How to make wild raspberry dessert

How to make wild raspberry dessert

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Step 1:
Wake up in the morning to a happy husband, a well-rested niece and a smiling baby. Snuggle the baby. Play and roll around with her on the floor. Put her in her high chair so she can feed herself blueberry puffs. Hear your husband say, “Man, it would be nice to have a blueberry muffin right now.” Remember you have blueberries in the fridge.

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Step 2:
Locate a blueberry muffin recipe with the help of your niece. Preheat the oven and read the directions while your niece mixes up the ingredients. Think that maybe bacon and eggs would go good with fresh blueberry muffins. Because you always have bacon in the house.

Step 3:
Proceed with the bacon cooking while blueberry muffins bake.

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Step 4:
Crack and fry some perfectly over easy eggs. Find a double yolker. Declare it good luck.

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Step 5:
Pour some orange juice, put the baby in her high chair, make a plate and gather around the table. Declare that Martha Stewart has nothing on you.

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Step 7:
Hear Pops say something about all the raspberries out in the pasture. Decide that they can’t all go to the birds.

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Step 6:
Put the dishes in the sink pull on your jeans and boots. Strap the baby to your chest, douse skin in bug spray and sunscreen and head out the door with your niece and the dogs. Declare it a beautiful morning. Declare that it’s sort of hot though.

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Step 7:
Peel your eyes for raspberries. Locate raspberries in the thorny brush below where the juneberries, bullberries and chokecherries grow. Watch the dogs disappear in and out of the brush patches chasing phantom rabbits and birds and taking a break from the heat. Find it funny.

(Chicken dinner for you if you can spot Dolly down there…)

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Step 8:
Send the niece in to the deep brush to get the fat berries.

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Check your back pocket for the baggie you brought along. Realize you dropped it somewhere. Take off your hat. Decide that will do.

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Step 9:
Pick a berry. Eat a berry. Put a berry in the hat. Swat a fly. Pull a thorn. Pick a berry. Eat a Berry. Put a berry in the hat.

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Step 10:
Repeat Step 9 like a hundred or so times.

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Step 11:
Check to make sure the baby strapped to your chest isn’t eating the berries too. Pick up the toy she dropped in the thick brush for the third time.

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Step 12:
Wipe the sweat. Pick a thorn out of the niece’s hand. Eat a berry. Check your stash. Wonder if that’s enough to make anything. Declare it officially hot out now. Eat a berry. Climb the hill to the teepee rings to catch some breeze.

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Step 13:
Realize the baby dropped the toy again and now it’s out in the wild pasture to be found 100 years from now, along with all Pops’ missing gloves and tools.

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Step 14:
Head back to the house, noticing the beautiful wildflowers along the way.

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Step 15:
Strip off your clothes and check for ticks. Strip off the baby’s clothes and check for ticks. Put her on the floor to play.

Step 16:
Rinse the berries.

Step 17:
Eat a few more

Step 18:
Look up some recipes online for raspberry dessert, trying for the perfect concoction that doesn’t interfere with the integrity of the raspberry.

Step 19:
Eat a couple more raspberries.

Step 20:
Deny every suggested recipe found…

Step 20:
Decide that there is no dessert you can make that tastes as good as a wild raspberry itself.

Step 21:
Eat more raspberries

Step 22:
Have lunch. Put the baby down for a nap. Putz around the house. Wait for Husband to get home..

Step 23:
Give the baby a bath. Put her in her robe. Decide she looks like an adorable old man. Feed her something yummy. Rock her to sleep.

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Step 24:
Grill brats. Eat on the deck.

Step 25:
Leave the dishes for the husband.

Step 26:
Go Riding

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Step 27:
Declare it a beautiful night.

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Step 28:
Listen to your niece tell you stories and wonder where the time went and when she grew up so quickly.

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Step 29:
Head back to the barn. Let the horses out. Walk to the house. Strip down. Check for ticks.

Step 26:
Eat some raspberries.

Step 27:
Declare it a good day.

Step 28:
Sleep tight. Good night.

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A cucumber crisis and a recipe for garden soup

photo (1)We’ve been through this before, but I have to tell you again. I have a cucumber situation.

