Spring is right around the corner…

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | General | No Comments

Although it’s hard to believe looking out the window this morning at the results of the latest storm (only a couple inches of snow–not bad), spring IS coming!  We’ve actually had a relatively mild winter here.  Lots of storms elsewhere in the country, but they all seem to be going around us here.  I just keep thinking about how much we need the precipitation and how happy we’ll be for it once spring arrives and Lamoille greens up and goes into full bloom.

We had a wonderful fall in Lamoille.  John and I got to spend some extra time there this year and really enjoyed long evenings on the patio, watching the deer go through the yard and visiting with neighbors we don’t get to see near enough.   There’s just a special peace to Lamoille that’s hard to describe until you’ve experienced it for yourself.

Some of the highlights of fall for us:  going for long walks at dusk,  watching a family of raccoons play in our yard, baking at Little Creek (more on that later), watching our 3-year-old son have the time of his life on his little John Deere tractor,  people-watching on the front porch of the Bitter-End Tavern, picking hawberries in the yard with our kids, getting a lesson in making Hawberry Jelly from our neighbor Gaylon,  and having a couple fabulous meals at the Pine Lodge.  We really had a great time!

Here is one of my favorite recipes for fall and winter, pure comfort food!  It comes from a great recipe book by Rebecca Rather, ”The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Cafe.”

The Pastry Queen’s All Sold out Chicken Pot Pie

SERVES 6 -12 , 2 Pies

Ingredients

    FILLING

    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 purchased cooked rotisserie chicken or whole stewedchicken, cooled
    • 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
    • 1 (8 ounce) package frozen peas (optional)

    CREAM SAUCE

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
    • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
    • salt and fresh ground white pepper

    CRUST

    • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 10 ounces chilled cream cheese
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
    • 1 large egg (to wash the crust)

    Directions

    1. To make the filling:  Melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and potato; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and sauté about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crushed red pepper and add salt and pepper to taste.
    2. While the vegetables are sauteing, skin the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred the meat or cut into bite-size pieces. Place the green beans in a microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to cover. Cover the dish and microwave on high power about 10 minutes, until the beans are tender. Drain thoroughly. Stir the beans, peas and chicken into the vegetable mixture. Set the filling aside.
    3. To make the cream sauce:  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Add the cream, hot pepper sauce, and salt and white pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken filling and stir to combine. Fill individual 1’/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls three - quarters of the way to the top with the creamed chicken filling.
    4. To make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball.
    5. Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Measure the diameter of the pot pie bowls—mine are about 4 inches across—and cut out dough rounds that are 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Lay the dough rounds on top of the pot pies, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl. Brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake the pies for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.
      Enjoy!

    ‘Tis the Season…

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 | Recipes | No Comments

    We finally got snow in Lamoille! There’s been very little of it this year, but it finally showed up and just in time for Christmas. Everything looks so pretty– we’ve especially been enjoying all the deer…

    Here’s one of my FAVORITE recipes for Christmas cookies. I love to bake anytime, but especially this time of year and this one’s always on my list. I found this recipe originally in “Taste of Home.” These cookies have a great presentation. Be careful not to overbake them, it’s easy to do with these. They shouldn’t be browned at all when you take them out of the oven.

    Mountain Cookies Recipe

    22 min | 10 min prep

    SERVES 24 , 48 cookies

    COOKIE DOUGH

    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    FILLING

    • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

    TOPPING

    1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla.
    2. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
    3. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
    4. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie.
    5. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
    6. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
    7. For the filling, in a large mixing beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla.
    8. Add pecans and coconut; mix well.
    9. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon into each cookie.
    10. For topping, heat chocolate chips, butter and water in a small saucepan until melted.
    11. Stir in sugar.
    12. Drizzle over cookies.

    Enjoy!

    The Elko County Fair…

    Friday, September 5th, 2008 | Community Events | No Comments

    Last weekend was Labor Day Weekend, a big weekend in Elko County. The Elko County Fair is a reminder of our area’s strong agricultural roots–it’s a time for people to show off their work, to meet up with friends and family, and OF COURSE to go to the horse races!

    When I was growing up, the fair was one of the biggest events of our year. We spent hours baking goodies for it, striving for those coveted blue ribbons. My mom, an excellent seamstress, always entered many of the things she’d sewn throughout the year. There were always tomatoes, beans, or pumpkins from our garden that we’d enter in the produce division. Sometimes some crafts or a photograph or two… It was a big deal… But I was a town kid…

    For my husband, who grew up on a ranch in Lamoille, the fair was THE event of the year, far bigger than Christmas, an event eagerly anticipated and worked for all year long. It was the culmination of hours and hours of hard work on the ranch–an entire year’s worth of effort, judged in a few pivotal events. It was a time for 4-H skits and 4-H floats, a time to visit and laugh with friends, and maybe, if you were lucky, a time to relax for a few minutes once all the animals had been shown and the auction was over.

    The fair is different for us now, but it’s still a great time for us. This year I got to help judge the baking in the Home Arts building and–WOW–was that ever fun! Anyone who knows me knows I love to bake and I love my sweets! Basically, I was in heaven–living the life, doing my dream job. I do claim to be something of an expert on cookies, having baked many thousands over the years (and having eaten far too many of them myself!). I am always experimenting, always sampling, always looking for those “perfect” recipes. After sampling pies and cookies for two hours straight, I can attest to the fact that we have some very talented bakers in Elko County. And I hope I get to do it again next year!

    Welcome to Lamoille– Welcome to Little Creek Crossing!

    Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 | General | No Comments

    We LOVE summer in Lamoille. Everything’s green, the creeks are running, there are lots of people around to visit with. We’ve been having a great summer and have had some wonderful guests staying at Little Creek Crossing. Our favorite part of owning a vacation rental in Lamoille is meeting the people who come to visit. So far this summer our guests have included people from Ely, Reno, Carson City, Salt Lake City, Pocatello, American Canyon & Elk Grove, California. We even had a lovely couple from Scotland visit us for five nights!

    It’s always fun to finally meet in person the people we’ve been corresponding with for weeks or months. And it’s fun to hear the various reasons why people choose to stay in Lamoille–there actually are a LOT of reasons. We’ve had: a bride and groom, wedding guests, Mining Expo exhibitors, friends of people who live in Lamoille, family of people who live in Lamoille, Spring Creek, and Elko, people attending family reunions in Lamoille, and ~~most interestingly~~ families who live in far-flung places who have chosen Little Creek Crossing as their gathering place. Our maximum number of guests is ten, but we’ve hosted several “mini” family reunions this year at the house like that, and we love knowing that families are able to spend quality “down time” together and reconnect with each other. We could all use more time like that!

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