Greek Style Shepherd’s Pie – Lactose & Wheat Free

Meat:

Ground meat – beef & pork
1 – 2 onions, chopped
Salt & pepper
Oregano, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic powder, dash of red wine vinegar, several dashes liquid aminos (soy sauce), and 2-3 tblsp. sugar.
1 can tomato sauce
1-2 cans tomato paste
Olive oil

Over medium heat, add several tablespoons of olive to a pan. Add onions & meat, saute until done. Add spices & tomato ingredients until flavored and thickened to your taste.

Veg:

Steam at least two bunches asparagus. Remove from heat as soon as it turns bright green.

*Better next time note: cut asparagus into 1 1/2 inch sections before beginning to layer your dish.

Boil 2  – 3 lbs. of potatoes till tender. (Peel before boiling, or squeeze skin off after they are cooked and cooled). Slice, lengthwise, 1/2 of the cooked potatoes.
For the other half, use 1/4 cup chicken broth and nutmilk to mash to the desired consistency.
Add salt, garlic powder and nutmeg to taste.

Zucchini:

Slice thin, lengthwise. No precooking required.
*Note: while baking the zucchini will create a liquid. This can be soaked up, like gravy, with the mashed potatoes while eating, OR potatoes can line the bottom of the pan in order to soak up the liquid.

Pan Layering:

Coat bottom of oven safe baking dish with olive oil. Add the juice of one fresh lemon and 2-3 drops of liquid smoke. Use a fork to mix and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Add asparagus (or potatoes as noted above), then a layer of zucchini slices, meat mixture, another layer of potatoes, and zucchini slices. Top with mashed potatoes.

*Note: Dollop mashed potatoes across the surface, use moistened fingers to spread.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove covering for last 15 minutes.

 

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Windus Macaroni Casserole

grandma-windus-reciep

Lisa’s modified version of Windus Macaroni Casserole made with white rice angel hair pasta. *A short style pasta – on the bottom layer – is the optimal way to prepare this hearty one dish meal.

1 lb ground beef

1 whole onion – chopped

1 – bulb garlic – cloves peeled & chopped

3 tblsp. Italian herbs

2 –  16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (*drained or with liquid – see notes below)

4 – 6 cups cups macaroni (partially cooked) – enough to fill whatever sized baking dish you have

Pour macaroni into greased / sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining ingredients and back uncovered at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes.

 

Lisa’s additions:

2 fresh zucchinis thinly sliced

one bunch of fresh, chopped parsley

juice from one lemon

pinch of salt

Notes: For the version that I prepared (photographed above), I used an entire 8.8 oz package of white rice angel hair pasta. (This is what I had on hand.)  It worked, but with the added zucchini, a short pasta would have been better to soak up the extra juice. Pasta on the bottom, as the recipe instructs, is the right way to go. short-pasta

*Include the juice from the chopped tomatoes or drain it depending on how much liquid you need to make this dish moist.

 

Upon receipt of the recipe, I noticed several things. There was only an ingredients list – no measurement amounts, and like the other family recipe collections that I’ve studied, casserole cooking used to be popular.  The lack of measurements told me that Virginia was a cook, like my Grandma, who could get the proportions right by ‘feel’ or eyeballing it. She had a lot of mouths to feed and casseroles were an economical way to satisfy it.

Casseroles in the US became popular after World War II, when the Campbell’s Soup Company distributed a booklet entitled Helps for the Hostess, published in 1916. Recipes from this book became staple meals in Baby Boomer homes. Click on this link to learn more about the history of condensed soup and its impact on American culture.

 

 

margaret-windus

 

This recipe is from the Adrian (Bud) Schmidt collection. (Betty Wrysinski’s younger brother.) It was passed down through the family from Margaret Windus, maternal grandmother to Mary Schmidt Schwaller. Margaret was a neighbor to Betty’s mother, Lillian Schmidt.

 

 

Boiled & Spiced Citrus Chicken (or Pork)

It takes time and patience to prepare chicken this way, but it is so worth it!

