get them as tender as they were when cooked in the crock-pot. One of my favorite recipes, just got a lot easier! Here’s how I made them:

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: PREP TIME: 30 Minutes / COOK TIME: 6 Hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 medium head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
1 pound ground beef, raw
1/2 cup rice, cooked
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (16-ounce) tomato sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon paprika
sour cream and red wine vinegar, for serving (optional, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions and allow to cool.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and cook onion until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Using a small, sharp knife, cut in a circle all around the stem of the cabbage and remove the core. Place the cabbage in the boiling water. After about 2 minutes an outside leaf will come loose–pull it off and out of the water using tongs. After another minute the next leaf will come loose. Remove and repeat until you have 8 to 10 leaves.Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Cut out the thick part of the rib from the bottom of each leaf, no more than a third of the way into the leaf.Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, cooled onion, cooled rice, and salt. With the stem side of the cabbage leaf facing you, place a 1/4 cup of the beef mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the mixture and then fold the sides over and roll into packet. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into the crock pot dish.Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, broth, and paprika. Pour evenly over the cabbage rolls and carefully move them around a bit to ensure they are bathed in the sauce mixture all over. (Refrigerate over night OR cook right away)
  7. Cover the crock and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  8. Optional: Serve the cabbage rolls with a big dollop of sour cream and a splash of red wine vinegar!Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain Kitchen

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Mountain KitchenI prepared them and placed everything in the crock-pot dish the night before and placed it in the refrigerator. The next morning, I placed the dish inside the slow cooker, set it and away to work we went, leaving His Royal Highness to watch over the crock-pot while we were gone. The cabbage rolls were ready when we got home and the best part was I didn’t have to spend all night in the kitchen. I will be using the slow cooker from here on out to make this recipe.

A special thanks to Mr. A, for watching over our crock-pot! (Yes, he got extra treats for being a good crock-pot watcher.) :)

DMS

Categories: Beef Recipes, Slow Cooker / Crock Pot, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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