Monday, January 29, 2007
Only baking one thing in your oven tonight? Don't do it, take advantage of the whole oven and partition off a baking sheet with little foil packages. What the heck, you've two racks, add another baking sheet. Adding more than two might cut down on the efficiency of the oven so don't overload.
What did I cook? The first foil lined baking sheet had separate small foil packets of onions, beets, garlic, and sliced apples. All were seasoned appropriate for their final use and wrapped. The second sheet was a cut-up fryer on a bed of sliced onions and carrots. I pealed a few Yukon Gold potatoes and tucked them in amongst the chicken pieces. All was seasoned with salt, pepper and some yummy smoked paprika. The chicken was tented and both sheets went into a 375 oven for about an hour and a half.
I'm sure you're saying, "I bet that smelled awful." Let me just say the roasting of apples, onions, garlic and beets didn't smell like garbage cooking but it did make you wonder, "Just what IS for dinner?"
The apple packet was the first done, maybe about 30 minutes so out it came. The sugar I sprinkled along with cinnamon and nutmeg had created it's own sweet sauce.
The beets and garlic were next out but the onions needed more color so I unwrapped the packet and put it back in for about 15 minutes more.
When the chicken was near done off came the foil ten so the pieces could brown. I should have either browned the chicken first or removed the foil earlier because it wasn't as brown as I wanted.
Ok, let's take stock. I had dinner for that night. Roasted garlic and leftover potatoes for garlic mashed the next night. Enough chicken for a yummy Orzo salad with roasted beets and onions for lunch. And, not to forget, those baked apples. They went in a non-stick skillet, juice and all, and dusted with a bit of flour (cornstarch would work, too) cooked until a bit thicker and over some ice cream.
All this was done with the same energy used to cook the chicken so I was quite pleased with myself. So next time you're gonna fire up the cooker think of what else you could do at the same time. Save you and the planet some energy.
Don't forget to enter PBE's Pullet Surpise .
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Do you have a guaranteed award winning recipe? One so good it could win a pullet surprise? PBE is celebrating our first 10,000 visits to the blog and what better way than to award our version of a Pulitzer; a Pullet Surprise.
The category for this year's PS is, drum roll please, chicken. That's right, yardbird. Your own recipe, or famous family formula, or one from a cookbook, just give credit where credit is due and send us photos and a review from whom ever you cooked it for and don't forget the recipe.
Just post your recipe, review and hopefully photos on your site by midnight EST February 12, 2007 and send us your permalink. Don't have a blog? Just e-mail all your info and we'll post it here.
We will post a roundup of all entries and then judge the submissions. The winner will be announced real soon but with us, it's difficult to actually give a date. The decision of the judges is final but we can be bought so be creative. Prizes don't have any actual value but are precious unto themselves. Employees of Peanut Butter Étouffee are not eligible.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 12. Don't forget to check Sticky Dates from Sweetnicks for other roundups.
Monday, January 22, 2007
All this talk about cold weather, soups and comfort food I decided to do a New England boiled dinner.
No recipe but here is my method:
about a five pound corned beef brisket, remove from packaging, rinse and pat dry. Usually when buying a piece of corned beef inside will be a packet of pickling spices. Along with the supplied spices I also added about a tsp of fresh thyme and about a tblsp of fresh ground pepper. Rub the spice mixture into the piece of meat. Line with foil an oven proof pot, I use a french over baker with a lid. place the desired amount of sliced onions, carrots, and celery around the meat. I put about a half a cup of water or chicken broth, use low sodium because the meat tends to be a bit salty. Fold the foil over to seal it, put the lid on and pop it into a 300 degree oven for about 5 hours.
When the meat is finished cooking, peel a few potatoes, wedge up some cabbage and add that to a pan with half chicken stock half water and several grinds of fresh black pepper.
Make sure you have some cornbread or cheesy biscuits to serve with the dish. And make a sauce of horseradish and sourcream for the meat.
This is a husband fav, and says I don't make it enough.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
A while back I was hanging on the door to the refrigerator trying to think of something to do with all this leftover cheese. The holidays have left me with lots of leftovers and I know there has to be something I can do outside of freezing them to death. Freezing just postpones the job of trashing them.
