Friday, December 11, 2015

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

1 lb of chicken breast, cut bite sized (I had 1 lb+ breasts from Karns, so I used just one)
1/2 t ground pepper
1/4 t salt
1½ cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten

Canola or other high smoke point oil for frying chicken pieces

Sauce Ingredients
3-4T ketchup
1/2 c cider or wine vinegar
1 c white sugar (you could use brown)
1-2 T soy sauce (to taste)
1-2 t garlic powder (don't use garlic salt - you don't need extra salt in this)
1 1/2 T cornstarch

1 can pineapple, drained (I used an entire fresh pineapple here - yummy)
2 large sweet peppers (colors make it look nice)
1 large onion
sliced button mushrooms (optional)

coat a 9x13 pan with oil. preheat oven to 325 F

Put cornstarch and salt & pepper in a quart (or larger) sized plastic container with tight fitting lid.
Separate cut up chicken chunks and drop into container. Once all pieces are in, cover with lid and shake to completely coat with starch/salt/pepper mixture. 

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add oil to coat the bottom. When the oil shimmers, it is ready to cook. Remove pieces of chicken from starch mixture a few at a time and dip to coat in beaten eggs then straight into the skillet. The chicken should only be in a single layer, so work in batches. Brown on all sides and remove placing in a layer in the bottom of the 9x13 pan. When all chicken is cooked, allow to cool while making the sauce.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together Sauce ingredients making sure sugar is dissolved.

Add Veggies to the top of the chicken in the 9x13 pan, then pour sauce mixture over all, spreading to cover as much as possible.

Bake on a middle rack. Remove to stir and coat all Veggie and Chicken pieces evenly every 15 minutes or so. Total bake time is about 60 minutes.

Remove and serve over rice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Cremini Mushroom Duxelles & Balsamic Glaze

(photo pending)


For Duxelles
8oz Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned
2 lg shallots, skins & core removed
4-5 cloves garlic
Olive oil & butter for saute

For Goat Cheese
8 oz goat cheese (room temperature)
8 oz Neufchatel Cheese (sold as light Cream Cheese) (room temperature)
1/4 c Grated Parmesan Cheese

Balsamic Glaze
1 1/2 c Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c white sugar

1 baguette
olive oil

Pour Balsamic Vinegar and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Reduce to 6-8 oz or about 1/3 of original volume.

Meanwhile, place mushrooms, garlic and shallots in a food processor and pulse to a fine chopped texture. Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. When melted and combined, add mushroom/garlic/shallot mixture. Saute to sweat and soften - about 8-10 minutes. Add thyme, salt & pepper and mix well. Remove from heat.

If substituting for goat cheese, in a separate bowl, mix Neufchatel Cheese and Parmesan.

With a bread knife, cut baguette diagonally into 3/8" thick pieces. Brush on olive oil on both sides and either toast in a toaster oven or broiler until brown and crispy (not burned!)

Spread a light coating of goat cheese (or substitute) on each crostini.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mushroom/garlic/shallot mixture on top of the cheese.
Arrange pieces on a serving tray or plate, then drizzle a few drops of the balsamic glaze on top of the mushroom mixture on each.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Anise Shortbread Cookies

1 c unsalted butter
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 1/2 t ground anise seed
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
2 c flour

Cream together butter & confectioners sugar until fluffy.

Add ground anise, cinnamon & vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a 1 1/2 inch diameter log wrapped in parchment paper. Wrap tightly and evenly. Refrigerate in a bag for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover two sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove logs of dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4" slices. Place on baking sheets 1/2" apart.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375, reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with a 1/2 t dollop of Nouveau Merlot Wine Jelly in the center.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Nouveau Merlot Wine Jelly

3 1/2 c Merlot
1/2 c lemon juice
1 packet Suregel Pectin
4 1/2 c white sugar

Put wine, lemon juice and pectin in a large saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring frequently.

When wine mixture boils fully, remove from heat and add the sugar all at once. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Return to heat on high stirring constantly. Bring to a full boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat.

Gently skim any foam from the top of the liquid.

Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1/2" headroom. Add new lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes. Allow to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Make sure all jars have sealed.

Yields 4 - 12oz jelly jars + 1 - 8oz jelly jar or 56oz in total.

Springgate Nouveau Merlot 2015 Adventure

This week I was blessed by my friends at Springgate to get 2 whole gallons of this year's Merlot fresh from its first fermentation - before sulphates, oaking, blending, etc. Fresh, "raw" Merlot. While they were drawing the two one-gallon carboys, I got to have my first taste along with Trevor, one of Marty's winery minions. It was amazing - no acid, no bite, just pure grapey, fruity smoothness.

Now onto what I did first. The plan had been to get the Merlot two days earlier. I had gathered ingredients for a nice beef stew - a nice 7 pound boneless round roast, a couple pounds of carrots & onions, about 1/2 pound of Shiitake mushrooms. But at the last minute, I had to go with some Cabernet Franc instead because of timing and equipment issues to extract the Merlot. So the beef stew came off great, but sans Merlot (you can see details for the stew HERE).

So Wednesday night, I started my first round with the Merlot. I had determined to make 1 gallon into Wine Jelly. But by the time I had cleaned everything and was ready to make jelly (I made it in four smaller batches) I had time to make the first two - plus I needed to scrounge up more jars anyway. So the first night - success.

Last night, I started earlier, my wife managed to find enough jars and I finished off the jelly and the first gallon of Merlot.

Now what to do with the rest?

The plan is:
1 qt - mix with gelatin an whip over ice to make a "mousse". Combined with a dark chocolate mousse for parfaits. This is similar to something I've done before with Panna Cotta with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Merlot Wine Gelatin Whip

1 qt - Merlot Syrup to use over ice cream.

As for the other remaining quarts - stay tuned!

Beef Stew

(Sorry - I missed my photo opportunity!)

5 lb Beef round - cut roughly into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned and cut into 3" pieces
6 medium onions, cleaned, sliced
2 1/2 c red wine (I used Cabernet Franc)
3 c beef stock
leaves of fresh rosemary (I got mine from about 10 inches of stem)
4 bay leaves
1/2 t salt
1 t fresh ground pepper

1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4" wide

1 1/2 c cold water
12 T cornstarch

Put everything except the mushrooms in a large crockpot.
Turn on high to reach bubbling.
Turn down to low to cook for 3-4 hours
Turn on high and add mushrooms - cook for 2 hours.
Mix cold water and corn starch - add a bit at a time to the crockpot, around the perimeter.
Gently stir crockpot contents to distribute the cornstarch slurry.

Continue to cook on high bringing back to bubbling.
If the carrots are cooked through, reduce to low and hold to serve when ready.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Craisin-Oatmeal Scones

2 c flour
2 c rolled oats
1 T baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 c craisins dried cranberries
1/2 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 T heavy cream

coarse Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top


Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

1. Put dry ingredients into a food processor (I use a plastic dough blade) and pulse to mix.

2. Add wet ingredients and mix just until everything is incorporated

3. The dough will be sticky. Turn out directly onto the baking sheet. Using wet hands, form into a rectangle about 8" wide and 10" long about 1/2-3/4" thick.

4. Score in half the long dimension and in even fourths along the narrow dimension. You should have eight smaller rectangles. Now score each into two triangles.

5. Coat top with cream using a pastry brush and then sprinkle the top heavily with a coating of coarse Turbinado sugar

6. Bake for about 20 min, checking for even browning and turning the baking sheet about 1/2 way through.

7. Remove from oven and cut through the scored marks and separate the hot triangles to cool on the baking sheet.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Broccoli & Potato Veggie Patties

3 lbs redskin potatos, washed and cut into 1/2-3/4" cubes (skin on)
2 medium heads of broccoli washed and cut up into bite sized pieces (discard large stems)
2 c shredded monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 T dry onion flakes
2 t Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 + 1 eggs
1/4 c heavy cream


Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.

1. Put the cut up potatoes in a large pot and cover with 3" water above. Bring to a boil for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Add broccoli to the boiling potatoes. Cook for another 7 to 8 minutes more or until both potatoes and broccoli are fork tender. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside. (I actually did this much the night before and it worked fine to stop here.)

3. Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl. Put potatoes, broccoli, cheeses, onion flakes, Paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mash and blend ingredients, leaving some chunks of potato and broccoli. Fold in whisked eggs.

4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Either hand form or use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter and form individual patties of the potato-broccoli mixture about 3/4 - 1" thick. Complete this process for all of the mixture.

5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together remaining egg and heavy cream. Use a pastry brush to coat each patty then sprinkle a light coating of Parmesan cheese to garnish.

6. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check for uneven browning and rotate sheets as needed. Continue baking until the Parmesan cheese on top has browned lightly.

7. Remove from oven and serve.

Derived from a recipe at

Monday, August 31, 2015


2 c flour
4 t baking powder
1/2  t cream of tartar
2 T sugar
1/2 c shortening
2/3 c milk

1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, in 1/16" slices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Baking sheet (I cover mine with foil for easy cleanup.)

Blend dry ingredients.
Add shortening and blend with a pastry blender until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. 
Make a well in the center.
Add the milk and mix just until it comes together, folding with a spatula.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Coat top with a bit of flour. Flatten with your hands to an 8x10" rectangle. Fold in half and pat back to an 8"x10" rectangle. Repeat coating with flour, folding, and reshaping to a rectangle several times. (This makes for flaky biscuits.) 
Optionally you can add slices of butter between layers for extra buttery layers.

Flatten the dough into a 3/4" thick layer. Cut with a 2 1/2" diameter biscuit cutter and place touching together. Reform remaining dough and continue cutting I til done.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and browned.
(This is my tweaked version of 'Biscuits Supreme' from an ancient copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook...)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Plum Galette

(photo copyright Jay Mumper)

Crust Ingredients

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 ounces of unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks, 10 Tbsp, 137g), cut into cubes
1/4 cup (57 ml) sour cream
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
1 teaspoon cream for egg wash
Coarse sugar for sprinkling (I used Turbinado sugar)

Filling Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 lb red plums, pitted and sliced into 1/4"-3/8" wide slices
1/3 c sugar
1 T flour
juice of a lemon
zest of a lemon
1/8 t cinnamon

Our plum tree is again producing a ton of plums this year. As in prior bumper-crop years, ours are small but very juicy and sweet.

Make the crust first. This crust is very flaky and works well with the plums.


1. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) together well. Cube the butter into small cubes and blend into the dry mix with a pastry blender. Allow some larger chunks of butter to remain. After the butter is blended, mix in the sour cream with fork and form dough into a disc-shape, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. (if your plums are small, you'll have plenty of time washing, pitting, and cutting them up while the dough cools...)

2. Place the plum slices in a bowl and add the other filling ingredients. Gently mix them together.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Flour an area to roll out the dough and put the unwrapped disk of dough and let it sit for a few minutes. Roll the dough gently and evenly into a 13" circle about 1/8"-3/16" thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place on the parchment paper covered baking sheet.

5. Starting in the center, arrange the plum pieces in a radial pattern layering 2-3 layers deep (thicker layers in the center). Leave an edge of about 1" to 1 1/4" around the edge. Using a table knife or small spatula, begin rolling the uncovered edge back up over the edge of the plum layer. Move around the circle until the edge is flipped up all the way around.

6. Mix the egg and cream up and begin painting the flipped up edge generously all around the perimeter. Sprinkle coarse sugar generously on the egg washed area.

7. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven. My oven baked these in about 35 minutes, but it could take up to 50 minutes to get the crust evenly browned and the fruit filling fully cooked and bubbling.

Remove and cool for 1 hour. 

Trying serving ala mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and we recommend Springgate's Honey Peach White Wine.

