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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 plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Strawberry Glaze and Strawberry Tart Recipe

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strawberry pudding tart
First make this lovely crust which we used to make the kiwi tart last year.

Then make this gorgeous homemade vanilla pudding. Chill for a few hours or overnight and place in tart.


And finally a new recipe…

Strawberry glaze. Oh sweet baby Jesus, you shall love me forever for this one. I promise.

I forgot to get pictures of the first step. Okay, maybe the second step as well. I was just so very excited.

Place about 4 -5 cups of fresh, sliced strawberries into a medium-large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup of cold water and 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to draw out the strawberries juices.

In a saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/8 cup of cornstarch. This will allow the cornstarch to break up and make lumps to magically disappear.

Using a strainer, pour the juices that have drawn out of the fresh strawberries into the pot with the cornstarch and sugar mixture. If you see lumps, no worries. Just place sauce in the blender for a couple of minutes and then put back into pot. Set fresh strawberries aside again.

Heat on medium to medium high heat while continually stirring. Allow to remain at a low boil for 5 minutes. You should see sauce begin to thicken. Allow to chill for a few hours or overnight.

To finish off the tart, pile fresh strawberries on top and then pour chilled glaze over them. Oh my.

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I know, right?

This should make one 10 inch tart or about 4 personal size tarts. Indeed, this is what the month of June is for.

 

How to Make Vanilla Pudding Recipe

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If you’ve never made homemade pudding, this recipe from my friend Martha will help you change your mind about whether or not it’s worth it to think outside of the Jello box.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add 1/3 cup high quality cocoa powder.


Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk…

…taking care to dissolve cornstarch.

Whisk in egg yolks.

I don’t mean to brag, but my homegrown chicken eggs made for a lovely yellow pudding.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters.

Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. I know, right?

Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. We’re almost done. Much easier than you thought, huh?

Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding. I use vanilla paste which I like better, that and it leaves pretty little vanilla bean specks in the pudding. Oh so pretty.

Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth; divide among four serving dishes.

Isn’t she loverly? If only you could have smelled this vanilla blessedness when I made this pudding you probably would have kicked down my door to get some and I would have said “Hey, just knock. You’re always welcome.” Yeah, or something like that.

 

Basic Yeast Biscuit Recipe

I’m always trying to improve on good things, specifically recipes but here’s a recipe that needs no adjustments. This is in many old cookbooks yet does not seem to be a commonly used biscuit recipe as most biscuits that I have tried are dry. I love how moist and delightful these biscuits are.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Mix together and set aside:

  • 1 package yeast
    1/2 cup lukewarm water

Place in bowl and cut in shortening:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    2 tablespoons sugar
    3/4 cup Crisco

You can use a fork or pastry cutter. Yeah, like that.

Stir in 2 cups buttermilk and yeast mixture.

Place a little flour on counter.

Roll out about an 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick, depending on how thick you’d like the biscuits to be.

Dust off excess flour and place on baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes.

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Enjoy with butter & strawberry jam or honey butter or gravy or any way you like. These are moist in the middle and keep very well. Biscuits have never been so delicious.

 

 

Easy Sweet & Spicy Baked Beans Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1 – 29 ounce can of kidney beans (can also use black beans, red beans, etc. if you’d like a variety)
  • 1  Walla Walla sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 minced jalepeno
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Picnics mean homemade baked beans. These beans bring sweet and spicy together in a pleasing simmer for summer.


Fry bacon in a large frying pan or medium large pot – one that is oven safe. Cast iron works great for this.

Drain and rinse beans. Boil rinsed beans in a pot of water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

When bacon is fully cooked, take out of pan and place on a plate lined with a couple of paper towels to drain. Set aside. Drain excess grease from pan.

Dice yellow onion and then fry in same pan until caramelized. Mince garlic, then add.

Cook for about a minute longer, reduce heat to medium low and carefully add  apple juice.

Gently stir in drained beans. Add tomato paste and apple cider vinegar.

Stir in molasses and brown sugar.

Welcome the back to the party, bacon – only, you know, crumbled.

To spice things up, add jalepeno, and salt & pepper to taste. Bake at 200F in pre-heated oven for about 2-3 hours. Serve hot.

Brings tear to my eye.

 

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

I’m all for convenience but is almost a sin to make some things out of a can. Strawberry lemonade is one of them. If you have ever stirred a powder and called it lemonade, you are forgiven. Turn the other way and enjoy summer the way it should be enjoyed, with sin-free strawberry lemonade made for realz. The teenagers in my town call this “crack juice” because they can’t stop drinking it once they start. They are addicted and I’m sure their moms will appreciate my finally finding the time to blog this lemonade in it’s natural form.

