Monday, October 3, 2011

New York Apple Cider Donuts

I had hoped to show you a big plate of these donuts, which I made on Saturday morning, but after the entire family was here this past weekend and breakfast was done this morning, there was one lone donut left to photograph.  These are so tasty - I am sure your batch will disappear just as quickly.

New York Apple Cider Donuts

1 c. cider

1 c. sugar
1/4 c shortening

2 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk

3 1/2 c. flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
Shortening or vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 c of cinnamon/sugar mixture
Place cider in small pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer and reduce until it equals 1/4 c.  Cool slightly.

In heavy large metal pan, heat enough oil to allow donuts plenty of room.  Heat to 375 and try to maintain that heat throughout the cooking process. Using a candy thermometer can help you maintain the correct temperature.  Too low a temp will result in dense, greasy donuts.

Beat together sugar and shortening.  Add eggs, milk and cider and mix just until blended.  Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients.  Stir in extra flour by hand if necessary and turn out onto a floured surface and pat to 1/2 inch thickness.  Try not to handle the dough too much, as doing so will make it tough.   It will be a light dough...not like bread dough or biscuit dough.   

Using donut cutter, cut out donuts and holes and re-work any remaining dough until you have used it all.  I like to work in small batches and place the cut donuts directly into the hot oil as I cut them.   You can cut all of them out at once if you prefer and place on a floured board until you are ready to fry.

Fry about 4 minutes, turning half way through cooking time.  Be careful not to burn yourself or drip hot oil on stove.  After frying, place them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet and cool for about 4 minutes.  Put your cinnamon/sugar mixture into a large bowl.  Place slightly cooled donuts into mixture and toss to coat.  Remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.  The cinnamon/sugar mixture sticks much better when the donuts are still slightly warm...don't wait to coat them.   After the coated donuts are completely cooled, store in an air-tight container.  

These donuts are quick and easy and can be enjoyed anytime with a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or apple cider.  Yummmm


The Crow's Nest

Stuffed Green Peppers

Fall is certainly here in Central New York, and many are scrambling to harvest the last of the garden produce before the first frost.  Here is a great recipe for using up all those green peppers you have.  

Stuffed Green Peppers

6 Large green peppers
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1    16 oz can of diced tomatoes 
1/2 c long grain rice (uncooked)
1/2 c water
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper
1 c shredded american or cheddar cheese 
3 slices of American cheese

Cut tops from the peppers and discard seeds and insides.  Wash and place prepared peppers in a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.   Chop enough of the tops to make 1/4 cup and set aside.

In a pot, cook the ground beef, onion and chopped pepper until meat is browned and veggies are tender.  Drain off any excess fat and return to heat.  Add UNdrained tomatoes, uncooked rice, water, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Stir in the shredded cheese.

Spoon meat/rice mixture into individual peppers.  Place 1 cup of water into the bottom of the 9 x 13 baking dish and cover dish loosely with foil.   Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are cooked.  Remove from oven and set on stovetop.  Unwrap the three slices of American cheese and break each in half.   Place one half on each of the 6 peppers and return dish to oven just to melt the cheese.  Serve immediately.
I used a combination of Cheddar & American cheese on the top

Note:  You can also make these ahead of time and freeze whole/stuffed peppers individually before cooking.  When you are ready to bake, simply place frozen peppers in a baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray, and add water as indicated above.  You will have to bake for about a hour, as they will be frozen.

Enjoy - from the Crow's Nest

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Beef Fillets

Bacon Wrapped Beef Fillets

This is a relatively quick and easy meal that is quite elegant and oh so good.  You can use prepared bacon wrapped fillets from your market or make your own by cutting beef medallions from a nice sirloin steak and wrapping them in bacon.  This recipe makes enough for 4 fillets.

4 bacon wrapped fillets from your market
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 medium can of beef broth
1 cup of red cooking wine
fresh or dried thyme leaves
1 pkg baby bella mushrooms (optional), sliced

Heat an ovenproof skillet over high heat, and add a couple tablespoons of oil...quickly sear the fillets on each side and place the skillet in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking the fillets (or until desired doneness).  Remove fillets from pan onto a serving platter with sides and let rest, covered.
Place skillet back on heat and cook the onion in remaining oil until translucent.  Add the beef broth, wine and fresh thyme.  Heat on high and reduce by 1/2.  If you are adding mushrooms to your sauce, slice and place them in reducing broth about 5 minutes before you are ready to serve.   Remove any big sprigs of thyme and pour this sauce over the fillets.  
Serve immediately.

These fillets are great served with baked or twice baked potatoes and a green veggie.  Hope you enjoy!

The Crow's Nest

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apple-Cinnamon Waffles

Apple-Cinnamon Belgian Waffles

The recipe is a great alternative to plain old waffles, but it uses many of the same ingredients. It is very tasty and great served with pork sausage patties or links.

