December 2nd, 2008
With the winter quickly arriving what a better way to treat yourself but with some fabulous winter squash! I enjoy perusing the farmer’s market every week and am always looking for new or creative things to make. A couple of months ago I stumbled upon a small farm that grew winter squash and had a conversation with (…read more and get the recipe)
December 3rd, 2007
It’s been a while since I have written here, but I do have a delicious recipe to share! Besides that, my birthday was the other day and I got some really cool gifts from my wife that relate to my cooking.
First, she got me a book I’ve been raving about on here: “Nightly Specials“ I had previously only checked it out from the library. I hope to cook up some more recipes and share from it. The chicken pot pie recipe below comes from this book.
Second, and -I think -a lot cooler (but equally as special), is a trip to the Oregon Culinary Institute for a hands-on cooking lesson! I guess she’s taken notice that I like cooking ;-). This should be a pretty fun time for me. Until then, I’ll just have to keep trying new recipes and posting them here. When I go, I’ll be sure to share some of what I learned with you and, naturally, with my wife! I can’t wait!!!!
Now, back to the pot pie. It’s not a pot pie in the traditional sense, the crust is more like a thin, buttery, very soft biscuit that you place on top of a rich chicken sauce/broth/filling. The filling is like the most delicious creamy chicken soup you’ve ever tasted. My wife wants me to get a “Yum” meter on my blog — and this one gets the highest ranking! Here’s what I did (warning, this recipe takes a long time to prepare if you do it all at once. Consider making chicken broth a day ahead of time.):
- 2 & 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- salt + pepper
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- One 3 (or s0) pound chicken
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary and thyme
- 1 large onion quartered
- 5 large carrots, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 medium shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon (this adds incredible flavor!)
- Make the pot pie tops: combine flour, sugar, baking powder and pinch of salt into mixing bowl and blend
- Add buttermilk and 1/4 cup of cream and mix until combined.
- Chop the butter into tiny little pieces and add it to the batter leaving it mealy.
- Flour a surface and pour the dough onto the surface.
- Flatten gently with a rolling pin and cut into six rounds 3-inch diameter x 1 inch thick.
- Place them on a cookie sheet and let rest for 20 minutes in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 375.
- Bake them for 20 to 25 minutes until they are nicely browned
- Make the chicken and broth: wash the chicken under cold water. Tie the bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.
- Put the chicken into a pot large enough to hold it.
- Cover it with cold water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the cheesecloth of seasonings (called a “bouquet garni”), pinch of salt, onion, half the carrots, half of the celery.
- Bring back to simmer and cook uncooked for 45 minutes.
- When the chicken is done, carefully remove it from the pan and place it in a ice-water filled large pan or bowl to rapidly cool.
- Strain the broth into another bowl (discard the solids — or save for chicken noodle soup — that’s what I do!)
- Back to the chicken, use a very clean surface and — using your hands — remove all the good meat from the bones and set aside. Discard the bones and not-so-good stuff. 😉
- Make the sauce: Now, in a pot, add 2 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the remaining carrots and celery and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In, alas, one more pan heat some butter up over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and saute them — seasoning with salt and pepper.
- To the pot, add 1 cup of cream then the shallots and butter and simmer again for 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 or more of the chicken meat to your taste/texture and cook for another 10 minutes or so.
- Finally, add the tarragon and transfer to serving bowls.
- Place hot rounds on top of the bowls and serve to hungry mouths!!
Wow! That’s a lot, even to write. I have to say. This delicious meal takes a long time to cook, but it is well worth the effort. Like I said before, make the chicken broth portion a day ahead of time and it’ll go quick.
I hope you enjoy it!
November 3rd, 2007
I’ve been craving pasta a lot lately. Rachel (my wife) and I went to Iovino’s last week and I ordered spaghetti (it was delicious). Before that I made homemade (with fresh tomatoes) spaghetti sauce and spaghetti with bread, olive oil and vinegar (one of my favorites). When I was thinking up menu items for this week’s menu I found a Linguine recipe in my “Nightly Special’s” book.
