Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pork, Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pie with Gouda Biscuit Topping

Sense of Home Kitchen

Pork, Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pie with Gouda Biscuit Topping
~Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted, almost beyond recognition, from Bon Appétit, November 2010

This recipe can be made in individual pots or in one dish with the crust over the whole thing.  Chicken chunks and stock would be equally good, as would a variety of vegetables, but I love the mushrooms and sherry and think they are a must, you be the judge.

6 - 8 servings

1/2 cup uncooked lentils
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (approximately 2 cups)
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 stalk celery, diced
2 teaspoons dried, rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/4 cups pork stock
1/4 cup dry sherry

2 medium Red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups cooked, shredded pork
Salt and Pepper

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Smoked Gouda cheese, divided
1 tablespoon dried parsley

For Filling:
Combine 3 cups cold water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 25 minutes.  Drain; set lentils aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add diced onion and sauté until it starts to look translucent, add fresh sliced mushrooms and sauté 2 minutes more, add carrot, celery, sage and thyme; sauté for another 3 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, stirring often.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Mix flour into vegetables; cook 1 minute.  Add pork stock, sherry, potatoes, soy sauce, and tomato paste.  Cover; simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally,  approximately 12 minutes.  Add cooked, shredded pork and heat through, about 3 minutes.  Add lentils; season with salt and pepper.  Divide filling among eight 1-cup ovenproof bowls (do not overfill or some of the juices will be lost during cooking).  DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover; chill.  Bring to room temperature before continuing.

For Topping:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter, pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and 1/2 cup of Gouda; pulse until dough forms moist clumps.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Divide into 8 equal pieces; shape each into a disk just larger than the top of the baking cup.  Butter the top edge of the baking cups.  Set rounds atop baking cups, letting the dough overlap and pressing down slightly.  Sprinkle each round with a small amount of dried parsley.

Bake pot pies on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.  Divide remaining Gouda cheese between the cups and top biscuit with a small mound of cheese.  Continue baking until tester inserted into biscuit topping comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Pork / Main Dishes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Pleasures of Home Cooking

Sense of Home Kitchen

Home cooking starts with ingredients, and simply put that makes all the difference.  Several years ago our situation was such that I needed to take a full time job, which meant my son would move from home schooling to public school and that my daughter would not have the opportunity to be home schooled.  With that change came the hectic life of a mom working full time, dinners prepared in a rush, and me asking the kids several times if they had their homework done, too distracted while throwing something together for dinner to properly listen to their answer (they still laugh about that).  I felt overwhelmed and even began buying those bags of prepared frozen dinners for to nights when "I was too busy to cook".  After a few months of that (perhaps longer if I am being really honest), I began to realize that reheating factory prepared foods (even if it was only a few nights a week) was no way to feed my children, or my husband and myself.

Proper nutrition and good taste do not come from a bag or can, it comes from ingredients prepared lovingly at home. I needed to make a change, I had shifted from a homemade life to a fast-paced, store-bought life, and I didn't like the person I had become.  I could not quit working so I had to adjust my attitude, making dinner for my family should not a burden or chore, it should be a pleasure.  I was nourishing my family, the most important job I had to do in any given day.  Yet, how would I manage both a demanding full time job and a growing family?

I started to plan ahead.  I kept the meals simple, before going to the grocery store I thought about what we would eat in the week ahead, even thinking ahead to what I would make each night, and made a list.  With the ingredients on hand and a plan in mind, dinner was not a rushed, thrown together affair, it was well thought out, nutritious, and we sat and ate together.  Some of the meals were still made in a hurry, but they were homemade.

Gradually I made some other changes, after not planting a garden for a few years the garden was back and I was using vacation time to preserve the produce from our garden.  I found that rather than being just one more item on my long list of "things to do", the garden was a pleasure.  It slowed me down and gave me time to relax and meditate.  I began preparing more dishes with fresh ingredients and learned to cook vegetables I had never cooked before.  I did not want any of the produce to go to waste so I made time to can again, even learned to pressure can.  Once you start on the homemade path there is just no stopping, soon I was butchering chickens and pressure canning my homemade chicken stock.  Next came beef stock and homemade plum and apple juice, and soon I was writing about my kitchen and garden adventures here.

