Feb 012019
 

We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.

Huevos Whatever
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2 ratings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Category: breakfast

Cuisine: Mexican

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 medium Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tsp. olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, 6 inch
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/3 cup guacomole or avocado

Instructions

  1. Dice the onions and jalapeno and fry in the oil until the start to brown.
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk and add the black pepper to the mix.
  3. Add the eggs to the skillet and scramble and add 1/2 of the cheese to the mixture and remove from heat.
  4. Preheat your broiler.
  5. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-5 or 20 seconds.
  6. Line a small sheet pan with foil or parchment. Divide the eggs into four parts. Fill half of each tortilla with eggs and then fold over the other half of the tortilla. Put them on the sheet pan and hold it closed with a couple of toothpicks.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over and put them under the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
  8. Put a layer of Arugula on each plate and then top with the filled tortillas. Remove the toothpicks and top with the salsa. Serve a small scoop of guacamole on the side.

Notes

You can add whatever you want to the scrambled eggs depending on your preferences. If you don’t have guacamole, diced avocado with a squeeze of lemon or lime can be served on the side.

Nutrition label for Huevos Whatever
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Aug 272017
 

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Oven Dried Tomatoes going into the oven.

Dried Plum Tomatoes are absolutely luscious. The drying process intensifies the flavor and sweetness. These dried tomatoes freeze well and pulling out a package in the dead of winter, returns you instantly to the taste of fresh tomatoes from the garden. They are great in salads and can be used wherever sun-dried tomatoes are called for. It’s also an easier process than canning, and when the peak yield of tomatoes hits in late summer, this is a way to enjoy the crop later in the year, long after the tomato plants have been pulled up

Oven Dried Tomatoes
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Ingredients

  • Fresh Roma Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes.
  2. Cut in half lengthwise, And remove the stem.
  3. Coat with olive oil, place on foil lined cookie sheet, cut side up.
  4. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and granulated garlic, and a little salt if desired.
  5. Put in 225 degree oven, with convection if possible. Drying time is approximately 6 hours. You want the tomatoes to be somewhat leathery, not totally dried out.

Notes

It is probably best to separate the tomatoes into batches of larger and smaller sizes as the smaller ones will be done quicker. If the small ones are on their own cookie sheet, this will make your job easier.

For later use, I freeze the tomatoes on the cookie sheets and when they are frozen put them into small freezer bags which should keep in the freezer for at least a year.

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Dec 212016
 

I created this recipe a number of years ago for Natalie when she was suffering from a bit of a cold since she is a big fan of ginger, garlic, and hot peppers. It provided some relief and we’ve been making it ever since, whether we need it for its curative properties or not. Despite the fresh vegetables, we usually eat it in the fall and winter, as it is soothing for stuffed up noses and sore throats. Of course, spicy soup is always comforting in cold weather.

This recipe can be very flexible and you can adjust the amounts to your taste and by what vegetables are available. However, the key ingredients are lots of ginger and garlic, and some type of hot pepper. Miri, Soy Sauce and Star Anise also help give the broth it’s characteristic flavor, so don’t omit or skimp on these items. You can leave the soup with just vegetables — I sometimes add shrimp but cooked pork or chicken would probably be good, or tofu to keep it vegan or vegetarian. If your head is really stuffed up, increase the amounts of ginger, garlic, and hot pepper. You have my word that you’ll feel a lot better after a hot bowl of this soup.

Ginger-Garlic Spicy Asian Soup
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Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 to 4 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, finely diced, or hot pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 star anise
  • 64 oz. broth, I use "Imagine" vegetarian "No-Chicken" broth
  • 2-3 Tbsp Aji Mirin, rice wine
  • 1-2 Tbsp Lite soy sauce
  • 6 oz. Rice noodles or Ramen.
  • 10 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, matchstick cut
  • 2 Baby Bok Choy, sliced at about 1/4 inch, including leaves
  • 1 cup snow pea pods sliced on an angle
  • Bean sprouts (optional)
  • Pre-cooked shrimp, chicken, pork or tofu (optional)

Instructions

  1. Dice the green onions saving the green part for garnish.
  2. Saute the ginger, garlic, shallot, pepper and white part of the onion in oil over medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the broth, turn the heat to high, and add the 4 star anise, one- half of the Mirin and one half of the soy sauce.
  4. Stir and taste, adding soy sauce to get the proper amount of saltiness. The amount needed will vary depending on your choice of broth. Add more Mirin if you like it sweeter.
  5. Let the broth simmer fo about 10 minutes. Remove the star anise and then add the rice noodles or Ramen and all of the vegetables except the bean sprouts and green onions. Turn up the heat and bring to a low boil and cook until the noodles are done.
  6. Add the shrimp, pork, chicken or tofu if desired and heat through.
  7. Put some bean sprouts in the bottom of each bowl and ladle the soup in.
  8. Everyone can top with green onions to their taste.

