Yes, You Can Use the Crock Pot – just remember to plug it in! And a plug for the beauty of God’s Creation in Long Beach

We enjoyed God’s beautiful creation at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach today, and we spent much of our time at my favorite display of the incredible tropical fish and gorgeous coral. Somehow, the intense colors of fish and coral in the visual realm reminded me of the intense flavors of the 1000 Day Marinade in the savory realm! Brody and I enjoyed the 1000 Day Marinade again last week when rib eye steaks went on sale. Wow – I really enjoy the intensity of the flavors of that marinade! Every time I eat a steak with that marinade, I think, “This must be the best steak I have ever eaten!”

 

My friend, Leah, will be returning to the school year schedule soon and asked if my recipes will work with a crock pot. I decided to test out the Chicken Italiano recipe on page 119 to see how that would work with a crock pot. Brody and I were pleased with the results and thought the chicken was much more tender when prepared this way. The night before, I pureed the tomatoes and reduced them to one half their original volume. Then I added all the other sauce ingredients and refrigerated the sauce until the next day. The next day, I melted the butter, added the garlic and seared the chicken pieces in the skillet before adding them to the crock pot with the sauce. After a few hours, I finally noticed that I had not plugged in the crock pot! But, Brody was okay with eating supper a little later (I’m thankful for an easy-going hubby!) and it all worked out just fine. So, if your schedule calls for crock pot recipes, I would say, yes – you can use the crock pot with this book…. You may simply need to think about how to change the order of preparation to accommodate the crock pot and… Just remember to plug it in! 🙂 

 

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice “Pinatas” (Empanadas)

Here are some photos of Freda’s Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice “Pinatas” (Empanadas). These are based on the Porky Pinata recipe on pgs. 135-136 of the cookbook. This is my favorite mixture so far in these pastries. I have found that they are great warm but also are easy to eat cold in my lunch when I am out in the field working.

Blueberry Crisp, My Roots in Colombia and Tortilla Tweaking

 This week, I needed to use up the blueberries I had bought, so I decided to make Blueberry Crisp. We hadn’t made that dessert in a while, and that was the fastest way to use the berries. I had originally stocked up when the price dropped in order to make scones for my dad and Brody’s mom for their birthdays, but then due to the hot weather, I was not sure the scones would arrive in good condition after a few days in the mail. So, I’ll send them something else for their birthdays. 🙂 It’ll be late, but this way, they can extend their celebrations! This week, as I was making the crisp, I decided to substitute some rice flour for the some of the tapioca flour and was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the crispy part turned out. If you would like a crispier topping, you can tweak the recipe on page 167 as I did this week. Simply make the flour portion half tapioca flour and half rice flour.

 Now for the Tortilla Tweaking I mentioned I’d share. When I was living in Colombia, the Piapoco tribe was the group my parents served in translating the New Testament. We would live with the Piapocos in their village for 4-6 weeks at a time, and usually visited 3 or 4 times each year. I enjoyed the bread the ladies would prepare on a regular basis. Interestingly, the bread I knew so well in the Piapoco village has the same origin (the roots of the cassava or yuca plant) as the tapioca flour which is now a staple in my kitchen since Brody can tolerate it instead of wheat flour.

 Anyway, when the Piapoco ladies would make their bread, they called it macadu (mah-kah-doo) when it was fresh. It was warm, light and faintly sour. It was quite delicious by itself or with venison, fish or chicken soup! The griddle they used was a couple of feet in diameter, and so the resulting bread looked like a very large pancake. 

 If the ladies wanted to preserve the bread for many days (even weeks), they would throw the large pancake-like bread up onto the palm-leaf-thatched roof to dry in the hot sun. This preserved bread was called daleri (dah-leh-ree) which literally means “hard.” And so it was! A person could break a tooth on that if he wasn’t careful! The daleri was so tasty for dipping in soups, and that was one way to eat the daleri with less potential for dental damage. The daleri was great for travel and for preparing food in advance. Since the village didn’t have electricity, the ladies had other ways of preserving their daily labor for food.

 If the macadu was not preserved by drying in the sun on the roof, it would become a little stale over the next few days and was sort of chewy and less appealing to me, but still nourishing. At this point, it was called chuchuweri (choo-choo-wee-ree). I think I spelled that correctly! It’s been many years since I contemplated the Piapoco language.