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs OR about a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder – chunked into quarters

Rinse, pat dry and place meat into a large food-safe plastic bag

Add to the bag;

1 tblsp. cumin powder
1 tblsp. sea salt
1 tblsp. garlic powder
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. cayenne pepper (reduce to half or less if you don’t like spicy food)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

If you remember Shake-n-Bake …do that. If that reference is meaningless, then shake everything inside the bag until the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the spiced chicken and citrus juice in a pot. Fill it with water – just until the chicken is covered. On the stovetop (uncovered), cook on high until the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat, but still keep it bubbling.

This where the patience comes in. Keep an eye on the pot as the liquid boils. This can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. Once the liquid is almost gone, let the meat brown – turn it so it cooks evenly – but not so much that it burns.

Liquid almost all-the-way boiled down.

 

The chicken meat can be shredded, chunked or eaten off the bone. Use it in salads, soups, on tostadas or in tacos…and the list could go on and on!

Next time I make it, I will double this recipe so that leftovers will linger longer.

boiled and spicked chicken

 

Christmas Salad

christmas salad

Fresh persimmons in a salad?  Are you kidding?!

Opening one’s mind and taste buds to new thoughts, ideas and flavors is what keeps life interesting. The idea of including fresh persimmons in a salad presented itself when I attended a supper club meal at Polly’s Paladar. This creation was made with bitter greens, pomegranates, and candied pecans. It was topped with hot pork chunks and served with a vinegrette dressing.

Here is my modified version.  I named it ‘Christmas Salad’ because I first made it right after Thanksgiving – using turkey left-overs – and everyone exclaimed that the colors (spinach, pomegranties, persimmons and mandarines)…looked just like Christmas.

 

Candied Pecans

Coat as many pecans as you plan to use with maple syrup. Spread them out flat on a baking pan and cook at 200 degrees until nuts are lightly toasted (and dry) …..approx. 30 minutes.

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Fresh spinach

Fresh persimmon(s) – soft…almost squishy…peeled and seeded – chopped into bite-sized bits

Mandarines – peeled

Pomegranate seeds

Top wth your favorite protein

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

 

pomegranate-1076657_640

 

 

Turkey – Brined & Self Basting – with Stuffing on the side

How do you know when something is done? When you can smell it…  This meal creates delightful aromas and flavors.

meal

Brine Mix:

Sea Salt
Dried herbs: juniper berries, rosemary, black peppercorns, cranberries, garlic, apples, thyme, rosemary, sage and orange peels.

In a heavy white garbage (compactor) bag combine 1/2 cup brine mix with 4 cups warm water.  Shake it around so that the salt dissolves.
Place bag inside of a 5 gallon bucket.brine mixture

brined

Remove packaging from turkey as well as giblets or packing in the body cavity. Rinse turkey with fresh water then pat dry.
Without poking holes, run your hands under the turkey skin on the breast and back to create skin pockets.
Use a fork or knife to pierce turkey meat in the breasts, thighs & legs.

Put turkey into basting bag inside of bucket. Fill bag with water until turkey is submerged. Place bucket in refrigerator several days prior to cooking.

Self Basting Herb Paste:

1  cup barely softened butter
4 strips bacon uncooked – chopped
1/2 onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley – chopped
Fresh sage – chopped (about 3 tblsp.)
1 preserved lemon – chopped (less if a less salty gravy is desired)

1 cup dry white wine

4-5 more strips of bacon

Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together till well mixed.

Gently place handfulls of the Self Basting Herb Paste into the skin pockets.

basting paste

Place turkey –  breast side down –  into baking pan.

Lay remaining strips of bacon on top of bird & cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cook in 350 degree oven till done. (See package cooking instructions for how much time to cook based on weight.)

Check center of breast meat with meat thermometer. Once it’s reached 155 degrees it’s ready!

Adam prepares the 2013 Thanksgiving turkeys; a wild hunted bird and a store bought.

Adam prepares the 2013 Thanksgiving turkeys; a wild hunted bird and a store bought.

Strain out solids from turkey drippings. Place in pot on stove top. At medium heat, start adding sprinkles of Wondra Flour once bubbles start appearing at the edges.  Blend with hand-held whisk until desired thickness.