And I owe you all a thank you for sending me along some great cucumber recipes to try to use up some of these veggies that multiply by ten every time the sun goes down and comes up again.

Seriously.

My other vegetables are coming along nicely, like at a regular and controllable pace. Need a carrot or two? Perfect, just head to the garden.

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Want fresh green beans? It seems just the right amount are waiting for me.

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But the cucumbers are out of control. I only have three plants and the fruit they are creating has now taken up the refrigerator in the garage and the one in the house.

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No room for milk or ketchup. Nope. Just cukes.

Last night Husband and I enjoyed a cucumber and bacon sandwich with a side of noodle, bacon and cucumber salad.

It was delicious.

I think I’ll have it for my mid-afternoon snack.

Last week I tried to get rid of some by offering to make a big batch of cucumber salad for my brother-in-law’s rehearsal dinner, but my other brother-in-law beat me to the punch. Apparently he has a cucumber issue himself.

Tomorrow I have plans to drop off a bundle to both my sisters in town and then maybe I’ll sell them on Ebay or something. Or bring them to the nursing home. I don’t know.

I will tell you that earlier in the season I did make one of your recommended recipes. I am not one to have many ingredients around, because, well, you know I’m 30 miles from town, why the hell would I plan ahead, so I picked one with the least amount of ingredients and fuss and proceeded to feel like Martha Stewart regardless.

Shelia recommended this one:

Soak cukes in salt water overnight (after you have peeled and sliced about three of them). 
Mix drained cukes with about half a cup of sour cream
A teaspoon of vinegar and 
A small onion, sliced. 

Mix well, cool and eat. 

So that’s what I did. And then I put it in a Tupperwear to take with us on a little anniversary picnic to the lake a few weeks back.

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So Shelia, congratulations, you made my life with these cukes a little more manageable and so you are the winner of the Jessie Veeder Music package (I’ll send ya my new Nashville album “Northern Lights” and a couple other fun things). Watch for an email from me soon.

But there were so many great recipes shared with me. I’m especially hankering to try Barb’s Sliced Refrigerator Pickles, because, well, the only thing that sounds better to me than bacon right now is pickles. And cukes are just pickles in training, so I’ll let ya know how that goes 🙂

In the meantime, I wanted to share a family recipe with you as a thank you. Mom made it for me as a birthday meal, and I’ve had it a few times when I was a little girl living close to my great grandmother in Grand Forks. Great Grandma had a big garden out back that my dad used to help her care for and grow. He spent a lot of time in there as I recall, probably missing the dirt and the growing things helped him feel closer to his agricultural roots while he was stuck between the sidewalks.

Anyway, this recipe runs in my great grandma’s family, on my mom’s side, and it is a perfect way to celebrate all the vegetables that we harvest at the end of the summer.

Aunt Maebelle’s Garden Soup

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These photos won’t do it justice because I had to use the camera on my phone, but I’ll tell you I love it because it uses lots of butter, but you don’t feel so bad about it because, you know, you’re also getting a healthy dose of fresh vegetables too.

The only thing that would make it better would be to add bacon, but that’s just me.

Here’s how you get it to come together:

  • Get out your 8 qt. or 12 qt. stainless steel soup kettle (Maebelle was very specific)
  • Dice 3 LARGE sweet onions (the “heart” of this soup)
  • Melt a 1/2 stick of butter in the soup kettle and add onion and saute slowly until they are soft (but not browned). It will take a while
  • Add 6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed and 6 large carrots, peeled and cubed to the onion an cover all with 3 cups of water. Cook gently. Stir.
  • When the carrots and potatoes are partially cooked, add 1 pound of yellow klax beans (summer only) and 1 pound green beans (fresh or frozen). Beans should be cut up in 1/2 inch pieces. (See what I’m saying about the specifics?)
  • Add lots of fresh chopped flat leafed parsley and lots of fresh dill (or dry dill weed)
  • Season with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper (to taste) (Going against Maebelle here, but if you have a favorite seasoning salt you can go with that too)
  • When the above has cooked, add a can of cream style corn and stir
  • (Now here’s my favorite part) Add 1/2 stick butter and let sit (not cooking) for 1 hour or so. (This seems weird, but it’s the rules)
  • Bring heat up and add 16 oz package of frozen petite peas
  • Add 1 1/2 quarts of whole milk (she was known to slip a little half and half in also)
  • Adjust to your own taste. Try not to add more than 3 cups water. Maybe more milk (or I say, some heavy cream)

photo 1 (5)Now, when I flipped the recipe card over I discovered that Maebelle often made “bullet” dumplings to add to this soup. I have never had this soup with dumplings, but I’m gonna try it. But for now, I think I’ve given you enough to simmer here.

