Tag Archives: food

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

thanks to a tweet from xeni jardin i discovered that homemade soft pretzels are easy to bake and while i try to live a pretty-much-mostly-gluten-free lifestyle i love a soft pretzel as much as anyone else, so i had to give it a try. and, yes, they are ridiculously easy to make. and super tasty.

odin and discovered that the only thing better than a soft pretzel straight out of the oven is one slathered in melted organic valley butter :-)

here is the recipe we followed. king arthur has a similar sourdough pretzel recipe that i’m going to have to try soon.

Jason and Hannah’s pretzel recipe

2 1/4 cups AP or bread flour
¾ cup of warm water
1 tsp bread yeast
1 Tbs brown sugar
⅛ tsp salt
Additionally: Baking Soda, and Salt
Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.

Mix yeast and brown sugar in the ¾ cup of warm water and let proof for 10 minutes.

Put flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add liquid. Knead until the ball of dough has picked up all the loose flour and is smooth.

Start a 3-5 quart pot of water boiling. Add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. Let boil.

Roll out pretzels. I suggest taking golf ball sized balls of dough and rolling them in your hand until the string of dough is about the diameter of a grease pencil or sharpie. Then twist into pretzels.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or your favorite non-stick method. Boil pretzels in the baking soda water mixture for 10-15 seconds each. My rule is to let them sink to the bottom and then retrieve a few seconds after they float to the surface. Place the pretzels on the baking sheet.

Immediately before placing in the oven, sprinkle with salt to your preference. Bake for 18-19 minutes.

recipe: bacon-wrapped jalapeno-stuffed hotdogs.

recipe: bacon-wrapped jalapeno-stuffed hotdogs. I.

bacon and jalapenos make for a simple and tasty way to spruce up a hotdog ( we love organic prairie’s 100% grass-fed organic hotdogs ).

simply cut a line down the length of the hotdog deep enough to fit several slices of jalapeno. precook some bacon so it’s tender enough to wrap around the hotdog. then secure the bacon with some toothpicks. cook on medium heat on a grill until the hotdog is hot and the bacon is crisp.

recipe: bacon-wrapped jalapeno-stuffed hotdogs. II.

top with sweet pickle relish and mustard.

served with homemade fries spritzed with apple cider vinegar for a Delicious Flavor Bonanza ®

Everything is Awesome!

Everything is Awesome!

i very much enjoyed a 100% organic lunch delivered from organic valley HQ thanks to a new delivery service. i haven’t had a lunch like this since being relocated after the fire ( there’s no on-site kitchen at our new digs ).

tater tot casserole, mind bending chocolate pudding goodness and a chocolate chip cookie – ’cause that’s how i roll.

seriously, if you’re ever visiting organic valley ask if there’s any chocolate pudding around. it’s incredible. it all starts with the best ingredients and a dash of love :-)

btw, i’m not denigrating the local faire, so much as i’m making an observation about the spectacular awesomeness of the folks in our kitchen.

thank you all.

Perfect Purple Moon Ice Cream!

Perfect Purple Moon Ice Cream!

some might recall i’ve been concocting purple moon ice cream which is my 100% organic homage to the froot loopy blue moon ice cream without the artificial food coloring, or other mystery ingredients. it took a few iterations but i’ve finally perfected the recipe.

nearly everyone – young and old – who taste it, loooooove it ( you can’t win everyone over ). if they’re familiar with blue moon they say it’s even better than the original, which is not terribly surprising given the delicious organic valley dairy ( yes, i’m the ov milk and cream brand manager and i’m biased. but really, the quality of the ingredients always matters, and with ice cream they might matter even a little bit more. ) and real fruit and citrus flavors. if they’re not familiar with blue moon, then they just think it’s super great ice cream with a bright fruity flavor and a smooth mouthfeel ( thanks to the heavy whipping cream and vanilla pudding ).

a few unsolicited remarks:

get out of here! this is the best ice cream i’ve ever had!
are you kidding me? how did you make it sooooo good?
omg. you need to start selling this.

i didn’t do anything magical. i think most people are just used to mediocre ice cream and using the best ingredients really highlights how extraordinary ice cream can be.

of course, odin is the only critic that matters to me. he loves it and says it’s his favorite ice cream. that’s all the praise i need to put it into permanent rotation.

basically, after the original experiment, i tried a bunch of things that didn’t work and the final recipe is close to the first with a few key changes. the quantities are doubled to make a full batch in standard ice cream mixer. the amount of raspberry juice was tweaked to give more natural color and flavor and maybe most importantly, the vanilla pudding is added after scalding the milk, not in the last 5 minutes of mixing. let me tell you from hard won experience, a little vanilla pudding is good. too much is not :-)


1 cup organic valley whole milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic valley half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla oil
3 cups organic valley heavy whipping cream
6 teaspoons vanilla pudding mix
2 cups frozen raspberries, pureed and strained through fine mesh sieve ( makes about 1 cup of juice )
2 teaspoons lemon flavored oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract


1 cup of milk scalded in pan.
add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt. stir till dissolved.
add 1 cup of half and half.
add 3 cups of heavy whipping cream.
add 6 teaspoons vanilla pudding mix, slowly. mix well.
add vanilla, raspberry, lemon flavoring.
chill in fridge till very cold.
put in ice cream machine for 20 minutes
transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours.