2 c flour
pinch of salt
1 T baking powder
1 tsp (or more) ground cinnamon
3 T sugar
1 large apple (Granny Smith or tart apple), peeled and grated

3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 c milk (skim is fine if you are watching your calories)

In medium bowl, blend first 6 ingredients.  Toss apple in mixture so it doesn't brown.  Set aside.

  In large measuring cup, measure the 1 c milk, then add the 1/2 c of oil.  Beat the 3 eggs into this mixture.  Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined - do not over mix.  You may thin the batter with a bit more milk if it is too thick.  Let batter sit for 20 minutes if possible.

Preheat your waffle iron and when hot, spray with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Add large scoop of mixture to the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with sausage patties or links, fresh berries, pats of butter or perhaps a dollop of applesauce.
Don't forget the pure New York State maple syrup
Mmmm....go ahead and lick the plate!

Why not enjoy these yummy waffles for breakfast or as a quick and easy dinner.  They are good anytime!

The Crow's Nest

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Warm & Tasty Chili

Homemade Chili

There's nothing very special about this recipe, except that time after time, it is gobbled up by our family and friends.  I fixed this just last Sunday for our first weekend of football get-togethers, and there was only one bowl left.  This recipe makes enough to fill a BIG crockpot.

2 lbs ground beef (I also use 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey)
One large onion, chopped
One large green pepper, chopped (you may also use colored peppers)
1 large can of diced tomatoes  (28-32 oz)
2 large cans of tomato sauce (28-32 oz)
3 cans of chili beans (14 oz) washed and drained (I like to mix dark, light and white chili beans for variety)
5 T chili powder (or more to taste)

In very large pot, brown the meat, onions and peppers.  Drain off any excess fat and return to stove top.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1/2 hour.  Place in a large crockpot and serve with any or all of the following.

shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
tortilla or corn chips

For those of you wondering....the football picks provided by The Moose Lodge are not indicative of nor do they represent the picks of the Crow's

The Crow's Nest

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

In the spirit of the season, here is a little fun.  First a Garden Fresh Salsa, followed by my season picks.

Garden Fresh Salsa
This is a very simple recipe for a fresh salsa.  It will certainly keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but doesn't have the shelf life of a canned salsa.

4 tomatoes diced
1 small onion diced
3 jalapenos diced (the ones from our garden were kinda small)
1 chili pepper diced
1 clove garlic minced
juice from half a lime
4-5 sprigs of parsley chopped
salt to taste

Cut up the ingredients and combine.  Simple as that!  Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.  The salsa is a bit hot but it is a burn that builds slowly.  Don't put as many of the peppers in to reduce the heat, or if you want it extra spicy throw in a habanero!

2011-2012 NFL Picks

AFC East                                             NFC East
New England Patriots 12-4                    Philadelphia Eagles 13-3
New York Jets 9-7                                Dallas Cowboys 7-9
Miami Dolphins 6-10                             New York Giants 6-10
Buffalo Bills 6-10                                   Washington Redskins 6-10

AFC South                                           NFC South
Houston Texans 10-6                            New Orleans Saints 11-5
Indianapolis Colts 8-8                           Atlanta Falcons 11-5
Tennessee Titans 7-9                             Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7
Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10                      Carolina Panthers 2-14

AFC West                                            NFC West
San Diego Chargers 11-5                      St. Louis Rams 8-8
Oakland Raiders 7-9                             Arizona Cardinals 7-9
Kansas City Chiefs 6-10                       San Francisco 49rs 7-9
Denver Broncos 5-11                           Seattle Seahawks 6-10

AFC North                                          NFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3                        Green Bay Packers 13-3
Baltimore Ravens 12-4                         Chicago Bears 9-7
Cleveland Browns 9-7                          Detroit Lions 7-9
Cincinnati Bengals 3-13                        Minnesota Vikings 5-11
AFC Playoffs                                   NFC Playoffs                      
Wildcard Round                                Wildcard Round
(3) Houston                                         (3) New Orleans
(6) Cleveland                                       (6) Chicago

(4) San Diego                                      (4) St. Louis
(5) Baltimore                                       (5) Atlanta

Division Round                                 Division Round
(1) Pittsburgh                                      (1) Green Bay
(3) Houston                                        (3) New Orleans

(2) New England                                (2) Philadelphia
(4) San Diego                                     (4) St. Louis

Championship Round                      Championship Round
(1) Pittsburgh                                     (1) Green Bay
(4) San Diego                                    (2) Philadelphia

NFC - Philadelphia Eagles
AFC - Pittsburgh Steelers

Not the most exciting pick, unless you live in Pennsylvania, but Pittsburgh's defense should be nasty and Roethlisberger always seems to do just enough to get them the win.  I am going to buy into the Eagles hype and assume with all the weapons they have they make it to the big game.  Once there, their all-star secondary should make passing difficult at best for the Steelers making them rely on the run game.  With all their weapons on offense, Philadelphia will score enough to come out on top!  Time will tell!

