#photoadayjune 28 on the shelf

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It’s hot in there.


How to make Jager Steak and Spaetzle

Hello Lovies, It’s been a while since I have had time to write anything but AD story stuff. I have been craving this dish for months but it is a HUGE labor of love, so I didn’t have chance to make it until a weekend when I could share it with Lefty, One-eye and their families.   I was given this recipe and taught how to make from a German friend, she purchased the spaetzle maker in Germany and brought it back for me to use while she taught me.   You could probably improvise with a holey pizza pan or try to find one at a kitchen store. The  Fondor and Maggi spices we purchased at our local grocery store and only use them for this dish.  I don’t really measure when it comes to the spices, I just kind of shake or pur them in there until i get the desired taste.   Here is what you need.

Porch chops, boneless are best. We sliced a pork roast up in thin slices.

Olive oil and butter for your pan. coat lightly but you want enough to get through several batches of chops if you are feeding a lot  of people.

Paprika, coat each side of your chops and brown them lightly in the pan, once done take them out and set them aside on a plate, you will want the juices for when you return them to the pan.

Fresh Sliced mushrooms, I used about a pound but you can add or decrease to your taste.  After the chops are done dump the shrooms in the pan and get them coated in the oil and spices left over from the chops. I add some Fondor and Maggi to this mixture and cook them down until they get well coated and start to reduce.

Once that is done I scooch them out to the sides of the pan and then add some flour and butter to the pan, about 2-4 tablespoons each depending on how thick I am trying to make my sauce. I use a wisk to work it all together and let the roux mixture cook a bit to get the raw out.

Once that is done I dump either half and half or heavy cream into the pan,  you want enough sauce to cover your chops and shrooms, this time I used the whole large container of half and half, I think it is 4 cups.  Whisk it together until it is all incorporated  bring it to a soft boil and let it go for about 3-5 minutes, then turn it to medium low and return your chops and any juices to the pan.  stir it around a bit to get the sauce in between everything. Move it to a back burner and let is simmer for about an hour.   About an hous is as long as it is going to take you to make the spaetzle anyway.

Spaetzle dough is basically flour, eggs, salt and either milk or water.  It is not an exact science, I like my  dough to start a little runny because it thicken up as you work through your batches and i like it to move easily through the maker.   YOu can add eggs or water or more flour to get the consistency you like. This time I used about 6 cups of flour , 7 eggs, 2 tsp salt, and probably 3 cups of water. I started out adding the first cup, then added it a 1/2 cup at a time till it was  where I wanted it.   While you are making your dough start a very large stock pot boiling on the stove and get a bowl ready to put the cooked spaetzle in.   In a separate large bowl put all your flour in and make a well with your fingers, crack in all your eggs and add in your first bit of water, mix with a spoon adding water etc until it it how you like it.  You do not want it as runny as pancakes, but you don’t want it too thick either.  You really can’t screw it up so don’t stress too much.

Now comes the labor of love, standing over the stock pot dropping in the dough, letting it cook and rise to the top of the pot and then fishing it out. Rinse repeat, repeat , repeat. By the time I am done with this part I am so over it, it isn’t funny but it is so worth it.

Basically you are pushing the dough through the maker and it is dropping into the boiling water, it takes about 3-5 minutes per batch. I do this by setting the maker on top of the pot, pouring about 1/2 cup or so of dough onto the top of the maker and then using a scraper to push it down into the pan.. You want to work quickly and you want to try to get the top of the maker as clean as possible on each batch.   Once you have all the dough through, remove the maker from the top of the pan and set it aside while you wait for them to be done.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon or other such slotted device and dump the finished spaetzle into a big bowl.  Then put the maker back on, pour more dough on and repeat until all the dough is gone. Stir the whole batch a bit to mix it up, then serve it as abase for your Jager Streak mixture, some crusty bread for sopping up sauce, a salad and some German wine. We had a Riesling last night.