Notes

As stated in the description, you can vary most of the amounts and the ingredients according to your preferences. The key ingredients are lots of garlic and ginger and some type of hot pepper, so don't omit or skimp on these. Star Anise isn't essential, but it adds an exotic flavor profile. The Mirin and soy sauce give the broth it's flavor so don't omit those. I think the some type of mushroom is essential also, Shitake is good but you should probably saute those with the garlic, ginger and onions. Experiment with vegetable types and amounts. You could use carrots in place of the sweet red pepper. The protein is optional. I usually add shrimp, but any of the others or none is good.

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Oct 272016
 

Butternut Squash Soup
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Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Soup

Cuisine: American

Yield: 18

Butternut Squash Soup

I always hate to see the warm days of summer go, but one bright spot as the cold short days of fall and winter arrive is a nice hot bowl of Butternut Squash soup and a fresh warm piece of good, hearth baked multi-grain or rye bread. This is a savory, spicy soup with just a hint of sweetness. It's relatively easy to make if you have an immersion blender and a large batch will provide meals for a couple of days along with some to freeze.

I tend to modify the recipe according to which vegetables I have on hand. To change up the recipe a bit, add a couple of large chopped jalapeno peppers and saute with the onions. My current recipe uses 1 large potato and 1 pound of carrots.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 10 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves (or dried sage)
  • 2 tsp. sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Fresh-Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. White Pepper to taste
  • Salt (if needed)
  • 3 bunches green gnions or chives (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Peel, seed and cube the squash.
  2. Peel and cube the carrots* and the potato.
  3. Chop the onions and the peppers if you are using them.
  4. In a large pot, saute the onions and peppers in the oil until they are translucent and just start to brown.
  5. Add the squash and the potato and carrots, or the potatoes to the pot and then add the broth** until the vegetables are almost covered.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. When the cooking is almost done, Chop the sage and add it to the pot.
  8. Use a hand blender to puree the soup.***
  9. Season with paprika, nutmeg, salt and white pepper.****
  10. Taste and add more salt and white pepper if necessary.
  11. Serve with chopped green onions or chives.

Notes

* You can substitute parsnips for the carrots or use a mixture of both. The potato adds some creaminess to the soup but you can eliminate it to reduce carbs.

** I use my favorite vegetable broth called "No Chicken", made by Imagine, which makes for a vegetarian and vegan recipe. You can substitute chicken broth or your favorite vegetable broth.

*** If you don't have a hand blender, you can remove the cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender or food processor and then return the puree to the soup pot. This is a messy and time-consuming way of doing this, so if you like the recipe, splurge and buy yourself a hand blender.

**** For this recipe I usually grate a whole nutmeg seed into the pot and also season with a considerable amount of white pepper to give the soup a bit of a bite, but add it to your own taste. I add some paprika for color. Taste before you add salt as the soup may be salty enough from the broth.

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Sep 192016
 

Since I’ve been growing Tomatillos in the garden, I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. I found a couple interesting recipes on the web and adapted them to my own tastes and came up with this one. Grilling the Tomatillos, onions and peppers adds a delightful smokiness to the salsa, so you really need to make an effort to grill them. I made this recipe for our annual trip to the Vintage Illinois wine festival at Mattheissen state park and it disappeared quickly even with a lot of other food around, which let me know it was a hit. This is an interesting alternative to Guacamole, and a nice change when Tomatillos are in abundance.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Avocados
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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Approximately 2 pounds Tomatillos, husked and washed
  • 2 large Jalapeno peppers, quartered lenngthwise, seeds and pith removed
  • Approximately 1/4 of a large red onion, large dice
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 or 4 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Red peppers, I use hot hungarian
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Granulated garlic (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Sugar (to taste if needed)

Instructions

  1. Halve and remove stem from the Tomatillos.
  2. Put the Tomatillos, onions and peppers in a bowl and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and olive oil, mix well to coat evenly.
  3. Grill this mixture on a very hot grill, in a grill pan until the vegetables start to brown a bit. If the grill isn't very hot the Tomatillos will turn to mush before they start to brown.*
  4. When the mixture has cooled a bit, puree it in a food processor along with the garlic and lime juice.
  5. Peel and seed the Avocados, and dice to about 1/2 inch cubes. Combine in a bowl with the Tomatillo puree. Add the chopped bunch of the cilantro to taste.
  6. Seed the red peppers and remove the pith, chop fine and add to the mixture.**
  7. Mix well, taste, and add salt as needed. You may want to add some sugar depending on the tartness of the Tomatillos.
  8. Serve with cornchips.

Notes

*You could probably roast the vegetables in a 450 degree oven, but the grilling really adds a lot of flavor, so grill them if you can.

**Usually the grilled Jalapenos don't add a lot of heat so I add hot peppers to get a bit of spice in the sauce. The red peppers also add some color and flavor to the salsa, so use sweet ones if you want the dip very mild.

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