Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


Black Bean, Chicken, and Cilantro Soup

While summer has officially started, the weather here has been weird.  We had a few scorchers (when the frozen yogurt pops came in handy!) followed by crazy thunderstorms.  Some of them were warm, but there were some unseasonably cool days, too.  I had cilantro from our produce delivery and wasn’t quite sure what to make with it.  When I stumbled upon this recipe, it seemed perfect.  Of course, i was missing some of the ingredients, so I improvised.
I used dry beans to make this soup, so I started the prep well in advance.  I make a whole bag when I cook beans and freeze the rest for later.   Once the beans were cooked, I started on the soup itself.  After browning  onions in oil and butter, I seasoned them with cumin, garlic powder, celery salt, and red pepper flakes.  Then, I added in a pint of leftover crushed tomatoes, a pint of concentrated chicken stock and some water.
It cooked down for quite a while.  Once it was pretty thick, I added in 3 cups of black beans and 2 cups of leftover crockpot roasted chicken.
I let that cook for a little while, and then added lots of cilantro on top.
Once it was cooked up, I served it with a copious amount of shredded cheese on top.  That was my favorite part!
This post was shared with Make Your Own Monday and The Hearth and Soul Hop!


Cheesey Beaney Chili Pie

I have had this recipe saved since January and I am just now getting to it.  Does anyone else ever do that?  Every so often I really need to go through all the recipes I have marked to try and make a few!  This one was pretty easy and verrrrrry tasty.
First, I had to make chopped meat.  I put about 3/4 lb of meat in the food processor…
…and chopped it!
While it was in the food processor, I melted tallow in our cast iron skillet.
I browned the meat and set it aside.
Since the skillet still had tallow in it, I added in onions, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes.
When the onions were soft, I added the beef back in, along with 3 cups of red beans, a smidge of tomato paste, and 1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes.
When all of the flavors were combined, I added one HUGE shredded potato.
After a sprinkling of salt, I added lots and lots of shredded cheese.  I used up all of the bits and pieces of cheese that were in the fridge.
 It baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 400*, and then we threw it under the broiler to brown it up.  
I loved almost everything about it.  The only thing I would tweak would be the potatoes.  I didn’t like the way they cooked up.  I think next time I would add some fat to the potatoes so they crisped up a bit more.  All in all, I would say it was a success!

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday!


Macaroni Monday: Spinach, Shrimp, and Beans

Happy Monday!  This Macaroni Monday recipe is quick and easy.  
1.  Melt butter in pan
2.  Cook shrimp in butter and garlic
3.  Add more butter and garlic (roasted if you have any lying around)
4.  Add spinach
5.  Add beans
6.  Put shrimp back in and season as desired (I just used some sea salt and butter)
7.  Serve over macaroni (or rice… or quinoa… or anything, really) and enjoy!
This post was shared with the Hearth and Soul Hop!

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What To Do With Whey

After making ricotta cheese the other day, I was left with more than a quart of whey.  I wanted to use it, but I already had a plethora of lacto-fermented veggies, which is what I usually use it for.  After some extensive research (Google), I decided to try making bread with it.  I found a recipe that seemed hard to screw up, which was important to me after my last bread disaster. 
To start, I melted 5 T of butter in 1 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of whey. 
As it melted, I mixed together 5 cups of flour, 2 t salt, 1 T coconut palm sugar, and 4 1/2 t yeast.
When the butter was melted, I added it to the dry ingredients.
I used the stand mixer to knead it together for about 5 minutes.  Then, I shaped it into 2 funny-looking loaves.
I placed the loaves on the toaster oven, crossed my fingers, and hoped it would rise.  It did!
It baked in the oven 425* for about half an hour.  I would show you a picture, but John dug into it before I could.  It is a simple-tasting bread, but I like the idea that the whey added a little something extra.  Even if there is no nutritional value to it, I used a byproduct of cooking that would have otherwise gone to waste. 
Other things I used the whey for? 
Soaking Beans
Cooking Rice for this delish risotto!  I will share THAT with you next time.
This post was shared on Your Green Resource and Pennywise Platter Thursday!


Goat Cheese and Apple Quesadillas

I made tortillas a few days ago in preparation for our quesadilla extravaganza.  I knew I wanted mine with goat cheese.  Well, I knew I was going to have it with goat cheese because it was the only cheese in the house.  I took that idea and ran with it.  
Goat Cheese.
Thinly sliced apples. 
Onions.  I would have preferred to have them cooked, maybe even caramelized, but I didn’t think of that in advance and was NOT waiting to do it now.  I was HUUUUUNGRY!
Quesadilla Maker.
Served with red beans and rice and cortido?  Yeah, man!


