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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 .

Chicken Makhani AKA Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

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When my kids were little, they learned about various countries by studying not just the history of the country, but the foods. Son and dotter had to cook dinners that represented the country they had been learning about. In my home? Imagine that. I wish I had found my love for Indian food back then. I suppose this time mom is the student.

I know I’m a little late to the game, but I have finally figured out which Indian foods I can eat and still have tastebuds left after trying them. I had to ask a nice lady at our favorite Indian restaurant which dishes were hot and which were not after a few visits of dead buds tuckered out from all the heat. One bite of the super spicy stuff and I can’t taste anything else.

Butter Chicken has a little zing to it but not much. If you like things really spicy, you can add more green chilis or just leave the seeds in. Me? I’ll be the one with the taste buds in tact, thanks.

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Indian Butter Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 green chiles, stems removed, cut in half, and middles removed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, roasted in oven for 20 minutes then remove skin
  • 5 tablespoons kasoori methi
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 whole green cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey (add a teaspoon or so more if finished product is too acidic)
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, diced into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Place two tablespoons of the butter and olive oil into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add diced tomatoes. Cook tomatoes down for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in ginger, chiles, garlic cloves, kasoori methi, red chili powder, paprika, cardamom seeds, and honey. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Carefully pour sauce in a blender. Cover lightly and blend on lowest setting. Work blender up to medium speed until sauce is smooth. Set aside.

Clean large sauce pan.

Place last two tablespoons of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute chicken pieces in butter until cooked through to 165F on inside and light golden brown on outside. Pour sauce over chicken.

Continue to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and spices will settle, making this a dish you will adore.

Serve with Basmati rice (with some peas & carrots mixed in) and naan bread.

I couldn’t of been whiter in that moment I asked for help, but it has allowed me to find a love for Indian food. And by Indian food, I mean Butter Chicken and rice and naan bread. Happy buds.

 

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Southwest Salad Recipe

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I’ve had some fantastic Southwest salads and I’ve had some horrible ones. One restaurant served theirs covered in a vinaigrette – heavy on the vinegar. I couldn’t eat it. I puckered up, pecked at it like an Old Hen would, cut my losses, and left the place $18 poorer and pretty darn hungry.

So, because I love you, I present thee with a Southwest Salad which will be more pleasing than a prissy plate of lettuce & vinegar every single time.

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Makes two large salads or 4 medium salads.

Ingredients

  • 1 small can black beans
  • 1 recipe of Southwest Rub
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterfly cut in half
  • 1 cup Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into about 1-inch squares
  • 1 ear corn on the cob
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, minced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced fine
  • 8-10 stalks cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Tri-color tortilla strips (or regular tortilla chips will do)

Rinse black beans well and place in saucepan in water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Turn on grill (or oven to 350F. Prepare Southwest Rub and set aside. Butterfly cut chicken breasts and coat with Southwest Rub. Allow chicken to sit for about 20 minutes then grill until middle of thickest part reaches 165F.

It is wise to invest in a good meat thermometer to be sure any meats you cook reach their safe temperature for eating. 

Place corn cob in a pot of boiling water. Leave in water for three minutes and then place in a bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes. After corn is cool enough to handle, cut corn off of cob.

Place lettuce on plates. Top each plate of lettuce with corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, red onion, cilantro, cheddar and pepper jack cheese.

Slice chicken at a slant for an extra stylish look and place on top of salad.

Drizzle with desired amount of ranch dressing.

Dice avocado right before serving (so it won’t brown). If preparing in advance for a crowd, you can drizzle and toss avocado with fresh lime juice. Keep everything except chicken refrigerated until ready to use.

Decorate sides of each plate with tortilla strips and a couple of lime wedges. Lime wedges are ever so delightful squeezed upon your salad.

Budget-friendly, fresh, flavorful, and comforting. Eating out (on the patio) is so very perfect.

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Eggs Benedict Recipe

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I’m on a kick lately. Back to basics… the traditional, if you will. The basics are good for the soul. Here are some others I’ve been in touch with lately:

  • Take road trips.
  • Be happy.
  • Be kind.
  • Be silly.
  • Keep learning.

There’s something about going back to the basics that refreshes the soul. Sometimes we get too fancy, too complicated, too side-tracked. And then there’s Eggs Benedict – classy and uncomplicated.

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Two servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • Butter
  • 4 pieces of Canadian bacon (or several slices of Black Forest ham)
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 1 recipe of hollandaise sauce
  • 1 green onion, diced (optional)

Toast English muffins and butter them. Place each on a plate.

