Sunday, February 28, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Hamantaschen

Today is Purim - the celebration of the Jews escaping the evil Haman. Haman wore a funny looking triangular hat, so to celebrate/make fun of him, we eat delicious triangular Hamantaschen cookies! This recipe is from Cal's Jewish mother and makes about 30 cookies.

2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 jar dessert filling

Cal's tip: The exact dessert filling is very important! Jams and jellies will not work, and we havent had good luck with anything but this brand:

We also recommend making this recipe three times - a good excuse to make many flavors of Hamantaschen!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps

Wrapping food in lettuce just makes it seem so much healthier. "Yes waiter, I'll have the large soda, fries, and bacon double cheeseburger - but could you sub a lettuce wrap for the roll? I'm on a diet. " That's my kind of diet.

So now take an already pretty healthy meal, like chicken satay, and wrap it in lettuce, and you've got a super healthy dinner! Cornelius and I didn't invent this concept, but we did invent this exact variation. It's a mess to eat, and it's time consuming to make - but it is also delicious and healthy! (it's wrapped in lettuce, isn't it?)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Sage Butter Chicken

Here is a new recipe for a great quick weeknight meal.  We decided it should have a dollop of some kind of sauce - it will be up to you, Castle Farm Cookbook readers, to help us decide what that should be.  We will include our thoughts on future adaptations.  

We saw a few variations of this recipe but we sufficiently changed them so we're going to consider this one our own.  So here it is, Sage Butter Chicken du Cornelius.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Once upon a time there was... French Beef Stew!

I am reminded of an old pig proverb: Sometimes, stews happen.

Today I'll be making a French Beef Stew from AllRecipes. Cal was lured into participating in my last beef stew, but that's because there was beer involved. Today, he refused, so I've asked my friend Millard (the Elephant) to make his Castle Farm Cookbook debut and help. He's great to have around for multi-ingredient meals because he always remembers to include everything.

Millard's note: Actually, I've been here before (scroll to the bottom). I never forget these kinds of things.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Baguettes!

Today, I'll be flying solo and making some delicious French baguettes. Cornelius isn't helping because - let's put this nicely - he doesn't like to wait so long to bake good bread. He'll be back later with a recipe that I am not participating in. A nice home-baked loaf of bread is one of the best things in the world. And this recipe makes 2 loaves! The recipe comes from our Good Housekeeping cookbook. It may not be as exciting as our Beer Bread, but it still is wonderful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Honey Mustard Egg Salad

You're not going to believe this...we still don't. It's snowing again. After we got 23" (over 3 farm animals) of Snowmageddon, Snowverkill is currently dropping about another foot. It's a dangerous place for a small cow!

With crazy blizzard wind warnings, we are again afraid of what we will eat if the power goes out. So today we will make another one of our cold-meal specials: egg salad. But this time, we will invent a honey mustard twist!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is one of nature's most versatile foods (and we would know). Also, some people call this a yam. We think that's a funny word, so we go with sweet potato in any case. Some people hated yams from their childhood side dish dramas, so we will say this is a sweet potato (even though the orange-fleshed ones taste better). Deal with it!

Here's a great recipe we invented for Yams Two-Ways - or as we like to call it, Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes.

Once upon a time there was... Creamy and Lemony Potato Salad

As Snowmageddon 2010 approached, we started to plan ahead for the food we would eat over the weekend. Normally, we would have set up some sort of extravaganza. However, there were two problems: first, there was nothing left in any grocery store in the entire region, and second, we thought we might lose power at some point. Remember, this is Snowmageddon - 2 feet or more of wet, heavy snow.

So, what can you find at a barren grocery store and also eat cold? Potatoes!

We decided to make a quick potato salad, adapting a recipe from our trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook. Here is what you need:

makes 10 side servings
3 pounds of potato (we scaled the recipe down but will give you the full one. Also, the recipe calls for normal baking potatoes, but as you can see we used a mix of small red and yellow potatoes for variety)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of milk
3 tbsp lemon juice (if you don't want lemon, omit the peel and replace the juice with 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar)
1 tsp lemon peel
2 tbsp green onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
ground pepper to taste
chopped celery (optional; we didn't have any)


1. Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork or knife.

2. Drain the potatoes, let cool. Chop, dice, or slice the potatoes to your desired size. We made a variety of cuts in our small potatoes. Cal always says, variety is the spice of life. (Optional: peel before cutting. We like potato skins, especially the red ones, so we left them this time.)

3. Whisk together the milk, mayo, lemon juice (or vinegar), lemon peel, green onion, salt, sugar, and pepper.

4. Add the potatoes, toss to coat.

5. Optional step: if you want a chunkier potato salad, you are done. That's what Cal wanted, but I decided to MASH MASH MASH the potatoes for a creamier potato salad. Find your favorite utensils and smash away!

6. Serve chilled - perhaps in a powerless apartment during a snowstorm!

Here's the nutritional info. Keep in mind that different types of mayo and milk will lead to very different results. We used 1% milk and Helman's reduced fat mayo.

Pig, out!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

We never grow tired of food on sticks.  You can use the skewers for swordfighting, javelin tournaments, or poking unruly cows! Or you can make this yummy dinner.  But you don't have to make this difficult choice - just buy lots of sticks.  We found this recipe on and made some modifications, (most notably not killing you with chicken-diseased marinade).  It is great served with rice, or its a very filling meal even without.  This serves 4.