My Version of Mexican Rice and Beans

I struggled with the name of this post.  This is by NO means an authentic Mexican recipe.  It is just something I threw together that is reminiscent of Mexican flavors, at least to me.  We love it, and I hope you will!
First, I sauteed onions and garlic in butter.  I really believe that anything that starts like that can’t be bad.  It just smells so good!
Next, I added rice that I cooked earlier in the week…
…and red beans I cooked up in the crockpot.
After adding in some more yummy butter, I threw in some chopped up scallions. 
Once it was all warm, it was time to season it!
The last 2 things I added in were frozen corn and chopped tomatoes.  YUM!
This post was featured on the Hearth and Soul Hop!


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

They didn’t rise correctly and they were dry and flavorless.  FAIL!

Also, this meal did not reheat well.

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Crock Pot Collard Bean Stew

I feel like I need to come clean with you.  I haven’t meal planned in weeks.  Therefore, my cooking has been haphazard at best, and it feels like work.  Hopefully, I will get it all together soon.  The reason I am sharing this is because this meal could have been so much better and more complete had I planned it in advance.  In all fairness, however, this meal probably wouldn’t have happened at all had I planned.  Let me explain.
I had a slew of collard greens in my fridge from our produce delivery service.  They had been in there for over a week, and really needed to get used up.  I was Googling recipes for it, and they all were cooked with either a ham hock or bacon, neither of which I had.  (On another note, don’t you love the new trend to make nouns verbs?  Texting, Googling, etc.).  Eventually I saw one for a Cannellini Soup that used them.  It was also in the crockpot.  WIN!
I started by chopping up an onion, 4 celery stalks, 1/2 a small head of garlic, and 2 carrots and throwing them in the crockpot with a thick pat of butter.  
I thought my crockpot was stovetop safe, so I cooked them up on the stove top. 
When the onions were translucent and everything smelled good, I added in 3 cups of beans.  I had 2.5 cups of 16 bean soup mix, and .5 cups of Red Kidney Beans to finish it off.
Then 6 cups of Turkey Stock, 1 cup of white wine, and 3 cups of water went into the mix, along with some thyme, sage, and oregano.  Lots of Sea Salt, too!
Now at this point, there was quite a bit of liquid dripping onto my stove, but silly me, I assumed it was just condensation.  Into the crockpot it went.  In the meantime, I chopped up the collards.
I cooked it all day on low (without the collards) while I was at work.  Before I left, I noticed that the actual Crockpot was leaking, so I stuck a washcloth under it and left anyway.  It usually leaked a little, so I wasn’t worried.  
I came home to a white washcloth that was now brown and a HUGE puddle on the counter.  Fail.  The food, however, looked great!  I sauteed some onions in lots of butter, and added some mushrooms to the mix as well.
They went into the pot along with the collards and cooked on high for about 15 minutes.
I added another splash of wine and lots more sea salt.  It was so delicious!
I would have been MUCH better had I made some crusty bread, or biscuits, or something, but like I said, I didn’t plan.
The end of the crockpot story?  The insert is cracked beyond repair.  I’m not sure if it is because I put it on the stovetop.  I mean, I read the manual (after the fact) and it is NOT stovetop safe, but it had been leaking for a while.  I wonder if it already had a few small cracks and the stove just exacerbated the problem.  
In any case, I want a new one.  Any suggestions?


Black Beans and Rice…and shrimp… and spinach…

I was going to make shrimp quesadillas with black beans and rice on the side.  I have been really tired lately, though, so I didn’t have the energy to make the tortillas.  Our milk/meat/cheese delivery service wasn’t going to be delivering for a little while, so I had to make do with the cheese we have until then.  AND THEN John tells me that, well, he doesn’t really like the dried beans cooked.  He likes the canned ones better.  I had cooked up a boat-load of back beans and frozen them and was planning on using them.  I was at a total loss.  No idea what to make.  
I grabbed the black beans out of the freezer to defrost and set up the rice cooker with 2.5 cups of brown rice/5 cups turkey stock.  As I was setting it up, I realized that it has a steamer basket.  Hmmm… Maybe steaming the beans to defrost them would make them softer, the way John likes them?  I tried it. 
While that all cooked, I chopped up 1/2 an onion and 3 big cloves of garlic and put them in the pan with a chunk of butter.  
When they were soft and smelled like heaven, I added some cumin, parsley, and salt.
Then, the spinach jumped into the pan.  I’m not sure how it got there, but it did.
When it wilted into the delicious flavors, with some help from extra butter, the now-defrosted and somewhat mushy (YES!) beans were added, along with defrosted raw shrimp.
At this point, I poured in a little bit of turkey stock to help it all along.  When the shrimp looked nice and pink, I added the rice and some more cumin.
For all my exhaustion and doubts, it turned out to be way better than I could have imagined.  It was warm and filling and yummy!
With a salad on the side!
This post was also featured at Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop!