Breakfast, bitch!

I’m sad, people. Because there will be no more new Breaking Bad. Ever.

This was basically me after watching the finale: Image

And how do I handle such utter despondency? Food, duh.

Because breakfast cures all my emotional ills and because Pioneer Woman is a freaking genius, tonight’s breakfast for dinner is huevos in a hole. It’s just so brilliant and tasty and it’s a quick meal to make. It wasn’t very long at all before I was shoveling eggs, tortillas, beans and salsa into my face. Quick and tasty is all I want in life, sometimes.

Huevos in a Hole
recipe from The Pioneer Woman 

You Need:

corn tortillas (I used two per huevo instead of the recipe’s 3)
huevos
shredded pepper jack cheese
oil
bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
refried beans
salsa
cilantro, chopped

Using a biscuit or round cookie cutter, cut out holes in the middle of four softened corn tortillas. I popped mine on a hot comal real quick-like then cut my holes out. Heat up a Tablespoon or so of oil in a large cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Place one tortilla on the hot pan, crack an egg into the hole (yes your egg whites will probably run all over but it’s cool). Put a little salt and pepper and a little shredded cheese on the egg then top with your other tortilla. Cook until the egg is cooked through, flipping once halfway. Your tortillas should get nice and golden and slightly crisp while the egg cooks. Repeat for as many of these as you feel like eating. Serve with refried beans, crumbled bacon, cilantro and salsa. You can even crisp up the little tortilla rounds and eat them, too.

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The Best Dinner I Have Had Recently

I’m talking a salad for dinner. And not the “I’m dieting and eating salad and sad about eating salad for dinner” kind of dinner salad. I mean a bloody awesome, full of flavor and heartiness type of salad for dinner. The kind you can get excited about because you feel healthy eating salad but a little naughty at the same time because there’s bacon! and cheese! and salami! and a super flavorful garlicky dressing to go with it! Not the dieting kind of salad is the best kind of salad, in my opinion.

Italian Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing 
recipe from The Kitchn 

You Need:
romaine, chopped
roma tomatoes, chopped
red onion, diced (they soak theirs in cold water but I personally enjoy the sharp bite of raw red onion so however you like them, you do you)
sliced cucumber (I added this because we needed to get that cucumber eaten)
a couple bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
mozzarella, cut into small cubes, as little or as much as you want
some Genoa salami, chopped
a can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
some chopped up, roasted chicken (I seasoned some boneless, skinless thighs with Italian seasoning and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil on top and roasted them in the oven then sliced them up)

For the Dressing:
2 or 3 large garlic cloves
olive oil
red wine vinegar
a good sized pinch of sugar
a medium sized squirt of Dijon mustard (a teaspoon maybe?)
mayo (I used mayo instead of the egg yolk they ask for originally because I don’t trust the grocery store eggs enough to eat raw. So what, I’m a weenie, sue me).
a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
salt and pepper

Toss all the dressing ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend together until creamy and blended together. I honestly can’t give you exact measurements for what I did – when I make dressing I tend to just toss and stir and hope for the best. I know I shook a good amount of red wine vinegar in (a couple Tablespoons worth, perhaps?), used a big spoon and dumped in a good sized dollop of mayo and a smaller dollop of the yogurt and I streamed in the olive oil and just whizzed it until it was the right consistency for me (it won’t be gooey like bottled dressing. It will be a lot thinner than that) and I just tasted and adjusted the amount of salt and pepper I thought it needed. If you’d like exact measurements, visit the link above to The Kitchn.

Toss your salad veggies together then top with your beans, meats, and cheese. Drizzle dressing over all and eat.

 

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Man food! Wild Food!

