Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fair Food

We just got back from the county fair and walking by all those concession stands and enjoying all the yummy smells wafting from deep fryers and kettle corn makes ya hungry! So I decided to do a post on all the foods I would love to eat at the fair, but make at home instead!

Here are some of our favs!!!

fair food 03

Click HERE for my recipe for caramel corn.

fair food 02Click HERE for the funnel cake recipe.

fair food 01The recipe for caramel apples is HERE.

There was one fair favorite that I just can’t make at home, so we picked ourselves up a monster bag of cotton candy to share!

fair food 04 Hope you all have a wonderful summer and enjoy some treats at home or at the fair!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boil In Bag Cooking

I first learned about this magical way of cooking two years ago while camping on an island in the Columbia River. A very nice pair of gentlemen with a charter kayak trip brought us some leftover lasagna that they cooked right there on the beach in a pot of boiling water. I was intrigued!

But when my friend Kate actually did it in real life on a camping trip last month I decided I had to give it a try. And I knew that Creation Fest NW was the perfect place to try it! With all five of us working, concerts and speakers all day long, three extra teens tagging along; it was just the place for cooking hot and hearty food with only boiling water.

I have to warn you that it is a whole lot of work ahead of time but it all pays off when you are relaxing and enjoying your meal.

First make out your menu. Our options included chicken curry, rice, pulled pork, chili, pancakes (yes, pancakes), sausages, corn on the cob (packed raw), bacon, hot dogs, baked beans, chicken pesto alfredo, meatball and marinara pasta, taco meat, refried beans.

Then cook all the dishes making sure you undercook things such as vegetables and pastas.

After the food is cooked, chill it thoroughly. Then place it in ziplock freezer bags, making sure that the food is no more than 2 inches thick.

Freeze until solid. Remove from bags, place into vacuum seal bags and seal. Do not remove all the air in the bag when sealing rice in the bags.

boiling bag 01boiling bag 02boiling bag 03Refreeze the food in the vacuum-seal bags until needed.

All you need to do when it comes time to eat is boil a large pot of water. Be sure to allow enough water to cover the bags of food. I used my canning pot.

After the water boils, drop in the bags and cover with a lid. Return to a boil and boil 10-25 minutes, or until heated through. Frozen or bulky foods take longer to heat than others.

Halfway through cooking time, flip bags upside down with a pair of tongs. (I forgot to bring tongs, so I know just how necessary they are!)

When the food is done, remove bags from tongs. I placed them in a second empty pot and cut the tops off each bag. Throw in a serving spoon and your done!

boiling bag 04boiling bag 05Boiled pancakes taste better than you’d expect!

After eating I used a bit of the hot cooking water to wash up the serving utensils! Couldn’t have been any easier!

Just a note: Someone asked if I had any tips after doing this for an entire week. Yup, I do. Don't cook potatoes or carrots ahead of time. I think after 25 minutes of boiling they'll be just fine.

Raw corn on the cob only needs to boil about 10 minutes, same for baked beans.

Don't pack too much into a bag at once.

Don't forget tongs! It's really hard to get those puppies out with your fingers! Ouch!!!

Buy Rival brand bags. They are a much better bargain!

Bring scissors to open the bags with after they are done. Cut the tops off pretty close to the level of the food to make serving easier and less messy.

Be creative! You might be surprised at what you can boil in a bag???

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Berry Blush Sangria

Here is another refreshing summer sangria recipe. This one uses any blush wine and fresh berries and Torani syrup.

Pour one bottle of blush wine over a pitcher of fresh berries. I used white merlot and strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

berry sangria 01 If you like your sangria a bit sweeter, stir in a bit of any berry-flavored Torani (or other brand) syrup to taste.

Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to chill and steep.

Serve over ice and enjoy!

berry sangria 03

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Raspberry Jam With a Kick

I wasn’t sure where I was going with this recipe, but it turned out rather well. I’m wondering if it will become spicier as it sits, but for now it has a subtle flavor that I can’t quite pick out (and it’s not pepper… LOL). I think it will be just right for corn bread or on bagels with cream cheese.

I think I’ll possibly warm my sugar every time I make jam from now on…

4 cups sugar

Warm sugar on a shallow pan in a 250 oven for 15 minutes. (It dissolves better warm.)

raspberry jam 03

4 cups fresh raspberries

6-8 dried red chili peppers

Bring raspberries to a full boil over high heat. Mash the berries as you heat them.

raspberry jam 02

Boil hard for 1 minute, still constantly.

Add sugar and peppers, return to a boil and cook until thick and gels on the back of a spoon.

raspberry jam 04

Remove peppers and place two in each jar.

raspberry jam 05

Fill hot sterilized jars to 1/4” headspace and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from canner.

raspberry jam 2 01

Friday, July 15, 2011

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

There are so many things that I love about this recipe from Food in Jars that I appreciate! I like that it was a small enough batch that I could use berries from our own little patch. I like that it has a delicate vanilla flavor. But I just love the way the jars looks like a brilliant red jewel when they come out of the canner!

strawberry jam 01

You can find the recipe if you click HERE

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sunny Peach Sangria

I love sipping sangria on a hot summer day! Traditionally it is made with red wine and fruit. Unfortunately I didn’t have any red wine but I did have a bottle of sweet white wine… How could white wine and fruit be bad???

Here’s what I came up with…

sangria 01

Slice two peaches and throw into a pitcher.

Add 1/2 cup of peach juice (or nectar).

Pour in bottle of white wine. Use sweet or dry depending on how sweet you want your sangria.

 sangria 02

*You could also throw in some sliced strawberries. YUM! :o)

Let chill in fridge.

Stir before pouring. Serve over ice with a bit of fruit.

sangria 03

*For sparkling sangria, add cold club soda just before serving.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tortilla Crepes

I don’t remember when or where I first saw this idea and I can’t even find a recipe on-line but I wanted to make them as soon as I heard of it. All I was missing were these little babies…

crepes  01 Uncooked tortillas. Fortunately my favorite local grocery store finally started carrying them. So I snatched one up as soon as I saw them, went home, plugged in my griddle and whipped some up!

All you need to do is make your favorite French toast batter (eggs, milk, vanilla), dip in the tortillas, cook on both sides until light golden brown, let cool 1 minute and then fill with whatever tickles your fancy!

crepes  02My favorites were Nutella, sliced bananas, and whipped cream

crepes  03crepes  04and lemon curd, sliced strawberries and whipping cream. All delicious crepes need whipped cream!

crepes  05crepes  06I’ll admit that they aren’t as tasty as real crepes but they are a whole lot quicker and easier and that seems to make them taste better, too! :o)