Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Halloween's Coming... Are you ready?

I love making food for Halloween, but it's usually on the savory side.  There's so much sweet stuff out there and some really great ideas, but I'm more of a chips and dips sorta person. 

Here's a few ideas that I've made in the past.

And most of these ideas, work, they're mostly quick and easy.

First off, for those of you who like to decorate, but don't want a honking great big Jack o' Lantern on the table, cause you'd like to leave room for food. 

Get a orange pepper, carve it out a little, stick a battery operated light inside and
VOILA! Carved pepper Jack o' lantern
Here are the instructions. 

Now for the rest of the food...

How about this guy?  A Mummy Head all wrapped up in bacon.
A little gruesome looking, almost perfectly gruesome in fact, but totally delicious when cut into and eaten.  He's a Danish meatloaf called Forloren Hare.  
And you can even make the gravy a little on the red side, by adding some red current jelly to it.  
Forloren Hare Mummy

I love making dips and spreads and tapenades, so here's a couple to go with the Spicy Witchy Fingers.

In fact I made this one for the first time this year, and have to say it was amazing, and I kept on eating and eating and eating it. TMI?  Let me just say it was totally delicious.

The first one I'm calling Ogre's Blood and it goes perfectly with these Witch Fingers.  
Spicy Witch Fingers with Ogre's Blood Tapenade
Last year I made a really garlicky dip and called it Vampire's Blood. 
Vampire Blood Tapenade
I'm not quite done with dips or spreads.  This Green Spider Dip is also fun.  
Green Spider Dip

 Or if you're into Deviled Eggs, these 'Tate's Hell Snake Eyes are especially spooky as well as being delicious.
Tate's Hell Snake Eye Eggs
 For some added spice, how about some regular Tate's Hell Eggs?
Tate's Hell Eggs

And to totally confuse everyone, or not.   I love making this Spider Cake along with some Spider Eggs.  
Spider Cake

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea soup with Quinoa for #SoupSaturdaySwappers

Sue of Palatable Pastime is our hostess this month for Soup Saturday Swappers.

I have to confess something here, for some reason I wrote down Autumn Soups for this month and made a great one using squash, but that's not what the theme was.
Back to Google I went, after looking up Moroccan Soups and Stews in my various cookbooks, and finding not one single recipe.

What's the use of having lots of varied and old cookbooks when you can't find a recipe?  Hmmmm?

But Google is my friend today.   I found this recipe on the BBC Good Food site and went, I can do that. Even though I don't have any Harissa Paste, and I don't plan on a trip to the big city until next week sometime.
Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup

I did however,  have some Ras-al-Hanout seasoning in the pantry, giggle.   I'd actually made the seasoning mix myself, because I couldn't find any for sale.   I do now have a store I can go to for stuff like this, but again, it's up in the 'big city'. 

Enough hyperbole, and stuff.

And I did make a couple of changes to the original recipe.   I hunted high, low and sideways for the couscous in my pantry.  I've either used it up or hid it really well, so I grabbed some Quinoa, cooked that up and topped the soup with some.  I also grabbed some mint from my mint plant and topped the soup with the mint. 

This past month has been hard for me.  I had a much beloved dog pass away, and I basically sat with her as much as possible and didn't cook or interact much with people.  She was able to die at home, without any help from us to cross the rainbow bridge.   This is one of my favorite pictures of her.  She's pouncing on our other dog, Mauli who is also no longer with us.   I miss my dogs.  It's an empty house here.  

But back to the soup.  Before
Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup

OMG is it good.  A slight hint of heat from the Ras-el-hanout seasoning, but that's a good thing.

I also think it would be amazing served with a crusty roll on the side, but I'll take it how it comes. Or goes...

And after

Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup
Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 30 M
This soup is perfect for cool fall days. The mixture of spices in it are warming and soothing at the same time. Side benefit, it's also vegetarian and vegan, but most important is how it tastes. Which is amazing.


