Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Orange Cranberry Butter

  • 1 pound salted butter
  • Zest of one large orange, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup minced craisons (dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup Really Raw® honey
  • 1 teaspoon Watkins® Pure Orange Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt


Mince enough craisons (dried cranberries) to fill 1/3 cup and set aside.  Zest one large orange.  If your zester creates strips, mince them.  Set aside. Squeeze the juice from the orange and set aside.

Soften the butter, but do not let it melt.  Thoroughly mix in the honey, orange juice, and orange extract.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and slowly fold them in until you have a uniform mixture.  

Press into storage containers or silicone molds.  Leave in the refrigerator (or freezer) overnight to allow the flavors time to meld together.

Myrtle's Note:  I have declared 2019 The Year of the Butter.  This is my first one.  I adapted one recipe to include the ingredients I wanted to use, because I couldn't find a single recipe that had everything.  I chose the Really Raw Honey because its viscosity is higher and works quite well with mixing into butter as opposed to regular honey.  As for the taste, the three folk who've tried it beside myself have all declared it to be extremely tasty.  I wanted a truly orange tasting cranberry butter.  I believe I have achieved that, especially having plowed through the first jar of it that I earmarked for myself in rapid fashion.  I am in love with this butter!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Turmeric Roasted Chicken


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (two large breasts)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Gourmet Gardens® Ginger Paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Gourmet Gardens® Garlic Paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grated onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon Rose Mountain Cinnamon (Cassia) Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Redman's® Real Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormack® Peppercorn Medley 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


The day before, decide if you want to roast whole chicken breasts or roast chunks on skewers.  If the former, evaluate your chicken breasts.  If the large end is overly thick, then pound it just a bit to even out the chicken.  Just a bit.

If the latter, take the chicken breasts and slice them down the middle lengthwise.  Then, cut four times crosswise.  If you start at the smaller end, you can do a better job of making sure the cubes are similar in size, so that they cook evenly.  This makes a total of 16 cubes of chicken.  Place the chicken in a large, shallow glass bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, starting with the yogurt and lemon juice, mixing them thoroughly before continuing.  Then add the ginger, garlic, and onion.

[I prefer the Gourmet Gardens® products in recipes like this because it is easy to have equal amounts of both garlic and ginger and the pastes.  I do not measure them out so much as make a rather large dollop in the bowl.]

Finish with the dry ingredients.  The cayenne will provide a bit of heat to the dish.  If you prefer spicy, you could add more.

Scrap the yogurt marinade over the chicken and toss thoroughly.  If roasting breasts, ensure there is plenty of marinade beneath them.  If choosing skewers, toss until all sides of the cubes are coated.  With both, smooth the marinade over the top of the chicken.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.

[It is popular to do a marinade in a plastic bag.  However, you are going to want to have as much marinade as possible as you place it in the oven, so a bowl is best.]

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (if whole breasts)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (if cubed pieces on skewers)

If roasting whole breasts, carefully lift out the chicken meat and place on a metal pan (lined with foil if you want easy clean-up), ensuring the bottom of the meat is coated with marinade.  Using a spoon, drop some of the remaining marinade on the top of the breasts to make sure they are thickly and evenly coated.  You can smooth it out with the back of the spoon.

Roast until the center of the thickest part of the meat reaches 165 degrees, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Switch the oven to high broil and brown the top of the marinade, approximately 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest five minutes before cutting.  Slice into thick slabs.  Serves four.

If using skewers, soak bamboo ones in water for 30 minutes.  Approximately half-way through, begin preheating the oven.

When the skewers are ready, thread the chunks onto the skewers.  If putting four pieces on a skewer (recommended), you'll want to use two bamboo ones so they don't bend down to the pan with the weight of the meat and marinade.  [Next time I plan to use metal skewers.]  You want to place them across the top of a baking pan with high sides, such as a 9x13 cake pan (lined with foil if you want easy clean-up), so that you can rest the meat up off the bottom of the pan.

Roast until the center of the meat reaches 165 degrees, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Switch the oven to high broil and finish browning the marinade, approximately 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest five minutes before removing from the skewers and serving.  Serves four.

Myrtle's  Note:  I cooked half the meat whole and half on skewers.  I had cooked skewers for the Chicken Tikka Masala, and I was basically trying to come up with the way to cook the meat since the original idea is for a whole turkey breast.  I wanted to experience both cooking methods.  For the whole breast, I went looking for advice on roasting chicken and found a post about how chicken dries out the longer it is in the oven, so higher temperatures creates moister meat.  Oh, my!  Was the author ever right.