 A final way the ladies used the bread was to make a soup from it for breakfast or any meal. If the chuchuweri were broken up into water and heated, it was called chucusi (choo-koo-see), a soup-like dish similar to the hot cereals my readers may be more familiar with, such as cream of wheat, oatmeal, or my new favorite, quinoa cereal with raisins!

 I shared all that with you since I’ve been having fun with my tortilla recipe from page 115. The recipe as written is tasty for tacos, but I have enjoyed tweaking it lately to make similar bread items. Originally when I was developing the recipe, I started with a flatbread recipe a friend from Asia had shared with me. After making the recipe many times, I have figured out that cooking the tortillas on my griddle on high heat will make the tortillas lightly brown on the outside, flexible enough to wrap around the taco fillings and easy to chew, similar to the macadu I mentioned above. But if I want to make something like a tostada or a chip, I can cook the tortillas on lower heat for a longer time and dry out the tortilla, making something more like a chip, sort of like the daleri.

 My latest tweaking to the tortilla recipe was to try to make it more like naan, the basic bread of India. I read several recipes, and noticed that some use yeast and others baking powder to leaven the dough. I chose baking powder the other day since I didn’t want to take the time for the yeast to work. I used ¼ tsp baking powder with the recipe on page 115 as a first try and was happy with the results. I also added some pressed garlic and freshly ground black pepper. The final product was thicker and more fluffy than the tortillas and was a fun change of pace for us. I might try adding some other herbs or spices next time! The tweaking of the tortilla recipe reminded me of my “roots” in Colombia! 

Two Score and Five Year Scones

We enjoyed the A-B-C Bake for a few meals and then tried a few new recipes. One day this week, the weather was so hot that Brody didn’t really want a hot meal for supper. Since I had already started making Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup (pages 126-127), I proposed that we eat a small serving of soup, a green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (page 154) along with some other tasty side dishes that were satisfying, but not super heavy. I had some plain lentils in the fridge so I made Indian Style Lentils (page 94) and tweaked the Tortilla recipe (page 115) to go with the lentils. I’ll write more about the tweaking of the tortilla recipe later, but for now, here is the promised scone recipe. 🙂

 Two Score and Five Year Scones

Early in August, Willie turned 45 and his wife, Brenda, planned a surprise birthday party for him…. So, I developed a scone recipe in honor of his 45 years of life. A friend of his at the party helped me name this scone recipe.

To develop this recipe, I began with a scone recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, published by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling, Copyright 1996. The original recipe is a “normal” gluten-filled recipe, and using the method described in A Recipe for Survival, I converted it to be gluten-free and safe for Brody. I made a half batch for the first trial, and my taste-tester suggested that it needed a little more sweetness, so I added the icing for the second batch. 

Many friends gave me their feedback on the second batch – this texture is very similar to a gluten-filled scone texture, but is still slightly different from a standard scone texture. The children who tested this recipe made the crumbs disappear, so we took that as an approval vote! My friends who prefer less sweet baked goods thought this was just right, but if you prefer sweeter baked goods, you’ll likely want to increase the sugar or simply add more icing.

 18 oz fresh blueberries

1/3 cup rice flour

2 cups tapioca flour

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

6 Tbsp raw cane sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder

4 Tbsp rice bran

4 Tbsp ground flaxseed

12 Tbsp butter

2 eggs

1 cup goat milk

1 cup water

 

2 Tbsp goat milk for tops of scones

Icing:

2 Tbsp goat milk plus enough powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency and 1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions: 

1. Wash and drain the blueberries.

2. Combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Using a pastry knife, cut in the butter until the mix is of a coarse crumb texture.

3. Combine the eggs, milk and water. Mix thoroughly and then pour into the dry mixture. Stir until all the mix is moistened. Be careful not to beat the air out of it.

4. Butter 2 baking sheets.

5. Form the dough into cylinders or whatever shape you’d like. Cylinder shapes will bake more uniformly, and are easier to make with my hands, so I generally make cylinders of approximately 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height. As you form the cylinders, add the blueberries – I like 4-6 blueberries per scone. Too many blueberries will make the scone fall apart. I don’t like to mix them into the bowl of dough since the spoon would break the blueberries, and I like them whole. 🙂

6. Place the scones on the baking sheets and then spread a little goat milk on the tops of the scones.

7. Bake the scones at 400 F for 25 minutes. My oven bakes unevenly, so half way through the baking time, I switch the baking sheets from the top to the bottom and turn the sheets around, too, since the front is colder than the back of my oven. If your oven is more efficient than mine, all your baking times will be much shorter. I am grateful for my oven, but I realize it’s probably been baking for more years than some of my readers have been alive…. (At least I didn’t develop this recipe book using a wood fire like the one my mom used for some of her cooking in the prairies of Colombia!) So check your baked goods as they bake – you may need to adjust their baking times.