When I was a kid, my uncle shared with me his life philosophy “keep it simple stupid.” Those few words have stuck with me since and become something of a mantra. I just don’t try to church up what don’t need churchin’ up.  Fresh trout is one of those things  that doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to shine. Western Wyoming may seem lacking in a lot of things like traffic lights and basic shopping opportunities but we do boast world class trout fishing on the Snake, Grey’s and Salt rivers.  Trout fishing is in itself a simple endeavor; dangle a tasty morsel or imitation morsel in front of a peckish Cutthroat or Brown and in turn make it into your very own meal. That is where this story starts, with a nice pink-fleshed Snake River Cutthroat,  filleted and awaiting consumption.  So here goes, pan fried trout with fried potatoes.

ingredients:

2- trout fillets

1/2 -cup flour  (I use potato flour)

1 tsp- cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp- salt

 

1- large potato

1/2- white onion

1-tsp salt

1-tsp cracked black pepper

 

Start with two fresh skin-on trout fillets (preferably procured by your own hand);  sprinkle salt and pepper over fillets and roll in flour, covering both flesh and skin side of fillets in a thin flour coat.  I use potato flour out of necessity due to gluten intolerance (plus it browns and crusts up amazingly), but wheat flour works just as well.  Now you’ll want to skip peel one large potato leaving some strips of skin on it slice into 1/4 thick slices and thinly slice  half an onion, place these into a  preheated frying pan over medium heat with 2-3 tbsp  of your favorite cooking oil. Allow potatoes to crisp, occasionally turning as they begin to brown. When potatoes seem about half done turn your attention to the trout. In a separate preheated pan also over medium heat and containing 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil place the fillets skin side down, leave the fillets alone until the edges begin to crisp and curl (about 3 minutes or so) Now turn the fillets flesh side down and cook for a similar amount of time, cook until a golden brown is achieved  where the fish contacts the pan and the flesh begins to appear flaky.  Keep an eye on the potatoes throughout this time turning until they and the onions are internally  soft with crisp browned surfaces. Drain excess oil on a plate covered with a couple of paper towels and serve immediately. For best results drench fried potatoes in a generous amount of ketchup. Feeds one hungry man.

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Guest post by Erik

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gluten free breakfast

Because dude, isn’t breakfast the greatest thing ever? These waffles are on the cover of that gluten free cooking book I keep going on and on about and they’re primarily what made me pick it up in the first place. My ongoing nervousness about the limitation of gluten free foods has pretty much dissipated entirely, thanks to Kelli & Peter Bronski. As long as everything tastes as good as this, I may transition entirely myself, instead of hoarding flour based goods for me to eat…

Gluten Free Waffles
recipe from Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking 

You Need:

1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (see previous post)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 separated eggs
1 3/4 cups milk (I used buttermilk the second time I made these- both ways turn out fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted

Start your waffle iron to heating.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg yolks, milk and vanilla and mix together. Add in the melted butter and stir it in well. Whip your egg whites up separately until stiff peaks form. Fold these into the batter. Cook your waffles however you cook them in your particular waffle maker. Serve with fruit and butter and real maple syrup (you need the syrup unless you like slightly savory waffles – these have no sugar in the batter). I made a quick mixture of sliced nectarines and blueberries to top ours. They were delicious, obviously.

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we’re cookie monsters

It has been more hit than miss lately with our ongoing gluten free baking experiment. I was very pleased to find that something so simple as chocolate chip cookies and brownies are both delicious in their gluten free state. In fact, I would go as far as to say I think I enjoy both more as gluten free than not. There’s a slightly nuttier and richer taste to the cookies and the brownies are insanely moist and fluffy. It helps that I finally found a great GF flour blend courtesy of Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking. I love this book so much that I’ve kind of kept it from the library for about 2 months now. I keep renewing it but I think I’m going to have to just purchase the Kindle edition so I can always have it on hand to refer to.

This flour blend has been successful in recipes that don’t come from the book, like this one for chocolate chip cookies. The book cookies look perfectly lovely but I like mine to have a little more substance; I like them a little less flat and crisp. The fact that this flour is working well in all of the recipes that I’ve tried is a godsend to me and proof of how versatile this little book is.

