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Maple Walnut Pound Cake

Maple Walnut Pound Cake

Maple Walnut Pound Cake

It’s maple season again. Our friends at Chandler’s Sugar Shack in Kossuth are tapping 4,000+ trees this year. It wasn’t that long ago that they started out with less than 200 and now here they are with a sugar “shack” the square footage (or more) of our house and thousands of thousands…and thousands of taps. I decided to use some of our syrup to make Maple Walnut Pound Cake. Oh my gosh. It’s just enough maple flavor without being overwhelming, and not too sweet.

If it lasts more than a few days, pound cake loses its quality. By day four or five I didn’t want another slice but didn’t want it to go to waste. I turned the rest of the pound cake into one-inch slices, dipped it in an egg and milk mixture, and made Maple Walnut Pound Cake French Toast. That’s a mouthful – literally and figuratively. It was delicious!

maple walnut pound cake, pound cake recipe, On The Fire, Big Wild Radio, maple glaze recipe, maple syrup recipe

Maple glaze, maple walnut pound cake, maple syrup recipes, Chandler's Sugar Shack
maple glaze recipe, maple walnut pound cake, maple walnut, maple syrup recipes
Maple Glaze

I wanted a nice glaze on the pound cake and wanted to use maple syrup. I think this turned out well! This would be great as a glaze on cookies, over cupcakes or as a substitute for maple syrup on pancakes and waffles.

Substitute for Cake Flour

If you don’t have cake flour in the pantry (I didn’t) you can make your own. Measure one level cup of all-purpose flour. Remove two level tablespoons of flour and replace it with two level tablespoons of corn starch. Corn starch lowers the protein level of the flour. Protein turns to gluten, and gluten is what makes breads chewy. A little less protein is a little less gluten and that makes the flour lighter.

Cake flour is around 8% protein. All-purpose flour is around 10% protein.

And now you know! Really, it’s the simple things in the kitchen that delight me the most.

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Deviled Eggs – Classic Recipe And Twists

Deviled Eggs – Classic Recipe And Twists

Deviled Eggs

The mid-winter point is like an on switch for the ducks and chickens. We went from buying a few dozen eggs between Christmas and the end of January to having five dozen eggs in the fridge. The dogs are having scrambled cracked or frozen eggs for breakfast. What do you do when you have a lot of eggs all of a sudden? Deviled eggs.

I love this traditional Deviled eggs recipes and also love variety. There are five twists to the basic recipe included below.

Tips for Deviled Eggs

    • If the egg yolks are dark around the outside they’ve been overcooked. Cut the time by three or four minutes next time you boil eggs.
    • If you’re making a lot of Deviled eggs you can make the filling process easier. Fill a zippered plastic bag with the filling, cut a small piece out of a bottom corner, and squeeze the filling into the whites.
    • If a white won’t sit well you can take a small slice off the bottom to make it flat.

deviled eggs, over cooked, green yolk, On The Fire, Gunderson, Gundy

How Long Do You Boil Eggs?

I use a simple method for boiling eggs. Place a single layer of eggs on the bottom of the pan. Cover the eggs with cold water. The water should be two inches higher than the eggs. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. As soon as it reaches that state, remove the pan from the heat and set the timer.

For hard boiled eggs, follow these times:

  • Duck and extra large chicken eggs – 15 minutes
  • Large eggs – 12 minutes
  • Medium eggs – 9 minutes

Dump the hot water and fill the pan with cold water until the water continues to run cold out of the pan. It will take a minute to cool the pan. I like to peel the eggs immediately.

I use older eggs for hard boiled to make peeling easy. If you can hear the egg rattle inside the shell and you know it’s not spoiled, the egg should peel easily. The egg is dehydrating and pulling away from the shell.

Add these variations to the crumbled yolks.

Avocado Deviled Eggs – 1/4 cup mayo, 3 tablespoons mashed avocado, 1 teaspoon salt.

Ranch – add 1 tablespoon dry ranch dip mix to 1/4 cup mayo.

Bacon & Blue Cheese – use the Bacon & Blue Cheese dip recipe or mix 2 tablespoons each mayo and the dip.

Pizza – 1/4 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons finely chopped pepperoni, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon pizza seasoning (or Italian seasoning). Mix all together.

Pesto – 1/4 cup mayo, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 tablespoon well-drained pesto, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

 

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Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing

Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing

Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing

My all-time favorite dressing is Bacon & Blue Cheese. We use it as a salad dressing, with wings, and even on burgers and steak. This is another recipe that’s easy to adjust to your tastes. One cup each of blue cheese and bacon crumbles makes a chunky, thick dressing. Blue cheese can be quite tangy, especially if it’s aged so adjust the strength of the blue cheese flavor by adding a smaller amount. Add more after a few hours if the flavor isn’t strong enough.