We are big cheese eaters. Well maybe big because we eat cheese, but I do hate to waste so--what am I going to do with all this cheese bits? A little sliced Swiss, some cubed cheddar, how about those pieces of provolone? Then I remembered a Good Eats episode and went looking on Food Network for the recipe.
Now this isn't the first time I've had trouble finding a recipe from Alton Brown. You'd think it was easy. Type in: leftover cheese; 351 results. Damn. Cheese spread? No luck there unless you'd like to wade through 1,648 results. Type in Alton Brown, 469 recipes; three with the word cheese and nothing close. The agony is, in my mind's eye, I can see him doing this show.
Frustrated but not giving up I "Google" Alton Brown and choose a link called Good Eats Fan Page. This is a scary site but I forge ahead. After a few false starts I stumble onto a list of recipes and then finally, under Snacks--what I've been looking for but, as usual, that whack job, Brown has called it something clever, Fromage Fort. What is he trying to do keep this stuff a secret?
On a side note, this recipe will air again on Wednesday Jan 24 @ 7:00 p. ET/PT.
Here is my ancient Cuisinart, still chugging along. I promised not to buy a new one until this bites the dust but I do lust after the one almost everyone has.
This recipe is easy, tasty and salves my guilt of wastefulness. Before those cheese bits lurking in your ice box turn a lovely shade of blue/green give it a try. Wait, I now have leftover cheese spread; does the horror ever end?
Friday, January 19, 2007
this rack of lamb is so easy to make, very hard to mess up and it never fails to impress. i got the idea from jamie oliver, who cut holes into a leg of lamb roast and shoved in rosemary twigs and garlic cloves. the rack of lamb, being smaller, needed to have those elements broken down a bit, though, so i chop up the rosemary and press the garlic, then add some salt and olive oil to make a paste...
if you're feeling really adventurous, get out your mortar and pestle and give the ingredients a good mash before adding the olive oil.
then i take a frenched rack of lamb and cut some small holes (the width of my paring knife) down close to the bone side, like this...
and then use a spoon, but mostly my fingers, to stuff in the rosemary garlic paste, like so...
i flip the meat over (fat side up) and put it on a rack in my roasting pan before it goes in the oven and, if i have any rosemary garlic paste leftover, i smear it on top (otherwise, a little bit of olive oil helps with the browning quite nicely)...
into the oven at about 425 degrees (convection roast if you have it, otherwise, brown the outside of the lamb before you pop it in the oven) until internal temperature is about 140. a one pound rack usually only takes about 20 minutes. it comes out nice and crispy on the outside, like this...
after a good 5 - 7 minute rest, slice between the bones et voila...
perfect medium rare. you can see the vein of garlicky, rosemary goodness and believe me, it has flavored the meat throughout. i usually serve this with spinach and potatoes (like jeff's braised potatoes), something simple to keep the focus on the lamb. and of course, lamb like this goes great with with a bold and fruitier red wine, my favorite pairing is cline ancient vines zinfandel.
so, if food blogger friends were bearing down on my house with little or no notice, this would probably be what they would get fed when they arrived! sorry it took so long, lea!
it also occurs to me that this is a good post for kalyn's weekend herb blogging, what with the rosemary and all. whb is being hosted this week by real epicurean. check it out!
Although I am quite sure many of you already know the answers to safe food handling. But out of curiosity I googled the subject and came up with a plethora of sites.
Now that I think about it maybe the USDA should consult their own web site given the many ecoli outbreaks.
I think most food safety is common sense but that being said, can't tell y'all how many times I have had food poisoning. So maybe this should be discussed more than it is. Check out the USDA site if you learn one thing and pass that on to someone that's a good thing.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
My feel better recipe is a bit different prescription. I'm sure chicken soup is the real cure.
One fresh chicken
One pot of fresh cold water to cover
Lots of chopped onion
Fresh coarsely chopped parsley
Maybe a carrot, grated
Liberal amount of salt and pepper
More chopped parsley, fine this time
Cover the chicken with water and simmer skim off all the foamy stuff then add the veggies and seasonings. Cooks Note: the foamy stuff won't hurt you nor will it effect the taste, it just looks better. Foam is just protein being dissolved in the water not unlike the foam you get in the hot tub.