~ The Moose Lodge

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sultan's Pleasure with Chicken

A long time ago the Moose's Lodge decided it would be a fun tradition to pick a random place each Friday and cook a dish from that place.  Well we certainly haven't done it every Friday, but periodically we do manage.  So here is one that we loved and have gone back to a couple of times now. 

From Turkey:  Sultan's Pleasure with Chicken  (should be with turkey considering!)

Ingredients:  Serves 2 - 3
Chicken & Vegetables
2 small chicken breasts cut into cubes.
2 T butter
2-3 green onions chopped
1-2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cabenelle pepper chopped (we have added a jalapeno for additional spice)
1 large tomato chopped
1 C chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste

Eggplant Mash
1 large eggplant
3 C water mixed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp of salt
3 T butter
2 T flour
1 C milk
2 T mozzarella cheese grated
salt & pepper to taste


Eggplant Mash (broil the eggplant prior to starting the chicken & vegetables)
1. Turn the oven onto broil.
2. Poke holes into the eggplant (so it doesn't blow up!)
3. Place on tray and broil/roast for 25 - 35 minutes (or until soft)
4. Remove from oven, cut off ends, peel off skin (should come off easily)
5. Soak the eggplant in large bowl with water, lemon, salt mixture for a few minutes.
6. While the eggplant is soaking, melt butter, then add flour, salt, and pepper to create a roux.
7. Remove eggplant from soak and squeeze excess liquid out with hands.
8. Add eggplant to roux and mash eggplant slowly.
9. Add milk and beat until smooth with no chunks of eggplant. (add extra mozzarella here if you want a richer creamier dish)

Chicken & Vegetables
1. Saute the chicken in the butter.
2. Once cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. Lower the heat and cover with a lid cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes.

1. Place eggplant mash in a bowl
2. Scoop chicken & vegetable mixture over the mash.
3. Garnish with grated mozzarella

Afiyet olsun! (Bon Appetit in Turkish)

~ The Moose Lodge

Whole Wheat Rolls

If you have never ventured into bread making before - give these a try!
Our sons love these rolls...they are so good, it's hard to eat just one, or two...or three!
Pair them with my Brunswick Stew for a wholesome meal!
Whole Wheat Rolls

1 T yeast
1 c warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1/2 c quick cooking oatmeal
1/3 c honey
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c wheat germ
2 eggs
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c regular bread flour
pinch of salt

In large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, salt and 1 cup of whole wheat flour with a whisk.  Add to this the oatmeal, brown sugar and wheat germ.  Set aside dry ingredients.  Heat milk and honey together in small pan, being careful not to over heat, as it will kill the yeast if it is too hot.  A candy thermometer will help you to reach the desired temperature.  Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat for two minutes.  Gradually add the remaining 1 c whole wheat and 1 c of bread flour.  You will need to stir by hand towards the end, as this dough will be too stiff for the mixer.  

Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead the dough until smooth and elastic.  You may have to add additional flour during this kneading process.  Set the finished dough into a lightly greased bowl and let rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes.  Punch down dough and tear off about 2-3 tablespoons worth of dough and roll into a ball.  Place into a large round greased pan.  Repeat with remaining dough, placing the balls about 1/2 inch apart in the pan to allow for expansion.   You may top the rolls with additional wheat germ at this point if desired.   Let rise until nearly doubled in size and bake in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes Turn out onto cooling rack immediately and serve warm.

I hope you enjoy these tasty rolls...I got pretty hungry while typing the recipe...just thinking about how delicious these are.

The Crow's Nest

Brunswick Stew

Although the name says Stew, this hearty dish is more like a soup.  It's a perfect way to use up chicken left over from that roast chicken you made over the weekend.  If you have had a busy day, stop by the store for one of those cheap rotisserie chicken....either way, you'll end up with a tasty dish sure to warm up the hearts and bodies of your loved ones on these cool Fall nights.

Brunswick Stew

2 c. cubed potatoes (you may use any kind you wish)
1 c. thinly sliced yellow onion
1 - 14 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 large cans or 2 boxes of chicken broth
6 slices of bacon, uncooked, cut into chunks
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
1/2 t paprika (you may also use smoked paprika if you have it)
1/2 t kosher or sea salt
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 c frozen baby lima beans
2 c frozen corn

In dutch oven or large cooking pot, combine the first 8 ingredients and cook over medium heat.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in corn and lima beans and simmer an additional 15 minutes.  Serve piping hot in large bowls....mmmmmm Tasty

Paired with my Whole Wheat Rolls, this menu is a healthy and tasty alternative to the traditional beef stew.