The whole breast meat is insanely moist.  You have a thick coating of marinade that flavors each bite of the slices.  I ate half warm, with roasted broccoli.  I ate a quarter cold, because I was curious.  And a quarter with saffron rice.  Even the leftovers were moist.

The skewers are still moist, but have a different sort of taste, being smaller cuts and coated on all four sides.  I might prefer them, but I just don't know.  I ate the first half with grilled ginger mustard summer squash.  For me, being single, I'll definitely cook the two breasts both ways again so that I can have the flexibility in my leftovers.

My dear friend Mary suggested making the skewers with veggies, such as tomatoes and onions, which is how swish tawook is made.  I think I would create an olive oil based marinade, toss the veggies in it, and put them on their own skewers, mixing chicken and veggies atop a middle easter rice pilaf.

Of course, the skewer-roasted meat would also do well with hummus, baba ganoush, labneh, and naan. Or you could serve it in gyro bread.  The possibilities are endless!

The flavor is amazing!  You can taste the lemon and turmeric and cinnamon and the heat from the cayenne.  I really enjoyed eating this chicken and am glad someone mentioned the concept to me!

Finally, get the Rose Mountain cinnamon.  It will change your life.  You will never regret it!  [And their cumin.  And Ancient Forest Tea.]

Yield:  Four servings

Source:  Myrtle; an idea from a friend who had something like this for roasting turkey breast.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lemon Greek Yogurt Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus ¼ cup for glaze
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice for cake, plus1/4 cup for syrup and 2 tablespoon for glaze
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.  Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth and light in color.  Add the eggs one and a time followed by the vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Fold in the lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, and the yogurt.  Finish mixing on low until combined.  The batter won't be perfectly smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan, leveling the top.  Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  The top will be dark brown and split open.

For the syrup:
Warm 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Mix together with 1/4 cup sugar until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside whilst the pound cake is done.

For the glaze:
Measure out two tablespoons of lemon juice.  Gradually add it to the powdered sugar until your desired drizzling consistency is reached.  Add the zest of one lemon and stir thoroughly.

To finish:
Turn the warm cake onto a wire rack and brush all over with the syrup, including the bottom!  Make several passes on all sides to have a good soaking, but do not feel pressed to use all the glaze.  Do this when the cake is still warm! 

Drizzle with the glaze. Serve warm or room temperature.

Myrtle's Note:  This recipe is so good that even when you do not cook it quite long enough, it is still tasty!  Lemon.  Lemon.  LEMON!  The only change I made was to add lemon zest to the glaze, since I had to use four lemons to get all the juice needed.  Why waste lemon zest?  I cooked it for 75 minutes and made the mistake of putting my toothpick in the top of the loaf instead of in the middle.  So, that clean toothpick and the browned top made me think my first loaf was ready.  But cutting into it, I found a close texture and a bit of undercooked at the bottom of the loaf.  Even so, oh my! was this ever tasty.  It is not super sweet, just like a traditional pound cake.  But it is very, very lemony.

Yield: 1 loaf

Source:  http://www.thebakerchick.com/2015/01/lemon-greek-yogurt-pound-cake/

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Colonial Brown Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Grease and flour a 9-inch pan and set aside.

Stir together the flours, sugar, salt, and soda.  Add the buttermilk.  Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Fold into the pan and level out the batter.

Bake for one hour.

Myrtle's Note:  I had to cut the recipe in half and made mistakes on the first three attempts at trying this recipe because baking maths are difficult for me now.  I persevered because it is a favorite of my dear friend Mary.  And I like old recipes!  I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Bread.  The bread is close-textured, moist, and sort of a nutty sweet flavor.  I slathered it with Pulgra's European butter.  Mighty, mighty tasty!

Yield:  1 loaf

Source:  http://www.cooks.com/recipe/yr8ja9e8/colonial-brown-bread.html

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Peruvian Pork Stew with Chiles, Lime, and Apples

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder or sirloin roast
  • 2 large yellow or Vidalia onions
  • 4 large apples
  • 3-5 ancho or other mild dried chiles
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Redman's® Rea Salt, plus more to taste
  • McCormick's® Peppercorn Medley to taste
  • Steamed rice for serving
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


Zest one lime.  Using a reamer, juice limes until you have at least 1/4 cup and set aside.   Rinse and pat dry pork, cut into 2-inch pieces, and set aside.  Rough chop the onions and set aside.  Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers, straighten them out and cut into squares, and set aside.  Core the apples, cover with a towel, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a caste iron dutch oven and brown the pork on two sides, working in batches so as not to steam the meat.  Use medium heat, approximately a minute a half per side.  Set the meat aside.  

