Crispy rice patties

I had a birthday recently, and my awesome daughters treated me to Chinese food. We ordered a bunch of mostly protein dishes to pick up in town, while my older daughter cooked scallop noodles, coconut sticky rice and plain white rice at home to go with it.

On unpacking the order, we discovered they had thrown in a couple of free orders of white rice and chicken fried rice.

Which left us with a pot of plain white rice that ended up in the fridge, untouched.

Not a problem at all! I used it to make these crispy, pan fried patties. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, though tasty enough to be worth making a bunch of rice, just for this!

Rice Patty Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked, cold white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 – 2 cups shredded cheese (I used medium cheddar and a fine grater)
  • seasonings to taste (I used bacon salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika and garlic granules)
  • oil and butter for frying

Tip: when your cooked rice is ready to go into the fridge for the night, put it into a large slide-lock freezer bag. You can then more easily break any lumps of chilled rice apart in the bag, before putting it into the mixing bowl.

Note: I used a fine hand grater, normally used to grate Parmesan, for the cheese, as a regular sized grate could make the patties fall apart more. If using a regular size grate, reduce the amount of cheese used. The cheese can be skipped, too, if you wish.

Sauce ingredients:

  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • white wine vinegar
  • dried herbs and seasonings to taste (I used a Mrs. Dash mix, plus a bit of rosemary lemon salt and fresh ground pepper, but feel free to combine whatever herbs you like or have on hand!)

To make the rice patties

  1. add your chilled rice into a medium bowl. Add seasonings to taste.
  2. add eggs and mix well with your hands, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice.
  3. add shredded cheese and mix in. Let rest for a minute or so (this is a good time to make the sauce). Note: if the rice mixture seems too loose to form patties, mix in a small amount of flour, then let rest again to allow the flour to absorb moisture.
  4. prepare a deep frying pan by adding about half an inch of oil (any oil with a higher smoke point, such as canola, sunflower or peanut oil, will work) along with about a tablespoon of butter, at high heat. The butter adds flavour, but it also lowers the smoke point of the oil. It can be skipped, if you wish. Note: it is important that the oil is very hot before adding the patties, so that they will crisp up rather than absorbing the oil.
  5. begin to form patties by taking about 1/4 cup of rice and pressing it into your hands to form a sticky ball. Flatten slightly, then set aside on a plate.
  6. when the oil is very hot, gently add several patties into the pan (I could fit only 3 in my pan). Use a spatula to gently flatten the patties.
  7. cook until the bottoms are crispy and golden. Gently turn the patties to cook the other side until also crisp and golden.
  8. remove patties and drain on a paper towel. Keep warm as you continue cooking patties in batches. If it become necessary to add more oil and butter to the pan, make sure to give it time to get very hot before continuing cooking.
  9. serve with sauce while hot. Garnish, if desired.

To make the sauce:

  1. place equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream into a small bowl or measuring cup. I used about 2 – 3 Tbsp each.
  2. add a splash of white wine vinegar and any dried herbs you wish.
  3. mix well and set aside to let the flavours meld.
  4. drizzle over crispy rice patties just before serving.

Making these is rather messy, and the rice mixture tends to want to fall apart until it starts to get crispy, but it is so worth it!

Enjoy. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas

Here is a really easy recipe for a healthy snack to satisfy those cravings for something crunchy!

Roasted chickpeas.

Roasted, Seasoned Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • canned chick peas
  • olive oil
  • seasonings to taste

I have found that a 9×13 baking tray fits 2 cans of chickpeas in a single layer very well.

