~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, September 26, 2008


Why Home Cooking in Montana?

My husband and I moved to Montana from a big city to a somewhat smaller city. Actually, it was quite smaller! I was having a hard time finding products/ingredients that were so readily available in the big city. It was a challenge indeed! I was so used to buying fresh pita bread, puff pastry, ajvar, and so many other various products. So, I decided to make do with what I had and challenged myself to make some of the things at home. To my surprise, I enjoyed it immensely... and in the process, I acquired some pretty neat recipes!

What kind of culinary training do I have?

None, absolutely none...though I wish I had some:).
I am self-taught...although I've had my share of disappointments! I would try a recipe once...if it failed, I tried again. Sometimes, I simply gave up on a particular recipe. Other times, the recipe came out....and that was always pretty neat:). I soon challenged myself with more difficult recipes. I continue to do so....

What kind of products do I use?

I most always use unsalted butter...this way you can adjust seasoning to your preference.
I most always use kosher salt... except for baking,.where I use regular table salt.
I try to use organic products whenever possible...sometimes, I don't.
I try to implement whole grains in our diet as much as possible... some recipes can be adapted.
I always use SAF instant yeast...almost never, active dry yeast.
I try to use lower fat products... sometimes we splurge, and use a bit of cream:).
I most always use extra-virgin olive oil...sometimes, I use canola, grapeseed oil.
I always use butter...never shortening.
I always use homemade chicken stock...though I will sometimes buy ready-made beef stock (I am slowly working on that)
I try to use fresh ingredients...though I may slip and use canned/boxed/packaged items:).

Do I get paid to blog or do product reviews?

I do not get paid to blog nor do I get paid to do the product reviews. The reviews are simply my own opinions on the samples I receive.

What kind of camera do I use?

I use a Canon PowerShot SD600...yes, I know it is simple. But, it does the job.

Who takes all the pictures?
I do... though I've needed my husband's help a few times.

Do I ever get "burned out" in the kitchen?
Yes!! That's when I opt for a simple toasted cheese sandwich.

Do we always eat at home?
Most always, unless we are travelling. I find that it is much healthier eating at home and I know exactly what goes in my food... but here's a peek at a Gordon Ramsay Dinner in Ireland.

What has been my most challenging recipe?
I've had a few...though my homemade baguettes were challenging enough!

What recipe am I looking to "perfect"?
I am still looking to find the perfect "mile high" scone recipe! I absolutely love tea and scones....

What are some cookbooks/websites/chefs I reference to?
America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated, Martha Stewart, Taste of Home, are among the many cookbooks... other websites/food magazines include Food Network, Saveur, Bon Apettit, Food and Wine, Gourmet....I also love watching videos with Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, Michel Richard and many others.

What are some tips I have learned along the way?
Refrigerate cookie dough before baking... eliminates too much spreading. Heavier cookies, such as oatmeal cookies don't usually need refrigeration.

Always let your yeast dough rise in a warm environment....I like to heat my oven a few seconds and then turn the oven off completely. I let my dough rise in the cozy oven, free from drafts.

When making puff pastry, your butter must be unsalted and very cold. Salted butter melts faster at room temperature.

When grilling or pan frying, have your meat/fish at room temperature before cooking it ....this ensures you get a nice sear/crust.

I always freeze my instant yeast...it lasts forever, at least it seems that way :)

I try to freeze food products/meals as much as possible...it eliminates waste, and saves money. Nuts need to be frozen(if you have a large amount...Costco-like) as they can get rancid quickly. Bread needs to be frozen to keep its freshness as long as possible...bagels from Costco, sliced bread, etc. Freeze chicken/beef stock for future use...ideally in small batches(ice cube trays, small containers).

I save orange/lemon peels...I grate the rind and place it in the freezer for future use.

Did you know you can buy cheese in bulk/on sale, grate it, and freeze it? Use it for enchiladas,lasagna, pizza, quesadillas, etc.

I love to use my pressure cooker to cook dried beans in matter of minutes...as well as making polenta in 5 minutes and risotto in 7 minutes...



Unknown said...

I just found your blog today while looking for a crumpet recipe because a good Australian friend of mine mentioned them and how wonderful they were. I've always loved the sound of the word so I looked them up and intend to try the one you have soon. I just wanted to let you know your sight is beautifully laid out, it has great explanations, and beautiful pictures. I look forward to watching you and trying new recipes with you.

Ellie said...

How very sweet of you to drop by and leave such an encouraging comment! Thank you... and I appreciate it!
I really hope you like the crumpet recipe. It is as close as I can get it to the ones I remember in London. Of course, they are homemade...it is always hard to compare them to the store-bought version. Thnaks again fo rstopping by.~Ellie

madeinbelgium said...

Hi Ellie,

Re found your blog today. I had originally found it while looking for a cozonac recipe.
Would you happen to have a ciorba one?

Ellie said...

Thanks for stopping by...I do not have a ciorba recipe, yet:). Though I make ciorbe all the time, I have not as of yet posted one. I am not sure what kind of ciorba you are looking to make(meat or vegetable), but there are many romanian blogs that have WONDERFUL recipes. Marcela S.( a follower on my blog) at http://marcela-home.blogspot.com/ has quite a few recipes you can look at. She also FOLLOWS other Romanian bloggers that have MORE recipes.
A couple of other great blogs are:



I hope I have been a bit helpful.
Cu placere,~Ellie

madeinbelgium said...

Multumesc Ellie.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

love your blog! i am a fellow romanian myself living in america. :)

Ellie said...

Blogging by pictures, Thank you! So glad you stopped by...sure hope you will enjoy it.
It is good to know that you can "understand" my Romanian dishes:).


Anonymous said...

i work at a german bakery. We make Laugen every weekend and my family loves them! Im looking forward to trying your recipie at home!

Ellie said...

Anon, I hope you enjoy the bread recipe...we love it:)! Thanks for stopping by...

mariska said...

I'm an American married to a Romanian, and its a joy to see how we've enjoyed some of the same recipies of bread, fermented pickles, cozonac,etc. Since we live in the country, my husband asked me to make 'real'bread. Peter Reinharts' recipies, and many others on your blog are the exact ones my husband likes. Our favorite bread recipe is Rose Levy Berenbaum's Bread Bibles' "Hearth Bread" recipe. I wonder, have you ventured into Romanian layered pastries? I'm looking for some good blogs.

Ellie said...

Mariska, Thanks for stopping by...I'm thrilled that you enjoy the Romanian cuisine. The Romanian cuisine can be more "rustic"in nature... simple, but good food. The breads are more rustic...not sweetened, crusty and more "rough looking". I suppose it would be called artisian-style:)... the Reinhart, Brenebaum. Hammelman, etc... are perfect examples.
I've made Romanian layered desserts...not too many, as I try to avoid making them on a regular basis... there's lots of butter and sugar in most:)...not all though. I'm not an expert in pastries( nor in other cooking for that matter). I've made the classic amandine, and other layered cakes...I used to make them more often than I do now.
In any case, there are a TON of fabulous Romanian blogs... Here's a couple that have quite a few recipes for layered pastries:

Hopefully that helps...and thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ellie
I live in the UK and hoping to move to the states in the next year or so (not that, that has anything to do with cooking ;o)), but I found your lovely blog after searching for recipes, I've started cooking quite a lot lately, by no means an expert so blogs like yours are so helpful and make me feel like part of a community/group, but I just wanted to leave a message to say compliments on your lovely blog, you sound like a terrific person and I'll be trying out your fantastic recipes ! Big Thanks, Ness

Ellie said...

Aww, Ness.... thank you SO much for your sweet comment. I really appreciate it! I'm so glad you stopped by. Welcome to my little cooking space:)... I'm sure the states will be quite different from what you are used to in the UK. I visited the UK a couple of times and absolutely LOVED it! I sure hope you will adjust here in the states, and you are more than welcome here as a friend and hope you enjoy some of the recipes I've posted ... even if you just browse:). If you have any questions regarding any of the recipes, I'd be more than happy to help.

Warm regards to you, and have a wonderful day!

Unknown said...

Hi Ellie,
I found your website today when I saw the picture of the cauliflower pizza. I'm so happy I found your page - it's AMAZING!! I'm going to follow you and make a bunch of your recipes. And I feel like maybe it would be good for me to move to Montana! Thanks for sharing your life and your story and your recipes. I, too, love the Lord.
God bless you.
~ Nutella

Ellie said...

Hi Karen, Aww, thanks:)! So glad you stopped by... and welcome!

Thank you for your sweet enthusiasm in regards to the blog... I sure hope you enjoy some of the recipes.

Your comment made my day:)... just thrilled you love the LORD, too. It's always such a blessing to me to hear from fellow Christians.

Wishing you a blessed day!

254311 said...

Am decoperit acum blogul Home Cooking in Montana si sunt impresionat de continut.
Multumesc Mult.
Lewis Katz

Ellie said...

Lewis, Ma bucur ca iti place blogul:)... merci ca te-ai oprit sa imi scrii--apreciez mult! Sper sa iti place ceva din retetele postate.