Posts Tagged ‘2011


brussell sprout plants

Harvested from the garden back in December of 2011 (sounds like along time ago), and as I have many pictures taken and not blogged, I have had the chance to utilize the brussel sprouts plants sprouts and leaves . Note: my spell checker keeps suggesting “Brussels”. The sprouts did not form tightly as shown below and in the  in the recipe blog “Tomato Sauce with Pasta and Veggies” but they were crisp and delicious, even eaten raw. Going by the gardeners creed of making use of what ever grows that’s edible, I couldn’t bear to use toss the remainder  of the plant. The leaves were large and full, a deep green.


The brussell sprouts are to the right and all that was left of the plants after the sprouts and leaves were harvested from the main stem was the stalk which went to the compost pile. Actually it could have been peeled and sliced, possibly. I cut the stems from the leaves.                                          

                                   IMG_1702They are like celery but sweeter. So you can use them as you would for sauté and added to recipes.

I blanched the sprouts and the leaves in boiling water for a few minutes and dried them, then stacked the leaves in the freezer between sheet of waxed paper. They can be quickly brought to room temperature and then rolled and cut for soup or a salad. Now I couldn’t pass up the chance to stuff some some of these large slightly rubbery leaves, like stuffed cabbage.  Being right after thanksgiving and having some turkey soup base available, I mixed the turkey with gravy with some prepared bulgur wheat. It does sound a bit strange, but this new combination proved to be a good example of cooking with what you have available.

IMG_1703 The stuffed rolled brussell sprout leaves.

Since the filling is made with the cooked turkey, they can be eaten as is, warmed up or frozen for later consumption.

IMG_1707 (the lighting makes one look a bit red)

The turkey stuffed leaves are best eaten with a fork and knives as the leaves do put up a slight resistance to bite. I possibly could have boiled them longer but I like some crunch. I definitely like the taste if these plants. I’ll have to check  on my seed supply, for a planting of these for the  2012 garden.

Addendum: As of this writing there is still one more plant out in the garden believe it or not !(January 8th 2012) The few nights of freezing temps did not completely ruin the plant. Some of the leaves have drooped to cover the sprouting mini leaves on the main stalk and they are still bright green. Looks like we’ll get another meal or two of brussell greens !!!



corn bread

I made this a week or two ago, thought I’d pass this recipe along.


I IMG_1716    IMG_1721



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sausage and apple stuffing

Adapted from : simply

This recipe can be modified and used for other uses such as poultry etc.

IMG_1744 IMG_1746 IMG_1748

cube (about 3/4 inch dice) day old bread enough for 4 cups.



In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, add the cubed bread, stir, let the cubes toast and brown. Set aside.

IMG_1750  IMG_1751

In a four quart pan, with a bit of salt on the bottom, de case sausage, about 1/4 pound hot and 1/4 pound sweet, in about 1 inch pieces, sauté till brown and flip, browning the other side. Remove  with a slotted spoon, and set aside.


Augment the pan drippings, the sausage meat did not render that much fat, with rendered bacon fat. Add 1/2 cup diced  onions and 1/2 cup diced celery with diced celery leaves. Cook 3 to 5 minutes.


Dice up about 2 cups Granny Smith Apples, add to the mix, and cook a few minutes.


Add to the mix, 1 Teaspoon chopped  fresh sage ,1 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.


Return the sausage and bread cubes to the pan, toss and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Store (refrigerate) stuffing till needed, if made ahead of time.


Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

for file and reference:


this morning’s blend

Mexican Organic about 2/3

Indian Robusta about 1/3

Peruvian Cocoa nibs about 1/4 teaspoon

Course Grind

French Press

Simple Syrup


If you have a chance to taste Robusta , it is best blended with other varieties of coffee to produce, a tasteful blend and with the addition of cocoa nibs, a mocha flavored cup of coffee.


How Shopping for Groceries Online Saves Time, Money, and Hassle


An article recently posted on Lifehacker:


Toyota headlamps

Both headlamps were installed and fit the vehicle. The details follows for a 1993 Camry.

Plastic headlamps (and other vehicle lamps) are a problem as they age, they get cloudy, and have moisture problems and UV  exposure make them brittle and prone to cracking and breaking. There are many remedies available that claim to restore the the lenses but they can be expensive and the lens cleaning may not last. If you provide the labor, installing new replacements is the best way to go.