Watch the bacon. If you have a bacon with little or no flavor, skip it. It’s going to be completely lost here. A good bacon will hold its own and add flavor to this Bacon & Blue Cheese recipe.

bacon & blue, bacon blue cheese, dip, dressing, On The Fire, blue cheese dressing, bacon dressing, bacon dip, bacon recipes

Bacon & Blue Cheese Goes With…

As I type this I have Baked Beans in the oven, bread almost ready for the oven, and venison and pastured chicken thawing in a sink of cold water. It’s a cooking day so I’ll nibble all day as I taste the beans, have a bite or two of venison, and a cup of chicken and rice soup. I’ll cut up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers and celery for a veggie tray and use this dressing for the dip. As dip, I like this thinned with a little milk. For steak, chops, burgers and baked potatoes, I leave it thick. The veggies will help balance everything on my plates today.

Lower Fat & Calories

This recipe for Bacon & Blue Cheese dressing isn’t low fat by any means. You can lower the fat by using low fat mayonnaise and sour cream.

You can chop partially frozen bacon into quarter-inch cubes and pan fry it to lose a little more fat. You’ll still have all the meat and flavor.

No matter what you do, it’s still a high-calorie food but moderation makes a difference.

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Chicken Marsala – Great with Upland Game Birds, too

Chicken Marsala – Great with Upland Game Birds, too

Chicken Marsala Recipe

When I mentioned to a friend that this week’s recipe is Chicken Marsala she said, “I thought you weren’t going to get complicated.” It sounds a little fancy, doesn’t it. This is a simple recipe. It takes a little time but it’s worth it. The Marsala is wine.

There are a few steps to Chicken Marsala but they’re more time-consuming than complicated. It’s worth the effort! Read the recipe a couple of times if you haven’t made it before. Then follow it step by step and you’ll catch yourself agreeing with me – this is simple. This works well with grouse, pheasant and other upland game birds.

If you’re cooking for a large group you can make this ahead of time. It will warm nicely in the oven. Great served over mashed potatoes or noodles, it’s a recipe most everyone will love.

Chicken Marsala, noodles, On The Fire

Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe

Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe

 Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe

When I look for recipes for sausage I find recipes using sausage, not making sausage. It took me quite some time to come up with our homemade Italian sausage recipe a few years ago. It takes trial and error, and we have to consider the freshness and quality of the herbs and spices we use.

I tucked this recipe away two years ago after we raised a couple of pigs out near the orchard. At that time I asked the butcher to grind our sausage meat for me. It came back in neat five pound packages ready to be seasoned. This year our pig was raised for us and went to a different slaughter house. I asked for our trimmings to be packaged and sent back to grind myself.

homemade italian sausage, recipe, Weston meat grinderThe trimmings had more fat on it than I wanted in our grind so a lot of it was trimmed away. I used the Weston meat grinder we bought when I shot the bear in September for a blend around 80% meat, 20% fat. Once the trimmings are ground it’s time to add seasonings. That’s all there is to it.

We have Italian sausages pan fried with onions and bell peppers during grilling weather. I love Italian sausage in spaghetti sauce, and at Gundy’s suggestion, in meatloaf. This recipe is mild enough that the sausage can also be used at breakfast.

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

The One Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe You Need

This is my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. It might be my favorite cookie overall. Mum most often made peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies. I don’t remember many times when the cookie jar was empty.

Great for Kids

I’m a proponent of kids in the kitchen. This recipe is a great one for kids as well as for last-minute cookies.

It’s easy to remember, easy to make, and easy to eat an entire batch in a few days with a little help. I know people who can keep a batch of cookies in the house for two weeks. They eat one cookie a day. I am not them. Two cookies and a cup of coffee or rich hot chocolate and it’s goodbye cookies. I save a few for us and send the rest to work with Steve.

The ONE recipe is easy to remember. The only ONE peanut butter cookie recipe you really need. Most ingredients are measured in one cup or teaspoon.

PB&J

Peanut Butter & Jam cookwiches! I prefer my PB&J sandwich be made with jam between two peanut butter cookies. Use the soft cookies for this so that you can bite through the cookies without squeezing the jam out. A stiff jelly works well too.

peanut butter cookie recipe, peanut butter jelly sandwich, recipe

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Fish Chowder – From Lake to Bowl

Fish Chowder – From Lake to Bowl

Fish Chowder

A steaming bowl of fish chowder, a thick slice of homemade bread slathered with good butter, and a big spoon. That’s all I need to make a meal that leaves me wanting more even after I’m stuffed to the gills (you see what I did there?). Chowder isn’t just for seafood. You can use fresh water fish, and it’s especially good if you’re using fish you’ve just caught while ice fishing. I stick with white fish and skip any that are oily. If you’d prefer to use ocean fish I suggest haddock, cod or pollock. Good fresh-water choices are cusk, yellow and white perch, and bass.

fish chowder

Mixing it Up

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Rather than tell you how to make fish stock let’s use Hank Shaw’s recipe. He makes great stock and it’s so similar to my recipe there’s no need for me to duplicate it.