About every other batch or so you will have to scrape off the top of the maker to make sure it stay clean and the holes do not get clogged.  You want to work as fast as possible and be careful of several pit falls.

1. Keep an eye on your boil, as you cook more the water will shrink and it can get tricky.

2. Work fast because the maker is metal is get hot, I take mine off in between batches to cool and so I can see what is going on in the pan.  Don’t forget to keep the back of the pan clean as well. You do NOT want to plug the holes.

3. Do not get distracted  while the dough is on the pan because you can end up sealing all the holes with a thin layer of Spaetzle dough, then your pot will overheat and possibly over boil.  If this happens, it did to me this time,  get as much through as possible, then remove it and scrape it clean. I tried to save any and all dough and cook it but this time I just tossed the mess and moved on.

4. If you have leftovers try not to microwave them, it is a cream sauce and it will separate and get yucky on you. I like to heat up in a pan with a little milk or cream if I have left.

Here are the pics.


I made Jäger Steak and home made spaetzle. Cooking post coming soon !

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Lola’s Cherry Chocolate Almond Fudge and other ramblings

Sparkly Party Outfit

Happy Friday Lovies!   Thanks again for indulging me in scaling back the writing for the holidays.   It’s been crazy over here.  Work end of year go-live shenanigans abound. House is decorated, post to come I promise. Mini Boobs made me a  crap ton of bows for my DIY  greenery swags this year and they look fabulous.    Cards have been sent and presents are planned.  The first big holiday party at the Lola house for the season is tomorrow, my Bad Gurls are coming!  Every year for  more than a few I have made fudge for gifts and parties. this started when I got invited to one of those Holiday Cookie Exchange parties and I don’t bake.  I’ve talked about this before, baking is too exact for me.  I  can do it, but I much more enjoy something like fudge which is more about ratios and fiddling, like normal cooking. Plus technically fudge is kind of like making a sauce, and I love making sauces!   This year we headed to Trader Joe’s to gather most of our ingredients.  My first  fudge obligation was the Division meeting at work on Tuesday. Saturday night The Husband and I attended the work Casino Christmas Party.   Shorty helped me shop via  pic texting.  We chose well, I felt great. the Husband looked great and we had an absolute blast.  I parked my butt at the craps table all night and turned in $4500 in chips at the end of the night.  It wasn’t enough to win the top 3 prizes but i got my fix in a BIG way!  can’t wait until next year!  We got home quite late and I got up early on Sunday ready to tackle the fudge. Five hours later, with help, I was done!  We are all set for gifts and parties this year.

Cherry Chocolate Almond Fudge

I can’t really take full credit for this recipe. It started out as the Pampered Chef easy 5 minute fudge recipe a few years ago and over the years I have adapted it to where it stands today.  For each single batch this is what you need. I make it in triple batches at a time so I can just dump the whole can of sweetened condensed milk in. Plus last year I tried making all 7 batches at once at though it turned out ok, it was a mixing nightmare.

1 12oz bag of  chips.  I mixed dark and semi-sweet and a ratio of 1  dark to 2 semi sweet.

1 can Betty Crocker frosting of your choice, I prefer the ones with Hersheys in them.  I mixed dark and milk and cherry to make the 3 cans for the triple batch

1/2 cup slivered almonds.  More or less depending on your taste.

1/3-2/3 cups  dried cherries. More or less depending on your taste. I mixed Bing and Montmerency

1tsp almond or vanilla extract

1/3 can sweetened condensed milk. This adds shiny smoothness and I forgot it in the first batch, which was not as pretty but tasted just the same. It strictly a for looks thing.

Start by turning your stove on low to medium low, it is VERY important to DO NOT over heat this or it will get gritty and yucky.  Gently melt and stir all the frosting together first.  Once that is done stir in the chips until they are melted.

While chocolate is melting I place the almonds and cherries toegther in a glass bowl and kind of mix them up with my hands. then I microwaved the mixture in 3 bursts of 30 seconds each, stirring in between. this heats up the nuts and cherries and  starts the release of the natural oils in both.  This makes for yummier fudge and allows you to get it from pan to freezer faster.

