Monday, June 29, 2009

Mango salad with Asian Ginger Sesame Dressing

 I posted a salad like this very recently, but this one is better, so completely disregard the last one! This salad gives Rumbi's a run for their money.

Asian Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing

1/3 c rice vinegar
1/3 c sugar
One chunk of a yellow onion (probably 2 T fine chopped onion)
1 nub fresh ginger (probably 1 T minced)
2 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2/3 C vegetable oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients into the blender and pulverize till the onions and ginger and blended. While the blender is still going, add the sesame oil and vegetable oil.

Now the salad ingredients are really up to you. I did romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, mango,  macadamia nuts, and won ton strips.
How do you get won ton strips do you ask? Now I have seen them sold in bags in the grocery store next to the croutons. However, I have only seen it few and far between. I always make my own. Buy a package of egg roll or won ton wrappers cut them into strips and fry them in hot oil. Season them lightly with salt.

Contact Information

Natalie Fairbourne

Mailing Address:
243 Hobble Creek Canyon
Springville, UT 84663


Friday, June 26, 2009

Drink slush

Need a drink idea? Every time I do this, everyone things it is completely gourmet. Everyone loves slush. Take your favorite 100% fruit juice or nectar and freeze it in a couple zip lock bags in your freezer. Take it out one hour before you want to serve it and put it in the punch bowl.  When it begins to soften, stab it all over with a butter knife to soften it, and pour a two liter bottle of sprite over it.
what to freeze?

apple cider (slice apples thin and add to the punch to make it pretty)
simply lemonade or limeade (add raspberries after freeze)
dole's orange peach mango
orange juice
pineapple juice
mango nectar
passion fruit nectar
combo the above two
Now all you need are those little umbrellas . . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mushroom Alfredo sauce

I am still loving the pasta roller. I made some fresh fettucini and whipped up some amazing mushroom alfredo.  Don't like mushrooms? Slap your mouth! You can omit the mushrooms and you have plain old alfredo.  I remember along time ago following a recipe for alfredo and the recipe was basically butter, cream and salt and pepper. I am talking 50 percent butter, 50 percent cream. It was hard for me to eat alfredo after that knowing it was straight fat, and I am not even health or weight conscious! Now this recipe has butter and cream, but it is not 50/50 and it tastes better than the 50/50 varieties.

Mushroom Alfredo

1/2 cup fine diced onion (like half and medium onion)
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
handful of thin sliced mushrooms of any variety you think sounds good.
half a stick of butter
salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
splash of cream
milk (I didn't measure, dang! let's say . . . .2 cups?)
handful of shredded Parmesan cheese.

Saute the onions, garlic and mushroom in the butter until soft and cooked down. Cook on medium as to not burn the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and stir until everything is coated with the flour. Add the milk and splash of cream (you can decide how "lo cal" you want to go). Simmer on medium and continually stir until sauce begins to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese. Don't do the salt taste test till after the parm cheese because it will add more salt to the sauce. Serve with your favorite pasta!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

a bread I can be proud of . . . . finally!

Ihave been tinkering with bread for weeks! I want to make a crusty, chewy, beautiful, french loaf of bread. I have tried recipes that were literally a 2 week process. I have measured flour, I have weighed flour, I have used starters, I have risen and risen and risen lots of dough. I've done the whole "steam oven" by spraying the stove down with water, putting a pan of water in the stove. This time, I tried something I have never read on any cooking websites or blog. I got this from my Aunt who brought an amazing loaf of bread to my grandma's 87th birthday party. Drum roll please . . . . . . wait for it . . . . . . . .
She cooked her bread in a lidded dutch oven! It is genius! No creating steam, the dutch oven does it all for you! Now the recipe I used wasn't my Aunts because I didn't have her phone number and I was too lazy to call my Grandma to get the number, so Leslie, if you are reading this, post your recipe in the comment section!
I however used an incredibly simple recipe that was just prefect.

1 1/2 T yeast
1 T salt
1 T sugar
3 C warm water
6 C bread flour

Now here is the easy part. Start with the yeast, salt and warm water. Add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon till combined, cover with plastic wrap and let raise until double. That's right, no kneading! Now the original recipe I read said 6 1/2 c flour but I always seem to be a heavy measurer for whatever reason, so I went with 6 cups. The dough is fairly sticky, so when it comes time to shape, uses lots of flour on your hands, dust some on the dough and on the counter. Give the dough a couple rounds of kneading before you shape it into a ball. Recipe will make two balls. Put one in the fridge and let the other loaf get a head start on the raising. pull it out after about 30 minutes.
Let it raise on a big piece of parchment paper. Now, every cooking recipe I have read says you slash the top of the raised loaf with a knife before putting it in the oven. I have never once been able to do this without completely deflating it. So I always slash the dough in whatever pattern you want before it begins to rise.
Before your dough is risen enough to bake, begin preheating your dutch oven. You can use a camping dutch oven, or if you have a fancy pant Le Creueset you can use that, but make sure . Preheat the oven with the dutch oven inside to 450 degrees and let it heat for about 15 minutes before you add the loaf.
Carefully remove the lid (it should be stinkin' hot) and pick up the loaf by the parchment and drop it into the dutch oven very carefully. Replace the lid.
Bake for 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for 15 more minutes till it us golden brown. You will feel like a real artisan baker after trying this method. I do!

