Posted in Beef, Other, Pork, The Hungry Hen, Uncategorized, Veggies w/ Meat

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

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This one, I can never get tired of. I try to stay Gluten Free. I don’t have celiac disease but I do have a sensitivity to Gluten. It bloats me up, makes me where I can’t go to the bathroom OR it makes it where I can’t stay out of a bathroom. Also, it wears me down. I don’t have the energy to push through the day if I am eating Gluten all of the time. Makes me cranky and on edge. It also messes with my sugar. Not sugar as in, I need a shot or a candy bar when it drops. Sugar as in, when it drops, I get really sick to the stomach, weak and a migraine. If I don’t eat protein fast, I’m in trouble. That’s not even mentioning what it does to the bellies of the women in my family. We can go from a size five to a size thirty over night, lol.  Now, I know there are people out there that argue over whether the whole Gluten thing is real– for me, it is real.

Anyone who knows about Gluten, understands what I’m about to say next….

It is pure hell when you are first trying to pull off of it. Not just talking about the symptoms. I’m talking about trying to make a descent meal that doesn’t leave you feeling as though you’re missing out. It’s real hard sitting there while you’re family is gorging out on pizza and you’re trying to choke down yet another salad or baked meat dish that you’ve had a gazillion times.

Standing in the grocery store one night — running late with errands and not feeling like cooking once I got home– my husband suggests grabbing the kids something from the frozen section. After feeling left out one too many times and after he grabbed some frozen pizzas, I finally put my foot down and came up with this. Making my own dang pizza on something I love very, very much– portabella mushrooms. It’s not expensive, and depending on toppings, is very quick. I love Italian Sausage, so that adds a little bit to the time factor, however, this still didn’t take me forever and a day to make. And low and behold when I made it, I didn’t even get a picture of the cooked product — which is why you get the one above– because when I walked out of the room to grab my camera, my husband and kids raised the mushrooms. In fact, the dang frozen pizzas got wasted and tossed in the trash.

Now, the Recipe below is for 8 Mushrooms. And I am crazy for toppings, so I piled them all on. You can adjust the toppings to what you like, though. And you can adjust the amount of mushrooms that you make. You can even adjust the amount of toppings you put on– I like lots of toppings. I don’t have the ounces for the Cans of things I used– like Sliced Olives– but we can all tell the difference between small and large cans. (If you NEED and MUST HAVE ounces, I’ll add them, if you just let me know.) And I don’t buy pre-made Pizza Sauce, either. I make my own. It’s not hard. If you are keen on buying it, go for it, but try my homemade below if you’re ever up for it.

Ready? I’m going to give you the ingredients, some directions and then I’m going to show you how to get the mushrooms ready– with pics. The pictures will be part of the other directions. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Portabellos (When choosing the mushrooms, make sure they are thick, round and sturdy. If they are crushed in any way or not firm, don’t buy them.)
  • 2 small cans of SLICED black Olives
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced or you can use Roasted Peppers in a Jar — up to you.
  • 1 pack of Italian Style Pepperoni
  • 1 package of Italian Sausage — either ground or links. If you get links, you can squeeze the sausage from the Casing or you can cook it in the Casing and then slice to the thickness you desire.
  • Whatever other toppings you want — Banana Peppers, anchovies, etc.
  • 1 — (8ounce) bag of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Unless you want more, then grab a bigger bag.)
  • 1/2 stick of butter.

 

SAUCE

  • 2 small Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 2-4 gloves of Garlic
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBSP Basil

 

DIRECTIONS for SAUCE

We are going to go ahead and mix up the sauce and put it on the stove to boil, and then to simmer while we prep the mushrooms and everything else.  So, with that being said, put the Sauce, minced or chopped Garlic, (optional, Cayenne), Salt, Red Pepper Flakes and Basil in a pan. Cover. I actually bring it to a low boil and then let it just sit in it’s own heat until I’m ready for it.

 

TOPPINGS

Now, let’s start frying your Sausage. And working on those Mushrooms…..

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We need to carve out the insides of the mushroom and remove the stem. For this, you are going to use a spoon, whatever size you are comfortable with. Just start by gently flicking out the stem and then scraping out the darker stuff like so….

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Be CAREFUL not to dig your spoon too deep. You do not want to puncture the bottom or the sides. We want to trap the toppings in, not have them running all over. Basically, you are making a bowl with a mushroom or a mushroom bowl, lol.

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This is what you will end up with, (the picture above). I don’t know if you can tell, but that bowl is pretty deep or deep enough for me to stack all my toppings in and for them to stay in.

Now, you most likely have a plate of this left….

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It’s up to you what you do with it but I always save it. I will add it to scrambled eggs or use it to make a Cream of Mushroom soup or I even add it to the Vegetable Soup I make and freeze for my lunches through the week. You can saute it, and add it back to the pizza but to me that’s a waste when we already have mushrooms — as a foundation for my pizzas– So, why not stretch it into another recipe.