Artisan Gluten Free Flour Blend
recipe from Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking 
for 3 cups you need:

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch (not the same as potato flour – it’s a different animal)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of potato flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix together well and store in the fridge. I used the quadrupled recipe and that lasts us a good long while. Use this flour to make gluten free chocolate chip cookies:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 
recipe from Land O’ Lakes 

You Need:

2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (we like semisweet)

Heat the oven to 375. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum together in a bowl. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy and well blended. Add your eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla. Slowly add your dry ingredients and blend together. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets (or just ungreased baking sheets), space them 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden brown (about 10 minutes). Let cool for a couple minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. If you don’t want to bake up all these cookies, I freeze the dough. I like to form them into little dough balls, place on a parchment lined plate and freeze them solid, then put the frozen dough balls into a freezer bag. They bake up just fine like you would if they were fresh made dough. Or bake them all at once and eat them all in one day, I’m not judging you.

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adventures without gluten

If there’s one thing that always helps make me less of an asshole, it’s experience. Case in point: I have been known to scoff at what I perceive to be crazy diets. Vegan? Hell to the no. Gluten Free? What the heck is the point of that, I’d say, while buttering another slice of fresh from the oven gluten-y bread. But since Erik started having some health problems about a year ago and numerous doctor appointments weren’t able to tell us why and what to do to help him feel better, he decided to try out a gluten free diet. The reason he did that was mainly due to frustration with the whole doctor experience: this is my very anti medical establishment boy. The fact that he even went to the doctor, let alone several times, should give you a clue as to how bad he has been feeling. But after paying our last bill of about $500 for another doctors visit that yielded nothing and after visiting a “specialist” who made him wait for an hour past his appointment time and then basically shrugging his shoulders at Erik after finally visiting with him for about 10 minutes total, Erik left that doctor with paperwork ordering a round of more blood tests to test him for celiacs. So Erik being Erik said “hell no, no more poking and blood” and decided to just try out a gluten free diet to see what it would do. Lo and behold, a bunch of his symptoms cleared right up. I have to confess that I was hoping it would do nothing, while simultaneously hoping it would since that would be an answer at least to his issues. I was not looking forward to the work involved in making our house a gluten free home. It has been a lot of research and reading; I’ve checked out book after book on gluten free foods from the library, I’ve got tons of gluten free sites pinned, I’ve been researching different flours for baking and trying to figure out what they do and how they act when used and it’s basically like learning to cook all over again. It has been a bit frustrating because I’ve been following recipes slavishly – I’m finding I can’t just wing it because I don’t know yet what I’m doing (this point was proven to me with a disastrous gluten free pizza – seriously yuck). But the miniature triumphs we’ve had as well have been encouraging. I did successfully make a gluten free sandwich bread (even though I’m not a fan of the smell & slightly weird taste of garbanzo bean flour), we’ve had some really tasty gluten free peanut butter cookies, I made some gluten free sausage gravy for Erik’s breakfast that was really good, and I’ve learned that it hasn’t actually been that huge a change from our usual main meals. I thought I’d be crossing tons of regular dishes we make off the list, but that hasn’t been the case at all. So there – experience has led to some empathy for people who have to eat this way. I never thought I’d be the person in the restaurant asking the waitress “now this is gluten free right????” But here I am, doing just that. Now I’m all, “hey people:

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My latest triumph is this bread. I’ve made two other baking recipes using white rice flour and tapioca flour and while they baked up nice and brown and beautiful on the outside, I cut into the insides to use them and they were totally raw and gummy inside. It was gross. But I increased my baking time severely with these loaves and Erik said the best thing he could possibly say about it which was “I couldn’t even tell this wasn’t a wheat bread.” Success! No gummy insides with beautiful brown, crisp outsides! The inside is fluffy and just pleasant to eat and not crumbly at all and thankfully the recipe is pretty easy.

Gluten Free Baguettes 
recipe from Delicious As It Looks

You Need:

2 cups white rice flour (we use Bob’s Red Mill because that’s what’s available to us)
1 cup tapioca flour (BRM again)
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons of yeast (I always use instant)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix the two flours, salt, and xanthan gum together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Combine sugar, yeast, and water, then add that into the mixer, mixing gently. Toss in the butter, egg whites, and vinegar and beat well until it looks like a batter and everything has come together.* Spoon half the dough into one well of a greased baguette pan, or spoon two equal blobs of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Oil your hands and form each blob of dough into a baguette shape. Make diagonal slashes along the top if you want. Cover and let it rise about 30 minutes until it doubles in size slightly. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the loaves are deep golden brown. The original recipe says to bake 30-35 minutes but I think mine ended up baking a full hour just to make sure the inside was done and not gummy.

