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Monday, December 30, 2013

We Miss You, Max

It doesn't seem possible that you've been gone from our family for one full year now.  I am still sick over what happened to you and I'll never understand how someone could take a fat, little dog out of a trap and just lay you on the ground to leave you for dead; it breaks my heart to think of it.  If only we had found you sooner! I am certain you would have "scrapped" your way back to us - that was always your style. 
Yes, Max, you were sometimes a total pain in the rear, but we still laugh when we think about all the times you'd bark at nothing out in the pasture just to get Red going, and the time that you buried yourself in the base of that big tree down by the creek as you dug your way inside to get to those coons that had made it their home. I miss you the most when I go walking - it's just not the same without you behind me, herding me along, all the way to the corner and back. 

Our Maxie-Girl, AKA One-Eyed Sally
Each of us has a story and I always thought that your story was one of the best.  You came to us missing an eye and since you were in such a sad condition when the boys found you, we assumed you'd been injured. But once we got you to the vet, we learned that you were actually born with just one eye, a common birth defect with the Sheltie breed and also, most likely, why some heartless idiot dumped you out. 

I wasn't there when the boys found you in that cornfield, but they told me later how you ran straight to Miles and LEAPED into his arms.  Big Daddy Patty still says they brought you home with the intention of taking you to the pound, but I never believed that for a minute.  Once we got all those stick-tights out of your coat and gave you a bath, it was amazing how much you looked just like the dog from The Grinch; and though we often called you One-Eyed Sally, Max was the perfect name for you. 

We miss you, Max, but we're thankful for the time you were here with us - you will ALWAYS be a part of our family.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

As seen on Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen, Thursday, December 26, 2013, WIBW 13 News This Morning Segment, sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.  

1 pork tenderloin, approx. 1 lb.

1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Quinoa Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa, any color
2 cups vegetable or beef broth
2 cups spinach, loosely packed, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (or substitute 1/4 cup dried cranberries)
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 oz. crumbled feta

Sear tenderloin off on all sides and place onto a foil-lined baking sheet; place tenderloin into a preheated 425 degree F. oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  Remove from oven and cover pork with foil to rest.  Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat until sauce is reduced by about half and slightly thickened.  In a large sauce pan, cook quinoa in broth until tender; let cool slightly, then stir in spinach, pomegranate seeds and pecans.

Slice tenderloin into medallions; place prepared quinoa salad onto serving platter, placing pork medallions around salad.  Brush medallions with warm sauce; top quinoa salad with crumbled feta.  Serve at once.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Frosty Eggnog Punch

Made with thick, rich Hildebrand Farms Dairy eggnog, this holiday punch makes gatherings even more festive and fun.  The adults in the group may appreciate the addition of a little brandy or bourbon! 

3 - 4 quarts Hildebrand Farms Dairy eggnog, chilled very well
1 gal premium vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 quart half and half
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or substitute your favorite brandy or bourbon
1 tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
cinnamon for garnish
2 cups whipped cream

Pour eggnog into punch bowl; the amount needed will vary on the size of the punch bowl.  Pour in half and half, a small amount at a time, taking care not to add too much, making eggnog too thin in consistency.  Using a small ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop, scoop out balls of ice cream and place into eggnog mixture.  Add vanilla, brandy or bourbon, to taste. To finish, add dollops of whipped cream on top, then sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Serve at once!

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Annarose Hart, From the Land of Kansas, Joins Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen on WIBW 13 News This Morning

Homemade Steak Seasoning

Giving the gift of some good home-grown Kansas beef this Christmas?  Add a jar of some homemade seasoning to the mix - It's much less expensive than store-bought and tastes sooo good.  I use it quite often to season my pot roasts before searing, as well.

4 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. black pepper
1 Tbs. dehydrated onion flakes
1/2 Tbs. granulated garlic
1 - 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 Tbs. dried thyme
1/2 Tbs. dried rosemary
1/2 Tbs. ground coriander

Combine and store in a well-sealed container.  Stir before pressing into meats as a rub.  \

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Skillet Rib Eye Steaks with Zucchini Gnocchi Toss

As seen on Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen,  WIBW 13 News This Morning, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.

This recipe came to me by way of my friend, Karen Hanson, who presented it at the 2013 Kansas Farm Bureau Summit, as an original BEEF - It's What For Dinner Recipe (Beef Ranch Zucchini Gnocchi).  I fell in love with this dish - it's not only tasty, but has such pretty presentation! Since my family is always starving, I've tweaked the recipe just a bit to speed up the cooking process.

2 Rib Eye steaks, rested at room temperature for 30 minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper

1-2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
16 oz. shelf-stable gnocchi (potato dumplings)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup beef or vegetable broth
2 small zucchini, skin removed, peeled into ribbons
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. basil pesto
2-3 Tbs. feta cheese crumbles
1 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a nicely preheated large cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, sear steaks in a bit of olive oil on both sides; place skillet into oven and cook steaks to desired temperature - I prefer 140-145 degrees at the center for medium rare.  Remove steaks to a platter and cover with foil; keep warm.  

In the same skillet over medium high heat, add a bit more olive oil, then add gnocchi and onion slices; cook 4-5 minutes, tossing often until gnocchi begin to brown.  Deglaze the pan by adding the broth,  then add zucchini ribbons, red pepper flakes, and pesto; cook an additional 1-2 minutes, just until all ingredients are hot throughout and vegetables are crisp-tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Place prepared vegetable gnocchi onto platter along side warm steaks; garnish with feta cheese and pine nuts.  Serve at once!

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cherry Coffeecake

1 box yellow cake mix, divided use
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup warm water
1 cup all-purpose flour combined with 2 pkgs. (5 tsp.) instant dry yeast
21 oz. can cherry pie filling
4Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. sliced toasted almonds

Combine 1 ½ cups cake mix with eggs, water, yeast, and flour; beat on low speed for 1 minute.  Spread mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 greased baking dish; top with pie filling.  In a small bowl, combine remaining cake mix with melted butter and almonds to create a crumbly mixture; drop in bundles on top of cherry pie filling.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  (If using a glass 9 x 13, bake at 325 degrees F).  Drizzle warm cake with glaze (recipe below) and serve. 

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. corn syrup
1/8 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli