Chuck Wagon Casserole

In which I put on some chaps

With these old recipes, there are occasions where the recipe is just non-specific enough that it allows for me to interpret something in a slightly different way.  Sometimes this is as easy as in the Apple Marmalade where I chose to use blood oranges instead of a regular seeded orange.  Sometimes it requires switching out types of mustard.  A lot of recipes call for the addition of prepared mustard.  I am sure that the original intention was to use basic yellow mustard.  That’s boring.  Not only do we have a friend that has a mustard fridge and has done mustard judging, but when we went to the Mustard Festival at the Mustard Museum the kids won 8 bottles of mustard from Koop’s and French’s.  Not one of those mustard’s was plain yellow.  However, in this recipe, because of the title, we had no mustard more appropriate to use than Giddy Up mustard.  I mean, right?  It fits the theme.DSCN2678As long as we are going there, let’s get a good picture of this recipe.  Imagine you are a cowboy.  You have been driving cows down the range.  You are hot, you are tired and dusty.  The sun is now setting, the cows are lowing as they eat sweet meadow grass.  You may hear the trickle of a stream.  If you weren’t bow-legged, your chaps would swish softly as you walked.  Instead, you hear a small jangle of your spurs and the wail of a harmonica as you walk to the chuck wagon.  Your tin plate is in your hand and old Cooky glops something onto it.  More than likely it’s a lot like this dish.  (Ok, probably not, I think I heard stories about the amount of beans that were eaten, but just go with it for the sake of the story.)

This rice-based casserole sort of reminds me of something like chili.  The molasses provides a deep richness.  I chopped the olives up super fine because at least one of the kids still claims to hate them and they’ve never been John’s favorite.  I found that I needed to add some water that the recipe didn’t call for in order to cook the rice all the way.  I might’ve had slightly better luck if I wasn’t still missing the lid to my Dutch oven.  I may just have to break down and buy a new one some day, but I’m not quite ready for that kind of upgrade yet.  DSCN2680The best thing about casseroles is that they are infinitely adaptable.  We might’ve added some chipotle powder to ours.  We might’ve added some ancho pepper to it.  There is a possibility that we put some cheese in it and maybe some french fried onions on top and served it with optional sour cream…For all of the additions that we might’ve made, I am still pretty sure the best choice we made was the addition of something more than plain yellow mustard.

Chuck Wagon CasseroleComing up next:  Groovy Teen Bars

Found on the Back: Young

I don’t know from whence this article came, I don’t have the full article, I have no idea where it was published.  With all of that aside, I would just like for you to pause for a moment and imagine what this young girl is going through.  Take note that in this story, there is no boyfriend offering to help her out.  This strong and determined girl feels like she has no other choice.  You can judge, you can shame, or whatever it is you feel like you have to do.  But before you do any of that, just take a glimpse of life through Mary’s eyes…Young

Deviled Hot Dogs

In which an American classic gets twisted.

I just saw a chart the other day for how hot dogs are eaten in other places.  Probably unsurprisingly to you, this recipe was not on there.  This recipe also sparked a lot of discussion about what makes something “Deviled”.  Is it the addition of mustard?  I mean, deviled eggs and deviled hot dogs have that in common.  But then I ponder about things like any “Diablo” recipe and those tend to include chilis.  Is there actual criteria when naming something “deviled” or is it just an adjective that people assign willy-nilly?DSCN2650First of all, you should know that this recipe scared us.  I had suggested to my brother that we make this recipe for his kids when they came to visit, he declined.  I had the recipe in my head, however, so I had to make it.

It’s hot dogs cooked in a cream sauce with pickle relish and onions and green pepper.  Well, we think it’s green pepper.  Technically the recipe says “gr. pepper”.  After I had added the 3 TB of green pepper, it occurred to me that it could’ve stood for “ground pepper” because it seems weird for green pepper to be measured that way, but then I remembered that in Iowa when my mom was growing up ketchup/catsup was considered spicy.  3 TB of ground pepper is a lot of black pepper for any recipe (with the exceptions being something HUGE or something like pastrami) and most of the other recipes that have “gr. pepper” make it obvious that the reference is to green pepper. DSCN2651Suprisingly, this recipe was not as bad as we thought it was going to be.  It was actually kind of good, but I think it helps that we got good hot dogs.  In hindsight, I wish we had butter toasted the buns.  It would’ve added a little crispy element.  Instead, it’s all sort of white and squashy and like the comfort food you never knew you needed.  Because we didn’t know, we served these with our normal ketchup and mustard on the table, but this is an up to your taste sort of thing.DSCN2653

For a fun variation, add cheese to the cream sauce.  It’s like a cheddarwurst.

We had a lot of sauce leftover that I secretly used in a creamy pasta dish later in the week.  Don’t tell the kids.

Deviled Hot Dogs

Applesauce Date-Nut Loaf

In which I finally get around to posting a recipe with dates in it.

Finally I am posting a recipe that includes the dates that the blog was named after.  (See About Page for further details).  It seems to me that dates have fallen out of favor as a normal ingredient except in things like energy bites.  I have so many “new” recipes that call for them, that I was excited to see a large resealable bag of them at Costco.  I have to be careful with dates since there are dried dates that are rolled in oat flour to prevent them from sticking.  DSCN2829Quick breads are great.  They are easy to make, they are easy to store.  They are delicious warmed up with butter, spread with jam, spread with cream cheese.  My kids eat them, but only if I’ve sliced the loaf for them.  John pointed out that it’s because without being sliced, he feels like the bread might have another purpose.  Then went on to say something about “It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread because when the bread is sliced you know you can eat it.” Maybe I just need to start leaving “Eat Me” signs around my kitchen like in Alice in Wonderland?

But the thing is, I get caught in the banana bread/pumpkin bread/zucchini bread loop.  There are so many other great quick breads out there.  Most of them can be made into either loaves or muffins.  Cooking time needs to be adjusted when changing pan sizes, of course. If I am deviating from the size pan specified by the recipe (usually from larger to smaller), I set the timer for the oven for 20 minutes and evaluate from that point, either with a toothpick/cake tester, or by sight as to how much more time is needed for a proper bake.   I used mini loaf pans and I think we got 3 loaves.  I have the other ones in my freezer.  They took about 45 minutes to bake.DSCN2837Appropriately the dates for this recipe came from my grandma’s house when we moved her a year ago.  They have been sitting in my freezer just waiting (along with fruit for fruitcakes, but that’ll be closer to Christmas).  The applesauce I used for this came from my apple trees.  It’s not heavily sweetened and was flavored with cinnamon, but not a lot.  It’s very much a personal preference or what you have on hand sort of thing.  You do not need to make your own applesauce for this recipe.  However, if you decide to, making applesauce is not complicated.

A couple of other things about this bread.  It is very dense and very moist.  Toast the nuts before using them.  It makes a difference.  This is another one of those recipes where whole wheat flour can be used in place of white flour.

 

 

And really, isn’t this a lovely loaf?
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Applesauce-Date Nut Loaf

Found on the Back: Spin Tiller

After years of working from home, I am starting back in an office.  There should be no interruption in blog posts for the immediate future.  My family still needs to eat, so I still need to cook.  After expressing concern that my blog would suffer, my brother suggested that he do a guest post. That will be upcoming in November (hopefully).  In the meantime, I will continue to post recipes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Bread and Butter Pickles

In which a glut of cucumbers leads me into experimentation.

Wow!  A lot of great comments on yesterday’s post.  Thank you!  I’d love to hear from anyone that has tried any of these recipes after I’ve posted them to share their experiences making them.  If you got a different result or hated something I liked, I’d love to know.  If you discovered a better way to do something, let me know that.

Now on to today’s recipe.

This is a recipe I found when I was originally putting together the cookbook for grandma’s birthday.  I had planted 4 cucumbers in my garden that year and was amazed at the number of cucumbers I got. DSCN2656I experimented with lacto-fermentation (I had one batch work and one that didn’t), I made a variety of pickles from one of my books.  I experimented with adding a chunk of horseradish and some hot peppers in with the cucumbers.  I was hoping that somewhere along the way, I would find the pickle recipe that would make all other pickle recipes seem insignificant and like a waste of cucumbers.  Not a single one of my experiments was as successful or eaten as quickly as these bread and butter pickles.  (Except for that one jar of spicy pickles that made it into a batch of dill pickle dip).  I ended up gifting a jar of these pickles to my grandma and grandpa hoping for it to trigger days of yore or something like that.  I don’t think it really worked, but they really are awesome pickles. DSCN2658You can get all fancy with these and use a crinkle cutter, but to get even slices, I usually use a mandoline. DSCN2660

Bread and Butter Pickles

4 qts sliced cucumbers
6 medium onions

Slice cucumbers (do not pare).  Add 1/3 cup salt and cover with ice cubes.  Mix thoroughly, let stand 3 hours.  Drain well.

Combine:
5 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp celery salt
2 TB mustard seed
1 ½ tsp turmeric
3 cups vinegar

Pour syrup over cucumbers.  Heat to boiling and seal in pints. (As always use safe canning practices.  If you have questions, there are great websites out there.)

 

Mystery Recipe?

In which I ask a procedural question.

This recipe looks delicious, or would if I had any idea how to make it.  Normally, the recipes that are lists of ingredients don’t bother me.  I know how to make a cake, I know how to make cookies.  These?  I don’t know if I am supposed to combine the peanut butter and condensed milk?  Do I make balls and dip them in the chocolate?  Do I combine all of the ingredients and it’s supposed to be like fudge?  Anyone?  Bueller?Scan_0073 (3)