Here is some advice when dealing with an aged vehicle, there are a few things that you should consider: ( I did not have a repair manual available)

Before even staring the job, unpack and check the new replacement  headlamps to make sure they are the correct replacements and see how they  mount. Beforehand, check how the headlamps are attached to the vehicle, what type of hardware is used and what size  and type of wrenches/tools will be needed. The vehicle may have been worked on before and when replacing exterior hardware, such as headlamps, the fit may be difficult or mixed or improper mounting hardware may have been used. On an aged vehicle rust can be a problem, the day beforehand it is recommended that penetrant (WD40 or liquid wrench) be applied to the places where the headlamps are bolted in. Before replacement, insure that the headlamps are properly functioning ,electrical problems should be corrected before replacement. Get an idea of how they are aimed, there are various methods to check alignment. Check the connectors and wiring harness for damage, oxidation, fraying etc. The headlamps that I purchased included the bulbs, so it would be a simple matter of plugging in the electrical connections. Some mounting hardware (bolts, screws) may snap or the heads of screws strip or rust out. Have a drill with small bits available to drill them out. You can re-tap the holes if you have proper taps, either metric or SAE and have the correct replacement hardware, or nut and bolt the drilled out mounting location. Plug in the headlamp electrical connections first and test them, then finish bolting them in place. Alignment varies with the type of headlamp there are usually two axis  of adjustment. Other note, If the gas struts that hold the hood up are worn, prop up the hood, in this case I used the grille that had to be removed for the headlights to be replaced!

Old lamps


New Replacements


Now, my wife is satisfied with the results, she can see much better at night. Next will be replacement of the front side maker lamps (Toyota) and the headlights on the Topaz .



Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Layered Cake

The Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe is one I often bake. It is the moistest, easiest cake you can make. Often it can be eaten with out frosting. Needing a birthday cake, I made the following amendments.

Bake the cakes as directed, two 9 inch cakes, let cool thoroughly.

Using a spring form pan place one layer in the pan.

Make  chocolate mousse*. With a spatula, layer in the  chocolate mousse. Gently place the other cake layer on top. This was now at the top of the spring form pan. Wrap with tin foil and place in freezer.

Now I wanted a top fruit flavored mousse layer.  Make a raspberry mousse**.  Using an additional 9 inch spring form pan, layer the raspberry mousse in the spring form pan. Wrap and freeze.

Assembly: unwrap and remove the chocolate and chocolate mousse layered cake from the spring form pan. Now unwrap and place the frozen raspberry mousse layer and place it on top of the cake. Wrap the four layered cake with foil and return to freezer or LET THAW and serve.

If I had a deep enough spring form pan I could be done in all one pan.

Important note: Let the cake thaw before serving, if served right from the freezer  the  mousses  are frozen hard and requires a hefty knife to cut. When thawed the mousse is fluffy and light.


*Chocolate Mousse:

Melt about 3 ounces chocolate with 3/4 cup water in a sauce pan (low heat) stir in 3/4 cup sugar (more or less to taste) and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and stir over medium, then simmer and stir for 5 minutes. Temper in 3 egg yolks. cook and stir  1 minute longer. Cool to room temp. Add one and one half (1-1/2) teaspoons vanilla. set aside.

Whip 1-3/4 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Whip ONE HALF of the above chocolate mixture into ONE HALF of the whipped cream. This is the chocolate mousse filling. (reserve the other half of the chocolate syrup to drizzle over cake or other uses.

**Raspberry mousse:

Add about one pint or so of fresh or frozen(defrosted) raspberries to mixer bowl  with a whip attachment, mix till they are broken up. Add and slowly whip the remaining ONE HALF of the whipped cream. Adjust for sweetness or  tartness with sugar and or a bit of vinegar, lemon juice. I didn’t make it overly sweet as the cake is sweet enough.


Mousse recipe adapted from:

Elegant Chocolate Mousse, page 52

Baker’s Book of Chocolate Riches

First Printing  1983 General Foods Corporation

Library of Congress Catalog # 83-82254


Tomato Sauce with pasta and veggies

I’ve come to the point where I’ve read way to many recipes and blogs, books, and watched countless cooking shows over the years………so………. My posts are going a more descriptive route rather than a standard measured ingredients and directions format…..  and most likely I’ll refer to them in the future for repeats of some of the dishes I love with variations. Reading other peoples blogs  and cookbooks have influenced me also to go the more narrative style, better a little story of the actual  meal preparation. Thanks to all the bloggers I follow, excellent work!

Blogging right after eating has it’s advantages….

