Thursday, July 27, 2017

One final recipe for #NationalBlueberryMonth

Some of us got together yesterday to celebrate National Blueberry Month.  When shopping for the event, I was excited about finding some beautiful local berries and I went a little overboard.  Well, okay, I went a LOT overboard.

I used the cup I needed for my Sour Cream Blueberry Crumb Cake and that left me with about 9 cups remaining.  Frank made us blueberry pancakes twice in one week.  I put them out each morning to be added to our cold cereal and I have used them in a smoothie.  

I made a second cake that we enjoyed for dessert last night but I am not sharing that recipe with you until next Tuesday when I write a book review about the novel from which it was inspired.

This left me with about 3 cups of blueberries left and not a clue what to make with them.  I also had a quart of strawberries that need to be used soon. 


I decided to combine these berries and stuff them into light, feathery crepes.  Crepes are easy to make but a little time consuming so this is a great breakfast for those leisurely weekend mornings or any morning if, like us, you are retired.  Sorry, I can't help myself LOL.


These can make a very quick weekday breakfast as well.  When you have some extra time you can make up a double batch of crepes.  Place a piece of waxed paper between each, put them into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer.  They freeze beautifully and can be removed from the freezer, placed on the counter and will be ready to be filled with your fresh fruit and served quickly and efficiently the next morning.


You can just sprinkle them with powdered sugar, top them with whipped cream or pour your favorite store bought syrup over them.  I still had blueberries to use so I made up some homemade blueberry syrup that was perfect for these crepes, wonderful on Frank's blueberry pancakes and excellent as an ice cream topping.


Be forewarned.  This syrup is so quick, easy and inexpensive to make that you may never be able to justify spending big dollars ever again purchasing premade blueberry syrup.  You simply combine your berries, sugar, water and a bit of cornstarch in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until berries pop open and the liquid clears and thickens, becoming glossy and gorgeous.  Strain and press the liquids from the solids.  (My chickens were thrilled to get all those blueberry skins)  

This is a great way to preserve blueberries for use after the season. This syrup should last up to a month or longer in the refrigerator.  I think.....I have never had any last longer than two weeks in this household.  It can be made with the blueberries that you freeze during the season as well.


Basic Crepe Recipe

1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. flour
4 eggs
1-2 t. sugar
pinch of salt
butter for cooking

Place the milk, flour, eggs, sugar and salt in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least an hour before cooking.

Place a small (around 8 inch) skillet over med high heat. Melt a small pat of butter in the skillet and use a silicone brush to cover the bottom of the pan with butter.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of batter to the skillet, lifting and tilting the pan so the batter covers the bottom completely.  Cook for 15-20 seconds until the top is dry and the bottom is golden brown.  Remove to a platter.

Continue in this manner until all batter is used, adding butter to the skillet as needed.  This should make approx. 16 crepes. Fill as desired and serve or freeze as instructed in the above post for use at a later time.  Print Recipe

***If you wish to make savory crepes omit the sugar in the above recipe.  

Homemade Blueberry Syrup

2 c. blueberries
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. water
1 T. cornstarch

Place all ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until blueberries pop open and liquid is clear, glossy and slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  Strain into a 2 cup measuring cup, pressing on the solids to release any additional juices.  Discard the solids and serve syrup warm or let come to room temperature and refrigerate for later use, rewarming before serving. Print Recipe





Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blueberry Sour Cream Crumb Cake #NationalBlueberryMonth

Did you know that, among many other things like ice cream and hot dogs, July is also National Blueberry Month?  It's true.  It is.

Image may contain: fruit and food
Image from Google


I decided that we shouldn't let the month go by without acknowledging this little blue darling that is not only amazingly tasty but packs a nutritional powerhouse as well.

I invited members of my Festive Foodies group to join me in sharing blueberry recipes today.  You will find links to all of their posts included in mine.  I can't wait to see what they are all sharing.

I have so many blueberry memories.  My Grandma made a kick butt blueberry pie and allowed me to have it for breakfast when I would stay with her.  Grandma loved pie for breakfast.

We also went up to the Upper Peninsula each summer to spend time with my Pops best friend and his family.  We would go out and pick wild blueberries and then be served blueberry muffins with our bounty. That which didn't end up in our bellies while picking, that is.