Once your frosting and chips are properly melted, but not overcooked, I dump in the add-ins, sweetened condensed milk and extract.  Stir a little bit more and you are ready to get it out of the pan.

You have a couple of choices here.  There is the dump in multiple pans, freeze and then break your wrist cutting huge rows of fudge later method. Or this year I had the brilliant idea that I would make the fudge “prettier” by scooping it into mini muffin cups.   I’m not going to lie to you, both of these methods suck for huge amounts of fudge.  However I am sticking to the scooping method from now on.  I used the Pampered Chef little metal scoop with the metal sweeper thingy that helps you get it out.  If you choose this method it is best to turn off the heat and let it cool a bit before you start scooping.   Each triple batch makes roughly 150 pieces of fudge in mini muffin cups.  By the end I made The Husband do the scooping because my right wrist was shot. The kids had friends over and the girls helped with the fudge transfer.  I also think I ended up using every available pan in the house and a few from the neighbors for staging the cups into the freezer.  It took almost all my big Tupperware to house the end results.

6 pieces is roughly a 1/4 pound of fudge.

Strawberry Chocolate Fudge

My Boss teasingly asked if I was making strawberry for her instead of cherry.  So I decided to find some strawberries and give it a try. I found a bag at trader Joe’s of dried ones and used them.  I just dumped the whole bag in. It’s ok, but next time I’m going to chop them up in smaller pieces and re-hydrate them a tiny bit.   You don’t want too much additional liquid. I was hoping the mixture would soften them up a bit, and it did but not as much as I would of liked. It was also the very last batch and 5 hours past when I started. I;m still on the fence if this batch is good enough to give her, so if I give it a take 2 I will report back with the results.

Here are the pics. Enjoy!!!


Bacon, Egg, Gruyere.

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Lunch


Apples and Sausage; Apple, Pear, Sausage Pancake

Apple, Pear, Sausage Pancake

This cooking post covers two meals I made in the last couple of weeks.   We have been really busy both at work and home so Brinner aka Breakfast for Dinner has made a reappearance in our menu planning.   By menu planning I mean what do I make when I am standing in  the kitchen at 5:30 or 6:30 or 7:30 trying to decide what we are having for dinner.

Apples and Sausage is a meal from my childhood.  It is just that, Apples and Sausage!

1 pound roll of  Sausage, we use spicy.

Let’s talk about the Sausage. You MUST USE BOB EVANS!  You must use Bob  Evans because throughout the years The Husband and I have made a lot of things with rolled sausage.  And Bob Evans not only tastes the best, especially if you like spicy, but it is the leanest. You can cook an entire 1 pound roll of Bob Evans Sausage in your pan and not have an ungodly greasy mess to deal with after.  You will also have just enough sausage grease left over for frying your apples.    If you have a brand you are loyal to, by all means don’t let me sway you. But Bob Evans in the best.

When we were growing up,  my Mom sliced the sausage into patties and fried it that way.  So for this meal that is what I did.  Plus I didn’t know how down MiniMe and the Destroyer were going to be about this.  They miss out on so much good food because of their nasty kiddie attitudes about it and some nights I am just not up to fighting the battle.

Brown on medium to medium low until just about done on both sides.   I usually not only press them down with my spatula when flipping, but also end up cutting them in half before they come out.  Hi,   my name is Lola and I am OCD about underdone sausage.   I like my sausage quite brown. Remove all of it from a pan and set aside on paper towels to drain.

2-6 apples of your choice.  We like Gala, Granny Smith,  Fuji, whatever really.

This is really a matter of your preference on amount and serving sizes. I core them and cut them medium thin. But you could dice them, or  slice them really thin.