nan's extra note: I have a new pot I cook my bread in, jealous?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

gratitude in the strawberry patch

Today I worked in the garden.  With all the rain we've been having, the air was humid and misty. As I picked up the garden tool and started to clear some ground to plant my strawberries the feeling took me straight back to when Fairb and I lived in the village in Africa.  In Kenya, a handheld garden hoe is called a "jembe" and they use it to cultivate everything, acres and acres of land with a small tool. I swung a jembe quite often in Kenya, but never has a jembe been my only means to feed my family.  How overly grateful I am that I can plant this garden full knowing I can still buy food at the store.  How grateful I am that while I worked in this garden I don't have a small baby strapped to my back; my children are being appeased with video games and popsicles inside my home. Today, I woke up to a call from my neighbor bearing the bad news that there was a dog party on her lawn and each dog had a baby kitten. The garage door was left open, leaving the kitten vulnerable to prey.  I could see the sorrow in the the mama cats eyes that she couldn't protect her litter (two she did protect).  I have seen that same sorrow in the eyes of mothers in Africa. Almost no mother in the village is lucky enough to have all her children survive. I mothers life in the village is sorrow. They struggle every day to take care of their family.  I am talking struggle! Not give me some zoloft, my credit is bad struggle, but struggle to feed, cloth, keep healthy and educate their children. Even the most poor people in the United States of America is living large compared to the true poverty in other parts of the world like Africa.  
I feel very grateful, very blessed. I wish that any mother in this country, during this economic crisis, who feels woe could witness the life of a mother in Africa, and they will be screaming gratitude from the tops of the mountains.  I think I will go out and shout right now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Seven Layer Bean Dip for a Japanese Film Crew

My parent's backyard is pretty famous for their human slingshot. I can't count how many times people have told me they had seen it on youtube or tv, or somebody told them about it. You saw me do it in my rachael ray audition tape. Well the news of the human sling shot spread to Japan, and a camera crew from a major network in Japan asked if they could come out and film the human slingshot. They wanted to film the whole family, so we had a barbecue and made the day out of it.
Somehow, I got roped into being the one to film going on the slingshot. After riding it 6 times, I literally thought I was going to barf, and still feel a little queasy thinking about it! So it will be interesting to see how they put it all together for Japanese TV. I am going to be famous!
So along with the hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon I made some seven layer bean dip, but minus a few layers because I don't dig on soggy lettuce, raw onions, or olives in on my dip. I will admit those things make a dip pretty, but not tasty. So this is how I do my seven layer bean dip, minus a few layers.

1-- I use canned black beans that I run through the blender.

2-- Next comes sour cream that I get to room temperature (use the microwave if you can stomach it, I can't) and spread that on.

3-- Next comes simple guacamole. I just mash avocados and season them with salt, pepper a little granulated garlic and cayenne pepper (and lime if I have it). You need at least 4 or 5 ripe avocados.

4-  A few spoonfuls of your favorite salsa, (I have no recommendations, I can my own).

5-- Shredded cheese

6- some chopped tomatoes

See that is almost seven layers! What makes this dip great is the black beans and the absence of lettuce, onions and olives.

I forgot to ask the Japanese if it was oishi (delicious in Japanese) or not. I am sure they loved it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Brandon's Wedding: Mission Accomplished!

Saturday was my brother-in-laws wedding which was in the backyard of my parents house. As stated before, as a wedding gift I offered to do the food. Originally it was going to be fifty people people to the wedding ceremony. Then they told me their reception plans to which they were going to invite an additional 50 people. For the reception they were going to have a chocolate fountain. period. After hearing this, I suggested to them they invite everyone to the wedding dinner, seeing how if I drove all the way down to Hobble Creek for a wedding and all there was to eat was a stinking chocolate fountain, I would be pretty annoyed (I know I am a food snob, but come on!) So they invited everyone. I told them they really needed to get RSVP's as it was going to be a nice sit down dinner.
I am normally a very stress free, low key person. I like to do things on the fly and just pull things together. At the thoughts of cooking for 100 people, I found myself a little stressed! I will admit, it was a little hard to sleep a couple nights before!
I bought almost all the food at Costco and spent just under 500 $ (the chocolate fountain was 400$). We started with a iceberg wedge salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon and sharp cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing (that I bought at the BYU creamery their ranch dressing is the best!)