I knew it looked good, but I had NO idea how good it would actually be. I have to say the Chorizo is what made this recipe. It gives the sauce a spicy-delicious-amazing flavor. Rachel said it was probably the best linguine/spaghetti sauce she had ever had. That means it is REALLY good. So go ahead, try this one! Did I mention it takes only about 15-20 minutes to make?
Here’s what I did:
- Linguine Noodles
- 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1/2 Large onion
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 2-3 cups chorizo (spicy sausage)
- two 14-oz cans of plain, crushed tomatoes (mine were actually stewed)
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 15-30 large basil leaves
- Fill a pan 3/4 full of water (large enough to hold your linguine) and boil
- While the water boils get out your large heavy-bottom pan and heat up the olive oil on a medium heat
- Add the chopped onions and chorizo, for about 5 minutes
- Add the pressed garlic and stir
- Add both cans of tomatoes and wine
- lightly add kosher (or sea) salt and freshly ground pepper
- Stir occasionally and let simmer for 5-10 minutes (I had to turn up the heat here to reduce the juicy tomato sauce — I don’t like mine too watery)
- While that’s simmering, throw the noodles into the boiling water and cook them as the package directs (until Al dente)
- When the sauce is almost done add the basil leaves and stir lightly to mix
- Mound some noodles on each plate
- Add some sauce, making sure to get chorizo and basil on each plate.
- YUM! YUM! YUM!
I really hope you enjoy it!
November 2nd, 2007
Tonight I wanted to cook something fast, light and delicious since we were planning on going ballroom dancing and wouldn’t have much time after work to cook and eat. I found this recipe and modified it to my taste and really enjoyed it! Here’s what I did.
- 1 large fillet of Cod (USA Wild Caught — don’t go for that farmed fish and stay local!) Salmon or Snapper will do too.
- 1 minced shallot (an small onion will do though)
- 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon chili oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- For Broccoli as a side, you’ll need some fresh or frozen broccoli
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Brush the fish with the olive oil
- Place the sesame seeds in a plate and lay the fish on the plate to coat with seeds. Repeat on both sides (if there is no skin — no need to do this on the skin side) — set the fish aside
- Add the shallots, ginger, soy sauce, and chili oil to a shallow baking dish
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan and cook the fish on each side over a medium heat for 2 minutes each
- Place the fish in the baking dish and bake for about 10 minutes
- While you wait, fill a small pan with a small amount of water.
- Add the chopped broccoli to the water and steam (on high) for a few minutes to soften.
- Serve the broccoli with the finished Codfish
I hope you enjoy it!
October 28th, 2007
I’ve been reading a cookbook: Nightly Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home. I love how they combine simple recipes and ingredients to make delicious foods! I’ve already made a few things out of it including “Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash” and “Coffee Barbecue Sauce” with chicken. There are plenty more delicious-looking recipes in this book (like the Chicken Pot Pie), and since it’s only a loaner from the Library I think I’m going to have to buy it:
Well anyway, I promised you a recipe with my homemade chicken broth and I keep my promises. The Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash looked really good in the book’s picture and it was good! It uses homemade chicken stock and maple syrup, but my wife said to use less maple syrup next time — it was a little sweet for dinner.
I didn’t actually use butternut squash, since I didn’t have any. I grew a small garden outside my duplex this year and had an acorn squash plant. From that ONE plant I must have harvested over 25 acorn squash and so I had plenty to spare!
One last note, this dinner goes GREAT with the pumpkin dinner rolls! Try it tonight!
Here’s what I did:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup barley
- 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
- 1 large Acorn Squash (the recipe actually calls for butternut squash, so use that if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tsp total of Kosher salt and whole pepper kernels ground
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (the recipe calls for 3, I’d reduce it to 1 tablespoon next time)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown
- Add the raw barley and cook it for about 3 minutes
- Pour in the hot broth, stir and simmer uncovered until the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender (about 40 minutes)
- Take your squash (chopped into cubes) and oil and toss in a bowl. Season it with the salt and pepper, toss again.
