Category Archives: Recipes


I vaguely remember lefse. I think sometime a long time ago my mother (or maybe grandmother) bought a package, yes a package, of lefse and I remember really enjoying it with butter and sugar. Not sure why I remember the food so much but not the time I ate it. Maybe I had it more then once. For those of you that don’t know lefse is a Scandinavian potato pancake. Part of my background is Swedish. In Sweden lefse is eaten especially around Christmas time with lignonberry preserves.

So I remembered the food, remembered really enjoying it. And then a class was offered through continuing education–“Learn to make lefse.” It had been ages since I took a class just for fun, just because I wanted to learn how to do something. And to make it even better our absolutely favorite librarian was teaching the class. So last night I learned how to make lefse at the Rush City Library.


Start with russet potatoes and only russets. You want your potatoes to be very dry. Peel them, quarter them and boil them until just tender. Remove from the water right away. Remember you want them to be dry. While they are still hot put them through a ricer. The above picture is of riced potatoes. The below picture is of a ricer–lower right corner, as well as some other tools of the trade, a flour shaker, rolling pin and pastry mat.



After the potatoes are riced put them uncovered in the frig overnight. You want them completely cool and as dry as possible. Donna gave us two recipes, her grandmother’s that involved depression era ingredients like evaporated milk and canola oil and this one from Lefse Time. She said she never thought she would find a recipe she liked better then her grandmother’s but you can’t beat real cream and butter.

Once you have mixed the batter following the recipe you will need to put it back in the frig. Donna likes to portion the patties first on a baking sheet with waxed paper. Then she rolls them out one at a time making sure to keep the other patties in the frig until she is ready for them.




Our wonderful teacher and superstar librarian Donna demonstrates rolling out the lefse.



A traditional tool for rolling out lefse. Though Donna likes the silicone pastry mats much better now. They do not need to be seasoned with flour and can be rolled for easy storage.


I try my hand at rolling and cooking the lefse on a special lefse gridle set to 500 degrees!



The finished product. They were so much better then I remember. Of course these are hot right off the gridle. I had them with butter and just a dash of sugar.

Though I don’t have all the tools I plan to get a potato ricer this weekend and I bought a bag of russets. Can’t wait to try my own.

Seward Co-op Cooking Class

This weekend we had an amazing opportunity–teaching a cooking class at the Seward Co-op. It was such an amazing experience. I love surrounding myself with people who love good food, sharing ideas and recipes and just chatting. Here are some pictures from the event.



Proeun really loves sharing traditional dishes. But one of the things about traditional dishes is teaching people how to eat them. Here I describe how to make an envelope out of the lettuce leaves for the Lok Lac.


Lok Lac (Hot Beef Salad) and Stir-fry pork with collards.


The question came up “how do you get kids to eat vegetables?” Honestly I am not really sure, I guess just have it available and model good eating habits. We are not perfect and sometimes the children reject meals I have made but these are some of their favorite, probably because they are also Proeun and my favorites and we eat them regularly. They cleaned up after the class!

So it was a pretty great day. The co-op was beautiful, especially the kitchen! The people were fun and interesting and it was a pretty great way to spend the morning.

Here are the recipes I wrote for the class. If you are looking for ways to eat greens this summer try these out. They are fun and easy. The stir-fry one can be made using whatever protein and greens you have on hand. These type of recipes are great for seasonal eating.

Lok Lac (beef salad)

1 pound beef thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves crushed
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-2 TBSP Oyster sauce
1 onion thinly sliced

For salad:

1 head lettuce
1 tomato in thin wedges
1 cucumber peeled and cut into 2 inch sections then halved and finally thinly sliced
1 green onion prepared as the cucumber

For dipping sauce

4 TBSP lemon juice (about 2 whole lemons)
1 tsp fish sauce
½ -1 tsp ground black pepper fresh is best
salt to taste

Begin by making the meat. Brown the meat in a pan with the oils and a bit of oil to get it started. Add garlic and other seasoning and continue stir-frying until the meat is done. Set aside.

Take the lettuces and separate the leaves. Arrange in a circular pattern on a plate or in a bowl. Layer tomatoes then cucumbers and finally green onions in center of bowl or plate. Pour the hot beef mixture over the top of the salad in a little mound.