Simmer for about an hour or until the skins shrinks up and the meat is done. Don't Boil
Strain out the broth, remove bones and bits and return the meat to the broth alone with more parsley. Sometimes I add some more finely chopped onions, to. Cook for about another five minutes, longer if there are fresh onions, and serve.
I usually do this in my p.j.s but I bet that has nothing to do with the recipe. I wish I was closer to our lil bird but they'll just have to make-do with wishes for a quick recovery.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
After a long research on the 'net I did find some answers. The US Department of Agriculture, they have a lovely big building on the mall in Washington but that has nothing to do with potatoes, has a lot to say about this veggie. They even have a brochure you can download. Who needs this much info unless you are twelve and writing a report for school. The following is from an article How to buy potatoes.
Look for potatoes that are free from cuts and blemishes. You should avoid buying potatoes that have a green coloring to them. This "greening" is caused by exposure to natural or artificial light. Sometimes only the skin is affected, but greening may penetrate the flesh. The green portions contain the alkaloid solanin, which causes a bitter flavor and may have a poisonous effect when consumed in great quantities. Also avoid badly sprouted or shriveled potatoes.Wikipedia also has something to say about the toxicity. Seems like you'd have to ingest quite a bit but they do have a scary bit about birth defects. So maybe pregnant moms should watch it closely.
Bottom line: You probably would have to serve a plate of steaming potato eyes to kill anyone but for someone very young or very old or otherwise health compromised it does pose a potential problem. For me, I'll cut off the sprouts but if it's green and the raw potato tastes bitter I'd avoid cooking or eating that one. Not that I have to worry but--pregnant moms--stay away from the green potatoes.
The cost of a potato isn't worth some future health issues. If you're creative you can come up with some other yummy recipe like Acme did. Asian Grilled Steak and Noodles.
Monday, January 15, 2007
When I opened the package I glanced thru it and thought interesting and put it aside. Picked it up a few days ago and amazed at the many hints that are contained in this 150 page cookbook.
Did you know to keep milk from sticking to the pan when you heat it, first rinse the pan in cold water first. Add water to egg instead of milk will make your scrambled eggs fluffier. There is also an whole page on the many uses of petroleum jelly.
I love this one... graniteware is easiest to keep clean. How bout place your broom in a tub of hot water, occasionally.
Well you get the point. It's a fun little book with the hints but also some interesting recipes. One of the reason I started looking thru it today was to find a cookie recipe. Let's see what I come up with.
Also sister moon got this same book, so between the two of us we'll have to try some Depression Era recipes.I did notice that the Oatmeal raisin cookie recipe is pretty much the same as the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. However the recipe in the cookbook called for 1 cup of lard instead of butter, it is the Depression ya see, and it also called for 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. The Quaker Oats recipe is only 1 cup brown sugar. See the Depression cookies would be a LOT sweeter and that's not a bad thing but I decided to make the Quaker Oats version.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Photo by Avgvstvs
Photo by Avgvstvs
Photo by Avgvstvs
multy. Photo by Avgvstvs
max. Photo by Avgvstvs
buddy. Photo by Avgvstvs
don't forget to check out other foodies' hounds at sweetnicks' weekend dog blogging!
My brine bucket is pretty big so I added lots of ice to the brine and monitored it with my digital thermometer. An alert was set if the water got over 33 degrees. The kitchen wasn't very warm so it stayed that way all day; thus saving me lots of space.
The pork loin? Moist and yummy.
How creative are you? Share some of your ideas.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I consider PBE a LA food blog even though only one of us actually resides there. I like to think Doodles is an LA food blogger on a long-term assignment in another state. She did spend a considerable amount of time in Southern California and cooks with that flavor. I'm very close to being in LA a short trip down the 118. Our hearts are all Californian.
There is one more I'd like to add; Acme Instant Food. What a funny-quirky LA sort of blog. I'm sure there are more but this one has been my "must read" for a while. Check it out if for nothing other than the Great Vodka Experiment of 2006.