Two sausages from the the freezer along with frozen peeled whole tomatoes,  frozen prepared garlic cubes, frozen vegetable stock. On the fridge side, some defrosted tomato juice, carrots and onions, a bit of bacon fat, 1/2 a can of tomato paste, prepared pasta dough. Frozen sausage goes in the fry pan with 2 cubes of  frozen stock and brought to a boil covered,and then simmered, till sausage is defrosted and stock evaporates, brown the sausage,  I now have a small black and Decker food chopper that was orphaned, now  a new addition to the kitchen, I f*** with it, as adding too much carrots at once  causes it to jam and the blade lift and stop rotating , so some of the carrot is removed till the little chopper does the job and I add the rest of the carrots incrementally ,no problem with it processing  the onions ,add the diced onions and carrots,  and garlic with a dab of bacon fat. More of a tomato vegetable sauce, as one of the Frug’s recipes I recalled. If i have veggies like this available ,celery, green pepper etc., they can be sautéed and added to bulk up the sauce, a good way to get veggies into the meal.

Now in the garden a large green plant that is either broccoli or most likely, looks like Brussels sprouts, when I started them from seeds I didn’t keep track exactly what they are and where they were planted, but one of them is forming a small cauliflower,  frost is forecasted towards the end of the week ,maybe they will survive . The one I picked from closely resembles Brussels sprouts as the stalk is covered with small leafy projections that tightly formed would be Brussels Sprouts only these are less dense but have the definite taste of sprouts. Crisp, green and earthy.

Out of the frying pan goes the sausage to a pot, add tomato paste to the fry pan with the semi defrosted whole tomatoes and than some more frozen stock and season to taste, some thyme purchased for thanksgiving , dried basil and dried oregano . Now it gets poured in the pot with the sausage, simmered and sweetened with a touch of simple syrup and a splash of apple cider vinegar for balance.

Boil water for the pasta and roll out with the machine to noodles, boil and plate them. With the greens in a small pan pour out the pasta water over  the greens  to blanch, drain and plate next to the pasta. Spoon tomato sauce over pasta and greens,(take a photo) top with one half of a sausage, grated cheese.

Eat…………………………E X C E L L E N T ……!……. OOPS, no wine for now.

Now I’m thinking of Brussels sprouts pasta or ravioli after I finished my plate, a good meal, but that will be another kitchen encounter. Christmas looms ahead….IMG_1681



Turkey Soup (base)

A smart cook will have saved the carcass from Thanksgiving dinner turkey (or other meal such as chicken) to make turkey soup. The main idea is to simmer the carcass in water or broth to loosen the remaining meat from the bones and to extract flavor. Usually I have at least the main turkey carcass and the wings left over. By simmering the turkey carcass you hardly need a knife and can pick the meat from the bones with your fingers.

Note: some people are squeamish about the aspects of de-boning or butchering meat if they have never done it before . It’s well worth the extra effort and the cleanup of stockpots for the reward of flavor.

As an added plus, you get some insight of the anatomy of the turkey which is the same as a chicken, only larger. When the time comes for carving or cutting up a chicken or turkey you will have gained insight  by familiarity of the bone structure. Buying whole chickens, for example and cutting them gives you more menu versatility and cost saving, and you have the makings for fresh soup and stock  to boot!  

Now the details:

Break the carcass or frame of the turkey so it can fit  into a stock pot (large pan). Cover with water or stock. Since I used previously made stock I didn’t add seasonings or leftover vegetable scraps. Bring to a boil and simmer covered till the meat is tender and starts to fall from the bones. Probably about 1 hour or more to render all the flavor from the bones.





















Let cool and then pour into a strainer set in a large pot to catch the broth, to separate the bones.



Dump the strainer of bones into a 1/2 sheet pan. Let them cool so you can handle them barehanded. Some of the meat may have to be released from the bones by picking it out with a small paring knife.



The majority  of the meat can be removed with your fingers. Place the picked meat to one corner of the sheet pan, return the cleaned bones to the strainer working your way through the pile. Discard the bones when finished . If you save the wish bone*, place it aside for drying.




As soup can go in many, many, directions I placed the cleaned meat in mason jars and filled them with reserved broth. It’s as simple as that, refrigerate or continue making soup by adding  your favorites, diced what ever, and  pasta, barley or what ever. The flavor incomparable with any other !

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* The wish bone is the forked bone that is at the end of the breast structure of the turkey. It it saved for drying so it will snap. Now traditionally, two people each grab an end of the bone and make a wish. Now each person pulls the ends of the bone to snap it apart. The person who gets the full length of the bone, (with one with the top nub attached) gets their wish granted. This is usually only done with turkey wish bones even though chickens have one as turkey was usually only served on holidays.



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