For the dipping sauce combine all ingredients.

To eat take a leaf of lettuce. Layer tomato, cucumber, green onion and beef in the middle of the leaf and fold up to make and envelope. Dip in the sauce and enjoy. Eat with rice.


Basic Stir Fry

1 pound thinly sliced meat (pork, beef, chicken, etc.)
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 TBSP oyster sauce
1 TBSP corn starch

4 cups chopped greens (water spinach, kale, mustard, etc.) can also mix them.

Begin with the meat, brown the meat with a bit of oil, when well browned add the seasoning. When almost done add the greens. Some will take very little cooking time so watch them or they will turn to mush. Stir and cook until wilted to desired texture. You can add one more TBSP of oyster sauce or soy sauce to taste if not the desired taste.

Eat over rice or add some cooked noodles and a bit more sauce for Lo mein.



Sausage Making for Dummies

One of the ways we have always wanted to prepare our venison is as a sausage. This year Proeun found this great recipe.

Hot Venison Italian Sausage

2 pounds ground Venison
1 pound ground pork (we used all venison)
1/2 cup water
4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP fennel seeds (we used anise)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

We added paprika for color, sugar and Sriracha pepper sauce (Asian staple). We also chopped carrots, onion, bell pepper and cilantro. We made approximately 35 pounds of sausage so I am not sure on the proportions.

We ground up the meat, chopped the veggies and added the seasoning.

Turns out sausage making is a long process, especially when you are using new equipment to get used to. Took us one whole evening to figure out how to use the grinder as a stuffer. We ended up calling customer service the next morning. Then it took us a while to figure out the best stuffing technique with natural casing so as not to burst the casing but get them even and full.

Finally after about 2 hours of experimenting, starting and stopping to deal with children we figured it out. Sunday night we were up until 11:30 stuffing and cleaning up. Another long night.

We had some seasoned meat left over for meatballs and tried them in our weekly spaghetti. They were fabulous! Just drain off any fat before adding the sauce.

We also went over to my parents and they made a wonderful dish of venison tenderloin sliced into medalions and dipped in dijon mustard and ground pecans and walnuts and pan fried–so amazing!. Add crusty bread some rice and pasta and you have a meal fit for a king.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Yesterday we finally had a break in the heat and I decided I couldn’t delay baking and preserving any more. We had some early tomatoes, not enough to give to customers but enough to do up a batch of tomato sauce. This is my all time favorite tomato sauce recipe but I should be clear, I don’t can this, I freeze it to make sure it is completely safe. Tomatoes are best canned without additives due to their acidity level though Animal Vegetable Miracle has a pretty great one that is safe to can. I did up 7 quarts of this last year but because I was using ground spices the end product was brown which the children didn’t really dig. I like it anyway and will probably do a few more this year.

Here’s the recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce

8 cups tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 cup onions
4 cloves garlic whole
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix together in shallow baking pan, and roast at 450 degrees for 35-40 minutes. As it cools mash with potato masher or fork and add 1/3 cup basil.

My goal is 12 freezer quarts of this sauce. Last year I only did 4 and it was such a treat eating it in winter. It tastes like summer! Actually this picture is from a winter dinner when I was really craving summer.

I also did up 4 quart bags (about 1 serving each) of pesto and baked some Good Brown Bread. It was a pretty sucessful day.

Basil Pesto

This is the week when things are really getting done (read preserved). My aunt had given me a couple shelving units which I finally set up. I organized and arranged my canning jars and realized I have plenty of quart and pint jars, but I do want to add some 1/2 pints to my collection more for gifts and the toiletries I am making.

Today on the preserving agenda is basil pesto. Though our basil plants are still not very big and sturdy yet we had to “top” them this week to encourage growth. Topping is pinching off the tops so that it will branch off in more directions. So I had a few leaves and made our first batch of basil pesto this morning. It is so easy.

Pesto Basil

1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts (toasted if you like)
1 bunch basil
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Put garlic cloves and walnuts in blender and grind to meal consistency. Pack in the basil and add a couple tablespoons olive oil. Turn on and drizzle more olive oil. Continue adding oil and packing (when you turn off the blender) until you have a thick paste consistency. Add salt last and stir.