Bon Appetit

The Crow's Nest

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apple Smoked Pork Ribs

These ribs are one of my favorite things to grill.  They do take a bit of time, but that is half the fun!  Additionally, this is a pretty forgiving process with a lot of room for variation.

1 Rack of Pork Spareribs
Generous Amount of Dry Rub (see below for recipe) or use a premade one.
1 Can or Bottle of Beer
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is what we use)
Brown Sugar
Apple Juice


Dry Rub:
3 T Paprika2 T Brown Sugar
1 T Garlic Powder
1 T Onion Powder
1 t Salt
1 t Pepper

Combine these ingredients in a small container using a fork.  You can play around with amounts to suit your needs and may consider adding cayenne pepper for a bit of spice.  If you have extra left over store it with your other spices for use later as long as you don't contaminate it with the meat.

Rib Preparation:
1. Remove the thin membrane from the underside of the ribs.  It is said to give off a bitter taste, but at the very least with it removed you won't have to fight through it when you eat!  Getting this started can be difficult, but once you do it should peel off relatively easily.
2. Next rinse the ribs in cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
3. Apply the rub generously to the ribs and pat it into the meat.  Do this to both sides and to the ends of the ribs.
4. Refrigerate the ribs for at least an hour.  (I usually do this for several hours or overnight, but it is not imperative that you do so.)

Cooking the Ribs:
1. 3-4 hours before you plan to serve your meal, you will want to heat the oven to 275 and cook for at least an hour.  Usually I place the ribs on a foil lined cookie sheet.  I fold the foil up at the sides to make a basin to pour the can of beer in.  I then place another sheet over the top to lock in the moisture.  You could use a roasting pan too.  Cook the ribs an hour.
2. About twenty minutes before the ribs are done with the oven start your charcoal.
3. While you get your charcoal started put your wood chips, chunks, or shavings in water to soak.  (I use apple wood chips I bought at Wal-Mart or shavings from apple branches.)
4. Once your charcoal is set you will want to arrange in on one half of the grill and place one of those cheap disposable deep aluminum pans on the other half of the grill.
5. When arranging the coals I try to make a depression in the stack for the smoke box.  (You can use a smoke box designed just for this purpose ($10 at Wal-Mart) or just make a foil packet for your wood chips with holes punched in it to let out the smoke.)
6. Before transferring the ribs to the grill remove them from the oven and slather the bbq sauce all over the top of them.  (I leave them right on the foil and in the juices for this, save these juices, you need them later.)
7. Next pack generous amounts of brown sugar onto the ribs and let it soak into the sauce.  (I usually do this with a fork until the sugar appears to melt into the sauce.)
8.  Back to the grill, put your smoke box and chips or foil packet and chips onto the coals.
9. Next transfer the ribs onto the grill placing them not over the coals, but over the pan opposite the coals.  This will allow you to cook slowly with indirect heat.
10. Pour the juices from the oven cooking into the pan beneath the ribs.  Add water, more beer, or apple juice to bring the level up a bit.  This gives the meat a place to drip but also keeps it moist and adds flavor back into the meat.
11. Close the grill and orient the slots in the cover so they are above the meat and opposite the coals.  This will draw the smoke over the meat before it leaves the grill.  Be sure to open the slots slightly to get the air flowing.  (You may need to adjust the inflow slots at the bottom of your grill also.)
12. Cook the ribs here, without turning, for at least another hour.  At this point they should certainly be cooked through.  However, I would recommend cooking for more like 2 or 3 hours.  (I am planning to cook them closer to 3 hours next time to see if I can get a little more caramelization on the surface of the meat)  You do not need to turn them at all.
13. About 5 to 10 minutes before they are finished, spray a mist of apple juice over them and let them finish cooking. (This isn't vital but adds a nice touch.)
14. Once they have finished, remove them from the grill and let them stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

A Few Thoughts
- Once you have them on the grill they don't require much attention, just check periodically to make sure your fire isn't too hot and they aren't burning.
- The slight blackening is the caramelization which is full of the smokey grill flavor. 
- Again, this recipe is not an exact science and everything from making the rub to the time you cook them is up to you so long as the obvious is achieved, that they are fully cooked and that they taste great.
- I am still experimenting, but the above recipe has produced some darn good ribs!
- They are great with the usual suspects of summer like potato salad, but I would also recommend a Corn and Black Bean Salad that I will add to the blog the next time I make it and a picture is available.


~ The Moose Lodge

* Next from the Moose Lodge:  Sultan's Pleasure w/ Chicken a delicious Turkish dishCheck back soon!*