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it almost looks like regular bread, no?

* I am finding that a lot of the gluten free bread dough recipes end up with very wet dough. I think this is to make sure your baked goods don’t end up a crumbly, dry mess. It makes it a little harder to work with when you’re shaping something, but I think the overall texture is much better.

nice texture!

nice texture!

 

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July 27, 2013 · 12:52 pm

Another Quickie

Every time I get ready to make pizza I come to this blog to search for the dough recipe and I always forget “oh yeah, I didn’t blog that” so then I have to google it. The best part is my dumb self hasn’t pinned the recipe (odd since I pin every damn thing) or even saved it in my bookmarks so a-googling I must go. So I’m posting it here so I can give poor Google a rest. Anyway, I love making this pizza dough, I just don’t love the fight I always end up having with our smoke alarm in the process. It doesn’t like it when I crank the oven up to 500 and will scream about it every opportunity it gets. Poor Cracker (who is deathly afraid of the smoke alarm when it is shrieking) gets very nervous when he sees he me rolling out the dough for pizzas. I think he thinks he’s being punished in some way which should make me feel bad but  I don’t because I just really love this pizza, man. I love my dog but it’s just a damn smoke alarm, Cracker. Man up and deal with it.

Crispy Bar Style Pizza Dough
recipe from Serious Eats 

You Need:
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces warm water
3 3/4 cups flour (sometimes I use this much, sometimes I don’t – I usually just mix the rest of the ingredients then add the flour a little at a time until I get the proper consistency)

Mix everything together and knead it well. Place it in a greased ziplock bag, close it up (press all the air out) and toss it in the fridge. Let it ferment for at least one and up to five days. I usually let mine sit in the fridge for the full five days. When you want to make your pizza, cut the dough in half (this makes two very large pizzas), roll out as thin as you like it and place it on a pizza stone or a pizza pan.* Preheat the oven to 500. I like to brush my dough with olive oil and grind some Italian seasonings on top. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings then bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is all melty and awesome (the cooking of the pizza does not take long at all because hello! 500 degrees is hella hot).

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*the original recipe has all this hoo-ha about letting the dough sit for a couple hours before you make your pizza – I have never once let it sit. I just take it out of the fridge, roll it out, and bake. The quality has never once suffered.

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June 14, 2013 · 1:19 pm

a quickie

I don’t know what put it into my head that I needed to have a fresh, sweet, fruity popsicle in my hands IMMEDIATELY but before I knew it I ordered new popsicle molds off Amazon and had interlibrary loaned a copy of Fany Gerson’s Paletas book and now I am reaping the benefits of a lovely paleta. It reminds me of home in the best ways – I truly miss a good summer fruit cup or a blindingly sweet and cold raspa and these super fresh popsicles. They are as simple (and better tasting) than freezing up some Otter Pops or buying a box of popsicles. 

Peach Paletas 
recipe adapted from Fany Gerson*

You need: 
4 cups sliced peaches (I used some leftovers frozen last Fall that I didn’t have enough of for jam making)
3/4 cup sugar 
1/2 cup pineapple juice 
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice 

Place the peaches, sugar, and pineapple juice in a large pot. Simmer just until the peaches start to fall apart. Let it cool to room temp. Stir in the lemon juice. Toss everything into a food processor and process until pureed as finely as you want – I left a few small chunks in mine. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds (I purchased these), add the sticks, pop on the lid, and freeze until firm. 

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*I used the blueprint for basic strawberry popsicles from the book and just subbed in peaches for the strawberries and pineapple juice for the water the original recipe calls for. I’m looking forward to trying out strawberry and raspberry next. If I could find a damn coconut I’d love to make the fresh coconut paletas from the book, too.