Fry Canadian bacon or ham until hot. Place on English muffins.

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Poach four eggs. The best way to do this is to heat water in saucepan on high until it starts to boil. Place a paper towel on a plate and set aside. Turn heat down to medium high. Stir until water forms into a circler rotation in pan. Crack an egg open and drop into middle of pan. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove egg from water with slotted spoon and place on plate. Continue until all four eggs are cooked. Eggs will look imperfect and this is perfect.

If you’re not a fan of the runny yolk and like an over-hard egg, you can cook them for about 8-9 minutes. This isn’t traditional, but you should enjoy your eggs the way you like them. You can also use fried eggs or scrambled eggs. This dish is delightful either way. 

Make hollandaise sauce and pour over your eggs. Oh, sweet Baby Jesus.

She may seem prissy and hard to figure out, sure, but she is so much more than that. She is comforting. She is saucy. And she is empowering. And, once you realize you can make the basics, you can do anything.

 

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How to Make Easy Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Recipe

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I have to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of homemade ice cream the first time I made it. In fact, my ice cream maker sat in the top of a barn for about 8 years after the overwhelmingly creamy, ultra-thick blackberry misadventure of 2006. The recipe had too much heavy cream ratio for this girl. Bleh. I decided to try making ice cream again one last time – my way – before putting my practically new ice cream machine into a garage sale. And it was good. It was more than good. It was perfect.

I did a very (un)scientific poll to find out what everyone’s favorite ice cream flavors were – I posted a Facebook status to ask my friends. So, without further ado, I now introduce you to everyone’s favorite ice cream… chocolate chip mint.

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Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  • Small amount of green food coloring (optional for your visual well being)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 10 pound bag ice cubes, for chilling
  • 3 cups Ice cream salt, for chilling

Put all ingredients into ice cream canister and stir well. Place blade in & lid on canister tightly so that no ice cream salts get inside.

Finish putting ice cream maker together completely. Plug in machine to make sure everything is set up correctly. If successful, unplug for now and go to the next step.

Place ice all around the bottom of canister. Carefully pour a layer of ice cream salt over the ice. Continue these layers until you reach the top of the canister. Plug ice cream maker in again and allow it to church until it stops (or almost stops) on its own. This will take about 20-40 minutes. You can serve right away, but it is best to freeze in an air-tight container for a couple of hours first so ice cream can firm up.

Oh, that joy that fills my soul… er… um… ice cream canister. I may need to make some to sell at my next garage sale.

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Rich, Meaty Bolognese Sauce Recipe

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I’m pretty sure every last one of my Facebook friends has visited Italy this week. There are beautiful pictures of naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches – oh, the churches. And I’m all sittin’ over here in Seattle listening to my neighbor’s favorite music and eating a whole wheat bagel covered in peanut butter & jelly. Perhaps this post came out of my subconscious jealousy (and by subconscious, I mean complete awareness).

Cue the neighbor’s music that sounds like the back end of an eighties boom box by the time it reaches my ears… I’m about to welcome you to my own Little Italy.

Once you accomplish the initial steps, this is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot for the remaining 4 hours. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day so you had to know their sauce would take at least four hours to make. Also, you know I never miss capitalizing on a great pun. Like, ever. I’m sorry. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.

You have not tried spaghetti sauce until you’ve had bolognese. I promise you will never go back.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots,finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery,finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground veal
  • 8 ounces country style ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water (1 cup may be replaced with a dry white or red wine if you’re feeling especially fancy pants)
  • 3 tablespoons beef Better Than Bouillon
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Most meats come in about one pound packages. If making one recipe, you can freeze the other halves. You’ll be making this again soon. I promise.
Preheat oven to 350F. It is a good idea to dice veggies in advance. This is a long simmering dish; but, it is also pretty busy in the beginning. Set veggies aside.
After veggies are diced, cut tomatoes into quarters and place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Salt & pepper tomatoes. Add garlic cloves (still wrapped in peels) to pan as well. Bake for 20 minutes. This is the only step that requires the oven so you can turn it off.
In a large pot, pour olive oil and add butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add diced veggies. Cook until onions are translucent.
While veggies cook, place milk, water, Better Than Bouillon, and tomato paste into a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Remove tomatoes and garlic from oven when they are done. Place tomatoes into food processor. Remove peels from garlic (they should practically slide off) and add. Process until still a little chunky, but soup-like.
Add ground meats. Using utensil, chop meat up well while cooking. Pieces should be very fine. Allow to cook until juices evaporate and meat is beautifully browned and somewhat sticking to bottom of pan.
Add bouillon mixture to pot. Stir in. Add processed tomatoes and garlic to pot. Stir in. Allow sauce to simmer on lowest heat with a lid partially covering for about 4 hours. Make sure to check and stir once and awhile. Sauce will become more red and be kind of oily in texture as it cooks. Near the end is a good time for additional salt since it may reduce down and become too salty if you add a lot in the beginning.
When it is time to serve, cook noodles according to instructions on box. Be sure to bring water to a boil first, add noodles, then cook for as long as box says (all noodle cooking times are different).
If you don’t count the fact there are no naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches, it’s just like I’m there. Only, you know, I’m watching the Mariners on ESPN and approximately 5,661 miles away from an ancient colosseum.