Stuffing:

Meyer Lemon Bread Crumbs – about 4 cups

1 bunch fresh cilantro – chopped
3 beaten eggs
1/2 onion  – copped
3 stalks celery – chopped
3 cloves garlic – chopped
chicken broth – enough to moisten bread crumbs
1 drop food-grade Oregano oil (stirred into broth)

Combine all ingredients, cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

jaja with turkey

Poached Eggs on Cheese Bread

Delicious day old bread uses.

2 cups chicken broth

2 tblsp. cilantro sauce

day old bread slices

Kerrygold Dubliner cheese – shredded

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Use a little bit of the chicken broth to poach the eggs in.

Slice and toast day old bread.

Place the toast into a baking pan.

Top each piece with shredded cheese.

To the remaining chicken broth, add cilantro sauce.

Pour chicken broth/cilantro sauce over bread then microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt cheese.
Let this sit until the bread has soaked up enough liquid to make it soft.

Remove cheese bread from pan, put on plate then top with poached eggs.

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Click here for more uses for hard bread.

Lime Cilantro Salad Dressing

A versatile sauce / salad dressing bursting with flavor.

2 bunches fresh cilantrocilanatro sauce

juice and zest from 4-5 limes

Place all in a blender or food processor.

Blend till smooth.

Add water to reach desired consistency.

*For a creamy sauce, add plain yogurt.

Medicinal Honey

Medicinal honey is powdered herbs combined with honey.

One can eat it by the teaspoonful or mix a teaspoon of herbal honey with a cup of warm water to make a tea.
double boiler
First – use a double boiler to gradually heat the honey so that it is easier to work with. Use a low to medium heat to make sure that you don’t boil it. When the honey has reached a thin consistency, add the herbs. Let it return to room temperature. The honey / herbal mixture will last up to a year. (It does not need to be refrigerated).

Full Tummy Relief Honey
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (antioxidant, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties)
1 tsp. powdered ginger (digestive aid)
2 tblsp. powdered citrus peel (A compound found in the peels of citrus fruit has the potential to lower cholesterol)
1 tblsp dandelion root (liver and gastrointestinal health)
1/2 tsp. powdered star anise (antifungal and antibacterial – it has been used to relieve coughs – relieves gas and colic)
1 cup honey (anti-bacterial – used to treat coughs & allergies and topically on wounds)

dry powdered ingredientsCirculation Honey
1 tsp. powdered juniper berry (cleanse the kidneys urinary tract)
1 tsp. powdered ginger (digestive aid)
1 tblsp. powdered turmeric (liver detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, wound healing & possible aid in certain types of cancer healing)
1/2 tsp. powdered cardamom (good smelling breath, heart an insulin health)
2 cups honey (anti-bacterial – used to treat coughs & allergies and topically on wounds)
According to Wikipedia:

Scientists have revealed that honey has powerful anti-bacterial properties on at least sixty species of bacteria, and unlike antibiotics, which are often useless against certain types of bacteria, honey is non-toxic and has strong effects.[6]

The composition of honey includes sugars such as glucose and fructose and also minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. Depending on the quality of the nectar and pollen, the vitamins contained in honey are B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3.[12]

When honey is used topically, as, for example, a wound dressing, hydrogen peroxide is produced by dilution of the honey with body fluids. As a result, hydrogen peroxide is released slowly and acts as an antiseptic.

Honey is widely used in cough medicines and to treat allergies.

Making the Most of Produce – Oranges, Lemons & Limes

Use these simple techniques to improve getting every use possible out of fresh produce.

 Oranges & Lemons

When oranges and lemons are in season and abundant, 

peel them and set the peelings out to dry

store in a cool open place and check frequently to make sure they have plenty of air circulation (and are not growing mold!)

once peeling are dry, tear them into quarter or dime sized pieces and store them in a glass jar

use them to make tea, grate into dishes, or put into a coffee grinder to make powder

juice the insides and freeze the juice in ice cube molds

****I froze the lemon pulp that was the waste product from the juicer… thinking it would make a great cleaning product – but have yet to figure out how to get it from point A to point B.  Any ideas?

 

Limes

Zest them  – set the zest out to dry

Place dried zest in clean baby food jars for storage

Freeze the juice in ice cube molds.