I made this with some changes based on a recipe HERE

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Smashed Garlic Potato Stuffed Peppers

6-10 medium potatoes (I used a mix of new red and white russets)
2 heads garlic
1 lg onion, thin sliced
1+5 T unsalted butter (divided)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
6-8 small peppers, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned of seeds
Olive oil for pan and garlic

1. Wash and dice potatoes (skin on). Place a a pot, cover with water on high heat. Boil until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
2. While potatoes cook, clean garlic heads and cut off top of head exposing tops of each clove. Place in center of a sheet of foil. Drizzle tops with olive oil. Wrap in foil. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. When done squeeze softened centers out discarding outer skin.
3. Saute onions with 1 T butter on medium heat until caramelized. Set aside for garnish.
4. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle or spray on a light coating of olive oil. Place 1/2 peppers on sheet.
5. Add garlic, Parmesan cheese, 5 T butter and pepper to potatoes and mash well.
6. With two spoons distribute potatoes into each 1/2 pepper (mounded). Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese. Bake in 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until top are brown and peppers start to soften.
7. Serve hot garnished on top with caramelized onions.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicken Cordon Bleu en Croute

2 large 1/2 chicken breasts
2 thin slices of deli ham
3-4 thin slices of deli swiss
2 sheets Pillsbury Puff Pastry
1/4 c Soy
1/4 c Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil (for coating top of pastry)
Dry Thyme (for topping)

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Place chicken breasts in a 1 gallon plastic back with soy and balsamic vinegar. Massage a bit and place in a container in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Defrost puff pastry per instructions.
3. When chicken has marinated, remove the chicken and place each in a separate empty 1 gallon plastic bag. Make sure to remove the air and center the chicken inside the bag.
4. Now using a pan or mallet, place the chicken in the bag on a cutting board and pound the meat to about 1/4" thick. Be careful to get an even thickness. Repeat for both chicken breasts.
5. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Coat with olive oil or cooking spray. Remove each pounded chicken breast from it's bag and one at a time, brown both sides for 5-7 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on a plate.
6. Place one sheet of the puff pastry on a a floured surface. Roll out to even thickness and to flatten the folds. Add a layer of swiss cheese to a 6" square in the center. Cover swiss cheese with a slice of ham. Now add one of the chicken breasts broken into pieces to cover the cheese and ham. Now take each corner of the pastry and fold it to the center, overlapping each time to form a closed square package. Place seam side down into a well greased glass 9x13 pan. Repeat for the second package.
7. With a pastry brush coat the top and sides of each package with olive oil. Sprinkle with dry Thyme.
8. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until pastry is puffed and browned.
9. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove each package from the pan, and cut in 1/2 (each serving is 1/2 of a package.)  Serve immediately.

Twice baked potatoes with crimini and bleu cheese

4 large white baking potatoes
8 oz crimini mushrooms
2 T butter
4 oz crumbled bleu cheese
1/2 c unflavored yogurt
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese (for topping)
Dried Thyme (for topping)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Wash potatoes, puncture with a fork and bake in the oven for 1 hour
3. Wash mushrooms, remove stems, slice into 1/4 slices then cut again to make smaller pieces
4. Heat a saute pan on medium heat and add 2 T butter
5. Add mushrooms to saute pan. Salt to taste.
6. Saute for 10 minutes or so until liquid is sweated out and mushrooms are softened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
7. In a large bowl mix yogurt, 1/4 c Parmesan cheese and bleu cheese. Then when cooled, fold in the sauted mushrooms.
8. When finished, remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes (until you can handle them).
9. Cut each potato in half, length-wise.
10. Using a large spoon, carefully remove the inside of the potato into the bowl containing yogurt, cheese and mushrooms. Do not break the skin and set each emptied skin aside for refilling.
11. Once all of the potato is in the bowl, fold the mixture together breaking up any large chunks of potato.
12. Using a large spoon, divide the potato mixture into each of the eight 1/2 baked potato skins, smoothing the top.
13. Place refilled skins on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and thyme.
14. Bake in the 400  degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove and serve.