8. Prepare the icing by adding the powdered sugar to the milk. After mixing well, add the lemon juice and stir.

9. When the scones have a hint of tan on some of their edges, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Or serve them warm with the icing drizzled on them.

10. If you’re going to store the scones for later, let them cool and then add the icing and then store them in an airtight container. They will keep best in the fridge if you want to store them for a few days. We like to reheat them in the microwave when we’re ready to have some.

A-B-C Bake

“A” stands for almonds, “B” for broccoli, and “C” for chicken! I derived this recipe from reading 3 or 4 recipes from my brother’s wife and her mom. Brody and I have been blessed by the extended family we received through my brother’s marriage. God shows us His lovingkindness in special ways every day. Today, we are thankful for a new way to flavor chicken!

When I am making a casserole or a something like a casserole, I have found it’s not as critical to have exact measurements as when I make a baked good such as a scone. (I plan to post my new scone recipe soon!) So, below are the approximate measurements I am currently using for this recipe. You can easily increase or decrease the amount of any ingredient, based on your preferences for each flavor and texture.

Since I strongly prefer not to overcook broccoli for texture reasons (as well as for nutritional value reasons), I generally use raw broccoli in any quiche or casserole type dish.

2 cups thinly sliced raw broccoli
1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
3-4 chicken breasts, cubed and boiled
nutmeg
2 cups goat milk
4 Tbsp butter
salt, pepper to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups pureed celery
2 large bay leaves
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
2 Tbsp rice flour
2 cloves garlic
cheddar cheese

1. Using a food processor, slice 2 heads of broccoli. This will give you approximately 2 cups of sliced broccoli which should be enough to cover the bottom of your 9×13 pan.
2. Use the food processor to coarsely chop enough raw almonds to make approximately 1 cup of chopped almonds. Spread the almonds over the broccoli.
3. Spread the cooked chicken over the almonds.
4. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on the chicken. Just a light sprinkle is enough for me.
5. Warm 1 cup of the goat milk in a sauce pan along with the butter, salt, pepper, lemon juice, pureed celery and the bay leaves.
6. Dissolve the tapioca flour and rice flour in the other 1 cup of cold goat milk.
7. After the butter melts, add the cold milk and flour mixture to the warm milk mixture, stirring constantly.
8. Continue to warm and stir the mixture until it thickens a little. I don’t like the texture of tapioca mixtures that have been thickened to stringy, bubble-gum textures, so I stop heating the mixture when it has thickened to a thick gravy texture, but is still definitely a liquid.
9. Pour the thick milk mixture over the chicken in the 9×13 pan.
10. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
11. Remove the ABC bake from the oven, press 2 cloves of garlic and add them to the bake. Stir the bake well, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!

Our taste-testers especially enjoyed the definite crunch of the almonds, mingled with the slightly crunchy broccoli. Brody particularly liked the sauce. Plenty of sauce makes chewing the chicken easier! 🙂 I especially enjoy being able to reheat this dish as an easy (and still tasty) leftover!

Some recipes often use bread crumbs on top of a casserole or bake. I asked Brody if he would like me to use my Plain Bread recipe to make some bread crumbs for this. Since he preferred this simpler way, I was happy to skip making bread crumbs. But, if you want to add bread crumbs, you could use the Plain Bread Recipe on page 114 of the book to first prepare the bread crumbs.

Which Recipe did You Try First?

After you receive your book, please let me know which recipe you tried first and if you chose to adjust anything! It’s fun to experiment!

We enjoyed Quinoa Cakes for the first time in a while yesterday – they are so tasty and satisfying! I am experimenting with a new casserole recipe tonight; we are about to enjoy our supper together and see how my first try turned out.

A couple of days ago, I finally made a first attempt at converting a gluten-filled scone recipe into a gluten-free version… and we were pleased with the results. I’ll get another few taste-testers’ opinions in the next few days, and then post the recipe for you to enjoy! 🙂

Have a great day!