90% chicago style.

90% chicago style.

i had a very specific craving for a chicago style hot dog. so i went to some effort to get all the ingredients from memory, or at least as close as i could get in rural southwest wisconsin on short notice. no poppy seed buns and i had to substitute pepperoncini for pickled sport peppers, but hey, my mouth was watering as i assembled the glorious dogs and OH THE HUMANITY I FORGOT THE TOMATO SLICES!


100% chicago style consists of all beef dog topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a bit of celery salt.

The Great Brussels Sprouts Harvest!

The Great Brussels Sprouts Harvest!

up until about 10 years ago you couldn’t pay me to eat brussels sprouts but for whatever reason my taste buds changed and now they’re one of my favorite vegetables. fresh from the garden, steamed with a generous dollop of organic valley pasture butter.

kris and odin do not share my love of brussels sprouts which means i get them all :-)

and, yes, they really did get their name purportedly because of their popularity in .

recipe: new england fried clams.

recipe: new england fried clams. I.

it’s something of a birthday tradition for kris to get some clams flown in from main for my birthday and this year was no exception. two pounds of clams arrived at our house the day before my birthday from simplylobsters.com in lewiston, maine which is sort-of close to my ancestral homeland in and around machias, maine which is way, way, waaaaaaay down east.

typically i make steamed clams because, well, there are few things better than a perfectly steamed clam dunked in broth and slathered in butter! but this year i thought it’d be fun to try my hand at fried clams because if there is one thing better than a steamed clam, it’s a fried clam!

i’m a traditionalist at heart so a simple “clam shack” style recipe is what i wanted. light and minimal with no fancy herbs and spices to get in the way of the taste of the clams. i found the perfect clam-shack style fried clams recipe over at leite’s culinaria ( side note: i find it amusing that the yankee cook recipe has a bunch of herbs and spices. tsk. tsk. )

i couldn’t agree more with this quote from leite’s culinaria recipe ( even though it does include cayenne ):

“When I made this recipe, adapted from the great Jasper White, I was tempted to doctor up the coating mix with all kinds of herbs and spices. (Yes, for a moment I thought of myself as the Colonel Sanders of Seafood.) “The secret to fried clams,” says Chickie Aggelakis, owner of The Clam Box in Ipswich, Mass., “is the flavor of the clams.” The coating and its crunch protect the tender belly meat. Mucking it up with spices—which is hard to resist—should be avoided at all costs.”

1 cup corn flour (or masa harina)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shucked whole-belly steamer clams
4-6 cups canola oil
1 cup buttermilk ( you could use somethign lesser but i recommend organic valley buttermilk )

first, shuck the clams if they didn’t arrive already shucked. don’t cut yourself! it’s super important to tap the foot of the clam before shucking and discard any clams that remain open or don’t respond when tapped!

rinse and drain clams colander and stir together with *cough* organic valley buttermilk *cough* in a large bowl ( o.k. yes, i work for organic valley and am perhaps a bit biased but seriously, this is no time to go for a lesser quality ingredient :-) let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and heat the oil to 380°F or so.

recipe: new england fried clams. II.

combine the flours, salt, and and black and cayenne peppers in a largish mixing bowl or pie plate. you want something big enough to dredge clams through. using a slotted spoon or whatever you have that will allow the excess buttermilk to drip away without allowing the clams to fall back into the bowl.

then, pick up a few clams, let the excess buttermilk drip off, and dredge them through the batter mixture. move them about to coat evenly.

recipe: new england fried clams. III.

shake off the excess breading and dunk them the fryer. let them cook for a 20 seconds or so before disturbing so the breading had time to adhere to the clam. then stir the clams around to ensure they cook evenly. use your head and don’t splatter hot grease everywhere!

cook until golden brown. maybe about 1-2 minutes per batch depending on how many clams you fry in a batch. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM!

recipe: new england fried clams. IV.

i was pondering making 1 pound into steamers and 1 pound into fried clams but i ended up making all two pounds nito fried clams because i had such a strong hankering for them. and, holy cow, am i glad i did.

seriously, i have never had fried clams this good outside of maine. and i dare say i’ve only had clams this good in a few rare spots on the coast. tender, light and minimal. not too heavy at all and the clam flavor really burts through.

especially when you break open the stomach between your teeth!

The Greatest Burger, EVAR!

The Greatest Burger, EVAR!

to celebrate losing 90 pounds by the new year, i whipped up a 100% grass-fed, organic, bacon, blue cheese, olive burger with caramelized onions and onion rings.

losing 90 pounds involved lots of running and careful consideration of what i’ve been eating for the past year. and while i’d be lying if i said i haven’t had a burger in a year, this was the best one in a long time.

i will also admit that, because it was so rich, i could only eat half of it :-)

and since i now can roughly estimate the number of calories in pretty much everything i eat i’m obligated to mention that one of The Greatest Burgers, EVAR will set you back about 800 calories.

everything in moderation, except moderation!