A Fall Day at the Lake

September 25, 2006

Wild Rice Harvest

Here I go again, raving about our vacation in Minnesota BUT…

While we were there, we met Alan and Kay Zika, who in the fall produce one of our favorite things – Wild Rice. The Zikas and their family hand parch the wild rice in small lots, over open fires, so you get that nice smoky flavor when you cook it. The Zikas hand parched 10,000 lbs. of green rice this fall. They then hull the rice, using machinery that Alan built especially for the task. The hulled rice is then bagged in 1 lb. packages and sold to hungry customers.

Wild rice is actually not rice at all but a annual water-grass seed that produces a nutritious grain. For more on the history of this wondrous grain, go here.

Now, for the part we all really like: cooking and eating. Here is one of our favorite recipes, taken from the link above (and they have more than one recipe, too, as well as cooking instructions for stove top, microwave and oven).

Wild Rice Stuffing
1 cup raw wild rice
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sage
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup minced onion
4 oz. can mushrooms (or chopped fresh mushrooms)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Cook rice in boiling broth. Saute celery, onions and mushrooms in butter for 2-3 minutes. Combine all incgredients. Makes about 6 cups or enough to stuff a 10 lb. turkey. Also great with any wild game OR roasted chicken or pork.

After you try Minnesota wild rice, I can guarantee that rice will never be the same for you again.

Til next time…Diane

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Yummmm! Hot Chocolate!

September 21, 2006

Hot ChocolateI ran across this recipe in Lynn Nusom’s column down Las Cruces way. Perfect for these crisp Fall evenings! Put some pine on the fire, gather the dogs around, and to heck with the calories. (Of course, keeping our dog babies, Jazz and Coffee, out of our cups is always a challenge.)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Shots with Spicy Foam

2 cans (12 ounce) evaporated milk, divided
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate morsels
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, divided (optional)

Pour 1/2 cup evaporated milk into medium mixer bowl; place beaters in mixture. Freeze about 30 minutes or until ice crystals form around the bowl.

Heat remaining milk, water, morsels, 1 teas. vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 pinch cayenne pepper in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Do NOT boil. Set aside.

Remove chilled evaporated milk from freezer. Beat on high speed 1 minute or until very frothy. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of cayenne (careful with that pepper ah-choo!)

Continue beating 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture forms soft peaks.

Pour hot chocolate into eight 4 oz demitasse cups (or two really big mugs!) and immediately dollop with foam topping.

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Apple pieFor those of you who don’t subscribe to our monthly e-letter, here’s a recipe from our July issue for Green Chile Apple Pie.

Prepare your favorite recipe of pastry dough, enough for 2 crusts or Mrs. Smith’s makes a decent frozen option, if you’re short on time.

2/3 cup Cannon’s Plain Green Chile, drained
6 to 8 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered, cored and cut in ½” thick slices
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Toss apples with sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and chiles. Set aside. Heat oven to 425ºF.

Roll out ½ pastry dough and gently fit into pie plate; trim edges, leaving a 1” overhang. Spoon filling into lined plate. Dot with butter. Roll out remaining dough. Moisten edges of bottom crust with water. Place together to seal; flute or crimp edge. Brush top crust with a mixture of egg and water.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. (If crust browns too much near end of baking time, cover loosely with foil. )

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