My only regret is that it doesn’t call for cucumbers. But if your carrot and bean crop is healthy and your fridge if full of butter, you’re halfway there.

Happy gardening friends. I’ll call you all when my tomatoes finally turn red. I have a feeling this will be another vegetable outbreak in need of taming…

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The tomatoes are ripe and you should make this soup.

It’s tomato season and I’ve got myself a batch of good lookin’ romas.

To honor their deliciousness and the end of the garden season, I resurrected a little recipe my husband concocted last fall. He calls it Garden Tomato Soup.

I call it heaven in a bowl.

I mean, who could argue with fresh garden tomatoes boiled in a buttery/cream/seasoned broth?

Not this girl.

 

So on this Monday I invite you to revisit this recipe, then visit your garden (or your neighbor’s garden) and make yourself a batch of Husband’s Homemade Garden Tomato Soup…and make your week.

Click here for the entire Cowboy Kitchen Garden Vegetable Soup Recipe Experience…

Peace, love and vegetables,

Jessie

Momma’s Mouth Watering Fudge-A Christmas Gift

The Merriest Christmas to all of you. I hope you’re reading this and looking forward to a weekend filled with friends and family and laughter and delicious food. To honor your friendship and support I am giving you a gift that has been enjoyed by many families around the countryside here Christmas after Christmas, courtesy of my Momma. You remember her? My Momma, the woman who has Santa Clause’s cell phone number on speed dial and continues to make Christmas the most magical time of the year. Every year.

There she is, buried under presents and squished between a couple other holly, jolly family members...

And one of the ways she does this is by whipping up this recipe and distributing it in fancy little green and red containers adorned with bows to every person who has touched her family’s life or made her laugh or brought her a bottle of wine at the perfect moment a bottle of wine was necessary throughout the year.

Men drool over this. Women hide it in places their families won’t find it. Kids sneak pieces of this heartfelt delicacy while their parent’s have their backs turned. It’s a little bit of heaven in your mouth.

It’s my momma’s fudge..and I’m going to give you the recipe.  A recipe that is sure to put you on the top of the “Nice” list year after year.

Make this and even the family members who’ve disowned you will be knocking at your door, apologizing for their wrong doing with a bottle of champaign begging you to forgive them…and please, can I have a piece of that fudge.

It’s that easy.

Really.

I can even make  it…all by myself!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12 oz package milk chocolate chips
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 pound of butter (No worries, I’ll post my Momma’s instructional aerobic video after Christmas)
  • 1 can evaporated milk

Got it?

Ok, onward.

  • Butter an 8×12 baking dish
  • Bring sugar and evaporated milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and boil for 7 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir chocolate chips, vanilla and butter.

  • Stir until smooth and pour into the buttered baking dish
  • Refrigerate until set
  • Ask your hubby or the woman in your life with incredible strength to help you cut the fudge into squares
  • Serve up on a cute platter and stand back and smile as you experience that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with spreading holiday cheer.


If you’re looking for me and this fudge, we are more than likely shamefully hiding out somewhere.

Merry Christmas friends. Much love from our house to yours!

Cowboy Cooks: Hunting Camp Stew

In case you didn’t notice all of the pickups driving a little bit slower down the highway…or that blaze orange and camouflage have suddenly appeared as a fashion statement…or, you know,   your husband/boyfriend/significant other has been missing since last Friday come  think of it, I am here to remind you.

It’s deer hunting season.

It’s official.