I do not always have the time to make everything from scratch, but once you try making your own pumpkin brioche bread, sprouts, kefir, yogurt, whole-milk ricotta, soups, home canned tomato salsa, and trail mix, to name a few, you begin to realize that it does not take as much time as you once thought.  With the kitchen garden out your back door and your pantry full of foods you have preserved there is always something handy to prepare for dinner and there are fewer trips to the grocery store.  You might even get carried away and start making all your own homemade cleaners, but that is a story for another post.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Homemade Living / Kitchen and Pantry

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wild Rice Porridge

Sense of Home Kitchen

Wild Rice Porridge
~By Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from the Hell's Kitchen of downtown Minneapolis recipe as it is printed in "The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook"~
The Hell's Kitchen porridge is called "Mahnomin Porridge" because it uses ingredients native to Northern Minnesota. In my adaptation I replace an ingredient with sliced almonds, which would not be native to that region, so I have renamed the recipe.  I have also lightened the recipe a little.  You can find the original recipe in the cookbook mentioned above, a cookbook full of recipes using foods local to Minnesota, one worth owning if you are from the region, and perhaps even if you are not.  Do not miss eating at their restaurant if you are in the area, and by all means, try the porridge, you will be hooked.

Serves 4 (though I would argue that you could serve 8 as this is very filling porridge)

4 cups cooked wild rice
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup half and half cream

Topping: (optional)
milk, warmed
fruit, fresh in-season or home-canned

In a heavy saucepan, add the cooked wild rice, toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and maple syrup and cook over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes.  Add the half and half and stir constantly while heating for approximately 2 minutes more.  Spoon into bowls and top with warmed milk and fruit, as desired.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Breakfast

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Potato Corn Chowder

Sense of Home Kitchen

Potato Corn Chowder
~Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from Gourmet, July 2008~
Makes 6 - 8 servings

4 cups corn, cut off the cob, along with the cream of the corn
3 cups of 1/2" cubed red potatoes (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, drippings reserved
2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt to taste

Cream the corn as you take it off the cob, instructions here, dice potatoes, bell peppers, carrot, and onion.  Cook bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.  Set bacon aside to cool.

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large soup pot, add diced potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer potatoes, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile place bacon drippings in sauté pan along with onion and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add bell peppers and sauté until tender.

Add to the potatoes and stock the sautéd onions and bell peppers, corn and its "cream", and thyme. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately ten minutes more.

After potatoes and corn are tender, add half and half, white pepper and cayenne.  Warm over low heat until the soup begins to simmer, do not boil.  Add salt to taste and serve.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Soup 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sense of Home Kitchen

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
~Sense of Home Kitchen, inspired by a Gourmet 2008 recipe and a desire for chocolate~

Makes 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup plain yogurt, whole milk or low fat
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with the rack in the middle.  Prepare muffin tin with muffin papers or by greasing the tin.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium-size bowl.

In a large bowl mix together butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.  Gradually mix in flour mixture stirring until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter between 12 muffin cups and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Muffins

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Graham Flour Date Muffins

Sense of Home Kitchen

Graham Flour Date Muffins
~Sense of Home Kitchen~
Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups graham flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 cup plain yogurt, whole milk or low-fat
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease muffin tins or prepare with muffin papers.  Mix the first six dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Pit and chop dates and add to the flour mixture.  Stir.

Warm coconut oil over low heat until it just dissolves and cool slightly.  Combine the honey, yogurt, coconut oil and eggs, mix well.  Gradually add the flour and date mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  These are excellent served alone or with a dollop of mascarpone.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Muffins  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Summer Fruit Crisp

Sense of Home Kitchen

Summer Fruit Crisp
~Sense of Home Kitchen~
Although fresh fruit is often best, this crisp works equally well with frozen or canned fruit.

2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups strawberries, cut in half
2 cups sliced peaches
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup regular oatmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a deep dish baking pan, my 7 x 10 x 2 dish worked perfect.  Place rhubarb, strawberries, and peaches in the dish.  Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly and crumble on top of the fruit.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is cooked and bubbling.  Serve with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream if you wish, but plain will give the full summer fruit flavor.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Desserts

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken Masala

Sense of Home Kitchen

Chicken Masala
~Sense of Home Kitchen adapted from Bon Appétit, February 2010~
Serves 4

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala (an East Indian spice, buy premixed or make your own here or here.)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound roasting chicken, quartered, backbone removed
freshly ground pepper
2 small onions, sliced
3 medium carrots, each cut in two pieces

Place quartered chicken in a baking dish and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.  Mix yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, salt and garlic in a small dish and pour over the pieces of chicken.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Can be made one day ahead.  Keep refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare onions and carrots and place them in the baking dish, some on top of the chicken, some under and around the chicken. Place the baking dish in a preheated oven, uncovered, and bake until cooked through and juices run clear when thickest portion of thigh is pierced, about 1 hour.  Serve with onion slices and carrots, spoon pan juices over the chicken.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Poultry