- Turn it out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast it in the oven until tender (about 15 minutes).
- Add the syrup and other spices and stir.
- Roast for another 10 minute
- Now, stir the squash into the barley, serve and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy it!
October 23rd, 2007
I guess there is a lot of pumpkin to go around this time of year. This is my third pumpkin recipe in the last few weeks. Even after this recipe, I still have fresh pumpkin left. My wife works for Stahlbush Island Farms and has brought home a lot of organic pumpkin (it’s one of their bigger products) for us to enjoy.
She tried the pumpkin rolls and thought that they were really good. I especially like them hot out of the oven (even if I have to reheat them there). Here’s what I did to make them (based off of “Mom’s Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Recipe“).
Ingredients (for 12 rolls):
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of good Active Dry Yeast.
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup of 110 degree (Fahrenheit) milk
- About 4 cups of flour (add more as you need when kneading)
- 1 cup Organic Canned Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3/4 stick of butter (< 1/2 cup)
- 1 egg, beaten a bit
- Mix yeast and sugar into the milk and let the yeast grow for about 10 to 15 minutes. If it doesn’t grow (bubble and foam) then neither will your rolls so go get some new yeast! I get mine from our local co-op (First Alternative Co-Op) in bulk and it hasn’t failed me yet!
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl
- Chop the butter into bits and mix it into the dry ingredients
- Add the egg, pumpkin and foamy yeast mixture
- Mix everything together until its all combined
- Next, take the dough and knead it on a floured surface (and keep it floured on top and bottom to keep from sticking on you and the surface) for about 10 minutes.
- If you are in a hurry you can skip this step but your rolls might not be as good. Set the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel for about 1 hour (or until it doubles in size). Indeed, I was in a hurry and skipped this step so please comment if you include it and let me know how it turns out.
- Punch the dough down and separate into 12 balls.
- Place the balls on an oiled baking tray (or use a springform pan or glass baking dish) and let them rise for another 45 minutes.
- Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes or until they just turn golden at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
I think the two keys to baking bread, rolls, and similar recipes are:
- Let the yeast active for about 10-15 minutes with a little sugar or honey using 110 to 120 degree water (or milk in this case). I have been baking bread for some time now and ever since I started doing this my dough has turned out wonderfully.
- Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. I used to be afraid of kneading because I thought it would make the bread tough, but I think the exact opposite is true. This allows the yeast to work through the flour and helps it to rise. Now my only problem with baking bread is that it rises TOO MUCH, but that’s a story for another day of blogging.
I hope you enjoy them!
October 17th, 2007
I love applesauce. I can only remember my Mom making it once, but my Grandma’s applesauce was the MOST delicious applesauce you have ever had! I loved the sweet and juicy apple chunks that she had, it didn’t remind me of the store bought kind — and that was a great thing! A year ago, during apple season, I decided I was going to try my own. I could not believe how simple it was to make, not to mention how delicious it was. My mother-in-law let me borrow an apple/potato peeler (a handy little machine) and I was off to work. It turned out great and I made quite a few batches over the months.
Once apple season ended (no more cheap apples) I sort of forgot about it, UNTIL NOW! Cheap apples are back. I got some fresh apples for 65 cents a pound at a fruit stand nearby this weekend so I could make applesauce. Sometimes I find “baking apples” (the bruised and beaten ones) over at Hazelnut Hill for 25 cents a pound during the season (I also can’t resist their chocolate covered hazelnuts!). For my next batch I hope to get over there and buy some cheaper apples.
Now, I don’t remember exactly what kind of apples I bought (shame on me) but you can just ask the clerk which apples might be best for applesauce (gala, granny smith all work though) . Here’s my recipe:
- 6-8 apples
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (more or less to your taste)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- You can do one of two things to get started: Peel the apples, or leave the peels on. (If you leave the peals on, later you will HAVE to put them through a food processor. I don’t recommend it, unless you like the peels and don’t want larger apple chunks. I forgot that detail today and left the peels on for fun.)
- Next, cut the apples into quarters, then trim out the core and seeds.
- Then place the apples in a pot and turn the stove on to medium-low.