  • 1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa- prepared according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into cubes or coins
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (can also use chicken stock)
  • 4 garlic cloves - crushed
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated (use a microplane)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Ras-el-Hanout spice mixture
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa Paste + 1 tsp. for serving (I didn't use any)
  • 15 oz. can of chopped Tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can of Chickpeas - drained
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped fresh mint ( or coriander)


How to cook Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to directions.   
  2. Peel and chop the carrot and onion.  Heat the oil in heavy stockpot, and add the carrots and onions and cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the carrots are just crisp tender. 
  3. Add the garlic and ginger, stir, let cook for about a minute or so and then add the Ras-el-hanout and stir to combine and let cook for another minute.  By adding the spices to the hot vegetables you release more of the flavours.  
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock, canned tomatoes and the drained chickpeas.  Cook an additional 20 minutes. 
  5. Spoon some soup into a bowl, top with a spoonful of the cooked Quinoa or Couscous and sprinkle with some chopped mint or coriander. 
  6. If you have Harissa Paste, you can serve it on the side for those who want a little more spice. 
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Soup Swappers

Moroccan Soups and Stews

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Poached Sole with Caper Sauce for #fishfridayfoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies.  Third Friday of the month and  this is when we showcase all kinds of fun fish/seafood dishes.

Wendy of A Day in the Life of the Farm started this group, and I've managed to participate quite a few times now, and there's always great recipes from other bloggers as well.
This month Wendy is our hostess as well.

The theme this month is Poached Seafood.  
Poached Sole with Capers

I had some sole in the freezer, one of my favorite fishes, which just so happens to be perfect for poaching.

Dover sole is to my taste a very delicately flavored fish, which also happens to cook quickly, and is pretty delicate as well.

And poaching it in the Toaster oven, was a perfect way to not only cook the fish quickly but also to keep it from falling apart.

I poached this en papillote, which basically means I wrapped it in some foil, to keep the moisture in.

I'd actually like to say this was a recipe, but it's much more like a method of cooking fish, retaining its' basic structure and taste and enhancing it.

There are a few flavor profiles I absolutely love, one of which is lemon and butter together.   Let's face it, butter should be named an essential food group.  You can do so much with it.  And in this recipe, while I use butter, it's more as a finishing touch.  Although I did dot the fish with a couple of teaspoons of butter as it poached.

I also went out and raided my Tarragon plant (which is finally showing some life), for a couple of leaves.
I served this with some sauteed Cauliflower, Peas and thinly sliced carrots.

Brush some foil with butter and lay the Sole on top.
Poached Sole with Capers
Brush with some melted butter and add a few capers, some tarragon leaves, a little of the caper liquid and a squeeze of lemon on top.
Poached Sole with Capers
  Fold the foil over and enclose the fish.  Bake in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the sole is.
Poached Sole with Caper Sauce

While the fish is cooking, saute some Cauliflower, Peas and thinly sliced carrots in a little butter and EVOO.

As soon as the fish and veggies are done place on a plate, and then melt about 1-2 teaspoons butter in a pan, add the capers, a squeeze of lemon and pour over the fish. 

Serve with a smile.   I have to say this was so good and the leftover fish became a sandwich the next day.
Did I mention this is also low carb, gluten free and Keto?  
Poached Sole with Capers

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade aka Ogre's Blood

Have you ever made something accidentally, that tasted so good that you just can't stop eating it?

That was me the other day.   I wanted to make something Halloween inspired for a potluck. I already knew I was going to make some Spicy Witchy Fingers, (a totally awesome cheese cracker), but wanted something to dip the 'fingers' into. 

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade aka Ogre's Blood
I actually copied out the basic ingredients for two recipes, and was debating on which one I was going to make and then ended up accidentally combining the ingredients, and thought, oh what the heck, I'll just go ahead and see what happens.
Total deliciousness is what happened.  

Here are the two sites,I got the recipes from. 
The kitchn,
which has some great hints, tips and recipes
and this one Taste of Home  
which also has some tried and true recipes.
I basically combined both recipes, and then played with it.  I did not add either nuts or anchovies.
My mouth has been doing the happy dance ever since.   It keeps telling me to go ahead, scoop up a little more, in fact spread some on a piece of white bread, even, and see how it tastes.
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade aka Ogre's Blood

I know, my mouth sometimes just doesn't know when to shut up, but that's OK for this.

Does it sound like I'm raving about the tapenade a  little much?

Tough!  I like it.

