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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook and food truck plans as seen on New Day Northwest. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

The Longest Route to a Delicious Reuben Sandwich… But You Can Call Her Ruby

A Reuben sandwich can be very simple. When made traditionally, it is a lovely stack of dark rye bread, corned beef, thousand island dressing, mustard and sauerkraut.

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As you can see, I have broken a few rules and quite possibly have taken one of the longest possible routes to get to a delicious Reuben – short of curing my own corned beef and baking my own bread, that is

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Sauerkraut: 7-9 days (or you can buy canned at the grocery store)

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Corned Beef: 5-6 hours (or you can buy pre-cooked at the deli)

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Celery Preserves: 2 hours (or you can wish you had some and use thousand island salad dressing instead)

Dark Rye Bread: The length of time it takes you to take a trip to your local grocery store + 5 minutes to toast and butter. Best of extra bread is stored in the fridge – it’ll last longer.

Stack accordingly. Or, you know, the sauerkraut can go on the side. The road was long. The tastes, well, these simply could not come out of a can or be rushed. Homemade wins every time. And for taking the longest route, you may call her Ruby for short.

 

Trimming the Mint

Today was herb pruning day. I declared it to be so when I saw a post about it yesterday. This might be the first time I’ve actually accomplished something that was Pinterest inspired.

Proud.

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So far I’ve collected peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint. There is no more room for new varieties. These three play well together for now. I shall freeze the extras but not until my kitchen smells fabulous from them.

Do you grow your own herbs? If so, what kinds and how to you like to use them?

 

Celery Preserves Recipe

I promise that the looks of this post will not make you dance. If anything, it will probably have you sitting and staring at this screen in disbelief with your head tilted ever so slightly to the right. I promise you, though, when you try this you will understand. And even if after making it you still don’t understand, you will at least enjoy the tasty confusion.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Dash or two of salt

This will sound funny, but place a plate into the freezer before beginning this recipe.

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Cut celery into about 4 inch pieces. Using a knife, tug on outer skin and pull down to strip off the outer strings of celery.

Cut each 4 inch piece into 4-5 strips. Then dice those into small pieces that are all similar in size.

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Place water, lemon juice, celery, sugar and salt into pot. Stir well.

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Bring to a boil then reduce to a slight boil and allow to simmer until preserves are set. To test whether or not they are set, when preserves reach 220 degrees start testing. To test, remove plate from freezer and place a spoonful of preserves onto the plate. Place in fridge for a few minutes. If the top of the preserves wrinkles when touched, they are ready to remove from the heat. By the time it is ready, the celery will have turned a rich, avocado-green color. Do not be alarmed.

When celery preserves are cooled a bit, place into a canning jar and when they reach room temp place a lid on top & save in fridge. Can be served warm or chilled.

Lovely upon mascarpone cheese and crackers or cream cheese on toasty bruschetta. A conversation piece while enjoying hors devours with friends – everyone with their heads tilted ever so slightly to the right in joyous tasty confusion.

 

How to Cook Corned Beef

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Corned beef is incredibly easy to make. This post is simply to advertise the fact that everyone can feel confident that they can make it. You’re welcome, corned beef industry. You’re welcome.

If you like, you can soak the corned beef in a large bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight the day before you plan on cooking it. This will reduce some of the salty flavor.

Corned beef comes in the meat department in a bag that already contains its own seasoning packet. You can cook it with or without. I recommend with. The packet is pretty much pickling spices and it balances out the salty flavor of the corned beef oh so well. Place corned beef in a pot with fat side up and about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan.

Cover with a lid and bake at 325F about 3 hours for one that is about 2.5 pound (average size from supermarket).

Allow corned beef to rest for about 15-20 minutes after it is out of the oven.

Slice against the grain into thin slices. Perfect with cabbage dishes or sandwiches or when one is feeling particularly Irish, one can add potatoes and carrots to the corned beef and then add large cabbage pieces for the last 20 minutes or so of cooking time. If you haven’t yet had corned beef, you will never go back after trying it. Lucky you. Lucky corned beef industry.

 

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut

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This post is for the daring. For those who are not scared of fermentation. For those who happen to have some Himalayan pink salts laying around the house.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small head of green cabbage, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 piece of horseradish root (optional)
  • Fresh dill (optional)
  • Himalayan pink salt (do not use iodized salt)
  • Cold water

how-to-make-sourkraut-682x1024Place cabbage into a wide mouth quart canning jar layering about 1 inch at a time. Add salt over every layer and then top with thin slices of horseradish and a little piece of dill. Continue layering until jar is full. Pour in about 2 cups of water. Press cabbage down as far as possible. Fill with more water so that jar is almost full. Make sure cabbage is pushed under the level of water as much as possible to prevent molding.

Allow to set for about 24 hours with a wet towel over the top.

On day two, press down cabbage again. Fill water again. Loosely screw a lid on jar and place jar in a bowl because after a few days, jar may leak due to fermentation. Repeat the pressing down and adding water steps for about a week. If you do spot mold, just skim it from the jar and throw it away. Continue as normal. Sample sauerkraut after a week to see if it needs more salt and to see if it is ready to enjoy. If it’s not sour enough for your liking, you can continue the process for a few more days. You can serve as is or heated.

To store finished sauerkraut, just place in freezer bags (juices and all) and freeze until ready to use.

Perfect with bratwurst or served on a Reuben sandwich – in all it’s sour-y and kraut-y perfection and stuff.