Having volunteered to host this event, I then had the dilemma of sharing a new blueberry recipe.  I have already shared:

I noticed that, other than a coffee cake, I had never shared a blueberry cake with you.  I was going to make a blueberry upside down cake but then I came across this recipe by Ina Garten and thought it sounded amazing. I have always had good luck with Ina's recipes and this one was no exception.


The only adaptations I made to the recipe were to use an 8" square pan instead of a round pan and omit the powdered sugar sprinkling at the end.


I brought it to a family gathering hosted by my niece, Stephanie.  It was a huge hit and I was proud to say that it was mine.


Here is Ina's recipe with my small adaptations.  Underneath you will find links to all the great recipes being shared today.  Happy National Blueberry Month.

Blueberry Sour Cream Crumb Cake
slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Streusel

1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 stick butter, melted
1 1 /3 c. flour

Combine the sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the butter.  Mix in the flour.  Set aside.

Cake

6 T. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
zest of 1 small lemon
2/3 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
large pinch of salt
1 c. fresh blueberries

Place the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating after each.  Mix in the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Fold in the blueberries by hand.

Pour batter into an 8" square pan that has been treated with baking spray.  Sprinkle the reserved streusel over the batter and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 40-50 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares and serving. Print Recipe

Beautiful Blueberry Recipes

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

Phew....we finally have a free day.  By that, I mean that there is no place we have to go and nobody is coming over here.  At least, we don't have any plans for anyone to come over....that is always subject to change.  Of course, as soon as I typed this, Amy called and we are now meeting them for dinner tonight.  She and Doug are heading to Ohio for a race on Friday and they wanted to spend time with Larry and Mary before they leave.


We do have our Little Angel Face today so I'm hoping for beautiful weather so we can play in the pool.  Here she was last year.....amazing how quickly they grow.  We are going for Italian with Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug tonight so she can still have her spaghetti fix.

I have a busy blogging week coming up and am trying to get everything done and scheduled before we leave for our Alaskan Cruise......CANNOT WAIT!

Two of the recipes I will be sharing use cherry pie filling.  You can always use canned but if you are lucky enough to have a daughter and son in law with a cherry tree, as we do, then I am going to show you how to make your own cherry pie filling.


Place the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a dutch oven over med high heat.


Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil.


Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and turns glossy.


Remove to a bowl and let sit until the mixture cools to room temperature.  You can now use it in any recipe calling for cherry pie filling.


This filling can be preserved by canning or freezing.  I chose to freeze mine this year.  Should you choose to freeze it just know that you will have to rewarm it, so that it gets back to the right consistency, prior to using it in your recipe.




Cherry Pie Filling

6 c. tart cherries, pitted
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch

Place the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a large pot or dutch oven.  Place over med high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Continue to cook and stir at a gentle boil until the sauce thickens and the gel is clear and glossy.  Cool to room temperature before using or packaging for freezing.  Print Recipe

More Recipes using Cherry Pie Filling


















Monday, July 24, 2017

Sorry Baby.....No Leftovers Available Today. #FoodnFlix

This months film for Food n Flix is one of my very favorites of all time, Dirty Dancing.  I was so excited when Chef Sarah Elizabeth chose this film.  You can see her announcement post right here and you can learn all about our Food n Flix club right here.

Basically, we are a group of bloggers who watch the same film during the month and then blog a recipe that was inspired by the film.  It is so much fun seeing the film through other's eyes and stomachs.

Food 'n Flix

I have watched Dirty Dancing numerous times.  I loved Patrick Swayze and he did such a great job in this film.  Jennifer Grey was cast perfectly in the role of Baby Houseman, a young woman who accompanies her family to a resort for three weeks.  Baby is a daddy's girl with a desire to save the world.  She has lived a very sheltered life and her naivete is immediately tested upon arrival at the resort.  She becomes friends with a group of employees whose lives were not as charmed and blessed as Baby's and she soon learns that the world contains more gray than black and white.

I had never watched the film with foodie glasses on and I really couldn't recall any food in the movie at all, other than a watermelon that Baby helps Johnny's (Swayze's) cousin carry to the employee cabins when she gets her first glimpse of a life vastly different from hers.

