Saturday, October 19, 2013

Make your own Almond Extract (lemon, orange, vanilla, coconut, mint too)

I was so disappointed that my store stopped carrying the big size almond extract, because I use it more than vanilla extract and I use it A LOT!
Here is a recipe to make your own. These are great gifts for friends too.  You can put them into a cute jar and label them up for gift giving.

Almond Extract
Add 1 cup of chopped raw almonds to a half-pint size canning jar.  Cover with Vodka and put the lid on tightly.  Store it in a cool dry place for a month, swishing it around every day. strain the almonds and store. Storing 2-3 months will make for a stronger extract, but if you can't wait, one month is fine.

You can also make mint, lemon, orange, coconut and vanilla extracts.

Vanilla Extract
2 oz vanilla beans for every pint of vodka

Lemon or Orange Extract
zest from one lemon or orange per 1/2 cup vodka

Mint Extract
add 1/2 c mint to 1 c vodka

Coconut Extract
1/3 C freshly grated coconut (or unsweetened grated from a bag)
1 C vodka

Fresh Spinach and Cheese Ravioli w Garlic Parmesan Lemon Sauce

You can buy fresh spinach ravioli, or make your own, its pretty easy.  You can either make the noodles w spinach in them or put them in with the cheese or both.

Here is my pasta and ricotta recipes from previous posts if you want to venture total homemade from scratch.  I also have a basil pasta recipe if you want to play with your homemade pasta recipes. I promise your family will love you for it.

This lemon sauce recipe was adopted from a coworker who is a fellow "real food" foodie.  I changed it up slightly. He makes a pasta w asparagus lemon sauce.  I was out of asparagus and happened to have some fresh spinach ravioli from the market.  I am making this today again but with homemade ravioli, because my family loved  it so much!

(this is for one pound of pasta, I double it, it goes fast)

Make and boil your pasta..meanwhile...

In a sauce pan that is large enough for that pasta you are cooking..

1/4 C coconut oil (he uses olive, I really don't care for olive, use what you like)
heat and add
2 T fresh lemon zest and  5 cloves of fresh garlic, right before you are going to put the pasta in..heat a min or two, but don't burn the garlic (duh, stating the obvious for the oblivious lol)
Pour in the pasta and toss.
Add the parmesan cheese and any herb you might want..don't over power the lemon, its a fresh light recipe.  I like a little parsley.


Today I am making basil linguine and putting the lemon sauce over it w asparagus and chicken.  It was requested by my husband.  He is off at work and I am making linguine from scratch. Some Italians make Italian cuisine out to be rocket science, but Italian food one of the easiest cuisines to make.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Everyone has their own version, here is mine..basic, but adaptable to your own liking. Omit the hot peppers if you don't like it hot. Remember, I do not measure, so this is estimates of what I add...go more or less of anything you like, add what you like, omit what you don't.
This recipe makes a lot so I make  it in a big stock pot.


5 jalapeno and hot peppers (I mixed varieties from my garden), chopped
4 green peppers chopped 
3-4 onions chopped 
3 lbs beef (I use organic)
4 slices bacon, diced (I use organic)
handful of Oregano
Cinnamon (pinch or two or three)
1 bulb garlic (yes, I used thew whole bulb), rough chopped

Fry this up in the stock pot, no need to dirty a fry pan. No oil, your beef will create its own.
When the beef is browned, add...

Approximately 20 tomatoes, seeded and skins removed (or use canned, diced and stewed, I do in the winter time, about 2 cans stewed tomatoes and 2 Large cans diced, with juices)
2 mugs water (i'm too lazy to grab my measuring cups)
3/4 C chili powder
1/4 c minced garlic (the dried type, we love garlic)
2 T celery seed
4 T paprika
1 T cumin
2 T cayenne pepper (more or less)
salt and fresh cracked pepper
simmer about two hours (more or less)

2 cans black beans (normal size)
2 big cans kidney beans 
the amount doesn't matter, how many do you like, we like a lot you can use any type of beans you like

Cook another half hour

Serve with diced raw onions and cheese and Tabasco 

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Let's talk about measuring one more time...I don't do it. I add more of what I love and less of what I don't.  There is my cooking lesson for today.

I made a big batch of this, because my sister in law had surgery and I wanted to take her some and food doesn't leave my house easily unless there is plenty for everyone. You can half this batch if you have a four pack.

For the bacon, I just judge a cup, you all know I don't measure.  I just slice a quarter of the pack, while frozen, and put the whole pack back in the freezer for the next recipe)

1 whole celery, diced (pack of celery, whatever ya wanna call it, 6-7 stalks))
2 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic 
6 fresh sprigs Thyme (about 1 T fresh  or 1 tsp dry)

2 ~ 51 oz cans clams
12 potatoes diced
1 T Old Bay

1 stick butter 
½ C flour (really I don't measure, who am I kidding, its a roux)
2 C milk 

1 whole celery, diced (pack of celery, whatever ya wanna call it, 6-7 stalks))
2 onion, diced

 Saute bacon, celery and onion  in a soup pan (this is where you are making the soup, so make sure its big enough) until cooked, add garlic and thyme and cook another minute. Remove half and put into a frying pan. 

Add all of the juice from the cans of clams and 1 T old Bay. Add diced potatoes and bring to a boil, until potatoes are cooked. Add clams and cook another minute.

Make a roux...take the other half of the celery mixture that is sitting in a fry pan waiting...add butter and begin to saute.  When its melted and hot enough, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, scraping the pan or use a whisk, until the flour is cooked,   You will want to do this on lower heat so you don't burn the butter.  Add 1 C of the milk or cream or creamy milk..whatever ya got, we got raw thick full fat milk. whisk like crazy until thickened (okay, not really fast, just constant, but its a good arm workout if you wanna whisk like crazy. Add roux mixture to soup, add another cup milk and heat.  
 Salt and pepper to taste

Dammit, I failed to take a pic of the beautiful roux. I am no photographer..I just cook. If I think of a pic, I get one.