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Archive for the ‘Sour Cream’ Category

Oh, yeah, baby, you can crumble my topping anytime!

Ooh, I just wanna cut you up into little pieces and eat you!...wait, that wasn't sexy.

Confession time: I’m a sucker for any recipe described as “Midwestern.”  For me, the term conjures images of pies cooling on windowsills, sounds of cows musing to themselves in a field just over yonder, and scents of clean breezes wafting over fields of fresh hay.

HA!  JUST KIDDING!  The clean and pure and wholesome country wants nothing to do with your Bad Mama Genny.

But really, I do stop for a second look at recipes like these because they remind me of the home-y and decadent desserts I was raised on, desserts rich with the sweetness of fruit and often topped with a crumbly, crispy, textured THING happening, thanks to the addition of oats and whole grains.  And, uh, oh yeah–the unmistakable taste of butter was in there, too.

So when I saw this recipe, attributed to commenter greenandlean on thekitchn.com, I knew I had to try it.

With a few leeeeeetle revisions.

You see, friends, through extensive experimentation, it’s come to my attention that most dessert recipes call for a little more sugar than I really need.  I often cut the sugar in a recipe by as much as a third.  And it’s still good.  To compensate, I’ll sometimes up the fruit content and include more whole grains, which add a nuttiness and depth of flavor that white flour just can’t touch.  The sugar that I do use is raw, which adds a certain je ne sais quoi that you can’t find in ordinary, heavily-processed granulated sugar.

So I edited the recipe to my liking to include more whole grains, more raisins, less sugar (and less refined sugar), and highly probiotic plain kefir or plain whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream (a swap which cuts out a bit of fat and calories and ups the tang factor, not that I have anything against sour cream OH HO NO I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT but sour cream has something against me READ: I AM A LACTARD).  I also cut the recipe in half since The Boy is notoriously bad at helping me eat dessert.  He prefers to drink it.  In the form of beer.

Thanks a lot for not helping your darlin’ eat dessert, The Boy.  I hope you like FUCKING LOVE HANDLES!

Oh, you do?  Why, thank you, The Boy, you’ve made my day, my, oh, my, how you DO look nice in those worn denim overalls of yours!  What’s say you and I disappear with a pan of raisin bars behind one of these here hay bales and not reappear until this here pan is empty and I’m a’blushin’ real hard?

But The Boy doesn’t wear overalls.  That’s okay.  I don’t blush, either.

Sour Cream/Kefir/Yogurt Raisin Bars
Makes and 8 x 8 pan of bars

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raisins
3/4 Cup old-fashioned oats, plus 2 Tablespoons
3/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 cup raw sugar or evaporated cane juice (plus an additional half cup for the filling)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick organic/grass-fed butter, softened
2 beaten egg yolks
1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup plain kefir or plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream

Directions:
Soak the raisins in a bowl of hot water to fatten them up.  Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350 and generously butter a square baking dish (approx. 8 x 8 inches).  Mix the oats, flour, 1/2 cup of the raw sugar, and baking soda.  Now use your fingers to squeeze the butter into the mixture.  Don’t take things so far that the butter is melted–just make sure little bits of butter are distributed throughout and that the mixture is crumbly.  Measure 3/4 cup of the mixture and set it aside.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of your baking pan and set it into the oven to bake for about 10 minutes.

Now mix the yolks, the other 1/2 cup of raw sugar, the cornstarch, and the kefir/sour cream/yogurt.  Heat the pan over a medium-low flame, stirring occasionally, until it’s thickened.  The original recipe mentions 15 minutes–mine took less than half of that time to get where it needed to be, so check frequently.  Dump in the raisins and mix it all together.  Smile.

Once your crust is done baking, pull it out and pour the kefir/raisin mixture over it.  Spread it evenly over the crust and bake this for about 10 minutes (the middle will still look pretty loose).  Take the bars out and crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the bars.  Put them back into the oven and bake until the creamy filling is set and the crumble topping is starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Pull your bars out and allow the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Wait until these are cool to cut them, or you’ll end up with a bit of a mess.  Alternatively, follow my bad example and take a spoon to them when they’re just the teensiest bit cooler than lava.

What can I say?  I know what I like.

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God, the Swedish Chef can be the biggest pain  sometimes.  For example, the other day I was riding the subway and he happened to get on next to me, and he would NOT stop nagging me to make meatballs!  In Swedish!

If I don’t want the litigious ghost of Jim Henson getting all spooky on my as, I’d best explain.  The Boy was the Swedish Chef for Halloween.  And we rode the New York City subway together.  In costume.

We have fun, The Boy and I.

Needless to say, it’s been a while since Halloween.  You can imagine, then, what it must have been like for Bad Mama Genny to have a Swedish Meatball craving since then!  Truly excruciating.   Anyhow, the Swedish Chef just wouldn’t give in–

“Spernda…schweedish meatbalshe…spernda spunda…bork bork BORK!”

–so I finally relented and Holy Meatballs, The Boy, what a great idea!  You can bork bork BORK me anytime!

Yeah, I said it.

Ultimate Swedish Meatballs with Sour Cream and Mushroom Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

Go Get:
1 lb. ground beef (Grass-fed, but of course!  Why not grind your own for the most flavorful blend?)
2 thick slices sourdough bread
3 1/2 cups unflavored almond milk, divided
8 oz. plain whole milk yogurt (if you can tolerate it) or soy sour cream like Tofutti (if you can’t)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 Tablespoons, divided, of butter (if you can tolerate it) or Earth Balance (if you can’t)
2 small onions, finely chopped, divided
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
3 Tablespoons flour
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
1 lb. egg noodles

Go Do:
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Set the bread in a shallow bowl and pour 1/2 cup of the almond milk over it. Allow it to sit and saturate for 5 minutes or so. In a food processor, combine the meat, bread and milk mixture, half the chopped onions, the egg, nutmeg, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Allow the mixture to process for two minutes. When this is done, you should have a thick, pate-like paste. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dip your hands in cold water. Form small balls with the meat mixture, about an inch in diameter, re-dipping your hands in the cold water as necessary to keep the meat from sticking. Bake the meatballs for approximately 25 minutes, or just until done (do not let the bottoms get dark).

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While the meatballs are cooking, heat 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and the other half of the onions.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms render most of their liquid and the onions are tender. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter and heat until melted. Stir in the flour, being sure to break up any lumps. Stir constantly, allowing the flour-y mixture to cook for about 3 minutes (do not let it get dark). When this is done, slowly add the remaining 3 cups of almond milk, stirring while you add so as to avoid lumps.

Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened some, and then add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the dried parsley.  Stir in the yogurt or soy sour cream.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. When the sauce is almost as thick as you like it, gently drop the meatballs in, pushing them under the surface of the sauce.  At this point, cook the egg noodles according to package directions.  Allow the sauce mixture to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are heated through and the thickness is where you like it.  Sometimes non-dairy milk can be a bitch to thicken–if this is the case for you, and heating the sauce uncovered doesn’t seem to be getting the mixture thick enough, whisk 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons COLD water.  Then add it to the sauce while stirring.  Cook it for a few minutes longer–it should do the trick.

Serve on top of pasta.  Bork bork bork!

 

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