- Place the lemon zest and juice in the pot and mix it in.
- Cover the pot and let it sit, come back and stir every 10 minutes or so. You’ll start to notice it turning more and more into applesauce after 20-30 minutes. You can be the judge based on thickness and number of apple-pieces to tell when its done.
- Now, add the cinnamon or, if you’re not a fan, leave it out or use less.
- If you don’t like my sugar free version, feel free to add sugar here too. I don’t think I need it after all the pumpkin cupcakes!
- This step is optional, but if you want to (or if you left the skins on) here you can process the pan. Since I left the skins on mine this time I pulsed mine a few times just to get the skins to bite-sized pieces.
That’s it! I just finished eating (and loving) a warm bowl of applesauce and am looking forward to my next batch already!
In the mean time, I have a lot of books to read. I went to the library today and checked out a bunch of books on food and cooking.
* These probably have a ton of natural sugar from the apples.
October 11th, 2007
I’d like to welcome my wife, Rachel Prickett, as a guest today. Hopefully she’ll blog once in a while on here because she can cook with the best of ’em. I have to say dinner tonight was absolutely delicious. I’ll let her tell you about it.
- 4 American lamb rib chops
- 1 T oil
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chateau Benoit 2006 vintage Muller Thurgau)
- 1T. minced shallots
- 4 1/2 oz. Brie (cut off the rind to make it melt more smoothly.)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 T. butter
Sear lamb chops in oil until well brown on all sides. Reduce heat and continue cooking until medium rare, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chops from pan and keep warm. (really warm…you want to serve lamb hot and the wine takes a little while to reduce.)
In the same pan, add wine and shallots; simmer until reduced to 1/8 cup. Cut Brie into cubes, add wine and shallots mixture. Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. Season spinach with butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
To serve, place on bed of spinach in center of plate. Place lamb chops on top. Spoon Brie sauce over top. Serves 2.
This didn’t make as much as Keith and I would have liked, but as I said, it was DELICIOUS! I didn’t keep the lamb hot enough, so when you prepare this you might put the lamb back on the pan right before serving to heat it up again, or put it in a pre-heated oven to keep hot.
I hope you enjoy it!
October 10th, 2007
My wife was gone today, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to share this with her. Though, not all is disappointing, due to her absence I was able to get this blog rolling and concentrate on the nerdy part of it. Now, I am done with that and can actually post the recipe and photos. I hope you enjoy this!
What you’ll need [basic version]:
- “Your size” portion of mahi mahi fish fillet
I want to keep things simple, because sometimes long lists of ingredients intimidates people. I’ll list the spices below, but I’ll try to keep my recipes as simple as possible.
Here’s how I prepared the fish:
- Cut my large fillet into 4 pieces (you may have more or fewer pieces)
- Rinse the fillet with cold water
- Rub the fillet with canola or olive oil (today I used canola).
- Place in small glass baking dish
- Oh, don’t forget to preheat the oven to about 350 degrees (f)
- Now the fun part, sprinkle about 2 tsp (more or less to your taste) of the following seasonings over the fish:
- Ground Pepper
- Chili Powder (like McCormick)
- Onion Powder (or fresh and finely chopped)
- Garlic Powder (or fresh and pressed)
- Next, squeeze 1/2 of a medium lemon over the piece(s)
- and finally, throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes. It’s really easy to overcook this, so be careful to watch it. I definitely overcooked mine (about 30 minutes) and it was just slightly dry.
The key to my flavor today was the chili powder and ginger, but you can use any combination of the seasonings you have available from my list and it will still taste good!
While this was in the oven, I started 1 cup of rice with 2 1/2 cups of water in my rice cooker. Then, when the fish was looking ready I steamed some broccoli pieces to go with it.
There you have it, Spicy Mahi Mahi with steamed rice and steamed vegetables. An easy 1/2 hour dinner for four — or, as in my case, one. Don’t forget the lemon wedges and for a little garnish, try cilantro leaves in the rice and a pinch of chili powder sprinkled around the side of the plate (see below).