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Don’t let this fading summer pass you by

And I’m not – I swear to Christmas I’m not. There has been much playing in dirt and watching things grow:
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building of cute little barn-sheds:
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getting sunburns, grilling meats, playing with yarn*… man, has there been a lot of playing with yarn. I finally found a good non-food related hobby and that’s partially why I haven’t posted so much here. I’m all “who can cook and eat when there are socks to knit! or blankets and cute baby sweaters to crochet! Yarn shops to visit so I can creepily fondle all the yarn…” Fondle all the yarn! Make all the things! I have to admit it’s way more fun to build up the dogs’ wardrobe when said wardrobe consists of little (and big) handmade dog sweaters. But lest you believe I have traded eating for knitting needles, that is not quite true. I did find time in my dirt digging-yarn fondling schedule to make this coffee cake and I think everyone who has eaten a piece of it would agree it was a good thing I did. Man is this cake moist and buttery and crunchy and just full of wow. If it can distract me from molesting skeins of yarn long enough to devour it just think of how happy it will make your mouth.

Banana Pecan Coffee Cake
recipe from Serious Eats

You Need:
Streusel:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/3 cups flour
10 Tablespoons butter, melted

Cake:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 ounces Greek yogurt (I don’t have a clue what 7 ounces looks like so I barely filled a 1/2 cup of sour cream because I did not have any Greek yogurt and I wanted to get this cake into my mouth and not wait to buy Greek yogurt for it. Just saying.)
2 medium bananas, diced

Heat the oven to 350. Butter and flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy) a 9 inch springform pan (or a 9 inch regular cake pan if you’re just going to leave it in the pan, whatev). In a bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter all up in there and mix until everything is mixed together. Set it aside.

In your stand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the eggs and the yolk and beat it up. Add in the vanilla and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat. Then add in your dry ingredients. Fold the diced bananas. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Top with all the streusely goodness. Bake until a tester comes out clean. Eat. Banana Coffee Cake tastes best with actual coffee in hand, in my humble opinion.

Image* On a related note, if you’re on Ravelry friend this mothereffer (aka ME – rebekahjohnson81) please. I have plenty of comments and such but no one wants to friend me there. Is it all the yarn molestation? Because I don’t believe for one second I’m the only knitter/crocheter who is into that. Not for one second.

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quick suppers

They’re so important to me these days. I have hobbies now and I’d much rather be knitting Negra a dog sweater or crocheting myself something than standing over the stove cooking a complicated meal, especially after a long, 8 hour workday. I just don’t have it in me anymore to have all these dinner components spread out across my kitchen counter. I want to eat something fast, load the dishwasher, shower, get into my pajamas, find a nice, soothing true crime show on the tv and play with some yarn for a few hours before I have to go to sleep and start it all up again in the morning. So quick dinners – I need ’em in my life. Here’s a good one.

Fill a large pot with water, salt it, bring it to a boil. Dump in some whole grain penne and let it cook until it’s al dente. Drain, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, chop up a link of Italian sausage (sweet or hot, it’s up to you). Chop up some onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Lots of garlic. Saute all this stuff in some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook until the onions have softened and slightly browned. Now at this point you can add some crushed up San Marzanos, some oregano and basil, some more garlic and salt and pepper and simmer it altogether while your noodles are cooking OR you can be like me and MEAN IT when I say I want a quick damn dinner and open up a jar of Barilla’s All Natural tomato and basil sauce and dump its contents into the sausage-onion-pepper concoction and heat it all up together. I certainly won’t judge you if you do so. Mix the saucy sausage stuff with the cooked, drained penne, top with some grated parmesan, and serve with garlic bread (if you want) and a side “salad” of sliced red onion, tomato, cucumber and red bell pepper strips with a quick red wine vinaigrette (this is literally just finely minced garlic, a few grinds of my McCormick Italian seasonings mix, some olive oil, salt, pepper and a big splash of red wine vinegar whisked altogether because even if I will do jarred tomato sauce, I draw the line at store bought dressing, dammit) spooned on top. Dinner is done and fast. Happy yarning (or however you spend your free evenings).

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