In the same pot, begin sautéing the onions on low heat.  Add the cloves and the bay leaves.  Quickly peal and rough chop and apples and add to the onions.  Cook until the onions are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the pork, lime juice, lime zest, and stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat until so that it simmers.  Cook covered for 30 minutes.  Stir and continue cooking uncovered, until the meat is very tender and just about falling apart, at least an hour.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  When satisfied, turn off the heat. 

Serve over steamed rice, garnished with cilantro.

Myrtle's Note:  I really liked this recipe, though I did make a few tweaks to it.  Most are in how I only used one pot to cook it and the order in which I did the prep so that I could do so and keep the apples from browning.  I didn't want to try and remove the meat to reduce the liquid, so I cooked it half the time uncovered.  And I added salt!  I was so surprised at how the apples disappeared into stew sauce.  Four of them!  The onions, which I normally try to disguise in any way I can, were so soft their texture didn't bother me.  And I enjoyed eating the bits of pepper.  Next time I make this, I plan to increase the peppers to five, which is the number that goes in another pork recipe I have.  I could taste the apples and the lime and the chiles, but I thought it could have used more.  I ended up using 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and probably could have used a bit more.  I put in a shake or two of Ancho chili pepper and some of the peppercorn medley.  Next time, I will add a bit more.  I would really like to see what this tastes like with a layer of mild heat to it.  Also, since I am not a fan of rice, I plan on trying it with crusty bread.  However, I will say that the stew sauce was mighty, mighty tasty on the rice.

Yield:  8 servings

Source:  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12192-peruvian-pork-stew-with-chiles-lime-and-apples?mcubz=1

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Julia Child's Provençale Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup finely minced yellow onions
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 6 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
  • A large herb bouquet: 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme, all tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large dollop Gourmet Gardens® Basil Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • Large pinch saffron threads
  • 1 dozen coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece dried orange peel (or 1/2 teaspoon granules)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)


In a large heavy pot, toast the fennel and coriander and orange peel over medium low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.  Then add the oil and heat it. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle on the flour and cook slowly for three minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown.

Meanwhile, fit a food processor with the coarse grating blade. Working in batches to avoid overfilling the machine, push the tomatoes through the feed tube to make a coarse purée.

Stir the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, basil, saffron,  and one teaspoon salt into the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, so the tomatoes will render more of their juice.

Then uncover and simmer for about an hour, until thick. The sauce is done when it tastes thoroughly cooked and is thick enough to form a mass in the spoon.

Remove herb bouquet and taste. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and tomato paste, and simmer two minutes more.

The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated, or frozen for up to 6 months.

Myrtle's Note:  I adapted the recipe primarily regarding the herbs, by adding more, most particularly the fresh rosemary because I grow it.  I found the recipe easy to follow and tasty in its results.  Since I am growing roma tomatoes, I have been making this a half-batch at a time.  I should note that I have not been able to get saffron yet.  I do plan on using it when I can, which is why I left it in the recipe.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicken Tikka Masala


Chicken Marinade:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Bamboo or wooden skewers

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 10 ounces water 
  • 9 ounces cream
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Basmati rice and naan, to serve

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


Slice the chicken into chunks, then combine the chicken with the rest of the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Mix until evenly coated, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.  Soak bamboo skewers for a half hour.

Skewer the marinated chicken pieces on bamboo skewers, then place them over a baking dish with sides high enough to hold the chicken off the bottom of the pan to help distribute the heat more evenly.  Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly dark brown on the edges and the meat has reached 160 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions.  Once the onions are translucent, add both the ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Add in the spices for the sauce and cook for a short while to release their aromatics and flavor, stirring constantly.  Then, stir in the tomato paste.  Finally, add the tomato sauce and water, then bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and stir thoroughly.  Add in the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice and naan!

Myrtle's Note: Oh, my!  Was this ever a pleasant surprise!!  I was a bit surprised at all the garlic I needed, but it does not overwhelm the dish.  What I like most is the layering of flavors in it between the seasoning of the chicken and the seasoning of the sauce.  A dish that made me think that I was in a restaurant!

Yield:  8 servings