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Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • Zest & juice of 6 lemons
  • 8 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, hulled

This is best when made a day in advance so that it has plenty of time to chill. Start by placing water in a pot to boil.

Stir in sugar. Lightly boil and stir water until sugar is dissolved.

Next add the zest of the lemons into the water which has now become a simple syrup. Don’t grate the whites of the lemons, just the outer yellow zest. The white stuff is bitter.

Next, cut the lemons in half and juice each of them into the water.  Don’t worry about the seeds or zest, we’ll be straining the lemonade later so it’s okay they’re in the pot.

Fill blender with strawberries.

Using a food processor, blend berries until like a chunky jam or even smoother.

Add blended strawberries into pot of lemonade.

Stir and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Allow lemonade to cool to room temp so that it is easier to pour. Then pour through a stainer to remove all seeds, pulp, and berry pieces.

A spoon is helpful to free strainer up a little bit. The larger the strainer, the easier this is to do. I have to rinse my strainer out often as it gets clogged up & stops working. A larger strainer is best.

Allow to cool to room temp and then chill in refrigerator.

For large parties, I love to put the homemade lemonade into canning jars with plastic lids and serve out of a large, old-fashioned tub filled with ice. This makes every party better.

 

Ranch Red, White and Blue Potato Salad Recipe

Some of my favorite memories are from the Fourth of July. My parents would take us to the local parade and we’d grab the best seats on the street – in front of the doughnut shop. We’d stand in honor of the American flag as the troops opened the parade. And because our morning doughnut wasn’t enough sugar, we’d rush to catch the candy tossed into the street. We went to our favorite park with our cousins for picnicking and playing until sundown. Potato salad was always a must. We would end the day with fireworks and pretend to be asleep when we arrived home so mom & dad would carry us into bed after the best day ever. We were never more free than on Independence Day.

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Ranch Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds small red, white & blue potatoes*
  • 1 1/2 cups ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of cooked & crumbled bacon (or store-bought bacon bits)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes. To test doneness, poke fork into a potato. If fork slides out easily, potatoes are done cooking. Drain and then cool potatoes on a baking sheet. After cooled, cut potatoes into bite size pieces. Place cut potatoes into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Makes about 12 servings.

*If you cannot find small blue potatoes, you can use large ones & just cut them to a similar size as the others for the same cooking time. But, of course, any potato will do.

Additional note: Fat free or lite dressings or lite mayonnaise will give your salad a tangy flavor. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Happy Independence Day!

 

Welcome, first day of summer. Welcome.

 

Extra caramel. Be careful what you wish for.


 

Easy Fried Chicken Recipe and a Graduation

This week was dotter’s graduation.

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I am excited to see the professional’s shot of this one. Finding the kids we know in my copy is like playing Where’s Waldo.


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Besides the graduates tossing their caps in the air to celebrate, there were grad parties throughout the town. Parents went dizzy trying to attend them all and everyone rejoiced.

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Then it was time for our shindig. You know it’s going to be a serious party when this shiny girl comes out of the pantry.

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To keep myself from burning out on any one project, I bounced back and forth from decoration prep to food prep. This banner is easy to make. Just choose your color theme. It’s best to choose 3 main colors & stick with those. I cut a triangle with scrapbook paper folded in half in the size that I wanted with a paper cutter then I used that as my pattern for the rest of the triangles. I may or may not have used a few antique hymnal pages for this project as well. I caught up on all my favorite shows while I punched two holes in the top of each one and strung them with matching ribbon, placing a solid colored triangle in between each word. Kitty loved swatting at the ribbons. To finish the project, I used high quality red, glittery sticker letters.

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Pinwheels are easy to make too. They add a whimsical touch to the party decor. Two-sided cardstock works best.
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Just cut into 4 inch squares, cut each corner toward the middle of the paper using a paper cutter while leaving about a one inch space in the middle to keep the paper in one piece. Bring the right side of each cut piece toward the middle and use a pin to hold the pinwheel together. Mine were just for decor, so I used a hole punch with brads through the corners since it didn’t matter if they spun.

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To make the pinwheel handle, I used black straws and cut slits for the brads to continue all the through the back of the straw.  For a longer handle, I squished the end of one straw and pushed it into a second straw.

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Even the window boxes were adorned with pinwheel fun to help continue the decorations to the back deck.

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All of dotter’s favorites, like these gorgeous bruschetta appetizers, were served and quickly became the favorite of many. See the mini flags? Another easy way to put a smile on guests faces! Just fold matching paper in half, cut flag out & fold around toothpicks and secure with double sided tape. The cuteness is overwhelming.

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Simple chicken drumettes are always a hit.

Ingredients

  • 2 pound chicken legs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preheat frying pan (or deep fryer) filled with canola or vegetable oil to about 350 degrees (medium heat). Do not use olive oil as chicken won’t turn out as crispy.

Dip chicken legs in buttermilk then dip in flour. Dip in buttermilk again and into flour again.

Place coated chicken legs into frying pan (or deep fryer). Cook for 25-30 minutes or until thickest part of meat reaches 165F in the middle.

Add salt, pepper and your favorite house seasoning (we used Johnny’s) on both sides of chicken. Serve hot or can be refrigerated and served cold.

Another way to cook chicken is to fry it until golden brown then place on a baking tray and allow to finish cooking in a pre-heated oven at 350F until chicken reaches 165F in thickest part.

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Beautiful World Bread is a must for every bless-ed occasion.

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I remember exactly when I got this recipe from a friend. I was stunned at how simple to make these meatballs are and there are never any left after any of our parties. Not even one.

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Salmon dip with crackers hidden in the midst of all the other treats.

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Every home we partied at had a “shrine” in honor of the graduate. Here is ours.

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We added advice cards and an album to place them into when each guest filled one out. Young children were included in the fun – oh how sweet their cards are.

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Mini corndogs with mustard and homemade ketchup, twice the fun and half the calories, kind of, if you limit yourself. If you can stop at one. But no one can.

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The to-go treats were hand-decorated sugar cookies.

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But, you know, flower cookies on a stick are only popular with everyone over the age of 2 and under the age of 120.

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Strawberry lemonade and cherry limeade in canning jars for all. The regular plastic lids for the jars (or wide-mouth lids) are so very handy! These cuties were seeing how long they could keep their hands in the ice. The recipe for both of these delicious drinks will be coming very soon for it is almost summer and these recipes will be necessary.

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Volleyball for the teenagers.

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And hobby farm for the kids.

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Talky talk for the grown-ups all around the house.

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A very red plate day for dotter.

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But wait, for there is the after party.

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It comes with giggles.

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And hot chocolate, only, you know, perhaps with a few melted high-quality chocolate bars melted inside… until 2am.

 

Balsamic Strawberry Salad Recipe

Every April in the Seattle area we try with all of our might to hope spring into existence but we all know in our hearts that the truest sign of spring is the strawberry booths on the side of the roads. I’ve been known to risk my well being with my sudden, cheery urge to pull over just so I can purchase a box of spring. The glorious ways to use strawberries in recipes are endless but in this salad, they remain the star of the show.

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Balsamic Strawberry Salad

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small lime
  • Couple dashes of salt
  • 4-6 Stalks of flat leaf parsley
  • 4 Sprigs of mint (for garnish)

Rinse & drain strawberries to clean. Remove stems from berries and cut into quarters. In a separate bowl, passionately whisk together jam, balsamic vinegar and juice squeezed from half of the fresh lime. Stir dressing together well. Pour dressing over strawberries. Chop parsley leaves until very fine and add to salad. Stir together well. Add salt a little at a time to taste. The salt should simply help bring out the other flavors in the salad. I recommend draining most of the dressing off of salad before plating. Place salad in tall clear bowls or martini glasses to bring out its beautiful colors. Garnish each serving with a sprig of mint. Makes about 4 servings.

 

How to Make Vanilla Extract Recipe

At our inn we go through a lot of vanilla. We now make our own and you can too. Here are some very simple instructions that anyone can follow to make their own delicious vanilla extract for a small cost.

Every once and awhile someone asks me what one would do with a bottle of vanilla. About a teaspoon of vanilla is in almost every sweet-baked item you could ever make. What’s not to love?

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Cut vanilla Beans lengthwise into quarters and then in half the other direction.

Place 1 1/2 or 2 whole cut vanilla beans into a glass bottle. You can buy perfect little four-ounce bottles online or just use a canning jar that you might already have at home.

Ready for the second ingredient? bourbon. Yep, Just plain old bourbon. Fill almost to the top. You can also use a mild brandy instead of bourbon if you like.

Place lid & store in pantry or cupboard for at least 6-8 weeks, giving bottles a good shake about once a week.

When finished, decorate bottles with cute labels & ribbons (labels and ribbons optional). They make great gifts for friends who like to bake. It’s a good idea to include a recipe if you are giving to friends who have never used their ovens to make a cookie from scratch.

Although the vanilla beans can sometimes be pricey, they are worth every penny because to refill extract, you can just add bourbon (or brandy or vodka) to the vanilla beans again whenever you start to run low. You don’t have to replace the beans for a long time. I rotate a couple of bottles so that I never run out. Happy girl.

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