Wild mushroom sauce with spaghetti squash

We had a very late spring this year, with hardly a single opportunity to harvest mushrooms, until my daughter-in-law, April and I were hiking on a very popular trail near Willingdon Beach Campsite. I was really pleasantly surprised to see a tree covered with lovely oyster mushrooms. This dish was just one of the things I made with this free food.

1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 cup oyster mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 large carrot
1 1/2 cup broth (I used chicken, but use veggie broth if you prefer)
4 oz soy cream cheese (or real cream cheese if you can tolerate it)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the squash, cut in half width-wise for longer threads, or length-wise for short threads. Sprinkle with lots of salt and place cut side down in a baking dish with about 1" of water. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 35 - 45 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms well with a little brush, then wash with cool water. Slice into ribbons. Wash and cut the red pepper into long sticks. Wash, peel & grate the carrot.
Melt coconut oil in a medium sauce pan and add salt, 5 spice and cayenne. When the oil is melted, add the oyster mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they release their moisture and then continue to cook until most of the moisture has cooked off. Add the red pepper and cook just a couple minutes. Add the grated carrot and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the spaghetti squash is ready.
When the squash is tender, remove from oven and take it out of the pan very carefully. Don't do like I did and let it slip back into the pan of boiling water, splashing all over, and making me jump quite smartly. Let the spaghetti squash rest on a board while you complete the sauce.
Add the 4 oz of cream cheese, to the mushroom sauce. We use Tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese" because dairy really bothers Will's IBS. Stir gently and melt the cream cheese into the sauce. If it is too dry, add a bit more broth and if it is too moist, you can continue to simmer with the lid off.
Using an oven mitt in one hand to hold the hot squash, separate the strands of spaghetti squash into a bowl using a fork and some patience. Stir in the mushroom sauce.
I served this with "Wildwurst" I had made with venison & lamb. There were no complaints.

Sausages, Sausages, Sausages!

The purpose of this blog, I just realized, is mostly so I don't forget the recipes I have discovered or created. Like an old fashioned recipe box filled with cards, newspaper clippings and notes. Most of them covered with fingerprints and well worn. I can't even read the recipe I wrote out back in the 80's for pear pie. Thus the blog.
Most of the time around our house, we are cooking for more than one taste, more than one diet. Will's IBS and our desire to eat less flour, and other over-processed foods has lead us down some interesting paths of discovery.
Thank goodness we both love to cook. It makes the path much less tedious than it would otherwise be. But it means we do a lot of experimentation with other people's recipes before we can make them our own. Best to write those things down!
Today's post is four of the six recipes for sausage that we made this week, (the other two are Wildwurst, with just 6 pounds pork and Bangers double recipe with 5 pounds pork) Total we used 40 pounds of organic, heritage pork from Wolfson Creek Farm, herbs from my garden whenever possible, home made wines and broths.
Although we don't use garlic or onion in Will's food, so he doesn't suffer from gut pain, you can add quite a bit to the Mediterranean, Chorizo and Andouille.
These recipes all started with invaluable lessons from thespicysausage.com, including this great advice for the process: http://thespicysausage.com/sausagemakinginstructions.htm
.... enjoy!

Spicy Mediterranean Sausage

5 lbs pork, ground rather coarsely
1 cup cold red wine
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
3 tsp cayenne
5 Tbsp fennel seed
2 tsp crushed chili peppers
5 Tbsp paprika
Combine very well. I love this one for making spaghetti sauce, or Italian Wedding soup. Either stuff into casings or weigh out to package for freezing.

Farmer's Sausage

6.5 lbs pork, ground coarsely
1 tsp black pepper
5 tsp salt
5 tsp sage
1 tsp nutmeg1 cup cold chicken broth
Combine very well. Farmer's sausage is one of the mild ones, and is great for sausage in a bun.

Chorizo

7 lb pork, ground coarsely
3 Tbsp paprika1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cold white wine
Delicious in Spanish or Mexican dishes, I like this one in links!

Andouille Sausage

8.5 lbs pork, ground coarsely
2 Tbsp salt1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp allspice
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp paprika
1 ground bay leaf
2 Tbsp fresh sage
1 cup cold red wine
These need to be put into casings and smoked for the best results. So worth it!

Beef liver pate

Thank you so much to Wolfson Creek Farm for growing beautiful, well cared for animals!
Patches shared some organs from organically raised Highland cattle yesterday morning. Cannot get any better than that!

Ingredients:

1 pound of beef liver, cut in slices
1 medium onion
1 cup bacon fat or lard (it's what I had on hand, use other fat if you prefer. divided)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 oz brandy
1 Tbsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp mace
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 oz chopped preserved ginger & 2 tbsp of the juice

Melt a couple tablespoons of the fat in a sauté pan. Over low heat, slowly cook the onions with the sliced liver until no more blood comes out of the liver. Add the garlic, brandy, mustard, mace, rosemary, thyme & ginger with its juice. Cook briefly.
Allow the liver to cool a few minutes then place in your food processor. Melt the rest of the fat in the pan and add to the food processor in a slow stream. Process until very smooth.
I transferred this pate into small mason jelly jars. If you are not going to use right away, melt a little butter to pour on top to cover the pate, cap and freeze until your next party!




chicken sausages

We raise beautiful Buff Orpington chickens, a dual purpose bird. The hens don't lay as many eggs per year as some other breeds, but they are gentle and quite large. When the hens stop laying at about three years old, we have them butchered, and I bone them out to make sausages.
Use all the meat and skin, but you won't need too much of the fat.

5 lbs boned chicken, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons pickling salt
2 teaspoons fine ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 teaspoon savory
1 cup cold chicken stock or broth
Mix the meat with the seasonings and grind with medium disk on your meat grinder. Add broth and mix well. Chill and grind again, using a smaller disk on the meat grinder.

Stuff into casings or just freeze in 3/4 lb packages to use as patties or in other dishes.
This was the best chicken sausage recipe I've ever made.

bear fat soap


I have been making simple soap using ingredients that we are able to get easily, like lard, tallow, and beeswax, as well as essential purchased ingredients.

In the table below is the list of ingredients and amounts that I used. Because I have no desire to make lots of different kinds of soaps, I make lots all the same kind, and then store it in an open paper bag in the pantry.

I had the use of a great little scale from my friend Doug, so I could be somewhat accurate.

My settings on the soap app, Soap calc started with this:
Water as percent of oil weight
38%
Super Fat/Discount
5%

And then I started weighing out the oils:
#
Oil/Fat
%
Pounds
Ounces
Grams
1
Beeswax
4.1
0.17
2.75
78.0
2
Coconut Oil    
21.0
0.88
14.00
396.9
3
Lard
15.0
0.63
10.00
283.5
4
Olive Oil
30.0
1.25
20.00
567.0
5
Tallow Bear
30.0
1.25
20.00
567.0

Totals
100
4.17
66.75
1892.3

The app then told me what amount of water and Lye I would need to mix to have the right reaction:
Ingredient
   Pounds   
Ounces  
 Grams
Water
1.59
25.36
719.09
Lye - NaOH
0.57
9.16
259.79
lemon grass organic essential oil (the good stuff) I used about 30 drops


What the quality we were aiming for was:
Soap quality
Suggested
Your Recipe
Hardness
29 - 54
31.6
Cleansing
12 - 22
14.8
Conditioning
44 - 69
58.1
Bubbly
14 - 46
14.8
Creamy
16 - 48
16.7
Iodine
41 - 70
64.1
INS
136 - 165
139.8


As you can see.... the soap quality is expected to be right in the green zone all the way! The soap calculator says to use just over 25 oz of water, but I only used 23 oz of water to make it a slightly dryer soap. My instructor told me you can cheat by as much as 10% on the amount of water.

Method:
  1. place a cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven (in case of boil-over) and a rack just above it. Make sure the pot you will be using isn't too tall to fit in the oven. (don't laugh, I have some that won't fit) preheat the oven to 170F.
  2. Prep some molds. I use silicon mini loaf pans. finished soap can just be cut into four slices.
  3. spread out newspapers on your work surface. put on a long sleeved shirt, gloves, goggles (or safety glasses) and ensure you have LOTS of ventilation. I turned my stove fan on supercharge and opened a big window behind me, so the fumes would blow into the fume hood, not my face.
  4. measure the water into a large glass bowl. weigh the lye in a separate glass bowl. Slowly stir the lye into the water, taking care not to breath the fumes. It will smoke and get hot. keep stirring until it goes clear. Leave it there while you prep the rest. DO NOT add water to lye!
  5. measure melted oils by weight into a very large very clean stainless steel pot. Warm them a bit until the bees wax is also liquid. Exact temperatures don't really seem to matter, but I had the oil mixture at about 135-145 F.
  6. Very carefully  add the lye mixture to the oils and mix for a few minutes. Next, with a stick blender, taking care not to splash, thoroughly beat the mixture until it is about as thick as pancake batter.  By the way, make sure your pot can hold at least twice as much liquid as you put in. This can foam up seriously.
  7. place the pot in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes and keep an eye on the soap. I stirred it every time i checked, but apparently it's not necessary. Couldn't help myself.
  8. When the soap has turned translucent and looks like petroleum jelly, take it out of the oven. You can test the pH by mixing a tablespoon of soap into a cup of hot water and testing with a pH strip. should be below 10 or put it back in the oven for a bit. When you stir the soap, it should be about as thick as mashed potatoes.
  9. Immediately add your essential oil and stir in. pour into molds and leave overnight. Cut into bars the next day and let this soap cure a bit to get hard. I suggest at least a couple weeks. 

This was a really big batch at nearly 100 oz in weight. and I had originally thought I was going to do this in the slow cooker. Would have been all over the counter! So this ended up being done in the oven using this site for inspiration on the method  http://otionsoap.com/hot-process-oven-process/

Clean up with vinegar. and use the soap left in your pans & on the spoon for washing the dishes. it's amazing stuff.

my first batch ever I added poppy seed as an experiment, but it's hard to rinse out of your hair. I used the slow cooker as in this recipe: http://www.diynatural.com/crock-pot-soap/ and it was great too, but would only use that method if I was making about half this much soap! 

Enjoy!
Nicole

venison ribs

We live near Texada Island, where the tiny black tail deer are just everywhere. Will was able to get hunting this year and so we had ribs last night!

 rack of deer ribs, trimmed of all fat cut into pairs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup citrus juice (we used mandarin oranges)
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp salt (approximately)
pepper to taste
1/2 cup spiced jelly

Heat oven to 300 F. Warm the butter with juice, ginger & oregano in a small pan.
Lay the ribs meat side down in pans. Brush ribs with the sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn and brush & sprinkle the meat side as well. Bake at 300 F for three hours, brushing with the sauce, and turning every 1/2 hour.
When the ribs start to brown up, cover with foil and continue baking to the end of the three hours.
Remove the pans from the oven, if you had to use more than one pan to cook the ribs, you can now combine them into a single pan.  Using about a cup of hot water, scrape all the browned bits into the one pan with the ribs.
Heat your jelly until it melts (I use a grape jelly with cheyenne and chili peppers).
Brush the jelly all over the meat, cover with foil and put the pan back in the oven. Cook just 15 minutes and then serve. Ribs on a platter, and the juices in a gravy jug.

perfect scalloped potatoes

I can't believe how good these turned out. Absolutely delicious and great reheated in a frying pan the next day (if there are any left!) This made a very large tray of scalloped potatoes, but they did not last long.

1/4 cup butter (or better still, use bacon fat!)
1⁄4 cup potato flour
1 3⁄4 cups chicken (or veggie) broth
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced very thin
paprika
(optional and NOT for low FODMaP's diet: add 1 onion, sliced thin)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a very large flat baking dish. I used my largest glass pyrex dish.
Slice your potatoes very thinly into a large bowl. I used a mandolin set at 3/16".
Melt the bacon fat or butter over low heat. Stir in potato flour and let it get bubbly. Add broth, mayonnaise, salt & pepper. Stir until heated over medium heat.
In the large bowl, mix sauce into the potatoes. If you are able to eat onions, stir them in now.
Spread evenly into buttered dish and sprinkle generously with paprika. I like to use hot Hungarian paprika, but if I'm cooking for Caty, I go with the wimpy stuff.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender, the top ones are browned and bubbly. Give it 1 1/2 hours to be perfect!