Instructions:

  1. Turn oven to 400F.
  2. Drain the chickpeas into a colander and rinse well. Spread the wet chickpeas onto a baking tray and let the water dry off for a while.
  3. Put the dried chickpeas into a bowl large enough to toss them. Add olive oil and seasonings. (In our last batch, we used Scarborough Fair Garlic Salt and freshly ground pepper. You can use ordinary course salt and pepper, if you wish. It would be great with Rosemary Lemon Salt as well, or if you want to stay away from salt, use your favourite Mrs. Dash mix. )
  4. Toss the chick peas until well coated with olive oil and seasonings.
  5. Return the chick peas to the baking tray and spread into a single layer. Place on centre rack in pre-heated oven.
  6. Roast for about 20 minutes. Take the pan out and give it a shake to turn the chick peas. Return to oven and continue roasting to desired crunchiness, giving the pan another shake every now and then. (We like them extra crisp. With our oven, that takes more than an hour of roasting time. Our oven also has some cold spots, so when we give the chick peas a shake, we also turn the pan, to ensure even roasting. )
  7. When done, remove the pan and allow the chick peas to cool.
  8. Once cool, store in an air tight container.

These make a really excellent and healthy snack, and are downright addictive!

Enjoy!

The Re-Farmer

Getting Steamed

We got to try out the new bamboo steamers last night, and these are the results!

First up; pork and mushroom bao.

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I was sure I’d bought some frozen bao, but I looked at so many things, I think I actually bought the in-house made bao at the same counter I got the dumplings. Either that or the buns were completely thawed out by the time we got home. Since the other frozen food wasn’t, that seems unlikely.

They were the first things my daughter prepared in the steamer. The instructions I found suggested putting something as a liner in the steamer, such as cabbage leaves or parchment paper, so food wouldn’t stick. These already had their own little parchment papers under them, so no extra liner was needed.

The dough was satiny soft and tender, and they were delicious. They did tend to stick a tiny bit to their papers, which is much better that than sticking to the steamer tray! 🙂

The variety tray of dumplings I got had so many that, even with 3 steamer trays holding 5 dumplings each, they had to be cooked in batches. These also did not need anything to line the trays, since they are each wrapped in their own little cabbage leaf.

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The first batch was pork dumplings.

Definitely my favourites. I realize these are just “grocery story” dumplings, and I’m sure purists would be quite unimpressed, but boy did they ever hit the spot. Meaty and juicy and full of flavour!

The tray also included seafood dumplings; about half as many as the pork ones.

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Personally, I found them too strongly fishy in taste; something my daughters did not find at all. There isn’t a lot of seafood I like, so the girls happily ate the rest of my share! 😀 They preferred these to the pork ones. The dumplings were big, heavy and dense with seafood. No skimping, here!

The store we got these at have other varieties that were not included in the mixed tray I got, and we look forward to trying others the next time we shop there!

Now that we’ve broken the steamers in and have an idea of how to use them, it’s time to break out some of my cook books. I have dim sum recipes that I would love to try out!

The Re-Farmer

Cracker Toffee with Bacon Salt

A super easy and quick recipe to share with you today. Warning: these are amazingly addictive! 😀

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This recipe takes something I don’t normally like – chewy toffee – and turns it into a delectable treat (that doesn’t stick to my teeth!). Using semi-sweet dark chocolate chips and unsalted crackers helps keep the sweet and salty flavours from becoming overwhelming.

Cracker Toffee with Bacon Salt

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • unsalted saltine crackers (about 35-40)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
  • Bacon Salt for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Spread a layer of crackers on the tray. Lift the edges of the aluminum foil around the crackers to keep them snug and in place. Set aside.
  3. In a small pot, melt the butter and sugar together. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. After 5 minutes, pour the toffee over the crackers and spread evenly, making sure all the crackers are completely covered.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven, then spread the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers and toffee. Let sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate (if necessary, place the tray back into the still-warm oven to soften the chocolate), then spread the chocolate to cover the entire surface.
  6. Sprinkle a small amount (a little goes a long way!!) of bacon salt over the top, ensuring that each cracker gets a bit. (Note: you can substitute coarse Himalayan Sea Salt, or any other sea salt, in place of the bacon salt.)
  7. Let cool completely. Can be refrigerated to harden faster.
  8. Once completely cold, peel away the foil, then cut or break apart into pieces.
  9. Can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Not that they will last that long. 😉 Can also be frozen.
  10. Enjoy!! 🙂
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A thought occurred to me as I was resizing the above photo, noting my very grungy looking baking pan. A 9×13 jelly roll pan, I’ve had this for many years. In fact, when I moved off the farm at age 18, it was among the items I took with me, along with cutlery I still use today, and a few other necessities. I have had this pan for 32 years and 18 moves. My mother had this pan for longer than I can remember.