I dump them into the sausage grease  and use a tiny bit of cider vinegar to deglaze the pan.   You could also use water, but not too much  unless you are going for mushy applesauce.    You could also stir in a bit of butter.  As they start to heat up and sweat,  sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon.   I used roughly 2-4 TBS of brown sugar and just dusted the cinnamon to taste.   Stir well to incorporate. You can add more water if you need to, but I try to keep it to a minimum so I can get to the glazed syrupy sauce before the apples get too mushy.   Let them simmer on medium low to low for  about 10-15 minutes or until at your desired apple tenderness and sauce thickness.

Brinner for the winner

Growing up my mom put the  sausage back in the pan to get coated by the mixture and served it all together. Since the kids were being served this we ate it side by side with the rest of our Brinner that night.  It was leftover B’s&G’s, the rest of the hash browns in the freezer, scrambled eggs and cheese,  Sausage and Apples,  and biscuits.   No one went hungry but not everyone ate the same thing. And the kitchen was a freaking mess.

Apple, Pear, Sausage Pancake

OK first of all this was a fluke.  I just kind of came up with it on the fly to use the leftover sausage for the next Brinner meal.

I diced up the remaining sausage patties and set them aside.  I cut up apples and pears in a big dice  and put them in the pan with  enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. I was in a hurry and didn’t have 20 minutes to cut them bigger or simmer them like above.   I threw in teh brown sugar and cinnamon right at the beginning, set it on medium high and kept an eye on it while I cooked batch after batch of pancakes.   Near the end I tossed in the small diced sausage and let it hit in the mixture and the flavors blend.  I was making the kids pancakes using Bisquick mix and I mixed up a double serving.  When you do this the batter starts to thicken, because it was a double batch by the end the batter was really gooey.   As the Apple, Pear, Sausage mixture got done and I neared the end of the pancake batter,  I became inspired.

What if I made one big fluffy apple, pear sausage pancake??

So I put a little oil in my pan and dumped the rest of the batter in to coat the whole pan. It was thick and slow moving batter…perfect!   I waited a few seconds for the bottom to set up a smidge then spooned a ton of the mixture, sauce ( but not too much)  and all on to the uncooked top.   I then waited for the big pancake to set all the way up on the bottom and somehow managed to flip it without breaking the whole thing.  hearing the sizzle on the flip side was mouth watering.   I wondered if I’d get any crispy caramelly apple bits on the bottom side.  It was super close to nirvana but I will have to tinker with the recipe to get it just where I’d like it.

It made a huge plate size pancake that The Husband and I split.  Both kids tried it and The Destroyer even liked it.

Pics of both are below. I hope you enjoy my recipes, such as they are!


Chicken Marsala; Spinach Salad, home made Croutons

Dinner

My Husband says my chicken Marsala is the best he’s ever had. with one minor exception for a local restaurant.   I’ve talked before about how I am  a recipe fiddler.  Basically by the time I’ve made something more than a few times I pretty much just keep it in my head and then whip it out via memory when the time comes.   Now that being said, I haven’t made this dish in a long while.  But I was feeling  cocky and I was also short on time and attention span.  I made this dinner Tuesday night for my husband and SIL while trying to supervise home work and get the kids fed a snack.   It’s been better, but it was still good.   The pics below will show you what it all look like, but the recipe basically goes like this.

Chicken Marsala

Boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin.  anywhere from 2-4, anymore and your pan size could end up being an issue, but you could always cook them in batches.

Lightly dredge in flour, you can add salt and pepper to taste, I do not.

Cook them in a large flat bottom skillet in a little olive oil until they are browned on both sides and you have a nice pan full of cooked brown bits.  Take them out and set them to the side.

White or yellow onion,  diced fine, about a half an onion, you don’t want a ton of it because the focus is the shrooms.

Couple cloves of garlic, smash with a knife and peel.  Then I run them through a garlic press and dump right on top on the diced onion pile.