 

Santa Fe Chipotle Burger Recipe

 If you could use a little zip and zing in your life, I have a gift for you.

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She is spicy and zesty. She is sauce-y and sweet. She doesn’t care about long walks on the beach or sunsets. She wants to party and sit by the grill with an electric ice tea. She is the Sante Fe burger. You will love her.

Burger Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken or hamburger
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (AKA smoked chili peppers), drained & minced
  • Sea salt & pepper (don’t skimp)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves

Remove excess sauce from adobe peppers and mince well. Then combine with the burger very well. Mix in salt & pepper as well. A large bowl and a latex glove is very handy for messy jobs like this one.

Shape into burgers and cook until middle of each burger reaches 160 degrees for hamburger and at least 165 degrees for chicken or turkey. If using ground chicken or turkey, drizzle pan or brush grill with olive oil first.

While waiting for burgers to cook, spread a little butter on both sides of each of the hamburger buns and toast under the broiler. It’s smart to keep oven door a little bit open so that these are not forgotten and burned – not that I have ever done that or anything.

When burgers are fully cooked, place a piece of pepper jack cheese on each one and cook until melted. Drain excess grease.

Green Chili Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 -4 ounce can mild green chilis
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Dash sea salt & freshly ground pepper

For a cool, refreshing sauce to balance out the heat of the chipotle peppers, we make mild green chili sauce.  Stir mild green chiles, minced garlic, cumin, lime juice into sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the hamburger buns are finished toasting, spread green chile sauce on each one. Add lettuce and some slices of sweet bell peppers for even more deliciousness.

You don’t meet a girl like this every day.

 

Strawberry Cookies by Dotter

Every once and awhile dotter gets the itch to make decorated sugar cookies. This always fills my heart with warm fuzzies and my tummy with sweet treats. For a moment I lost her so I called out her name and she popped up from behind the counter.

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“What doin’?”

“Oh, lookin’ for the strawberry cookie cutter.”

You see, the strawberry cookie cutter is one of the smaller cookie cutters in our collection, so it sinks way down to the bottom of the cookie cutter drawer.

She worked all night long on this batch of cookies. Her red frosting turned out a gloriously bright color.

IMG_0002And her cookies? Well, simply perfection. Happy June. Happy strawberry season. Happy cookie cutter hunting.

Cutie Plastic Strawberry Baskets

Sugar Cut-out Cookies Recipe

Cream together:

2/3 c. shortening
3/4 c. sugar

Add & beat together well:
2 eggs
4 tsp. almond extract
3 tsp. milk
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour.  Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Roll out and use cookie cutters. Create your favorite shapes. Bake 6-8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely on a rack.

Outline cookies with green leaves and red berries using Wilton’s royal icing recipe.

Wilton’s Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons warm water

Step 1

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (about 7-10 minutes).

Step 2

Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.

Using a decorating bag, fill in the cookies with royal sugar frosting. Outline green and red areas of cookie. Allow red and green to dry for about 10 minutes.

To fill the outlines on your cookie, add a little water to the color you are working with to thin it down a bit. Adjust slowly so you don’t end up with icing that is too runny & dripping out of the bag on its own. Don’t ask me how I know this can happen. I just do.

Fill in centers of red and green edging with thinned icing. Star in middle then fill sides by dragging tip a bit to maneuver icing. This will prevent over-filling which will help make sure the thinned frosting doesn’t go over the edges. Again, don’t ask me how I know. I just do.

Add 5 white dots to the top of each berry using royal icing (set aside a little bit of white royal icing for this when you begin by covering with a damp towel until ready to use). If you’d like the dots to lay flat with the red frosting, just place them while the red frosting is still wet.

Tonight’s winner of Trophy Cupcakes!

Yay, Scott! Your mistake paid off!

 

Burned

I’m not sure why I tried to cook today. I was exhausted and inattentive. I walked away for just a minute. I tweeted a few tweets. I Facebooked a few comments. I repinned a few Pinterest pins.

And then this happened. I shall try again tomorrow after I have had a good rest. But for now, let us celebrate learning experiences and some giggles together.

A Contest

Leave a comment by 7:30pm tomorrow night sharing your last cooking mistake. A random winner will be chosen via random.org and announced Friday night, June 1st at 8pm PST. Winner will receive a Trophy Cupcakes gift card for a dozen cupcakes valued at about $42!

 

Two Macaroni Salad Recipes

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The three-day weekend.

A time for gardening.

A time for barbecuing.

And a time for pasta salad with tiny American flags in it. The question, however, is which pasta salad will you prefer?

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TUNA PASTA SALAD:

  • 1 pound of your favorite-shaped pasta, cooked & cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3-4 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 cans of tuna packed in water, with juices
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 8 oz. of cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and enjoy.

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SWEET PICKLE PASTA SALAD:

  • 1 pound of your favorite-shaped pasta, cooked & cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip
  • 10 oz. jar sweet gherkins, cut into small pieces
  • 3.8 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine ingredients, enjoy, declare that this is the very macaroni salad that you have ever had and then share this blog post with all of your friends and family and Pinterest followers.

 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day. The day we remember and honor those who died while serving while in the United States Armed Forces.

This is my grandma and grandpa on their wedding day. Grandpa served in World War II.

Fortunately, grandpa made it back from war to raise five children with grandma. He lived a long and happy life until he passed away a few days before his 90th birthday. He was one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known.

This makes me appreciate the meaning behind Memorial Day even more. To those who have served our country and their families who supported them while they were away – thank you. And to the families of those who were lost while serving – thank you.

 
© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016