Lola's Victory Garden

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Sfincioni is like a cold Italian pizza. There is really no other way to describe it. I’m not exactly sure how my grandmother made it, as I never actually saw her, but this is my best guess based on how it looked and tasted.

Pizza Dough (I make pizza dough using the dough cycle on my bread maker.)
1 Can of Tomato Paste
Sliced Onion (sweet yellow or red onion)
1 Can of Anchovies (optional)
Olive Oil
Dried Basil and Dried Oregano (or Italian Seasoning)
Grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino Cheese
Cornmeal (for dusting the pan)

The dough is baked on cookie sheets (or baking pans of similar size). I make a pizza dough in my bread machine. (I have also in years past used the boxed pizza dough or the Pillsbury.)

Olive oil is drizzled on the cookie sheet and cornmeal sprinkled, before putting the pizza dough on the cookie sheet. The dough is pricked with a fork so that you don’t get large air bubbles when baking.

Brush the top of the dough lightly with tomato paste (not a lot, I think this was another way of being frugal, just a bit brushed on for flavor).

Sprinkle with dried basil and oregano.
Place slices of onion on top.
For those who like anchovies, add some anchovies over the top.
Grate a good quality parmesan or romano or pecorino cheese over the top.
Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top.
Bake at 400 degrees until done. (In a stove that would be probably 20 minutes.)
This is served cold or at room temperature.

It’s perfect for Christmas Eve because it can be made a day or 2 in advance. It gives the hostess the opportunity to join in the fun or go sneak off upstairs to wrap a few gifts.
It looks so good I want to make some today, but you have no idea how much time it takes to cook in a Nesco Roaster. I think 2 trays, cooking 1 at a time took almost 3 hours. We still don't have our stove hooked up. Between the holidays and the snow it's impossible to get a hold of a handyman around here.

Lola's Victory Garden

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Superb Cowboy Stew

Now that the garden is on hiatus, I thought I would start posting some frugal recipes. I've reserved several books from the library on Depression era cooking and I can't wait for them to arrive at my library so I can check them out, try out some recipes and share them with you.

This recipe I got from Stephanie @ A Year Of Slow Cooking, which by the way is an awesome site for crockpot recipes. Stephanie got it from The Adventures Of The Headless Family.

I've made this several times and it's always a hit with our kids. In fact the other night night when I made this our daughter said it was 'great'. Then our son said "No, it's superb. That's better than excellent."
I made several modifications based on what I had on hand. First off, I was dividing a 5 pound package of ground meat. To stretch it further, I took about 3/4 of a pound and added about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of Oatmeal. Threw it in my KitchenAid mixer with the mixing blade on a low speed to combine it. (I then browned the meat/oatmeal mixture as usual. No one could tell I did this and it did not affect the flavor.) Then I mixed the rest of the meat in 3 batches with 2 Eggs, Oatmeal, Worchestershire Sauce, a bit of Catsup, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder and formed part of the meat into 1/3 pound Hamburger Patties using a Hamburger Press. I made 5 1/3 pound burgers and the rest of the meat went into a very large loaf pan for meatloaf.

I only had Diced Tomatoes with Onion and Peppers, so I used that.
No stores near me carry Ranch Beans, so I substituted Chili Beans. (Use the beans and the sauce.)
I used a 4 ounce can of El Zapato Tomato Sauce.
1 can of Butter Beans, drained.
1 Can of Garbanzo Beans.
A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper Powder (about a 1/4 teaspoon.).
Instead of adding water I used the liquid from 1 can of Potatoes.
I was out of corn, so I skipped it.

Here is the recipe from A Year Of Slow Cooking:

Cowboy Stew
1 pound browned hamburger (can use turkey)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
2 cans whole baby potatoes, drained
1 can tomatoes with green chilies
1 can Ranch Style beans (with the baked beans in the grocery store)
1 cup water
sliced jalapeno peppers for garnish (optional)

This makes a lot. Make sure that your crockpot is at least 5qts.

Brown the hamburger with the chopped garlic cloves on the stove top. Drain the fat. Let sit in the pan for a bit to cool.

Open all of you cans, and dump them into the crockpot. Drain the corn and the potatoes, but add the rest of the can liquid to the crockpot.

After adding all of the can contents, add the browned meat and a cup of water. Stir with a spoon to mix a bit.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5. Soup and stew tastes better the longer you cook it, so opt for the longer cooking time if you can.

Garnish with sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired. (Both the kids and I added lots of jalapeno peppers, but that photo didn't turn out.)

You can serve this with homemade biscuits or even better...cornbread.

Lola's Victory Garden

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa Verde II
From The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest.

2 lbs about 8 cups tomatillos
2 cups chopped onions
1-4 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
4-8 garlic cloves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

After removing husks, halve and then coarsely chop the tomatillos.

Lightly coat the bottom of a large pot with oil, turn the burner on high, and add all the ingredients. Stir frequently and bring to a boil.

Lower the temperature and let the salsa simmer for about 20 minutes.

Other recipes call for cumin, oregano, water, oil, lemon thyme, salt, pepper, tarragon, cognac, sugar, tart apples, vinegar, and sweet red peppers. Feel free to add a bit of any or all of these to your salsa according to your likes before you bring it to a boil.

Carefully fill sterilized pint or half-pint jars and process them for 20 minutes using the boiling-water-bath method.

Note: As the Salsa "ages" in the jar, the heat of the Hot Peppers (I use Jalapenos) intensifies. If you like your salsa only slightly spicey, you're going to want to make sure that you remove all or nearly all the seeds and membranes from the peppers. Also, remember when prepping Hot Peppers to wear gloves because they can cause skin irritation.

Lola's Victory Garden