Image result for dirty dancing

Here is a list of the foods that I missed the first 30 or so times that I watched the film.  Dinner rolls, Pot Roast, Iced Tea, Brownies, Pudding, Cabbage Rolls, Beef, Sweet Gerkhins, Milk, Matzo Meal, A1 sauce, Coca Cola, Brandy, Bagels, Wine, Beer, Grapefruit, Orange Juice, Coffee, Toast and Assorted Pastries. 

There was also the Watermelon, a reference to spaghetti (when Johnny Castle referred to Baby's arms) and a Chinese Lantern, in case I wanted to go Asian. 

I didn't make any of these things.

Instead, I took my inspiration from the very beginning of the movie, when Baby's father, played by Jerry Orbach, commented to the resort owner that Baby would like to have her leftovers shipped to hungry children.

Baby felt badly that she was unable to finish her meal when there were those that go hungry in the world.  I, too, hate wasting food and do my best to use up our leftovers or, at the very least, feed them to my animals.


We grilled up steaks for the 4th of July and, not being sure how many were coming, we had quite a bit of leftovers.  I sliced up the leftovers steak, chopped up the leftover mushrooms and onions and cut the leftover potatoes into chunks.


I put the potatoes, onions and mushrooms into a large skillet with some olive oil and let it crisp up nice and brown.


Then I added the steak to warm, made shallow indentations and added some eggs to the mixture. I covered the pan at this point to help the eggs cook on the top as well, without hardening the yolks.


This made the perfect welcome breakfast for my brother, Larry, and his wife, Mary, who are vacationing in Michigan from California.  Vacationing fits in perfectly with this movie as well and they even sat and watched it again with me for this post.


Steak and Egg Skillet
serves 6

2 T. olive oil
3 leftover baked potatoes, cut into chunks
1 1/2 c. leftover mushrooms and onions (mine were grilled)
3 leftover strip steaks, cut into 1/2" slices
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Let cook until the potatoes start to brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.  Flip over and cook other side for another 5-10 minutes.  Add the steak, cook and stir until warmed through.  Make 6 shallow indentations in the mixture, cracking an egg and emptying into each.  Partially cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and cook until eggs are set to your desired degree.  Divide into 6 equal portions and serve.  Print Recipe











Sunday, July 23, 2017

Copy-Cat Detroit Coney Dogs for #SundaySupper

This month's Sunday Supper theme of Creative Hot Dog Recipes is co-hosted by Stacy of Food Lust People Love and MaryEllen of Recipes, Food and Cooking.

July is National Hot Dog month so Stacy and MaryEllen asked us to share our fun options for serving this kid friendly food.  According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, consumers spend nearly 2 billion dollars a year on hot dogs in US supermarkets.  That is a lot of hot dogs!!!

Image result for hot dogs

I can understand it though.....I love the crunch of a natural casing frank when I bite into it.  I love the way they split open on the grill when being cooked.  I love that when dinner sneaks up on you and you haven't made a meal plan you can open the fridge, grab the dogs and dinner is on the table in moments.

Image result for kowalski hot dogs


Natural casing franks are very popular here in Michigan.  In fact, Serious Eats, did a taste test of all the natural casing franks available here.  Frank is a hot dog snob and when eating hot dogs at home will only accept Kowalski brand.  I am happy to say that this is the brand that won for best traditional dog in that Serious Eats taste test.

Serious eats also mentions that Detroit is home to the famous Coney Dog, made with a beanless chili sauce.  We love our coney dogs here in Michigan.  So much, in fact, that we have numerous Coney Island Restaurants, sometimes with two or three on the same street corner.




One of my favorite chains is National Coney Island.  There are 20 locations in southeast Michigan where I reside.  Their first store opened up in 1964 at a Mall near the home in which I grew up.  I spent a lot of time in that mall during my tweens and teens and ate a fair share of coney dogs while there.

My brother and his wife live in California but come home to Michigan every year for a month long visit.  We host a large pot-luck party each year so that everyone in the family gets an opportunity to see them while they are home.  This year I decided to make up a roaster full of sloppy joes and serve those along with Coney Dogs as the main courses with everyone else supplying the side dishes.

I had fully intended on keeping my life simple and buying a block of frozen National Island Chili Sauce for the Coneys.  So the morning of the party, I went to the store and they were out of the sauce. We live in the middle of nowhere (or in BFE as affectionately referred to by my children) so while we are lucky enough to have a decent grocery store 5 minutes away there is not another for half an hour.

