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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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Mac n Cheddar Cheese

Mac n Cheddar Cheese

Mac n Cheddar Cheese

Baked Mac n Cheddar Cheese is a favorite for lots of us. I never tire of it. This is nothing like the bright orange powdered cheese mac that comes in a box. I used Clothbound Chedder from Grace Hill Farm in Cummington, MA. I found the cheese at Boston Public Market on a weekend trip with Taylor to visit Kristin. You should use your favorite cheddar. Or, use Gouda. If a cheese melts well and you like it, use it. You could add a little Mozzarella to make it stringy. I wouldn’t use all Mozzarella but maybe 25% of the total cheese would be great.mac n cheddar, mac and cheese, homemade, macaroni and cheese

Changing it Up

If you want to change up your mac and cheese you can add two teaspoons of dry mustard, or a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. I like to saute mushrooms and onions and add them to the cheese sauce. Remember those “helper” boxed meals you add a pound of ground burger to? You can fry your burger and add it to mac and cheese. Or, how about some slightly steamed broccoli? Variety is good!

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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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Baked Beans Recipe – Traditional New England Saturday Night Supper

Baked Beans Recipe – Traditional New England Saturday Night Supper

Baked Beans Recipe

Baked beans were not my favorite Saturday night, or any night for that matter, supper. They’re as traditional as lobster bakes on the beach, clam chowder and moose tenderloin but that didn’t mean anything to me. Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe, as you should do to make it suit your tastes, and now I love baked beans. Protein and iron rich, filling and satisfying, healthy fat from homegrown pork, and great for leftovers. What’s not to love!

baked beans, new england, recipe

Well…what’s not to love…”homemade” using baked beans from a can. I have nothing against them, some are delicious, but clearly they’re not homemade no matter what you do to them. It’s like melting butter, adding a little salt, pouring it into a bowl, and saying you made butter.

Bean Pot or Slow Cooker

baked beans

You can bake the beans in a traditional bean pot or your slow cooker. If the weather is bitterly cold I use the bean pot and keep the oven on to warm the kitchen. However, it’s easier to keep an eye on the beans using a slow cooker with a glass top so you can make sure they don’t dry out.

Warmed up baked beans for breakfast will hold you well to lunch time if you’re busy outdoors. They’re great in chili and refried beans.

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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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Hot Chocolate Recipes – Dark Chocolate & Red Wine

Hot Chocolate Recipes – Dark Chocolate & Red Wine

Hot Chocolate Recipes

I came across a recipe for hot chocolate and red wine – combined – while looking for a variety in hot chocolate recipes. Dark chocolate and red wine. Together. I had to try it immediately. All you need is milk, a dark chocolate candy bar or chips, and red wine. Add whipping cream to the list if you want whipped cream. If you don’t happen to have dark chocolate in the house you can substitute any hot chocolate you do have. A few curls of chocolate or a sprinkling of spice at the end adds to the decadence.

A note to On The Fire listeners – I’ve added the vanilla to the recipe. That little extra flavor makes a difference.

Another Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups milk (cow, goat, almond, whatever you like)
1 tsp vanilla

Bring the cocoa, sugar and water to a boil, stirring continually. Carefully mix in the milk, continuing to stir. Continue to heat until the milk is hot but not boiling, remove from heat, and then stir in the vanilla.

I enjoy a glass of wine before dinner if I’m still writing. On the coldest days of winter I’ll switch to Dark Red Hot Chocolate. Take note of the garnishing in the recipe, and if you have suggestions of your own, please leave them in the comments.

With these hot chocolate recipes there’s a nice way to unwind at the end of the day before turning in for a long winter night’s nap. Enjoy!