Now that you have your foundation spooned out, place them on a Cookie Sheet.Start building your Pizza. I add a few tablespoons of Sauce or more first. Then I lay out the pepperoni — ON THE SAUCE– and BEFORE THE CHEESE. Pepperoni will help flavor your Sauce, so to me, this is the best way. Sprinkle on some Mozzarella Cheese. You decide how much. CUSTOMIZE this to your liking. If you LOVE Pepperoni, add some more on top the cheese. Next, add some Sausage, Black Olives, Red Pepper and Onion. Anchovies, if you use these things, are to be added last. 

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Once all your toppings are on, slice the butter and toss it in between the mushrooms on the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. It doesn’t take mushrooms long to cook at all. And the time will depend on how your oven cooks. You will be able to tell when they are done though. Should be some good juices in the pan and the mushrooms will loose some of their firmness.

Remove from the oven and eat. Let me know what you think because I can’t get enough of these! And if you have any left over, they are even better the next day!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Ducks & Other Birds, From Scratch, Historical, Other, The Hungry Hen, Wild Game, Guineafowl, Birds, etc.

Braised Guinea Hen Recipe, Information & Cooking Tips

 

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A lady told me awhile back, “Once you cook Guinea, you won’t want chicken anymore.” Now while I still haven’t cooked a Guinea, I do recognize the fact that these birds can be multi-purpose. Eggs (Seasonal Layers), Pest Control and Meat (Compare to Pheasant). While some absolutely hate them—they are noisy and can bully chickens—hey, there’s a pecking order to everything—others love them because they make great alarms. Anything comes around, they are the first to catch wind of and make noise about it. They also work in a pack, might want to tell that to the snakes before they enter the yard. And snakes are just an appetizer. These things wipe out spiders, ticks, locusts, grubs, snails, beetles, WASPS!!!! AND THAT’S just the tip of the iceberg!

So, I am still considering bringing Guineas home. And if I ever get more land and that farm I dream of, then you can bet your best Sunday bloomers, I’ll be gettin’ em sooner rather than later. Until then, here’s the 411 on the bird.

Aside from what I’ve already said, Guineas are native to West Africa. Sometime during the 15th-16th century, the bird was brought to Europe and soon after, became very popular in Colonial America. They are great foragers, so if you get some, you will want several, as they hunt in a group or pack. If you bring them in as keets—babies—then free ranging is a cinch but if you bring them in as adults, you might want to consider locking them up for three or so weeks before setting them free to range on their own.

Guineas are compared to Pheasant as far as taste goes. In fact, I’ve heard them called, “Poor Man’s Pheasant” because it costs a fraction less to raise a Guinea than it does a Pheasant. Don’t let the nickname or cost fool you, though. In many Countries, Guineas are like our Lobsters. They are considered fine-dining without a doubt!

The darker meat, is darker and more rich than, let’s say, chicken. There is less fat, so it’s healthier. They have smaller bones but produce bigger breasts (again, in comparison to chickens). Hens, on the table, may average between 2 to 3 pounds.People prefer the Hens to Males because the Hens have bigger breasts and actually, are said to taste better. The breasts also have a better texture to the meat. 

Roast them like you would a Pheasant, even stuffing them using the giblets. If you are eating Guinea breast, remember that the meat can go dry. Usually, in Colonial times, they would wrap the breast in a fat, like salt pork. One historical way of cooking them would be to place them in an oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes—basting. Remove the pork and then roast for ten minutes allowing them to brown. Now days, one could use a thick sliced bacon, I’m sure.

Below, is a recipe our European and American Ancestors once loved….

Braised Guinea Hen

  • 1 Guinea Hen
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP of Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper (Black)
  • 1/4 tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Dash of Cayenne
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth

Directions

Cut the Guinea in quarters and sauté in heated butter until all sides are brown. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over bird, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until almost tender. Remove cover, turn up heat and continue cooking until almost all liquid has evaporated. Wild Rice goes well with this. Serves 4.

 

American Heritage Cookbook

 

Posted in Historical, Other, Soups & Stews

Historical Recipes: Philadelphia Pepper Pot

file8321273931326It was the winter of 1777- 78 and an unrelenting one at that. Add War to surreal brutal temperatures and dire conditions, and you can well imagine why moral was a bust at ol’ Valley Forge. One thing was more certain than the hunger pains, desertions were at an all time high. That bein’ said, it was no surprise when George Washington decided he needed a way to lift the spirits of his soldiers and he needed to do so with great haste. But how?

Wasn’t like he could give everyone a weekend leave and free trip to the warm and toasty Bahamas. And since Spring wasn’t just around the corner, he did the only thing he could think to do….order up a fine, comfortin’ meal, hopin’, no prayin’ that would boost moral.

Problem was, a lack of food was on the “Everything Pretty Much Sucks” List. Who could tell George Washington, no, though?