You can exchange the butter for salt pork or bacon. Cut it into half-inch cubes and saute to release some of the fat before you add the onions to the pan.

I grew up with chowder made from canned milk instead of heavy cream, and now I sometimes use half ‘n half if I don’t have heavy cream. All three are good but I prefer cream.

Some folks add 1/2 cup of chopped celery when they saute the onions.

Chowder stores well in the refrigerator. Refrigerate leftovers immediately without letting the chowder cool to room temperature because of the dairy and fish.

This looks great served in bread bowls. Traditionally, it’s served with Saltines or Oyster crackers.

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Breakfast Frittata with Sausage and Cheese

Breakfast Frittata with Sausage and Cheese

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Frittata

Our “kids” are grown so Christmas morning is quiet at our house. This year Steve is working “weekend duty” at work so he’ll be out to morning meeting and make sure everything’s alright. While he’s gone I’ll make our breakfast. We traditionally have a hot breakfast, not too big, that holds us over until we have dinner in the early afternoon. This year I’m making a favorite, sausage and cheese breakfast frittata. I’ll give you a couple of ideas to make this a brunch frittata or even a breakfast-for-supper fritta, too.

breakfast frittata, fritatta, frittata recipeIt’s easy to change up the breakfast frittata. Add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Fresh or granulated garlic changes the flavor slightly. When using fresh mushrooms, saute them first to remove excess moisture. Add leftover vegetables such as asparagus (there’s never leftover asparagus at my house) or broccoli.

For a buffet, remove the breakfast frittata from the oven in time to let it cool for five to ten minutes, then slice. Or, serve it cold. This dish travels well for potlucks because it can be served hot or cold. I’ve learned that when served cold, guests are more likely to add this to their plates if the pieces are small. Instead of cutting the frittata into eight pieces, try 12 or even 16.

 

Eggnog Cookies with Creamy Frosting

Eggnog Cookies with Creamy Frosting

Eggnog Cookies with Creamy Eggnog Frosting

Growing up, Christmas was about food, visiting family, food, presents, food, and food. Mum spent days baking and making candy. The dining room table, so big it seated eight easily and ten if we squeezed together, was covered with sugary treats. I carried that tradition on for decades. Now, with a waistline I have to keep a very close eye on and only two of us in the house, I seldom bake sweets. Or…I did until I realized I can bake, have a few cookies or whatever it is I’ve created, and send the rest to work with Steve. Winning! Eggnog Cookies have been on my “I’m going to make that next year” list for a long time. I finally made them this week and now I’m kicking myself for waiting for so long.

eggnog cookies, eggnog frostingThe eggnog cookies recipe I started with came from Pinterest. Looking at the ingredients and amounts, I knew I wasn’t going to love the cookies. I made adjustments twice and came up with a recipe so good I can’t stay out of the cookie jar. I packed them up and sent them to work with Steve this morning.

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Mincemeat Cookies – Mincemeat and Cookie Recipes

Mincemeat Cookies – Mincemeat and Cookie Recipes

Mincemeat Cookies

Mincemeat cookies? Really? ohh…no, thanks. I don’t really like mincemeat. “You’ll like these,” Erin Merrill said as she nudged the plate across the table a few inches. I resisted for a while. Erin looked from me to the cookies and back again several times, nudging them now and then. “They’re gooood.” Erin’s convincing, and as mom to my favorite little guy, she’s kind of hard to resist.
mincemeat cookies, mincemeat cookie recipe, mincemeat recipe, filled cookie, venison mincemeatShe was right. These cookies are fantastic. There isn’t a lot of mincemeat in this filled cookie so it’s a great recipe for someone who thinks they don’t like mincemeat cookies, or isn’t crazy about mincemeat but doesn’t hate it, to enjoy the cookies. The cookie recipe is Erin’s. The mincemeat recipe is my Mum’s.mincemeat recipe, mincemeat cookie recipe, venison mincemeat, mincemeat cookies

Mincemeat

Mincemeat was made back in the day when refrigeration wasn’t as easy as opening a door on an appliance. Spices were used as a preservative. Mum used basic measurements. The main ingredients are in pounds, the spices in tablespoons. If you want to use a bowl for the measuring container use the same bowl, and adjust the spices to suit the amount of main ingredients.

I store these cookies in the refrigerator because they’re filling so the batch lasts a while. I like to either warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds or leave them on the counter until the reach room temperature.

strong cup of coffee, erin merrilland a strong cup of coffee

Erin writes a blog called …and a strong cup of coffee. What’s it like to hunt from a woman’s point of view? She shares her experiences from learning with her dad to now hunting with Dad and her husband. Erin recommended me for the spot as co-host of On The Fire, and she’s a great friend, outdoorswoman, and financial supporter of this blog. And seriously, she makes excellent mincemeat cookies.

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