I think I’ve mentioned it before here, but deer hunting season is a holiday around here with its own set of traditions. Kids get out of school, basement poker becomes a popular activity, beer gets a new, hunting appropriate look and clean-cut men grow beards, wear vests, drink whisky, wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to walk miles and miles in the whipping wind only to  sleep together in close, smelly quarters in the middle of nowhere, rain, shine or snow, in what is known up here as  “hunting camp.”

Now hunting camp seems pretty rustic and masculine for the city boys whose main outdoor chore is weed eating around the rose bushes. Those boys itch for the day they can pack up their duffles with camouflage, bourbon, bullets and only one change of underwear and head for the hills and to their manly roots. Somehow it doesn’t ring as particularly romantic to the man who chases cattle out of his yard on a daily basis and frequently finds deer legs on his front porch, a gift from the canine friends he feeds perfectly decent dog food every morning.

But regardless of the man’s living situation, hanging with the guys at hunting camp is a staple of hunting season. Because really, after the big bucks are stalked and spotted and the farting, burping and scratching is freely is underway, what the season is really about is camaraderie and fellowship and getting back to the primal need of man to hunt and gather in order to feed his people.


Yes, it’s about the food. It always comes back to the food. So what an appropriate time for Cowboy to whip out his famous and simply rustic hunting camp stew. Because the second best thing to the whiskey at hunting camp is, hands down, the chow.

Our family takes great care when a wild animal is taken from our ranch. We prepare and put to use as much of the meat as we can, so this recipe  is the perfect solution for those cuts of meat that aren’t as savory and tender, but still deserve a place on your plate.

I haven’t mastered the art of cooking wild game, but I tell you when I leave it to the men in my life, they do not disappoint.

The following recipe is made with wild elk meat from an animal taken by pops from our ranch earlier this fall.

Elk meat, when prepared properly, is tender and lean and can be ground up to make delicious burger, steaks and roast. We use the leftover cuts of meat that don’t fit in those categories to prepare stir fry, appetizers, fajitas, chilli and, of course, this stew, but this recipe will be equally delicious if you want to use beef or venison.

So let’s get to it shall we?

Cowboy Cooks Hunting Camp Stew

Step 1: Grab a glass

First things first, put on your snarky apron, neckerchief, sexy cowboy hat and pour yourself a drink…oh, and remember to not say the words “sexy cowboy hat” in hunting camp.

This evening’s drink of choice: Black Velvet

Which brings up another hunting camp rule: avoid singing Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet” at the top of your lungs while pouring yourself a drink. That will go over about as well as “sexy cowboy hat.”

Ok, when preparing himself a glass of whiskey, Cowboy sometimes likes to make his own, manly version of the famous and classy “whiskey sour”. So he adds a splash of lemon juice and an ice-cube.

No, it’s not your gramma’s drink.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on.

Step 2: Gather the ingredients: 

Here’s are the simply, basic ingredients that you’re gonna need besides whiskey.

  • 2 lbs elk meat (or venison or beef) cubed into bite sized pieces…man bites
  • 10 whole cherry/Roma tomatoes
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 large carrots
  • ½ large purple onion
  • 1 T black pepper
  • ½ t red pepper
  • 1 t thyme leaves
  • ½ t rubbed sage
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (and don’t go easy on the salt ok)
  • ½ stick butter
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups flour

Now if you are a man in a hunting camp, you more than likely packed and prepared for this hearty meal. If you are a woman in a little house in the middle of nowhere who put “go grocery shopping” on the bottom of her to do list, right behind the laundry, you will have to run to the neighbor’s to get potatoes and onions…and then come back home only to realize you don’t have carrots either…

don't look at me like that...

Ok, now that you have everything, lets move on.

Step 3: Prep your ingredients

Bring your cups of water to a boil in a large pot. And when I say large, I mean it. We had overflow people…making this a two pot stew…for two people.

You heard me, now go scrounge up that giant pot you save for cooking giant things…

Ok, now while you’re boiling the water cut up some things:

Cube the meat into man-sized pieces

Dice three garlic cloves

I know what you're thinking...pretty fancy dish for hunting camp...

Dice 1/2 purple onion


Cube 4 medium potatoes


Dice three large carrots…take a bite—what’s up doc?

Ok, now your water should be close to boiling.

Drop the potatoes and carrots in there to get them cooking.