Green Beans with Black Bean sauce

1/4 c low-sodium Soy Sauce
2 T Black Bean Garlic paste (Lee Kum Kee)
1 qt fresh green beans
1 T butter

1. Wash and cleanup green beans
2. Whisk Soy Sauce and Black Bean paste in a mixing bowl
3. Heat saute pan over medium high heat
4. Melt butter then add green beans
5. Saute until they begin to brown and wilt - 10 minutes or so
6. Deglaze with Soy/Black Bean paste mixture
7. Make sure all beans are well coated with sauce.
8. Remove from heat and serve

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bacon-wrapped Grilled Asparagus

Fresh Asparagus, washed and stem bottoms removed
1lb bacon
Short wood skewers


  1. Layer bacon with double thick paper towels on a microwave safe plate.
  2. Microwave for 5-8 minutes on high to par-cook bacon.
  3. Allow to cool so you can handle it safely.
  4. Take 3-4 asparagus pieces in a bundle and wrap a strip of bacon around. Insert a wooden skewer to hold in place. Repeat for all asparagus pieces and bacon strips.
  5. Place each bundle on the grill and allow to cook until grill side begins to brown. Flip bundles over. Brown second side.

Remove and serve immediately.

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

about 1 dozen golf-ball sized new potatoes (skin on)
1t cumin
1t garlic powder
1t dry minced onion
2T fine grated parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
3T unsalted butter


  1. Boil potatoes (skin on) until a fork pierces easily. Remove and cool under cold water. Cut in quarters and distribute evenly on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small dish, mix spices and parmesan cheese.
  3. Melt 3T butter
  4. Brush each potato wedge liberally with melted butter
  5. Gently sprinkle on spice & cheese mixture making sure each wedge is lightly coated
  6. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes or until coating and potato edges begin to brown lightly.

Remove and serve.

Balsamic Glazed Onions

Balsamic Glazed Onions

1 and 1/2 lb golf-ball sized spring onions (or cippolini onions if available)
1/3 c of sugar
4 T unsalted butter
2 T water
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
zest of 1 lemon
4 bay leaves
3 c chicken or vegetable broth (I used beef broth I had on hand)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Par boil onions in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, drain and rinse in ice water to stop cooking. Remove the outer skin. (if you peel the outer layer off while trimming you can omit this step. I just helps loosen the outer skin layer.)
  2. Mix the lemon zest with the bay leaves and set aside.
  3. Put 1/3 cup of sugar in a large saute pan in a little mound. Add 2 T of water to it.
  4. Gently melt the sugar water under a moderate heat without stirring it. Move the pan so the undissolved sugar circulates around until it forms a light amber colored caramel... Take the pan off the heat and carefully stir in the butter... ...and the balsamic vinegar. (The caramel will harden up and you'll have hard crunchy bits of sugar. This is okay as you'll see.)
  5. Put the pan back on the heat and stir until the caramel is melted again. When the caramel has melted down again, add in the onions, the lemon zest, and the bay leaves. Stir everything around, and add in the broth.
  6. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then add salt and pepper to taste, turn the heat down and let everything simmer over a low heat until the onions are glazed and the liquid is syrupy.

This takes about 1 and 1/2 hour.

I would make the balsamic reduction without the onions as a sauce for steak, pork tenderloin, even fried potatoes!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Butter

Okay, this is NOT my own recipe, but the making is the fun part (credit shown below).

Bread Ingredients
2 c Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 c Unbleached general purpose flour + flour for kneading
1 t baking soda
dash salt

1 3/4 c Buttermilk

Butter Ingredients
1 - 12oz bottle Guinness Stout
1/4 c dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 T molasses
1/2 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 F

Bread Instructions
1. whisk together dry ingredients
2. add 1/2 buttermilk and mix together with a wooden spoon
3. add remaining buttermilk and mix until dough forms into large chunks
4. turn out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to get dough to come together.
5. pull dough inside itself until you form a smooth ball.
6. place ball on parchment covered baking sheet. flatten to about 2" thick. score with a cross about 3/4 - 1" deep
7. bake in 425 F oven for 20-30 minutes
8. Cool and serve

Butter Instructions
1. put Guinness and dark brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat
2. bring to a boil, then simmer until remaining liquid is about 1/2 c (20-30 minutes)
3. cool to a syrup
4. blend softened butter, molasses and salt until smooth.
5. slowly add Guinness syrup, mixing until blended.
6. chill, removing from refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.

Serve this with a Guinness and maybe your favorite Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe on St Patrick's Day!

I found this at Edlible Times

Photos (c) 2015 Jay Mumper