Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


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Thai-ish Peanut Noodles

I love to make Asian food at home.  Fried rice, egg rolls, soups, you name it.  This past week I made some extra yummy peanut noodles, a nice spin on our traditional Macaroni Monday fare.  It is really quick to make, and can include all kinds of veggies, depending on what you have on hand.  Our produce bin was looking quite bare at this point, so I only used carrots and frozen peas.  No matter, it was still delish!
I gathered all the ingredients up first, to make sure I had enough of everything.
In a pan, I combined a few cloves of garlic, 1/4 t red pepper flakes, 1 T of brown sugar, and tons of ginger (I love ginger) with some butter and let the flavors heat up together.
When the pan smelled good, I added in 5 T soy sauce, 4 T rice wine vinegar, 4 T creamy peanut butter, and 1 T maple peanut butter.
As it heated up, it was all stirred together.
In the meantime, I cooked up a box of whole wheat spaghetti, and shredded up a few carrots.  They were added to the sauce, along with frozen peas.
I mixed it together and covered up the pan to defrost the peas.  When it was done?  YUM!
This post was featured at Meatless Mondays hosted by Midnight Maniac
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Leftover Bake

If you followed Munching Madness, then you already know of my penchant for re-making leftovers into something different and delicious.  If not, you will soon see. 
There was a ton of turkey leftover from my last stock-making fiasco.  In addition, I had a cup or two of brown rice waiting to be used up.  When I was cleaning out the fridge I threw them into a bowl to save room, assuming I would make something yummy with them later.  Boy, was I right!
I decided a casserole was in order.  It is cold cold cold here in NJ, and warm comforting meals are in order.  To start, I copped up a heaping cup of carrots and celery.  It went into a pan with lots-o-butter and 3 enormous cloves of garlic (chopped).
When they were starting to soften and smell good, I added chopped up parsley, salt, pepper, and about 3 T of flour. 
A little more butter was added and it was mixed together.  I probably should have let it cook a little longer, but I got impatient.
The liquid was added next.  3/4 cup stock and 1/2 cup milk went on in and the stove was turned up to medium/high.
When it came to a boil, it was mixed together with the turkey and rice in a Pyrex dish.
It was covered with some tin foil and baked at 350* for 10 minutes (until it was warm).

 HOLY COW!  I can’t even believe how yummy this was.  I would eat this all.  the.  time.  It is THAT good.  Try it!

This post was featured on Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet,  and The Hearth and Soul Hop!


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Turkey and Rice Soup

Now that you have seen the awesome bread bowls I made, here is the super easy soup that went with them! 
1.  Bring Turkey stock and brown rice to a boil in a big pot.
2.  When the rice is tender, add a bunch of turkey leftover from making stock.  
3.  Add in chopped up carrots and chopped up celery.  Other ingredients are totally allowed, but that’s all I felt like putting in.  Season as needed.
4.  Serve in a bread bowl, perhaps with John’s favorite garlic bread and a salad. 
This post was featured on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade!


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Bread Bowls!

After yesterdays flop, I wanted to give you something GREAT!  Bread bowls!
This is based completely on this recipe.  Perhaps that is why it worked so well.  
First, I dissolved 2 1/2 t of active dry yeast in 2 1/2 cups of warm/hot water (it was maybe 105*-110* degrees?) in a warmed mixer bowl.  To warm the mixer bowl, I just run a little hot water over it.  Since it is metal, it heats up pretty quickly
When it was all dissolved, I added 2 t of sea salt and 2 T of olive oil…
… and 4 cups of (whole wheat pastry) flour.

Into the stand mixer it went! 2 more cups of (unbleached white) flour were added as it mixed until it was cleaning the sides of the bowl. 

When it had a sticky dough-ey consistency, I placed it into a well-oiled bowl and let it rise.

**Trick to getting it to rise in our REALLY COLD house?  Boil water in a pot and then place the pot of water in the oven on the bottom rack.  The bowl of dough is then covered with a damp rag and put on the top rack.  The steam keeps it moist and the heat helps it rise.

I took the risen dough and separate it into 6 somewhat equal pieces.  Close enough.

I shaped each piece into a small round loaf.

The dough rose again.  I didn’t let it rise too much, but they still worked out pretty well.

While the dough was rising, the oven should have been preheating to 400*.  The little doughs went into the oven for 15 minutes while I prepared the egg wash (some egg whites left over from Eggnog making… and 1/2 a yolk.  No biggie)
After the dough had baked for 15 minutes, they were taken out and washed with egg.
Back into the oven they went for another 10 minutes or so… just until they had a nice color.  
OOOoooohhhhh, pretty!  The tops got sliced off and the inside dough-ey part was scooped out. 

 John used the tops for his famous garlic bread, and the insides will probably become stuffing.  Check out tomorrow for the soup that graced these divine bowls!


