Fats & Oils — The Basics!

What is what and how important is it to know about fats and oils in your diet? A lot. I think Nourished Kitchen (http://nourishedkitchen.com/where-to-buy/#fats)  says it best below. Yes, I use lard in some cookies and pie crusts, and it is not hard to render it yourself. My mother-in-law and grandmother did it most of their lives and always had the best tasting pie crusts!


Olive Oil. Olive oil is one of the most highly adulterated foods in the world, and often cut with less-expensive vegetable oils.  I recommend purchasing your olive oil producer-direct, from companies who take pride in not only the quality of the oil, but how the groves are cared for, and how the oil is produced.  You can find good olive oil here.

Ghee.  Ghee is clarified butter prepared according to Indian and South Asian traditions.  Pure butterfat, ghee is free from milk solids and is shelf-stable.  It is a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins, and conjugated linoleic acid.   Pure Indian Foods produces traditionally prepared ghee from grass-fed cows as well as spiced ghees.  You can purchase it directly from Pure Indian Foods here.

Lard, Tallow, Schmaltz and Rendered Duck Fat. We recommend cooking with lard from pasture-raised pigs (find it here).  We also frequently use the rendered fat of ducks, chickens and geese which is high in monounsaturated fat, the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil and avocados.  You can find rendered duck fat online, as well as schmaltz (chicken fat), and goose fat.

Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is well-suited to baking and higher heat applications due to its high concentrations of fatty acids.  Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid, thought to support immune system health.  We purchase organic, virgin coconut oil online in bulk.

Cold-pressed Nut Oils. In addition to animal fats, coconut and olive oil, I also serve cold-pressed, unrefined nut and seed oils as finishing oils over salads and vegetables, including pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil,  avocado oil, and walnut oil.

Oven Roast Beef

I have come to really like roast beef in the oven instead of a crockpot, perfect for a snowy afternoon. Put some whole carrots, potatoes and onions in the roaster to make it a meal. The whole house warms up with a scent and warmth that is so comforting.

roast beef


1 3-4 pound roast

thinly sliced fresh garlic – 2- cloves

extra virgin olive oil

salt and fresh cracked pepper

enough garlic powder to sprinkle both sides of roast

a few drops of Worcestershire sauce

2 cups beef stock (beef broth) (and more to make gravy)

3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1 bay leaf

fresh carrots, baby red potatoes

1-2 onions sliced



1/4 cup sour cream

1-2 teaspoons horseradish

2-3 teaspoons of stone ground mustard

Mix all together with fork or whisk. Adjust ingredients to your taste.

Serve on top of the roast beef.


How to:

Rub roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder

Cut slits all over roast with a sharp paring knife, insert fresh garlic slices into slits

Prehheat oven 3o 350 degrees.  a cast iron skillet or skillet large enough for roast beef. Sear both sides of roast. It should be a golden brown on each side.

In roasting pan pour beef broth. Set roast into pan.  Add dashes of Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, onions. Cover pan with cover or tin foil.

Set pan into oven. Cook for at least 2 hours. Check for liquid periodically add water if needed. Liquid should be about one-inch. Turn oven down to 300 and keep roasting until the meat falls off the bone, baste a couple times with the juices.

When ready to serve. Take liquid out of pan and pour into a skillet. Add more broth to make about 2 cups. mix Cornstarch and a bit of cold water to make a paste about the thickness of chocolate syrup. Heat broth until almost bubbling. Whisk in cornstarch and stir until thickened. Take off heat. Let sit a couple minutes. while you make the mustard sauce.

Use the gravy on the potatoes that are smashed slightly with a potato masher. Coat the carrots with more butter and sprinkle generously with fresh or dried parsley.




Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

With the grilling season here, and able to enjoy being outside into the evening you will need some ideas to cook up. Try this one,  it is very easy to prep but does take a while to grill as you use a low temperature. It is worth the wait as these are so moist.

bacon wrapped thigs 2


Chicken Thighs

Bacon – you will need 1-2 pieces for each thigh

chili powder

salt and fresh ground pepper

Make sure chicken is at room temperature.  Preheat grill to about 300 degrees.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and chili powder. Carefully wrap one to 2 pieces of bacon around the chicken. Secure deeply with toothpick.

