Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oregon Apple Cake

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppBack in the early 70's our local Oregon newspaper published an apple cake recipe from the wife of our former Governor and then new U.S. Senator, Mark O. Hatfield. 

I clipped Mrs. Hatfield's (Antoinette Kuzmanich) recipe, baked it, and continued to make it countless times ever since for guests, family, and potlucks. 


Beyond a few cookie recipes, baking anything in those days was NOT my forte. Those early years of marriage, working, and tracking two toddlers, didn't leave lots of time for gourmet desserts, so finding a great tasting, easy, and inexpensive recipe always gained my attention.


This cake is soft, moist, with just the right amount of spices for a taste of old-fashioned goodness.


 Oregon Apple Cake
3 Tabs. butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups diced apples, peeled or not, about 3 apples
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
1 - 1/2 tsps. cinnamon

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppCream shortening and sugar.  Blend in egg and vanilla.  Stir in apples and walnuts.  Combine remaining dry ingredients, mix in and blend with apple mixture.

Pour into greased 8 or 9-inch square baking pan or dish.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream, or eat as is!   Serves 6-8.

Estimated Cost: $3.00 or less; .50 cents or less a serving.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pad Thai: Shrimp, Chicken, or Pork

 photo 104250D3-5333-44C2-ADBA-174BA55A24ED_zpsag3rwsnn.jpgPad Thai is a popular Thai food dish. It's a rice noodle dish with a sweet n' sour, spicy flavor mostly served with shrimp, and scrambled egg. 

It's then topped with crushed peanuts. I've done it with shrimp, but chicken, pork even a firm white fish works well, too.

Rice "stick" noodles aren't too hard to find in the Asian aisle of most food stores, but ingredients for the sauce might be. I found a jar of Pad Thai sauce as a local Asian store for just under $3.00 and it makes 15 servings.

I
f you can't find it, a little lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, cayenne pepper and rice vinegar mixture can work as a substitute.

The dish can be served on his own or as a side dish with an egg roll and or salad.


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Pad Thai: Shrimp, Chicken, or Pork
1/3 cup lime juice and 1/3 cup water
3 Tabs. fish sauce
1 Tab. rice vinegar
3 Tabs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 Tabs. peanut or vegetable oil
8 oz. dried rice noodles, the ones that look like linguine
2 beaten eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. medium shrimp peeled, deveined, or cubed chicken or pork
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced, or white onion
Chicken Pad Thai photo 291D97AB-5DDA-4D05-A238-30C8BE12467F_zpsmqaaforc.jpg
1/3 cup chopped, peanuts, plus extra for garnish
3 cups bean sprouts
5 medium green onions sliced thin
1/4 cup cilantro or celery leaves
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For the sauce: Stir together lime juice, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil; set aside.


Pad Thai Sauce photo E15AC935-9D71-4084-9CB1-ABD42ABF8BED_zpsyzy49k38.jpg
Homemade Sauce
Cover rice sticks with boiling water in a large bowl and soak until soft,  about 15 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside. In a separate small bowl, beat eggs and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over high heat until smoking. Add chicken (or other meat/seafood) and sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned at the edges, about 3 - 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Chicken Pad Thai photo 09079AFE-9A76-48B4-BF85-B864AD4F3130_zpsjdskepxa.jpg
Take the skillet off the heat and add remaining oil. Add the garlic and shallot, then set the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until light golden brown (about 1-1/2 minutes). Add beaten eggs and stir until scrambled and a little moist, about 20 seconds. 

 photo 039BB3A2-D020-4733-9D7F-44F83BC0376C_zpsog6ezpnv.jpgAdd drained noodles and stir and toss to combine. Pour the fish sauce mixture over noodles and increase the heat to high. Cook, tossing constantly until the noodles are evenly coated.

Add peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro or celery leaves, all but 1/4 cup green onions, and cooked meat. Continue to cook and toss until the noodles are tender (about 2-1/2 minutes). Transfer the noodles to a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining green onions and peanuts.
Serves 4 to 6.

Estimated cost: $6.00 or less; $1.50 or less per serving

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Navy Bean Soup

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Navy Bean Soup: healthy, tasty, inexpensive and easy to make.  I make one or two homemade soups a week. With homemade soups you control the ingredients like salt, and there's no preservatives! 

Grandma and mom made this often, as did my mother-in-law. They lived through the Great Depression with large families and learned to stretch a budget.


This is my mother-in-law's recipe with the only difference of adding Italian spices, butter, and using chopped bacon, if  I don't readily have ham.  If buying ham bones at grocer, shanks have more meat.


Beans bought in 2 to 5 pound sacks, can also be used in other recipes like salads or humus.  My Italian spice blend comes from the Dollar Store and contains dried  thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary and sage. It's my secret ingredient in many recipes!

Navy Bean Soup
2 cups dried navy beans, 1 pound
8 cups of water or broth, canned or with bullion
1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped ham; meaty ham bone or bacon can be used
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced or chopped carrots
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 tsp. Italian blend seasoning
1/2 stick of butter, 4 Tabs.
salt and pepper to taste
optional: splash of vinegar for serving

Soak beans overnight covered in water. Drain and discard water. In a large soup pot, add all above ingredients, except butter, with drained beans. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn down and simmer until beans are tender, occasionally stirring, about 2 hours.  If using a ham bone, take out, cool, and remove meat. Chop meat and return to the soup.


To thicken soup, take 2 cups of beans with liquid and puree in a blender or pulse with an immersion wand for a few seconds.  Add blended soup back into pot and stir to thicken.  I put the wand right in the pot for a few pulses.  (A potato masher will do; after all, that's what moms used in the old days!) 


Add butter and stir until melted.  Remove bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a splash of vinegar and/or garnish with a sprinkling of parsley or chives.  This soup freezes well. 

Pressure Cooker Method: Put all ingredients, including dry beans, in pressure cooker and cook for 15-20 minutes according to manufactures directions.  Puree and finish recipe as directed above.

Makes about 4 quarts. 16 servings.
Estimated cost $4.00 or less; .25 cents a serving or less.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Oregon Wild Mushrooms

Chanterelles
It's wild mushroom time again in Oregon, thought I'd republish this, as Boletus and Chanterelles are back in season. These are pics from the last two year's bounty.

While raising kids, great family fall fun was hunting for wild mushrooms in forests, parks, and coastal dune areas on the Southern Oregon Coast.
Bolteus before cleaning

The most (safe) tasty and popular to find are Boletus and Chanterelles as they look like no other wild mushroom, so they can't be mistaken for a "dangerous" species.

My adult children continue this annual quest with their friends and family during the short time mushrooms appear in October and November before the first freeze.


They can be dried, or cooked then frozen and I choose the latter, cooking in butter with diced onion and garlic then freezing for later use in recipes, like scrambled eggs and omeletes, or beef and chicken dishes.
Cleaned Boletus

Sliced Boletus Caps
This year was especially good for Boletus.  After brushing and cleaning, the entire fleshy mushroom can be sliced, cooked and frozen.  I prepare mine separating caps from the stems, cooking each in different batches as each has a distinctive flavor, caps more beefy tasting than stems.

We find lots of Chanterelles, plus some rarer types: Japanese Pine, Hedgehog and Oyster mushrooms.


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Japanese Pine, Hedgehog & Oyster Mushrooms