Life Turns and Morel Mushroom Hunting

This has been a day of emotional roller coaster rides.  But on the plus side, the positive side, the side that matters, my mother-in-law and my husband have been there for me in a time I really needed someone.  Then my dad met hubby and I for lunch and gave me more soothing words.  Things have just taken a very hard right in my life.  Things have really just thrown me.  And I know I’m being extremely vague, but at the same time, it’s still to raw to totally go into detail.  In the meantime, let me show you our adventures we took today.

This morning we decided to go Morel Mushroom hunting.  Out in this pasture, to the North side we’ve always had luck.  we parked at my grandma’s house and took off on the hunt.

My dad’s always told me that when the May Flowers are out, that’s when the mushrooms are out.


The Shack: Nacho Night

Nacho night was a big hit in my opinion.

Everyone was told to bring Tortilla chips, I’d say we faired nicely, especially since there are more than what’s in this photo.  Now we have chips for a while.

Liss brought Cheese dip that had white cheese in it.

Angela brought Spinach Artichoke Dip.  Yum!


Homemade Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

For Sunday Night dinner this week, at the last minute I decided we should have Mozzarella Cheese sticks.  You know, the fried version that is soo ewwy gooy good!  So I ran to my house for the ingredients and away we went.

String mozzarella cheese sticks – I cut mine in half
2 eggs
1-1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese

I took my mozzarella cheese out of the packages and cut them in half because I only had one bag of cheese sticks so it created more for everyone.

Crack your eggs into a bowl.  Season with salt.  Dip your mozzarella cheese into the egg mixture coating completely.  Let the excess egg drip off.

Mix your bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt.  Dip your egg coated Mozzarella cheese stick into the bread crumb mixture.


Smoked Ribs – SND Special

If there is one thing hubby likes to do, it is use his smoker to cook smoke meat.

The marinade is: Cabelas Garlic Marinade that has been discontinued.  Not sure what we’ll use when we run out.  Hubby bought a ton of it a few years ago (before we were together) when he found out it was going to be discontinued.

We had both Beef and Pork ribs in the marinade.


Cream Cheese Corn… YUM!

One recipe that my friend has us stuck on is Cream Cheese Corn.  Earl comes up with some of the best recipes!  What you need:

1 bag of frozen corn (16 oz)
1 pkg (8oz) Cream Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Sugar – I would avoid this!  Something we tried and I didn’t like.

So place the frozen corn in a pan over medium to medium high heat (depending on how much of a hurry you’re in :))


French Onion Soup

For a while now hubby has been talking about wanting French Onion Soup.  After we came home from eating at Red Onion he started talking about it again, so I went on the hunt for a good French Onion Soup.  This may not be as good as the stuff we had at Red Onion but it sure is tasty!

For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 lbs onions, peeled, halfed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 tsp sugar

Slice your onion in long strips.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed stock pot.  Add onions and sprinkle with the sugar.  The pot will be fairly full, but don’t worry the onions will cook down quite a bit.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, unti onions have turned deep brown, 30-40 minutes more.  (if the onions are sticking to the bottom or aren’t browning evenly, stir in a tbsp of water.  adjust the heat if they are cooking too quickly.)

For the Soup:

  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups beef stock
  • 3 tbsp Brandy
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to combine.  Cook the flour for a couple minutes then add the wine and Brandy.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook 2 minutes, then stir in your beef stock.  Partially cover the pot and cook until the flavors have mixed together, about 20-25 minutes.  Season with Salt & pepper.

For the Croutons:

  • 1/2 Baguette, cut into 16 rounds
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese (~4 cups)

Heat the broiler.  Spread the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until lightly toasted.  Watch carefully so you don’t burn the toast.  Pull out of the oven and brush both sides with melted butter.

Bringing it together:
Divide the soup among 8 oven proof bowls.  Float 2 croutons on top of each and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted and browned in spots.

Serve Immediately.

Homemade Mozzarella

One thing about my Tbug and my husband, they humor me, a lot.  When I get some crazy idea in my head I want to try and make something, because I never have, they go along with it.  Our most recent challenge… making Homemade Mozzarella.  It’s pretty sweet we made our own cheese.  I’m not real sure it tastes like Mozzarella, but the original recipe had a Pesto sauce on top of it, so that might be the difference.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid powder dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water. Available here.
  • 1 gallon whole milk- Also- do not, under any circumstances, use ultra-pasteurized milk for this cheese.
  • 1/4 teaspoon regular strength rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water (or 1/8 teaspoon double strength rennet OR 1/4 tablet vegetable rennet, crushed and dissolved in the 1/4 cup water.) Available here
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt, optional (cheese salt is just any salt that is not iodized or flavored.)

Pour the gallon of milk into a large stainless steel or other non-reactive stockpot. Sprinkle the citric acid over the top and stir in gently. Heat milk to 88°F. Don’t panic when the milk starts to curdle. That’s the idea!