Sprinkle with some more freshly cracked black pepper.

Using indirect heat, (flame only one side of grill) lay all chicken pieces on the grill and cook slowly, turn down temperature if bacon flares up. By using indirect heat and keeping the temperature low you should not have very many flare-ups.

Cook until 165 degrees, take off grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

The chicken will be very juicy. The amount of time varies as to the thickness of the meat, take temperature every so often as not to overcook.  Serve with a simple fruit salad and some fresh carrots cooked flavored with maple syrup.

bacon chicken salad



A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick handmade corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend of any of the following: cheese, cooked pork, meat ground to a paste texture, refried beans.

This is usually served with curtido, an type of pickled, fermented cabbage and a thin tomato sauce.

Here is my first attempt at trying this out.  I found the trick to forming the discs is to after adding the filling and then reform the ball, and pinch off some dough so the cakes are not overwhelmed by masa.

Moisture is also a key. The dough must have the consistency of Play-Doh and make sure it is not too dry or too wet. Keep sprinkling some of the masa and continue to rework the dough until you get it to the right consistency. I found if it is a little sticky, put some of the masa on your work surface after you have reworked the balls with filling inside and flatten out a bit. Keep practicing until it works. You have to use Masa harina to make this work well.  It is a really easy dough to work with and so easy!


2 cups Masa harina

Warm water, 1 cup

A bit of salt if desired but not necessary

In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. If dough it too sticky you can add more masa about tablespoon at a time, on the opposite if the dough is too dry add warm water one tablespoon at a time.  Cover and let dough rest for 5-10 minutes, as it will thicken.

On a clean and flat surface, roll the dough into a log and cut into equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

Press an indentation with your thumb or a bit larger to accommodate your filling. Put about 1 tablespoon of filling of your choice in or just cheese. Press the ball out with your palms on a floured surface to form a disc, being sure that no filling falls out. Make the disc about ½ inch thick. To make this easier,  you can place the dough between two pieces of plastic or wax paper and roll out with a rolling pin.

Heat a well-greased skillet (cast iron is best). Cook each pupusa for 1-3 minutes or until golden brown with slight bubbles. Try to turn the disc only once. Set aside on a paper towel, then put on a plate and keep warm until all of the discs are done. They can also be frozen if you make a larger batch to keep on hand for a quick meal. Freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer to a bag.

I filled with cheese and made it like a flat tostado, and topped with warmed refried beans, cheese, lettuce, avocados with squeezed lime juice and sour cream as that was all I had on hand for a quick meal. I also mixed some of the refried beans and cheese together and stuffed into the ball, to make a disc. Very good! Add some hot sauce for an extra punch.

I will definitely try to make the curtido next time.  A pulled pork filling would be wonderful. You could use a ground pork and mix with a little tomato sauce that has some bacon pulsed in with a food processor. If you make it a kind of paste it will work well when you enclose the ball.

Look for Masa harina in the ethnic aisle or an authentic Mexican food store.


Coconut Coffee Cake from Grandma Schlueter

This is a recipe that came from Grandma and we all really like it.  You can make it in a 9×9, 8×8 or round cake pan. This recipe is one that will get handed down.

grandma s side view coffee cake


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup flour

1/2 cup pecans or sliced almonds

Mix together in separate small bowl.

Cream 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter  then add 1 cup sugar in larger bowl.

Beat in 1 cup sour cream and 1 egg.

Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Spray nonstick shortening in pan of your choice. Cover with 1 full cup of coconut, the large unsweetened flakes look great for this.

Pour the batter over the coconut. Sprinkle the batter with a mixture of  2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon or enough to make a thick coating across the pan.

Bake at 350 for 34 -40 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. Check it at 30 minutes to be sure.

Don’t overbake or it will get dry.

I found this recipe on thekitchen.com on the foodnetwork channel while looking for recipes to use an ample supply of eggs in my fridge, the laying of eggs has picked up at my father’s which I am very thankful for.


Butternut Squash Chili

Everyone loves chili for the winter and football watching. I tried this recipe with squash in and really enjoyed it. It gives chili a new taste with more health benefits.

Top it with some sour cream, cheese and/or fresh slice avocado.

butternut chili


  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 small butternut squash (1½ pounds or less), peeled and chopped into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle pepper in adobo* (start with ½ tablespoon and add more to taste, I thought mine was just right with 1 tablespoon) or you can purchase an adobe seasoning from Penzy’s and start with 1/2 tablespoon then taste, easier to add as you cannot take it out.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid** (Or use your own home canned tomatoes (1 quart)
  • 2 cans, rinsed and drained black beans
  • 14-ounce can (about 2 cups) vegetable broth

In a a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sautée the chopped vegetables (onion, bell pepper, butternut squash, garlic, carrots) in one to two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly.


Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Cover for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste test for spice level and add more chipotle if desired.

By the time your chili is done, the butternut squash should be nice and tender and the liquid should have reduced a bit, producing a nice, thick chili.

Top with sour cream, cheese and fresh avocado slices.


Easy Mozzarella Sticks

cheese sticks close

With some leftover eggroll wrappers to use I thought to use this recipe that has always been a go to. You will find lots of variations on this, but all it really is are cheese sticks wrapped in wrappers, sealed and fried.


1 package of mozzarella cheese sticks

same number of eggroll wrappers

1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water for glue

marinara sauce of your choice

Place a piece of string cheese near the bottom corner of one egg roll wrapper (keep remaining wrappers covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use). Fold bottom corner over cheese. Roll up halfway; fold sides toward center over cheese. Moisten remaining corner with egg water wash; roll up tightly to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and cheese.

In an electric skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°.

Fry sticks, a few at a time, for 30-60 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with marinara sauce.


Holiday Ideas

Entertaining for the holidays can be easy if you plan and prepare ahead. This year it was a simple cocoa bar theme with candy cane marshmallow stir sticks, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream in can, chocolate syrup, holiday sprinkles, mint marshmallows, mint chips, holiday M & M’s to top your cup of hot cocoa with. Keep it in a crockpot for easy serving. Offer water and also a holiday punch. The one pictured is just cranberry juice and soda with some fresh cranberries that were frozen.

entire cocoa barcandcane stir sticks

A holiday table is easy to do with some fresh cranberries, greenery cut from outside and a few floating candles dressed with a set if mini battery lights.

cranberry evergreen lights

By keeping it simple you don’t have to sweat it. Print out all labels well in advance and prepare as early as you can. Organize all serving dishes down to the serving pieces and it will be a snap!hot cocoa bar

Chocolate Rolo Snowballs


Cookies with candy are always fun to make around the holidays. Every year I try some kind of cookie I haven’t had in years or a new recipe. This recipe isn’t anything new. Lots of recipes have you wrap candy in dough and then bake. I like this one because of the caramel and it is so good to bite into! Have fun this time of year making a special treat. Remember to not over indulge. Just a taste is all you need!

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup black/dark cocoa (substitution: unsweetened cocoa-same as above)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Mix well.

In a large bowl, combine:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a hand-held mixer on medium speed, combine the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pat the batter into a giant ball and wrap up in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or until completely chilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Pour the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl and set aside.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Scoop out a large spoonful of dough and flatten it into a disc using your fingers. Place a chocolate-covered caramel into the center and wrap the dough around it, forming a ball. Smooth out the creases in the dough as much as possible. Roll the ball in the confectioners’ sugar twice, completely covering it both times, and set on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Let cool for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack. When cool, smother with powdered sugar.

Cheesey Squash Gratinsquash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
1 (2 1/2 pound) butternut squash – peeled
 seeded, and cubed
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water, or as needed
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 (8 ounce) package coarsely
shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onions in the hot oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in squash and garlic; season with salt. Cook squash mixture, stirring occasionally, until squash is slightly tender, about 10 minutes. Add water if mixture gets too dry. Transfer squash mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
3. Lightly whisk eggs in a bowl; stir in sour cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, and black pepper. Pour egg mixture over squash mixture; top with mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until squash is tender and mozzarella cheese is bubbling

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 266 other followers

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 266 other followers

Search by category

href=”http://www.mytaste.com/” id=”hr-tnMmw”>

href="http://www.mytaste.com/" id="hr-tnMmw">Top food blogs

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 266 other followers

%d bloggers like this: