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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn Casserole



This recipe is a variant of an original recipe by Paula Deen. You may not know it, but Paula was raised and trained in the art of cookery by her Adventist grandmother. You can tell Paula studied under an Adventist cook, given her liberal use of cream of mushroom soup in her casseroles. This variant of her classic broccoli casserole adds a couple of vegetables I needed to use up so I could get the rest of the groceries from our monthly shopping trip into the fridge. Came out pretty good if I do say so myself.

Ingredients:
  • 10 oz. chopped broccoli and cauliflower cooked and drained
  • 1 tsp McKay's Chicken Seasoning
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Small package frozen corn cooked and drained
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 cups crushed crackers
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray
  3. Combine broccoli, cauliflower and corn and mayo in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add cheese, soup and beaten eggs. Mix well with large metal spoon.
  5. Place the mixture in the baking dish and top with crushed crackers.
  6. Pour melted butter over the top of the crackers
  7. Baked for 35 minutes or until set and browned.
Serving Directions:

Let the casserole brown good on top if you are serving it now.  Otherwise lightly brown if you are making it the day before to be reheated for potluck. This will allow it to brown fully just before serving.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Chocolate Skillet Cake

You'll notice a piece is missing. It's hard to get a picture
of a whole chocolate skillet cake. You go get the camera
and by the time you get back it looks like this.
Today's recipe is not low fat, sugar free or vegan. It goes a long way because it's kind of rich. You need an iron skillet to cook it properly. I make it pretty regularly, but it never lasts very long. It's a nice moist, crumbly single layer cake. Just leave it in the skillet and server it from there. This one you'll want to take to a potluck sometime for the dessert table. Just cut it in pretty small pieces. Like I said, it's kind of rich.

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, bring the butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the dry ingredients well. Mix in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Bake in the skillet cake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  3. While the cake starts to cool, make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil. Remove them from heat and add the icing sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over the warm cake, spread with a spatula, and serve with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce or whipped cream.
Serving suggestions:
  • Ice cream
  • Caramel sauce (this one is delicious!)
  • Whipped cream

It's as good as it looks.
It's kind of a cross between chocolate cake and a brownie.

Tom

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Make Your Own "Wheat Meat"


Wheat Gluten

Kneading the dough
If you're vegetarian or an Adventist who wants to not look like a heathen at church potluck, you probably eat tofu or soy products. Tofu is easy to find. Most grocery stores carry it and it's a good protein source that is relatively easily to find. You can get it in most grocery stores. The trouble is that tofu is not really firm enough to work with as a meat substitute. Wheat gluten is a great addition to a vegetarian diet. Like tofu, wheat gluten is a vegetarian protein source. Like tofu wheat gluten or "seitan" also originated in Asia. Unlike tofu, however, seitan, sometimes called "wheat meat", has a satisfying, firmer texture that makes it work in ways tofu doesn't work well. Seitan can be used in casseroles, on the grill, or cooked up and added to Chinese food or on sandwiches. Seitan isn't seen very much in most supermarkets, but fortunately, it's easy to make your own wheat gluten steaks at home. Grocery stores that sell bulk items often carry high gluten wheat flour that makes it way easier to make your own seitan. If not, you can make it from unbleached flour by washing it. I know that sounds weird, but this recipe shows you how.

Note
: If you do have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities should not eat wheat gluten. Otherwise it's an excellent source of vegetable protein.
Let stand for five minutes after the water is white and opaque.
How to Make Your Own "Wheat Meat"
Ingredients and Tools Needed: 
  • All-purpose unbleached flour
  • Whole wheat flour 
  • Water
  • Chicken, beef or other seasoning according to taste (you'll have to experiment)
  • A large mixing bowl (Kitchen-aide mixer is even better
Basic Recipe (multiply amounts as desired):

  1. Mix two cups unbleached white flour with two cups whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add enough water to make the flour the consistency of bread dough. 
  3. Knead the dough about 20 minutes with a dough hook or by hand to fully develop the gluten. 
  4. Put the dough ball in a large bowl and cover it with water.  Place in the refrigerator overnight. 
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge, pour out the water you soaked it in and cover it with lukewarm water. 
  6. Knead the gluten dough under the water. The water will turn white as the starch is released. Wait five minutes, pour out the water and refill the bowl. Knead the dough again till the water is white. Wait five minutes, pour off the water and knead again. Keep repeating until the water no longer turns white. 
  7. Cut the gluten dough into pieces. The dough should be a little rubbery by now. Cut it into the size and shape you have in mind - patties, cubes, strips, or balls as desired. The gluten will grow almost double in size during the next step. 
  8. Make a big pot of boiling water with seasoning added so that the gluten will absorb the flavor. Add the gluten pieces to the pot. Make sure they are fully covered by the broth. Simmer the gluten for about two hours. You will need add water the gluten soaks up the broth.
Serving Directions:
Keep pouring off the starch water till it runs clear.
Once it's done you can chicken fry it, chop it and saute' it with vegetables, barbecue it or use it virtually anywhere you'd use meat.  It has the texture of meat and costs you just a few pennies to make. You can store the gluten in a plastic Tupperware or glass container with a sealed lid. Pour some of the liquid you simmered it in over the gluten pieces and seal it up. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge.  You can also put it in freezer bags and freeze it.  It does take a while to make, but if you learn how to do it, it's worth your time.
Roll out the dough and cut it up in pieces
then simmer for two hours (picture at top of page)
If you go with the high-gluten flour, you don't have to wash the flour. You just make up the dough, knead it, cut it up and boil it in the pot with seasonings. It's a lot quicker and less time consuming.

Anyway, it's nice to know you can make it up and don't have to drive all the way to the ABC or wait for the ABC truck to come to the church or pay Amazon's exorbitant prices. And it's fun to do at least once so you can brag at potluck that you've made your own gluten (not that you'd brag about that sort of thing or anything).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sandwich Stuff - Olive and Pimento Cheese

All dressed up and ready to go!

I'm kind of a sucker for pimento cheese. It's always been a favorite of mine, but the tubs the commercial stuff comes in are either too small or too expensive, although I have been guilty of buying the giant size Prices' Pimento Cheese when I could get it. Hardly anyone sells it or understands pimento cheese up here in the Pacific Northwest, so I have been reduced to making it myself. This is one of my experimental version with which I am pleased.

It's kind of an "all-in" / clean off the cheese shelf kind of versions of this popular (at least in my neck of the woods it's popular) sandwich spread.  Every wedding has to have little triangular tuna sandwiches and little triangular pimento cheese sandwiches, so if you're doing a sandwich supper for the potluck gang, here's the first of several really good sandwich fillers.  I've already given you Sheila's vege-chicken salad. This goes great as a partner on the buffet board.

Ingredients:
  • Medium Cheddar Cheese (more of this than the others - you need that cheddary flavor)
  • Velveeta Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Swiss or American Cheese or whatever other cheesy oddments you have left on the cheese shelf in the fridge. The more the merrier I think.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Green olives (stuffed with pimento)
  • Black Olives
  • More Pimento if you like lots of pimento
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Pineapple (alternative to olives and pimento)
Directions:
  1. Cut up the cheeses into cubes and place them into a food processor with the chopper blade set. Don't fool with the grater attachment. It's messy and unnecessary.
  2. Chop the cheese into chunky bits.
  3. Add a spoon or two of sweet pickle relish and bump the "pulse" button
  4. Add pimento and olives and bump the pulse button until everything is chopped. .
  5. Add Mayonnaise and bump the food processor a few times till it's blended in.
  6. Scrape it all into a nice Tupperware bowl (I like the glass ones best), put the lid on it and you're ready to take it to potluck with your vege-chicken salad.
  7. You can pretty much leave the rest of the recipe the same only leave out the olives, pimentos and pickle relish and substitute pineapple chunks and you have Pineapple Cheese. It is a little more sweet than your usual pimento cheese spread. It's a little different taste, but I really like the pineapple variant of this recipe. Warning! Don't mix pineapple and olives. The chemistry of the two doesn't mix well. I tried it. It's kind of bitter.
Serving Suggestions:

This is really good on those triangular sandwiches all made up in advance or you can just take the tub along and let folks make their own sandwiches with it.  It also makes a nice dip kind of spread to put in the center of your vegetable and chips tray next to the French onion dip. I personally use Wheat Thins or tortilla chips to steal bites of pimento cheese out of the fridge even before we get to potluck.

As soon as I get me a can of Vege-links, I'll post my Vege-Weenie Sandwich Spread. It's really good stuff and makes a nice companion sandwich spread to pimento cheese. Meanwhile fool around with the recipe till it works just the way you wanted to. I knew a lady once who bulked her pimento cheese up with some kind of Jello. Not sure what flavor or whether it was unflavored gelatin, however she did it, it was really good stuff! So experiment yourself and come up with your own secret recipe.

Then don't forget to share it with me.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vege Chicken Wings



This was an experimental dish I tried with some Morningstar Farms Chicken Strips. It's pretty simple and my head chef tasted it and approved, so you know it's good. The MSF strips are pretty small, but you could adapt the recipe to use cut up strips of Fri-Chik or pretty much any other vege-chicken substitutes including both canned or frozen types. The trick is how you prepare it.

Ingredients:
  • Vege-chicken strips or cut into strips
  • Two eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Martha White cornbread mix (no lard in that one)
  • 1/8 cup flour 
  • Pinch of salt (to taste)
  • Vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. If frozen, thaw the chicken strips
  2. In Fry-Daddy or deep pan, heat vegetable oil - enough to cover the strips
  3. Set out two wide flat bowls 
  4. In the first bowl mix two eggs and the milk - stir with a whisk
  5. In the second bowl, pour the box of cornbread mix and flour and salt if desired
  6. Lay out the vege-chicken strips or cut up the vege-chicken pieces into strips 
  7. Set the vege-chicken strips into the egg wash bowl. Coat the pieces evenly with the egg wash. I cover the bowl with a plate and shake it so everything gets covered.
  8. Put the strips into the cornmeal mix and flour mixture and coat the strips evenly.
  9. Place the strips into the hot oil and fry them till they are golden brown. 
  10. Drain the cooked pieces on layers of paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serving suggestions:

Eat them like you would chicken wings. They make a nice appetizer or part of a snack tray or as a main course. I even got to try out an odd bottle of wing sauce somebody gave me. Hot but tasty. You can also make dipping sauces with those little cups like they give you at the Mexican restaurant. You can buy them four for a buck at the Dollar Store.  They go great with ranch dressing, barbecue sauce (Bull's Eye or KC Masterpiece is the best), sweet and sour sauce or wing sauce.

See, even vegetarians can have fun foods!

© 2017 by Tom King







Monday, June 12, 2017

Vegeburger Marzetti




Vegeburger Marzetti


This recipe comes from Sandy Hancock Weir who comes from my little Adventist college home town - the home of many an excellent vegetarian recipe. I'm going to make this one soon and I'll get back to you on my personal opinion, but in reviewing the ingredients and preparation techniques, I see no way this won't taste absolutely wonderful. Sandy says this one is a family favorite and you can hardly go wrong with someone's family's favorite Adventist potluck recipe. Sandy thoughtfully sent along photos of the stages of the Marzetti-making process. I love Adventists cooks. No one prepares food with more love and enthusiasm. Don't you just love living in America where a Texas Adventist gal of English lineage is an expert cook with an Italian dish as her specialty? Now THAT is how the melting pot works!

Ingredients:
  • 1 Medium onion (finely chopped)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 can Worthington® Burger
  • 2-14.5 oz can Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with
  • Rosemary & Oregano or Basil, Garlic & Oregano (I use one of each)
  • 1-2.25 oz can Black Olives - sliced
  • 1-6 oz jar Mushrooms - sliced
  • 3 cups Cooked Barilla® Thin Spaghetti
  • 1-32 oz bag Grated yellow cheese
Directions:
  1. Use a Dutch oven to cook the spaghetti. When done drain and set aside. 
  2. Using the same pan, add the onion and celery and simmer in oil until soft. 
  3. Add burger, tomatoes (and juice), mushrooms, black olives and spaghetti. 
  4. Fold mixture together until well mixed. 
  5. Spoon ½ of mixture in a large baking dish and cover with a layer of grated yellow cheese. 
  6. Pour remaining mixture over cheese and top with another layer of cheese. 
  7. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. 
  8. Let sit for 5-10 minutes after you take it out of the oven to let the cheese harden. It is hard to get out of the dish otherwise.
Serving Suggestion:

Serve with a salad, Italian dressing, garlic toast or French bread, and a drink.
Serves 12-15 at potluck - (Less if served at home, and using larger portions)

©  2017 by and with thanks to Sandy Wier, San Antonio, TX for the recipe. 





















Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pizza Ring



Here's a kind of spectacular dish that looks really good on the potluck table.  It's not terribly hard to make and just requires a few basic ingredients and some very simple tools.  I've included a link to a video showing a version being prepared. The one I did is healthier and lacto-ovo vegetarian. Really it's just a pizza crust wrapped around some tasty stuff in the middle. Here's how it goes.

Ingredients:
  • Pizza crust  (Here's the basic recipe - I use 1 1/2 cup white flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour in my variant of the dough recipe).  If you've got a stand mixer with a dough hook, it's really easy. You don't have to let the dough rise.
  • 1 pkg. - Cream cheese (I like Neufchatel myself)
  • 1/2 pkg - Morning Star Farms Vege-Steak Strips®
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper chopped or cut in strips
  • 1/2 large sweet onion chopped or cut in strips
  • 1/2 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 cup Mozarella (vary according to your taste)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Cheese sauce or your favorite marinara
Directions:
Ready for the oven

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Roll out pizza dough on pizza pan or stone
  3. Cut three 4 inch cuts in the center of the dough with a pizza cutter. The three cuts should cross at the center and make six wedge shapes with the points at the center.
  4. Place a dollop of cream cheese in each of the wedges halfway between the center and the edge of the dough. Spread it with a spoon or spatula to make a ring of cream cheese.
  5. In a skillet, brown the vege-steak strips and spread evenly over the cream cheese circle.
  6. Caramelize the onions and peppers on low heat in the skillet and then spread them over the vege-steak and cream cheese evenly around the circle.
  7. Spread pizza sauce lightly over the top of the mixture around the ring.
  8. Cover the ring of filling with mozzarella cheese.
  9. Fold the outside edge of the dough up over the filling and let the dough make a large flute opposite the base of each center cut. 
  10. Lift the tips of the inner wedges as shown in the video up and over the outside dough and press into the dough. Press the flutes down against the wedges to help hold the ring together firmly.
  11. Make an egg wash with an egg and milk. Whisk till smooth, then spread the egg wash over the top of the dough to give in that golden brown color you want.
  12. Bake 20 minutes or until the top turns a nice golden color.
  13. Make up the cheese or marinara sauce you like best.
Serving suggestions:

It's a ring. Put something in the middle. Serve it on the pizza pan or a pizza stone. Place a bowl with a nice sauce in the center as shown above.  It can be reheated, but I wouldn't recommend the microwave for the job or the dough gets rubbery.  Provide guests a sharp knife for cutting a slice of the ring and a spoon for the sauce. 

The pizza ring is pretty impressive for the work involved, and it's tasty too and, of course, we don't make this kind of thing to show off at church potluck.  Do we?

Click on this link to see a video of how this is made. I changed the recipe some to suit me, but once you see the basic steps you can easily adapt it to your personal tastes.

© 2017 by Tom King