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Southern Fun!

Somehow this whole meal came together like something out of the south.  Granted, the only southern state I have ever been to is Florida, which is not exactly the stereotypical south, so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge.  Everything in this meal just SOUNDS so southern.
Black Eyed Peas, bacon, and spinach baked with a side of cornbread!  WOW!  I don’t know how it came together, but I am sure glad it did.  
The night before I made this I soaked 1 cup of black eyed peas in water with a splash of whey
In the morning, I rinsed and drained the beans, and then boiled them in fresh, salty water until they were soft.  While that was going on, I cooked up about 7 strips of nitrate free bacon, chopped unto pieces.  
 In the meantime (can you say, “multitasker?!), I got together the ingredients for the cornbread:  Cornmeal, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs.
First, 2 pastured eggs were beaten.
Next, 1.5 cups of cornmeal, 1 t baking powder, and 1/2 t sea salt were added.  
When they were well combined, 1/4 of souring milk and 1 cup of raw milk were mixed in. 
By this time, the bacon was cooked. 
I saved the bacon grease and put it into my cast iron pan.  It was about 2 T worth of grease. 
The pan then went into the oven for 5 minutes. When it was hot, I poured the excess grease into the cornbread batter, and sprinkled cornmeal onto the greasy pan.  
When the cornmeal was brown, the rest of the batter went in over it.
It baked for 25 minutes at 400*.

Looks perfect, no?
While the cornbread baked, I sauteed an onion in the pan I cooked the bacon in. 
When they were all nice and soft, I added the black eyed peas, 3 minced garlic cloves, a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes, the bacon, and 1/4 cup of turkey stock.
I let them all cook up together for a few minutes, and then transferred them to a baking dish.
It baked for an hour at 350*.  When it was done, I added a bunch of organic baby spinach, a little at a time.  It wilted into the baking dish. 
When it was all in, fresh Parmesan cheese was shredded allllll over it. 
Into the oven it went for another 15 minutes.  At that point, I broiled it for the last 5 minutes to get it nice and crispy.

The finished product?

Not bad.  At least, the casserole wasn’t bad.  The cornbread?  Not so great.  Apparently I didn’t read the recipe carefully. 
It called for:

  • 1-1/2 cups corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

I used:

  • 1.5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t sea salt

NOT AT ALL THE SAME THING!!!
They didn’t rise correctly and they were dry and flavorless.  FAIL!

Also, this meal did not reheat well.


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Cheesy Balls of Heaven

On the weekends, John gets a chance to cook more.  He is much more of an original and experimental cook than I, and that usually leads to some yumminess.  This weekend was no exception.  He invented…..
CHEESY BALLS OF HEAVEN.
No joke.  They are that good.  
He shredded up a chunk of raw cheddar cheese.  The quality of the cheese you use will impact the finished product.  
He rolled the cheese into little bite sized balls.
In 1 bowl he mixed together raw whole milk and pastured eggs.
In the other, breadcrumbs and some seasonings.  He used 1/2 panko and 1/2 whole wheat breadcrumbs.
In a small pot, he heated up some virgin coconut oil as his frying medium of choice.
As it heated, he rolled each cheesy ball in the egg/milk and then the breadcrumb mixture.
Once the coconut oil was hot, he dropped them in a few at time.
When they were brown enough, they drained.
Let me tell you.  It sounds easy (and it is, really) and boring, but this was AMAZING.  I took a bit of one and said, “WHOA!!! Little cheesy balls of HEAVEN!”  Really.  It takes a lot for me to say that.  Or say anything while shoveling food into my face, for that matter. 
Make this.  NOW.

This post was featured on Vegetarian Foodie Fridays at Breastfeeding Mom’s Unite!



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Pizza!

Another staple I like to make is pizza dough.  My stand mixer came with an awesome recipe, and although it is with white flour, I have not yet had time to tweak it.  I tried just replacing some of the white flour with wheat, but that resulted in a tough dough that didn’t mix well.  When I do perfect the whole wheat recipe, I will post it here.  
This recipe starts by letting 1 1/4 t yeast dissolve in 1 cup of water in a warm mixer bowl and then adding in 2 t olive oil.
2.5 cups of flour, 1 t sea salt go in next…
…and the whole thing is mixed together. 
I added flour as needed to get the dough to form a dough ball.
While the dough is being mixed, pour some olive oil into a bowl.
Add the dough ball and coat the dough and the bowl with said olive oil.  Cover it and let it rise.  I use a dish cloth and let it rise in the oven.  Our house hovers around 63*F during the day, so the oven is a better bet. 
Then comes the fun part!  Roll it out…
…decorate it (home made tomato sauce, oregano, and fresh mozarella balls)…
… and bake it (450 for 15 minutes)!