This time I deglazed the pan with red wine,  you could use white whine, Marsala, beef or chicken broth. Heck you can even use water if you need to, but you MUST deglaze the pan before you put in the onions and garlic. You want to cool the pan down a smidge and also get all the flavor up form the bottom to go into the sauce.   Then I added a little butter and olive oil and sauteed the onions and garlic until soft.   The red wine made it a bit difficult to keep an eye on heat and make sure the garlic did not burn, if you ever burn garlic in a dish you should probably just throw it out and start fresh, there is no  rescue from burnt garlic.

80z or more of mushrooms, I hoped to use the rest of the Criminis we got locally, but they were dry moldy yuck.  I  just used sliced button mushrooms, about 12 oz, and gave them a rough chop to break them down to something with a little smaller/better mouth feel.

Toss mushrooms into onions and garlic and saute until tender and clear, but not caramelized ( though that might be yum)

You sauce is basically some  ratio of butter, Marsala ( buy a good one) and broth.  I prefer beef broth because I like the darker color.   Now thickness can be an issue here.  Butter wise I try  not to use more than 2-3 TBs in the sauce itself.  Too much fat and sauces are harder to keep together and do not reheat well, think Alfredo…

I also don’t prefer to use corn starch when thickening sauces. I am a make a roux girl. And you kind of already have roux in your pan because the chicken had flour on it, and you have cooked those meaty floury bits in olive oil and butter (fats).  Then deglazed and incorporated them into the sauce.   Got it? So you can a- be bold and  trust your skills ( what I did this time) b-make some more roux paste in your pan. If I had done it this time it would of been 1-2 TBs of flour and butter.  Be sure to cook until paste is brownish, not raw and yellowish white.  You will need a cup of liquid for each tablespoon of flour you used in your roux.  ish…  Sauces are so fun!

c- just use corn starch . If you do,  use 1 tsp corn starch in a cold cup of broth and shake it well.   I think I usually temper the broth/starch with some warm broth from the pan as well before putting it in the pan.

Now you add your broth and Marsala and simmer and stir until your sauce is right where you want it.   This is TRULY a taste issue.  Husband made it last week with an online recipe that called for no broth and 1.5 cups of Marsala. When he cooked it down the sauce was very light brown and very thick, Marsalaly. It as good, it wasn’t mine.  This time I used about 1.5 cups of the broth and maybe 1/4 cup Marsala.  At the end 2  Tablespoons of butter was stirred in and it turned out great.  Next time I’m trying, white wine, chicken broth and more Marsala..maybe…

When you are comfortable that your sauce is together and the taste you’d like place your breasts back into the pan and simmer for a bit until you are happy with it and serve over Gemelli.

Now the croutons.

I use my big white bowl I use to make dressing for Thanksgiving or pasta salads for pitch-ins.  Though lately it has become the defacto Spinach Salad bowl.

In the bottom of the bowl warm butter and olive oil and then add your spices.  I use a crap load of dill and something called Garlic Garlic sold by Tastefully Simple.  You want a lot of spice in your oil/butter and you can spice it however you want.    You do NOT want too much butter/oil so error on the less side until you learn what works for you.

Cut your french baguettes into cubes and then take off your rings and toss the cubes with the oil/butter/spice mixture.  Leave it sit for a little bit and make sure you have tossed well.

Dump them in a single layer on a cookie sheet

DON’T wash the bowl, put your salad directly in it and it will pick up the spices left behind on the sides.

Bake them in a 325 oven until they are “done”. I do this by watch and feel alone.   Start with 10 minutes and then check about every 5. You can also pull them out and turn them all, I usually just shake the pan a few times.  You want them dried out, but not  so hard they rip your mouth up and not so soft it is like eating bread cubes.   If you get them a little too hard don’t worry ( mine went a tad too far) just make a wetter salad, think  juicy tomatoes and toss the croutons in with the whole thing. They will pick up the salad juices and get very very yummy.   What you don’t use,  store in a plastic baggie in your pantry. You may be able to freeze them too, but I’ve never tried.  They don’t last that long.