The guests ate the salads with crusty European style bread while the other food was being prepared and plated.
The entree was the London Broil ( I cooked 14 London broils, but probably only needed 12) that seasoned with steak seasoning from Costco and grilled on the BBQ ( I had two barbecues going).  Along with the London Broil I served mashed potatoes. I used all the burners on the six burner stove and boiled them. Then we riced them into a roasting pan to keep them warm (mixing them with all that makes potatoes taste good of course). Also came roasted asparagus that we roasted in three pans in the double oven. We garnished them with Parmesan cheese. To garnish the plate we added some strawberries and blueberries drizzled with Dannon La Creme yogurt (if you haven't tried it, it is so good! Its the closest thing I can find to European yogurt).
Interestingly, although I was very stressed up until the day, they day of wasn't too stressful. Not too stressful despite, my in-laws told me to expect 85 and we had about 115, and my knuckle head brother left the house a disaster I unexpectedly had to clean it up first. It wasn't stressful and here is why. . . .

I prepped anything thing I could prep the days before. I cook bacon for the salad for days. I had like 2 pounds of rendered bacon fat.

I had tons of help. I hired 8 teenager girls, and I had two friends, Lori and Kristen (you guys are the best!) and my sister Lisa's help.
Everyone was quite impressed with the meal. Heck, I was quite impressed!  A few of us plated the food in the kitchen while the others served the food. The day turned out prefect.  So if you are planning a wedding dinner, give me a call!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

chicken pot pie in summer, that ain't right.

Summer is crazy folks, seems I don't have much time in the hobble creek kitchen now that the kiddos are out of school.  How many weeks of summer again? However, we do have to eat, so I have been squeaking in a few meals here and there. 
Last summer, on the way to Lake Powell we stopped in Kanab for dinner. We ate a little place that I can't remember the name, but it had 3 bears in the title. It was so good! I had chicken pot pie soup in a homemade bread bowl. It has taken me until the next summer to try my own chicken pot pie soup (the bread bowl will come some day).
Chicken Pot Pie soup doesn't sound right in the summer, it sounds very wintry. However, good food is welcome in my home all year round.

Now the key to any good chicken soup is a good broth, and good broth does not come out of can. Sorry. So skip that boneless skinless crap and get yourself a whole chicken. Turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Rinse the chicken inside and out and take out the innards if they came with the chicken. Pat dry. Put it in your biggest roasting pan that you will be able to use on the stove to hold the soup. Drizzle with olive oil and brush it with a pastry brush all over so it is evenly coated.  Now salt and pepper the crap out of it.
Place it in the oven uncovered for about 45 minutes until it is nice and browned. Pull it out and add the following.
Sprinkle of thyme
Sprinkle of Sage
2-3 garlic cloves minced
5-6 bay leaves
spoonful of chicken base
3-4 cups of water

Put the lid on and return to the oven and roast for 2-3 hours at 300 degrees. When the chicken is falling off the bone, remove chicken from the broth and let the broth boil on the stove. De- bone the chicken putting all the bones and skin back into the broth while it boils. Let the broth boil with the bones for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up
potatoes (about 2 medium)
carrots (about 4)
celery (3 stalks)
1 medium onion

Also meanwhile, make Lori's no fail pie crust Now this recipe will make more pie crust than you need, but the recipe doesn't "half" very good, so either freeze the rest or make a pie and bring it to me. Raspberry Rhubarb please.   
Roll the dough out flat just like you would to make a pie (about half the dough), and place it on a cookie sheet and bake according to recipe until golden brown. You don't need to poke with a fork. But you do need to give it a egg wash, don't use the same pastry brush that you brushed the raw chicken with, you people are disgusting.
Now that your broth has boiled for thirty minutes, pour it through a strainer into a bowl (if you have one of the fat separators, use it, I did. It will make you soup lighter and you really don't need the fat).

Now bring your pot back to the stove and heat about 1 T of olive oil in the pot. Add the onions to saute, followed by the carrots, celery and potatoes. Saute just enough to allow the veggies to release their aromas. Now add the stock back in the pot. It might not be enough liquid, so add some water or canned chicken broth. Taste the broth if it is too salty, add water, if it needs more, add canned chicken broth.
Cover and simmer the veggies until they are tender. Chop up the chicken and add to the soup. Add a couple handfuls of frozen sweet corn. Add a handful of fresh chopped parsley (I used dried, curse you Walmart for luring me with your "one stop shopping" and being out of something I need! you do it to me every time!) Continue to simmer till the chicken is warmed and the corn is cooked. Taste it, how is the seasoning? 
Add the pie crust to individual bowls just before serving. This makes a ton of soup.