Monday, September 22, 2014

Butterscotch Tapioca

Makes 12-16 servings

by Marcia Adams
in Cooking from Quilt Country


  • 10 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups small pearl tapioca
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, no substitutes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs butter (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large, deep saucepan. Sprinkle in the tapioca and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the dark brown sugar, lower the heat a little, and cook 5 minutes longer, or until the tapioca is clear.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and granulated sugar and blend. Stir 1 cup of the hot tapioca mixture into the egg-milk mixture. Then, combine this mix into the rest of the tapioca. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles up.
  3. In the meantime, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium until it is light brown. Add butter to the bubbling pudding, along with the vanilla, and mix well. Pour into a 3-quart serving bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. (It will set up without refrigeration in about six hours.)

If you do refrigerate this pudding, allow it to come to room temperature before serving and stir it up a bit to soften it.

I've copied this recipe directly from Cooking with Quilt Country, p 71. Normally, I don't post recipes I use exactly as written, but I'm making an exception for this one. I'm sure I'll deviate if I start making it more often. ;)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Salsa Fresca

Salsa Fresca

  • 6 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 jalapeƱos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss together.   For best flavor, let salsa sit overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

Adapted from The Best Fresh Tomato Salsa on Allrecipes.

This is enough for our family and to share. :)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chicken for Enchiladas

1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 small can of mild chiles, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbs mole concentrate
4-5 boneless-skinless chicken thighs
1 can chicken broth

Saute onion, chiles, garlic, and salt in 2 Tbs coconut oil.  Add chicken thighs and broth, cook covered 20-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from broth, shred, and return to pan.  Simmer 10 minutes, lid off.

Pad Thai

This is one of my favorite Thai dishes and the one I most want to try some day IN Thailand, bought from a street vender. Compared to traditional Pad Thai, this version is pretty boring. But it's tasty and does have the sweet, tangy, spicy taste that drew me to Thai food.

Pad Thai

  • 1 8 oz. box rice noodles
  • 8 Tbs lime juice (juice of 4 limes)
  • 6 Tbs fish sauce
  • 5 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp Thai chile paste (to taste - this doesn't make it very spicy)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbs coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts + 3 Tbs chopped peanuts (for garnish)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

  1. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions for stir fry.
  2. Keep one slice from the middle of each lime for garnish. Juice the limes into a small mixing bowl. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and Thai chili paste and whisk together.
  3. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with soy sauce.
  4. Cut green tops off of onions, leaving about an inch of green with white, and save for garnish. Finely mince the remaining pieces of onion.
  5. Put 2 Tbs of coconut oil in large skillet (or wok) over high heat. Crush garlic cloves into oil while it is heating. Stir in the minced onions and 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts, and reduce heat to medium high. When onions are soft, add in the chicken and soy sauce mixture. Continue stirring until chicken is cooked through. Push mixture to side of pan and on the other side add 2 Tbs coconut oil and scramble the eggs. When eggs are done, stir together entire mixture.
  6. Reduce heat to low and add prepared sauce, a small handful of bean sprouts (optional), and noodles. Toss together until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Garnish with lime slices, long slivers of green onion tops, remaining bean sprouts, and 3 Tbs of chopped peanuts.

This was adapted from the Restaurant-Style Pad Thai recipe on the back of Annie Chun's Pad Thai rie noodles.

I thought it was pretty tasty and the family loved it, but didn't think it was quite as good as Siam Thai (their website says they are open on Sunday, but they are not). I don't know if it's possible to make a good pad thai at home without tamarind paste. On my next try I'm going to use Annie Chun's Pad Thai Sauce since it's all-natural and has tamarind, plus use more traditional ingredients (tofu, dry shrimp and fresh bean sprouts to see if it makes a difference.

~ Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kielbasa & Pierogies

More comfort food. I'm obsessed. Frozen pierogies were a treat when I was growing up. They were always potato and onion, and they always came frozen, in a box. Mrs. T's.

Somewhere along the line, I learned to love cooking.  Then I became obsessed with the ethnic cooking, and eventually searching for the roots of the ethnic food my own family ate when I was growing up.  Now I know that I could make pierogies from scratch, but instead I've switched to the Sam's brand of the months (and flavor of the month) and look for recipes I can use them in.

Kielbasa & Pierogies

  • About 16 frozen pierogies
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups packaged coleslaw mix
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  1. Bring a large shallow pot of water to a boil and drop in frozen pierogies. Boil over medium heat until pierogies float to the top, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add cabbage and onions, cooking about 5 minutes until cabbage is wilted. Stir in kielbasa pieces; cook until sausage is heated through, another 5 minutes.
  3. Gently lay pierogies into the skillet and move sausage mixture aside to allow pierogies to cook on the surface of the hot skillet.  Turn heat down to medium-low and cook until they puff up and brown slightly, about 10 minutes on each side.