This does make quite a bit though, so you may want to halve the ingredients.  Otherwise you'll be in the predicament I'm in.  I've got lots left in the fridge. 
Every time I go into the kitchen I hear the siren song from the fridge, and it's starting to sound a little scary. 
"C'mon, just a taste, you know you want some, try it.  I know we've got more crackers in the cupboard, try it on some veggies, go ahead.  "

I have to admit to also getting a kick out of being able to go outside and harvest fresh basil and oregano from the pots in my back yard.

I served this with some Spicy Witchy Fingers for a spooky? delight.  Actually the fingers went so well with the Ogre's blood, I had to keep sampling.  All I can say is that, it was just lucky that some of it made its way to the Community Potluck the other night. 
Ogre's Blood aka Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

BTW... I think this is a multi-holiday treat.
I can see serving this at Christmas even.  Just make some of my Spicy Witch Fingers into small square crackers and serve the tapenade with a touch of greenery on it.
And Voila!  you've got a nice red and green Christmas theme going.
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade with Cheese crackers

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade with Cheese crackers

Ogre's Blood Tapenade - Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

Yield: 24-36 servings?
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M
This is a great tapenade, perfect for Halloween or any special occasion. The flavors are bright, beautifully layered and complex. Using fresh basil and oregano, along with the lemon juice, gives a lovely complexity to the tapenade.


  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) red pimentos, drained
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) pitted Kalamata Olives, drained
  • juice from one lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/3 cup concentrated Tomato Paste


How to cook Ogre's Blood Tapenade - Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process.   Place in fridge for at least 3-4 hours before serving so that the flavors can get acquainted and the garlic has a chance to mellow out a little.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Community Potluck for October 2019

The weather was gorgeous yesterday, and everyone stopped outside to admire the sky and sunset after the potluck.
It was a year ago that our area was devastated by Hurricane Michael, and many of us remarked on that fact.
But it didn't stop us from enjoying not only great food,  but also great company.

Here's a lineup.

I had to make something that was a nod to the month. 
Spicy Witch Fingers with Ogre's Blood tapenade  (I'll share the recipe soon)
We also had this great Taco Casserole
Chicken Marsala
Some rice to go with it.
A Hash Brown Potato Casserole
we also had some Mac and Cheese
Roasted Cauliflower
Fruit Salad
Some Tabouli
Wings with two sauces

Totally forgot to get the picture of the pineapple, sigh.
And then there were the desserts

Here's my plate with a little of everything
Now for the sunset shots.
I wish the camera could do justice to the colors, they were so subtle but beautiful.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Filled Donuts-Gluten Free for #Baking Bloggers

 It's time for #BakingBloggers again.  This month the challenge, should we choose to accept it was
Baked Donuts.  This group is led by Sue from Palatable Pastime, and every month we choose (we actually vote on it), a theme or category for everyone to bake something for. 
Mini Filled Gluten Free Donuts

And I had adventures...

I actually ended up with a Gluten Free recipe. 

I really wanted to like the first recipe I tried, I did, in fact I made it a couple of times with some minor variations and I still think it's lacking, something.    The kitchen goddess received a couple of tributes this week.
Although I did try frying some 'traditional' donuts out of it, and they were pretty good.
Fried Donuts and scraps
I guess all that extra fat makes a difference.   Let's face it, fried almost always tastes good. 

Then I tried a second recipe, and didn't care for that one either, they looked good, but the taste, nah, better they should be an offering, than reside and take up space in my fridge ( or on my hips).
 I put my thinking cap on, looked at the keto bread I'd made for breakfast and wondered what would happen if?

And here they are.   Filled Donuts that are Gluten Free.  I'd love to say that they're Keto and Low Carb as well, but I used real sugar in them.   And the fillings also have sugar in them.

I got an even dozen mini filled donuts out of this recipe, and have to say I'm impressed.  I did also  bake them in a mini muffin tin, cause I didn't want the batter escaping off of the pan if I just mounded them on the pan, alone.    I know that there's only 11 on there, but I taste tested one before filling and glazing it, and it passed my taste test.

Not only did they taste great, but they're also gluten free, and almost keto, or at least low-carb, until you fill them with jelly, and since I had some lemon curd in the fridge, I'd made a couple of weeks ago, I filled a couple with that.  If you have sugar free jelly, use that.
Although they could have done with a little more filling, maybe next time?