Certainly not his Cook, who knocked the cobwebs off his cupboard, scratchin’ his dear head until he finally came up with a soup that would literally, go down in history. It’s ingredients may have been modest – Tripe, Peppercorns and scraps – but it’s fame would tremendous. Somethin’ to write home about. Some, mind you, would even say it was this soup which helped win the Revolutionary War.

This ex post facto dish would be called, in honor of the cook’s hometown, Philadelphia Pepper Pot.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Tripe
  • 1 knuckle of veal with meat left on
  • 2 pounds marrowbone, cracked
  • 2 large Onions, sliced
  • Soup bouquet of: several sprigs parsley; 1 bay leaf; 2 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme; 1 carrot cut in chunks; 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Allspice
  • 6 whole Cloves
  • 4 Potatoes, diced fine
  • 2 tsp. Marjoram
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dumplings (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Wash and clean Tripe. Put Tripe in a kettle along with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6-7 hours until the Tripe is very soft.
  2. Cool Tripe. Once cool, cut into very small pieces. Pour Broth into a Container.
  3. While Tripe is cooking, put Veal knuckle in another kettle with 2 quarts of water.
  4. Remove Marrow from Marrowbone with a knife or spoon.
  5. In a saucepan, add Marrow, onions and sauté until tender. Add this to the Marrowbone kettle.
  6. Add soup bouquet, red pepper, allspice, and cloves and cook over low heat for five hours.
  7. Cool the Veal and its broth until it can be handled enough to chop meat off the bone. Discard bones but cut meat very small. Add meat to chopped Tripe.
  8. Put meat in a container and all broth in separate containers. Refrigerate overnight.
  9. Next day, discard fat from the Tripe and Veal Broth.
  10. Combine all broths. Add both chopped meats, diced potatoes, marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Add parsley and drop dumplings in broth. Serves 12

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. shortening
  • about 6 tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add shortening and mix.
  3. Gradually stir in milk with fork making a soft dough.
  4. Drop by tablespoon into simmering soup, (cook all at once).
  5. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes. Serves 6

If you serve soup the next day, make fresh dumplings.

Posted in From Scratch, Historical, Other, Rabbit Recipes, Wild Game, Guineafowl, Birds, etc.

Historical Recipe: Rabbit Fricassee

bunnySome people would consider Rabbit to be a wilderness or country food. Maybe when I say historical, you picture some starvin’ Pioneer tryin’ to snag one. It’s not. Back in the day, Rabbit was a common dish. As common as Chicken is now days. It was used in stews, fried, roasted or in dishes I can’t even pronounce like this one… Fricassee.

Fricassee is basically a stew made up of pieces of chicken or other meat. The meat is cooked in a in gravy. Now a days, carrots, onions and I suppose, whatever else is added. When done, it’s then served with noodles or dumplings. Historically, this recipe says nothing about noodles or dumplings. It also lacks having carrots or anything making one think of Beef Stew, like I did, after I read the definition in the Dictionary.

Rabbit was often served at Monticello and anywhere fancy-shmancy Socials and fine, respectable Gatherings were held. From Pub to Plantation, it was very common to see Rabbit on the menu. Many Homesteaders now days, (people trying to raise their own food), are learning that Rabbits are a fairly easy animal to raise and butcher. Rabbit is all white meat. It’s kind of like chicken only with the texture of Pork. Still, this dish or rather it’s recipe is a classic we don’t see too much anymore so I wanted to post it for those who love the Historical bit of the Hungry Hen. Remember, these recipes were cooked when everything was from scratch—from the biscuits to the grits! And while I have not tried this one as of yet, if you do, please come back to Cluck or Crow about it!

Ingredients

  • 1 Rabbit
  • Flour
  • 1/4 cup of Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups Red Wine
  • Rind from 1/4 Lemon
  • Few sprigs of Parsley
  • 2 stalks of Celery with leaves
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 TBSP Flour
  • 1 TBSP Butter
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Cheesecloth

 

Directions

  • Cut Rabbit into serving pieces and dust with flour.
  • Heat Butter in skillet with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Add Rabbit pieces, sprinkling with Salt & Pepper.
  • Fry until nicely brown on all sides.
  • Now, stir in onion and cook for a few minutes.
  • Next, add Wine.
  • Tie Lemon Rind, Parsley sprigs, Celery and Bay Leaf inside the cheesecloth and drop it in the skillet.
  • Cover and Simmer until the meat is tender—usually takes an hour.
  • Lift Rabbit onto a hot serving Platter and discard Seasoning Bag.
  • Work flour & butter together until well blended in a bowl. Add to liquid and cook while stirring continuously until sauce bubbles.
  • Pour it over the Rabbit and sprinkle with parsley.

 

Notes: Now, while this recipe doesn’t say a thing about noodles or dumplings, feel free to pour this over them.

Recipe taken from : The American Heritage Cookbook 1964

 

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