This is a great, easy to make dinner.  And SO tasty!  Use whichever type pierogi you love.  My personal favorites are potato and onion, but the rest of the family loves potato and cheddar.  I would have no problem doubling the amount of cabbage to stretch this for unexpected company.

~ Enjoy!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scrambled Eggs Southwest

I'm not sure this is a recipe so much as a scrumptious and healthy way to eat eggs. It just happens to be my favorite breakfast!

Scrambled Eggs Southwest

2-3 eggs, scrambled
1/8 - 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1-1 Tbs guacamole
1-2 Tbs salsa

Layer all ingredients in your favorite flat bowl (plate works, too).

This is my pretty picture version.  Normally, you would see the guac and salsa schmeared all over the top of the eggs and cheese just as I'm getting ready to eat.  While it's tasty that way, it doesn't make for a great picture. :p

~ Enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder that was supposed to be chicken thighs. Leftover rice. Sweet & Spicy. Sounds like a winning combination!

Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbs chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder

Salt (and pepper, if you must) the pork shoulder to taste.
Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, ginger, garlic, and 5-spice in a large bowl. Add pork shoulder and turn it in the mixture until it is well coated. Put pork shoulder into slow cooker and pour remaining sauce over the roast. 
Cook on low 7-8 hours (high, 4 hours).
Serve over rice or noodles.

I'm going to roast asparagus to serve alongside this, but if I didn't have the fresh asparagus I would roast some Chinese vegetables - maybe Bok Choy, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and sweet pepper.

If the sauce isn't thick enough, I may pull some out of the cooker and thicken it up with cornstarch.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free)

The original recipe I used called for regular, unbleached white flour. To make these gluten-free, I am substituting Pamela's artisan flour blend. Some day I may be brave enough to pull together my own gluten-free flour, but at this point I'd rather use the Pamela's and get used to how gluten-free flours work.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 bananas, peeled and mashed
3 1/2 cups rolled oats*
1 1/4 cup Pamela's artisan flour blend
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl and mix well.
Add the bananas and rolled oats, mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Add to wet ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time and continue to mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop dough by tablespoonful on baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, and bake 12-15 minutes at 350F.

This is a heavy batter, so I used my KitchenAid stand mixer. Also, I used regular rolled oats, but I imagine that quick oats would be okay for these recipe.

This recipe is adapted from the recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies in Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Argentina to Zambia, in the spirit of More-with-Less, p312.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Onion Soup Mix

The search for this recipe started when the Dollar General Market (grocery closest to us) didn’t have any french onion dip. I found the recipe for Homemade Onion Soup Mix at Our Nourishing Roots and then adapted to both our tastes (must have GARLIC!) and the ingredients I have in the house (white pepper vs. black pepper).

2/3 cup dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
3 heaping tsp granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk. Store in an air-tight jar or baggie.

*2 tablespoons of this homemade mix equals one “packet” of the store-bought version, but it is MSG and gluten-free.

To make the dip, I mixed 1 cup natural sour cream, 1/3 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip), and 2 rounded tablespoons of the Homemade Onion Soup Mix. Does it taste just like store-bought french onion dip? Nope. But it is WAY better!

~ Enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thai Peanut Curry Sauce

1 can of coconut milk
2 Tbs Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs chili garlic sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs soy sauce
juice of 1/2 a lime
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces
cabbage, shredded
cooked rice or noodles

Heat coconut milk in a small pot over medium-low heat, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick. Once warm, add curry paste and chili garlic sauce, whisk until thoroughly blended.
Add fish sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, and lime. Continue to whisk. (Add additional garlic chili sauce if you like it spicier.)
Salt chicken pieces to taste and fry in pan until cooked through. Add chicken to sauce, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Lightly steam the cabbage, and place a bed of it on rice or noodles. Cover with sauce, and garnish with finely chopped peanuts and/or green onion.

This recipe is still a work in progress. I had it for the first time years ago at Royal Thai restaurant in Bowling Green. I’ve tried to find a recipe on the internet that is as good, but haven’t had any luck. Since I’m not known for my great recipe-following skills it only makes sense that I’d try to come up with a recipe on my own. :) This is very, very close.

This recipe is adapted from Praram Long Song (Thai peanut curry sauce) at Subverting Solitude.

~ Enjoy!