It’s entirely possible that this pan is older than I am!

Nutty Seedy Brittle

I decided to try something new tonight; making a brittle.  While I’ve certainly had brittle before, I’ve never made it until now.

When I started looking up recipes, I thought I might not be able to, since they all included corn syrup.  This is something I don’t normally have in the pantry.  However, I did find some without corn syrup, so it worked out in the end.

Before I share the photos and recipe, here are some important notes.

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First, make sure you premeasure all your ingredients, first.  Once the sugar starts to caramelize, you will have to work quickly, so have them all ready and on hand.

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Second, make sure you have a baking sheet or pan oiled/buttered and ready before you start.  If it’s not well oiled first, it will be next to impossible to get the brittle off once it hardens.

It would also be preferable to use a heavy bottomed saucepan, if you have one, for even heating, as sugar can burn easily.

And finally, have a trivet or pot holder near the pan.  When the sugar caramelizes, you will need to work quickly to remove it from the heat and add the final ingredients, so make sure to have a safe place where you can put your hot pot, stir things in, then immediately pour it onto your prepared pan.

For this brittle, I used a mix of pecan pieces and roasted, salted sunflower seeds, because that’s what I had on hand.  Since the sunflower seeds and butter were both salted, I was lighter on the added salt.  I also used kosher salt; being a coarse salt, there’s a bit less in the measuring spoon than when using table salt.  If I were using table salt, I would reduce the amount by about half, unless I were using unsalted butter and none of the nuts/seeds were salted.

Nutty Seedy Brittle Ingredients (makes about 2 – 2 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda

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1. Combine sugar, water and salt into a saucepan over medium/medium-high heat.

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2. Bring the syrup mixture to a gentle boil, then set timer for 10 minutes.

3 . Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, watching for the colour to change.

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This is after 10 minutes. 

4. Continue to boil until the colour changes from clear to a light amber colour.  This may take another 10 minutes, depending on your stove.

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5. As soon as the colour changes (or the temperature reaches 300F on a candy thermometer), remove from heat.

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6. Quickly add the butter, vanilla and baking soda, while stirring constantly.  The mixture will foam up.  Continue stirring until the foam subsides and the mixture begins to look glossy.

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7. Quickly stir in the nuts and seeds, then pour the mixture onto the prepared pan.

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8. Flatten the mixture, as needed, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes, or until brittle.

That’s it!

It’s a simple recipe, using some pretty basic ingredients.  It’s just a bit finicky on technique.  Well worth it!

Enjoy!

The Re-Farmer

Brined Turkey with bacon

I was interrupted while making our Thanksgiving dinner today. I got a call from home care, telling me that there had been a sick call, and no one would be able to do the meal assist with my mother.  I did confirm that she would still be getting her bed time assist, then said that I could go over to do the meal assist.  So I turned all over to the girls to finish, and headed out to help out my mother.

Everything was ready by the time I got back, so we went straight to setting up for dinner.  I half carved the turkey before I realized I forgot to take a photo! 😀  So here is half of our bacon covered, brined turkey! Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend, here in Canada, and our turkey is ready for the oven. 🙂

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Though Thanksgiving is officially tomorrow, we decided to have a quiet family dinner today.  A large family dinner is being planned for later in the month.

The turkey was brined overnight, rubbed with lemon halves (which were then tucked into the cavity) and covered with bacon.

A trick I learned from my late mother-in-law. 😀

The Re-Farmer

 

Flame Roasted Potatoes

I roasted potatoes in yesterday’s cookout, and I thought I’d share. 😀

To make these, you will need;

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  • Large potatoes (1 per person)
  • Butter and seasonings
  • heavy duty aluminum foil, pieces sized to wrap each potato in a double layer
  • fire

Start by thoroughly scrubbing the unpeeled potatoes, then stabbing them all over with a fork.