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Fresh Roasted (or Grilled) Restaurant Salsa Recipe

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I haven’t met a soul yet who can resist Mexican restaurant salsa and chips. We get full before our meal comes. Amirite?

How spiffy would it be to make your own salsa at home and have the power of making your salsa as mild or spicy as you like? How awesome would it be to have the power to say you’ll skip the 2,794-calorie burrito platter and just get full on the chips & salsa freebies?

Your answer is here. Let’s salsa.

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If oven-roasting, preheat oven to 350F. If grilling, turn grill on medium-high.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium tomatoes, stemmed & cut in quarters (I like vine-ripened but fresh outta the garden are for sure the best)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into quarters 1-3 jalepeno peppers, stemmed & cut into quarters (removing seeds is optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, remove peels after roasting
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, great addition when using out-of-season tomatoes)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3 green onions, roots removed then diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a half sheet pan that has sides. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic cloves on pan. Drizzle with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place pan in oven for about 20 minutes or until sizzling. If grilling, place larger items on grill and turn occasionally until charred on outside edges. Place smaller items in a cast iron pan drizzled with olive oil to heat up.

Place all ingredients into a large food processor and pulse until the texture of restaurant salsa as pictured above. Sample with a tortilla chip to be sure the flavoring is right and that there is enough salt to bring out all the gorgeous flavors of your salsa.

Now that you’ve saved 2,794 calories, let’s do margaritas, you zesty little thing.

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Spinach Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing and Fried Onion Crisps Recipe

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Glory. glory. I didn’t think I could love spinach salad anymore than I do. And then I added homemade  crispy, sweet fried onion strips. And. my life was complete. And, the point of having salad in the first place became obsolete.

Here’s a recipe for about 4 people so that you, too, can enjoy this healthy unhealthy creation.

Ingredients 

Divide all ingredients between two – four dinner plates. Refreshing with a wee bit of sin. You’re welcome.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash

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I’ve always disliked squashed squash.

Pumpkin ravioli? Meh.

Soup? Even more meh.

Overcooked? There are not enough mehs in the world.

But I’ve wanted to like it. I’ve tried with my whole heart. I’ve even ordered it at fancy restaurants to be sure I wasn’t judging my squash over a bad recipe.

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But, I’m not a quitter. So, last September I accepted the gift of a butternut squash from some amazing gardeners, my in-laws. I was scared but excited.

And so it sat.

And sat.

It was moved to a new location.

And it sat.

And here we are in March.

Today I was brave. What I found was what I had wondered all along. Would I like roasted squash better than squashed squash?

Yes. Yes, I would. And with the excitement level of a chihuahua I am happy to say I love roasted butternut squash. I admit. I did use bacon in my recipe but I can say with ease that I would love this dish even without the bacon.

Ingredients

  • 4 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 fresh butternut squash, diced into one inch squares (or, you know, one from last September)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Couple of dashes of sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Spread out bacon pieces in (preferably) in a shallow non-stick roasting pan. (A half sheet pan with sides or a 9X13 baking pan will work too. Line with foil for easy cleanup).

Put remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss until well-combined and coated with maple syrup and salt & pepper.

Place squash mixture upon bacon pieces.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Give a gentle toss and serve on a platter.

Dare I say? I might even like the leftovers ground into a soup puree in the food processor. But tossed and roasted will always be my very favorite.