Note: Californio, not a typo.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Which brings me back to these pork butts. There weren't very many of them in the case, probably cause they were rather massive. Big butted pigs as husband would call them, and he knows about pigs because we raised pigs once upon a time. Another story another time.
So I walk away from the meat case thinking what the heck am I gonna do with all that pork? After cruising the aisles of the market I find myself back to the meat case with the subject pork. I pick up a 9.8 pound piece and off I go.
I get home, unload and stash said stuff, then look at this piece of meat, reach over pick up the phone and call sister moon. "What the heck have I done? It's later in the afternoon, I wanna cook this thing. How should I do that, slow roast, cover it, braising method, OK times wasting I don't wanna freeze it". And all sister moon could say is "nothing is 59 cent a pound any more".
I know I comment - "think it was a mistake so I gotta get this thing in the oven before they come to repo my pork butt".
We came to the collective decision of heat the oven to 425 put the pork in after I thoroughly salted and pepper the piece, put it in uncovered. I cooked it at the 425 mark for half hour forty five minutes then turned it down to 275 and slow roasted it for five ish hours. I didn't cook it till done because whatever I was going to do with this piece cooking was going to be involved.
Let it cool, divided the piece into three indiviual packages and put two in the freezer. The other I left in the fridge for dinner the next nite, and the next nite, and the next nite. No not really but you get the picture.
Stay tuna'd for all of my pork meal ideas...OR if you would have any suggestions bring em on!!!
Monday, January 08, 2007
I had to search three local markets for find a fresh one and all they had were 1/2 breasts and legs. Well, darling husband had a turkey-jones so I snapped it up. I was more in the mood for dressing.
Since poultry loves the brine I started adding stuff. Salt, of course, into ample water and some almost-too-old citrus. Waste not; want not. I was close to pouring in some flat rootbeer, go with it--it needed sugar to make the skin brown--passed on that idea and tossed in some honey. Old Bay Seasonings will never let you down. Not Old Spice, that is a totally different product. Into the fridge overnight. Goodnight dear bird.
The dressing: New Year's Eve I served hunks French bread to dip in Italian Butter (olive oil, garlic and course ground black pepper) so that leftover bread on a cookie sheet with some drizzled olive oil, dressing friendly herbs and bit of salt. Baked until it was nice and crisp short of burned. Cooled then into a plastic bag and beat it into smaller pieces with the end of a champagne bottle. A very fine multi-tasker that Alton Brown has failed to mention.
Chopped celery, onions in butter, (I know I promised to diet, soon, Dr, very soon) and then poured that over the cooled bread. I added some chicken broth and tasted to adjusted the seasonings now because I'm going to add raw eggs. My mom always tasted after the eggs but I can't get by the raw egg. Don't be afraid of the seasoning because with the roasting they will mellow out. Add a bit more sage and such than you think and no broth; add milk.
The eggs, this is where my mom's dressing is different from most. The eggs give it the cohesiveness it needs and also a lovely soft rich texture. How many? One in you stuff a chicken and two for a bigger bird. Remember, eggs are fat, the more you use the richer it will be. Also more calories.
I was out of wild rice so skipped it. Now my sister, doodles reminded me not to be adding a bunch of other stuff and she was right. At times, mom added oysters or water chestnuts and maybe pecans but she didn't add anything else. She was a plain basic cook and I go back to her methods more often than not.
No whole bird to stuff so I piled the dressing on a cookie sheet and put the half breast on top and laid the legs beside. I wrapped it all in foil and high heat for about 20 minutes until it sizzled then down to 325 until almost done. Off with the foil and remove the drippings and back into a 350 oven to brown up the skin. Let it rest of a few minutes and make a bit of gravy with the drippings. I know, diet but I only made enough to drizzle over the turkey and dressing.
It was so satisfying but it doesn't cook long enough to get the whole house smelling like Thanksgiving. I do like the flavor of a big bird because it roasts for a long time but for the two of us; I didn't think we needed a ton of leftovers. Next Thanksgiving, I'm doing the bird!
Sunday, January 07, 2007
here's the recipe that i've come up with. it's by no means authentic, but i like it quite a lot.