For the butter and seasoning, you can use plain butter, then add coarse salt (how we usually do it), or you can make a flavored butter using whatever 20180604.fire.roasted.potatoes2seasonings you like.  This time, I added paprika, fresh ground pink Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper, dill and garlic powder.

Generously cover the potatoes with the butter and seasonings.  Tightly wrap each potato in a double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Don’t skimp on the foil.  😉

Time to go outside!

Prep a small fire and let it burn down.  When you have a layer of coals, place the foil wrapped potatoes directly on top of the hot coals.

Build the fire up again on top of the potatoes.

Enjoy your fire for about an hour, letting it burn down to coals. Gently move the foil wrapped potatoes out of the coals and remove to a container that can handle high temperatures.

The time is completely a judgement call.  A lot depends on the size of the potatoes and how hot the fire gets.  You might want to try for 45 minutes the first time you do it, and adjust for the next cookout.

Because there will be another cookout! 😀

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Carefully unwrap the foil (I used two forks) and cut a potato in half.

As you can see, this potato was VERY well done!  Which I’m okay with, as the skin serves as a bowl.

While the potato is cooling, roast some wieners over the fire.

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Add flavorings to taste.  I had some of the flavored butter used on the outside of the potatoes left, so I put some of that on one half, and sour cream on the other.  Then I used a fork to mix in the flavorings, in the skin “bowl”.

I think, the next time we do this, I’ll roast 2 potatoes per person instead of one!  It was SO good!

These can also be left to cool and eaten later.  Just unwrap and reheat in the microwave, or chop into cubes to use to make hash browns, or to make a potato salad.

Enjoy!  And please remember to exercise fire safety precautions, at all times.

The Re-Farmer

Garlic Soup

Well, I’ve gone from having an irritating cough to a full blown spring cold.

Ugh.

As I was sitting with my lemon tea, feeling awful, it occurred to me that I had all the ingredients to make garlic soup.

This is a recipe that my late mother-in-law shared with me, many years ago.  She told me that it was an old pioneer recipe that was especially made in the late winter/early spring, when everyone was getting low on energy.  This was a time of year when people’s stores of preserved food was probably starting to get low, too, so between the long winters, lack of sunlight, lack of vitamins, and nary a fresh vegetable to be seen, people were getting worn down.  This soup would be made and apparently resulted in a big boost of health and energy.

Oh, how blessed we are to be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables, any time of year!

I don’t know about it being a boost to energy, but garlic has long been known to help fight off colds and boost the immune system.

Plus, it’s easy and tasty.  What more can you ask?

Quantities are pretty loosey-goosey, so this is more general instructions than a recipe.  You will need:

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garlic cloves; about 5 per person (I used a whole head, just for myself)
butter (enough to brown the garlic)
milk (about a cup or two per person; I used 2 cups this time)
bread (1 slice per person – I used a thick slice of sourdough bread)
shredded cheese (cheddar or whatever kind you like; about 1/2 – 3/4 cup per person)
seasoning to taste (this time around, I used onion salt, pepper and a dash of paprika)

  1. Peel and prep the garlic.  It can be whole, crushed, chopped, minced or whatever you wish.  I like to pass it through a garlic press.  Then scrap all the bits stuck to the press into the pot, too.  Big pieces are not a problem, here! 😀
  2. Melt the butter on the bottom of a saucepan on medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook gently until transparent.
  3. Add the milk and heat until scalding.  Do not boil!garlic.soup.2
  4. Season as desired.
  5. Place a slice of bread on the bottom of a bowl.  Top with shredded cheese.garlic.soup.3
  6. Pour the hot soup over the bread and cheese.  garlic.soup.4
  7. Eat while as hot as you can handle it.

You can also give the bread time to soak up some soup, then break it apart and add more shredded cheese to the top.  I had to do that, just to be able to fit all the soup into the bowl. 😀

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Now that I’ve had my bowl of soup, I think I’m going to go back to bed.

The Re-Farmer