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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 .

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Some foods are so colorful, so glorious, so flavorful they can be tossed into the oven with just a smidge of prep and come out looking like a glorious dish from a top-rated restaurant. Enter rainbow carrots…

Preheat oven to 350°F.


Start by either choosing carrots which are similar size or slice the large carrots down the middle the long way so they are similar thickness as the small carrots. I like to keep the stems attached for added drama.

Just place carrots in a cast iron pan or baking dish. Take the fancy-pants garlic oil we made and drizzle over carrots. Sprinkle with sea salt & freshly ground pepper, and, if desired, some fresh thyme.

Roast for 20-30 minutes. You can drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you like or you can just enjoy the way they are.

Rainbow carrots. Sweet and simple. No drama… except for the stems.

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Mexican Coleslaw Recipe

Looking for a fresh, new twist for your Taco Tuesdays? You will adore this flavorful Mexican Coleslaw. There won’t be a shred of evidence you even made it by the time dinner is done. I may or may not have intended that dicey pun. You’re welcome. I’m sorry. You’re welcome.

Slaw Ingredients

  • 1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1/8 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalepeno, minced

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Dress slaw at last minute so it doesn’t wilt.

Serve with Thursday Tamales. Or, you know, Bednesday Burritos. Um, er, Caturday chimichangas.

 

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Baja Fish Tacos Recipe

Fish tacos are very fresh & sassy to share with guests but are super easy to make. I do believe it is time for another game night with friends.

Fried Fish Ingredients

  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 12 ounces of buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • About 2 pounds fresh halibut or cod, cut into about 4 inch pieces and 3/4 inch wide

Preheat  oil in a heavy-duty deep pan or in a deep fryer to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with two or three layers of paper towels.

Make sure the oil maintains this same temperature throughout the cooking process.

Whisk together just until combined:  egg yolks, beer, flour, baking powder, sea salt, onion powder, and paprika in a medium-large bowl.

Rinse the fish with cold water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Coat one piece at a time and carefully drop in the preheated oil. Cook about four at a time for a few minutes on each side.

When done cooking, place fish on lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt right away. Repeat the process until all fish strips are fried.

If you need to keep fish warm while preparing rest of dinner, place on unlined baking sheet in oven at 200°F and cover with a sheet of foil. Watch carefully, though, so they don’t become tough and dry.

Healthier Option: If you prefer, you can just coat a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil, place fish pieces on tray, sprinkle with sea salt & pepper, and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes rather than breading and frying.

Assembling Your Tacos

  • Fried fish
  • 1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1/8 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced in food processor
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalepeno, minced
  • Corn or flour tortillas, your size of choice
  • One recipe of Roasted Salsa
  • Cotija or grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh lime juice

Prepare fish as listed above. Place cabbages, onion, carrot, cilantro, and jalepeno in a large bowl and combine.

Place fish sticks on tortilla and use desired toppings.

Please pass the dice.

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How to Cook Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Perhaps I should’ve called this “How to Fall in Love With Brussel Sprouts.” Bacon. Garlic. Cheese. The end.

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Preheat oven to 400°F.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts (or about 1/2 stalk)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 recipe of The Old Hen’s Bacon Jam
  • 3 ounces parmigiano-reggiano

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Cut brussel sprouts of stalk if purchased on one. Cut each sprout in half and cut out the small stem part at the bottom. Set aside.

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Heat olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat. Well-seasoned cast iron pans are perfect for this.  When pan is hot, place sprouts flat side down in pan. They may stick to pan for a couple minutes, but will loosen again when done browning. Cook until bottoms are golden brown. Gently shimmy pan to turn over sprouts. If you prefer, you can use a utensil to flip them.

Place pan in oven fro about 5-8 minutes or until sprouts are tender. larger ones may take about ten minutes.

Stir in as much of The Old Hen Bacon Jam as you like.

Top with parmigiano-reggiano.

NOTE You can also roast an entire stalk of brussel sprouts by preheating oven to 375°F. Place stalk on a baking sheet coated in olive oil. Brush olive oil on sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt & pepper. Bake for about 45 minutes. Serve on a platter. Guests can pull of their own sprouts and dip in bacon jam for an appetizer packed with delightful drama

 

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Homemade Indian Naan Bread Recipe

Naan is especially practical when eating Indian Butter Chicken. Yeah, that’s it. Practical. Spread garlic butter over naan, and it becomes a delight. Toss taco makin’s inside naan and you have full-on rebellion that is completely worth the calorie consequences. The fun is, well… you know,  naan-stop.

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Naan Recipe

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Set aside 1 cup of flour for rolling out naan.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Whisk in sugar, yogurt, and baking powder. Whisk in 1/2 cup flour and the salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour. Combine and then knead naan  in bowl for a few minutes, sprinkling as needed with a little of the flour set aside for rolling.

Cover naan bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

While naan rises, make garlic butter recipe below.

After naan has doubled in size, press down and divide into eight pieces. Place some flour on countertop and roll each piece into an oval shape. Place rolled-out naan on a baking sheet for about ten minutes.

Place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. If you don’t have cast iron, non-stick will also work. When pan is hot, put a piece of naan in frying pan. Watch closely. Cook for about one minute, then flip, and cook other side for another minute.

Place hot naan on a plate and use a cooking brush to quickly spread garlic butter on it. Continue cooking naan until all eight are ready to enjoy.

Garlic Butter Recipe

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir butter, salt, and garlic together well.