I like to put this in quart size freezer bags and freeze flat for winter.

I still have more preserving to do and I realize I have to run to the store. I use a lot of oil olive oil and I am gathering herbs for my first herbal rememdy which i hope to use this winter–or not have to use. More on that later.

Blueberry Buckle

I had 3 little pints of blueberries left in the frig. I could freeze more or make jam, but I decided to bake. I love blueberry baked goods and I remembered a recipe from the The Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook. I couldn’t find a direct link at the website but if you are interested you could probably call. The book is literally stuffed with wholesome breakfast recipes. Normally I am not a breakfast person but with all these recipes I could eat breakfast all day, which I guess I am kind of doing since that’s what’s for dinner.

Mavis is getting to be quite the helper. Of course for her any addition to the recipe after honey was superfluous. At first she didn’t understand why I was adding the blueberries to the batter, then she decided to add more while my back was turned. Oh well I guess you can’t have too many blueberries.

Blueberry Buckle

3 cups oat flour (can make your own using rolled oats and blend)
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
2 cups warm water
2 TBSP honey
2 1/2 TBSP yeast
1/2 cup oil
1 TSBP Vanilla
1 cup honey
1 cup blueberries

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl and stir together.

In a small bowl mix together next 3 ingredients. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to bubble in draft-free area to make sponge.

While sponge is bubbling, beat together next 3 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

When sponge has fully bubbled add liquid ingredients and blueberries to dry ingredients. Stir well together. Immediately pour into greased 9X13 inch baking pan and spread evenly. Do not let rise, but bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 25 minutes more the center will spring back when touched. When cake is slightly cooled top with blueberry topping and Streusel topping.

Blueberry topping

2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water with 1 TBSP honey
1/18 salt
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
3 TBSP corn starch

Put first 3 ingredients in a saucepan and boil stirring frequently, until berries give off juice. Blend or whisk together cornstarch and apple concentrate. Add to boiling berries while stirring and cook until clear. Stir and cook 1 more minute.

Streusel topping

1 cup granola
1 cup coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
 1 1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp anis

Blend first two ingredients on high 15-20 seconds until finely ground. Pour into a bowl and add remaining ingredients Mix together well with hands.

So so yummy and virtually guilt free. You can make it the night before for breakfast.

Danish Cherry Sauce

Last night I was up late canning. It was warm during the day so it was probably almost the best time, except not. Anyway I had 18 lbs of cherries to put by. Most I froze but then I decided I wanted to do something unique and interesting with them. So In addition to plain sugar free jam (which still tasted fabulous by the way) I made Danish Cherry Sauce from my Ball Blue Book of Preserving. I have a little left that didn’t fit in the jars so I will try that one of these days. I did try the sauce right after it was done and oh so yummy, though I do have to admit that with the cinnamon and almond it seems a little more of a cool weather treat. Here’s the recipe.

Danish Cherry Sauce
4 1/2 pounds cherries (3 pitted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 sticks cinnamon
1 1/2 TBSP almond extract
1 cup water
3/4 cup corn syrup 
Wash and pit cherries. Combine sugar, cinnamon sticks, almond extract, water and corn syrup in large saucepan. Add cherries and simmer until hot through. Remove cinnamon sticks. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head room. Process 10 minutes in hot water bath canner.

I decided this winter I will have to do lots and lots of baking. I have plenty of blueberries and cherries now so I could make oodles of pies and tarts and coffee cake. Not to mention the cherry and soon to be apricot (a project for this weekend) jam that could be spread on all sorts of scones and biscuits. Yum.

Zucchini Has Arrived! over and over again

The zucchini is here. I don’t have much experience with this plant. A couple years ago I think we had a plant or two in our backyard garden but nothing like now where we must have close to 300 plants. The thing about zucchini is once they start producing they do it prolifically. We picked on Wednesday for our larger CSA account. We thought we picked everything available but today low and behold there were already close to 50 more ready to go.

This was the first week zucchini appeared in our CSA’s box as well and I think it will be a presence for many weeks to come. In the Doeun household our favorite way to eat them is sliced thick, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt then roasted at 400 degrees until just tender. I have eaten them at least once a day for 3-4 days now. So this afternoon Mavis and I tried something else,

Dell’s Zucchini Brownies from my favorite vegan cookbook– “The Best of Veggies.”