Step 3: The meat

Now we are going to deal with the meat.

Warm up your skillet on medium/high heat and add ½ stick butter (and a little bacon grease left over from breakfast ) and melt. Use olive oil too if you want..or just butter…or just olive oil…whatever…it’s hunting camp, you can do what you want.

Now we are going to prepare a little flour coating for the meat.

Measure 2 cups of flour in a flat tupperwear or open bowl. To the flour add the black pepper, red pepper, thyme, sage and plenty of salt.

Mix this concoction together with your hands because you are manly like that.

Then give your meat a little dusting of salt and then coat the pieces in the flour mixture.

Now make sure your skillet is nice and hot and add the meat…then grunt like Tim the “Tool Man” Taylor because that’s what you do at hunting camp.


Now add the onions and garlic too.

Cook the meat to very rare. You won’t want to cook it all the way because it will have more cooking to do when you add it to the pot.

Go ahead, give it a taste.

Good right?

Ok now you can add it to the boiling water with those delicious chunks of carrot and potato. Boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are nearly done.

Step 4: Finishing it up

When your carrots and potatoes are done to your liking (about 15 minutes prior to serving)  add the rest of your colorful ingredients:

In goes the corn…

and the peas…

and the tomatoes

*queue tomato dropping action sequence*


Sweat a little because it’s about to boil over….

Now add some of the leftover flour mixture to the stew and cook until desired thickness

Simmer for about 15 minutes or until everything is cooked to the proper consistency.

Also, don’t forget to taste your work. I like a little more salt in my stew, others might want a little more heat, so adjust the seasoning as you go along your merry, manly way. This stew is pretty basic, which leave room for any kind of seasoning your manly heart desires.

Oh, and while your waiting, have someone make biscuits to go along with your hearty meal.

I am pretty gifted as far as baking goes, so I took on the task.


Yup. Ah Pilsbury, making regular wives into Betty Crocker every day.

Alright, now we’ve found ourselves adequately whiskied up and things are smelling a bit better in the hunting camp, I think it’s time for our final step.

Step 5: Eat!

Now if you’re actually in a hunting camp instead of a tiny house with your wife, I would like to imagine that you would serve this up in some of those tin camping bowls. But my white dishes with the blue design will have to do for today.

Now stand back in your apron and not-sexy at all cowboy hat as the rest of the men at camp give you some grunts and thumbs up while they devour your stew.

There won’t be any left over for lunch I guarantee…I mean, playing poker and swapping stories around the fire is exhausting.

Happy hunting everyone!

Cowboy Cooks Garden Tomato Soup

Ok speaking of tomatoes…(because we were speaking of tomatoes weren’t we?) I am so excited to share with you some news I’ve been waiting for all summer while we grilled burgers outside at 10pm because we just got in and the sun hadn’t set yet. I love those days. I do.  And I love burgers, what girl doesn’t? But as the summer winds down and the days get shorter the one thing that keeps me from whining like a little girl who wants to stay up past her bedtime is this: longer nights divided by more Cowboy time in the kitchen = rich, hearty food that tastes like heaven…which results in a little something to take the edge off the cooler weather and inevitable winter…oh, and a little extra padding on my rear-end to help keep me warm.

Yes, cream and butter and hearty seasonings have blown back into my life with the autumn wind and I’m in the market for bigger stretchy pants because, you guessed it…

Cowboy’s cute butt is back in the kitchen…

And here he is, with his favorite ingredient: heavy whipping cream

and this time he’s outdone himself.

Now, I don’t like to push the man. Really I don’t. He has been busy this summer working on getting our new house squared away, building me picture frames, chasing cows around, fixing things I’ve recently broken, and, you know, working. So I haven’t asked him if he has any new recipes brewing up there under his hat. I haven’t mentioned to him that I am sstttaarrvvinng over here.  No I haven’t. But this weekend as he watched his dearly beloved sob and stomp and whine and worry and nearly lose an eye as she tackled the age-old tradition of vegetable canning only to clean it all up, put her hands on her hips, reach for her goggles and declare that she was now going to attempt tomato soup…at 6 pm…I think he felt the need to run interference.