Good thing I only made a dozen mini donuts.  And several of them are almost gone.
Cause they're rather more'ish.
Baked Filled Gluten Free Mini Donuts

Baked Filled Gluten Free Mini Donuts

I filled a few with some American Beautyberry Jelly a friend gifted me a couple of weeks ago, and some with the lemon curd and a few with some marmalade and then glazed them all. 

Filled Donuts - Gluten free

Yield: 12 mini donuts
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 18 Mtotal time: 23 M
A quick and easy donut treat, which is not only gluten free but almost keto and carb free. Use sugar free jelly or jam for these as well.


Gluten Free Mini Donuts
  • 2 eggs, separated,
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 5 tablespoons gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup jelly mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup marmalade
  • 1/2 to 1 cup confectioner sugar
  • 2 -4 teaspoons liqueur or vanilla extract


How to cook Filled Donuts - Gluten free

  1. Whisk the egg whites together till just whitened a little. Add the egg yolks, and whisk together.
  2. Sift the almond flour, gluten free flour and baking powder together. Whisk into the egg mixture until well combined.
  3. Spoon into cupcake liners in a mini cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees in a toaster oven for 15-18 minutes or until well risen and baked through.
  4. Remove from pan and take off the cupcake liners.
  5. Heat some 1/4 cup jelly with 2 teaspoon water and whisk together. Place in either a piping bag or a small squeeze bottle and insert into a mini donut and squeeze in about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon jelly into the center. This will fill about 4 mini donuts.
  6. Whisk 1/4 cup lemon curd together and fill an additional 4 mini donuts, and continue with 1/4 cup marmalade for the last 4 donuts.
  7. Mix together 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar with some vanilla extract or sherry or another complimentary liqueur and glaze the tops of the donuts.
  8. Serve.
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Baking Bloggers

Baked Donuts

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Orange Blast sauce for pork

I had a bad week last week, and barely remembered that the Improv Cooking Challenge was this week, and the theme was Orange and Olive Oil. 

I had an idea and boy was it delicious.

This challenge is hosted by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife
I've actually missed out on a few of the challenges, but am so glad I got to participate in this one.  

I'd seen where a fellow blogger named Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious had combined orange marmalade and hatch chiles together to make a sauce.
And since I had a bunch, OK, several pounds of Hatch Chiles in my freezer, I wanted to try it.
The beginnings of the sauce, I played with equal amounts of Marmalade and Hatch Chiles first, but then added some chutney and that not only balanced it all out, but made for an absolutely fantastic sauce.

 Look at those little pieces of orange on the pork.
And it looked wonderful.  But we had this cooking challenge for orange and olive oil, and it made me think.  I also wondered how I could make them into a taco filling.

I like experimenting, what can I say?
This was a good experiment.

As in...

Boy did I hit that out of the park. WOOHOOO!

I liked it.  I think it would be totally awesome slathered on a pork roast or some chicken so that the sugars in the marmalade caramelize a little more, but I was happy to use this in some taco's yesterday.

Orange Blast Sauce for Pork, Chicken or Shrimp

Yield: 2-4 servings
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 25 M
This is such a simple sauce to put together, and so flavorful, you'll want it slathered on pork or chicken or shrimp or even venison.


Orange Blast Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Orange Marmalade
  • 1 small Hatch Chile, roasted, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Major Grey's Chutney
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice (opt.)
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Pork Chop/Chicken
  • 1-2  pork chops per person - cooked
  • or
  • 1-2 pieces of chicken per person - cooked


How to cook Orange Blast Sauce for Pork, Chicken or Shrimp

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, to prevent it from burning.
Cook pork or chicken
  1. Cook your meat until done, saute or bake it
  2. Slather the meat with the sauce, and place in oven or under broiler until the sauce caramelizes a little, watching carefully so it doesn't burn.
  3. Slice the pork into thin slices and mound into a prepared taco shell and top with lettuce, tomatoes and a little cheese if desired.  
  4. You can also serve this in a wrap with some thinly sliced red cabbage and onions for a different taste experience.
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October Improv Cooking Challenge
Olive Oil and Orange

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