Here’s the recipe.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sucanat
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cardamon or cinamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup carob chips
1 cup grated zucchini

Combine all ingredients. Add baking powder last (I didn’t see it on the ingredient list so I added 1 tsp) Pour batter into well oiled 9 x 9inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

The batter was really thick and I had to mix it with my hands and it definitely didn’t pour. I think it came out more like bread but with a nice flavor.

I have more creative zucchini recipes to share and I think I’ll have lots of zucchini to practice on. We did get that gopher on his way to another plant, now we just have to make sure there aren’t anymore with a taste for zucchini.

Here is the newsletter for this week with my favorite zucchini recipe “Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

A great dinner for a great day

Yesterday was a great day. As I was waiting for customers to pick up all those boxes of yummy food I was getting very very hungry. My tastes differ a lot from the rest of my family so sometimes it is really hard to get motivated to whip up a really satisfying dinner for one. Though sometimes I have to admit the children really surprise me with what they decide they want to eat–like grapefruit but that is a different story.

Anyway I was hungry and had all this good food lying around so I decided, “Let’s do dinner.”

I find myself craving beans a lot and though red lentils are not officially beans they are in the legume family and when you haven’t planned ahead fit the bill for beans quite nicely. This is my favorite way to cook them, my own variation on an authentic mid-east recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I paired it with mustard greens cooked using a basic greens recipe, fresh radish and raspberry and nettle leaf tea for beverage.

Armenian Red Lentils

1 cup red lentils
4 cups water.
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp anise seeds
4 cloves garlic chopped
squeeze of lemon

Cook the red lentils in the water. I sometimes adjust slightly to make it thicker depending on my mood. Last night was a thicker night.
After the beans are cooked add the salt and tumeric. Adding salt too early can make your beans hard.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add the bay leaves, mustard seeds, anise and garlic. Stir constantly until garlic is golden. Be careful the mustard may start popping and it really hurts if it lands on you. Add the flavored oil to the lentils and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Eat over rice. We tend to eat a lot of Jasmine rice (a favorite with Southeast Asians) but i love it over brown rice also.

Then I was in the mood for dessert so we had

Banana Bread! using a mix of white flour with the germ and whole wheat flour. For sweetening I used sucanat.

Sometimes a nice meal made from your own hands using quality healthful ingredients can be so satisfying.

Vegan Vietnamese Noodle Soup

A friend of mine was interested in the Pho recipe but being a vegan it was not a good fit for her. So here Katie is a Vegan Vietnamese noodle soup. I have made it fairly regularly before marrying a carnivore in denial. It is from The Volumptuous Vegan Cookbook one of my favorites for vegan recipes that are phenomenal and not something I could come up with on my own.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

4 cups vegetable broth of Southeast Asian Stock (also from the cookbook)
1 jalapeno, sliced in thin rounds
1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 2-3 pieces and bruised
3 TBSP shoyu or soy sauce
1 TBSP Maple syrup
1 14 ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 ounces rice noodles
3 TBSP creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP fresh lime (or lemon) juice
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced snow peas
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 TBSP fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1/4 roasted peanuts crushed

1. Add the stock to a medium pot. Add the jalapeno, lemongrass, shoyu (or soy sauce), maple syrup, and coconut milk. Bring to boil over high heat, lower the heat and simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the noodles in heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover and let soak for 10 minutes. Put up additional water to boil so that it is ready when your soup is.

3. Remove the lemongrass from the soup and discard. Place the peanut butter in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of hot soup to the peanut butter and whisk them together until the peanut butter is well dissolved. Add the peanut butter mixture to the soup along with the lime juice. Add a pinch of cayenne and sprinkle with salt to taste.

4. Drain noodles. Put the napa cabbage, snow peas, bean sprouts and noodles in a a strainer. Pour boiling water over just to heat them. If you are eating only a portion of the soup, pour boiling water only over the portion of vegetable you are going to eat.

5. Divide the vegetables and noodles among the soup bowls. Pour the hot soup over each portion.

Garnish with scallions, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Serve with a wedge of lime.

OK I am really hungry now!