Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lentil and Rice Pilaf

This is a good meatless week-night meal. Pretty easy to put together, filling and healthy. Lentils are high in protein, heart healthy fiber, B vitamins and other minerals. I have noticed others serve this dish with a yogurt sauce on top which is something I should try sometime. I just serve this with a bunch of vegetables and call it good.


Makes 10 or more servings
  • 1 cups brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • toasted walnuts


1. Fill a medium size sauce pan with water and add lentils and boil uncovered for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and garlic and cook for one minute. Then add the onion, carrots, celery and the rest of the spices and saute until the onions are tender. Add the rice and cook until the rice is slightly toasted.

3. Add the lentils to the dutch oven and add 4 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Serve as a side dish or main dish with vegetables and with toasted walnuts on top.

Recipe by me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jalapeno Jelly

My bagels turned out well but they were eaten too quickly so I did not get any pictures. So I decided to go ahead and try making my own jalapeno jelly and post that this week. Since we went through one jar in no time after smoking the salmon; and a small jar ranges from 5-7 dollars I decided that It would also be cost effective for me to make my own. I am sure there will be much more smoked salmon in our future too( the coho are following the pinks). The cream cheese, jalapeno jelly, and smoked salmon is just an awesome combo. It is so good!!!


Yields approximately 6 1/2-pint jars.

  • 13 large jalapeno peppers
  • 2 medium red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I used orange)
  • 1/3 cups lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar (white or cider, I used cider)
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches of Certo brand, ONLY USE CERTO brand other do not work well I hear)
  • Red, green or orange food coloring, optional (I choose to not use food coloring because I wanted the jelly to be all natural and I personally think the red and green jelly looks a little scary and it reminds me of maraschino cherries which I hate!).


1. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES!! IF you don't your hands will burn for days and be careful to not touch any part of your body while handling the jalapenos. Wash and remove the stem of all 13 jalapenos; discard stems. Place 7 of the whole jalapenos in a food processor.

2. Remove the stems and seeds of the bell peppers. Chop into large pieces and add to the food processor.

3. Process the pepper mixtures until pureed.

4. Removed the seeds from the remaining 6 jalapenos and finely dice and set aside.

5. Add the pureed pepper mixture to a large sauce pan and add the lemon juice and vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the pepper mixture from heat and strain using cheese cloths or coffee filters. You should have a little over 1 cup of liquid.

7. Add the liquid back to the large sauce pan and add the diced jalapeno. Add the sugar to the mixture and bring back to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the liquid pectin and bring back to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. You can add the food coloring at this point if you wish.

8. Carefully ladle jelly into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4" of head space. Wipe any spilled jelly from the jar rims. Center lids on top of jars and tighten screw bands securely. Process jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. Test seal after cooling with finger. If the middle pops up the jar is not sealed.

Recipe modified from What's Cooking America.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Smoked Salmon

The Pink Salmon run is in full force in the PNW and my husband had the opportunity to go fishing a few times in the last few weeks and brought us back a bunch of fish. The quality of the pinks are good enough to grill up but I still wanted to smoke half of it. Smoked salmon just has such an awesome flavor and is so easy to do with an electric smoker. All it takes is a little time but most of that is inactive time so its no problem.

In the past I have always stuck to the wet brine recipes in the booklet that came with the Big Chief electric smoker but this time I found a recipe for a dry brine that I decided to do. It was simple to put together and I think that it makes for a less salty end product which I like.

I can't wait to have some of this fish on a bagel with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly. The bagels are in the oven as I write this. I'm trying the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day bagels. I really hope they turn out well. Maybe that will have to be my entry for next week. This salmon is also great for making smoked salmon cream cheese dip.


  • For Dry Brine

  • 4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup non-iodized salt
  • 10-15 cloves of garlic


Press the cloves of garlic through a garlic press and in a bowl mix garlic, sugar, and salt together. In a large sealable container, add one layer of your prepared salmon chunks. The salmon should be cut to size, rinsed and all bones removed. Sprinkle a generous amount of the brine over the flesh of the salmon. Add another layer of salmon and repeat keeping flesh to flesh and skin to skin. Once all the salmon in covered place container in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Removed the fish from the container and gently rinse off the brine with water. Place the salmon on a drying rack and allow to dry for six hours. When dry, preheat your smoker and place the salmon in the smoker placing the thicker chunks on the bottom racks and the thinnest on the top. Follow manufactures instructions and add about 2-3 pans of wood chips and let the salmon dry/smoke for 6-10 hours depending on the weather and your taste. On the nice day that I smoked this salmon I used two pans of wood chips that was a mix of cherry and alder and I smoked the fish for about 7 hours.

After the salmon has been smoked, vacuum seal and freeze the extra that you don't use right away.

Recipe found from Salmon University.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Zucchini Potato Latkes

We still have tons of zucchini to use up and I was running out of ideas of what to do with it. I did a little digging and came across Zucchini Potato Latkes. They sounded perfect so I decided to give them a try for dinner. The mixture was pretty wet but the eggs kept the patties together just fine. I have never eaten or made Latkes so I can't compare them but they reminded me of a mix between homemade hashbrowns and potato pancakes that my mother always made when she had leftover mashed potatoes. I really liked them and I think they are a great use from zucchini. Another recipe I ran across recommended serving them with either sour cream or apple sauce. I happened to have freshly made apple sauce on the stove so it was perfect. I also realized that all the main components to this recipe all came from the farm this week. I had gathered the zucchini, potatoes, onion, apples and eggs from my last visit to the folks which makes this recipe even better.


  • Makes about 9-12 patties

  • 4 cups zucchini, grated (I removed the seeds before grating)
  • 2 cups white potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • olive oil


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees then mix together the zucchini, potato and onion. Whisk the eggs together and add to the vegetable/potato mixture. Mix together the flour, bread crumbs, pepper, garlic powder and salt and combine with the egg/vegetable mixture. Heat large nonstick frying pan with a little olive oil. Drop batter by spoonfuls into hot pan and fry until brown, turning to fry on the other side. Remove from fry pan and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat until all patties are browned and place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe modified from

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I wanted to put up a really healthy recipe this week but I just can't resist sharing this awesome chocolate zucchini cake. It has a lot of zucchini in it so at least it is better for you than the average cake. This cake is so moist and delicious that every time I make it I wonder why I ever make any other chocolate cake. I also think it is even more moist and amazing the next day. Right now I have been grating and freezing zucchini so I can make this all year round. This is a must try recipe.


  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour milk (add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the milk) or buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups grated zucchini (if the skin on the zucchini is thick and tough, peel before grating)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 13"x9" baking pan.

Cream the butter, oil and sugar together. Add one egg at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and the milk and stir well.

In another bowl sift together all the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and half of the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle the top of the batter with remaining chocolate chips and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe got from my mom's recipe box. We do not know the origin of the recipe.
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