Because he must have been starving too…and he couldn’t wait until 3 am to enjoy his wife’s amateur tomato soup attempt.

So last Sunday Cowboy swooped in and rescued his maiden in fleece pants from her overzealous self by suggesting that perhaps he could try cooking tomato soup. That maybe he had an idea for a recipe. That possibly it would be good for her to find her camera and computer and do what she does best…document it.

And boy am I glad I did. Because the thing with Cowboy’s cooking is this: it’s all in his head, like a story or a song–if it’s not written down the melody might change a bit or the plot might thicken sooner the next time around.

So I gladly handed over the metaphorical apron, grabbed my camera and notebook and watched as the man I married whipped up a little piece of heaven right there on the very same table where I was nearly murdered by a jalapeno pepper. It was a beautiful thing and I know you’re going to love it….

and I am only just a little jealous of the ease at which this man tackles life…and soup.

So grab your favorite autumn brew and those pesky tomatoes…and then grab a few more because you’re going to want to make a double batch of this stuff:

Cowboy Cooks Garden Tomato Soup

Ok, here’s what you need, gathered and deliberately documented by following Cowboy around the kitchen using the journalist skills I acquired in college, and that cute little reporter hat, pen and paper pad.

  • 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup, or 3 medium garden carrots (use more if you wanna)
  • 1/4 large purple onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (I have to tell you, I was looking everywhere in this tiny kitchen for fresh garlic when I was making my salsa. I whined and dug and threw things around. Cowboy mentions he would like some garlic and it just magically appeared in the cupboard. This is my life. I get a mess, Cowboy gets a magic cupboard…anyway moving on)
  • 1 12 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp dill weed (haha, dill weed)
  • 1 Tbsp basil (fresh would be best, but I forgot to plant basil, so dried tastes great too)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro (or dried will work too)
  • 1 tsp rosemary (we had a little rosemary debate, you know, now that I am an expert. I didn’t win. But if the little rosemary seed floaters annoy you like they annoy me, just put in a 1/2 tsp)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (heaping) tsp chopped chives
  • 4 bouillon cubes
  • 1 stick butter (or 8 Tbsp if it makes you feel better)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (get your cream out of the fridge before use and set it on the counter for a bit. This way, when you add it to the hot soup it will blend well.)

Step 1: Call your Pops who is home alone to invite him for supper. I mean, he was kind enough to grow these tomatoes (and carrots) for you.


Step 2: Serve you and  your cook an Autumn Ale, you know, to keep with the mood of the season. 

Octoberfest. Perfect.

Step 3: Sharpen your knives.

In Cowboy’s kitchen, this is the step that takes the longest. I mean, he has a knife briefcase. 

Really.

And in that knife briefcase lives this mamajamma.

I know this looks weird, but Cowboy tests the sharpness of his knives by attempting to shave the hair off his knuckles…just like John Wayne or something, I dunno.

I think I said something like “Holy Shit!”

Step 3: Chop and simmer the veggies

  • Dice three cups worth of garden tomatoes


and put those babies in large a pot to simmer on low while you prep the other veggies

  • Dice three garden carrots. Look at these heavenly creatures!

I especially like this one. Pops said he was holding the rest of the carrots together when he found him.

What a nice little carrot. I liked him so much I ate him.

Ok, yeah, anyway,  dice about one cup worth of carrots.

  • Now dice up 1/4 of that large, purple onion…

..sniff, sniff..please don’t cry.

  • Add the onions and carrots to the pot with the tomatoes
  • And pour in the tomato sauce
While the veggies and sauce simmer on low, move on to
 
Step 4: The seasoning
First, plop in the butter
Yup. The whole stick…or if you’d like, just 8 tablespoons.
Now, in no particular order add the seasonings to the pot, tasting and testing as you go to make sure you just love it.
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dill weed
1 Tbsp basil
1 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
1 tsp rosemary
Ground black pepper to taste
1 (heaping) tsp chopped chives
4 bouillon cubes
Beautiful.
Now let the concoction simmer this way on low for a bit.  Have some more brew. Set your table. Read Cowboy magazine, whatever. You must cook this all up, letting the flavors blend and allowing the onions and carrots to cook.
About 30 minutes.
Onward!
Step 5: The best part

Need I say more?