1 clove garlic
1 can chick peas, drained
1 - 2 tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
start food processor, and keep it running the whole time. drop in garlic clove and process till minced. add chick peas and process till chopped. pour in tahini, lemon juice and salt. pour olive oil in a thin stream (like you're making an emulsion) and process until smooth. serve on a plate with some olive oil drizzled on top and a little paprika.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Well actually it was a bright little calorie filled Christmas but hey, once a year.
Peanut Brittle, my recipe. I didn't make enough but I don't know if I ever could.
Fantasy Fudge, recipe on the back of the marshmallow cream jar. This is the easiest I've ever found and it has NEVER failed.
Vanilla Pecan Fudge, from my mom's ancient-falling-apart cookbook. They call it Panocha.
Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies dipped in chocolate and salted peanuts
Mexican Wedding Rings, La Vida Dulce's recipe.
Cranberry-Nut Jumbles, a tasty new cookie. Who doesn't like something called a "jumble". (recipe below)
Decorated Sugar Cookies, Soul Fusion Kitchen's recipe and now my favorite. It is the most flavorful tender cookie that will hold up to some serious Royal Icing.
Everything was well recieved and even though I'd spent a lot of time in the kitchen I'd do it all over again. So much fun to wrap it all up and deliver.
Ok, here's a dud of a recipe. I was very, VERY, dissapointed with America's Test Kitchen's Deep Dish Apple Pie. I tried they're version because when you make a deep dish pie, sometimes, the filling shrinks and the crust stays high leaving you with a whole lot of nothing when you cut the pie. Who likes nothing in a pie, we all want oceans of filling.
I have to say it did fill up the pie but the recipe did not have any flour and it calls to drain the apples before baking. You guessed it, no sauce, just dry apples. It tasted ok but all fell apart with no sauce to hold the apples together. No luscious, gooey, wonderful sauce. Will go back to my good old award winning recipe next time. Can't blame a girl for trying something new.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
5 oz. dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
Beat brown sugar and butter until creamy (2-3 minutes) Add sour cream, egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed (1-2 minutes). Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat another 1-2 minutes. Stir in nuts and cranberries.
Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.
Stir together powdered sugar and orange juice in small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
Makes 4 dozen.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Now let me say that years ago when we moved from California to Connecticut For a few short years we were deprived of avocados. I know shocking to me to. But it took awhile for the Constitution state to step in to the 20th Century, (1976). We were also mexican food deprived. For several years it seemed to husband and I that we were in prison doing penance.
So I toddle on over to the avocado site, my my, my what wonderful recipes they have. Go take a look if you haven't already.
Y'all know my passion for brunch, so I found a frittata that would make a terrific dinner meal.
I'll let ya know, stay tuna'd...
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
new year's eve was a different story, though. to start, we nibbled on olives, salami, cheese, crostini, hummus (not italian, but i love it) and a yummy cannelini-garlic-artichoke spread and sipped prosecco with frozen raspberries. i did up a huge pot of marinara sauce from scratch and made a mountain of meatballs. served over rotini with loads of grated peccorino romano, crusty italian bread and a green salad, it really hit the spot. for dessert, we had a "fancy" trader joe's tira misu, some cheesecake and chocolate and almond biscotti with grand marnier whipped cream for dipping. at midnight, we popped a bottle of blanc de blancs from schramsburg, one of my favorite california wineries for sparkling wine.
so, happy new year to all of our foodie friends! we wish you all success, health and happiness...and many great meals!
Monday, January 01, 2007
The Eve was a success with four houses being involved in a progressive dinner for about 25 so darling husband and I didn't feel like much of a fuss for New Year's day. After reading about Doodle's potato soup I felt that would be a good calm dinner for us and it was tasty. It's been a bit cold here in Southern California and a tummy-warming bowl of soup hit the spot.
My resolution is to get back to regular posting and develop some good low-calorie recipes. I was way too good to myself.
Mine is always Posole ........and it is simmering on the stove as I type. I am not taking a snap because soups just do not photograph well, kinda like me.
AND speaking of snaps, the post little bird made about her puppy in his new sweater just below this post, there, click on that photo and you will see many more snaps of this fashionable pup Max and his big brother Multy.
OK I'm gonna leave room for the other two. Happy New Year to y'all