Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


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Pickle Success!

I haven’t talked about our lacto-fermentation in a while.  We have still been working on a number of projects.  Check out the pickles!
4 little cukes in a jar:
Covered in salt, dill, mustard seed, and whey:
We covered it with filtered water and waited about a week.  
It worked!  They were definitely pickled, although I need to adjust the seasonings a bit.
This post was shared with Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop!


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Bacon and Onions (Oh yeah…. and liver!)

We did it.  We took the plunge.  I cooked liver for dinner.  
I know, I know… you are incredulous.  You can’t believe that 
a) I actually ate liver and made John eat it 
or
b) I haven’t made liver before last night.
In the interest of full disclousure, I HAVE cooked liver before.  Let me rephrase… I ATTEMPTED to cook liver before.  It was a gross mess.  We couldn’t even finish the meal.  Luckily, this time was different.  This time was DELICIOUS!
I started out with bacon.  LOTS of bacon.  A whole PACKAGE of bacon.  
While that cooked, I grabbed some onions.  They were in our awesome new onion-holder-thingie.  We bought it while we were on vacation, and John stained and finished it.  Go John!
I peeled 6 medium-sized onions and sliced them in the food processor.
By that time, there was quite a bit of bacon grease in the pan.  I poured most of it out and reserved it for later. 
The onions went into the pan with the semi-cooked bacon and some butter. 
While THAT cooked, I chopped up some garlic and threw it in.  
All those ingredients cooked up a storm.  In the meantime, I sliced up the chicken livers reallllllllyyyyy thinly. 
Once I had a bowlful, I covered them in water and added some lemon juice.  I read in a few places that doing that helps mellow the liver-ey taste (as opposed to the livery taste, which is something else entirely).  
As that soaked, I removed the onions from the pan and chopped the bacon into small pieces. 
The bacon went back in until it was crispayyy.
By this time, the liver had soaked for a while.  I drained it, dried it off, and coated it with flour.
The bacon grease and some butter went into the pan to melt.
That delicious-ness was the perfect medium for cooking the liver!
The liver only cooked for a few minutes.  When it was nearly done, I added back in the bacon, onions, and garlic.  They hung out all together juuuuust long enough to cook through.
While all this was going on, John cooked up some elbow macaroni to serve it over.  
It.  Was.  Delicious.  I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was.  The little liver pieces blended in to the bacon-y goodness.  It is a great way to ease into liver.  John really liked it, too!

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop, The Hearth and Soul BloghopMiz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday, Fight Back Friday with Food Renegade, and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS!


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Easter Eve Breakfast

In our house, I cook during the week (except for the nights I work late) and John cooks on the weekend.  He is especially good at whipping up weekend breakfasts.  That is a good thing, because by Saturday morning, I am too exhausted to even crack an egg.  This past weekend, he made a simple feast that was SO good I had to share.  
Runny fried eggs cooked in bacon grease, crusty bread toasted with sausage grease, bacon, and strawberries. 
I’ll tell you the secret ingredient to his yummy eggs, but you have to PROMISE not to tell!  He sprinkles the eggs with salt and CINNAMON!

This post was featured on “Let’s Do Brunch” with the 21st century housewife and The Pennywise Platter with the Nourishing Gourmet!


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Sweet Easter Treat

Happy Monday!  I hope you all enjoyed a nice long (delicious) Easter weekend.  Today, I am going to be sharing one of the delicious sweet treats I made for our Easter dessert: 
This recipe comes from Kitchen Simplicity.    Feel free to click on over there for the official recipe. 
To start, I melted down some white chocolate chips with butter and raw milk cream.
I stirred it and stirred it and stirred it, until eventually it melted. Once that happened, I mixed in lemon extract and a pinch of salt.
After that was all mixed together, I stuck it into the fridge to cool.  After about 2-3 hours, it was ready to be rolled into truffles.  
Once it was rolled (like teeny tiny meatball), it was dunked into powdered sugar. 
Each one was set on a baking sheet and stuck into the fridge to solidify. 
Then, of course, I forgot to take a picture.  I was so busy setting it up in the basket and decorating it that I forgot.  So, excuse the quality of the camera-phone photos.  
 They are delightfully lemon-y and quite rich.  The best part? They are super easy to make and can be made in advance (as long as you keep it in the fridge). 

This post was featured on Tasty Tuesday with 33 Shades of Green!


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Vodka Sauce and Table-Scapes

So… This week I created my first “tablescape.”  Our dining room table has been naked since we moved in, and on Monday I was inspired to change that.  
Blue and white checker table cloth, white napkins, Crate-and-Barrel bowls, and simple wine glasses.  My favorite part is the centerpiece.  
We picked up this blue pitcher at a garage sale a few years back.  I went outside and snipped some forsythia from the huge, overgrown bushes in our yard.  It is the perfect touch!
Moving on to the food, which is why you are all here, of course.  
Vodka Sauce.  
The last time I made this recipe, I was in high school.  It was late at night and my best friend Kristie and I decided to make vodka sauce.  I think we were the only kids that sneaked liquor, not to drink, but to cook with.  Anyway, it was a disaster.  The original recipe called for canned tomatoes, which of course, we didn’t have.  We took cherry tomatoes and tried to mush them up.  That didn’t work, they just exploded everywhere.  Then, it seemed that I wrote the recipe down incorrectly.  The vodka measurement I wrote down was 2/c cup.  When we make it, we put in 2 cups.  FYI, that is a flammable amount of vodka.  The stove went up in flames.  Oops.  
Now, a decade later, I decided to re-attempt that very recipe.  
First, I melted down 2 tablespoons of butter.  Then, I had to figure out what 2/c cup was.  I settled on 1/2 cup.  
The rest of the recipe was easy.  I added in my tomato sauce and raw milk cream. 
I mixed it all together and added some salt. 
It was so yummy!  I poured it into a jar, and it is waiting to me mixed with rigatoni and peas!
…and don’t worry, the cream in the measuring cup didn’t go to waste.