I decided to do a google search, rather than waste time running around from store to store, and was ecstatic to find this recipe at a blog called Great Lakes, Better Food.  Unfortunately, this blog no longer appears to be up and running with the last post being in 2013.  Fortunately, it was once up and running because this chili sauce is perfect!!!  It tastes amazingly the same as that from National that I love so much.


I adapted this recipe by deleting the beef hearts (as I didn't have any) and replacing it with an equal portion of additional ground chuck.  It came together in minutes and had plenty of time for the flavors to meld while in the crockpot waiting for company to arrive.

There are rules to having a Detroit Coney Dog. 
  • Your hot dogs must have skins
  • Your hot dog must be grilled or steamed
  • The only toppings are coney sauce, yellow mustard and finely diced onions
My guests were as amazed as I that this was a copy-cat and not the actual chili from National's.  It was that good.


This is definitely going on my rotation for when we get a hankering for hot dogs along with my Cheesie Wienies, Chili Dog Nachos and Pretzel Dogs.  You will find many other Creative Hot Dog recipes following mine for Coney Dogs.


Copy-Cat Detroit Coney Dogs
adapted from Great Lakes, Better Food


3 lbs. ground chuck
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
24 oz. beef stock
2 T. paprika
3 T. chili powder
3 T. yellow mustard
1 T. turmeric
1 T. cumin
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. kosher salt

Brown ground meat in a dutch oven over med high heat until browned and all fat is released.  Drain and set aside.  In the same dutch oven, melt the butter over med high heat.  Stir in the flour until brown and nutty smelling.  Whisk in the beef stock, cook and stir until smooth, thickened and bubbly. Add the tomatoes and all their juices, paprika, chili powder, mustard, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Stir in the reserved beef and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until thickened.

The chili is now ready to be used for topping grilled or steamed natural casing franks or can be refrigerated and reheated on the stove or in the crockpot when ready to serve. Print Recipe

More Creative Hot Dog Recipes

Cheesy Dogs

Meaty Dogs

Regional Dogs

Tex Mex Dogs

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Last Week of July!! How is that possible?? Oh Well, here is the Weekly Menu

Wow this month has flown by in the blink of an eye.  We have been having a blast, entertaining and being entertained.  It has been a lot of fun and this week is going to be another whirlwind.


Last night, our niece, Stephanie, and her husband, Tom, hosted another family party.  It was a great gathering.  All the siblings, most of the kids and most of the grand-kids were there.  It is the last time we will all be together before Larry heads back next Saturday and Mary heads back on August 2nd.


Today, Nicole and Pierre are working a craft show for their Petoskey and Pine products.  We are going to go take a walk around and check out their competition. Tonight, Frank and I, Larry and Mary, and Dick and Jackie, are going out to dinner.  Tomorrow is Larry and Mary's 51st Wedding Anniversary so we will celebrate this evening.

Sunday, Mary's sister, Susie and her husband, Tony, are coming to stay for a day or two.  Our sister in law, Rebecca, will be joining us for dinner as well.

Monday we are meeting Nicole, Pierre and Anthony for an early lunch before they go to work. Between being in the restaurant business and the soap business, they were not available for either of the family gatherings.  We are meeting Mary's cousin, Michelle, and her husband, Jerry, for dinner in the evening.



Monday would have been my Pop's 101st birthday and my brother, Dan's, 64th birthday.  My brother, Dan's longtime partner and mother of his two youngest children, passed away on Thursday morning. I find comfort in knowing that they are together again.  They loved each other very much.



Tuesday we have our Angel Face so Grampy will make her spaghetti. This seems to be our weekly routine.

Wednesday is clear thus far.  Thursday night we are going to Roz and Ron's for dinner.  Friday night we are going to dinner with our friends, the Greens and the Lents' at a new restaurant that has opened in the area.  One of Rob's friends is the chef and we will be celebrating John's birthday and retirement both of which occur on Friday.

So, as you can see, there are not many meals at home but I will share what we will be enjoying on those few days.

Saturday
Out for dinner

Sunday
Rum Glazed Pork Tenderloins
Baked Russet and Sweet Potatoes
Corn on the Cob
Summer Squash with Lemon and Basil
Dessert by Rebecca

Monday
Out for dinner

Tuesday
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Wednesday
Casimer Rice

Thursday
Dinner at Roz and Ron's

Friday
Dinner out