1/3 c dry white wine
1/3 c peanut oil
1/3 c teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp dried ginger
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
1 whole pineapple, cut in chunks
as many sugar snap peas as you will eat
bamboo skewers


1. whisk together first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Reserve some marinade to brush over finished chicken (about 1/4 c).

Cornelius' tip: See, this is us saving you from certain death! Never eat marinade that your raw chicken has sat in unless you cook it first!

Put chicken and marinade in a covered dish, stir to coat, and marinate 4 hours to overnight.

2. Create beautiful skewers by putting chicken, pineapple, and snap peas on sticks.

Cornelius' tip: Patterns are fun!  Try chicken-pea-pineapple, then chicken-chicken-pea-pea, then pineapple-pea-chicken-pea, etc.  

Cornelius' other tip: You can use the marinade to brush over the raw skewers now (since you still haven't cooked them).

3. Grill them!  It should take about 4 min per side.  Make sure to flip so things don't get stuck.

4. Brush them with reserved marinade - now eat them!!!

Yes, these were as delicious as they look.

As for nutritional information, we don't really know what to enter into the calculator. . .  We make a full cup of the marinade but the food doesn't absorb nearly all of it, but then how much do we eat? We have no idea.  So we are going to have to accept that this is a healthy meal of unknown calories.

pig, out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Once upon a time there was... Mediterranean Salad with Green Beans and Feta

So since we are trying to eat healthier we went looking for new, interesting salads.  We came across this one from Martha Stewart that seemed simple and interesting.  It's a good way to sneak in some beans for an extra nutritional benefit, too.

1 head of romaine, chopped
8 oz green beans
2 naval oranges
1 1/2 c feta cheese
1 small red onion, sliced
15 oz can of white beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper


1. prepare green beans. in a saucepan, boil water, and simmer green beans 4-6 minutes until slightly tender. rinse with cold water.

2.  prepare orange.  peel and slice fruit.

3. prepare lettuce and other veggis.

4. prepare dressing.  whisk together oil and vinegar.  add salt and pepper to taste.

5. create salad.  toss together all ingredients. serve!

Here are our thoughts on this:  The dressing needs something, but we're not sure what.  (It's just a little boring.)  We still don't like white beans even when we hide them in a salad. Green beans in a salad is do-able.  Feta makes everything better.

So, we're not ready to reject this salad, but we think it needs a little work.  We would love to hear your ideas, Castle Farm Cookbook blog readers!

Here's the nutritional info:

pig, out!

Once upon a time there was... Potato and Cilantro Soup

The pig is always skeptical of soup, but I insisted on this one, and I am glad that I did! It was creamy and flavorful. Paired with a salad, it makes a perfect dinner.

We found this recipe at iChef and followed it exactly since we are not the most experienced soup makers.

serves 6

1 Tbsp butter (we used Promise)
1 leek, diced
1/2 onion, diced

5 c chicken stock
2 med russet potatoes, diced
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
Cal's tip: we may have used way too much cilantro since bunches can be all different sizes. If you have too much cilantro, it will still be delicious so don't worry about it! As you can see from the pictures of Cornelius, preparing cilantro can take some time!

1/4 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. melt butter in a large stock pot. add onion and leek and let them sweat but not brown.

2. add stock and potatoes. bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes, but depends on the size of your dice).

3. add cilantro, remove from heat.

4. carefully puree the soup in a blender or processor in batches.
Cal's tip: You may need to wait for the soup to cool slightly. You should also make your batches fairly small or you will make a giant mess.

5. Add soup back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add cream. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

Soup is hard to photograph but it's easy to eat! We recommend eating it instead of trying to take pictures.

Look how healthy it is! As long as you use low-sodium chicken stock the sodium won't be so high either.

Overall this soup was a success and has hopefully led to the pig being more accepting of future soups!


Once upon a time there was... Pumpkin Penne

We made this a long time ago - last year! In fact, there are a lot of things we have made since last year and into this year that we just haven't posted. Today however, we have nothing else to do except post all of these old recipes (and make new ones!). You see, we are snowed in again!! It's Snowmageddon 2010!!!! There are 3 farm animals (roughly 21") of snow outside. So here we are, FINALLY updating our adventures.

This recipe is for Pumpkin Penne. We were intrigued by the idea of using pumpkin for a savory dish instead of a sweet one. It should be noted that we decided to make this prior to deciding to cook healthier things. (Pasta coated in pumpkin and heavy cream is not exactly healthy.) We mostly followed a Rachel Ray recipe. This is pretty quick and simple; great for a weeknight!

This serves 4
8 oz of penne pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chicken broth
7.5 oz pumpkin puree
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of sage
salt and pepper to taste
sage and parmesan for garnish


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and shallots and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).

3. Add chicken broth, pumpkin and cream. Stir. Add hot sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Lower heat, simmer until thickened (about 5 minutes).

4. Add sage and pasta to sauce. Toss to coat.

5. Garnish with parmesan and sage. Serve!

And that's it! See how easy?

We weren't sure how we would feel about the idea of pumpkin for dinner, but in the end we really liked it! It was different, it was easy, and most importantly, it was yummy. It reheated well for leftovers as well.

Here is the nutritional information for the dish.
This total does not include any parmesan cheese. A little high on fat but not that bad actually!

We definitely recommend this one.