Once the veggies are nice and cooked, measure yourself out a heaping cup of your room temperature heavy whipping cream and slowly stir it into the soup.
Now say “mmmm….mmmmm….mmmmm….” while Campbells sobs silently to himself…
Let warm for a few minutes and…well…what you will have there people is some damn good tomater soup.
Damn good!
So waste no time…
Step 6: Serve it up!
If you want, make yourself a grilled cheese to go with it.
But honestly, you won’t want to touch that stupid sandwich. My photos in the dim lighting of my home do not do it justice.

All you will want is this soup.

Forever.

And Ever.

Amen.

Cowboy Cooks Knoephla

Everybody loves to eat. Especially during this season of the cool down when we all want to give in to those animal instincts telling us to stock up and hibernate.

Yes, everyone loves food. Even those of us who have been known to use our ovens for storage have a dish we try to re-create from our childhood—grandmother’s oatmeal cookies, aunt’s pickles, mother’s secret homemade mac and cheese that turned out was just Velveeta with a little milk over fancy noodles.

And out here, where the coyotes howl outside our window, the grocery store is a good thirty miles away and delivery is not an option unless you are planning on paying a serious fee, we count on those familiar favorite recipes to bring us together around a dinner table, in one room, under the vast prairie sky.

Hey, just because we get more dirt on our clothes and poop on our shoes than the rest of civilization doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a fine dining experience.

So we make our own.

Well, “we” may not be the most honest term here.

Because, like my good friend Napoleon Dynamite, I have some sweet skills…cat scouting skills, Internet surfing skills, guitar skills, horse hairdressing skills, and the most practiced and honed skill of all…eating. Passionate eating.

I am good at eating.

But not so good at cooking…unless I have specific instructions and an entire day and a half to plan it out and execute a recipe. And by then I’m usually too tired from the effort of it all and too full from sampling each ingredient that I have no wish to eat again for another solid, well….ummm….thirty to forty minutes.

It’s exhausting.

No, I have little patience for food that doesn’t come directly from a box.

So although I can’t provide you with life-changing recipes that you will pass on from generation to generation (unless you wish to pass down that mac and cheese recipe, then I’m all in), I can give you something better.

Yes, much, much better.

See I know someone who doesn’t say much. He’s skilled and handsome and very, very tolerant. An unlikely character who knows cooking because he honed his skills alongside a woman who honed her skills alongside a woman who put heart and flour and some of that wholesome German-Russian discipline into her food.

Yup, he knows cooking.

So I married him.

Oh, husband has recipes, secret recipes that he has sharpened and perfected and put his own, rugged twist on. He has them tucked up under his hat and they come out of him in all of this lovely, delicious and oh so soul warming, buttery and carbohydrate loaded food that makes me weak in the knees. And then I promptly lay down in bed, pull the covers over my head knowing that I could die in my sleep and my last meal would be the best meal of my life.

Ok, I’m a little dramatic perhaps, but he does cook….really, really well.

We can all thank his momma for this.

And you can thank me and number one skill—persuasion—for getting him to agree to let me follow him around our tiny kitchen and document his every move.

Yup, my mad skills come in handy.

So hold on to your ladles as I present to you the first installment of—

A Cowboy In the Kitchen: Recipes and philosophy from the epitome of man—the cowboy.  Expect heartiness. Expect butter. Expect meat. Expect robust flavors. Expect bad grammar. Expect a mess.

 

But please, don’t expect diet food.

Our agreement? Husband gets to wear his hat and his fancy shirt, in all its polyester glory...

Today’s Recipe:

 

Homemade Knoephla Soup with Chicken (cause a cowboy’s gotta get his protein)


And before we go any further, the cowboy wants you to know that this doesn’t have to be pretty.  And it ain’t gonna be quick. Soup is about the process; so hang in for the long haul and don’t get hung up on meticulous measuring. There will no measuring spoons or cups, but a lot of pinches, dashes and shakes.

The only spoon you need is your taste test spoon. Use it often for best results.

And last but not least…

The #1 rule of soup. You can always add to it, but you can’t take it back.

Mooooving right along.

Cast of characters:

  • A Cowboy
  • A good attitude (no bitchin’ in the kitchen)
  • 3 to 5 ice cubes
  • Your favorite whiskey
  • Six chicken drumsticks or three chicken leg quarters,  thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 6-8 green onions
  • 4 large carrots
  • Half and Half
  • Chicken Base or Bouillon Cubes
  • Bay leaves
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Celery Salt
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

(Yup, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of spices. But, didn’t John Wayne say something about trust?) Anyway.

And finally…

  • One brother-in-law who will smell this from his camper in the yard and come over to see what’s cookin’

Step 1: Prepare

  • Put the ice cubes in your favorite glass
  • Pour desired amount of whiskey over the cubes
  • Take a drink

(This is not optional)

Step 2: The Broth

  • Put as much water in to the pot as you want soup broth.  (Too much is better than not enough. A cowboy’s logic in the kitchen and in life. )
  • Place chicken and bay leaves into the water
  • Add a two fingered pinch of rosemary and a sprinkle of salt
  • Bring to a gentle boil
  • Continue boiling until the chicken is cooked through–approximately 1/2 hour, but the longer the better, as the point is to cook the flavor out of the chicken to create a tasty broth.

Now kick back in your favorite recliner, sip some more whiskey and wait.


  • Once the chicken is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pot and skim the excess fat off the top of the water

  • Season the broth with:
    • A sprinkle of salt
    • A pinch of minced garlic
    • A couple shakes of basil
    • A couple shakes of celery salt
    • A pinch of thyme (Cowboy’s not sure what this is, but puts it in anyway ‘cause it sounds fancy)
    • A generous couple shakes of parsley
    • 3 tablespoons of chicken base (or several bullion cubes)

Waft the soup up to your nose to get a good whiff. Smells delicious. Add more seasoning if you wanna.

Stir.

And while you’re at it why don’t you take another sip of whiskey

Step 3: Soup contents

  • Remove the skin from the chicken and pull meat from the bone. Cut into bite sized pieces

  • Peel and dice four medium sized potatoes

  • Slice four large carrots

  • Dice 6-8 green onions

  • And…a half a stick of butter (optional. If you’re feeling diety, you can skip it, but it sure makes it tasty)

 

Add all above ingredients to the soup and continue cooking on low heat until the potatoes are tender. About 20 minutes.

 

mmmm…it smells good in here…I’m stttaaaarrrrvvvviiinnngggg…..

On a side note, this is what we have to work around...ridiculous.

In the meantime…the best part…

 

Step 4: The knoephla

  • Mix one egg with a cup of milk

  • Add a dash of salt and stir

  • Sprinkle flour on your counter or table to avoid stick

  • Add flour (about 3 to 4 cups) to the mixture and then knead the dough on the table until it no longer sticks to your hands and the consistency reminds you of play dough

  • Roll the dough out in to thin, round strips that look like small snakes

  • When the potatoes are done, using a kitchen scissors, clip off about ½ inch pieces of the dough and drop into soup mix

(you don’t have to use all of the dough, just put in as many as you like. Cowboy usually needs to upgrade to a bigger pot)

  • Cook kneophla until they float to the top of the soup mixture. About 10-15 minutes.

 

Step 5: The finale

  • When the knoephla pieces pop to the top of the mixture, take a little taste of the broth to see if it needs anything. Add more seasoning if you wanna.
  • Then, if you’re feeling too skinny, add to the mix a ½ pint of half and half. (c’mon you know you wanna) Heavy whipping cream also works, but we didn’t want to scare you off.

  • Say, “mmm.mmm.mmmm.”
  • Stir
  • Ladle into big boy sized bowls and serve with crackers and bread (because really, we need more carbs)

Time to eat!

 

Then leave the dishes for tomorrow and tip your hat down over your face and turn in for the night.

 

Agh, I’m exhausted.

We ate too much...

 

Cowboy says: “If it’s not the best soup you’ve ever eaten it’s because you missed the important ingredient…whiskey….or was that love? Yeah, love.

Repeat steps 1-5 adding more whiskey, which results, consequently, in more love.

Happy Kneophla to ya!