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Lemon Risotto with Roasted Broccoli

When I posted my meal plan on Monday, I mentioned that Monday was going to be risotto with roasted broccoli/asparagus/carrots.  It turned into lemon risotto with roasted broccoli.  Why?  Because roasted broccoli makes everything delicious.  
The risotto was based on Giada’s Lemon Risotto.  
First, I brought a quart of chicken stock and 1/4 cup of lemon juice to a boil, and then reduced it to a simmer. 
While that was going on, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in another pot.  
When it was melted, I sauteed some chopped up onions until they were nice and soft.
Then, I stirred in 1.5 cups of Arborio rice.
I added in 1/2 cup of lemon juice and stirred until it was absorbed.  During this step, I added in my secret ingredient.

What is it?  The rinds of Parmesan Cheese.  I add it to the pot while the rice cooks and it makes it SO creamy and delicious!

Then came the part that people hate about making risotto.  I stirred in the chicken stock/lemon juice mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.  
After about 20 minutes, it was rich and creamy.
While all of this stirring was going on, I roasted broccoli with a little olive oil and salt at 400*.
The finished product?


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Spinach Baked Ziti

I had forgotten how much I liked baked ziti.  Now, I remember!
First, I cooked up a box of macaroni.  While that was cooking, I sauteed some garlic and spinach in butter.  
When it was all wilted, and the macaroni was cooked (a little undercooked on purpose) I put it all into a baking dish.
On top, I added my tomato sauce and some raw milk ricotta. 
I mixed it all together and stuck it in the oven.
I baked it at 350* for a while, and then broiled it to get the top nice and dark. As a finishing touch, I grated parmesan cheese on top!
It was so quick and easy!  I HAVE to remember to make this more often. 

This post was featured on the Hearth and Soup Hop!


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Monday Meal Plan

I haven’t posted a meal plan in a while.  Actually, I don’t think I have ever posted one on this blog.  Well, that needs to change because I need some more accountability.  
So, here we go!
Monday-Risotto with roasted broccoli/asparagus/carrots
Tuesday-Potato-Bacon Cake!
Wednesday-Teriyaki chicken and veggie fried rice
Thursday-John cooks
Friday-Rigatoni Vodka with peas
Yayy!


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Garden Sneak Peek: Herbs

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in NJ.  I took full advantage of it, spending my morning outside tidying up.  My camera just so happened to come outside with me, and I snapped a few shots so I could share our garden with you!
The herb pots.
The herb pots contain:
3 kind of basil (regular, purple, and lemon)…
Oregano…
Rosemary…
Curly Parsley…
 Aloe…
 Horseradish…
 and the lettuce bowl.  This has some pathetic seedlings we grew, arugula, and butter lettuce.
All of the potted plants (aside from the puny seedlings) were purchased while we were on vacation.  Near the seedlings is our garlic plot.  John grew this from other garlics. 
They are huge!
I managed a mini-harvest today while I was poking around.  
By type?  Basils, oregano, and parsley…
Butter lettuce.
The lettuce became my lunch, along with a tomato, some blueberries, and John’s hummus.
Before I go, here are a few other shots from the garden… Enjoy!


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Mini-Vaca… Where We Stayed

While we were in the Lancaster area, we stayed at a bed and breakfast called Lititz House.  It was DEFINITELY the best one we have ever stayed at, and we typically choose a B & B whenever we travel.  The people were nice, the food was delicious, and the room was BEYOND amazing. 
Speaking of food, the first breakfast we had was incredible.  I was KICKING myself for not bringing my camera, but it was so tasty that I couldn’t tear myself away to go upstairs and get my camera.  In addition to the breakfast appetizers (every breakfast started with a baked treat along with fresh fruit!), the first meal was this baked egg thing.  I don’t remember the name, and I have to e-mail them and grab the recipe.  Heidi (one of the innkeepers) said that it was deceptively easy.  It was kind of like a personal frittata, but with bread somehow mixed in.  When I get the recipe and make it, I will post about it.  Some of the other yummies they served included baked apples with cinnamon over ice cream and lightly seasoned and sweetened bacon that made John’s eyes light up.  
The other element that made our stay special?  The innkeepers.  John and Heidi were so warm and friendly!  They really made us feel at home.  We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast chats with them, and getting to know a little bit about them, their family, and the quaint town of Lititz.  Through their kind suggestion we headed off to a great nursery in the area and purchased enough plants to fill the backseat of our car!  Whenever we look our our newly planted border, or our new potted herbs, or our veggies, we think of them.  They also pointed us in the direction of a great place to pick up produce before we left for home and a market in Lancaster itself where we stocked up on meat and poultry products.  
When we left Lititz House, our cooler was FULL of good food… a chicken, chicken bones, ground beef, liver, marrow bones, fruits and veggies galore, and (after a visit to Zoe!) 4 dozen eggs.  Since it was so stuffed, we didn’t realize until we got home that we left the cheese we bought at the little shop in town in the B & B fridge!  Luckily, John and Heidi found it and are working with the store to ship it out to us.  If that isn’t proof that they are exceptional, I don’t know what is.  We were both so upset that we forgot it, but figured it was a lost cause.  When they e-mailed us, it made our week!  
Our trip would have been quite different if we stayed at another B & B, at least in my opinion.  We definitely made the right choice!