I can’t wait to hear your practical, delightful, and rebellious ideas for naan.

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Fondant Sweet Potatoes With Balsamic Reduction

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Sweet potatoes have grown up in the Great Northwest.

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Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place balsamic vinegar in a saute pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to medium and cook down until reduced to about half. Set aside.

Use a high quality potato peeler to peel sweet potatoes. I love KitchenAid for potato peelers (and for can openers, while we’re at it). Slice sweet potatoes in about 2-inch round pieces. Set aside.

Small end pieces can be cooked too. Just lesson cooking time since they’re smaller. 

Heat a cast iron pan on high and add olive oil & butter. When butter is melted and hot, place sweet potato slices in pan, flat side down. Cook until golden brown on first side, then use tongs to flip, and cook other side until also golden brown. This will take about 3 minutes per side.

Sprinkle sweet potatoes with salt & pepper. Spread minced garlic on top of each one. Pour chicken broth into pan. Cook on high and watch closely until chicken stock has pretty much dissolved away. Bottom of sweet potatoes will have caramelized.

Place sweet potatoes on serving platter or plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

The beauties that were once tucked into a casserole dish, covered and ashamed, topped with marshmallows are now standing in all their naked, orange glory with a drizzle of a lovely balsamic reduction. Welcome to the northwest, sweetie.

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How to Dry Bread For Homemade Stuffing

Have you signed up for your free “Turkey for Twelve” eBook yet? It’s the perfect Thanksgiving guide for the new holiday host.

In it, you will learn:

  • How long it takes to defrost & cook your turkey
  • How to make stuffing & gravy without harming packaged mixes
  • How to make sure your mashed potatoes don’t turn into paste
  • How to form your own cranberry sauce into a shape other than a can

Just sign up for The Old Hen email which will arrive in your inbox every couple of weeks. Everyone’s gobbling it up!


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To dry your own bread for your homemade stuffing, just buy a couple of really long French baguettes. If you buy them sliced (the store bakery will do this for you), then half the slicing work is done for you.

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Just cut slices into strips as pictured above.

Place bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. A couple of loaves may take 3-4 half sheet pans.

Bake for 12 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven until oven has cooled to be sure the bread is well dried.

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Drying your bread will help ensure perfect stuffing that isn’t too soggy. Place dried bread in a plastic bag until you’re ready to use it on Thanksgiving Day.

And, contrary to what you might see on the internet, it is perfectly safe to cook your stuffing in the turkey as long as the stuffing and the turkey both reach 165° F.

A fun little side note… this is a great way to save plain French bread for bread pudding too.

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How to Cook Rice on the Stove Top

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This may seem like a plain post. And, you’re right. It is. But in a world where we are bombarded with gimmick-y kitchen utensils every day, it is good, sometimes, to go back to the basics.

I’m not completely sure why I opted for a rice cooker over a food processor for my first 17 years as a grown up. But, I can tell you now, I made the wrong decision. I use my food processor pretty much daily and rice is way easier to make on the stove top than some might realize. And, by some, I mean 22 year-old me.


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How to Cook Rice

  • 2 cups long grain basmati or jasmine rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Rinse and then place rice into a saucepan with water & sea salt. Stir. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Turn heat down to lowest setting then cover with lid.

Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in some butter if desired.

The end. Nope, not kidding. It’s really that easy.

Thank goodness we can change. In a world of Magic Bullets and Insta Pots, thank goodness we can opt for beautiful spoons, food processors, and going back to basics. Rest in piece, rice cooker.

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Red Wine, Steak, and Mushroom Risotto

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I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of eating mushrooms – it’s a texture thing. But, you absolutely cannot beat the flavor they add to dishes… especially saucy ones. If you can relate, please promise me you will chop some ‘shrooms up real fine and use them. I promise in return you will never regret it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound stir fry beef, cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced or diced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons beef Better than Bouillon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Sour Cream (optional, for topping)

To prepare for all that is holy and lovely, pull all ingredients together ahead of time. Cut onion and mushroom and heat olive oil on medium-high in a somewhat deep frying pan.

Place olive oil into large frying pan over high heat. After oil is hot, fry beef until browned. Set aside.

In same pan, saute mushrooms until softened and a beautiful brown. Using a straining utensil, remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add more olive oil if needed. Place chopped onions into oil. Cook until translucent and caramelized. They will begin to brown. Add minced garlic. Then add Arborio rice and stir until rice is translucent around the edges yet white in the center.

Finally, the finicky side of risotto… the babysitting.

Pour red wine & a cup of beef broth into risotto. Stir and cook on medium heat until wine is nearly all absorbed by the rice.

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This recipe is brought to you by the word “Stir”. Don’t even think of walking away. I love this spoon. It is a hand-carved reminder that I am loved. If someone can take the time to hand-carve a beautiful spoon for me, I can certainly stand here and hand-stir my risotto.

Continue to cook and add broth in this same fashion – one cup at a time about every 5 minutes – until broth is gone but, more importantly, until risotto is al dente (not mushy and not crunchy). The dish should be a little creamy. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons beef Better than Bouillon to your liking.

Stir in cooked mushrooms, butter, parmesan cheese, basil, and beef. Add salt & pepper last since you can’t be sure how much salt you will need until after the parmesan has been added.  If desired, sprinkled freshly grated parmesan over the top and perhaps some freshly chopped basil.

Keep trying new things, brave souls. Keep giving hand-made gifts that cannot be found on Amazon. Keep stirring up lovely things. Keep being saucy.

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