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Lemon Bars Recipe

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As an oldest child, I remember having special privileges – privileges like staying up late with mom to watch Dynasty. Once a week, we would make lemon bars and snack ourselves into the world of shoulder pads and male stunt doubles in awful wigs playing the roles of over-privileged, fighting women.

Lemon bars never made me feel entitled, though; nor, did they throw me into cat fights. After all, many of us oldest kids understand with great lemon bars comes great responsibility. I washed plenty of dishes & piles of laundry and babysat my siblings to earn my guilty pleasures of watching Dynasty.

And, when I hadn’t, I just sneaked behind my dad’s armchair to watch from the hallway. Don’t tell mom.

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Lemon Curd

  • Lemon zest from 3 fresh lemons
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (this will take about 3-4 juicy lemons to create)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (milk is fine substitute in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter

Place lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks into a saucepan and whisk together well. Then whisk in cream and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved.

Cook’s notes:

  1. Don’t add the cream before the sugar because the lemon will curdle the milk. Don’t add the cornstarch before the sugar because, well, the lemon will deactivate the Wonder Twin Powers of the cornstarch… it’s all that acid-y science stuff. Basically, sugar brings everyone together. 
  2. Save egg whites in fridge for an egg white omelet or 1/4 cup will replace one large egg in other recipes.

Now that no participants are deactivating other participants and egg whites have been rescued from the trash, place saucepan over medium high heat. Cook while whisking continuously. Remove from heat when you see it start to thicken. Stir in butter until fully melted.  Set aside. Mmmmmmm.

Cookie Bar Dough

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients together in mixer. Mix until combined.

Lemon Bars Assimilation

Press cookie bar dough into an 9X13 pan. Pour lemon curd evenly over cookie bar dough in pan. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes.

Best if served when cooled to room temperature and refrigeration will make them firmer for a cleaner cut – not that mom & I did this. Like. Um. Ever. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar through a sifter if desired. Cut into delightful, golden squares.

Your Own Creative Touch

There are many ways to make these lemon bars your very own. You can mix 1/4 cup of poppy seeds into the cookie bar dough.

Or, how about spreading a thin layer of strawberry jam over the dough before adding your lemon curd.

Or, how about this craziness? Cream cheese filling in the middle? Don’t have a cream cheese filling recipe? No worries. I’ve got your back…

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter (or 1/2 a stick) softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt

Whip ingredients together for a few minutes. Use as a filling in between the cookie bar layer and lemon curd in your lemon bars.

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How to Make Butter-y Homemade Croutons

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I don’t mean to brag, but I made a couple of bad choices that led to a good choice this week.

Choice 1: I’d purchased a really long, skinny loaf of French bread from the grocery store. I don’t remember what I bought it for now; but, whatever good intentions I had fell apart. While my intentions fell apart, the French bread loaf got firmer.

Choice 2: I chose to ignore the issue. It didn’t go away.

Choice 3: I decided I would try to redeem myself. It might’ve been too late, but I was willing to take a knife to my now brick-like loaf of bread. The result is delicious, and now I have good intentions of using these butter-y beauties upon a salad. I’ll let you know how my salad choice goes.

In the meantime, here is my homemade butter-y croutons recipe. It’s versatile and dependable… even when our intentions are not.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Ingredients

  • 1 long, skinny cheap loaf of grocery store French bread (or a short, chubby one)
  • 1 cup (yup, two sticks) of the best butter you can find (I always use salted)
  • 3 T. garlic powder (or 4-5 fresh garlic cloves)
  • Light dusting of salt

Allow loaf of French bread to sit out uncovered over night. Using a bread knife cut loaf of French bread into about 1/2 to 3/4 inch squares. Spread squares over a half sheet pan (preferably one with edges).

Melt butter completely over low heat. At the end, add garlic powder or minced garlic if using fresh. Stir together.

How the butter-y goodness kisses the bread cubes is up to you. I like quickly dipping a spoonful of squares into the butter with a slotted spoon, then placing them back onto the tray. Some might prefer to drizzle. Some may prefer to mix them all together in a large bowl. Whatever your method, make sure the bread cubes are well-covered with butter mixture.

Place all butter-coated bread cubes upon the tray again. Spread them out well. Dust a wee bit of sea salt over the croutons.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until croutons are golden brown as pictured. You may like to toss them a bit mid way through the baking cycle.

Other things you can add to the butter mixture include Beau Monde spice (celery flavor), onion powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, etc.

Get creative. After all, it’s your very own bad bad good choice.

 

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